Lacy MacAuley

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a home for my pen, projects, and passions

My experience of intimate partner violence, trapped in Turkey

Maybe I reached too high, and had too far to fall. It has been two months since my return to the US. Intimate partner violence, or domestic abuse, was something I never imagined that I would stumble into. But misogyny and patriarchy run deep, especially in Turkey, and I found myself in a bad situation.

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The first two weeks were quite the love story… Then came our first fight.

I am a radical activist based in Washington DC. I fell in love with an energetic, charismatic activist I met in November when I was present to write about resistance to the G20 Summit, a global event in Antalya, Turkey. After I came home to the US, we talked every day. He was lovely and charming, I thought at the time. He offered a ready smile, engaging kindness, and intelligent conversation. He said all the right things to convince me that he cared about women’s rights and activism. In February, I decided to return to Turkey with the promise of love driving me forward. I couldn’t have known things would turn sour.

I thought that even if this were not going to develop into a deeper relationship, it would be an opportunity to learn more about this Muslim country during an interesting political moment, and I could do some work around refugees. I also thought, hey, at least I would probably make a dear friend.

The first two weeks were quite the love story. I observed that he was drinking heavily, and called him an “alky,” but it was just a joke at first. We went to the beach and historic sites, and he introduced me to his friends. All seemed to be going well, and I felt that the romance was solidly moving forward.

Then came our first fight. I had wanted to interview a local woman for an article on Syrian refugees. He did not approve. He knew the woman and did not like her, so he strictly forbade me from speaking with her. After I questioned his rationale, he yelled and stormed out of the room to go smoke a cigarette. I just stood in the middle of the room not knowing what to do. Of course, as a Western woman, no one had ever forbidden me from speaking with anyone else. It was a strange feeling: Don’t I have a mouth to speak? Why can I not use it as I wish?

This is elementary feminism. No man has the power to silence a woman, just because he is a man. How far backwards things would slide in the coming weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, feminism, human welfare, intimate partner violence, lacy's life

G20 Summit, preparation and protest

The G20, the Group of 20 countries, just met in Antalya, Turkey. I am here to amplify local voices of resistance, and attend and write about the G20 protests. I’m joined by Ariel Vegosen, fierce campaigner for justice. Here’s a breakdown of some of our activities at the G20 Summit.

PREPARATION FOR G20 SUMMIT, meeting with local activists:

Ariel and I were at the Antalya offices of the Türkiye Gençlik Birliği (TGB), or Turkish Youth Party, for planning the G20 protests on Sunday. The TGB are planning a “surprise” at the protest. Turkish flags adorned the meeting room in their office. As we met, images of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk looked on us with a stern gaze.

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We also engaged in sign-making, music playing, and other fun activities with some local students we met.

And, I wrote an article for Common Dreams about the resistance to the G20 that I was finding here in Turkey.

PROTEST DAY 1, main day of action:

Protests in Antalya sent a clear message against US imperialism, the G20, neoliberalism. 35 protesters have been arrested in the city. Meetings of world leaders, and protests by the people of the world, continue for a second day. Ariel and I joined in this inspiring day of resistance. At one point we even led the march.

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Two groups organized protests. First, the TGB, who are secularist, militarist, and aligned with the principles of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. These TGB supporters marched neatly with red and white signs and Turkish flags. They marched in columns, and had coordinated closely with local police to hold a permitted march. Second were the Öğrenci Kolektifleri, the local student collectives. Protesters in the student group did not have a permit to march. In a third direct action, several students began walking toward the G20 barricades to deliver a letter to the G20 representatives. More than 35 people were arrested

PROTEST DAY 2, follow-up actions:

G20 protests to oppose G20 policies, imperialism, and neoliberalism, and stand in solidarity with the arrestees and support the right to protest. More than 35 people were arrested yesterday, according to organizers. Those arrested were detained while still at their homes, walking to the protests, or walking to deliver letters to the G20 in an act of civil disobedience. At least 20 were released within one day.

The G20 summit is now over, and President Obama and world leaders are going home. They leave us with… not much.

Filed under: activism, g20, g8/g20, global justice, international relations, media

As G20 Summit Begins, Resistance is Just Under the Veil

This is the full text of an article that I wrote for Common Dreams about the resistance to the G20 summit that I was finding here in Turkey, published on Sunday, November 15, 2015, the day that the G20 Summit began in Antalya, Turkey.

President Obama arrived today in the Mediterranean resort town of Antalya, Turkey, for the G20 Summit, a meeting of the leaders of the 20 most significant economies in the world. After being greeted by children in traditional Turkish dress as the sun rose after his overnight flight, Obama headed to his first round of meetings. For security, he is staying aboard a US military warship docked at seaside, rather than one of the many posh resorts in this vacation town.

Protesters have been arriving in Antalya for the past few days by the busload, despite the fact that the local government has banned protests during the summit, according to local news sources. Several Turkish media such as Today’s Zaman has been excluded from the G20 summit, although they applied for media accreditation. Turkish officials state that 11 protesters were arrested yesterday for G20 protests. 4 were arrested at the Antalya airport while holding signs, and 7 more arrested in Istanbul.

Turkish officials arrested over 250 people in Antalya and the surrounding area, according to local sources. The Turkish government announced that these were suspected ISIS members, but many local people have raised questions about how many of them were actually ISIS.

The agenda at the G20 Summit reflects the tensions of the region. Especially following the Paris attacks, emphasis has been given to discussing the situation in Syria, counter-terrorism measures that may include more militarism in the beleaguered Middle East and the migrant crisis. All of the propaganda will no doubt focus on  They will also discuss global economic development, including a $60 trillion infrastructure project that should worry environmentalists or anyone concerned with the climate. These funds will be channeled through multinational development banks. They will also discuss climate finance, and it remains to be seen whether this will actually be a meaningful discussion, or just a token gesture in comparison to their infrastructure development plans, which so far have not addressed sustainable, earth-friendly development at all.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia has rented out the Mardan Palace, an entire luxury hotel for $18 million for the Saudi delegation. The Chinese president will be accompanied by an entourage of government ministers, functionaries, and assistants. Brand new Canadian President Justin Trudeau of the Liberal Party will be in attendance. They will join world leaders from all G20 countries.

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US President Barack Obama arriving in Turkey for the two-day G20 Summit. (Photo: Reuters)

Meanwhile the “B20” Summit, a convergence of global corporate and business interests, with meet and schmooze with leaders. “L20 meetings” for labor groups, “W20” for women’s groups, “Y20” for youth-focused groups, “C20” for civil groups, and “T20” for think tanks has also occurred, though unlike the business interests, they do not have large joint sessions with the heads of state. As usual, pro-business groups have the coziest treatment at the G20. The world’s power-brokers are here in force.

A busy press room contains space for over 3,000 reporters. Over 10,000 additional security personnel are in the city. A local sports center has been fashioned into a jail with room for about 500 people, in case protesters need to be arrested.

The Türkiye Gençlik Birliği (Turkish Youth Party) will protest, starting today at 1:00 PM at Antalya Municipal Building in Kaleiçi, Antalya. A march will follow. The groups will be protesting on G20 issues, US imperialistic policies, capitalism and neoliberalism. The group is expected to demonstrate with colorful signs and banners, and say that they have a “surprise” planned for US President Obama.

The Öğrenci Kolektifleri (local student collectives) will protest today at 3:00 PM, at the “Occupy” park, Aydın Kanza Parkı, Antalya, Turkey. The work of these collectives covers a range of issues such as the migrant crisis, media censorship, capitalism, neoliberalism, gender equality, and imperialism. The collectives have recently marched with banners and torches. They are expected to engage in street theater tomorrow, and participate in marches.

With a detention center prepared for up to 500 protesters, we will see what occurs as the G20 protests get underway.

Where is the public, visible opposition? Resistance is just under the veil here in Turkey, when you scratch the surface.

“The G20 is more capitalism,” said one young man running an independent bookstore in Istanbul. He said that he opposed the organization because of its neoliberalist principles. Outside his bookstore was posted the phrase, “Work less, read more.”

A young man wearing a black leather jacket, hand-painted with anarchism symbols, told me that he “hated” the G20. “But, I have hope,” he said. The young man reported that he had been a protester at Occupy Gezi. After a clash with police, he had been accused of throwing Molotov cocktail explosives, and had spent six months in jail.

Filed under: activism, g20, g8/g20, global justice, international relations, media

police beatings and fran

On Sunday, I was hit with police batons on the head and side while shielding this woman, Fran, from police brutality during NATO summit protests in Chicago. News contains photos of “clashes” with police, but beating random antiwar protesters is an assault, not a “clash.” I was pushed away from Fran by police and she fell over as I was holding her up. (Her walker had been knocked away from her.) She fell and went to the hospital, but was out in the streets to protest Boeing with a new walker on Monday! We will not be silenced.

Filed under: activism, antiwar, police violence

we will always remember anastasio hernandez rojas

Anastasio Hernandez Rojas was tasered to death in May 2010 by authorities at an immigration checkpoint between two countries that people like to call Mexico and the United States. According to Counterpunch, Mr. Hernandez Rojas came to the US when he was a teenager and had lived here for 27 years. He was married with five children. In the heat of the economic crisis, he lost his construction job. He was caught shoplifting in May 2010, and was deported. When he tried to re-enter the US to be with his family and community, he was brutally beaten and tasered. He died soon after.

This injustice is beyond words. The murderers go home to wives and children, while the family of Mr. Hernandez Rojas mourns, weeps, goes deeper into despair — the poverty of having no control over your own destiny, the oppression of being swept up in unseen forces of authority — and the sadness seeps into the next generation. This has happened to so many people swept up at the border, souls whose names we will never learn.

Borders are an inhumane design. Before borders, the earth was free and open to the migration of all. That is how humans came to live everywhere. Now, borders claim territory and create laws and systems of oppression so that the rich, corporate elite pulling the strings can siphon work and wealth from the rest of us. The wealthy manipulators build walls to increase the hate. They develop systems that broker and limit our interaction, to keep other human beings an arm’s length away, on the other side of a wall or, better yet, a locked door. Then they develop systems to control our hate, and pit human against human for their benefit.

This is not how real human beings are supposed to live.

Filed under: activism, global justice, immigrant rights, indigenous rights

churches and social services: things to remember this Thanksgiving

Churches and places of faith used to offer programs that fed the poor, took care of needy children and the elderly, and healed the sick. But as people have become less religious, these programs have closed their doors one by one, leaving the needy with government programs to rely on.

There is a myth that America became great solely through rugged individualists who never had help from anyone. But I don’t think this is true. Pilgrims like the ones we remember on Thanksgiving cared for each other and shared their common wealth. Religious programs were there for our forefathers and all generations of Americans to pull them through hardships. They provided a way for everyone to share the common bounty, including a way for wealthy Americans to donate their bucks to help those in need.

Now that churchgoers have disappeared one by one, and now that places of faith have stepped out of the center of public life, we especially need to protect the government programs that provide services to people in need. These programs are now in Republican lawmakers’ crosshairs as they seek to cut social programs — while they continue to allow wealthy Americans to avoid paying their fair share in taxes.

This Thanksgiving, as Americans everywhere sit down to share a common bounty of turkey, stuffing, and good cheer, I am going to be thankful for social programs offered by places of faith and by our government. These programs were there for us when we needed them, and helped America become the country that it is.

Filed under: activism

hey US government, are you serious about promoting US jobs?

If the presidential administration really cared about US jobs, why would they be pushing free trade agreements like the proposed Korea FTA, allowing corporations to close up shop and move to countries where they can more readily exploit the labor force (like these South Korean women in a textile factory)?

Speaking to the worst of the worst capitalist business tycoons yesterday, President Obama tried to appeal to a sense of patriotism among business leaders, telling the Chamber of Commerce to promote American jobs.

But if the presidential administration is serious about increasing US exports, why would they be trying to ram through free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia? In December Obama urged Congress to promote the Korea agreement, saying it was a “landmark trade deal.” Hearings on these agreements were pushed up on the Congressional calendar and took place in January.

These free trade agreements kill US jobs. They only give US corporations easy access to exploited workers (which they call “cheap labor”) in other countries, allowing corporations to close their US factories faster than you can say “sweat shop.”

Obama told the Chamber of Commerce yesterday that:

How do we make sure that everybody’s got a stake in trade, everybody’s got a stake in increasing exports, everybody’s got a stake in rising productivity? Because ordinary folks end up seeing their standards of living rise as well. That’s always been the American promise.

Later in his speech he alluded to growing the manufacturing sector, telling success stories of US-based corporations like GM and Whirlpool opening new factories in the US.

If the presidential administration is taking a stance in support of increasing our manufacturing sector and therefore our exports, why would they be pushing for US job loss through free trade agreements (FTAs) – with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia?

A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that, if we were to implement the Korea FTA, we would actually lose 159,000 jobs in the US within the first seven years. Not exactly very patriotic, then, to promote trade with Korea.

As testified by Global Trade Watch in a hearing on Capitol Hill this past January, Ambassador Kharan Bhatia stated in October 2006 that it was a “myth” that “the US will get the bulk of the benefits of the FTA.” He further stated that:

If history is any judge, it may well not turn out to be true that the US will get the bulk of the benefits, if measured by increased exports… the history of our FTAs is that bilateral trade surpluses of our trading partners go up.”

Even the official US government numbers don’t add up to increased jobs through these free trade agreements. In a report released September 2007, the US International Trade Commission projected that we will run a trade deficit for all goods from textiles to iron ore, from cars to computers. It showed a deficit of between $308 million and $416 million. That’s bad news for workers in the US.

And furthermore, US job loss is just common sense. South Koreans can make everything on the cheap thanks to their low currency. If we care about US jobs, why promote free trade agreements?

Filed under: activism, consumerism, global justice, human welfare, immigrant rights, indigenous rights, international relations, thoughts and philosophies

each word a stone to throw

A poem by Lacy MacAuley

Eliminating laws, opening trade, deregulating the market
has put us in a prison.

Cold austerity, chilling strictures
have ignited us and caused the streets to burn.

The largest sums of money paid by the hugest banks
have only caused more poverty.

The neoliberal world
is one in which the most basic sense is backwards, upside down.
It is as false as a mirror,
turning backwards all that is trusted, reversing that which is true.
A glass world of pomp and doublespeak.

And who is to say that a single strategic brick – red and sure as the hand on the drum, as the red human blood pumping through my raised fist, as red as the veins of the earth scratched raw by their bulldozers – who is to say that a single strategic brick could not bring down this house of mirrors? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, antiwar, climate justice, environmentalism, immigrant rights, lacy's life, poems, thoughts and philosophies

uruguay’s free trade woes: free people, not trade!

"For many the pictures we're showing are aggressive. The truth is is what is aggressive is what's inside" the cigarette package, said Walter Abascal, program head for Uruguay's anti-tobacco program. Abascal spoke to Al-Jazeera reporter Teresa Bo (pictured left).

“Free trade” at work. Uruguay passes legislation to discourage smoking. So multinational corporation Philip Morris presses charges against them under a free trade agreement, saying Uruguay’s health-oriented laws are hurting their business. Ugh.

Uruguay’s anti-tobacco legislation requires cigarette companies to cover 80 percent of their packaging with pictures of the effects of smoking. This results in cigarette boxes with unsightly images of yellow teeth, underweight babies on life support, throat cancer victims with open tracheas, and more. The legislation also prohibits smoking in public places.

“For many the pictures we’re showing are aggressive. The truth is is what is aggressive is what’s inside” the cigarette package, said Walter Abascal, program head for Uruguay’s anti-tobacco program, speaking to Al-Jazeera reporter Teresa Bo.

Philip Morris is pressing charges against the tiny Latin American nation on the grounds that the legislation is hurting its profits in Uruguay. The multinational tobacco corporation intends to press charges under a clause of the free trade agreement between Uruguay and Switzerland, where the corporation’s operational headquarters are located. On these grounds, the corporation might actually win in international courts, forcing Uruguay to reverse legislation.

Free trade agreements violate a country’s right to self-governance. Governments don’t often express the will of the people, but it’s still better to have a government making decisions than a freaking corporation. A tiny country like Uruguay shouldn’t have to defend its legitimate legislation enacted by its democratic government on the grounds that some corporation’s profit margin is threatened.

Every free trade agreement is nothing but a weapon of domination, enabling the wealthy corporate aristocracy to tighten the grip that they have on our necks. Free people, not trade.

Filed under: activism, consumerism, global justice, human welfare, international relations

judy bonds: “fight harder”

Judy Bonds (center) was a fearless keeper of the mountains. I snapped this photo with fellow activists at Mountain Justice Spring Break 2010.

The fearless Judy Bonds, keeper of the mountains, passed yesterday.

I remember first meeting Judy way back in 2004, when I was a brand new activist accompanying a friend to the Heartwood forest conservation conference. With others from her team at Coal River Mountain Watch, Judy talked to me about coal mining in Appalachia, the harmful practice of mountaintop removal coal mining and what it was doing to the communities and the ecosystems of the region. As we stood under a pine tree on the conference grounds, she spoke about the destruction she saw in her own holler. I remember being astounded that industry could erase a whole mountain from the surface of the planet, mountains that had taken hundreds of millions of years to form. From that moment on I have been convinced of the urgent need to save the mountains from the coal companies.

In that conference of environmentalists six years ago, few had heard of mountaintop removal coal mining. But there was Judy, alerting people to the destructive coal mining in Appalachia. From the very beginning, Judy was there, igniting the movement to save the mountains.

She was a truly inspiring activist and organizer, a coal miner’s daughter who loved the mountains around her and did not want to see them sacrificed for greed. Her mountains were an inheritance for her grandchildren. Like all true crusaders, Judy would not want us to do anything but work harder to save the mountains.

Vernon Haltom, fellow mountain justice activist, said it best: “While we grieve, let’s remember what she said, ‘Fight harder.'”

Instead of mourning, I am taking this moment to renew my commitment to working to save the earth.

Filed under: activism, climate justice, environmentalism, lacy's life

red moon solstice ~ it’s been quite a year

From the streets of Wall Street, to the mountains of Appalachia, from New Orleans to Pittsburgh to Toronto, the moon has borne witness to an incredible year for me. As I watched this celestial body emerge from the eclipse on a red moon solstice, I saw myself entering a new phase.

I marked the red moon solstice from the top of a snowy mountaintop on the Appalachian Trail, bundled in blankets with three fellow adventurers. As the moon went from a silvery white orb, then passing into the accidental shadow of the earth, growing to the full red of a hawk’s eye, I saw the moon as a grandmother. She watches over the small comings and goings of all of us, from the great deeds we do to the moments we’re not as proud of.

The moon has borne witness to an incredible year for me.

January found me emceeing a rally in the cold streets of New York, just off of Wall Street, calling for a fair, effective carbon tax policy, shoulder to shoulder with the renowned climate scientist James Hansen.

In February I was giving voice to Egyptian workers, rising up against unfair working conditions and a global economy that has left them on the receiving end of unfair trade policy and crippling external debt to institutions like the IMF.

In the early March I was in the mountains of rural Appalachia offering media relations workshops at the movement-building Mountain Justice Spring Break to save the mountains from the harmful practice of mountaintop removal coal mining. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, human welfare, lacy's life, media, thoughts and philosophies

really really free market rocks the free world

Everyone found something to call theirs at the Really Really Free Market. Brian and Nicole display Brian's fabulous new-to-him powder blue blazer.

A statuette of Brahms. A purple leisure suit. A stylish Mariela folding bicycle. An oversized brasier. A silky powder blue blazer. Bike tires. An adventuring backpack. All of these things traded hands at last night’s Really Really Free Market without any money whatsoever, and many people got holiday gifts without ever having to look at a shopping mall.

“The holidays are a time when everyone is confronted with the ugly face of consumer capitalism,” said Drew Sherlock, one of the event’s organizers. “But people don’t see an alternative to the long lines and stampedes. We are providing that alternative with the free sharing of goods that can be used as gifts. No money, no barter, no trade – just our community taking care of each other.”

Radical carols sung had titles such as "The Twelve Days of Shopping."

Voices were raised in radical carols led by James Ploeser, a local organizer who had just returned from the Cancun climate summit. The twisted carols had titles such as “God Bless You Very Wealthy Men” and “The Twelve Days of Shopping,” with lyrics that called into question consumerism and capitalism.

Several pizzas were dropped off by an anonymous donor at some point in the night, joining candy and cookies. A classic folding Mariela bicycle was brought home by a local bike mechanic, and a Peugot beauty with a cracked derailer was brought home by a bike-loving activist. Books and bike parts, skirts and shirts, toasters and trinkets, cosmetics and cookbooks, dishes and dancing shoes, jackets and jangles all changed hands in a non-monetized atmosphere of open sharing. And the price couldn’t have been better.

Smiles abounded, and the question on everyone’s mind as they were leaving was, “When can we do this again?”

Friends showing off their Really Really Free Market booty!

Filed under: activism, consumerism, environmentalism, lacy's life, Washington DC

hey DC Council, tax the rich, don’t cut from the poor!

“No tax breaks for corporations! Tax the rich, don’t cut from the poor!”

This was my message upon disrupting Tuesday’s budget vote at the Washington DC Council (as shown in the video). As US Congress discussed their own tax cuts to the rich, Empower DC and other Washington DC advocacy organizations were calling for a one percent tax increase to the city’s rich, especially millionaires, rather than cutting vital social services to low-income Washingtonians.

Adams Morgan ANC Commissioner Chris Otten and I disrupted the vote by standing in front of Vince Gray, the Council chair, holding up a banner and saying our piece. Other brave activists stood up as well and stated their objections to the proposed cuts. Our disruption was noted in the Washington Post blog, as well as other local news outlets.

The DC Council wants to slash the budget for important services such as assistance for grandparents taking care of their grandchildren (there are many in this city), food subsidies for mothers taking care of their children, and valuable job training for residents. And this at a time when the city’s unemployment rate is nigh on 20%. A “millionaire’s tax” would raise enough revenue to pay for all of these services, but the DC Council is unwilling to tap this potentially vast source of revenue.

Filed under: activism, lacy's life, media, Washington DC

anti-fracking social hour generates electric crackle

Pittsburgh says "No Fracking Way!" to dangerous and destructive hyrdo-fracking gas drilling.

Activists, artists, and community members gathered at the Shadow Lounge in Pittsburgh Tuesday night for an anti-fracking social hour hosted by the Shadbush Collective, to warm up and gear up for tomorrow’s protest of the harmful process of hydro-fracking. The crowd enjoyed a meal together and heard from Loretta Weir, Lincoln Place resident and supporter of the ban on hydro-fracking within Pittsburgh city limits, on why all Pittsburgh residents should oppose drilling within city limits by attending a public hearing on November 4th and other actions.

As the crowd gathered and discussed plans for tomorrow, an electric crackle rose from the crowd to shout “NO FRACKING WAY!” to destructive gas drilling in Pennsylvania or Appalachia. Tomorrow they will be joined by thousands in the streets of Pittsburgh.

“It’s not just tomorrow, it’s about the emergence of a grassroots movement about it,” said Mel Packer, one of the organizers of tomorrow’s activities, who was present at the social hour. “The anger is building. It’s building all across the city, all across the state. People are making the connections that they’re not about to let their futures get ruined by private profit.”

Later in the evening, the Shadow Lounge was transformed into an open mic night, and activists stayed to enjoy the music and share a bit of their own work. Anti-fracking activist Shannon Ayala, also an artist based in New York City, planned to share his music and poetry:

We were driving, through a fracking land,
We were searching, for a metal hand,
Pointing, into the wind
saying, when will we begin
Sickness, sickness, sickness in Pennsylvania
who brought on, who brought on the mania
Big black gold, big black gold under ya
Who has sold, who has sold Pennsylvania?
– Shannon Ayala, “Beyond Horizon”

Filed under: activism, environmentalism

horrible cop shoots a dog named Parrot

Parrot, who did not have a history of fighting, and was shot by a cop in Adams Morgan. Photo: Supplied by owner Aaron Block.

I live in a neighborhood in DC, Adams Morgan, where the police are out of hand. They push. They taunt. They remember faces (like mine) and harass as you’re going about your daily activities. About a block from my home, I witnessed them beating a young black man right in the thick of a crowd while people looked on and told them to stop. Once the beating had stopped, I asked the young man what had happened and he said that a white guy had inexplicably thrown a punch at him, and then the police pounced on him. (A moment after I spoke to the man a cop told me that I had to leave or be arrested myself.)

And now, the Adams Morgan police have shot and killed a dog simply for being a dog. The dog was owned by solar energy professional Aaron Block, who works one office over from mine. I had met the dog, whose name was Parrot, a friendly dog who had come frolicking through the office.

Yesterday, Parrot was kneeled on by a cop, then thrown twelve feet down into a concrete stairwell, then shot with the officer’s service weapon. This happened in the midst of a festival with thousands of people, our annual Adams Morgan Day festival, about a block away from where I live.

The frothing-at-the-mouth cop who shot and killed Parrot in the midst of thousands of festival-goers. Photo: Anibal Apunte.

Apparently Parrot, who is a two-year-old Shar-Pei mix, got into a fight with a poodle. Many people might assume that the larger dog started the fight, but I don’t. My grandmother had a tiny little caramel-colored poodle for many years that weighed about twelve pounds. By the end of its life, the poor little thing was halfway toothless, with a bark that sounded more like a snarling bunny. But that didn’t stop it from attacking any dog that threatened its poodley manhood. I have vivid memories of the little guy lunging unprovoked at a friend’s giant black labrador, teeth bared (what teeth he had left). The black lab sort of just stood up and walked away.

Yesterday, the scene didn’t end quite so gracefully. Why? The police were involved.

Candidate for DC Council Bryan Weaver said that the dog had been playing with his young kids about fifteen minutes earlier. I understand that. Parrot was a friendly dog without a bite history.

After the two dogs had begun to fight, Aaron jumped in and pulled Parrot away from the poodle. According to observers, the poodle walked away seemingly unhurt. Aaron was holding the dog and calming him, and the situation seemed resolved. Then a cop decided he wanted to fight the dog, too.

A cop knocked Aaron off of Parrot, then kneeled on Parrot and held his skin. I’ve been kneeled on like this by a cop too, and it is horribly painful. Parrot was growling, but he did not bite anyone, according to Aaron. Parrot was moving his legs to try and get up. What else did that horrible cop man think would happen? People can understand that they’re (sadly) not allowed to move a muscle when the police hurt you. But Parrot is a dog and doesn’t understand that just because some man puts on a fancy blue uniform, he is entitled to hurt people and animals. Those fancy blue uniforms are a hierarchical, human invention. Not understanding that it’s illegal to fight back when cops attack, Parrot didn’t just go limp. He was trying to get up. He was trying to get free. We can learn something from Parrot about just how inequitable and ridiculous our current law enforcement actually is, that we accept mistreatment from cops that animals will not endure.

The cop didn’t stop there. He picked up the dog and threw it over a banister and down into a stairwell. The frothing-at-the-mouth cop then drew his weapon. And he shot Parrot dead. As festival-goers looked on.

So, who is the out-of-control animal in this situation??? Not Parrot.

My heart goes out to Parrot, who died because of his good instincts to struggle against police oppression. He will be remembered, by me and the people who loved him.

Filed under: activism, copwatchdc, lacy's life, police violence

I’m a free woman! My G20 case was withdrawn!

Some wonderful news! My case was withdrawn yesterday!

I came all the way from Washington DC to Toronto, Canada, where I’m checking in from a cute little coffee shop on Queen Street, to face the charge of “Assault of a Police Officer.” I was hit with this ridiculously false charge after I was arrested during the G20 summit weekend, manhandled, thrown into the back of an unmarked van, beaten and strangled.

Yesterday, the case was withdrawn after I stood in front of the judge for 30 seconds, just long enough for the prosecutor to say that they have no interest in pursuing my case. I am now a free woman. Now I’ll be able to pursue charges against the real criminals – the Toronto Police, starting with Officer Kevin Antoine, Toronto Police, Division 52, Badge #7880, who was one of the men who attacked me. Wish me luck!

Filed under: activism, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, international relations, lacy's life, media

Toronto Star article on my G20 case withdrawal!

A photo of my G20 arrest in Toronto, as re-published today by the Toronto Star.

In an article in the Toronto Star today, Betsy Powell writes about my charges being dropped:

Photographs of Toronto police throwing activist Lacy MacAuley to the ground were among the most unforgettable images capturing G20 summit protests.

On Monday, the Crown withdrew a charge of assault peace officer laid against the Washington woman.

“I’m a free woman,” she announced via Twitter. “Of course it’s no surprise — what evidence could they possible have had?”

Overall, more than 300 accused facing charges from G20 protests attended court Monday. It was described as one of the largest mass court appearances ever seen in Toronto. Ministry of Attorney General officials said they could not estimate how many people processed at the Finch Ave. W. courthouse had their charges dropped.

She goes on to write:

“All the cases that were withdrawn or were diverted are an indication they had a lot of false charges on a lot of us to begin with,” MacAuley, 31, said last night.

MacAuley said she came to Toronto in June to participate in peaceful protests against the G20, an organization whose policies are “making life worse for most people.”

I’d like to note here that I came not only to participate in peaceful protests, but to amplify the voices of all of those opposing the G20 through doing media work!

She was walking in a protest march along Pape Ave. near a temporary detention centre when anti-riot police moved in and scooped her up.*

“I didn’t assault anyone,” she said. The Crown withdrew the charge Monday with no explanation. “It was over in 30 seconds.”

MacAuley said she still thinks Toronto is a “lovely city,” and said she was extremely grateful Toronto lawyer Greg Lafontaine had agreed to handle her case pro bono — although his services will not be required.

*Small correction here: At the point at which the police snatched me, I had actually been standing in the crowd at the peaceful rally outside the temporary G20 jail on Eastern Avenue, Toronto. The police ran in and snatched a young man standing near the front of the crowd. I went forward to photograph the arrest with my iPhone. Then I looked over to see police officers running to snatch me! The rest is history.

Filed under: activism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, international relations, lacy's life, media

G20 update: heading to Toronto to face charges!

A little update on my G20 court case. I’m headed to Toronto tomorrow evening to face the charge “Assault of a Police Officer.”

I am leaving late, late, after-the-witching-hour on Friday night, boarding a train that will rumble through New York City and then up through the hills and plains of rural Canada before rolling into Toronto. (Train travel is the most environmentally-friendly way to travel, and it’s a bit cheaper than airfare, since I’m not quite sure when I’ll be able to make it back.)

Monday is my “case discovery” proceeding. Basically, the Toronto police will present whatever evidence they could possibly drudge up (or falsify?) that I may have assaulted someone. Or the judge could simply dismiss the case, effectively telling the Toronto Police and their shoddy evidence to take a hike. Of course, I’m hoping the case gets promptly and summarily dismissed!

Filed under: activism, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, international relations, lacy's life, media

G20 violence against women press conference

I stand with all the women who have been subjected to the violence of the G20, both in Toronto and in all parts of the world. The violence that I experienced at the hands of the police is only a tiny piece of the violence experienced by women who ecosystems are destroyed, whose family members are taken, or whose communities are uprooted by the corrupt policies of the G20. I was thrown into the back of an unmarked van, punched, strangled, and manhandled. How much more suffering have other women incurred at the hands of the G20?

I contributed this video to a press conference happening today in Toronto to address the violence against women that occurred in Toronto during the G2o Summit.

Filed under: activism, antiwar, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, human welfare, international relations, lacy's life, media, thoughts and philosophies

the first G20, November 2008 in Washington DC

When the G20 came to my city, Washington DC, in November 2008, I helped to organize the people's response, marching to the World Bank building, near where the meetings were held. People like me, we won't stop voicing our opposition. We will overpower and deconstruct the G20's illegitimate authority.

The first G20 Summit was held in November 2008 in Washington DC, called by George W. Bush as a “response” to the global economic crisis (instead of the G8). I assisted in organizing the protests to the G20 in Washington DC, opposed to the idea that nineteen men and one woman could make earth-shaking decisions for the rest of us behind closed doors, without any public involvement at all. During that summit, the G20 would institutionalize some of the most harmful policies that they wield: bailouts for banks and corporations, and increased funding for corrupt development banks like the IMF.

The corrupt policies of the G20 have only worsened, and continue to harm people, especially workers and the poor in the United States and other rich countries, and pretty much everyone in poor countries. I intend to keep opposing these policies, and I know that I will be joined by brothers and sisters in my movement. Our voices will thunder together into a storm that will deconstruct the illegitimate authority of the G20.

Filed under: activism, antiwar, climate justice, consumerism, environmentalism, g20, g8/g20, global justice, human welfare, immigrant rights, indigenous rights, international relations, lacy's life

Lacy MacAuley ~ International Relations ~ Radical Dreamer ~ Justice Lover ~ Thought Dancer ~ Heart Writer ~ Divine Dakini ~ based in Washington DC

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Building a better world starts with just raising your voice.

If you stand for something, then stand up. Join us. You are part of the solution. lacymacauley@gmail.com