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

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

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

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

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

opposing G20? we’ve only just begun

Leading a few chants at G20 protests in Toronto, "G8, G20. They are few. We are many!" We need to continue to stand up for what is right, and give a megaphone to those working to make the world a better place.

There have been a lot of people, especially my brothers and sisters in Toronto, who have come out of the experience of protesting the G20 feeling oppressed and hurt, like they’ve been broken by the experience. Here is what I have to say.

Brothers and sisters, we need to continue to stand up for what is right! Do not let them break your will. Our wills are stronger than their guns, their handcuffs, or their prisons! Theirs is an illegitimate source of authority. Our authority is born of love and joy, oneness and respect for each other and future generations. Our power is stronger.

The oppression that we have been subjected to is only a fraction of the oppression felt by indigenous people of the Amazon in Peru, who were attacked and shot at last year by government forces for blockading a road to prevent oil corporations from killing their forest, by traditional farmers in Papua New Guinea whose rivers are being killed, who get murdered for opposing the Barrick gold mining company – or the everyday oppression suffered by farmers everywhere who are told they must pay land tax, disrupting more traditional, community-centered food distribution means.

It is for them and for us that we must keep standing up for what is right.

As long as we are speaking out against their hyper-capitalist corporate globalization, they’ll try to silence us. Don’t let their intimidation tactics and their attempts at disempowerment work. We need to keep working, and keep giving a megaphone to those working for liberation, all of us!

I was one of the over 900 people assaulted by the police and/or treated inhumanely. Now I am back here in Washington and organizing to oppose corporate globalization. Despite the fact that Washington DC is arguably the most powerful city in the world, few of my brothers and sisters truly understand why we must oppose the G20 and its allies like the IMF, the World Bank, the US Department of Treasury, the US Federal Reserve, corporations, etc – and why we must resist the intangible ideals of monied wealth that poison our minds.

We cannot lose heart. The real struggle has only just begun… not to sound melodramatic (but I’m sure I do), but it is seriously a struggle not just for what kind of civilization we’re going to have, but whether the human species, and species like us, are even going to survive. We have to keep our small piece of the opposition strong, and keep deconstructing their authority, their invisible fists and hands of control, not just for those alive now, but for future generations.

This is only the beginning!

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

the story of my unjust arrest

This photo of me appeared in the New York Times on 06/27/2010.

I was thrown into an unmarked van, strangled, punched, and manhandled during my arrest.

The photos of my arrest during the Toronto G20 summit show a small blond lady with purple stockings getting thrown around by police as I was tossed head-first into an unmarked van. These photos have appeared on the front page of the Toronto Star, in the New York Times, and in other newspapers. Footage of the arrest has appeared on CNN and other news outlets such as CBC. My name is Lacy MacAuley, and this is the story of my arrest, including my being violently assaulted, strangled, and punched while riding into the police station in the back of the van.

I arrived at the site of the peaceful jail solidarity rally, just outside the Prisoner Processing Center (PCC) at about 11:30 AM, Sunday, June 27, with two friends from Washington DC, organizer Robby Diesu and Geoff Millard of Iraq Veterans Against the War. I smiled as we walked up to the rally: There under a breathtaking blue sky, a young man was strumming an electric bass and leading a musical chant, “So so so, solidarity!” People were smiling and cheering as two people were released from jail (I understand at least two were released before I arrived), and I used my iPhone to send messages to Twitter about the cheerful rally, with photos attached.

I had come to Toronto from Washington DC to protest the G20 by helping to write about and photograph events that question and deconstruct the G20’s authority. The G20 is a government superstructure with even more power than any individual country, which has been pursuing corrupt bailout policies for banks, corporations and the International Monetary Fund, while allowing citizens to starve. Its “open market” or “free trade” policies only help to concentrate wealth in fewer and fewer hands, and allow corporations to destroy the environment, subjugate civil liberties, and strip away a country’s national sovereignty. The G20 is bad for most of us on earth, not to mention our children and grandchildren. I have a BA in International Relations with a minor in World Development Studies, but it doesn’t take special expertise to realize that something is fundamentally wrong with a tiny cartel of wealthy leaders who are taking money from corporations for funding running the way our civilization is designed. It is all of our duty to resist oppression and make the world a better place. That’s why I was in Toronto, and I did not damage anyone or anything while there.

I was standing in the crowd about fifteen feet from the bass player when suddenly, with no warning and no provocation, police charged into the crowd and tackled a young man near the front. Some in the crowd at the rally began screaming and running backwards, while many remained calm and shouted to the police to let the young man go. I began taking photos with my iPhone of the violent arrest.

Then I looked up to see the police charging for me, closing in from only about seven feet away. I knew that to resist arrest would be a serious offense, thanks to years of training in nonviolence, so I did not resist. The police then tackled me and pushed me to the ground. I was able to put my left arm down to buffer my fall onto the pavement. Then one uniformed officer grabbed me around the waist, pulling me back to the dark blue side of the police line and throwing me face-down on the pavement. As he threw me my arms were being twisted behind my back. I was able to angle my right shoulder toward the pavement so that I did not hit the pavement with my face. Apparently my friend Robby was attempting to run forward through the crowd to perform a heroic act that would save me, but was being restrained by my friend Geoff, who feared that Robby would wind up arrested himself if he did anything.

As this was happening, I was shouting in a voice that was firm and loud but not frantic, “You have to let me go. Please, you have to let me go. I’ve done nothing wrong.” I had been focusing on holding onto my iPhone with a death grip because I knew that if I dropped it at this point, behind the police line, I might never see it again. Now, as I was laying face-down behind the line, my phone was aggressively pulled out of my hand. One officer kneeled on my head as another fumbled behind me with handcuffs. The officer was leaning hard with all his weight on the left side of my head as my right cheek was driven into the pavement. The pain was immense and overwhelming. I told him to take his knee off my head. A second officer on the other side was also kneeling on my back. Read the rest of this entry »

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

young indigenous leaders want struggle, and resistance, not appeasement

“We are being attacked. This is a direct war against our people,” said Ojistori:yo (Missy Elliott), a young indigenous community leader of the Six Nations, from the stage at the event “Confront the Invasion Night of Solidarity with the Mapuche Peoples and All Our Indigenous Nations in the Struggle for Indigenous Sovereignty!” Part of the resistance to the G8/G20, the event took place last night at the Steelworkers Hall in Toronto.

The night of solidarity ended well after midnight, with young indigenous leaders taking a brave stance on tactics to oppose the G8/G20 and defend their native land. The event included performances by artists such as Test & Logic, revolutionary hip-hop duo; Danny Beaton, traditional native flute player; and Mario Muñoz, Cuban pianist performing Trova folk music. A clip was shown from El Despojo, a film about the Mapuche people’s resistance to corporate corruption in Chile. As the event stretched well after midnight last night, discussions about the indigenous rights community grew passionate and loud.

Some male elders were "co-opting" traditional practices to push women to the sidelines, said some young indigenous community leaders.

In heartfelt tones, young indigenous leaders expressed that their elders had been too quick to accept pacification, and that they furthermore had been failing to show women in the indigenous community due respect. Speaking at a panel discussion that concluded the evening, the young leaders stated that some of their elders were “ego-tripping” from the posh treatment from police and other institutions that resulted from the from their embracing pacifist nonviolence, and that furthermore they were emphasizing pacifist nonviolence out of fear.

“Are we weak? Are we pansies?” asked Zig Zag (Gord Hill), an indigenous community leader, of the Kwakwaka’wakw nation and the author of “500 Years of Indigenous Resistance.” His questions evoked cheers and laughter from the crowd. “This fear is to control us and to subdue us! Their role is to pacify resistance!”

“We have to embrace different tactics, because our movements are diverse,” continued Zig Zag. These tactics, said Zig Zag, include disruptive tactics to fight for the land. The speaker passionately recalled the militant resistance that happened in Canada 20 years ago. Other tactics involve efforts toward indigenous autonomy and a return to traditional practices, as discussed by Miranda D of the Native Youth Movement, of the West Coast, Secwepemc Territory. “We’re taking actions to be self-sustaining,” said Miranda D, who discussed projects to build traditional houses, as well as fishing, hunting, and collecting native plants, presenting ways to oppose colonialism and the policies of the G8/G20.

“[The G8 and G20] have no absolutely no moral right to dictate policies on our land. This is our land!” said Sharon Sanchez, a young community leader of the Women’s Coordinating Committee Chile-Canada. Sanchez decried local indigenous elders who had told her that her banner, which depicted traditional symbols of indigenous resistance such as an arrow and the Mohawk Nation symbol, was too violent. (The banner design concept may be viewed here.)

“All these nations that are gathering are claiming jurisdiction over our people,” said Ojistori:yo. “That red in the Canadian flag? To me that represents the blood of my people.”

Sexism among male elders

Excessive sexism among male elders was pushing many female community leaders to the sidelines, the young indigenous community leaders agreed.

Lindsay Ganohshan Ohwe Bomberry, a young leader of the Onondaga Nation, Eel Clan, of the Six Nations, expressed concern that many male community leaders were suppressing women during the march earlier yesterday that wove its way through downtown Toronto, with men walking out in front and pushing women to the back and the sidelines. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, climate justice, environmentalism, g20, g8, g8/g20, global justice, human welfare, immigrant rights, indigenous rights, international relations, , ,

indigenous rights, not G20; a march through Toronto

Thousands marched today for indigenous rights through downtown Toronto as leaders arrived in the city.

Under the beat of drums born by indigenous people of Canada, several thousand protesters marched through downtown Toronto today, including about 500 indigenous community members, mostly from Canadian First Nations. The group marched to reclaim indigenous rights as the G20 prepares to meet in downtown Toronto, which land stolen from First Nations. Many had flags that bore the words “Native Rights are Human Rights,” and “Canada Can’t Hide Genocide.” One banner which required a hundred people to carry it bore the words, “Native Land Rights Now!”

One speaker at the opening rally was Lionel Lepine, of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

“We’re here to protect and defend Mother Earth, and right now she’s under attack violently,” said Lepine. “We must take action and make sure she doesn’t get attacked any more.”

We will fight for our communities and our grandchildren, Lionel Lepine told attendees at the opening rally.

Lepine is from what he calls “ground zero” in Alberta, Canada, on the western tip of Lake Athabasca. He says that if uranium mining companies and tar sands companies succeed in what they want to do, his community will perish.

According to the draft G20 resolution that was leaked to Greenpeace, the G20 intends to continue its s0-called “open market” economic liberalization policies that loosen legislation for corporations and other business entities while reducing the ability to act for indigenous communities.

“Open markets play a pivotal role in supporting growth and job creation,” touts the draft G20 resolution. But indigenous community leaders are not convinced.

Lepine says that it is “time to evict” the Canadian government, big oil corporations, the G8 and the G20 from indigenous lands. He says that their policies of economic liberalization and letting corporations trample indigenous communities with impunity needs to stop. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, climate justice, environmentalism, global justice, human welfare, immigrant rights, international relations, media

a Sunday stroll on an oily beach, joined by security guards

On Sunday, my last day in the Gulf area, I caught a ride with an environmental law student, Stephen, two hours outside of New Orleans to a beach where the oil had been making landfall at Grand Isle, Louisiana.

As we pulled up to the beach, we began to see handmade signs about the oil spill. One of the signs that wrenched my heart read, “BP, cannot fish or swim. How the hell are we suppose to feed our kids now?”

A heart-wrenching sign on the road as we drove out to Grand Isle, Louisiana.

We pull up to the beach and walk over. There is a strange chemical feel to the air, and it fills our lungs with a noxious sensation. The beach has a giant set of two orange rubber pipelines running side by side, about two feet in diameter. They look like giant sausages stretching on down the beach into the distance. We assume that they are there to provide a barrier to a potential oil slick that approaches the beach. We climb over the barrier to get closer to the water.

The water had a nasty oil sheen and an odd orange froth. Nothing in the frothy part was living.

We casually strolled a few minutes down the beach, and came to what is the largest oil blob that I had seen. And it looks even larger compared to me!

An especially huge oil blob, especially compared to me!

I’m not sure what it means exactly, but I also saw a tiny hermit crab that was crawling up out of the nastier water, sort of desperate-looking and inept, and another larger crab that was near to the toxins, that was not reacting normally to my movements towards it. This probably meant it was dying right there in the water.

A crab appeared to be dying near to the toxic water.

Finally we had had enough of the sadness and the heat. There was polluted water all around us. Here we were on a beach and we were scared to touch the water. Also, the giant orange pipelines running along the beach sort of ruined what could have been a picturesque stroll on the the beach. We were ready to get going.

We walked over to a wooden bridge that seemed to be designed for people to easily access the beach. We climbed it and hopped off of the other side, over the two pipelines. It was then that we were encountered by two sheriff’s officers, each with his own golf cart, steered by thick, reddened, trunk-like forearms. They rolled up and said, in a casual-yet-malevolent way that good ol’ Louisiana boys can effect with great skill, “Aw right. Y’all have to wait here for decon.”

A hermit crab (upper left) makes an escape from the toxins.

“Sorry? We have to wait here for what?” I asked, putting on my most polite cheshire grin. They may be Louisiana boys, but I’m a Washingtonian: I know it’s best to put on a politician smile.

They asked a few questions which betrayed just how confused the whole situation was. Turns out they weren’t exactly sure who they saw jumping over the pipelines. There was one other blonde woman near to the beach, but I wasn’t about to cause problems for her. I told them I was the one who had jumped the barrier.

“Y’all need to stay put and wait for decontamination. They need to clean your shoes and all. You crossed into the hot zone.” As the officer radioed for help, I glanced back at the wooden structure we had just used to get over the pipelines. There was yellow tape on part of it, but that said “Authorized Vehicles Only.” Were Stephen and I vehicles? Read the rest of this entry »

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

in New Orleans, they’re joking like mad at BP

How do New Orleanians deal with being mad as hell? They make jokes about it.

Cute T-shirt on Bourbon Street refers to foot-in-mouth Tony Hayward.

A sign in the Marigny keeps it simple: "BP SUX"

A Louisiana man proudly displays his purchase, near Jackson Square.

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

day 4, goose chase on the DC to New Orleans bus tour!

One of the boon workers on Orange Beach said he'd protest BP too if he could.

Well, we’ve driven hither and yon today to look for oil. We haven’t found anything more than a few oil blobs and some boon workers, on Orange Beach, Mississippi. The workers were on a crew that was putting up boons, the bright white ones lain on the beach alongside the dark ones that had soaked up oil. We didn’t actually see them handling any boons, though. It seemed we rolled up on them at lunch time. We told them we were protesting BP, and one of them said he might join us if he could.

Nearby there were oil blobs the size of a fist. There were also signs of cleanup crews, picking up the oil blobs with their hands encased in plastic gloves and placing the blobs in large clear plastic bags. None of the bags we saw being collected contained more than, say, a gallon-milk containers’ worth of blobs. I couldn’t help but notice how wasteful this was.

We spotted oil blobs the size of a fist.

We also noticed that the water was full, choc full, of tiny oil blobs about the size of a quarter, washing ashore. These blobs might be too small for human hands to preoccupy themselves with, but they were certainly large enough to matter to fish, crabs, and birds. Perhaps what the most glaring sign of this corrupted beach was what was absent: practically any sign of life, besides busy humans. And this was on a beach with heavy cleanup efforts.

As we went to leave Orange Beach, we encountered two men servicing some of the many porto-johns. “We do all the toilets around here,” said the slim one with the straw hat. “I’m telling y’all – you should go to Fort Morgan. It’s really bad there.”

The second man spoke up. “If they really want to see oil, they should go to the closed area. But they wouldn’t let them in.” Then he gestured to me, with a wide grubby grin, “She can go, I’ll just tell them she’s my girlfriend.” The man had a scruffy brown beard and a belly that reminded me of a sea cow, but that didn’t stop him from smiling wider and saying that he “was about to bust out his thong” to account for the heat. We all got a good laugh and (calling him “sugar,”) I told him that if he could get me onto a closed beach, sure I’d pretend to be his girlfriend. Then we all thought better of it and Flux and I departed to head to Fort Morgan. Read the rest of this entry »

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

day 3 of the DC to New Orleans bus tour!

Flux Rostrum protests at a BP gas station in Greenville, Alabama.

I am typing this log, looking over the edge of my laptop, past Flux Rostrum at the driver’s wheel, and looking down at the highway in front of me.  It is Monday, Day 3 of the Washington DC to New Orleans Mobile Broadcast News bus tour, protesting BP all along the way.

Today has been a journey. We started north of Atlanta, Georgia. Last night we were up late driving south, stopping at a BP station in Gastonia, North Carolina. It was closed, since it was so late. We figured we’d like to see more gas stations closed like this, or changed to wind and solar power facilities. Down the road, we stopped at Bastion, South Carolina, where we witnessed someone actually driving through the BP parking lot to go to another gas station across the street. We crossed the road to talk to the guy, and he said that he drove through because he was avoiding BP because they caused the oil spill that devastated the coast.

After waking up in Georgia, we stopped for a quick morning coffee, I wrote a blog rant about l and got on the road. With a massive 90-gallon tank full of vegetable oil, we weren’t expecting to have to stop for gas, unless it was to protest. BP is responsible for the oil disaster that is getting worse and worse in the Gulf. They need to pay reparations and be held accountable. I firmly believe that Tony Hayward should be put in jail.

Rolling the bus into a BP gas station.

Pulling into a gas station in Noonan, Georgia, we boldly pulled up into the BP parking lot. I walked up to the gas pumps, where several people were pumping gas, and asked folks to raise their hands if they wanted to hold BP accountable for the oil spill. With the demure of good Southern belles, they politely ignored this question. I pointed out that if they wanted to hold BP accountable, the best way would be to stop using fossil fuels. Not long after, a woman with shockingly blonde hair and a cordless telephone came out to us, waving the phone and telling us in a lovely Southern accent that she was “goin’ ta call 911.” We told her we had nothing against her or small businesses, just BP, and we scurried back into the bus and took off. Read the rest of this entry »

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

today protest bp in dc. tomorrow I’m off to New Orleans!

Today is Worldwide Protest BP Day. The point is to make sure that the oil company BP is held accountable for the oil disaster that is unfolding in the Gulf and threatening the Eastern seaboard. Please come out to the BP gas station at 5 PM, 14th & Euclid St NW, near the Columbia Heights metro station, to protest BP. Bring whatever sign or message you like – Arrest BP! Boycott BP! Save the Gulf!

Tomorrow I’m going to depart Washington DC for a trip to New Orleans, traveling with the Mobile Broadcast News team and protesting BP in every state in between here and New Orleans! We’ll be in a bus that runs on waste vegetable oil. Once we’re at the coast, we’ll be filming and talking to people who have been impacted by the oil disaster. In New Orleans, we’ll be assisting with communications to amplify the voices of those impacted by the disaster, those working to hold BP accountable, and many who feel that the oil disaster is a signal to move to clean, renewable energy, and place people and planet before profit.

Updates will be posted at www.mobilebroadcastnews.com/MBN. I’ll also be updating this blog, and of course my Facebook and Twitter (below).

If you’d like to help me kick off my trip to New Orleans, please come out at 5 PM today to protest BP!

You can read more about Worldwide Protest BP Day on the Facebook Page. There’s also a CNN article about it.

For more information about the independent news project, Mobile Broadcast News: www.mobilebroadcastnews.com. DONATIONS KEEP THE BUS RUNNING, and are always appreciated!

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

anarchist exercise video, gearing up to protest the IMF and World Bank

I was part of the filming yesterday of this cute anarchist exercise video. As the video implies, we’re gearing up for some protest fun and games!

April 23-25 is the Anticapitalathon in Washington DC, where anarchists, anti-capitalists, and global justice supporters will be conducting games and exercises, including a 5K Run on the Bank, capture the flag, and a procession of athletes in order to protest the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Behind the mirrored windows of the World Bank building, the IMF and World Bank will be having their twice-per-year “spring meetings,” during which they discuss and conspire their tactics for getting countries caught deep in debt. When countries can’t pay their debt to the World Bank, the IMF steps in to enact hyper-capitalist policies (in return for a loan bailout). Their policies drain the countries of wealth, destroy ecosytems, cause more climate change, and strip traditional communities of their ability to keep their ways of life. And they don’t even succeed at making more money for their debtor countries.

The World Bank and the IMF have steam-rolled over traditional communities and the ecosystems that sustained them. They’re a big, big reason that this crazy world is so messed up. And they’re trying to mess us up some more. They must be stopped.

Please come out to the Anticapitalathon. Throw a frisbee. Run on the Bank. Kick a soccer ball. Join us! You are part of the solution.

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

dreams of a health care social contract

During his health care reform ceremony earlier today at the White House, President Obama stated that the health care reform bill will “help lift a decades-long drag on our economy.” He also stated that the bill helped to create a “social network.” (I don’t think he meant Facebook or Myspace, I think he more meant “social contract.”) I wondered what the long view was that Obama saw. What is the terrain ahead?

Right now the US government pays out huge wads of cash for our military. This helps keep our production capacity high and keeps our economy afloat. If in the long run Obama wants to move toward real universal health care, and if in the long run he wanted to de-militarize our country, wouldn’t it be interesting if he were planning to shrink the government-funded military sector of our economy and grow the government-funded health care sector of our economy? It all comes out of the same bank account anyway, right?

This is the kind of stuff that I dream about.

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

shaky evidence of military providing real help in Haiti

News reports of the military in Haiti take it as a given that the military is helping in Haiti. But evidence that most soldiers are doing anything to directly help Haitians is very shaky. Most are just providing security. It takes a giant leap of faith to believe that US troops standing around Port-au-Prince, while people all around them are in need of water, food, medical help, and supplies, is “providing aide.” I’m not jumping.

This CBS news report, which features the 82nd airborne division giving water to Haitians, only shows a small number of water bottles, perhaps a few hundred. Only enough for a small number of people to take a drink, this is one example of the unconvincing emergency response by the US military.

There are over 10,000 soldiers in and around Haiti right now. With so many warm bodies, you’d think their relief efforts would be remarkable; instead they’re rather unconvincing.

There’s slim evidence such as this CBS report of the 82nd airborne division, which consists of 50 soldiers in Haiti, flying one helicopter out to deliver water and a bit of temporary medical assistance. The report begins with an exasperated-sounding reporter saying “water water everywhere, and finally it got to the people.” That was earlier this week.

The camera work shows only a few hundred bottles of water being distributed to Haitians. Not a tanker filling five-gallon jugs. Bottles.

And then there’s a Reuters report of the 82nd airborne providing food to “a few hundred” Haitians. It was their first time providing food to people. The report addresses what “lessons” the soldiers had learned from the experience. That was on Friday, ten full days after the earthquake hit, and it was their first time actually delivering food to actual Haitians.

The Carl Vinson provided some medical support. But a BBC reporter aboard the ship only reports on a few isolated cases of people who were helicoptered, one by one, to receive medical attention there. Several days after the earthquake, a Wall Street Journal reporters observed that only seven people were being treated on this ship. The Journal’s description criticizes the naval ship’s operations, quoting a naval doctor who said that he is ready serve thousands of injured people, rather than just seven people. But he has not been given orders to serve more people.

The USS Bataan, a ship that USS Carl Vinson personnel said had more extensive medical facilities than its own, arrived just this past Wednesday (a bit late?) and only took in 19 injured or sick people in its first day of operations.

The much-anticipated USNS Comfort was supposed to provide some meaningful medical support, arriving finally on Haiti’s shores this past Tuesday. By Friday, wrote a reporter in Port-au-Prince for Sphere, the USNS Comfort, the much-celebrated naval ship, had only treated “hundreds of the wounded and evacuated.”

By contrast, the same report also states that, “Hundreds of Haitians in Port-au-Prince have been treated for quake-related injuries at a field hospital set up by the University of Miami medical school.” They did so without guns or a big ship.

I’m not jumping at this bait. The US military purports to be one of the most efficient, best-organized forces in the world. If their real purpose for being in Haiti was to actually help Haitians, they would have done better than this.

Filed under: activism, global justice, human welfare, international relations, lacy's life, media, thoughts and philosophies

News Media Coverage of “Risk of Instability” in Haiti is Letting Politics Slow Aide

Over 10,000 US troops are in Haiti right now. That’s at least one US soldier for every 100 Haitians. If these soldiers were actually distributing food and water, every Haitian could be nourished. But the military didn’t send food and water. It sent soldiers.

After seven days, guards erect a Haitian flag in front of the crumbled presidential palace. US troops are in Haiti acting to protect the presidency from escaped political prisoners in the aftermath of the earthquake. This is the "risk of instability" that the Haitian government is really worried about. (Photo: Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times)

That’s because our US troops are not really on a humanitarian mission in Haiti. They are protecting the current US-friendly regime of Haitian President René Préval, and seeking to ensure that supporters of the twice-democratically-elected former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, pro-democracy political prisoners who were freed by the earthquake, do not bring Aristide to power again. That’s the real “risk of instability” that Préval is referring to in his speeches.

The news media is mostly allowing the presence of US troops in Haiti to go unquestioned, implying that gun-wielding soldiers are needed due to incidents of what they call “looting” or due to fighting over resources. But all accounts on the ground seem to indicate that Haitians have been overwhelmingly peaceful. The troops are really there to respond in case there is a pro-democracy political movement that could rattle the US-friendly presidency. The news media is harming Haiti by misrepresenting this security concern, and is allowing politics to get in the way of aide.

The safe streets of Port-au-Prince

“I’m living here in the neighborhood [in Port-au-Prince]… There is no security. The UN is not out. The US is not out. The Haitian police are not able to be out. But there’s also no insecurity… You can hear a pin drop in this city. It’s a peaceful place. There is no war. There is no crisis except the suffering that’s ongoing,” said Dr. Evan Lyon with Partners in Health, a physician working at the main hospital in Haiti who was interviewed by Democracy Now earlier this week. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, antiwar, global justice, human welfare, international relations, lacy's life, media, thoughts and philosophies

david pick up your hammer, a poem


David is a man
He does all he can
He’s a little bit worried about Pakistan
and he’s jumping at the bit to go and bomb Iran
Yes David is only human
Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: activism, antiwar, global justice, human welfare, poems

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