Lacy MacAuley

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a home for my pen, projects, and passions

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

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

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, , ,

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