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News :: Civil & Human Rights : Globalization & Capitalism

Happy Holidays... to Everyone

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While families get together to celebrate the holidays this season, and corporations smile at their record profits, many Santa Cruzans won't be seeing any gifts, food, or even a warm place to sleep.

In this 'season of giving' (so are all other seasons, times for 'not giving'?), iPods, XBoxes, jewelry and golf clubs, find their way under trees (dead or petrolium-based plastic) or next to the latkes or candle stick holders. Yet, although everything made in overseas sweatshops are brought into the home, our own homeless population remain mostly-forgotten on the street.

The whole year is a 'season of giving' for capitalism.

Happy Holidays.
 

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News :: Arts & Culture : Education & Youth : Resistance & Tactics

Last Night Critical Needs

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There is a lot that still needs to be done for the Last Night Santa Cruz DIY Parade and Celebration. A quick list of critical Last Night needs:

1) Art & Revolution's Giant Puppets needs fifteen people to operate them. 2) The Trash Orchestra has more instruments than people to play them. We need ten more trash orchestra players (no previous percussion marching band experience necessary). 3) We need your help along with a half dozen people making Last Night banners. 4) We need a dozen people in the parade's Sweeping Tail to clean up after the parade. 5) We need two experienced people to serve as police liaison. 6) We need an experienced group for safety and security. 7) We need lawyers and legal support. 8) If you are an experienced videographer, we need you to document the parade. 9) We need still photographers to document the parade.

Check out this list of 7 ways you can get involved.

What Is This?

As opposed to the city sponsored First Night, Last Night is a decentralized, collective, spontaneous, open, public New Year's Eve celebration.

DIY stands for do-it-yourself. And that is what we are doing. A little bit of planning, a little bit of work, some getting together. This is our celebration that you and I make happen. This is not a paid gig, not something organized or well-planned. It's a people's event. We are doing this just for the love of it.

The latin root of the word amateur means to love (as in te amo or mi amor). So an amateur is one who does something for the love of it. And in that sense, we are all amateurs here. Let downtown be filled with music and dancing as we ring in the new year!

see also: Last Night Peace Walk || Call for CRITICAL MASS style bike ride in the Last Night Santa Cruz DIY Parade
 

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News :: Education & Youth : Government & Elections : Peace & War : Police State

Students Denounce Pentagon Surveillance of Counter-Recruitment Activities

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SANTA CRUZ, CA – According to a document obtained by NBC News, the Pentagon has been spying on 1,500 “suspicious incidents,? including anti-war and counter-recruitment meetings and actions throughout the nation over the past 10-month period. Among the first pages of more than 400 released, 10 college anti-war protests were listed, including UC Santa Cruz Students Against War (SAW)’s counter-recruitment protest of April 5, 2005, which was the only one to be labeled both credible and a “threat.?

Despite having dealt with both undercover police and university agents involved in the acts of surveillance and repression, the news came as a little shock to many SAW members, reaffirming long-held beliefs about the nature of the U.S. military. 3rd year student Jen Low noted the hypocrisy of the government’s messaging, reminding us that, "the notion of the Pentagon spying on peaceful protesters is a major threat to the freedoms that they claim to protect."

While the Department of Defense has not commented on the allegations, student activists assert that the rising unpopularity of the Iraq War and the inability of military recruiters to meet their quotas make the counter-recruitment movement a strong candidate for repression by a “homeland security? apparatus run amok.

[ Original MSNBC story ] [ DoD Database of domestic 'threats' (.pdf) ]

Audio: Rockin' the Boat: DoD Spying on Counter-Recruitment Organizers

see also: Pentagon spying at UCSC: Standards for our Country, Standards for Ourselves

from Pittsburgh IMC: POG returns to Oakland Recruiting Station

previous coverage: Wanted - information about under-cop || Rally, Queer Kiss-in Greet Military Recruiters at UCSC || UCSC Students Kick Military Recruiters Off Campus
 

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Commentary :: Peace & War

A People's History of UC Weapons Lab Management

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Over the past several decades students and faculty of the University of California, often in tandem with nuclear disarmament NGOs in California and New Mexico, have conducted a series of campaigns to end the UC's involvement in nuclear weapons research, design, testing, and production at the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore laboratories. These campaigns represent an important contribution to the global nuclear abolition movement, which historian Lawrence Wittner has described as "the largest, most dynamic international citizens' movement of modern times."

A new, comprehensive resource for information on the University of California's role in the design, research, testing, and production -- every nuclear weapon in the US arsenal was designed by a UC employee! -- is now online. The Web site, ucnuclearfree.org, is intended to give students, faculty, staff, and community members a clearinghouse of information to strengthen their efforts in trying to sever university involvement in the production and maintenance of weapons of mass destruction.

The issue of UC weapons lab management has become especially timely in recent months. Within the next two weeks, the Department of Energy is expected to select a new contractor to "manage" the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), the legendary facility responsible for 80 percent of the nuclear weapons designs in the US arsenal. Once managed exclusively by the University of California, the LANL management contract was put up for a competitive bid this past May.

Two conglomerates are vying for the contract, one led by the University of California and Bechtel Corporation; the other, by the University of Texas and Lockheed Martin.

The other weapons lab managed by the UC, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, will remain under the UC's auspices until at least 2007.

[ A People's History of UC Weapons Lab Mangement ]

see also: DeNuke UC! -- UCSC Students Rally Against Bechtel and Nuclear Proliferation
 

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News :: Alternative Media : Poverty & Urban Development

O2 Dispatches From New Orleans

Oxygen Collective Arrives in New Orleans

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12/8/05 - After a long trek across the country, covering 2600 miles in three days, the Oxygen Collective bus finally arrived in New Orleans on Wednesday. We made our way to the Common Ground Media Center, where we connected with our dear friend Kerul who has been hard at work here for over 2 months. From there, we took a short tour of the heavily damaged 9th Ward. It is hard to describe what we are witnessing. After more than 3 months since the storms hit, it is shocking to see the state of this neighborhood. Trash and debris are piled everywhere. There is no electricity on most streets. With residents discouraged from returning home by military blockades, curfews, and the perception that everything is destroyed, It feels a ghost town.

We made our way to our home for now, at the Common Ground Collective 9th Ward Community Center. This space is one of many operated by Common Ground across New Orleans. Less than 2 weeks ago, the Community Center was a flood damaged church center filled with black mold. Now it is an ever evolving Community Center housing and feeded the volunteers who have come to New Orleans to help out.

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12/10/05 - I am in a surreal and deeply inspiring hell- New Orleans is a post apocalyptic wonderland where utter devastation is everywhere and all relationships of culture, race, society and politics are richly counter-intuitive, nuanced and have gone from backward before to upsidedown now. I am floored. No account of what is occurring here can be given without a brief review of the stunning reality on the ground. The scale and scope of the destruction is really not possible to grasp if you have not driven the streets here. There are over a hundred thousand cars that will never drive again that have yet to be moved- they are in all manner of disarray- on curbs, upside down, in front lawns and perhaps most eerily- parked right where they were left when their drivers suddenly fled more than 3 months ago. There are currently 1.3 million households from the Gulf Coast still residing elsewhere. Bodies are still found every day. Vast areas sit festering, powerlines strewn across streets, trees sliced right through houses, two story homes crushed to the height of their front door. Tens of thousands of homes are filled with rotting furniture, warped floors and swollen drywall.

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12/12/05 - I just wrote yesterday but each day here feels like a week of life experience. Today we joined with the People's Hurricane Relief Network, Common Ground and a number of black power groups for a march on City Hall- or what's left of it anyway. We gathered first in Congo Square- a park with ancient live oaks who were already mature trees when slavery was in effect here and this was the only place in the city where slaves were allowed to gather freely and play their drums. Today, a rocking drum circle like none I've ever seen accompanied a vibrant consortium of black leaders as they gave stirring speeches to a crowd that reached thousands by the time we took the streets towards City Hall.

The march was in support of the Right to Return of the scattered residents of New Orleans, who are overwhelmingly poor and black and who are soon to be kicked out of the temporary housing FEMA has thus far provided. It is clear that were this California destroyed by an earthquake, or New York by another 9-11, there would be no protracted debate about whether or not to rebuild, it would just be done and it would be done quickly with massive federal aid. The cost of a day of war in Iraq would be enough to retrofit all New Orleans levees to withstand a category 5 storm. The people of this richly historic city are rightfully outraged and today they raised strong and eloquent voice to their demands for equality.
 

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News :: Civil & Human Rights : Poverty & Urban Development

Sprouts: Katrina's Immediate Aftermath

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This week's Sprouts is a documentary on the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Ten days after the storm, Vinny Lombardo, a radio producer from Santa Cruz, CA travelled to Houston, TX, and New Orleans, LA to speak with Katrina survivors displaced by the hurricane.

Audio: Download the mp3 (29:10 minutes / 26.7 MB)

Surely, this isn't a complete picture of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, only a glimpse at a moment in time, after the flood.

see also: Audio, Photos and Written Reports from Houston and New Orleans
 

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Announcement :: Civil & Human Rights : Peace & War : Police State

Support Students Racially Profiled and Brutally Arrested at Campus Anti-War Protest!

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Last month CODEPINK, South Bay Mobilization, ANSWER, De Anza College students, faculty and others participated in a three day protest against former Secretary of State Colin Powell at De Anza College Flint Center in Cupertino. On November 11, 2005, eight students were arrested at the event; one student was arrested inside the hall for disrupting Powell's speech. The seven youth arrested outside were all youth of color. They were singled out and brutally arrested though they had not broken any law. Santa Clara County Sheriffs claim two of the students committed felonies though there were numerous witnesses who have stated the law enforcements claims are false.

The arrests seem to have been motivated by religious and racial profiling as six were visibly dressed Muslim students and one was an African American graduate student. A police officer present at the protest interviewed by a reporter said, "Many officers associate such garb to terrorists because of the training videos they see in which 'terrorists prepare themselves for Jihad and martyrdom.'"

The arrestees from the protest against Colin Powell, who have come to be known as the De Anza 8, their lawyer, and community groups will hold a press conference on December 12 at 5:00pm outside the Office of Human Relations of Santa Clara County located at 1880 Prunridge in Santa Clara (map) protesting the racial profiling that occurred on November 11, 2005. They are demanding that the charges against the De Anza 8 be dropped. Over 1,500 letters have been delivered to Santa Clara County District Attorney George Kennedy demanding that the charges against the youth be dropped. (Send an on-line message via ANSWER)

More coverage and information on how you can help: Students Arrested at Powell Protest Accuse Police of Targetting Muslims || South Bay Mobilization || American Arab Anti Discrimination Committee - San Francisco || Colin Powell De Anza College Resistance Blog

[ Update on the De Anza 8 ]
 

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Announcement :: Arts & Culture : Resistance & Tactics

What are you doing New Year's?

Want to join this year's New Year's Eve Parade in Santa Cruz?

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There's no First Night this year, so we're going to do it ourselves. It's our parade. It's your parade. No city-sponsorship. No corporate donors. We make it happen together. We're calling it

THE LAST NIGHT SANTA CRUZ DIY PARADE
(diy stands for do-it-yourself)

Let's get a group together. Start a marching band. Build puppets. Get our bicycle friends together. Form a dancing troupe. Organize our kid's play group. Anything and everything!

Committed so far: Art & Revolution, Village Drumming Circles, The Opera Lady, the Santa Cruz Trash Orchestra, the Man in Black, firedancers, stilt walkers, Peace Walk, Santa Cruz Moontribe, puppets, bunnies, clowns, and bike kids. (We'd still like to see Samba bands, marching bands, more music, political groups, a coalition of homeless folks, art cars, zombies, pirates, more kids and parents, and more more of everything in our community)

MEET AT 5PM NEW YEAR'S EVE - SATURN CAFE LOT

Un-organizing meeting: 17 Dec, 742 N. Branciforte Ave
Website: http://www.lastnightdiy.org
Tribe Discussion: http://tribes.tribe.net/lastnightdiy
 

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News :: Animal Rights

FRSC: The Day of the Bat 2005

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On September 12th 2005 The California Bat Conservation Fund held The Day of the Bat at the Louden Nelson Center an informational event disspelling the myths of Earth's most unusual benifical mammal.

Each year, the California Bat Conservation Fund visits hundreds of schools, libraries, museums, and community centers to teach approximately 40,000 children, and their teachers and care givers, the truth about bats and their benefits to the human population. The Presentation consisted of a short lecture, accompanied by a slide show. Best of all, the Fund's educators are accompanied by a variety of live bats that can be seen and enjoyed up close. The four hour event was a hit with kids and adults alike opening the eyes and minds creating respect and educating people about this trully incredible and most needed animal.

I spoke with Melinda Alvarado of the San Luis Obisbo CBCF as she showed a Mexican Free tail Bat named Robert.

Audio: Download the mp3 (9:52 minutes / 9.1 MB)

[ Native Animal Rescue of Santa Cruz County || California Bat Conservation Fund || Bat Conservation International ]
 

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Announcement :: Education & Youth

PVUSD Board Trying to Take From the Teachers: Again!

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School Board renigging on promised salary negotiations after two years of cuts. Support the educators and the kids they teach on Wednesday, December 7th at 7pm during the PVUSD Board meeting at the District Office.

When I became a teacher I thought this was a respectable job that was highly regarded by society. When I told people of my profession the response was always positive. "Wow, that's so noble." "You must be a special person." "We need more people like you." So of course I thought I must be a valuable member of society. But in the first several years of teaching I learned a few things that don't make me feel so important anymore.

1. I will never be able to afford a house.
2. I will most likely be living paycheck to paycheck for a long time.
3. It will be a very long time before I can support another person on my salary.
4. I have to pay for more schooling than I can afford in a very short amount of time to add onto the student loans that I can barely afford already on my salary.
5. I am a cog. I am not allowed to be the wheel in a public school setting.
6. Most of my classroom decisions are made for me by people who have not been in the classroom and have little understanding of what my kids need.
7. Too many years of this and I will need severe counseling to sleep well at night. It's not just papers I take home every night. The irony of it all is that I love my job and I wouldn't want any other. The other teachers at my school feel the same way despite the heavy adversity we face. Maybe we are masocists or just maybe we see the value in our students. We are the grunts of the school system. We are also highly abused by administration.

Carolyn Savino, president PVFT wrote: The above article and the accusation that the Board of Trustees has renigged on promises for a salary increase for teachers are not true and do not reflect the beliefs of the PVFT Executive Council nor the PVFT Negotiations Team. We have asked teachers to attend tonight's Board meeting to remind the Board that we have done well by the district in the tough years and it is now time for them to support the teachers in better times. This action is to call attention to Board members that negotiations are going on and that we need their support in order to be successful in those talks. Whoever put this information on this website along with a link to our website did so without the knowledge or permission of PVFT. We do not want to create anamosity with the Trustees when there is no reason to do so.

[ Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers ]
 

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