midwest

September 24-25: Resist the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh

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Coming off the protests against the Republican National Convention (RNC), I’m not sure entirely how I feel personally about organizing in response to the G20 in Pittsburgh, but I’m really heartened to see that some solid people are putting work into giving the G20 a rowdy midwestern welcome. After seeing folks take to the streets to oppose the G20 in April in London, hopefully those of us in the U.S. can take a similar approach.

September 24-25: Resist the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh

Join Thousands at a Convergence of Action, Resistance and Hope

Pittburghers didn’t ask the G20 to come here, but it is our intention that the worldview the summit represents will die here.

This September 24-25 Pittsburgh will host the next summit of the G20, a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from the world’s largest economies who meet twice yearly to discuss and coordinate the international financial system. Around 1,500 delegates, including heads of state, will be here along with more than 2,000 members of the media, and thousands of police and security agents tasked with squelching dissent.

This summit, and the predecessor meetings this past April in London, occurs on the heels of the worldwide financial meltdown that has been severely impacting hundreds of millions around the world. Since its inception, the G20 has been a tool used to promote a world vision based on the ability of capital to move as it pleases, at the expense of labor, human rights and the environment.

Now that the system these leaders have forced on the world is in crisis they continue to operate as if they have the answer. We know that they do not. To save countries, they propose we turn to institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an entity that has historically imposed murderous structural adjustment programs on the world’s poor.

G20 summits, alongside other meetings of institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an entity that has historically imposed murderous structural adjustment programs on the world’s poor.

G20 summits, alongside other meetings of institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF and the World Trade Organization, have rightfully been targeted by hundreds of thousands of people around the world because they represent a global vision based on war-making, social and economic injustice, and corporate greed. Pittsburgh will take its place alongside people around the world who have protested and resisted such gatherings in their hometowns.

Pittsburgh was chosen as the host city because of its history, and because the President is looking to buttress his working class credentials. It is true that our city has much to offer the world in terms of progress, we just happen to disagree with the politicians on what these words mean or what others should take from our experience. Pittsburgh has experienced 50 years of population loss and industrial decline as well as more than 150 years of industrial class conflict. We have gained an instinctual knowledge that you get what you are willing to fight for. We celebrate that worker and community self-organization has often succeeded where government, bosses and the supposedly enlightened have failed.

What has carried us through the tough times has been our relationships, the tight knit nature of our mostly non-corporate dominated neighborhoods, a do-it-yourself ethic, the unpretentious manner in which people treat each other, and a sense of local pride that isn’t based on salary or one’s place in some hierarchy. Pittsburgh never died, and the currently-in-vogue talk of “rebirth” measures success, growth, and progress in terms of the number of corporations based here, the multi-national profits, or the success of our politicians at going from Mayors to County Executives to Governors.

For our measuring stick, we look to whether or not all have the resources needed to lead and pursue rewarding lives, and if we are meeting community needs without the involvement of the state. We look to the health of our environment and the treatment of other living things, the equality of educational opportunities, the degree to which we lessen our participation in the exploitation of others, and how successful we are in moving towards a new kind of society in which you don’t have to fuck people over to survive.

And in these respects, our city is making progress. We find inspiration and common cause in the efforts of the multitude of other projects and initiatives that are transforming Pittsburgh into a more just and sustainable place to live, efforts that are in a conflictual relationship with state power, and will be joining resistance to the G20. And truly, if the G20 were about anything besides state power and money it would be these efforts that other countries would be coming here to discuss and look at, because there is much that we have to offer in creating a better world.

Pittsburgh is not without its problems, and there is much that needs to be addressed. During the summit and its lead-up little will be said about the troubling grip the UPMC medical industrial complex and others hold over the region, the chronic illnesses caused by the extremely high levels of particulate matter in our air, the troubling ethical questions posed by the warfare robotics that are being pioneered here, the police violence and acts of unaccountable brutality against the public, a stacked deck against labor organizing, a depressingly inadequate public transit system, and a political process marked by a lack of ethical accountability and transparency.

We should be clear then, we love our city, and in so far as we see the G20 as a threat to our collective health and well-being we intend to be an obstacle to its ability to function. This is an unavoidable decision given what the summit is, and what it represents. The presence of the G20 summit in Pittsburgh will be a major – if short-lived – disruption to the city and the people who work and live here, with or without protests. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has acknowledged as much, stating the summit will result in “chaos” due to security cordons, increased traffic, etc.

The government has already staked out its position: the needs of 20 politicians justify whatever disruption and cost to our city, and the responsibility felt by thousands to participate in resistance to the G20 and to articulate an alternate vision for society is more than unimportant, it’s a threat.

Based on past summits the media will play the state game by focusing on whether protesters will be able to disrupt the ability of the summit to meet, using ominous and sensationalist stories with unsubstantiated claims of evil outsiders come to wreck havoc on the good people, because these stories, even if refuted and later disproved, serve to justify attacks on the public’s liberties and dignity. This must not, and will not, deter resistance. The stakes are too high.

The real value of this summit, to its participants and those resisting it, is not in the substance of the “leaders'” discussions. Our power is not in whether or not we have the ability to prevent a bunch of finance ministers and heads of state from talking. The real importance is in the way an undisrupted ceremony reinforces the dominant worldview. If that view is flawed, it must be rejected, and the spotlight such a gathering creates must be one in which people will manifest liberating social conflict.

We therefore believe that the necessary attempts of thousands to interfere with the summit are not an ends in and of themselves, they are a critical part of the means we can use to achieve the victory we are collectively organizing for in September: to heighten existing social resistance, and to present an alternative narrative of why our world is the way it is. We must make it clear that the world need not be this way, and talk about our vision for a movement towards a new society based not on profit and coercion but rooted in meeting collective needs for both material comfort and the freedom to pursue fulfilling lives of opportunity and dignity.

In this effort we invite and encourage your participation!

In Struggle,

Pittsburgh Organizing Group

http://www.organizepittsburgh.org

If your group would like to endorse this call, let us know at pog@mutualaid.org

Religious Right Group Files Lawsuit Against Radical Queer Group over Church Disruption

Bash Back Protest

The rightwing Alliance Defense Fund has announced yesterday that has filed a lawsuit in federal court (Western District of Michigan) against activists who disrupted a church service in Lansing last Fall. The activists–part of a national queer/transgender network called Bash Back!–disrupted a church service at the “anti-queer mega church” Mount Hope outside of Lansing, Michigan. Bash Back! targeted the church over its anti-gay politics.

While the protest resulted in no arrests or local charges, the Alliance Defense Fund is now pursuing an effort in federal court to hold the activists responsible for civil rights violations (physical obstruction to a place of worship and intimidation at a place of worship) and trespassing.

According to independent media sources and Bash Back! the lawsuit has resulted in subpoenas being served on three activists in the Midwest. The federal complaint lists 14 activists by name who are believed to be associated with Bash Back! and the protest. In some cases, the complaint says specifically what activists are accused of doing–i.e. providing transportation–or that they were documented as being there by local law enforcement.

Much of the complaint focuses on Bash Back!’s use of so-called violent imagery of guns and activists glad in bandanas. It also argues that Bash Back! deliberately sought to intimidate the congregation and instill fear.

ADF says that the actions of Bash Back! indicate “how dangerous the homosexual agenda is to our First Liberty, religious freedom.”

In response to the lawsuit, Bash Back! said:

The work of devoted Bash Back!ers and allies determined that this morning’s hysteria is the result of the Alliance Defense Fund, a notorious anti-womyn, anti-queer, racist organization. The ADF decided to sue Bash Back!, Bash Back! Lansing and individuals because the authorities would not file a single criminal complaint regarding an action at the Mount Hope Church in Lansing last fall. But that’s not all! Those pesky evange-fascists are trying to identify and out up to 20 other people involved with Bash Back! in the hopes that criminal charges will be placed against them.

Interestingly, the lawsuit is alleging that Bash Back! Violated the church’s and its congregation’s first amendment rights under the FACE Act, a federal act that was first passed to limit the activities of anti-abortion protestors.

In the past, the Alliance Defense Fund has campaigned against measures aimed at giving civil rights to transgendered and gay citizens.

Illinois State Senate Passes Resolution Opposing Afghanistan War

Afghanistan

The Illinois State Senate passed a resolution last week calling for an end to the United States’ war in Afghanistan. It calls on the government–including former Illinois State Senate member Barack Obama–to remove troops from the country on an “appropriately expedited timeline” and to engage nations in the Middle East to develop a peace and reconciliation process for Afghanistan.

To be sure, the resolution will have limited practical effect–it’s an entirely symbolic move. Copies will be sent to President Obama, members of Illinois Congressional delegation, and other Congressional leaders. I doubt they will put much stock in the resolution, but it’s an indicator that there is finally an actual debate taking place over the war.

It also reminds me of efforts during the Iraq War to get cities to pass resolutions opposing the invasion and occupation–organizing that led to 287 cities, 4 counties, and 17 states passing resolutions. Again, the resolutions clearly didn’t end the war, but they do offer an important educational opportunity.

Some of the more interesting “resolved” statements from the Illinois State Senate resolution:

RESOLVED, That on behalf of the citizens of Illinois, the Senate believes that it is not in the national interest of the United States to deepen its military involvement in Afghanistan, particularly by escalating the United States military force presence in Afghanistan, that the 17,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan should be recalled from there, and that we should concentrate on capturing Osama bin Laden; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the primary objective of United States strategy in Afghanistan should be to have the Afghani political leaders make the political compromises necessary to end the violence in Afghanistan; and be it further

RESOLVED, That greater concerted regional and international support would assist the Afghanis in achieving a political solution and national reconciliation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the United States should engage nations in the Middle East to develop a regional, internationally sponsored peace and reconciliation process for Afghanistan; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the United States should transfer, under an appropriately expedited timeline, responsibility for internal security and halting sectarian violence in Afghanistan to the Government of Afghanistan and Afghani Security Forces from American military personnel; and be it further

Midwest Sector 5 RNC Spokescouncil Report-Back

With all of the ongoing organizing against the Republican National Convention (RNC) around Michigan–including an upcoming meeting in Grand Rapids–the following report-back might be of interest to some folks. For background on the protests, see NoRNC.org or the Mediamouse.org report on the first national gathering to plan these protests as well as how they fit into the history of recent radical street protests.

Here’s the report:

What’s good Midwestern SECTOR 5ists?

Let us answer that question. *A lot!*

On July 12th, greeting the humidity familiar to many of us, representatives from all across the mighty Midwest showed up to begin plugging into SECTOR 5 planning. Reaffirming once again that Midwestern resistance IS NOT fucking around when it comes to the RNC/SECTOR 5!

At this spokes council, lots was discussed. One of the current realities “5” is facing is “numbers”. From the information we’ve received from our “ultra top secret digit crunching committee”, it currently looks as if “5” is going to need a few more folks to plug in if our adoption is to be successful.

With that said, a “Midwestern Cluster” is officially calling on affinity groups, clusters, queers, trans gendered folk, mothers, grandmothers, children, semi truckers, workers, punks, and generally any radicals of any walk of life to start plugging into “5”!

* PLUGGING IN:*

As it stands right now, the easiest way to plug into the strategy is to form an affinity group, assess your risk level, and start planning within SECTOR 5 spokes councils. The next spokes council will be announced at the bottom of this release.

For more information about affinity groups, visit the following site:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affinity_group

/

*You could also go the route of plugging into public actions…*/

…And it just so happens that there’s a killer public action in SECTOR 5, organized by some of the fiercest Midwestern trans/queer folk to ever walk the 3rd coast! We’re talking about our close friends and allies at the Bash Back camp of course!

To read more about Bash Back, Sector 5, and how to plug in. Check out the following link:

http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20080625222414983

There may be other public events announced depending on the out come of the next spokes.

*WHATS NEXT? *

*/Another spokes council!/*

On August 9th-10th in MPLS, MN, a “Midwestern Cluster” is hosting the 2nd spokes council to further planning efforts within sector 5. With the conventions coming up in a matter of weeks, this is going to be a crucial event to attend if you’re planning on “5”.

The organizers of this event are asking that folks RSVP early, start plotting immediately, and send in whatever proposals you may have ASAP so they can be given the space they need to be properly considered.

Groups are also being asked prior to 8.9-10 to figure out what their plan is and what sort of assistance they’ll need from others. If this is done, the day(s) will flow much smoother.

*NO JOKES, YOU MUST RSVP TO ATTEND THE SPOKES COUNCIL! DON’T WAIT UNTIL

THE LAST MINUTE.*

*PLEASE SEND YOUR RSVPs TO THE FOLLOWING CONTACT:

/mwclusterup(at)riseup(dot)net/*

Keep your eyes peeled for updates on a Midwestern cluster and the

upcoming spokes councils at the following site:

http://uamidwest.wordpress.com/

That’s all for now crashers!

6 Weeks and counting, all systems go!

In regional rage,

A Midwestern Cluster

______________________________________

In addition to everything said above, we would like to remind everyone that there are 7 sectors, 3 of which have been adopted. If you feel like you have the capacity, consider adopting a sector. We are only as strong as our weakest link. “5” is no more important than “6”, “7”, “2”, “3”, “1”, or “4”. We encourage folks to plug in where they would feel like they would be of most tactical use.

For more info on other sectors, check this link:

http://www.nornc.org/sectorcalls

Midwestern Cluster Call to Action at the RNC

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Anti-authoritarians organizing protests at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in the Twin Cities have issued a call for a Midwest regional commitment to direct action at the RNC.

For folks in Michigan interested in hearing more about this proposal and the protests planned against the RNC, there is a Shutting Down the RNC: Michigan Consulta planned for this Saturday in Lansing as well as a presentation on the RNC protests planned for the 18th in Grand Rapids.

The call to action is reprinted below:

“On May 30th-June 1st, Anti-Authoritarians from all walks of Midwestern life converged in MPLS, MN to indulge in “Red Dawn”, take part in essential party crashing workshops, and strategize against the 2008 D/RNC.

“A MIDWESTERN CLUSTER”

During Saturday’s strategizing session, “A Midwestern Cluster” was formed.

After analyzing humyn sized maps, weighing pros and cons, and generally feeling out the territory of downtown St. Paul using the newly developed St. Paul sector map, folks at the strategizing session consensed that “A Midwestern Cluster” would, come hell or high water, hold SECTOR 5.

Why create a Midwestern cluster?

Given the sheer size of the sectors in downtown St. Paul, (and soon to be Denver?) we felt that smaller Midwestern splinter groups would have better luck accomplishing their goals if we clustered up and focused on a certain sector.

With this plan in mind, it seems like a tangible possibility that overflow into another sector may become a reality if the majority of the Midwestern splinter groups decided to commit.

Beyond the conventions, a Midwestern cluster would be an extremely useful tool when Midwestern calls to action need to happen.

For example: 300 immigrants were just recently deported in a Postville, IA raid with little to no response from Midwestern radicals.

If there had been a Midwestern body to call upon, things may have been different in Postville.

A diversity of tactics…

A Midwestern cluster recognizes the need for a diversity of tactics and embraces them.

Fin.

7.12 SPOKES COUNCIL

What!? A spokes council in 1 of a month!? Yup yup. You didn’t’ read anything incorrectly.

On July 12th, Unconventional Midwest will be hosting a spokes council in MPLS, MN. A Midwestern cluster is calling on Midwestern anarchist and anti-authoritarian affinity groups/smaller clusters to send representatives to 7.12 to cluster up and begin strategizing within SECTOR 5 against the RNC.

We’re aware that meeting in a month may be difficult for some at this point. So an alternative means of showing solidarity, commitment, and cluster strength has been created. See below.

…What about the DNC?

It’s not as if the Midwest has no interest in the DNC. Here in the Midwest it’s pretty clear that we are organizing against “politics as usual” and not merely the republicans. Out of four proposals that were on the table at the strategizing session, only one of them (forming a cluster) was addressed. This was due largely to time restraints and not lack of interest.

Because of the time restraints, an informal spill over discussion took place the following morning. During this discussion, the desire to plan and discuss DNC proposals at the 7.12 spokes council was met with some concern.

The concern was that not everybody who consensed upon the spokes council consensed upon using spokes council time to discuss DNC strategy, even though proposals covering the DNC had been on the table.

With that concern in mind, we feel it just and appropriate to leave space at 7.12 for planning and strategizing for both DNC and RNC. This means there will be time and space to discuss the other three proposals (including “Out of the plains, into the Rockies!”) in addition to further and more concrete SECTOR 5 planning.

…SOLIDARITY ASSESSMENTS

A solidarity assessment is easy as vegan pie to create. Follow the instructions below and you’ll be done in no time.

Step 1: Get on a public computer.

Step 2: Create a brand new email.

Step 3: Write an email to: mwclusterup@riseup.net expressing your affinity groups/clusters solidarity and commitment to holding SECTOR 5 (or organizing against the DNC), including an estimate of your numbers.

(Please do not include specifics. The internet isn’t a safe means of communication.)

…PLANNING AHEAD

Folks are highly encouraged to send in their proposals ahead of time to kick 7.12 off with a bang!

Please send proposals to the contact email below.

THIS IS/WILL BE A VOUCHED FOR EVENT. PLEASE SEND AN RSVP WELL BEFORE HAND

CONTACT EMAIL: MWCLUSTERUP@RISEUP.NET

More information will be released as it is received.

We’d like to take a quick minute at the end of this barrage of information to be in solidarity with recent Midwestern developments.

- We are in complete solidarity with APOC’s critiques of the specialist/racist literature/stickers that made it’s way onto info tables

all over the Midwest.

- We are saddened, yet in obvious solidarity with the 300 immigrants that fell victim to the recent raid in Postville, IA.

- We are in absolute solidarity with the ihanktonwan people’s choice to fight the hog farm that’s encroached upon their land.

- Last but not least we are sitting (get it? Tree sits!) in solidarity with our sisters, brothers, and anyone in between or outside of those two genders, holding strong against the monstrosity that is I-69.

In regional rage,

A Midwestern Cluster”

The Realities of Immigrant Detention

The Midwest Coalition for Human Rights–a network of forty-four organization in the Midwest–has produced a new video that looks at immigrant detention and the realities of the United States government effort to criminalize undocumented immigrants. Not surprisingly, the reality is dramatically different than the lies perpetuated by the rightwing media and racist opponents of immigration:

The Midwest Coalition for Human Rights also has information about the enforcement of immigration law in the Midwest and the deaths of 71 immigrants in government custody.

Several Midwest Radical Events Planned for this Spring and Summer

Over the next several months, there are an unprecedented number of gatherings, protests, and other radical events planned for the Midwest. Along with the Republican National Convention (RNC) protests scheduled for the Twin Cities, it will be a very busy spring and summer for radicals. Moreover, many of the events offer us an opportunity to network and build relationships that can exist far beyond the events of this summer. Since the details of these events are still being formalized, we encourage people to check the websites linked for more information on each event:

Radical Trans and Queer Anti-RNC Convergence: April 5-6, Chicago – According to Bash Back!, the group facilitating the convergence there will be workshops and strategizing for the upcoming Republican National Convention (RNC) and Democratic National Convention (DNC) protests this summer. The group writes “we are anticipating that the Convergence will play an essential role in action planning and give us a solid grip on the presence Radical Queers and TransFolk will have at the Conventions this summer. By organizing against the conventions we hope to pave the way for a long lasting network of radical Transfolk, Queers and Anarcha-Feminists.”

Finding Our Roots Anarchist Conference: April 18-20, Chicago, Illinois – The second “Finding Our Roots” conference will focus on “Anarchist Organizing in the Midwest” as a follow-up to last year’s focus on theory.

I-69 Resistance: Ongoing, Indiana – With construction started on I-69, a controversial highway project in Indiana, there will be a series of ongoing actions aimed at impeding the construction of I-69.

pReNC 5.3: May 3, Twin Cities, Minnesota – The RNC Welcoming Committee is hosting a follow-up meeting to the “pReNC” held last August to continue planning for the RNC protests. “Organized groups that have established plans, affinity groups, and concrete ideas are particularly encouraged to send representatives.”

2008 Great Lakes Anarchist Gathering: June 6-8, Toledo, Ohio – “We’ll be building on the progress made over the last year and a half in bringing the Midwest/Great Lakes region anarchist communities together and strengthening the Midwest Action Network. It will also be a good chance to make solidify MAN’s plans for the upcoming RNC.” Details are being planned, visit the linked website for more information.

CrimethInc Convergence: July 16-20, Milwaukee, Wisconsin – The annual CrimethInc gathering will take place in Milwaukee and will offer anarchists and radicals a variety of opportunities for networking and skill-sharing. Reports from the 2006 and 2007 convergences offer more information on what to expect at the convergence.

People’s Networking Convention: August 15-17, Madison, Wisconsin – The People’s Networking Convention, or the PNC, will provide a space for discussion and debate of non-elections based organizing. The event aims to create an atmosphere of support and collaboration in our efforts against the government’s domination and the injustices that come with an exploitative economy. It will be an opportunity for face-to-face dialogue and discussion related to grassroots democracy in our communities. Speakers invited include Howard Zinn, Derrick Jensen, bell hooks, Starhawk, and Ward Churchill.

RNC Protests: September 1-4, Twin Cities: Massive protests are planned for the RNC, including an effort to shutdown the Convention on its opening day.

Proposed I-69 Expansion being Opposed in Indiana

indiana farmland

I-69, an interstate that currently runs from Port Huron, Michigan to Indianapolis, Indiana, has been facing a fifteen-year battle to expand in Indiana. According to overall plans for the highway, it would eventually run from Port Huron, through Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana, before ending in Laredo, Texas. However, the highway has never been completed, in large part due to widespread opposition to its construction in Indiana.

In Indiana, the highway would run from Evansville to Indianapolis along a 142-mile route. That route–the majority of which is “new terrain” and not built over an existing road–would cut through farmland and a wildlife preserve while paving some 5,000 acres of farmland, 1,500 acres of forest, and 3,000 acres of wetlands. The highway is expected to evict 400 families, many of whom have already signed contracts giving up their homes and lands under the threat of their land being seized by eminent domain.

The I-69 project has been opposed by a wide variety of groups including Road Block Earth First!, COUNT US!, Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads, Students Mobilizing against State-planned Highway I-69, and Protect our Woods in Indiana, as well as groups in the surrounding states. Over the years a variety of tactics have been used to oppose the plan, including the usual lawsuits, petitions, public education campaigns, studies, city resolutions against I-69, and protests. However, the campaign against I-69 has been interesting in that it has brought together many diverse perspectives, from anti-civilization radicals to farmers who will be displaced by the highway project. Those organizing against I-69 have setup an “I-69 News Clearing House” website and have announced plans for continued organizing as the project moves into the construction phase in the summer.

Far from just being isolated to radical environmental activists, direct action tactics have been adopted by portions of the broader movement against the highway. Roadblock Earth First! summarized this resistance stating:

“Resistance has been ongoing in Indiana from local farmers, including those being forced off their land by the department of transportation, and city folk in Indianapolis, Bloomington, Oakland City, Evansville, and elsewhere. This has included such things as letter writing, petitions, angry speeches at public hearings, and survey stake pulling. In addition, Earth First! Activists have stepped up their campaign of protests, office and home demonstrations, public meeting disruptions and anti-surveying actions. After the Earth First! Rendezvous in southern Indiana this summer, activists “evicted” the section 1 (Oakland City, IN) and section 2 (Petersburg, IN) planning offices by dressing as a moving crew, picking up office materials and furniture, and dumping them on the sidewalk.

Recently there was an I-69 public meeting on grants for community groups and businesses to ease the transition to having a huge loud interstate plowing through their countryside. Local activists and community members manage to completely shut down the meeting by shouting, holding banners, and taking over the microphone. INDOT never got past introductions. Later they announced that there will not be another public I-69 meeting in the city of Bloomington.”

This bridge between radicals and residents affected by the highway is interesting, and has been the result of intensive organizing by Earth First! and other opponents of I-69. Earth First! has organized a variety of tactics to cultivate these connections, among them a “listening project” that allows for dialog between radicals and others, a bike tour through the area that would be effected by I-69, and “road shows” along the route of I-69. In addition to taking place along the route of I-69, “road shows” have been held in surrounding states to teach about the highway and to encourage people to get involved, with presentations in Columbus, Houston, and even Kalamazoo to talk about the project and resistance to it.

While resistance to I-69 has been strong for the past fifteen years, direct action tactics have become more common since 2005. That year resistance to the project increased, with a “Road-less Summer” campaign that focused on a variety of targets including firms funding the project and Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), culminating with an admission from INDOT that they lacked the funding for the project. This lack of funding is believed to be a key weakness by many radicals organizing against I-69. With an estimated cost of $4.5 billion dollars but only $700 million to fund the road actually on hand, the state of Indiana has turned to unpopular measures to try to fund the road including privatizing it and making it a toll road. Radicals believe that while INDOT is trying to push the project through in order to minimize resistance, with rising costs–whenever the project is “reevaluated” the cost increases–that the project is vulnerable. Earth First! believes that with early disruptions in the construction process they might be able to stop. Moreover, they believe that stopping I-69 in Indiana might stop it altogether, as many states are waiting to see how Indiana proceeds.

Organizing will continue over the next several months, with that resistance continuing to build as the construction–which is scheduled to begin in 2008–nears. In September a nationwide meeting was held in Indiana to discuss plans against I-69 and a call has been issued for activists to come to Indiana in the spring of 2008 to participate in a multi-faceted campaign aimed at stopping the road by direct action using a range of tactics. I-69 opponents have even produced a video calling for people to come to Indiana:

Earth First! also places the construction of I-69 in Indiana into a larger context of road development and global infrastructure in the Americas. They argue that I-69 is part of an infrastructure project that is designed to facilitate the transportation of goods under free trade agreements and globalization. While in rightwing circles this has led to conspiracy theories about the “North American Union” creating a one-government state consisting of Canada, the United States, and Mexico, the proposed I-69 route does fit into a larger system of development and globalization. At the US-Mexico border I-69 is designed to connect to a network of highways, railroads, and other infrastructure projects being built as part of Plan Puebla Panama (PPP). Activists have argued that in addition to being part of an overall infrastructure that prioritizes the movement of capital and goods that when farmers are removed from their land in Indiana it will make way for factory farmers and a corporate form of agriculture. This argument echoes those made in Mexico, where indigenous opponents to the PPP have said that the project threatens their way of life.

By connecting I-69 to this context, radicals with Earth First! and others hope that stopping I-69 will become a priority in the environmental and anti-globalization movement, as well as serving as a catalyst project that will bring people together across the Midwest, raise important issues about the realities of modern capitalism, and give the movement a much needed victory. Moreover, rooting resistance to I-69 in a larger North American context allows the U.S. movement to learn from tactics and strategies employed elsewhere as well as engage in acts of solidarity that promote cross-border resistance.

2007 Great Lakes Anarchist Gathering

From the Type A Collective:

It looks as though the next Great Lakes Anarchist Gathering will be held in Toledo the second weekend in April, and will likely include a visit and talk with John Zerzan and Kevin Tucker.

Our goal is to help make this one even better than the last, and with half a year to plan we should have no trouble making this a fun, educational, and worthwhile event for the Great Lakes/Midwest anarchist community. There has been a lot of positive dialogue already, and offers to contribute from people around the region including the October Fifteenth Anarchist Collective.

The goal at this point should be to get people thinking about what they would like to see this time, what they would like to contribute in the way of putting on workshops, helping to set up, food, etc.

We are already looking at the possibility of having more time between workshops and presentations and a more open, less sterile atmoshere than than at the last one. And with it being held in spring, the weather will likely be good for more outdoor events and workshops.

There’s a lot going on in our region, both on the very local level as well as things impacting the whole area, such as the RNC in Minneapolis. This will be a good chance to meet others face to face so we can get to know eachother and help coordinate and make plans.

Please share your suggestions and ideas here at the Midwest Action Network, where there’s already been some dialogue about it. Also feel free to contact the Type A Colelctive at typea [ AT ] riseup.net

Study Finds Average of 30 Seconds of Election Coverage in Detroit and Lansing News Broadcasts

A study conducted during the first month of the campaign season—September 7th to October6th—has found that on average television news broadcasts in Lansing and Detroit average less than 30 seconds of election coverage per half hour newscast. While featuring limited election coverage, the newscasts had more than ten minutes of advertising, more than seven minutes of sports and weather, and more than two minutes of crime stories. The numbers were compiled as part of a region-wide study called the Midwest News Index. The News Index shows that 76% of election stories focused on campaign strategy and “horserace” statistics such as polling and fundraising. In Detroit, only 10% of stories focused on issues, while in Lansing 55% of stories were strategy and horserace and 41% issues-centered, a high percentage for the region.