Skip to content

Tag: Activism

Mailman Faces Felony Charges For Delivering Protest Letters Via Gyrocopter To Congress

Posted in Archive, Journalism, and MintPress News

Doug Hughes made international headlines in April, when he landed a gyrocopter, a miniature personal helicopter he’s described as barely larger than a “flying bicycle,” on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Government officials considered the action a threat to national security, but Hughes argues he was simply trying to deliver the mail.

Hughes has been a Florida Postal Service employee in good standing for the past 11 years (up until his direct action, that is), but April 15 was no ordinary day on his rounds. Hughes chose Tax Day to deliver a message to Congress that corporate corruption of politics must stop, because the same corporations spending millions to control U.S. legislators are using that power to prevent themselves from paying their fair share of taxes. He also hoped to highlight efforts by corporate lobbyists to privatize the post office.

With his personal aerial vehicle carrying 435 copies of a fiery letter about corruption, Hughes landed at Congress’s front door and was promptly arrested. Coming months after a series of security violations at the White House, the incident set off a renewed debate in the media about the safety of the Capitol.

Disabled Texans Depend On Personal Care Attendants Paid Poverty Wages

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

On May 19, about two dozen disabled Texans and their personal care aides gathered at the entrance to the governor’s office chanting: “Greg Abbott, come on out! We’ve got something to talk about!” Others were inside, refusing to leave. They’d come from around the state to demand better wages for personal care attendants, the helpers on whom their independence depends.

The disabled activists at the governor’s office represented ADAPT of Texas, and the aides were from an ADAPT subgroup, Personal Attendant Coalition of Texas (PACT). At issue in Texas are the wages for a type of aide known as community attendants, who are not hired by home care services that are paid by private insurance. Instead, community attendants’ wages are paid through federal Medicaid dollars and the Texas General Revenue fund.

At the time of the protest, the base wage for community attendants was $7.86 per hour, just slightly higher than the state minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. By comparison, the city of Austin enforces a living hourly wage of $11 for city employees and at construction projects supported by tax incentives.

Police Brutality Activists #ShutdownA14 Nationwide To Oppose Killer Cops

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

As highly publicized killings of unarmed Americans continue to make headlines, activists once again took to the streets nationwide to demand a halt to police murders and oppression. Tuesday’s day of action, centered around the hashtag #ShutDownA14, saw protests in 30 U.S. cities in 18 states.

The protest was organized by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network in response to the recent killing of Walter Scott — a tragedy in which an eyewitness recorded not just the slaying, but also police attempting to plant evidence near his body.

Protesting George Friedman, CEO Of Stratfor, In Austin & San Francisco

Posted in Austin, Journalism, MintPress News, and Occupy Wall Street

On January 22, journalist and political prisoner Barrett Brown was convicted in a Texas court of controversial charges. In addition to a 63-month sentence, Brown is expected to pay $890,250 in restitution to the private spy agency, Strategic Forecasting (a.k.a. “Stratfor”).

This monumental fine, which turns a theoretically free citizen into an indentured servant of a corporation, is meant to hold Brown responsible for a hack by the Anonymous group LulzSec — even though the government admitted it didn’t have any concrete evidence to show he’d taken any material part in the hack.

Jeremy Hammond, a member of LulzSec, pled guilty in May of 2013 and was sentenced to ten years in prison. The hack, carried out under the instruction of the FBI’s agent saboteur and snitch Sabu, revealed millions of emails that showed the complex interrelationship between the private intelligence firm, multinational corporations, and the surveillance state. The emails also revealed how Stratfor had infiltrated activist groups from Texas to India.

On February 2, 2015, George Friedman, Stratfor’s CEO, was scheduled to sign his book “Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe,” at Book People, an independent bookstore in Austin, Texas. It would be Hammond’s 1,065th day in prison; Brown had been incarcerated for 874.

George Friedman, you should have expected us.

Zim Shipping “On The Ropes” In Oakland As Activists Prepare To Block The Boat Again

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

After multiple Block The Boat actions, even opponents of the blockade movement admit that Zim Integrated Shipping Services, Israel’s largest maritime cargo corporation, is on the defensive.

The next in this series of direct actions, which attempt to prevent Zim shipping vessels from unloading at U.S. ports in a show of support for Palestine, was scheduled to take place on the morning of Oct. 25. But Block The Boat organizers announced via Twitter that Zim Beijing, the latest vessel due in Oakland, California, haddelayed its arrival.

There’s a long history of unions and activists collaborating to blockade business at the Port of Oakland, but the movement has spread in recent months. Attempts to prevent unloading, with varying degrees of success, have also occurred at the Ports of Long Beach, Seattle, Vancouver and Tampa Bay. There are signs that Zim may soon abandon Oakland entirely or may already be in the process of doing so.

In addition to the costs Zim incurs as a result of these actions, organizers suggest these actions damage the company’s reputation in international shipping circles just as it attempts to cement alliances with other similar corporations.

Exposing ALEC’s “Corporate Sausage Factory” In Dallas

Posted in Journalism, MintPress News, and Occupy Wall Street

We’d gathered at Eddie Deen’s Ranch to interrupt the American Legislative Exchange Council at dinner. I was wearing a pink cowboy hat, temporarily inducted into the CODEPINK Posse, an effort organized by the local branch of the well-known national rabble rousers for peace. About 30 of us stood along the sidewalk outside the Ranch, watched by a half-dozen police officers looking bored, a chatty police detective and a pair of startled horses held by two men dressed as cowboys. Overhead, an airplane circled, towing a warning about corporate corruption.

Powerful people in suits laughed at us and snapped smartphone photos as they disembarked from the chartered buses they rode to the Western-themed restaurant. It was July 31 and ALEC was in town for its 41st meeting. After the first of several days of corporate backroom deals at the Hilton Anatole, ALEC’s members wanted to pretend they were cowboys while they ate.

The buses kept coming and out poured some of the world’s most powerful: corporate executives, rich investors, state legislators and their families. Though they’d normally disdain public transportation — when they aren’t orchestrating cuts against it in the name of austerity — I imagined the atmosphere on the bus was jovial, as if the “1%” was on a field trip.

CODEPINK are no strangers to using humor to fight evil. Duded up in pink Western-wear, with faux handcuffs and a “RUN ALEC OUT OF TEXAS” banner, they were aiming for laughter. As the suits’ humor peaked, CODEPINK Dallas — mostly older women — began chanting, “WE MAY BE FUNNY, BUT YOU ARE CORRUPT!”

Speaking out is thirsty, thankless work in the Texas heat. After two hours, a Ranch worker dressed as a cowboy brought us all bottled water.

Secured By miniOrange