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Tag: Activism

University of Texas Professor Compares Palestinian Activists To Terrorists After Tense Protest

Posted in Austin, Journalism, and MintPress News

A planned walkout at a University of Texas at Austin event earlier this month erupted into a violent confrontation with the college’s professor of Israel Studies and another audience member. Now Palestinian activists say they feel unsafe on campus after the professor accused them of having ties to terrorism.

The incident began at a Nov. 13 public lecture on the military culture of the Israeli Defense Forces. Twelve members of UT Austin’s Palestine Solidarity Committee planned to stage a short disruption to voice their objections to Israel’s occupation of Palestine and apartheid policies, then leave the event. Instead, as the students unfurled a banner and the group’s organizer, Mohammed Nabulsi, began to read a brief statement, the event dissolved into chaos and even physical violence.

Nabulsi told MintPress News that he no longer feels safe on campus. “I’m not going to let this prevent me from continuing with my political work, but for now I’m really exhausted. I don’t want some vigilante to take the word of a professor,” he explained, adding: “People are calling us a ‘sleeper cell’ [of terrorists] now,” referring to some of the threatening comments they’ve received.

Anti-BDS Website Seeks To Ruin Careers, Reputations Of Those Who Support Palestine

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

A website that profiles activists from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement with the goal of ruining their careers is coming under fire, with some comparing it to McCarthyism.

The Canary Mission features profiles of dozens of activists, students, college professors and journalists which the site’s authors accuse of anti-Semitism and even having ties to terrorism. Among the alphabetical listings on the site is a profile of this journalist, along with over 100 others.

The organization’s goals are clear: It seeks to ruin the careers or future job prospects of its targets, especially students associated with the growth of BDS on American college campuses. “By shining a light on hate group members and their activities, the public will become better informed about those involved in hate movements in their communities,” the Canary Mission explains on its About page. A video on the site warns: “It is your duty to ensure that today’s radicals are not tomorrow’s employees.”

Indigenous Canadians Resist Pipeline Developers And Oil Companies Since 2009

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

In central British Columbia, a band of First Nations people has maintained a remarkable resistance against big oil for the last six years.

The Wet’suwet’en, a band of about 140 indigenous members, maintain the Unist’ot’en Camp, a checkpoint blocking the only bridge entering their land. It’s a direct challenge to the Canadian status quo because the Wet’suwet’en say they won’t let pipeline crews, oil company developers, or even Canadian police onto their land. A website for the Idle No More movement, which seeks equality and civil liberties for Indigenous people, describes the purpose of the camp:

10 Years Later, Israel Under Pressure From Successful Boycott Movement

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

Ten years after Palestinian civil society put out the original call to action, the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement has become a global force. With Israel and its supporters now spending millions to prop up the country’s public image, it’s hard to deny the changes these activists have created through global solidarity.

First published July 2005, the original BDS letter was signed by over 170 global human rights organizations as well as unions, political parties and other associations based in Palestine. A year after Israel continued building its Gaza wall, despite the objections of the United Nations and international courts, and with illegal Jerusalem settlements similarly continuing to expand, there seemed no other choice than to target Israel’s finances directly. The movement is modeled after similar, successful efforts to boycott supporters of South Africa’s racist apartheid regime, and the BDS movement counts high profile fighters of apartheid like Desmond Tutu among its supporters.

Below are five of the biggest achievements of the last 10 years:

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.