Homeland Theater

New York Times notes Iroquois land struggle —at last

The ongoing indigenous uprising in Ontario perculates up into the New York Times, Aug. 17. The Times gets a B for at least including some historical context, but a failing grade for consistency, having largely ignored this crisis for months, and finally slapping it in their "Journal" slot, for off-beat "local color" stories. They could have got an A for historical context if they were more accurate—the Six Nations (also known as the Iroquois or Haudenosaunee Confederacy) were officially neutral in the American Revolution, and the campaign of ethnic cleansing that George Washington ordered against them (led by Gen. John Sullivan) was in response to guerilla activity by the Mohawk chief Joseph Brant and his band of partisans—not the Confederacy as a whole. The Times also fails to inform readers that the British had effectively won Indian sympathies by promising to halt settler colonization west of the Appalachians—as we have noted.


A Class Analysis

by George Caffentzis, Metamute

And my coyote, Virgil, said to him when he refused to take me, a living man, over the Acheron to Hell, "Charon, do not be angry, but this undocumented passage has been decided upon in the place where what is wanted always happens. So don't ask any more questions."

—Dante, Inferno, Canto III, lines 94-96.

Introduction: Invisible to Visible

There were more demonstrations in more places with greater participation between March 24 and May Day 2006 than any other six-week period in US history. For a number of days marches of more than half a million people overwhelmed the centers of major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Dallas, halting business, while there were literally hundreds of smaller gatherings in cities like Charlotte, North Carolina; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Salem, Oregon; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Along with the public outpouring of bodies, there were dozens of student walk-outs in high schools around the country as well as a nation-wide immigrants' "general strike" called for May Day that was heeded by hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of workers, including truck drivers who shut down the Port of Los Angeles (one of the main supply links in the commodity trade with China, South Korea, and Japan). The demonstrators' demands were amnesty for all undocumented immigrants and the defeat of pending draconian anti-immigrant legislation. In the process, they intermittently stopped or stalled the cycle of production, circulation and reproduction in the US for this six-week period. The slogan of these remarkable demos, whose size consistently surprised both their organizers and the authorities, became "Si Se Puede" ["Yes It Is Possible" in Spanish], implying their awareness of a new political power in the Americas.

Miami "terror" busts: conspiracy or thoughtcrime?

The standards for what constitutes a terrorist conspiracy continue to get radically dumbed down. Most Americans don't seem to care, as those targeted invariably belong to some fringe and seemingly extremist sect. In this case, it appears to be an offshoot of Moorish Science, an indigenous American tradition held to be utterly heretical by ultra-orthodox Sunnis of the al-Qaeda variety. However, this has not stopped the mainstream media from (inaccurately) portraying the suspects as linked to al-Qaeda. The June 22 arrest of seven men in Miami's Liberty City district came in a raid by some 20 FBI agents in full-on paramilitary gear. Yet authorities immediately admitted the so-called "conspiracy" seems to be little more than a bunch of bad-ass braggadocio. OK, maybe these guys wanted to blow up Chicago's Sears Tower. But, as we have asked before, is wanting to a crime? As in recent "terrorism" busts in the United Kingdom, federal authorities are rushing to embrace the Orwellian concept of thoughtcrime. Some relevant excerpts from the June 24 Miami Herald coverage (emphasis and interjected comments added):

Haudenosaunee land struggle crosses US-Canada border

Our occasional contributor Michael I. Niman writes for his June 15 "Getting a Grip" column in ArtVoice, the alternative weekly in Buffalo, NY:

Anti-Casino or Anti-Indian?

Those of us in Western New York who oppose war need to start paying attention to our own backyard. where community activists and developers are fanning the flames in the US and Canada's ceaselessly rekindling war against the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Six Nations) Confederacy. Flareups are now occurring throughout Haudenosaunee territory. In the north, armed Ontario government forces are engaged in a standoff with residents and supporters of the Six Nations Grand River Reserve on contested land where a local developer is attempting to build a subdivision in the municipality of Caledonia. The three-month-old standoff is moving toward a violent climax as Ontario officials, responding to complaints from non-native residents, are threatening force to remove native protestors.

Seattle imam faces deportation to Somalia

On June 1, after six months in detention--with much of that time spent in solitary confinement--Seattle Muslim leader Abrahim Sheikh Mohamed gave up his legal battle against deportation. Mohamed was arrested Nov. 14 on immigration violations at Sea-Tac Airport, where he'd just arrived on a domestic flight. For five years before his arrest, Mohamed led prayers as imam of the Abu-Bakr mosque in Rainier Valley, and he is well-respected in the local Somali community. Although he has not been charged with any terrorism-related crimes, FBI agents and other witnesses--including a local restaurant owner--testified at Mohamed's bond hearing last February that the imam had ties to terrorism and was raising money for al-Itihaad a-Islamiya, an alleged Somali terrorist group. More than 200 people rallied in support of Mohamed outside the bond hearing. Immigration Judge Victoria Young concluded that Mohamed was a threat to national security and denied bond.

LA: South Central farmers evicted

First from CBS, June 13, via Chiapas95:

LOS ANGELES Dozens of people have been arrested for allegedly violating a court order and obstructing sheriff's deputies from evicting farmers and supporters from a 14-acre urban garden near downtown Los Angeles.


New York's Hero Rescue Workers Face Kafkaesque Nightmare

by Joe Flood

An hour after Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the men of FDNY Engine Company 240 received orders at a nearby command post to enter the building and help evacuate survivors.

"As we were walking there it began to collapse and we were caught in the debris field," says fireman Thomas Dunn. "You could see absolutely nothing, we thought the building we were next to collapsed and that we were trapped…the only way I knew we were still outside was when I felt a car door next to me."

Los Angeles: struggle for the land

Leave it to Los Angeles. The media start paying attention when big-name stars flock to the cause. Meanwhile, heartening to know that this grassroots effort at urban-renewal-from-below has lasted as long as it has. From the LA Daily News, May 25:

Farmers facing imminent eviction from their urban plots of land played the ultimate trump card Wednesday: They called folk singer Joan Baez and stuck her in a tree.

The Los Angeles South Central Farm has been an oddity for the past 14 years. Tilled by mostly Mexican and Central American immigrants amid warehouses and train tracks, the 14-acre plot stuck out as a verdant block in a drab, industrial sector off the Alameda corridor.

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