Zaps – December 2008

HR DAY – December 10 is Human Rights Day as declared by the United Nations. On that date in 1948, 48 members of the UN, including the United States, adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. See the official document in over 300 languages, along with related info and press.

Contact: OHCHR-UNOG, 8-14 Avenue de la Paix, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland;
ASSEMBLY – The 4th Annual National Assembly of United for Peace & Justice is scheduled for December 12-14 at the Wyndham O’Hare Hotel in Chicago. Representatives of UFPJ’s 1,400 member groups will attend and the assembly is also open to all who agree with the Unity Statement and the Strategic Framework adopted at the last assembly (available at the website), though only delegates of UFPJ member groups (as of December 1, 2008) may participate in decision-making.

Contact: UFPJ, PO Box 607, Times Square Station, NY, NY 10108; 212-868-5545;
MLK DAY – The Martin Luther King Day holiday falls on Monday, January 19. Peace groups are highlighting MLK’s oft-overlooked anti-imperialist, antiwar activism as a way to call attention to the need to end the current wars of U.S. aggression just before the inauguration (January 20).

Contact: UFPJ, PO Box 607, Times Square Station, NY, NY 10108; 212-868-5545;; National and Community Service, 1201 New York Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20525; 202-606-5000; Volunteer Memphis, 901-523-2425;
SOCIAL FORUM – The ninth World Social Forum is reconvening for a single event in 2009, after coordinated international actions in lieu of a single forum in 2008. WSF2009 will be held in Belem, Brazil from January 27 through February 1 to discuss and help create a more just economic and governing system under the banner "Another World Is Possible."
ANTI-NATO – Planning and mobilization is underway for protests and peace alternatives during NATO’s 60th anniversary celebration on the French-German border in April 2009.


BAILOUTS – A Bailout the People, Not Wall Street campaign is being conducted by the Ad Hoc National Network to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions. Educational materials and info about local groups and events is available on the website.
BOOKS – The Prison Book Program has been conducting their holiday campaign to fulfill the thousands of requests by prisoners for books. People can help by donating books (see website or contact them for the book donation requirements) or money.
GITMO – Witness Against Torture is launching a new campaign, 100 Days To Close Guantánamo!, with lobbying and activism during the first three months of the Obama administration. Kicking off with a nine day fast, the campaign will consist of a daily presence across from the White House and weekly Executive and Congressional education, public teach-ins, film screenings, prayer and vigils, direct action and public pressure.

Contact: Witness Against Torture, c/o Mary House Catholic Worker, 55 E. Third St., New York, NY 10003;
RNC-8 – The pre-trial process is still underway for eight activists who were preemptively arrested at the Republican National Convention and charged with the Conspiracy to Commit Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism. Funds are needed to fight these absurd charges which can result in several years of prison.

LEFT BLOG – A new political weblog called Left Solutions has been started for the "non-denominational left" for interactive discussion and polling of issues.
REPORT – The Global Forest Coalition has released a report, "Life as Commerce: the Impact of Market-based Conservation," which is available online, featuring case studies of ill-advised policies like ecotourism, forest certification, biodiversity offsets, and carbon trade.

Film & Music
GOLDMINEAll That Glitters Isn’t Gold is an hour-long documentary that tells the stories of community members living near Goldcorp’s open-pit, heap-leach gold mine in Honduras’s Siria Valley.
HAITI – A fundraising campaign is underway to complete The Price of Freedom, a four-part documentary film on the successful slave revolt that culminated in the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804.
INDY-ROCK – Big Green’s new album, International House, includes political songs about class struggle, extraordinary rendition, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, dissent, and other uncontroversial topics.

WHISTLEBLOWERS – The new documentary On The Side of Angels tells the stories of several prominent "whistleblowers" around the world, from Los Alamos to Telecom Italia, and the persecutions they suffered.

AID WORK – In Humanitarian Aid Work: A Critical Approach by Carlos Martin Beristain advocates for more cultural sensitivity and collaboration in aid work, suggesting alternative ideas for social reconstruction based on his experiences in Latin America.
CLASS WARUnjust Deserts: How the Rich Are Taking Our Common Inheritance and Why We Should Take It Back by Gar Alperovitz and Lew Daly offers a synthesis of modern research about the unequal distribution of our collective wealth.

Contact: The New Press, 38 Greene Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10013; 212-629-8802;
COMIC – In Get Your War On: The Definitive Account of the War on Terror, 2001-2008, the subversive strips of comic artist David Rees offer a biting critique of a bloodthirsty imperialist monster.

Contact: Soft Skull Press, 9 West 21st, Suite 1101, New York, NY 10010; 718-643-1599;
HOMEFRONTHome Fronts: A Wartime American Reader, edited by Michael Foley and Brendan O’Malley, is a compilation of original sources—letters, lyrics, poems, cartoons, newspaper articles, leaflets—which constructs a social history of life in the U.S. on the "home front" in a climate of endless war.

Contact: The New Press, 38 Greene Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10013; 212-629-8802;
IRANUnderstanding the US-Iran Crisis: A Primer by Phyllis Bennis provides an essential history and analysis of U.S.-Iranian relations and their current state of crisis.
IRAQ WAR – In War Without End: The Iraq War in Context, Michael Schwartz demolishes the myths of Iraq war "successes" and exposes the corruption and naked power grab behind the hype.
MEXICOMexico Unconquered by John Gibler exposes the class divisions and resulting corruption and rebellions in Mexican society.
RHETORICRhetoric for Radicals: A Handbook for 21st Century Activists by Jason Del Gandio offers guidelines for effective persuasion from conversation to street theater.
PEACEEnding the Iraq War: A Primer by Phyllis Bennis discusses the history, context, and issues involved in ending the occupation in a "frequently asked questions" format.
SOLDIERSWinter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan, Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations by IVAW and Aaron Glantz documents the Spring 2008 hearings against the war organized by veterans.
VIETNAMWinter Soldiers: An Oral History of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War by Richard Stacewicz collects accounts from more than 30 former and current members of the VVAW.