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(en) US, Boston, Anarchist journal BAAM #12 - part II (2/3)

Date Mon, 25 Aug 2008 08:59:29 +0300

ICE Strikes Mass Immigrant Families by Alysha S. ------ Hundreds of immigrants
of varying statuses have been picked up in raids all over the State of
Massachusetts this month as part of Operation: Community Shield, a recent attack
on the immigrant and refugee communities. According to ICE (Immigration and
Customs Enforcement), the purpose of Operation Community Shield is to round up
violent criminals and gang members. In reality, the only thing the hundreds of
immigrants and refugees being detained and deported all have in common is that
they are immigrants and refugees who have had prior encounters with law
enforcement. Most are productive members of the community, who have only been
convicted of misdemeanor crimes. People of varying immigration statuses are
being targeted, including green card holders.

In an interview, Dimple Rana, local organizer for Deported Diaspora, stated that
ICE is using Operation Community Shield to detain and deport people who,
although they have had prior scrapes with the law, have been supporting and
providing for their families (who are often US citizens) for several years,
thereby not only punishing immigrants, but also punishing their families.
According the Rana, those who have not yet been served final orders of removal
have been taken to a detention center in New Mexico, where they are forced to
sign deportation papers and thereafter often return to countries they fled as
refugees. Folks reporting back from New Mexico say they endured a long bus ride
with only two stops from Massachusetts to New Mexico, that they weren’t given
food for the entire bus ride, and that once they arrived at the detention center
in New Mexico, the food had beetles and flies in it.
A spokesperson for Deported Diaspora has said that they want immigration judges
to review cases, not just stamp orders.
If you or any of your family members is an immigrant of any status who has had a
prior encounter with law enforcement and you do not yet have a lawyer, get one.
An e-mail sent out by the Brazilian Women’s Group urges everyone to stay calm,
but be aware of your rights. Information about immigrant rights is available in
Portuguese at www.verdeamarelo.org.
Information about who has been detained, including name, date of birth, country
of origin, where the person is being held, and alien registration number, can be
sent to Ellen Gallagher or Sarang Sekhavat of the MIRA Coalition.

City of Boston. City Council, Official Resolution
Offered By Boston City Councillor Chuck Turner

Whereas: On August 23, 1927, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed
after being found guilty for the murder of Alessandro Berardelli and Frederic
Parmenter by a clearly prejudiced and biased judge of the Commonwealth; and

Whereas: Sacco and Vanzetti were outspoken critics of the federal government -
self-professed anarchists - and many historians and others have contended that
the Sacco and Vanzetti prosecution, trial, and death sentence displayed a lack
of respect for political civil liberties and the right to dissent; and

Whereas: Some critics have alleged that the conviction and execution of Sacco
and Vanzetti, who were first-generation Italian immigrants, were at least
partially influenced by racism, anti-Italian prejudice, and discrimination
against immigrants in the United States; and

Whereas: On August 23, 1977, Governor Michael Dukakis issued a proclamation
acknowledging the fiftieth anniversary of the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti
and asking everyone to "resolve to prevent the forces of intolerance, fear, and
hatred from ever again uniting to overcome the rationality, wisdom and fairness
to which our legal system aspires”; and

Whereas: These historical events are an integral part of the history of Boston
and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and constitute a nefarious precedent that
we must strive not to repeat; and
Whereas: On August 23, 2008, the Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society is
holding a gathering at Copley Square, and a march to the North End ending with a
rally there;
Therefore be it Resolved

That the Boston City Council does hereby extend its admiration and
congratulations to the Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society, and in honor of
its many contributions, does hereby declare August 23, 2008 Sacco and Vanzetti
Commemoration Day in the City of Boston; that this Resolution be signed by the
President of the City Council and attested to and a copy thereof transmitted by
the Clerk of the City of Boston.

BAAM Newsletter 1st Anniversary

Though BAAM has existed for around 8 years, our Newsletter celebrates its first
birthday today, August 23rd. We have changed a lot since our first, four-page
paper, produced especially for last year’s Sacco and Vanzetti Parade, and are
excited to launch our mail-subscriptions program. For 12 to 15 dollars, you can
have the BAAM Newsletter mailed to your door every month, keeping you updated on
local anarchist news and views, and your donation will help insure the future of
our publication. Please send well-concealed cash or checks, payable to Jeff
Reinhardt, to BAAM Newsletter C/O Boston ABC, PO Box 230182, Boston, Ma 02123.
Thank you so much to our readers and comrades. Keep struggling!

By the Way, McCain is a Bonehead, Too
McCain; Just Plain Evil
by Adrienne
Here at the BAAM newsletter, after roasting Obama’s stances in two consecutive
issues, we felt it would be prudent to explain the obvious; we oppose his
“opposition“ as well. This incredibly easy task of explaining why McCain is pure
evil fell to me.
McCain supports gender-based pay discrimination, tells rape jokes, called his
wife a cunt in front of reporters, repeatedly votes against funding for measures
that would prevent unintended pregnancy and publicly announces his support for
overturning the Supreme Court decision guaranteeing the right to an abortion. He
has vocally opposed first amendment rights and has expressed more than once his
ignorance on economic issues. Other goodies from his voting record: he loves
oil, AIDS, corporate fraud, and government corruption. He hates Katrina victims,
affirmative action, education, the environment and children with disabilities.
He is on record, and on camera, saying to 60 Minutes, “I disagree with what the
majority of the American people want.“ He loves Bush, often expresses admiration
for Bush policies and is on record, and on camera, saying the War On Iraq should
continue for another 10,000 years. He is similarly on the record and on camera
singing, “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran,“ to the tune of “Barbara Ann.“ McCain
once demanded that Representative LeBoutillier drop his pants to prove that he
wasn’t wearing a wire.
Maverick McCain, that pragmatic centrist, is ideologically opposed to
contraception (yes, that includes condoms) and medically accurate sex education,
despite his life-long open enthusiasm for sleaze and smut.
But doesn’t that reinforce our need to support Obama, the structural optimist
will ask. Well Obama’s views on abortion are extremely patronizing, he joked
around with Bernie Mac about how women are hoes, he routinely addresses and
dismisses reporters and random women as “sweetie.“ Despite Obama’s lip service
to gender pay equity, the men in his staff outrank and outnumber their female
counterparts, who also receive less pay. In 2001 he expressed willingness to
compromise racial and reproductive justice to confirm Supreme Court nominees who
were anti-affirmative action and pro-coerced pregnancy. His voting record is
alarming by how many important, contentious issues he declined to vote on. As
has already been covered in previous editions of the BAAM newsletter, Obama
hates immigrants while hearting NAFTA and Zionist occupations. Like every other
politician on the planet, Obama is bought and paid for by powerful lobbies, but
unlike other candidates, Obama accepts their donations through third parties
like the Democratic National Committee and law offices so it doesn’t actually
look like he’s accepting lobby money. The presumptive Democratic nominee is
generally a right wing tool masquerading as a means whereby meaningful change
can occur.
Which all brings us back to why we are anarchists to begin with. These
bloodthirsty imperialists are the two viable candidates for the presidency of
the most powerful country in the world. These politicians are both terrifying
and we should be running and fighting for our lives rather than trying to decide
which of the two is less evil and more fit for the office. While these dangerous
lunatics are off drinking the blood of workers out of champagne glasses, I’m
thinking we should be organizing de-centralized models of anti-oppressive
sustainability and autonomous, horizontal decision-making structures and
cooperative uses of resources. You know, anarchy.

Hacking the T
A PDF file that recently appeared on the web site of MIT's student newspaper is
titled Anatomy of a Subway Hack. No, it's not about a bad golfer who works at a
sandwich shop. It’s a presentation by MIT computer science students on the poor
security of the MBTA. The students, R.J. Ryan, Zack Anderson and Alessandro
Chiesa, had planned to give the presentation at the DEFCON 16 hacker convention
in Las Vegas. Their slide show illuminates numerous security breakdowns
throughout the MBTA’s fare collection system. Unlocked doors, wide-open
turnstiles and unsecured turnstile control boxes abound. Access keys and
employee passes are left lying in the open. The video feeds from security
cameras often go unwatched by anyone. The presentation includes a color-coded
station-by-station map of security holes.
Yet the MBTA’s physical security problems pale in comparison to the
vulnerabilities of the CharlieTicket electronic tickets. Fare information,
instead of being secured in a central database, is stored directly on the card,
leaving it vulnerable to anyone with a $400 magnetic strip reader/writer.
CharlieTickets can be cloned and/or have their value increased to a maximum
amount of $655.36.
The security of the T’s CharlieCard passes is almost as pathetic. These cards
use the notoriously weak Mifare Classic RFID chips, about which noted
cryptographer Bruce Schneier has commented that “Anyone with any security
experience would be embarrassed to put his name to the design.” A hacker with an
RFID reader could remotely copy the CharlieCard in a subway rider’s wallet and
clone it onto his own card using easily obtained equipment. The Mifare chips are
used in public transportation systems all over the world and have been known to
be vulnerable since last December.
When informed of these vulnerabilities, MBTA officials reacted in classic
authoritarian fashion by blaming the messenger. They obtained a temporary
injunction banning the students from presenting their findings at DEFCON on the
grounds that the presentation would "cause irreparable harm" to the MBTA. In
granting the injunction, federal judge Douglas Woodlock completely ignored the
fact that the harm to our public transit had already been done by the MBTA's own
negligence and that the MIT students were just reporting it (not to mention that
the T's old token-based system could be "hacked" by anybody with access to a
machine shop).
Unfortunately for the T, their legal team was as incompetent as their engineers.
They didn't file for the injunction until after several hundred CDs of the
presentation had already been mailed to
DEFCON attendees. Worse, they included a separate vulnerability assessment
report received from MIT in their filing, thereby making it a public document.
That report contains additional details not included in the presentation.
As is usual in Internet censorship cases, the attempt to suppress embarrassing
information only generated more publicity, alerting far more people to the
MBTA's security problems than ever would have heard of them otherwise. Copies of
the presentation and the vulnerability assessment have been scattered far and
wide on the Internet for any moderately ambitious criminal to peruse. But
anybody considering electronically scamming free bus trips might do well to
remember the machines of Douglas Adams' Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, and not
“be blinded to the essential uselessness of them by the sense of achievement you
get from getting them to work at all.” In other words, a free subway ride might
not be worth what you paid for it. With that in mind I'll probably keep riding
my bike until someone hacks the T to make the buses run on time, or at least
smell better.

Further reading

HYPERLINK "http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/08/eff-to-appeal-
HYPERLINK "http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/08/injunction-

Trouble on the Tracks
By Jeff Reinhardt
As gas prices continue to rise and the general cost of living skyrockets, if
there was any good that was going to come from this summer's energy crisis, it
should be bettering urban public transit systems. After all, using them costs
significantly less and takes money out of the hands of the oil giants with a
more earth-friendly alternative.
In Boston, however, we have seen much the opposite happen. Starting in 2010, we
might have to start paying for it (and Exxon did report its highest quarterly
profit margin ever, although short of what investors hoped for).
Despite ridership increasing this year by 6.1%, MBTA general manager Daniel A.
Grabauskas told the Globe on Tuesday, August 5 that in order to rescue the
transit agency from an ever-worsening fiscal crisis, there would have to be a
"hefty" fare increase in 2010.
The MBTA is now going to be $8.2 billion dollars in debt. Sure, that is only an
imaginary figure that exists on paper, but it means that the public might be
paying fares of up to $2.50 per subway trip and up to $1.90 for local bus
service after next year. Last January was the when the last fare increase
occurred, raising the fare for the subway from $1.25 to $1.70 with a Charlie
Card, $2.00 with cash or paper ticket. The bus fare increased from $.90 to
$1.25. In 2001 a similar increase took place.
The trouble started back in 1999, when the MBTA's revenue system was
restructured. Prior to the year 2000, the MBTA's debt was handled by the state,
which would support the agency when necessary to keep it running. Now, the MBTA
is funded only from the state sales tax, from which it receives 20% to supply
its revenue. The problem with this is that the sales tax has not been supporting
the T, and with the drastic increase in energy costs, it does little to cover
the cost of operating a mass transit system.
So now there are two options that the MBTA can choose—raising fares in 2010, or
cutting service—neither which is going to make the public happy, or put even a
small dent in the debt. Both will inevitably decrease ridership, which is
exactly the opposite of what should be happening.
"The MBTA has their hands tied down right now," said Rene Mardones, spokesperson
for the T Riders Union (TRU). Rather than accepting the state of the T's
affairs, TRU has been working steadily over the last two years to pass a bill in
the state house to alleviate the T's debt and improving their overall finances.
The bill (HR 3694) was drafted around the time of the last fare increase in
2007, but has yet to pass.
TRU, which is part of Alternatives for the Community and Environment (ACE), a
nonprofit environmental justice group in Dudley Square, has been one of the only
organizations meeting the MBTA's problems head on. They have been proactive in
an area where many see no hope.
TRU also works closely with the MBTA Rider Oversight Committee, which is an
organization that tries to affect transit policy through legislative means. The
group recently wrote a letter to Governor Deval Patrick, urging him to take
action and alleviate debt. But, as of now, the governor has not responded.
Both groups see the MBTA's debt not just as an isolated problem, but one that
affects people differently depending on their socio-economic class. TRU
regularly surveys riders in working class areas like Dorchester, Roxbury, and
Chelsea. The residents in these neighborhoods depend on the bus as the primary
form of transportation. The buses they take are consistently the slowest and
least reliable. Also, these people are hit hardest by fare increases.
"Most of the people who use buses are low income," said Mardones, speaking about
the last fare increase in January 2007. "So it [fare increases] really impacts
them. We are putting in effort to try and reach them." TRU has done this through
legislative actions as well as street protests and organizing the people to
attend the MBTA board's monthly hearings.
TRU fought the last fare increase, and although they did not stop it, they plan
on fighting a new fare increase in 2010. In the past, they helped fight for more
environmentally friendly fuel, in the form of compressed natural gas, which has
been implemented. They also successfully stopped buses in Dudley from idling in
between trips, to cut down on air pollution.
Ultimately, TRU is fighting to keep the MBTA afloat, and for it to provide fair
service to those who need it most. It has the ability to benefit all public
transit users in Boston though. "If we have a really reliable system," said
Mardones. "Then people will use the system more and it will improve."
We are certainly looking at an uphill battle, but rather than just complaining,
there are steps citizens can take to improve our transit system. The MBTA board
of directors meets the first Thursday of every month at 1pm on the third floor
of the Transportation Building. Go tell them your story about the T, and help
them improve service for everyone.
For more information about the T Riders' Union and ways to get involved call
Rene Mardones at 617-442-3313 x239 or email him at rene (at) ace-ej.org

A Preview of the DNC
By Cady
Much has been made by many a liberal Democrat about the supposed
"different-ness" of their political party, one that they claim has miraculously
found a way to take billions of dollars of money every year from racist, sexist,
land-raping capitalists and simultaneously support the liberation of women from
patriarchy, people of color from white supremacy, workers from bosses, and the
earth from destructive abuse. Anarchists reject these easily apparent lies every
day, and they plan to do so again at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in
Denver Colorado.
The Democratic National Convention in 2008 is going to be a 100 million dollar
party for out-of-towners in a city where some people are starving. Official
rules state that companies who give the Democratic Party a quarter of a million
dollars are allowed to host talks with politicians on issues affecting their
industries, that individuals or companies who give 52 thousand are allowed
multiple advertising opportunities at the convention, and that individuals or
companies who donate a million are guaranteed a meeting with the local mayor,
senator and state representative.
What these policies mean is that the convention is being funded by mining
companies who destroy our planet, by weapon-makers, by Coke, by banks that send
people out of their homes in winter so that the houses may sit empty, by tobacco
companies, by insurance companies, and by many others who have reason to be
afraid of real democracy. These companies have been attracted to the convention
by promises that they will be able to sway those in power, and they are being
granted access and influence that most voters cannot fathom. What these policies
mean is that Target has a voice while our voices are silenced.
In fact, a security budget of 50 million dollars has been put in place to make
sure that nobody like me can interrupt Target while its shills are trying to
speak. The Secret Service is officially in charge of security, with local cops
doing most of the brutal enforcement. Police forces from other cities are also
coming into Denver for the duration of the convention, despite the
well-documented fact that this tactic increases civil rights abuses on the part
of the imported police officers.
However, activists at Unconventional Denver have already offered the
violence-prone and violence-seeking law enforcement a way out. They've declared
in a statement to the city of Denver, the Democratic party, and the nation that
they will not protest the convention at all if the ludicrous sum of 50 million
dollars is re-routed to programs which help the people of Denver and the local
The offer made by Unconventional Denver is worth quoting. "It is true," they
say, "that there is a group mobilizing forces from across the country and
amassing exotic weapons that they refuse to disclose to the public. They have a
record of inflicting violence on unarmed civilians and illegally spying on
citizens working toward positive change. They even dress in black- they are the
Denver police and the various local, state and federal forces that will be
transforming Denver into a miniature version of the occupation of Iraq when the
DNC comes to town."
The protesters pointed out in their statement that the 50 million dollars would
help to re-open the six schools Denver shut down last year or begin to insure
the 160 thousand children in the Denver area with no health insurance coverage.
They suggested using the money to help provide renewable energy to the city.
It is obvious from the statement prepared by Unconventional Denver that DNC 2008
protesters are not the terrorists for which the Democratic National Committee
claims they are preparing. In fact, they really do come off as far more
anti-violence than the thugs in uniform who would descend on the city in order
to wreak havoc. Instead of new surveillance cameras, Unconventional Denver wants
new hospitals and new schools. Instead of violent confrontation, anarchists want
to help Denver's residents access the services that all people need to survive.
If the city, Democratic Party, and federal government say no, then it is because
the city, the Democratic Party, and the federal government value violence over
the feeding and schooling of their own citizens.

Verizon Workers Avoid Strike, Win Contract
Jake Carman

On Friday, August 8th, Verizon reached a tentative agreement with the two unions
representing its employees, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
(IBEW) and the Communication Workers of America (CWA). Verizon workers had
remained on the job without a contract after their August 3rd strike deadline
passed, allowing negotiations to continue. As one Verizon Union Installation
Repair Technician working in Boston said in an August 6th interview, “Sometimes
its more advantageous for the union to not strike. The company has to get their
scabs in hotels and be ready to go, and they’re paying us to work.” He added,
“It worked for the union last time, I’m hoping it works this time as well.”
It did work. Along with a 3% plus wage increases for the next 3 years, the
workers won on the issue they considered most pressing: health and retiree
benefits. Verizon wanted to get rid of their supplemental insurance plan for
retirees, which would have affected thousands of people, including those who
worked at the original, government-owner phone-company, Ma Bell, as well as New
England Telephone, Ninex, Bell Atlantic, and other Verizon predecessors.
“We made out the best on the contract,” said the Union Technician, who asked to
remain anonymous. “The problem is the people who get hired after this is settled
will, instead of benefits, basically get $430 for each year of service once they
retire, which is hardly anything.” He added that the current and former workers
are largely satisfied with the new contract, saying, “It will definitely get
ratified by the Locals. It’s a good contract.”
Verizon, a New York-based telecommunications company, has about 65,000 union
employees nationwide, 15% represented by IBEW, and the rest by CWA. The unions
and the management had been at bargaining table in New York since May 27th,
negotiating the new contract. “Both sides were entering with open minds with the
goal of arriving at a fair contract," said Phil Santoro, Verizon's regional
Media Relations Manager in an interview with the Lowell Sun. But while both
Verizon and the Unions were optimistic about the outcome, the workers’ big
victory can be attributed to an issue of leverage. “It really has to do with
competition,” said the technician. “More now than ever, it is such a huge issue
for the company.” Verizon’s newest product, FIOS, which means Fiber-Optic
Technology, was previously only for Government use, and now that they are doing
home installations the company has an opportunity to stand out against its
competitors. Without their workers, trained as they are in the new technology.
however, Verizon could have lost major profits. “If we went on strike, there
were no people who they could hired who could set it up the right way,” said the
anonymous technician. “They basically realized that they had to settle or risk
loosing a whole lot more on their FIOS investment.”
Though the Verizon unions won this battle, many have a bleak outlook for the
future of unions. The national numbers of unionized jobs is embarrassing, but
workers like the technician we interviewed are standing up to defend “a dieing
breed of American jobs that pays a living wage, pays benefit, that actually
takes care of its employees.” Unions in Boston still actively and successfully
employ strike tactics, and picket lines are generally recognized. For Boston
workers, said the anonymous Verizon employee, “Crossing the picket-line is like
punching your mother, you can’t undo once its done.” One last word of advice
from the victorious workers at Verizon: “We’ve got to fight with every ounce we
have in us to keep what’s left, cause when you give up stuff they never give it
back. If we were to give and inch on retiree benefits, they will never get that
back, and next contract, the company’s going to ask for 2 inches.”
See the proposed contract PDF; www.IBEW2222.org
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