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A few well-written words can convey a wealth of information, particularly when there is no lag time between when they are written and when they are read. The IPS blog gives you an opportunity to hear directly from IPS scholars and staff on ideas large and small and for us to hear back from you.

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Entries since May 2010

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From the Frontlines: May 21st, 2010

May 21, 2010 ·

barricade in thailand. credit: andre vltchekYou can now see a live stream of the BP oil spill, courtesy of Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA). And Mother Jones reporter Mac McClelland is tweeting about what she's finding on a beach in the Gulf.

The Thai government is cracking down on protesters, but don't expect much criticism from Washington. FPIF contributor Andre Vltchek wrote about his visit to the troubled country (picture of barricade at right), while cleanup operations begin in Bangkok.

The Senate passed the Wall Street reform bill…but what's in there, exactly? Brian Beutler gives a good, quick rundown.

China's invading the Arctic Circle in a quest for fossil fuel.

Yes! has a great interview with Donna Edwards on the Citizens United case.

AZ Gov. Jan Brewer has a lame response to those criticizing the immigration bill.

How to Top Off a Protest

May 21, 2010 ·

plunderThere couldn’t have been a better conclusion for the Showdown on K Street than with the evening’s DC premiere screening and discussion at Busboys & Poets and organized by IPS.  The new documentary, PLUNDER; The Crime of Our Time, by Danny Schechter “looks at the financial crisis, not as a business or a political story, but as a crime story”.  And Mr. Schechter (a.k.a. the News Dissector) was in town for the post screening discussion.

The purpose of the event was for us to arm ourselves with what I like to call information ammunition. Building a progressive movement necessarily includes those with arsenals of information and analysis. Because acting thoughtfully is just as important as action oriented thinking. The two are not the same nor does one presuppose the other.

Before the event that night Danny did a short radio interview with Dr. Jared Ball, host of Jazz & Justice on WPFW 89.3 FM, which proved to be a very interesting. Check it out and fortify yourself with that.

After a rainy day and people having protested and marched all day we had no idea what kind of turn out to expect for the 9pm event.  To our surprise and satisfaction the post Showdown screening was a success. Plunder was a timely and perfect culmination for everything that had taken place. While the film did simplify a lot, it also showed just how complex the crime(s) that had been committed were and how slippery it makes the work of anyone trying to prosecute the criminals.  James Early mc’d the event superbly and moderated the post panel discussion in a packed Langston Room. There was also a surprise cameo appearance by Ralph Nader who opened the film with remarks about Danny and the issue of news media integrity.

The panel that followed was energized by Erica Smiley, Southern Regional Organizer for Jobs with Justice and involved in the organizing of the K Street Showdown.  IPS fellow and director of the Cities for Progress and Cities for Peace projects, Karen Dolan also spiced up the panel. And, of course there was Danny Schechter, independent filmmaker and TV producer with the award-winning independent company, Globalvision.

This funky little mix was put together to give you a feel for the evening. Take a listen (MP3) at some highlights and enjoy.

Love in a Time of Climate Crisis

May 20, 2010 ·

 

Do yourself a favor and check out this amazing 8-minute interview with poet, architect, activist and director of Friends of the Earth International Nnimmo Bassey. It sums up the mood of the Cochabamba indigenous moment and the climate crisis -- as a love story -- better than anything I've seen.

Global Activists Coordinate Actions to Tax Speculators

May 20, 2010 ·

From Sydney, Australia to Vancouver, Canada, activists are taking to the streets in cities around the world this week to hold the financial sector accountable for the costs of the global crisis.  

A key demand:  tiny levies on trades of stock, derivatives and currency that could help curb speculation and generate big money for good things, like job creation and fighting poverty.  

K St protest. In Washington, DC, thousands rallied on May 17, calling for such a “financial speculation tax” – as part of a broader financial reform agenda. Organized by the AFL-CIO, SEIU, National People’s Action, and Jobs with Justice, the rally took place on K Street, the office building corridor notorious for its high concentration of corporate and financial industry lobbyists. Under a steady cold rain, protestors in plastic ponchos struggled to juggle umbrellas in one hand and soggy placards in the other.

K Street protestTheir determination reflected the high level of anger over Wall Street’s continued excesses at a time when ordinary working families are still suffering from the crisis.  Our video captures diverse perspectives on why financial speculation taxes are one piece of the solution.

 Since the pending financial reform bill does not include financial speculation taxes, this will be a key piece of “unfinished business” after Congress concludes the current debate on Wall Street regulation.  

In many of countries, coalitions have adopted Robin Hood imagery to emphasize how even miniscule levies on financial transactions could generate massive revenues for to fight poverty and other urgent needs. As you’ll see in the photos and videos below, this has kicked up good business for Robin Hood costume and horse rental businesses.  

United Kingdom  

Robin Hood Tax rally, LondonDressed as Robin Hood, campaigners on May 19 marched across the Westminster Bridge in London to deliver giant mosaics of pictures of more than 3,400 supporters to new members of Parliament, urging them to make a Robin Hood Tax one of their top legislative priorities. New Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is already a supporter. Let’s hope he can persuade his Conservative Party coalition partners. Activists in Scotland, carried out a similar action in Glasgow.

Germany  

Fired up by recent supportive statements from their government leaders, Berlin activists performed a stunt in front of the Brandenburger Tor on May 19, aimed at a meeting in the city of several G-20 heads of state and finance ministers.   In the video on their campaign site, Campaigners dressed as Robin Hood and merry people attacked a bankers’ carriage with big bags of money. An activist playing Robin Hood boarded the carriage and reloaded small bags of money out of the big ones and placed them into a bucket labelled Fight poverty, Finance development and protect the climate.    

Canada

Canada protest tug of war.The Canadian campaign carried out events on May 19 in major cities, including Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Saskatoon, Ottawa and St. John’s. In Ottawa, activists staged a tug-of-war in front of the Parliament building that pitted bankers against “the people” (plus one polar bear), with G-20 leaders looking on. The activist team carried signs suggesting how revenues from the tax could contribute to financing different issues, including maternal health initiatives. The Canadian coalition has a big challenge ahead, as conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has vowed to block progress on bank taxation at the G-20 leaders summit, which he will be hosting in Toronto in June.

France

On May 18, a new coalition of labor, environmental, and development groups received widespread media coverage when they launched a petition to G-20 leaders, asking for support of financial speculation taxes. The petition is available in multiple languages (including English) and citizens of the world are invited to lend their endorsements. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been one of the most vocal supporters of the global campaign.

Australia  

 

The Australian coalition is planning a film/photo stunt with campaigners dressed as Robin Hood, shooting arrows at the campaign target in the Central Business District of Sydney today.   More photos from the DC rally and actions in other countries are being pooled on this flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/groups/1381757@N25/

From the Frontlines: May 20th, 2010

May 20, 2010 ·

Today's action: Join our allies in urging Congress to support the Feingold-McGovern Bill for a military withdrawal timetable.  

To that end, the U.S. is investigating allegations that its soldiers were responsible for the unlawful death of Afghan civilians.  

Dennis Kucinich introduces legislation to prohibit killing U.S. citizens without due process, presumably to remind some government organizations they're not above the Constitution.  

Elvis Costello is the latest artist to cancel performances in Israel, in solidarity with the Palestinians. "I must believe that the audience for the coming concerts would have contained many people who question the policies of their government on settlement and deplore conditions that visit intimidation, humiliation or much worse on Palestinian civilians in the name of national security," he wrote in an open letter.  

Montgomery County, MD passed the nation's first carbon tax.  

The cloture vote on financial reform failed, and it looks like that was probably a good thing. However, Kevin Drum says that waiting too long might make things worse.  

Your moment of Zen: Blog This Rock's poem of the week.

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