Stephen Durham, the Freedom Socialist Party nominee for President in the 2012 general election, drove up from New York for the Thursday rush hour rally calling for Bradley Manning’s freedom. Continue reading 'Blowing Whistles for a Whistleblower'»
In 2003, to oppose the United States’ invasion of Iraq meant setting oneself up for anything from ridicule to threats. Having been called a traitor in no uncertain terms, I know this firsthand. Seeing the biased coverage of the anti-war movement was what compelled me to participate in Indymedia, as there was (and is) a great need for reporting on social justice from the perspective — or at least, with empathy — of those not in the dominant culture.
Too often, the stories are still told from those in positions of power. We can see this in the narratives created about the protests of police brutality in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. Most mainstream news outlets attached the word “riot” to what had been happening, despite citizen journalists’ video footage showing that the majority of the protests were peaceful, if not in language, at least in action.
A press release does not a story make. Continue reading '10+ Years In'»
Connecticut is not boring. It is revolutionary. Still.
But tourism websites and ad agencies never capture this for a multitude of reasons, giving the masses yet another branding campaign to mock.
One reason these don’t work: they are too slick. We know someone is trying to sell us on a trip here or there. The realness is removed through photography and videography that is just too polished. There’s no human voice there.
Contrast that with two homegrown sites that exist primarily for the authors’ own amusement. Connecticut Museum Quest, authored by Stephen Wood, comes with its own mission statement: “destroying the myth that there is nothing to do here.” Wood, often with his family in tow, travels around the state exploring museums, trails, food, and specializing in the quirky. This is how I learned there is something called “peak-bagging,” which is not what it sounds like. If all you know about Connecticut is Mystic Seaport, Mark Twain, and Mohegan Sun, this is the site to visit. He’ll show you everything on and off the beaten path, make you laugh while doing it, and tell the truth about which places have employees with nasty attitudes or venues with inconsistent hours. Even if you have lived in Connecticut your entire life, this site will introduce you to at least one thing you did not know existed.
The Size of Connecticut is a blog about the author’s “attempt to discover (and live in and travel around and photograph) these 4,845 sq. miles.” Johnna Kaplan was raised in Westport, where she understandably developed a skewed sense of what the rest of Connecticut was like; now, in New London, she travels the state learning about life outside of Fairfield County. This is where to find out about synagogues randomly in the middle of nowhere, replica schoolhouses, and what might attract young(ish) people (back) to Connecticut. Yes, she writes about Nathan Hale, but her portrayal has flavor.
There is nothing touristy about these sites, yet they are compelling in ways that the well-funded official sites are not.
The Connecticut Office of Tourism’s website is not without merit. There is information. It does make Connecticut appear attractive. But there are gaps. Look at the “Creative in Connecticut” list, for example. Someone unfamiliar with our state may glance at it and believe that we lack in creativity; we simply lack in people willing to put together comprehensive lists about creative offerings. To be fair, the “This Weekend” lists are better than the “Getaways.”
The other major failing of the “Still Revolutionary” official propaganda is that it wholly ignores activism in Connecticut today. Governor Malloy should get credit for acknowledging Connecticut’s role in the sexual revolution, but he speaks of it in the wrong verb tense. Continue reading 'Still Revolutionary, Real Hartford-Style'»
The following is not intended to be an all-inclusive list. Rather, these are my snobbish selections of what sounds most interesting in the upcoming month. Also, to mark the ten years since September 11, 2001, there will be numerous events, re-broadcasts, etc. For this calendar, I am only including those that appear to promise not to pander to reactionaries, nor foster chauvinism.
August 31- September 4th
Quidam: Cirque du Soleil at the Civic Center.
Art After Hours: Escape to India. The Wadsworth Atheneum’s monthly party will feature Indian cuisine, dancing, henna body painting, and a fashion show by Sadhna’s, a downtown clothing boutique. The event begins at 5pm and concludes after the screening of Monsoon Wedding.
The Art of Carlos Hernandez-Chavez: “I am My Mother.” The opening reception will be from 5-8pm at the Pump House Gallery, located at 60 Elm Street at the edge of Bushnell Park. This collection of work by “Hartford visual artist, muralist, photographer, musician, arts educator and activist Carlos Hernandez-Chavez” will be on display through September 29th. Continue reading 'Happening(s) in September'»
“Being a peace activist does not mean you love everybody,” she said. “You don’t have to be a peaceful person to change the world. There are plenty of things that fire me up and make me get off my ass and want to change the world.”
For those who cringe every time “One Love” comes on the radio, her message was refreshing.
Williams said, “You don’t have to be popular. I’m not popular [...] I don’t care if you like me. [...] That’s not my role in life.” Continue reading 'The Barefoot Nobel Laureate'»
“You can’t get people to change the fundamental things in their life if they don’t trust you,” Bill Drayton, founder and CEO of Ashoka, told several hundred youth Friday morning in the opening address of the World Youth Peace Summit.
The summit follows the World Scholar-Athlete Games, providing young athletes and artists the opportunity to learn more about peace policies in workshops and lectures.
In Chase Arena on the University of Hartford campus, Drayton addressed youth from around the globe.
“We’ve lived in a world [...] in which a small, elite runs everything. Everyone else does repetitive functions,” he said, before stating that this model is changing.
What is developing, Drayton said, is a “team of teams,” or a horizontal power structure. While in the past a person could get by merely by following the rules, now, “if you do not have empathy [...] you are screwed.” Continue reading 'Growing Peace in Hartford'»
The next time I hear somebody run his mouth about how people in Hartford don’t care about anything, I’m going to drag him to a City Council meeting. He would then see that even at meetings without a public hearing session, residents are willing to stand — if there are no chairs left, which often is the case– for over an hour to listen to public servants make decisions that will affect them.
Monday night, many residents showed up at City Hall to support designating roughly $50,000 for the Salvation Army’s Marshall House emergency shelter to remain open through the end of June. Because there was no public hearing, they held signs. This agenda item was not debated because its sponsor apparently missed a deadline. Items that were discussed: trees, the impact of war, and whether or not voters were too dumb to know what they were voting for in 2008 when they gave an 80% pay raise to City Council. Continue reading 'Removing Trees, Ending Wars, and Repealing Raises'»
In September 2010, the homes of 23 peace activists were raided by the FBI. More recently, nine anti-war activists had been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury today. Although these raids occurred in Chicago and Minneapolis, local activists will be standing in solidarity from 5-7 this evening at the Federal Building in Hartford.
The purpose of the rally is to “demand an immediate end to the repression against anti-war and international solidarity activists, the return of all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, etc., and an end to the Grand Jury proceedings and FBI raids against all anti-war activists.”
The rally — sponsored by CT United for Peace Organizing Committee; CT Council on American-Islamic Relations; West Hartford Citizens for Peace and Justice; Manchester Peace Coalition; Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, CT; People of Faith CT; Socialist Party of CT; Middle East Crisis Committee; CT Socialist Action, and the Greater New Haven Peace Council — is one of fifty protests being held around the United States.