Environmental Action

Polluters are using two Supreme Court rulings and Bush era actions by the Environmental Protection Agency in an attempt to circumvent the Clean Water Act. This can result in the pollution of America's streams, lakes and rivers. Please support the "Clean Water Restoration Act". Go to earthjustice.org and learn more.

Posted by D.J.

Crisis in Somalia


A series of public forums on the current war and raising awareness on what some call the largest humanitarian crisis in Africa and the world.

Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009

4-6 pm

Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center,

3 Rutland Street (at corner of State St.)

Springfield, MA



FEATURING special guest Smith College professor KATWIWA MULE.

Video clips of past forums and live performance by members of the Walaalo! Somali Sisters Collective.

There will be POETRY and MUSIC from members of Walaalo! Collective

For more info visit our website at www.newworldtheater.org or contact Nicole: nmyoung@acad.umass.edu or 413-545-1972

The Crisis in Somalia forums are co-sponsored by the Center for Popular Economics,Western Mass. American

Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the MLK Community Center, and other partners with generous support from

the Mass Humanities.

See our website for updates & information – www.newworldtheater.org

WALAALO! Project is supported in part by the Womenʼs Fund of Western Massachusetts, and Mass

Humanities. This highly collaborative project would not be possible without the work of the

following partner organizations: the Center for Popular Economics, the International Language

Institute, Akeret Productions, Deanʼs Beans, and Gasoline Alley.

For info email Nicole Young at nmyoung@acad.umass.edu or call NWT at 413-545-1972.

Homeless Nation gains attention

Last fall community and social media expert Chris Brogan gave a plus t0 Canadian-based Homeless Nation, a site I frequently go to for updates on homeless organizing.

You might have heard of the site. They won both the Canadian New Media Award (CNMA) and the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) Award for Excellence in New Communications Award for New Media Creation/Social Media Production, so it’s not like they’re going unnoticed. The organization has been around since 2003, providing information on services, events, missing people notices, and much more.

I found the fact that members of Homeless Nation can produce podcasts and video to be quite an interesting component. Imagine a world where your physical location is no longer fixed. You might have a place to stash parts of your belongings. You will certainly find ways to acquire temporary shelter, will learn how to find food, find a place to bathe, and the like.

Homeless Nation describes it goals as:

Our Goals

  • Build and strengthen communities, both virtual and actual, across Canada
  • Provide access to the Internet, media and training to Canada's homeless population
  • Encourage discussion and learning on social issues surrounding homelessness
  • Create dialogue between Canada's homeless and mainstream society to counter isolation and marginalization
  • Recycle and re-purpose technology for use by Canada's homeless communities
  • Break down stereotypes and barriers in our society
  • Community development uniting resources serving the homeless
  • Create a national collective voice by and for Canada's homeless population
  • Wouldn't it be great to have a site like this in the U.S.?

    Meeting Minutes 13/2

    Glasgow Social Centre Meeting Minutes. 13/02/09.

    1.General update on what's happened so far.
    2.Update from Business Plan meeting:
    Feel we're not ready to write a business plan yet.
    Need to plan a strategy for the months ahead to get there.
    Going to have meeting with CEIS who give advice on social enterprises etc.

    Some points that came up:
    *We could make a graphic map of Glasgow filling in what similar things
    already exist and where are they to establish where we should be.
    *If we're gonna have a cafe, we need to find people who want to run a cafe.
    *Could cover some costs by taking subs – standing orders or regular
    donations from 'members'.
    *Could move in somewhere straight away to get things happening and just
    have an activist centre for the short-term and build towards other aims
    from there.
    *Francis McGhee, Dir. Of the CCA has some land and allotment project in
    Drumchapel and is interested in whether groups like us could be involved.

    Planning a Strategy:

    We decided that it would be good to give ourselves some structure and plan
    the tasks we need to do. We had a brainstorm of steps that we need to
    take, things we need to do and events/stuff that we can be doing regularly
    and frequently from now.

    Steps towards becoming a social centre:
    (To be put into a timeline by smaller group – if you want to be involved
    with this but weren't at the meeting shout now.)

    Meet with CEIS

    Have a workshop where we brainstorm everything that it could be and
    document it really well so that we don't need to keep repeating this

    Research – map, what's happening already? Talk to local councillors and
    other useful contacts.

    Decide upon a location/area within Glasgow

    Address our groups internal structure, roles etc.

    Working groups?

    Build links with a place/places that exist

    Build links with existing groups

    Why Glasgow? And what's unique about what we want to do?


    Funding (get some)

    Find a place ( even temporary?)

    Get regular events happening

    Ideas for Stuff that we can be doing as of now at regular intervals under
    the banner of Glasgow Social Centre:

    Presentation of all similar establishments in Glasgow (Unity, Clydebank
    space etc.) - How do we differ?

    Host workshops from other groups in Glasgow – beer-making, master compost,
    tetra-pak wallets, CityStrolls, Glasgow Craft Mafia etc.

    Food Not Bombs

    Pedal generators


    Film Screenings (Groups that lend out films – see Kate)

    Clothes revamping – Partick Group

    Swap Shop

    May Day – could we link in

    Face Painting


    Basic Electrics

    Shelf Hanging

    Bike Maintenance

    Music Night – dancing

    Field Trips and Walks

    Paul Chatterton from The Common Place in Leeds and Mike from ACE,
    Edinburgh can come and speak with us in early April-ish (Dan as point of

    James from the Forest is up for coming

    People from Bradford Social Centre

    *It was felt that these could also be prioritised into some sort of order–
    some will help to move us along, some will be fun which is much needed
    between meetings and some will help to raise money.

    Action Points:

    Go through the list and timeline – Beth, Hannah, Denis, Stephen
    Look into Drumchapel opportunity – Bob
    Contact Clydebank Social Centre and ask about a meeting/something – Bob
    Go to CEIS meeting – Beth, Hannah, Mark, Stephen, Melissa.
    Contact the council to find out dates and timeline of their rent-free
    initiative deal – Denis.

    Next Meeting: Friday 20th Feb.
    From the Springfield Republican, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009

    NORTHAMPTON - Venturing into little-known legal territory, the defense for Jason W. Vassell asked a Hampshire Superior Court judge on Wednesday for the right to examine police and prosecution files for incidents involving race. Read more...

    'Racism' hinted in UMass case
    Wednesday, February 18, 2009

    As President Obama is scheduled to announce his $50 billion foreclosure prevention plan today, we go to Minneapolis to speak with Cheri Honkala of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. The group is taking matters into its own hands and finding housing for homeless people in foreclosed and vacant homes. We also speak to Dwayne Cunningham, a homeless man who recently moved into a vacant home.

    Read on...
    Amy Goodman’s New Column: “Jailing Kids for Cash”
    As many as 5,000 children in Pennsylvania have been found guilty, and up to 2,000 of them jailed, by two corrupt judges who received kickbacks from the builders and owners of private prison facilities that benefited. The two judges pleaded guilty in a stunning case of greed and corruption that is still unfolding. Judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan received $2.6 million in kickbacks while imprisoning children who often had no access to a lawyer. The case offers an extraordinary glimpse into the shameful private prison industry that is flourishing in the United States.
    Listen to this Column

    Springfield Libraries Under Fire Again By Maureen Turner

    Springfield Libraries Under Fire Again
    Supporters say proposed budget cuts would devastate the city's library system.

    Springfield's city libraries have been on a roller coaster ride in recent years, with dramatic lows (the shutting of three neighborhood branches by the Springfield Library and Museums Association in 2003) and thrilling highs (the citizens' movement that same year that led to the city taking control of the libraries from the SLMA).

    While not all the damage suffered under the SLMA has been undone—notably, Mason Square still doesn't have a full branch, six years after the SLMA secretly sold that neighborhood's branch building to the Urban League—the system has enjoyed a general sense of security since it was taken from the private organization and put under public control.

    But that sense of security has been shaken by recent budget recommendations put out by Mayor Domenic Sarno. Faced with deep cuts in local aid, the Sarno administration is looking to cut more than $4.5 million in city spending over the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

    Taylor Swift: Beautiful Girl.

    I'm not a big fan of country music. But the song in the link above is quite catchy and is what my wife would call a "happy song". It's sweet, innocent and traditional and a refreshing change to all the rubbish and soft porn that is peddled by the Music industry.

    I must admit I was quite arrested by the appearance of the singer whom I find beautiful. While this girl is erotically attractive-(I'm old enough to be her father)-her beauty in a way overrides it and I find her attractive in an aesthetic sense. She is just so damn pretty and feminine. Throughout the clip her appearance changes from modern college student to traditional damsel. Interestingly her femininity seems enhanced by the traditional clothing that she wears and she is more beautiful because of it. I suppose it just goes to show how powerful an affect fashion makes on a woman's appearance. She is pretty in the modern garb but stunning in the traditional wear.

    Enjoy the tune. Yes, I'm a soppy sentimentalist.

    20 years later, are we finally "families?"

    One of the very first flyers Arise ever made-- back in the day when we scratched off presstype letters that were never even-- was about a memo from Welfare that had fallen into our hands. The language in the memo was very strange-- instead of saying families, we were called "Assistance Units!!!"

    Well, we protested, we used it to organiz IOe other families on Welfare to illustrate how we were demeaned by the system.

    Today I got an email from the Mass Coalition for the Homeless about the eight TERRIBLE proposals the Department of Transitional Assistance is proposing that would limit families' access to emergency shelter. they all need to be opposed, and I've written about them in more detail on my own blog.

    At the very end of the email from MCH, two positive changes are mentioned. One removes barriers to shelter for children living with legal guardians who are not parents.

    This is the other: "Refer to families as "households" instead of "assistance units."
    What a long, strange trip it's been.

    Bush Gone, More Children Get Healthcare

    Bush is Gone!
    Right-wing President George W. Bush is no longer in office. He can no longer veto the increase in the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The American people have repudiated his policies and elected President Barak Obama. President Obama has signed the SCHIP expansion. This is a complete reversal of government policy. Is the country beginning to catch up to the standards that civilized countries in Europe and elsewhere enjoy? We need a single-payer National Health Insurance Program for everyone.

    Obama signs into law expansion of SCHIP health-care program for children Chicago Tribune Story

    State by State SCHIPS database Insure Kids Now!

    Physicians for a National Health Program fact sheet What is Single Payer?

    (George W. Bush picture is in the Public Domain)

    Change slow to come on Police Review Board

    more on the Springfield Police Civilian Review Board from the Republican...

    Police review board criticized
    Sunday, February 08, 2009
    SPRINGFIELD - The police complaint review board meets at least twice a month and has handled more than 50 cases, according to its coordinator.
    "People do know about the Community Complaint Review Board," Denise R. Jordan, who is chief of staff to Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and also coordinates the review panel, said this week. "Otherwise, we wouldn't have cases to work on. They come to our office and they get the forms, so I'm confident that they are aware of it."
    Jordan will tell city councilors about the board's activity when she meets with the council's Civil Rights and Race Relations Committee Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall. The meeting comes in response to councilors' criticisms that the nine-member board, which is an advisory panel to the mayor, is secretive and ineffective. READ THE REST BY CLICKING THE LINK:


    Brick Ideas

    People at the Reshuffle were invited to post up what they would like to see from a Social centre.

    Here are their thoughts:

    * A Place to find out what is going on in Glasgow
    * Teach workshop Club – subscription like a gym but you get to use equipment (sewing machine, soldering iron, drill etc…)
    * Painting drawing and discussion
    * A film Club showing contemporary film from indie Producers (Britain and abroad). Particularly on workers initiatives, struggles and solutions
    * Greenspace garden, café and loads of workshops
    * Fun, games and art activities for kids. No computers! No TV!
    * A place to sing songs and tell stories
    * Space for dancing, music, art, performance, chilling
    * Some kind of exchange of peoples' unwanted stuff a la freecycle
    * Women's evenings
    * Free English lessons
    * Skill exchange (my knitting for your Arabic, etc,…)
    * Set up a thrift shop – second hand clothes and goods- (like a car boot sale)
    * Park
    * Use older members of community to tell stories or to run reminiscence for all ages
    * Rent or share a granny – support for young and single parents
    * Organic ethical (not as main feature- as background), run by volunteers workshops, books, computers.
    * A communal haven for arts, crafts and good conversation over a lovely piece of cake and tea. + knitting needles
    * Place with sofas to relax
    * Network with like minded people
    * Place to get exposed to alternative movies and books
    * Face to face interaction –vs online communities
    * A space with no pressure to buy –spend- sell-consume
    * Somewhere o go late at night that isn't booze –pub focussed
    * Get some archive films from Scottish screen for free community learning
    * Space to share serious concerns, plan serious stuff – without feeling like an extremist loony
    * Smiles, freedom, fun and enthusiasm
    * Arty activities
    * Safe meeting place, skill share haven and vegan café
    * Create a space where people can create without being exploited
    * Space for networking and collaborating
    * Discussing and organising
    * Space for kids and parents to play together … or better still, a cool and groovy free crèche
    * Somewhere to organise – meet –plot- plan audacious and necessary things
    * A workshop to learn basic plumbing
    * Somewhere for open and honest discussion to be held
    * Café and garden
    * A space to explore our independence, and the ways we meet our needs as a society
    * Music, history and cultural centres
    * Plotting and planning – share ideas food the love.
    * An alternative to boring pubs.

    Minutes for Meeting 30/1


    we shall gather imput from the communities present through the via of:

    - film, ask people to answer a few questions about what they'd like to see in a social centre
    - the paper bricks which people can write on and stick to the cardboard social centre

    This information should be compiled for the open meeting next saturday

    Why Glasgow?

    One question which has been put aside since it was raised at one of the first meetings is what makes Glasgow special, and how can we make the social centre relevant to its particularities.

    Glasgow has a very rich history of activism and resistance (cf. rent strikes, poll tax strikes, tanks sent to george square to quell protests).

    Could we maybe host an event which would have a look at this history of activism? This could be a very intersesting venture and could help us find how we might fit into this history. Kate would be willing to take on the organisation of this event if there is motivation for it.

    Social at the Pearce Institute

    A social event is being proposed to be held in the PI some time in february. Could we help organise this? It would be good practice for when we have our own place to organise events in! Bob to get more info.

    Open Meeting

    7th feb, 2-4 Posters and flyer have been made and sent round by pearce everone: get them out there!

    This meeting could take the shape of several short presentations followed by a discussion on the social centre. These presentations could include:

    - feedback from reshuffle
    - update on how far we have got already (for all those who haven't been to our weekly meetings)
    - galgate
    - clydebank social centre (jonny to check that out)
    - history of glasgow's activism
    - bridge (bob)
    - campaign to save schools (bob to contact them)
    - any other community campaign or project willing to present s/t

    Presentation should take a maximum of 5 minutes and would ideally underline why there is a need for a social centre. Anyone willing to do a presentation should email denis (quelgamin@hotmail.com) and i will compile a schedule for the day.


    quick update: a source from inside the city council has suggested that most of the properties which will be on offer will be relatively out of the way. There might however be some around trongate and king street. (do not tale that for said, we don't know where they will be yet and won't until the end of feruary when the new list of properties is published)

    The point that we must fit into the community where we will be was reiterated. This is essential if our project is to be a success, since a centre that isn't used or accepted by the local community will not survive.

    Business plan

    Many questions regarding our functioning must be answered before the workling group can make much progress. Questions to be thought about will be sent around by Jonny, and next meeting (next two meetings?) will be dedicated to these. Therefore please attend next (2) meeting(s) if you cannot please relay your thoughts on these matters through someone who can.

    Obama’s green plan must include Native Americans

    I was skipping through my email this morning and this caught my attention. Winona La Duke is a great activist/writer/leader among so many. I hope Washington will hear the voices of our past, present & future in the words of native americans like Winona today.

    Obama’s green plan must include Native Americans
    By Winona LaDuke, January 31, 2009
    To accomplish the green energy goals he talked about in his inaugural address, President Obama must work with Native Americans.
    “Each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet,” the president said, vowing that “we will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.”