May 31, 2007

What's Your Favorite Non-US HipHop?

This is sort of a follow on to my previous post, "Tunes for Tron." That'n featured the cream of Norway's rap crop, Gatas Parlament. This time, as a courtesy to the native English speakers (overwhemingly monolingual, alas) who make up the usual majority of visitors at this blog, I am posting another nifty non-US rap video. This one is by Glaswegian favorites Steg G & The Freestyle Master. It's called "Schemes" which is the British Isles equivalent of "Projects," and the ones in Glasgow don't look any more appetizing than the ones in the Boogie Down that incubated hiphop originally, back in the day...

Now, dear reader, howzabout you check in with a plug for your own favorite unAmerican rap of the moment--keep it in the 21st century, 'kay?

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May 26, 2007

Tunes For Tron!

This is gonna be old news for the Norwegians who've been visiting Fire on the Mountain since we carried a tribute to Tron Øgrim. Sorry. This, I guess, is for the other folks, from all over the world who've been checking in here as well. It's a look at another side of Tron, and a quick taste of Norwegian revolutionary art.

Tron had a sharp eye for revolutionary culture from his early days. In the '70s, he was in the leadership of a record label called MAI (an AKP-run outfit, I assume), which cut a record on a band called Vømmøl Spellemannslag. Featuring a tune called "Det e Itno som kjem ta sæ sjølv," it soon became the best-selling record Norway had seen!

I couldn't find any video of this group, but don't despair. The chorus of the hit song was lifted for a brand new song by a new Norwegian band, Samvirkelaget (which translates as Workers' Cooperative). Samvirkelaget is a joint project by one of Norway's leading hiphop crews, and definitely the reddest one, the splendid Gatas Parlament, and a ska band with the fetching name Hopalong Knut. Here's their "Itjnå":

Now to deepen the Tron connection. I asked Elling Borgersrud, a vocalist with Gatas Parlament and Samvirkelaget, who lived at Tron's house for several years what his favorite GP and Samsvirkelaget songs were:

Samvirkelaget is easier, because I tried out all the material on him before we released it, and he was also at our release party the 1st of May. His favourite was the song "Itno". That song also has a good video.
Elling also let me down a bit:
When it comes to Gatas Parlament, I think that Tron's favourite was actually the song "Biblotekar", but we never made any video for that one. Leftwing americans in general seems to prefer the "Antiamerikans Dans" or "Bombefly", because of the relevance to American foreign politics.

So here, without further ado, is Gatas Parlament with Swedish rapper Promoe doing "Antiamerikans Dans."

If you like hiphop, I urge you to check out the website of Gatas Parlament (The Parliament of the Streets, in English), chock full of free downloads and other great stuff. I had been planning to blog this whole posse anyway as soon as I could find a video of Samvirkelaget's brand new and intensely controversial "Stopp Volden," which protests a Sean Bell-style police murder in Norway, but instead, here they are now, in memory of Tron.

I'll leave the closing word to the rising generation. Elling recalls sitting in the kitchen talking with Tron into the wee hours of the night, while Tron would drink and spin favorites from his younger days.
So we usually listened to Kanda Bongo Man, or perhaps I just played rap music and he kept talking about me being a true modernist.

(But I don't know what that means!

You are still a modernist! Extremely so!)

So I'm probably a modernist. Still don't really know what it means, tho.

[Closing note to any Norwegians who have made it this far--corrections, translations and amplification are more than welcome.]

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May 24, 2007

Tron Øgrim, Bang A Basin!

I first titled this Tron Øgrim, RIP, but that's really the Latin phrase "Requiescat In Pace" (Rest in Peace). Tron was neither a big personal fan of resting, nor, as a pretty hard-boiled materialist, did he believe in an afterlife, even one resembling a deep, quiet nap.

Instead, I will cite in his honor the 1964 Talk On Questions Of Philosophy by Mao Zedong, the Chinese revolutionary leader and thinker whom Tron met in Beijing once:

If there were no such thing as death, that would be unbearable. If we could still see Confucius alive today, the earth wouldn’t be able to hold so many people. I approve of Chuang-tzu’s approach. When his wife died, he banged on a basin and sang. When people die there should be parties to celebrate the victory of dialectics, to celebrate the destruction of the old.

So who was this guy? Tron Øgrim was a Norwegian revolutionary and Communist. Born into a family which had taken an active part in Norway's resistance struggle against Nazi occupation, he became active in the global upsurge of students and youth in the 1960s. He was a leader and theoretician who helped bring into being the Arbeidernes Kommunistparti (Workers Communist Party) of Norway. The AKP was one of the most successful of the anti-revisionist parties that sprang up in advanced industrial countries in the 1970s. It merged only this year with the Red Electoral Alliance (itself a AKP spinoff where Tron had made his political home since the 1990s) into a new party called Rødt, meaning Red.

(From left, Tron, Pål Steigan (of the AKP) and some Chinese dudes...)

There's much more I could say about Tron, and I may try in a future post, but right now I want to point directly to a profound class on the theory and practice of revolution he was in the process of teaching, a class that I and, I hope, hundreds of other people were taking at the time of his death. Tron was one of the very first listmembers when another Norwegian, Magnus Bernhardsen, started an invaluable internet resource, the Leftist Trainspotters e-mail list. The 'spotters list, as members call it, tracks developments in left organizations around the world, with a generally observed "no polemics" rule that keeps a bunch of participants with dramatically diverse politics in line.

A couple of years ago, Tron sensed that the revolution in Nepal, led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) was a development of world historic significance. He began tracking it with a fierce intensity. Soon the Leftist Trainspotters list would get posts almost every day, sometimes more than a dozen at a time, on the Maobadi (the Maoists) and other political and social forces in Nepal. Usually these would just be articles from the English language press, mainly Nepalese and Indian, often with a brief comment attached to highlight a particular point or development. Some listmembers complained and more just hit the delete button, but many of us read with fascination.

One lesson in Tron's "course" had to do with epistemology, the study of how we come to know things. Tron practiced in a thoroughgoing way some basic Marxist principles about knowledge. First, he sought truth from facts. I am hardly alone on the US left in being inspired by the success of the comrades of the Maobadi in their struggle to free their country from feudalism and imperialism, but for too many of us, things stop at "Boy, is that ever cool! Too bad there's nothing like this happening here." In particular, Tron was careful to reserve judgement and consider the sources of information which suggested problems in CPN (M) theory, strategy, tactics, structure, policies, organizing or ability to respond to changing conditions, but he never dismissed that information out of hand because it made him uncomfortable.

A second point on epistemology. Tron understood, and was showing us, that the general resides in the particular. It was only by steeping himself in the everyday realities and political minutiae of the rapidly changing situation in Nepal that he could develop an overview which could genuinely be used to make sense of developments. Did he use Marxist categories, like class, armed struggle, bourgeois democracy, reformism, etc.? Sure, these were his starting point. But he was able to apply them in a deep way because he schooled himself to the point where he could tell you, for instance, the political history and current role of scores, probably hundreds, of individuals and groupings in the bubbling political life of a tiny Asian country.

The other big lesson I have been learning, or relearning, with Tron as teacher is just what a tricky and complex business making a revolution is, even in a small country that Western experts call "underdeveloped." The CPN (M) launched a classic Maoist people's war in 1996, and in less than a decade controlled a wide swath of Nepal's countryside, and drastically destabilized the old monarchy that ruled the country. Rather than continue fighting, with the attendant toll of damage and death among the people, and the risk of Indian military intervention, the Maobadi, under a truce, entered a complex process of negotiation and election to pursue their goal of creating a New Nepal. It was this more than anything else that drew and held Tron's attention.

Why? Because when a revolutionary situation is present in a country, all kinds of unexpected and overlooked contradictions and social forces suddenly come to the fore. In Nepal, this has included oppressed nationalities, both indigenous and immigrant (like Tibetans), with their own languages and cultures. Suddenly they have pushed their way into the roiling center of political life. Some, like the Magars in the west, have tended to united behind the Maobadi as the force most dedicated to breaking the old feudal system and challenging the privileges enjoyed by the majority (Nepali-speaking) Khas people, while others, based on old contradictions between various nationalities, are being actively courted and organized by reactionaries and Hindu chauvinists to oppose or sabotage the alliance of political forces the CPN (M) has entered to fight for a republic.

And though the national question looms large, which any Maoist would expect, it is far from the only contradiction suddenly becoming more prominent in Nepal. Just last week I exchanged emails with Tron about the Blue Diamond Society, an organization formed to fight for the rights of Nepal's impressive array of sexual minorities. I asked, among other things, what he thought about charges, mainly in the Western media, that the Maoists were puritanical homophobes.

Here's what Tron emailed me in response, accompanying the most useful of the articles he had forwarded to Leftist Trainspotters:

I post some material below.

First, here, my thoughts.

I dunno about the Maobadi, but I'd GUESS

a) That the Maobadi has never had this high on their radar (just like every other party in Nepal).

b) So I'd expect that the party would be chock full of traditional and spontaneous prejudice, just like the western commie and socdem movements 30-40 years ago.

I'd also expect that there are milieus IN and AROUND the M, who are totally opposed, modern, secular and influenced by the modern western gay liberation and left movement.

c) It is very easy for western journalists to come there and describe stupid statements - and even brutal acts against gays, which would not surprise me as the big and undisciplined Maobadi movement has hotheads who have been beating up more or less everybody else, except for tourists! - as results of "the party line"

Not taking into account what I guess may be the case -.

+ This is an expression of general social prejudices in Nepal

+ This is NOT a "line" as the Maobadi (I guess) has very LITTLE line on this.)

(Take this story of the two lesbian lovers alleged to have been held in a Maobadi camp. This may be true (or it may be different: These girls may have been "recruited" and just happened to have been lesbians - which is not very nice either. Or something else. However, even if this story IS true, I'd be very surprised if this has been discussed and decided on a high policy level in the CPN(M).)

Of course, I may be wrong on this.

d) I don't believe in journalism which prettifies "left crimes and errors". Like Mao said: Soviet farts stink, too!

I do, however, believe in nuanced journalism who try to describe it like it is.

If there's two sides on this q (or more!) - to get that clear.

AND, very important: WHICH WAY DOES IT GO? Developments?

To the better or worse?

My 50 øre.

All the best -

That short note, generously knocked out in a few minutes at the request of someone he had only met a few times, shows the value of the comrade we have lost.

I can't say I much feel like banging a basin, but I will go out today and belt a couple of good Norwegian beers to celebrate the victory of dialectics--and to honor one whose everyday political practice taught me some dialectics.

Tron Øgrim, ¡Presente!

UPDATE: Greetings Norwegian Guests!

We are in the midst of a small-scale but spontaneous display of people's globalization. Folks at one of Tron's online "homes"--the Leftist Trainspotters e-mail list--who have never spent time in Norway have been stunned to see the extent of the coverage of his death, as numerous newspaper articles (not just obituaries) are posted to the list by Magnus Bernhardsen and others. Norwegian Wikipedia, where Tron was a valued contributor today has the flag of Norway at half staff on its logo.

At the same Norwegians seem surprised to learn how much respect old Tron had earned around the world. Dozens of messages from across the globe have filled the Leftist Trainspotters list, lamenting Tron Øgrim's death, showing how widely he was respected by revolutionary thinkers everywhere.

This Fire on the Mountain post has had hundreds of hits today. Spurred by a link at a hastily erected website, Tron Øgrim er død, and some kind of instant message propagating on Telenor, Norwegians appear to be eager to see what someone from another country has to say about old Tron. At last check, more than 70% of our visitors today come from Norway! Welcome, and please feel free to drop a further word in the comments section below on how Tron's death is being felt in Norway.

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May 11, 2007

Take Five--Great Country Song Titles

[Take Five. Every Friday, at least in theory, Fire on the Mountain picks a category and lists five cool things in it. It's up to you, dear reader, to add your own in the Comments section. Just click on the word "comments" at the bottom of the piece and you're off to the races.]

Writing good song titles is an art. Even though most of the time the title features somewhere in the song’s chorus, I’m not talking about great choruses. For purposes of this post, a good title is one that just reading it makes you want to go out and listen to the cut it adorns, sound unheard.

There are some folks around today who write monster song titles as a matter of course: Amy Rigby (“Are We Ever Gonna Have Sex Again?”) and the Drive–By Truckers (“When The Pin Hits The Shell”) leap to mind. Interestingly, both of them had formative exposure to Country & Western, the popular music genre which on average has the best titles, hands down.

So without further ado, here’s evidence of my argument. Five country songs whose titles I’m betting will make you wanna check ‘em out--that is, if you don’t already have ‘em.


Girls Lie Too
—(Connie Harrington, Kelley Lovelace, Tim Nichols) Terri Clark

Always Keep An Edge On Your Knife—(Corb Lund) Corb Lund Band

Women’s Prison--Loretta Lynn

Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly (Fond Of Each Other)--(Ned Sublette) Willie Nelson

If The Trailer’s Rockin’, Don’t Come Knockin’—Billy Joe Shaver

If you are indeed tempted, I can also warrant that none of these tunes is a letdown from the title. Meanwhile, why don’t you chip in a couple of your own favorites in the comments section below?

And there’s a prize for any reader who guesses what else these five songs have in common (hint: this unifying factor may lead to future Take Fives on the same topic).

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African America and the End of the Occupation of Iraq

The invaluable Boston Globe columnist Derrick Jackson has just published an essential piece on the near-universal opposition to the occupation of Iraq among African Americans. I encourage folks to read it and spread it around.

One point he raises is of the highest importance:

This war, launched under false pretenses, now has so little merit that the enrollment of African-Americans in the military may be at its lowest point since the creation of the all-volunteer military in 1973. In 2000, 23.5 percent of Army recruits were African-American. By 2005, the percentage dropped to 13.9 percent. National Public Radio this week quoted a Pentagon statistic that said that African-American propensity to join the military had dropped to 9 percent.

Nine percent! Nine!! This is hard to wrap the brain around. Before G.W. Bush took office, African Americans joined the military at a rate approaching double their presence in the US population (about 14% according to the census). In seven short years, that has fallen to an enlistment rate less than 2/3 of what might be expected given population figures, less than forty percent of what it had been historically!

Three points need to be made here.

First, this is the most significant contribution to ending the unjust and unjustifiable occupation of Iraq that any large subsection of the US population has made. The stunning and sudden loss of African American cannon fodder has contributed big time to all the problems the Pentagon is having recruiting and maintaining the occupation force—Stop Loss, extended deployments, IRR call-ups, loosened recruiting standards around age, health, IQ and criminal records, etc.

The fear that the Armed Forces are being “broken” (to say nothing of the National Guard) is the major cause of the growing Bring Them Home Now! sentiment in the officer corps, channeled to the public though retired officers like General Batiste and especially Representative John Murtha.

Second, this represents a collective decision on the part of the Black Nation (or African America or the Black community or whatever formulation you prefer), and not one arrived at entirely unconsciously either. Consider that since WW2, parents and grandparents had told generations of young men and, more recently, women, “Since you got out of high school, you’ve been hanging out on the corner and getting in trouble, and I’m not having it. We’re going down to the recruitment office.”

Today, that has been reversed. A young person who says “I’ve been talking to the recruiter,” gets told, “Oh, no, honey, that’s not happening!”

The brass recognize this, as Jackson reports:

Pentagon officials largely attribute the drop in African-American interest in the armed forces to "influencers," parents, coaches, ministers, and school counselors who urge youth not to enlist.

(I had a conversation on the A train last fall with a Sergeant, in uniform, who works with JROTC programs in New York and he said he tells his charges to use the program for what they need—discipline, scholarships--but absolutely not to enlist until the war is over.)

Third, that collective decision is based on a political calculus embraced by elders and the youth themselves. Gregory Black, a retired Navy diver and commentator, calls it “an oilman’s war” and says:
African-Americans detest this war. Everybody kind of knows the truth behind this war. It's a cash cow for the military defense industry, when you look at the money these contractors are making. African-Americans saw this at the beginning of the war and now the rest of the country has figured it out. It's not benefiting us in the least.

As for young folks, Black says:
I taught ROTC in high school, and the kids themselves are a lot smarter about this stuff. They see the news and they can't justify going into a fight for something they have no faith in.

Looking at the ongoing Congressional dithering about funding the occupation, you can only wish that these high school students were sitting in the Capitol instead.


While the general trends hold and I think my three conclusions are valid, a contributer at the left liberal DailyKos, where this article was also posted, has cast doubt on that 9% figure. (Read through the comments thread here.) Instead of stunned, I am now skeptical.

Read more!

May 10, 2007

Black NJ Prepares To March!

This blog has been tracking the enormously important development of the Peace & Justice Coalition, an alliance of over 100 community, religious, labor, social, educational and other organizations centered in the Black communities of Northern New Jersey, from its inception. FotM published the first call, summarized the founding convention and reported on its first event, a March 24 anti-war rally that drew over 600.

Now the Peace & Justice Coalition is taking it to the next level. Larry Hamm, a convener of the Coalition and long-time chair of the People's Organization for Progress, has issued a statement calling for a statewide march in Newark on August 25.

I know years of exposure to demonstration announcements, press statements and the like can induce a kind of scanning mode where more of the document bounces off the eye than penetrates it. I encourage you, dear reader, to take a little time to read this one. Study its concerns, consider its language.

It comes out of the African American community in New Jersey and it lays out issues that community and other communities of color are facing. It draws the links between the occupation of Iraq, the War at Home, and the crimes of this government in clear accessible terms. IF you don't think the anti-war movement needs a lot more of this, perhaps you've been in a different movement than the one I've spent the last five years dealing with.

Finally I hope that, having read it, if you are anywhere in the Northeast, you set aside August 25 to take part in the People's March for Peace, Equality, Jobs and Justice.

I'll see you there.

(Statement on behalf of the Peace & Justice Coalition by Lawrence Hamm)
May 11, 2007

Unjust War Abroad & Social Crisis At Home

The U.S. war on Iraq must be brought to an end and the U.S. government must begin to concentrate on solving the dire economic and social problems in the United States. This is an immoral and illegal war. President Bush and Vice President Cheney started this war of aggression based on false assertions including claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and was somehow responsible for the attack that led to the destruction of the World Trade Center. They launched an invasion against a country that did not attack nor pose any significant threat to the United States.

In Iraq, since the beginning of the unjust and unnecessary U.S. invasion and occupation, thousands of U.S. troops have been killed. Tens of thousands have been wounded. Many of them have had limbs amputated and large numbers now suffer from war related mental disorders. When these veterans come home many cannot get adequate medical care and other services. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died since the invasion and we have practically destroyed their country. Contrary to the Bush administration’s claims about stopping terrorism, the world is a far more dangerous place since the war began, and now we are faced with the possibility that the U.S. could attack Iran or another country in the midst of the current war with Iraq. President Bush said that the U.S. had to send troops there to help promote democracy. However, it appears to many that we were more concerned about access to and control of Iraq's vast oil reserves. Thus far, the U.S. has spent more than 500 billion or one-half trillion dollars on this war with the probability that at least a trillion will be spent before it is over.

In the U.S., another type of war is going on, a war on our communities. The Bush administration, while increasing war spending, has decreased domestic spending for education, health care, housing, employment, veterans’ care and other social programs. While the U.S. wages war abroad our civil liberties, civil rights, human rights and voting rights are being violated and taken away at home.

As billions of our tax dollars are spent on a war that military experts say cannot be won, the ranks of the poor and working poor in our country continue to swell, millions are unemployed and millions more are without health insurance. Schools are under funded, hospitals are being closed, and thousands of homeless sleep on the streets of our nation. Racism, racial inequality and police brutality are on the rise. Working people are struggling paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet, many in the middle class are losing ground. College students and their families are falling deep into debt in order pay the astronomical cost of higher education. The gap between the rich and the rest of us is wider than it has ever been. These conditions facilitate the recruitment of young people by the U.S. military who are then sent to fight and die on the battlefields of Iraq. Immigrants are being harassed and deported without due process. The numbers of people imprisoned and detained are exploding. Environmental pollution and global warming threaten our very existence. State governments cannot adequately respond to natural disasters because many of their national guardsmen and equipment are being used in Iraq by the U.S. military. Our democracy is in crisis as people find their government unable to fulfill their desire for peace and justice.

The continued waste of billions of dollars on the war against Iraq in the face mounting social problems in our own country can only bring disastrous consequences. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his speech in opposition to the U.S. war in Vietnam, "A Time To Break Silence," a nation that spends more on its military than it does on its social development is a nation that "is approaching spiritual death."

A Time to March

It is time for a revolution of priorities. We must end this unjust war now and focus the energy and resources of our nation on solving our problems at home! Towards that end, this urgent call goes out to people across the nation to rise up and participate in The People's March for Peace, Equality, Jobs, and Justice, which will take place Saturday, August 25, 2007 in Newark, New Jersey. The purpose of the march is to demand an immediate end to the U.S. war on Iraq, redirection of funding for the war towards domestic needs, and the realization of racial equality, social and economic justice in the United States.

The goals of The People's March are to demonstrate the profound grassroots opposition to the U.S. war on Iraq, bring pressure to bear upon the government to end the war now, educate people about the war and its impact upon our communities in the U.S. and organize and mobilize people around a peace and justice agenda that will link the struggle against the war in Iraq to the struggles against injustice at home. We will march for an end to war abroad and an end to the war on our communities.

March for Peace

Now is the time to put the nation on a new course. If this war is to end and our social problems are to be seriously addressed then all of us who want peace and justice must act now. Everyone that wants an end to the war is invited to join us in Newark on August 25th. Let us all march together for peace.

We will demand an immediate end to the U.S. war on Iraq and the closing of U. S. military bases there, the return home of all U.S. troops now, adequate care for the troops upon their return, the cutoff of funding for the war in Iraq and the redirection of those funds towards domestic and social programs. We will call upon the Bush Administration to repair the damage done by U.S. military forces in Iraq. We will also demand an end to the war in Afghanistan and that no future wars be initiated against Iran or other countries.

March for Human Rights

We will demand the restoration and preservation of human rights, constitutional rights and civil liberties, which have been steadily eroded by the Bush administration in the name of the “war on terror.“ We will demand an end to the use of torture, extraordinary renditions (secret abductions), secret trials and prisons, indefinite detentions, denial of the right of habeas corpus, racial profiling, use of banned weapons, and further violations of the Geneva Conventions and international law against individuals whether they are U. S. citizens or residents, or citizens of other countries.

We will demand that the detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay be closed, and that the PATRIOT, Homeland Security and Military Commissions acts and the unlawful expansion of presidential power be repealed. We will call for justice and freedom for all political prisoners.

March for an End to Violence

We cannot call for an end to the war on Iraq while ignoring the war that is going on in the streets of the United States. Violence is engulfing communities throughout the nation. There is a state of emergency in many cities and towns. Every year thousands die from gun-related and other forms of violence in our country. The U.S. has one of the highest rates of homicide among the industrialized nations of the world. When we march on August 25th, we will call for unity in our communities, peace in our streets and an end to the violence that pervades U.S. society. We will demand an end to the flow of illegal drugs and guns into our communities. And we will demand an end to the grinding poverty and other economic and social conditions that drive so many towards drugs, crime, violence and death.

March for Equality

Forty-four years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of a dream of racial equality. During the sixties, as a result of African Americans' struggle for freedom and justice some progress was made. However, since then many of the gains that were made have been rolled back or eliminated. Racial equality has not yet been realized for African Americans and other communities of color in our country. Racial inequality, discrimination, segregation, oppression, violence, and police brutality are still a part of everyday life in America. In fact, in some respects racial inequality and injustice is greater today than it was during Dr. King's lifetime.

On August 25th, let us march with renewed commitment for the realization of racial equality in the United States. We will call for an end to the poverty, unemployment, substandard schools and housing, and other adverse conditions that continue to plague African American, Latino, Native American and other communities of color. We will once again demand an end to police brutality and the establishment of truly empowered police review boards and agencies. We will demand equal voting rights and representation for District of Columbia residents. We will demand reparations for the descendants of Africans enslaved in the United States and the passage of H.R. 40, the Conyers reparations study bill.

We will march for equal rights and fair treatment for all people regardless of race, color, ethnicity, sex, class, nationality, religion, creed, disability or sexual orientation or preference. We will demand an end to racism, sexism and all forms of discrimination, oppression and violence. We call for an end to bias related violence, harassment and attacks against and unjust deportations of Muslim, Arab, Asian, and Latino citizens and immigrants.

March for Jobs and Justice

On that day, let us march for jobs and economic justice. We will demand the redirection of funds for the U.S. war on Iraq towards employment, housing, healthcare, education, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and other domestic programs. During his lifetime Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called upon Congress to enact into law an economic bill of rights. On August 25th, we will demand an economic bill of rights that includes the creation of a massive jobs program that pays a living wage, an increase in the minimum wage, health care for all people from the cradle to the grave and the passage of H.R. 676, the national health insurance bill.

We will call for economic democracy. We will demand an end to poverty, unemployment and homelessness. We will call for the passage of H.R. 4347, a bill to help end homelessness in the U.S. We will demand affordable housing for all and environmental justice. We will demand jobs programs to end the depression-level unemployment that exists in African American and other communities of color. We will call for economic development in our urban communities and the revitalization of our cities. We will demand the environmental clean up and funding for the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast and its communities. We will demand for justice, housing, jobs, and the right of return for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. We will call for the creation of jobs to develop renewable sources of energy and to increase energy efficiency within our society in order to decrease our oil dependency and help stop global climate change.

On that day, we will march for the right of all workers to be organized and represented by unions, without fear of retribution by their employers for participating in union activities. We will demand fair and decent wages for immigrant workers, documented and undocumented, an end to unjust raids on immigrant communities and to the stealth deportations that separate and destroy families.

March for Accountability

On that day, let us march to demand accountability. Those responsible for the disaster caused by the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe must be held accountable. We will call for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney for their handling of the Iraq war and its resulting crimes against humanity and the Hurricane Katrina crisis.

March of History

The march is being held on August 25th to coincide with the 44th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and with the second anniversary of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe, which killed many and left hundreds of thousands displaced and devastated due to the failure of the federal government to adequately respond to their needs. Marching in Newark enables us to connect this event to the 40th anniversary commemoration of the 1967 Newark Rebellion, a major event in the struggle for racial justice. It also helps us to highlight the needs of our cities and the need for local organizing.

March for a Just Society and Peaceful World

The People’s March is sponsored by The Peace & Justice Coalition, which is comprised of more than 100 diverse grassroots organizations. The coalition calls upon everyone who wants an end to the war on Iraq to join the march and fill the streets of Newark on August 25th. We call upon people of all races, all people of good will across the country, and people from all walks of life to join us on that day.

We especially call upon historically oppressed communities, including African Americans, Latinos, Asians, Indigenous and other peoples of color who have been among those most opposed to this war to join us and make their opposition visible. On August 25th, let us march in the spirit of unity and hope, determined to keep the pressure on until the war in Iraq is ended and the ideal of a more just society, peaceful world and better life for all is finally realized.

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May 7, 2007

Black-led Protest in Newark: Impeach Bush & Cheney!

The People's Organization for Progress, the terrific Newark, NJ, group which is at the center of recent anti-war initiatives in the Black community in Northern Jersey has stepped forward again. On Saturday, POP held a rally that drew 80 peace and justice activists to the intersection of Broad & Market Streets in Newark.

Their demand was simple: that the entire Bush regime be held accountable for lying to go to war.

"Impeach Bush and Cheney, Bring the Troops Home Now!" the pickets chanted as Larry Hamm, POP's state chairman, read the applicable articles from the US Constitution explaining the impeachment process. He also ran down the reasons to impeach and try both Bush and Cheney, as well as Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Gates, Alberto Gonzales, Homeland Security Director Chertoff and former SecDef Rumsfeld. They are, after all, collectively and individually responsible for the unjust war against Iraq and Afghanistan as well as for the war against the poor at home.

Speakers slammed the administration, and so did participants in the crowd:

Today, the overwhelming majority of people in the US agree that the war must end and the troops must be returned home now. Still the Bush regime shows their true stripes, ignoring the will of the people in order to follow the dictates of Exxon, Mobil, Shell, and BP Oil.

FotM regular Bondi, who submitted the information in the above report, also provided the press release POP sent to the media in advance of the action:

(973) 801-0001


LAWRENCE HAMM (973) 801-0001


The People’s Organization for Progress will have a demonstration to protest President Bush’s veto of the war funding bill calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and to demand his impeachment on Saturday, May 5, 2007, 12:00 noon at the corner of Broad and Market Streets in Newark, New Jersey.

“The majority of Americans want this war to end. By vetoing this bill President Bush is telling the majority of Americans that our opinion doesn’t matter. He is going to do what he wants to do anyway,” POP chairman Lawrence Hamm stated.

“The president and vice president are going to stubbornly follow their failed policy no matter how many Americans and Iraqis are killed and how much money it costs. This madness must end,” Hamm said.

“Because the president and vice president have led the country into a war of aggression based on false assertions, continue to squander billions of our tax dollars on this failed effort, and refuse to heed the will of the people on this matter we are compelled to call for their impeachment,” he said.

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May 3, 2007

California freeway "collapses"

Calif. Interchange Collapses After Fire

Published: April 29, 2007

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- A section of freeway that funnels traffic onto the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge collapsed early Sunday after a gasoline tanker truck overturned and caught fire, authorities said.

The heat from the fire was intense enough to melt part of the freeway and cause the collapse, but the truck's driver walked away from the scene with second-degree burns.

No other injuries were reported, which officials said was only possible because the accident happened so early on a Sunday morning. The truck driver took a taxi to a nearby hospital, Officer Trent Cross of the California Highway Patrol said.

The tanker carrying 8,600 gallons of gasoline ignited around 3:45 a.m. after crashing into a pylon on the interchange, which connects westbound lanes of Interstate 80 to southbound I-880, about half a mile from the Bay Bridge's toll plaza.

The fire melted a second interchange from eastbound I-80 to eastbound I-580 located above the first interchange, causing a 250-yard section of the roadway to collapse onto the roadway below, according to the highway patrol.

Witnesses reported flames from the blaze reached up to 200 feet high.

The Bay Bridge consists of two heavily traveled, double-decked bridges about two miles long straddling San Francisco Bay. State transportation officials said 280,000 commuters take the bridge into San Francisco each day.

Authorities said the accident on a highway interchange could take months to repair, and that it would cause the worst disruption for Bay Area commuters since a 1989 earthquake damaged a section of the Bay Bridge itself.

Everyone knows that gasoline doesn't burn at hot enough temperatures to "melt" a freeway. Just ask anyone who's never studied physics.
This "collapse" was obviously a controlled implosion. What are they trying to cover up? I don't have any answers, but we need to ask the questions. Join the California Freeway Truth Movement!

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FotM Is Now A Three Way!

Regular readers here and at other sites in the Left Blogosphere, like burningman's sadly-inert-of-late Red Flags, will recognize the name of G. Frohman as an occasional and astute commenter. Well, he's stepping up to the big time and Fire on the Mountain has him. (And with any luck this announcement will pressure him to actually write and post every little now and then.)

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Never Forget May 4, 1970!

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