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Boston Social Forum


June 27 - July 1, 2007
Atlanta, GA

Local Winter Soldier Event - Saturday, March 15, 2008

America's Winter Soldiers promise to cut through the propaganda by testifying to their first-hand experiences in Occupied Iraq and Afghanistan. Across the United States, activists are likely to mark the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by attending screenings of the Winter Soldier hearings. In DC, where the testimonies go live on Thursday, 3/16, Mass Global Action will be represented by Susie Husted who has been working on Iraq Veterans Against the War's ally team. In Boston, MGA is working with United for Justice with Peace and the Stop the Wars Coalition (STWC) to host a local screening of the testimonies on Saturday, March 15, 2008.

read the press release  download the flyer

Movement Building Space in the Heart of Boston

Over 2006, Mass Global Action launched encuentro 5, dubbing it a "movement-building space in the heart of Boston." The project is now home to 10 "resident organizations" and 5 city-wide coalitions; It is also an event/meeting/organizing space for numerous other organizations involved in social change work. We recently completed a review of encuentro 5's first year. For us, the review proved to be a morale booster as it recalled a year of wide-ranging, but intense activity that we believe to be both necessary and efficacious for networking the social change and justice movements.

The 22 Mb report is available for download in pdf format. The website, http://www.encuentro5.org, lists ongoing activities, enables site visitors to reserve space/book an event and learn more about the issues covered in the many teach-ins and discussions.

The United States Social Forum - Atlanta - June 27 - July 1, 2007

UnitedStatesSocialFourmThe USSF marks a significant milestone in the World Social Forum process: it is the first national forum in the United States. Moreover, under the initial guidance of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, the USSF is a genuine expression of the organizing capacity of grassroots communities of color, working class and immigrant organizations. The Forum has also prioritized the active involvement of young people and the First Nations. In the process, hundreds of organizations and movements have been drawn into the process… ourselves among them!

Massachusetts Global Action (itself born of a similar albeit much smaller effort, the Boston Social Forum, 2004) has participated in a modest way, limited only by resources, in the organizing of the USSF since August 2005. One of our projects, the North American Alliance for Fair Employment is a member of the USSF’s National Planning Committee. Our staff and board—especially Kim Foltz, Susie Husted and Suren Moodliar—have also been involved at the Northeast regional level.

Now we have a chance to enjoy the forum via a number of events that we are helping organize. The following list of workshops represents a wide range of topics and collaborations. This is consistent with MGA’s broad concern with corporate globalization and democratic alternatives. It also represents our belief that strategic collaborations are necessary to mobilize the kinds of energy needed to bring about progressive social change. There are a total of 6 workshops in which we will have a significant role, including 3 directly sponsored and organized by MGA.

For background information on the USSF and the WSF, see the slide show that MGA compiled as a backgrounder. A list of MGA-related events at the WSF can be downloaded from here. Back in March, Kim Foltz and Suren Moodliar wrote a short introduction to the social forum process and the place of the USSF.

May 1, 2007 - Stop the Raids and Deportations!

This May Day, across the United States, the international workers' holiday will be marked as a Day of Action, and for some, "No Work, No School, No Buying" or "El Segundo Gran Boicot Americano." With scores of other organizations, MGA is supporting marches and demonstrations in Boston and Chelsea/East Boston.

Where last year's unprecedented marches mobilized millions to oppose a draconian turn-out-the-vote piece of legislation that criminalized migrant workers, this year's action comes in the face a corporate-sponsored reform agenda—embodied by both the "Strive Act" and President Bush's plan—that would make "legal" immigration prohibitively expensive while continuing to criminalize foreign-born job seekers. Both plans also reinforce the sense that "America is under Siege" from outsiders. Accordingly, there is a heavy emphasis on new prisons and reinforcing border controls on people.

If the threat of new reforms were not enough, the Bush Administration's continued, selective enforcement of federal legislation has resulted in brutal, nationwide raids on low-income workplaces. For residents of Massachusetts, the pain came most forcefully on March 6, 2007, when 360 people were forcefully removed from their workplace, community and families to federal detention centers. This domestic enforcement surge comes not as part of any effort to expand opportunities for the native-born working poor, whose numbers have been expanding since the 1970s, but out of an attempt to satisfy a right-wing constituency that, "something is being done."

April 19, 2007 - March for Jobs & CORI Reform

In the best of circumstances, finding a good job is major challenge. The hurdle is raised much higher for young people of color when the Criminal Offender Record Information database comes into play. Employers in Massachusetts use the system which maintains entries even where a case is dismissed, the accused is found not guilty. Arraignments and arrests may also lead to a CORI record. Moreover, the Boston Workers Alliance (BWA) cites a study showing that employers use criminal records more heavily against applicants of color than against white applicants in making hiring decisions. For these reasons, Massachusetts Global Action is supporting the BWA's March for Jobs & CORI Reform on April 19, 2007.

visit the BWA website
download the march flyer

Local Activist List Marks a Decade of Service

The local peace and justice e-mail list founded by Charlie Welch of TecsChange and David Sangurima back in 1996 is now entering its second decade of service to the New England activist community. With several hundred MA-area activists signed up and regularly posting carefully screened and moderated announcements, the list has proven to be among the most effective ways to reach activists across a broad spectrum of ideas and perspectives quickly.

visit act-ma.org

Water May Become an Issue in State Senate Race

Activists in Lee, Massachusetts inform us that Christopher J. Hodgkins, who was general manager and vice-president of Veolia Corporation (the world's 3rd-largest water corporation) is running for Senate.Hodgkins was involved in the effort to build a new sewer system under private control in Lee. The seat being contested involves 48 towns and cities in three counties, Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin.  Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Huntington, Middlefield, Plainfield, Westhampton, Williamsburg in Hampshire County, and Ashfield, Charlemont, Conway, Hawley, Heath, Monroe, Rowe in Franklin County.

Update: In September, voters rejected Hodgkins' candidacy according to local activists.

Strategic Nonviolence: Gandhi Circles at your meetings

Our friends at the Boston-Cambridge Alliance for Democracy are marking the centenary of Gandhi's nonviolent campaign by organizing "Gandhi Circles." They are calling on all organizations to "Fight corporate and political oppression" at their meetings this month. To facilitate the activity, they have put together a series of "participatory readings from Gandhi, Gene Sharp, Brian Martin, Peter Ackerman, and others. Visit www.NewEnglandAlliance.org to download the readings.

Hampshire Gazette Asks: Should private companies manage public supplies?

In Holyoke, Mayor Michael J. Sullivan and some City Councilors endorsed a wastewater plant contract with Aquarion Operating Services of Bridgeport, Conn., saying that it will provide both cost savings and engineering expertise.

read on...

Fall Conference: Our Communities, Our Water: Connecting the Local and the Global

Join us September 22-24th, 2006, at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst for a gathering of New England grassroots activists and water workers; we plan to:

  • connect grassroots activists and water utility workers
  • share information on work strategies and activism struggles against municipal water privatization, bottled water, and bulk exports
  • build an understanding of the links between local, national & international work
  • discuss how and where to frame/organize/coordinate around municipal water privatization—given differing international, national, state and local legislations
  • map out clear action plans for future collaborations and establishing a regional support network

This event combines internationally renown speakers and effective workshops on on water privatization. Whether you are a seasoned water activist or looking to learn more about the "oil of the 21st century," this is an event that you don't want to miss.

Look for more details at the conference web page as they emerge. Alternatively, you can call 978-683-3967

Until Justice Runs Down like Water: Report back on the World Water Forum

Save Our Groundwater (New Hampshire) activist, Olivia Zink attended the March 2006, World Water Forum in Mexico City. The Forum, where governments, corporations and other special interests, gather to divvy up the world's freshwater supply was met by a strong contingent of  grassroots community activists demanding an end to the privatization of  water. Olivia, who helped organize the Boston Social Forum's activities on water will present an account of the World Water Forum and the latest thinking from international social movements.

Thursday, April 13, 2006, encuentro5, 33 Harrison Ave, 5th flr, Boston, MA 02111, 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. Download the flyer here.

The Logic of Withdrawal from Iraq w/ Anthony Arnove and Howard Zinn

Come hear the case for complete withdrawal of US troops from Iraq from: Howard Zinn is a professor emeritus at Boston University. He is the author of numerous books, including A People's History of the United States. Anthony Arnove is the editor of Iraq Under Seige and the co-editor, with Howard Zinn, of Voices of a People's History of the United States. Anthony is currently on tour promoting his groundbreaking new book, Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal. Friday, 14 April 2006, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM, Northeastern University School of Law, Cargill Hall Room 97

read on...

In the Name of Democracy: American War Crimes in Iraq and Beyond

Join Brookline PeaceWorks, MassGlobalAction and the Stop the Wars Coalition in welcoming editors, Jeremy Brecher, Jill Cutler and Brendan Smith on their stop in the Boston area: Saturday, April 8, 2006, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Download the flyer here (Adobe Reader requ'd).

Book description: Until recently, the possibility that the United States was responsible for war crimes seemed unthinkable to most Americans. But as previously suppressed information has started to emerge—photographs from Abu Ghraib; accounts of U.S. attacks on Iraqi hospitals, mosques, and residential neighborhoods; secret government reports defending unilateral aggression—Americans have begun an agonizing reappraisal of the Iraq war and the way in which their government has conducted it.
   Drawing on a wide range of documents—from the protocols of the Geneva Convention to FBI e-mails about prisoners held in Guantánamo Bay to executive-branch papers justifying the circumvention of international law—In the Name of Democracy examines the legality of the Iraq war and the occupation that followed. Included in this powerful investigation are eyewitness accounts, victim testimonials, statements by soldiers turned resisters and whistle-blowers, interviews with intelligence insiders, and contributions by Mark Danner and Seymour Hersh.
   The result is a controversial, chilling anthology that explores the culpability of officials as well as the responsibilities of ordinary citizens, and for the first time squarely confronts the matter of American impunity.

Challenging the US Commission on the Future of Higher Education

MGA's Jason Pramas testified before the US Commission on the Future of Higher Education by drawing attention to its pro-corporate make up, its failure to include students, staff and faculty and the neo-liberal nature of its mandate: to prepare the US for competition in the global market place by driving down the wages of higher skilled workers. He also called attention to the structural changes in higher education that have created a system based on the super exploitation of part-time and contingent faculty.

read the full text of Pramas' statement
read Inside Higher Ed's coverage
read the Boston Phoenix's Big Blog on Campus coverage

It Happened in Caracas! A Report Back Event on the 6th World Social Forum

Join Mass Global Action, members of the 2006 WSF Boston Delegation to discuss and debate the World Social Forum that took place in Caracas, Venezuela. Four speakers, including ZASKYA PEREZ, MICHAEL BLANDING, JANET REDMAN and KAVERI RAJARAMAN will provide their take on events. In addition, 2 short videos will be premiered at the event, one by NILDA ORTIZ & LIAM LEAHY and another by TIM LEDWITH & TAINA VARGAS! To download a pdf flyer for this event, click here.

Friday, March 10, 2006, 6:30 - 9:30 P.M. DEMOCRACY CENTER, HARVARD SQUARE, 45 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. The Center is about 5 blocks from the MBTA Red Line's Harvard Square Subway Stop. Suggested donation: $5.00

Protest War Criminal Henry Kissinger - Saturday, March 11, 2006: JFK Library, 10:00 a.m.

Henry Kissinger and Al Haig are coming to Boston…to reflect, no less, on their greatest crime: the Vietnam War. Kissinger, wanted in Europe and Latin America for questioning in connections with war crimes and human rights violations, is responsible for, among other things:

  • Secretly bombing Cambodia & Laos in the late 1960s
  • Prolonging the Vietnam War by at least 7 years
  • Facilitating the overthrow a democratically-elected government in Chile
  • Supporting the invasion of and genocide in East Timor
  • Fueling a decades-long “civil” war in Angola
  • Architect of the U.S policy that supported Pol Pot’s terrorist campaign against Cambodia

As this history repeats itself in the Middle East and beyond, Mass Global Action joins with the Stop the Wars Coalition and other area peace and justice organizations to demand that Kissinger be brought to justice. Download the event flyer.

Back from Caracas!  World Social Forum VI

Five MGA organizers joined with a number of local organizations to organize a delegation of more than 50 local activists to attend the World Social Forum in the Americas. The January 2006 Forum is being held across 3 venues—Caracas (Venezuela) and Bamako (Mali) in January, and Karachi (Pakistan), in April—organized to address 6 themes ranging from "power and politics" throuh "resources for and rights to life." The website for the local organizing drive is hosted by Latinas and Latinos for Social Change. See also our online gallery which is being updated regularly with photos taken by delegation members. On March 10, 2006, MGA will release a video documentary directed by Tim Ledwith and Taina Vargas.

Latest from the MGA Blog

Support Communities in the Gulf

If you'd like to donate money to the victims of Hurricane Katrina--particularly to the people of New Orleans who have seen their city destroyed by Bush administration policy--we recommend checking out the AFL-CIO, American Friends Service Committee, and Service Employees International Union Hurricane Relief Funds. The Praxis Project has also organized a page with resources organizing support for the Gulf.

Boston to France: Immigrants Rights Non-negotiable!

Google Map of Vigil Site
November 2, 2005: A vigil marked concern with the crackdown on immigrants’ rights in France and the anti-immigrant climate in Europe. It also protested the death of 2 immigrant teenagers who were allegedly pursued by French police.
MGA director, Jason Pramas noted that, “it is ironic that just as the French Foreign Ministry paid tribute to Rosa Parks, observing that her struggle concerns ‘mankind as a whole,’ the French police and Interior Minister are prosecuting a draconian crackdown on immigrants. Just as we demand Massachusetts does right by immigrants, so too do we expect the French. If France provided moral leadership by rejecting the war in Iraq, it is clearly abandoning it with its treatment of immigrants.” See the media advisory (pdf) (doc). See MGA's early take on the situation.

October 29th: Boston Anti-War March and Rally

Thanks to all the 2000+ folks who attended the march and rally to end the illegal U.S. occupation of Iraq. For more info, go to the website of the October 29th Coalition--including numerous MGA members.

Reclaiming the Ivory Tower - Book Party

In the last twenty years, higher education in the United States has been eroded by massive reliance on temporary academic labor—professors without tenure or the prospect of tenure, paid a fraction of the salaries of their tenured colleagues, working without benefits, offices, or research assistance, and often commuting between several campuses to make ends meet. Contingent instructors now constitute the majority of faculty at U.S. colleges and universities.

MGA joined with a number of allies to sponsor a book release event on this topic. Reclaiming the Ivory Tower author, Joe Berry, spoke at UMass Boston on October 26, 2005. See the flyer.

Two Trips to the State House: Water and Privatization & Students Rights

During the week of October 24, 2005, MGA visited the Massachusetts State House to testify on and support progressive pieces of legislation that both advance the cause of social justice and provide models for other states. On Monday, 10/24, MGA testified in support of a bill that will increase local control over water resources and restrict the power of corporations to privatize water. See related press release. Later in the week we'll supported students who are denied access to the state's colleges based on their immigration status, despite their communities' great contributions to this state. For more information on the bill, see the In-State Tuition supporters' website and MGA's pages on water.

Disaster Capitalism - India, the Dominican Republic & Massachusetts

9/29&30/05—This recent panel discussion featured Father Thomas Kocherry (India), Victor Geronimo (Dominican Republic) and Maria Elena Letona (from Massachusetts' Centro Presente). Panelists looked at how corporate globalization has left many people vulnerable to "natural" disasters. Two discussions were held in Boston's Chinatown and Northampton, MA. Contact Jason Pramas for audio tracks of the presentations.

Tsunamis, Hurricanes, and Global Apartheid

9/15/05—Basav Sen of the Washington, D.C.-based Mobilization for Global Survival spoke at our presentation on the politics, economics and social structures that affect who lives, who thrives and who dies in the face of "natural" disasters on September 15th. He was joined by the political rock band, The Murder Elite. Download the flyer here.

Holding TIAA-CREF & Coca-Cola Accountable

MGA joined with several other organizations to protest TIAA-CREF's inclusion of Coca-Cola on its portfolio of "ethical" investors. Read more from Boston's IndyMedia.

May Day Rally for Immigrant Rights a Success

5/2/05—Over 500 immigrants and citizen supporters attended the May Day Rally for Immigrant Rights in Boston's Copley Square on May 1st—after a 3 month organizing effort spearheaded by MGA. A great time was had by all (ok, maybe not by the handful of nativist counterdemonstrators). Enjoy the following articles for more background:

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Visit the encuentro 5 for a listing of current MGA events

Recent Activities

December 14, 2006
What's Next? Creating Another World in a Time of War, Empire and Devastation: featuring Noam Chomsky. Emmanuel Church, 15 Newberry Street, Boston.

December 9, 2006
United States Social Forum Northeast Consultation at the Brecht Forum in New York City.

December 2, 2006
Preparing for Nairobi, Kenya, WSF 2007 w/Boston Organizing Committee for the World Social Forum at encuentro 5.

November 18, 2006
March against the War Profiteers w/Stop the Wars Coalition. Beginning at the Boston Common

November 12, 2006
Strategy Session on the Rights of Migrant Workers, w/Boston May Day Coalition
encuentro 5, noon - 6:00 p.m.

November 4, 2006
Artists against the War Profiteers w/Envizion Artists and Stop the Wars Coalition at encuentro 5 12 noon to 12 midnight

October 27, 2007
A Report Back from the Border Social Forum: On the Global Movement for Migrant Workers' Rights w/Kim Foltz and Gabe Camacho

September 22-24, 2006
Our Communities, Our Water: Connecting the Local and the Global. UMass, Amherst

June 4, 2006
Anti-war Strategy Session, encuentro 5, 12 noon - 6:00 p.m. (Sponsor: Stop the Wars Coalition).

June 2, 2006
Fundraising party for the Greater Boston Stop the Wars Coalition at encuentro 5, 8:00 p.m. till late.

June 1, 2006
How Many More? Campaign Banner Unfurling; Stop the Wars Coalition; Location TBA

May 22, 2006
Speaking Truth to Power: Challenging Condoleezza Rice; Boston College 9:00 a.m.

May 17, 2006
Organizing for Immigrants' Rights Demonstration; Boston Common 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.

April 28, 2006
"Weapons of Mass Deception" Screening--featuring Director Danny Schecter, Emerson College,

April 28, 2006
Benefit Party for Encuentro 5 (new home of MGA), 33 Harrison Ave., 5th Flr., in Boston's Chinatown, 8ish until late.

April 29, 2006
March for Peace, Justice & Democracy, New York City
MGA is working with the Stop the Wars coalition to organize transportation from Boston to NYC

April 19, 2006
Boston-Cambridge Alliance for Democracy’s Report back on the WSF 2006.  Cambridge, MA

April 14, 2006
Howard Zinn & Anthony Arnove - Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal, Northeastern School of Law, Boston

April 13, 2006
Until Justice Runs Down like Water: A Reportback on the World Water Forum.
encuentro5, Boston

April 8, 2006
Meet the Editors: In the Name of Democracy - American War Crimes in Iraq and Beyond. (Brookline, MA)

March 18, 2006
Stop the Wars Coalition: Celebrating the Anti-War Movement -
After-Rally Party
• Boston, MA

March 18, 2006
Stop the Violence - Stop the War at Home & Abroad
Rally/March, Boston, MA

March 10, 2006
It Happened in Caracas! Documentary Premier, Exhibit & Discussion of the WSF.

February 24, 2006
WSF - Boston Delegation Reportback. New England Institute of Art, Brookline

January, 2006
oston Delegation to the World Social Forum

December, 2005
Water Privatization: Global and Local Issues in the 21st Century - Panel discussions featuring Karl Flecker of the Polaris Institute.

November 19, 2005
Boston Proposal for the WSF. 2pm to 6pm Boston City Hall - Piemonte Room

November 17, 2005 Screening of Thirst in North Easton, MA at the Unity Church, 7 p.m.

November 2, 2005
Candlelight Vigil outside French Consulate in solidarity with immigrant youth killed in France.

October 31 - November 4, 2005
Campus Equity Week - Focus on rights of contingent faculty. Continent-wide activities.

October 29, 2005
Boston Anti-War March & Rally.

October 26, 2005
Reclaiming the Ivory Tower Book Release event Co-sponsored with NAFFE and the UMass Labor Extension Program. Boston, MA

October 24, 2005
Hearing on MGA bill to preserve public water and sewer systems. MA State House.

September 30, 2005
Disaster Capitalism Panel Discussion w/50 Years is Enough! Tour. Boston

September 29, 2005
Disaster Capitalism Panel Discussion w/50 Years is Enough! Tour. Boston

September 18, 2005
Screening of Thirst in Arlington, MA

September 15, 2005
"Tsunamis, Hurricanes and Global Apartheid" featuring Basav Sen &  the Murder Elite. Boston.

July 11, 2005
Protest at TIAA-CREF's Boston Office.

July 3, 2005
Economic Justice Hearing at Boston's Franklin Park.

June 28, 2005
Screening of Thirst in Springfield, MA

visit our calendar...

MassGlobalAction • 33 Harrison Ave. 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02111 • (t) 617-482-6300 (f) 617-482-7300