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MDS Statement in Support of Pfc. Bradley Manning

Pfc. Bradley Manning

Pfc. Bradley Manning

Movement for a Democratic Society [MDS] calls for the immediate release of US Army PFC Bradley Manning, incarcerated as of 18 June 2010.
See also http://www.bradleymanning.org/

Media accounts state that Mr. Manning was arrested in late May for allegedly leaking the video of US Apache helicopter pilots killing innocent people and seriously wounding two children in Baghdad, including those who arrived to help the wounded. The video was released by WikiLeaks under the name “Collateral Murder”. Pfc. Manning is also identified by the Defense Department as a “person of interest” in the investigation into WikiLeaks obtaining 90,000 battlefield reports describing thousands of civilian deaths inflicted by occupation forces in Afghanistan, collusion with warlords, corruption and an unvarnished view of our decade-long war.

If these allegations are untrue, we call upon the US Department of Defense to release Mr. Manning immediately.

If these allegations ARE true, we ALSO call upon the US Department of Defense to release Mr. Manning immediately.

The leaked video, released by WikiLeaks under the title “Collateral Murder”, clearly shows that official statements from the multinational force in Baghdad that “there is no question that Coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force” were blatantly false. The leaker of this video blew the whistle on two crimes: the murder of civilians and an official coverup. Exposing these crimes was a moral and legal obligation and a service to the international community. The leaker deserves our respect and thanks—not prosecution.

We express our support for Mr. Manning in any case, and our admiration for his courage if he is, in fact, the person who disclosed the information. As in the case of Daniel Ellsberg, and countless other whistleblowers before, government demands for secrecy must yield to public knowledge and justice when government crime and corruption are being kept hidden. If the United States government demands to use our tax dollars and our own children to fight this war, then we must demand full disclosure of the facts, no matter how unsettling. We demand that the government stop the misinformation and we honor heroes who fight for transparency.

Free Bradley Manning!

Movement for a Democratic Society

MDS Statement Condemning FBI Raids on Activists

The Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) joins the growing protest against the FBI raids on activist homes and offices, which occurred on September 24, and against the demands for activists to testify in a closed grand jury, under threat of imprisonment. Activists from the Students for a Democratic Society were among those taken in this dragnet/fishing expedition of harassment attempted against the peace and justice movement. As activists now, connected with the old SDS of the 1960’s and supportive of the new SDS, we remember the old co-in-tel-pro, counterintelligence program, and are determined to protest and resist any new cointelpro, as seems indicated by these raids, grand jury hearings and high handed seizure of people’s personal property, and organization property, with no due process of law or basic human respect for the individuals involved, under cover of the “war on terror” and the so called “Patriot Act.”

Even an administration embroiled in wars and military alliances, as with Israel and Colombia, must still remember it is no crime in America to protest, and promulgate policies different from the government. Had that not been the case the current administration and its Attorney General would not have been in office, and there would have been no civil rights movement. Those “laws” which made it a crime eventually fell. So will these.

We urge the Administration to reconsider its own history, and discontinue this harassment of anti-war and international solidarity activists.

Cancel the Grand Jury. Return the activists’ possessions. And apologize.

We urge all activists: call President Obama at 202-456-1111 and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at 202-353-1555

We urge no one to be passive on this slippery slope into the police state and renewal of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

Some believe there are better impulses in the government, than represented by these raids, subpoenas, seizures and threats. At a time when a virulent right wing is trying to take over the Republican party and the government itself, we would hope the Obama administration would see, in the peace and justice, anti-war, and international solidarity movements, allies for a democratic society, not its enemy. The call for freedom will not be silenced, nor the demands for justice and the application of international and human rights law criminalized.

We offer our solidarity and such material aid as we can a to our friends in SDS and other activists as this case and contest with the government develops.

Movement for a Democratic Society
Working Committee, October 4, 2010

USSF Report back on Workshop

USSF in Detroit, June, 2010, MDS members

USSF in Detroit, June, 2010, MDS members


Movement for a Democratic Society, Workshop Report and Reflection from the Social Forum by alan haber

Today, Bastille Day, a revolutionary day in France, a day to remember the rising of the people, and the opening of the political prison, and the fall of the royalists. May that day come again, soon in our time, that the multitudes arise, and the political prisoners in our country and world wide are freed and democracy prevails over the oligarchs and monopolists, masters of war and makers of the big guns. It is our mission. The end of the system of war and creation of a culture of peace and non-violence for the children of the world, “..a society free from poverty ignorance, war, exploitation, racism and sexism…” as it says on our membership card.

The United States Social Forum in Detroit, June 22-26 was indeed a surge of energy in that mission. A thousand workshops, 50 peoples assemblies, 5 plenarys, art and culture, day and night. thousands of people. Inspiring diversity. Their web, ussf2010.org will give a comprehensive report.

The forum was exhilarating and exhausting, and with the 4th of July close on its heals, parading and reflecting on our right to rebel, and its celebration, and then real life and other urgencies and agonies intervening, time has flown. What i hoped would be a more immediate report has waited to now, on the 14th of July, and summoning that revolutionary resonance, it is due time to push “send”.

i hope you will find it useful and sufficient to prompt your “active participation” in the movement for a democratic society.

Before our Movement for a Democratic Society workshop, i attended two others that were very relevant, one on local organization form, and one on statewide common program.

Wednesday morning, i attended a workshop of the “arc109” community in Chicago, “re-imagining the movement,” Hearing how a well developed, consciously learning from experience, local political group operates, was encouraging. The are models from which to learn, what works at the local level, how networks of relationship can draw people from many diverse questions to think and act together, different approaches the “the national questions”, unity and diversity. Chapter building is on the agenda in every place where we are, so this was a good start for the forum.

On Wednesday afternoon, there was a “people’s movement assembly” inviting all peace and justice activists from Michigan. Many came. We developed a statewide plan of “mobilizing Michigan’s millions,” presuming a much deeper discontent than has expressed itself, promoting a statewide march. “a moveable peace: creating the commons,” from the war system to the peace system. This was seen as a model appropriate for other states, as part of a national mobilization, in 3 time stages, this 4th of july to the next, 2011, next summer july 4 to labor day, 2011, , and labor day 2011 to election day 2012, a long campaign, creating, nurturing, linking in every community a “commons place” for considering a common “peace and justice program,” for dramatic presentation to governor, legislature and world media public.

The social forum, as those who were there can testify, hosted a beyond-abundance of excellence. On Thursday afternoon, when our workshop and organization meeting was scheduled, so also was scheduled, the SDS campus workshop, Organization for a Free Society workshop, Iranian workshop, the anti-war people’s movement assembly with Labor Against the War and Military Families Speak Out, the education people’s movement assembly, War Resisters League and Courage to Resist, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and Midnight Notes, for instance, in all of which we had friends indicating wish to come. except….

So the mds workshop attracted those who picked us out of the hundred and more alternative beacons, and had no other prior commitment.
We promised to deal with organization: “What forms of political (and other) association are adequate for our needs in these times.” i printed a thousand leaflets and was able to distribute nearly 500. The mds outreach statement was on one side, with improved graphics, strengthening the fist and making the heart fuller, and, on the other side, the workshop outline was printed, as proposed to the social forum for participation.

Of course, nothing went according to outline. An extreme tornado laden storm closed the East Coast air-lanes and Devra Morice, who would have facilitated the discussion and agenda, could not attend, and she had the multiple copies of the constitution that we were to discuss. No plane or train out of New York at the critical time. She was also slated to deliver a “not quite a chapter report,” So the order of the day was improvise.

We did well enough in attendance to have a great discussion, (more than a minyan) with presence from Kansas City, Denver, Berkeley, San Diego, Houston, Austin, Atlanta, New York, Cleveland, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Montpellier in France, and with connections in Russia, and in Iraq, and regrets from an Iranian who was interested but otherwise obligated. We also had a beautiful span of generations. One, beside me, from the first generation of sds, long working in an Atlanta radio station, came with his grand daughter, a dynamo of a student at a school in Wisconsin.

The elder was a retired minister, older than me. He began, in our go around, with a challenge, propelled by 25 years of frustration: are we really trying to organize a third force in American politics, are we serious about contending with power? challenging the Democrats and Republicans monopoly in politics. He had worked with the greens and was dissatisfied. Can we take on the corporations? bring down the oligarchs? He seemed satisfied, as the discussion progressed, that we were doing what others weren’t and were dealing with the right questions, corporate control of globalization, climate change, environment, re-localization, inter-organization relations, etc, to be relevant in Kansas City. Life long commitments and being inspired by what the old sds envisioned were also on our plus side.

One from the old sds put forth a 3 fold perspective, emphasizing the direct democratic possibility of new communications, the need to challenge the banking system monopoly control of the privatized money system which accepts usury as usual, and the global population growth that looms over all programs we consider.

A self described, “non-representative youth” among us was totally angry about more than he could say in 4 points, British Petroleum, the bank bail out, war rip-off and Katrina policy and 9/11, for starters, and impatient with non-violence, peace and harmony. Anger was a motivator to get off your ass and do something, The system was so corrupted, it should all come down and people start over.

As to how, Bob Meola conveyed an exposition of non-violence, as a means and social goal, like democracy, “in all areas of our common life.” He had also spoken at the War Resisters League workshop, meeting at the same time as ours. This statement is attached below.

A man from Cleveland worked on foreclosures, evictions, help for the uninsured and poor people’s economics. It reminded me of the Cleveland erap project (sds economic research and action project) and that the abolition of poverty is still the bottom line. Help is needed in Cleveland. (Afterwards, back in Ann Arbor i chanced to meet 4 young people visiting from Cleveland, not “political” at all, knowing nothing of the social forum, and hearing what went on and the ideal of mds and peace and justice, were quick and happy to join. Maybe help is at hand.)

We got a report on the local and wider struggle for democracy in the Service Employees International Union, and some reflections on the limitations and frustrations of “the union” as an instrument of the working class, and yet, that what there is, operating in a legally restrained collective bargaining model, and with no labor or workers party or independent political association, in America, or internationally, which is what we need, and again is our mission.

An interesting discussion ensued following the question of our aspiring to be a global network/organization/association and our presumption of democracy and democratic secular state forms. Traditional, tribal, clan based and religious rooted societies don’t operate in that model and yet can operate very well, and fairly, along traditional lines of conflict resolution and decision making, The old ways are not always fair, but also not inherently the enemy of fair. The strong indigenous people presence at the social forum gave voice to those usually silenced by the hegemony and occupation of empire.

When we got to our actual preamble and constitutional document, 2 recurrent questions again were raised.

1. It says we are “people on the left.” Do we want to say we are only the left, and not drawing from the right or the vast many who do not live at all in that left-right political paradigm of dualism? Neither left nor right, but forward? new paradigm? “progressive” has its problems too.

2. Do we really want the exclusionist clause: “apologists” for dictators are not welcome? What makes one an “apologists”, rather than a realist. dealing with what is? Are we not friends of Cuba, Venezuela, Palestine, in its various factions, none of which are exactly “democratic.” Is it not better to have discussion and critique of each situation in its own terms, and not presume some universal test or semantic purity.

All present endured a full reading of the constitution, transfixed by its riveting rhetoric and ingenious combinations of best practices.

Consensus agreed that we had still too few members to conduct formal organization business and elections. All present were invited to join the movement for a democratic society, and to join the organizing committee.

Membership cards had been printed, in an iww union shop, and 1000 cards were brought to the social forum, and distributed to the organizing team.
$1 to join, a symbolic amount of money, pledging a lifetime of commitment.

[Periodic dues were not set. Contributions are welcome. The mds web site has a “join” and “pay money” button. www.movementforademocraticsociety.org, or membership requests and joining dues and money can be sent to: “mds, p.o.box 7213, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48107. ]

Our basic “adequate to meet our needs” organization structure establishes working groups or “secretariats” with collective leadership in 5 areas: on membership, actions, education, inter-organization relations, and media, with “chapters” of 5 or more members, either local geographical chapters , and non-local or multi-local project oriented or affinity chapters. and a “council of representatives.” and a “convention.” Association and liaison with other, allied organizations and groups is part of the form and function.

No quorum was set to call or conduct a convention. Informally, it was “nodded to” that maybe when half or a quarter of the cards are signed up, we’ll have enough going for a proper convention. Until then we will continue to operate as an open organizing collective/team/group/committee.

On the “education” part, we had intended, in our formal agenda, to discuss a paper from “Cloudy” beginning a telling of the political story “from the old sds to the new mds.” This draft paper is also included as an attachment. It can be considered the beginning of our “internal education” program, inviting comments, for amplification, clarification, refinement, editing, etc, for possible release as an “external education” document.

A student spoke, far clearer than my generation did at her age, on the experience of the undemocratic university and the demand/insistence for change, “You can’t foster democracy out of tyranny,” as she sucinctly put it. She later went off to another workshop on creating the democratic university and came back before we were over to report on the meeting, which began planning October education focused actions. .

I spoke of the “campaign for the commons” in Ann Arbor and our local organization model of a Town Meeting, and cooperation across multiple organization loyalties. I also reported on the cross-silo model i heard in the ‘arc workshop,” and the Michigan state-wide strategy, within a national mobilization focused on 2012, and intending to create a “commons-based” independent political presence.

I also offered a report from the 50th anniversary Reunion of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, on what happened in Raleigh, the follow up “legacy project” to collect copies of all the documents and recollections of the sncc activity, an association of “children of sncc” being in touch with each other and stimulated one another’s creativity and activism, and the young people’s project, based in high schools, leading a campaign for a constitution amendment to guarantee the right to quality public education for everyone in America, as a federal responsibility, challenging existing “sharecropper education” and the school-to-prison beltway. The activist continuations group following the sncc reunion, provisionally called the “non-violent political coordinating committee, set out an organizing plan to link progressive activists, provide an activist training facility, scholarly committee to help think though difficult questions, and a legal aid team. Unfortunately, others from ex-sncc who had intended to come, could not come, variously for reasons of health, finances and local urgencies. The draft discussion outline of this perspective is attached.

The workshop meeting ended in good cheer and warmth to one another, some joining and some waitings-to-see. For the organizers there was satisfaction that we had gotten through it, and were ready for next steps. We got a nice photo of organizers by our poster. see below

Later in the forum i participated in a workshop on “Creating a nuclear weapons free zone in the middle east” and Israel/Palestine Peace.

Odile Hugonot Haber and I also directed a workshop on “the peace table” and a citizen initiative for a “cease fire! and come to the table to talk” world peace meeting, which we call the “megiddo peace project,” a global/local art for peace action, transforming armageddon.

There is more to tell of the forum. This is enough.

In our 4th of July parade in Ann Arbor, Michigan, i marched with the Gray Panthers, We put out a leaflet, “1,2,3, for democracy,”
promoting organizing campaigns for “medicare for all,” “challenging corporate power” via constitutional amendment, and creating an “Ann Arbor Community Commons,” downtown, for everyone. We distributed a thousand leaflets, none were left, to the outstretched arms of an eager general public. There was a lot of affirmation to one or another, or all of the 3 points. i saw a ready public; not many said “no” to what we offered.

Now is a ready time. Illusion of system competence and compassion is shattered in the experience of Katrina and banking rip off and British Petroleum.
pollution. Eyes are open, The emperor is naked. People are seeking. Now is a time when decisive, determinative change is possible. The inclusive political union of a movement for democratic society is but a decision away.

i invite others who were at the workshop to add your comments, and whoever sees this report, to respond. Say what you have been doing and join the movement building process this workshop advanced. mds-organizers has a google group to discuss planning, conference calls, follow-up activities.

thank you for reading this.

alan haber

JOIN US! — MDS TO HOST WORKSHOP-MEETING AT THE US SOCIAL FORUM

mds-symbol[1]On June 24th, 2010, Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) and the MDS Organizing Committee will host a workshop-meeting at the United States Social Forum in Detroit. MDS is taking the social forum as an opportunity to present our work, our Constitution, and the organizing model we have developed. This is a critical time for movement mobilization. The workshop and meeting we are presenting is an effort to advance this mobilization.

At this time, we’d like to invite all activists, friends, likeminded allies and the curious to attend, as we, in common struggle and solidarity, work to build a genuinely liberatory, directly democratic movement and society.

What is Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS)?

Movement for a Democratic Society is a global association of people on the left. It seeks to create a sustained community of educational and political concern and actions: one bringing together liberals and radicals, activists and scholars, students, faculty and workers in all trades. It maintains a vision of a democratic society, where at all levels the people have control of the decisions which affect them and the resources on which they are dependent. It seeks a relevance through the continual focus on realities and on the programs necessary to effect change at the most basic levels of economic, political, and social organization. It feels the urgency to put forth a radical, democratic program counter-posed to authoritarian movements.

Why should I attend the MDS WORKSHOP-MEETING at the USSF in Detroit on June 24th?
The workshop is entitled, “Organization: what are the best structures
for political (and more) association, adequate for our needs in these times?””
As people on the left, we speak of the need for better movement organization, more effective focus, sharper actions, wider reach, participatory democracy, bottom-up process, horizontal connections, and greater transparency. In 2009, an organizing committee for Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) undertook the drafting of a Constitution, to describe the working form of such an organization and to incorporate the best practices we have learned.

On July 4, 2009, our proposed Constitution was released to the MDS member body for input and analysis. On October 11, 2009, it was voted upon and adopted in a multi-city membership conference call. At the Detroit workshop, we will present this document for review, discussion, and to elicit proposals for improvement, and implementation.

MDS has a rich history and legacy. Current members are moving forward based on that legacy, the strength of the organization, an openness to new, more cooperative ways of working together, a unique, multi-tendency approach, and a desire to see that approach continue.
Discussion will center around the importance of multi-generational organizing, working with allied groups, inter-organizational cooperation, non-hierarchical structuring, a commitment to direct action, sustaining a multi-issue approach, building a network of local chapters, a “one struggle, many fronts” orientation, and developing an international reach.

Topics include but are not limited to:
** A historical review: “How SDS became MDS”. What has MDS been doing on a local and national level?
** A mission statement: What are our needs?
** The international view. How do we tie into global networks and structures?
** Understanding and fully utilizing new modes of communication
** Cooperation and competition among organizations .
** Common actions based on shared values and issues

Following this presentation and discussion, members of MDS will hold a membership meeting at approximately 3:00 PM, to reflect on the workshop and conduct organizational business – putting into practice the principles we discussed.

Join Us!

Thursday, June 24 – 1:00-5:30 PM.
Room 02-35 Cobo Hall, 1 Washington Boulevard, Detroit, MI

We want the World, and we want it Now!

EPIC: Coalition Petitions Homeland Security to Suspend Airport Body Scanners

Coalition Petitions Homeland Security to Suspend Airport Body Scanners

EPIC and a broad coalition of organizations sent a formal petition to the Department of Homeland Security to demand that the agency suspend the airport body scanner program. The petition states that the “uniquely intrusive search” is unreasonable and violates the Constitution. The petition further states the program fails to comply with several federal laws, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act , the Privacy Act of 1974, and the Administrative Procedures Act. The petitioners also argue that the machines are ineffective and that there are better, less costly security technology. The petitioners contend that the TSA has routinely misled the pubic about the ability of the devices to store and transmit detailed images of travelers’ naked bodies. In a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, EPIC has already obtained technical documents, vendor contracts, and hundreds of traveler complaints. EPIC is seeking additional documents. For more information, see EPIC: http://epic.org/2010/04/coalition-petition-homeland-se.html

ALSO SEE PETITION AT: http://epic.org/privacy/airtravel/backscatter/petition_042110.pdf

JOIN MDS AT THE UPCOMING SOCIAL FORUM!

Detroit 2010

The USSF will take place June 22-26, 2010 at Cobo Hall and Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit. The USSF will convene social movements from across the United States and globally. http://www.ussf2010.org/

Come join MDS members in their workshop to be announced! Check back here.

The Social Forum is the best place to network with the movement on the “left” and get to meet new like-minded people from across the Country and around the World!

Register at the link above, and watch for our workshop and join MDS.

Contact our New Chapter in San Diego

mds_sandiego@earthlink.net

Report Back from Haiti

See blog at: http://elaine.worldcantwait.net
check us out on facebook at: Sustainable Orphanages for Haitian Youth

Watch video of the streets of Port au Prince:

Grassroots movement to help Haitians

Grassroots International works to create a just and sustainable world by building alliances with progressive movements.

Haitian Platform to Advocate Alternative Development (PAPDA)
The Haitian Platform to Advocate Alternative Development (PAPDA) is a coalition of nine Haitian popular and non-governmental organizations which work with the Haitian popular movement to develop alternatives to the neo-liberal model of economic globalization. When the Haitian government moved to privatize certain industries, PAPDA worked with the unions and the business community to create strategies that would improve production and minimize cost without privatization. The coalition has worked with the agricultural sector to devise ways of producing and selling indigenous Haitian crops and protecting Haitian farmers from cheap imported grains.

Remember Michael Chertoff, He Owns Body Scanner Company

SAY NO TO VIRTUAL STRIP SEARCHES!

ALL:
We’ve all heard alot of talk lately about “heightening security” at the airports. Well just want to say the members of Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS-SI-NYC) in coalition with other outraged activists, both locally and nationally, aren’t having it.

SIGN OUR PETITION FIRST AT: Say NO To Virtual Strip Searches, at http://www.rallycongress.com/2/2759/

WE ARE PLANNING PROTESTS AT LOCAL AIRPORTS. AND WITH YOUR HELP, ON A NATIONAL BASIS.

The use of full body scanners is as invasive to our privacy as it is degrading to our dignity. Targeting “terrorist prone counties” amounts to nothing less than racial profiling. We aren’t moved by pleas for increased security from “terrorists”.

We can’t be convinced that even more abuses to our privacy rights are needed for anyones safety. We won’t be bullied by government or media hysteria — No matter how ratcheted up the fearmongering gets or how overheated the propaganda becomes.

We plan to make our voices heard, and we’d like you to join in this campaign if you agree. The government violates privacy rights and makes people jump through hoops enough under the pretext of security. But the right to privacy is an inalienable human right. And our determination to protect that human right from increasing intrusions is unshakeable.

We not only refuse to subject ourselves to full body scans, we reject their use altogether. On any person, from any country, at any time!

THEY SAY, extra security screening of people from “terrorist prone countries” will make everyone safer.
WE SAY, it’s racist, and can’t be allowed to stand. Not in our name.
THEY SAY, head-to-toe x-raying of the entire body, adults and children alike, is “simply precautionary”, “safeguarded”, and “for our own good”.
WE SAY, we’d rather be blown to bits than to live in a world where fearmongering was the norm, and dehumanizing violations of our privacy were accepted.

Full body scans are nothing less than virtual strip searches. All human beings have a right to be secure in their person, and no amount of fearmongering should be able to strip that right away!

Send us an email at movementforademocraticsociety@gmail.com
for more information on how you can participate, help plan and organize
protests now.

If you’d like to engage in discussion, join the Google Group, “ScanThis”, at http://groups.google.com/group/scanthis

Our protest group is as yet unnamed, but our discussions begin immediately.

Look for our low volume Riseup list when it becomes active to receive
digest updates and action announcements.

And sign our preliminary petition, Say NO To Virtual Strip Searches, at
http://www.rallycongress.com/2/2759/

Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) – SI-NYC Chapter

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