Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cheat Neutral: just as great as carbon offsets.

Some clever Brits have taken the concept of carbon offsets -- people paying a voluntary fee for their "carbon footprint" so that carbon emissions will be reduced somewhere else -- and applied it to the ethics of cheating on your partner.

[Click on the headline to see how it all works]

Friday, April 25, 2008

Where will you be the first of May?

Join Jobs with Justice and El Comite Pro-Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social for the 2008 Immigrant Rights March and Rally!

Date: May 1st
Time: 4:30pm
Location: Beginning at St. Mary’s 611 20th Ave South, Seattle

This year’s theme is “We are not illegal, we are not undocumented, we are workers.”

May 1st has many histories of celebration around the world, currently; it’s globally celebrated as International Workers’ Day. Seattle has a rich history of marching for immigrant/worker rights on May 1st. In 2006 the first massive immigrant rights march took place in Seattle. It created history by mobilizing approximately 60,000 people in protest of House Resolution 4437, debated in Congress, which would have instantly criminalized all undocumented persons, as well as persons who offered them humanitarian aid. Last year, despite the federal government’s harassment of immigrants, thousands of immigrants and allies came out in support and to protest the draconian policies the federal government is enforcing. El Comite, Jobs with Justice and many other community, labor, faith and student groups continue to fight for immigrant/worker justice.

[The text above copied from Jobs with Justice, For information in Spanish, click the headline to go to the Comité website.]

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Photos from "The Party of the (18th) Century"

On April 5th, I had a party, originally meant simply to raise funds for a research trip to Spain, but it turned into a farewell bash once I decided to leave Seattle. My friend Carina was there, and took some fantastic photos ...

[click headline to see them]

Friday, April 11, 2008

Healing across the divide of war

I find Robert Jamieson's columns to be a mixed bag, at times insightful, other times smug. In this one, about two veterans, one pro-Bush, the other anti-war, I think he has done justice to a an important story.

(Click on the headline for the link to the article.)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Remembering Abe Osheroff

When I first met Abe Osheroff in 1996, he said something I will never forget.

At the time, UW professor Tony Geist (and surely others) organized a film festival and exhibition of posters from the Spanish Civil War. During these events and some classroom chats, I got to hear many of Abe's impressive stories, such as when he and other activists in Depression-era New York broke open chained doors to move families and their possessions back into the apartments from which they had been evicted. Later, when the U.S. banned Americans from going to Spain, he tried to sneak into the country, to fight against Franco's coup and the larger wave of fascism that was gathering across Europe. His ship from Marseille to Catalonia was torpedoed by an Itaian submarine, and Abe and his fellow volunteers had to swim to shore.

Around the time I met Abe, I was studying labor history, doing an internship with the United Farm Workers, and participating in a campaign to win family housing and health insurance for gay UW students' partners, equal to those which heterosexual students' spouses already received. It was a transformative time for me, and Abe was part of it. His stories inspired me to be bold, and his practical philosophy of "radical humanism" was equally compelling. His words I will never forget: "We are all a part of history. Every single one of us. It's up to you to decide whether you want to be a participant, or a spectator."

Two years later came the 60th anniversary of when the ALB left Spain. A plaque was placed in front of the UW student union building to commemorate the students who had joined the fight, and Abe and other ALB veterans from across the country reunited in a moving ceremony. I was one of many who shed tears to hear the veterans' tales of valor and humor. I felt their stories had infused into me, somehow becoming my own.

That same autumn of 1998, I graduated from the UW. Developing a roll of photo film from my graduation party, I came up with some great shots of family and friends. I tucked these into my wallet, including one of Abe and fellow ALB veterans Bob Reid and Dutch Schultz, posing by the UW memorial on the day of its unveiling. I carried these photos with me for the four months in 1999 I reported on the massive student strike at its National Autonomous University, and during the rest of the year, while I and every other activist in Seattle was frenetically organizing the historic protests against the World Trade Organization.

Abe's memorial will take place May 25th in Seattle. I am sad to say that I will be out of the country, but I will remember him, always.

To read more about Abe Osheroff, a lion of a man:

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer obituary:

The New York Times obituary:

[This post was revised 4/23/08, after receiving a couple of historical corrections from Gunnel Clark, Abe's wife. Thanks, Gunnel.]