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65 posts categorized "Social Action" Feed

October 21, 2011

Albany Woman Launches Hunger Strike to Protest Lowell Mountain Wind Project


A 71-year-old Albany woman has entered the second week of a hunger strike launched to protest what she calls the permanent destruction of the Lowell Mountain range in the name of industrial wind development.

Carol Irons, a retired mental health case worker whose home faces Lowell Mountain, began her hunger strike on October 13 and is consuming only water and juice. She says she's prepared to continue her fast "for as long as it takes" to stop the project. She insists her concerns have far less to do with the visual impact of the 21-turbine wind project than the effects on wildlife, public health and the environment. As someone with Abenaki heritage, Irons says it's crucial that Vermonters adhere to the Native American principle that all our decisions first consider the impact on seven generations of our descendants. 

Continue reading "Albany Woman Launches Hunger Strike to Protest Lowell Mountain Wind Project" »

October 19, 2011

Occupy Lowell Mountain Launches Blog From The Blasting Zone

IMG_4508Talk about your daily blasts: Protesters making a last-ditch effort to halt construction of Green Mountain Power's Kingdom Community Wind Project on Lowell Mountain have launched a daily blog, called "Mountain Talk,"  to spread the word about their ongoing "tent-in" and invite newcomers to join them.

As reported in my story this week, "Occupy Lowell Mountain? Despite Court Order, Opponents Camp Near GMP Blasting Zone," opponents of the 21-turbine, $163 million wind project in the Northeast Kingdom have set up a round-the-clock encampment on land owned by the project's most vocal critics, Don and Shirley Nelson. The protesters, who have permission from the Nelsons, are set up within GMP’s blasting zone and say they’re prepared to stay on the mountain all winter, if necessary, in order to prevent the project from moving forward.

Last week, GMP offered to buy the Nelsons' property at their initial asking price of $1.25 million — the land has been for sale for about a decade — but also threatened the couple with a $1 million lawsuit if the campers don't leave the blast zone and delay construction. The Nelsons said no, then upped their asking price to $2.25 million.

Says Don Nelson, 69, "If they’re gonna sue me for $1 million, I’m gonna add a million to the price tag. It's high-stakes poker, and I don’t intend to sell out to the enemy if I can help it."

October 18, 2011

Did Occupy Vermont Suppress Free Speech in Goldman Sachs Protest Controversy?

Goldman-sucks-sign Jeff Ares, a University of Vermont alumnus who now works for Goldman Sachs, was scheduled to speak to business students at the school on Friday. Given Goldman Sachs's sizable role in the financial meltdown, this didn't make Vermont's contingent of Occupy Wall Street supporters too happy.

Occupy Vermont participants planned a "showdown" at the talk to protest Goldman Sachs and to urge business students to take up careers away from Wall Street. Talk of a protest led Goldman Sachs to request that the event be canceled, according to the AP.

The AP story includes a quote from a notable free speech advocate, who appears to condemn Occupy Vermont for their role in getting the plug pulled:

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October 17, 2011

Two Days, Two Rallies Bring Hundreds to "Occupy" Burlington (VIDEO)

IMG_3012Vermont's Occupy Wall Street solidarity movement saw some of its biggest rallies yet this past weekend, and its first steps toward harnessing the energy from these protests into more concrete action.

On Saturday, roughly 500 people filled City Hall Park and then marched up Church Street before heading up the hill to Fletcher Allen Health Care and the University of Vermont. There, protesters called for fair contracts for staff at the two institutions.

Contract talks between the administration and all three of UVM's unions are at an impasse, while nurses are already engaged in tough negotiations for a new contract.

On Sunday, fewer than 200 protesters gathered in City Hall Park for the first "general assembly" after four consecutive weeks of protests and speakouts.

Continue reading "Two Days, Two Rallies Bring Hundreds to "Occupy" Burlington (VIDEO)" »

October 09, 2011

Hundreds of Protesters "Occupy Burlington" During Downtown Rally (VIDEO)

IMG_3040 More than 350 people marched through downtown Burlington on Sunday afternoon in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City — the third such rally in as many weeks.

With a street band leading the procession, the throng marched from City Hall Park up Church Street to the fountain at the top block, turned around, and marched down the street again as shoppers and diners looked on — some smiling, some seemingly dumbfounded and some applauding.

Marchers chanted, "All day, all week, occupy Wall Street" (see video below) as they marched first through the alleyway onto Church Street and along the narrow street passage between the outdoor patios at Sweetwaters and Ri Ra.

As with last week, protest messages and demands ran the gamut and the political spectrum. The multi-generational crowd's demands were as varied as its attendees: End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, support unionized workers at Fletcher Allen Health Care and the University of Vermont, end the corporate influence on the electoral system, end the "corporatization" at UVM, support migrant farm workers, end the Federal Reserve, and the list went on.

Continue reading "Hundreds of Protesters "Occupy Burlington" During Downtown Rally (VIDEO)" »

October 07, 2011

A Vermonter on Wall Street: 'I Knew This Is Where I Had to Be'

IMG_0799 NEW YORK — Despite the looming skyscrapers and the fidgety cops, many Vermonters might feel right at home in Liberty Plaza, the epicenter of the Occupy Wall Street uprising.

Ian Williams and TC Kida (pictured at right) certainly find the scene congenial. When not marching on Lower Manhattan's citadels of capitalism, the two Vermonters have been spending the past few days talking politics and lifestyle philosophies with some of the hundreds of young agitators congregated in this roughly one-acre space surrounded by banks, drug stores, electronics outlets and fast-food joints.

Williams, a McGill University graduate from Enosburg Falls, arrived here after taking part in a protest in Boston last weekend against Bank of America. “Something just awakened in me,” the bearded 26-year-old said, explaining that he quit his temp job in a Williston warehouse because “I knew this is where I had to be.”

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October 03, 2011

Occupy Wall Street? No! Occupy St. Paul Street!

IMG_2994 A group of nearly 150 people rallied in downtown Burlington Sunday in solidarity with the thousands of protesters who have been occupying Wall Street in New York City.

Chanting "we are the 99 percent," the crowd called for economic, labor and environmental justice. Like the rally in New York City, the Burlington gathering became a catch-all for venting frustration with government bailouts of banks and corporations while unemployment, and underemployment, hovers at 16 percent nationally.

"It is time for those of us in the 99 percent to organize and fight back," said Jonathan Leavitt, an event organizer.

The "99 percent" references everyone, economically, who is not among the country's wealthiest 1 percent. Various reports show that the concentration of wealth at the top 1 percent exceeds that of the bottom 95 percent combined.

Budget cuts as a result of the flagging economy is "something that touches all of us in the 99 percent," added Leavitt. "Conservatives on the city council here in Burlington — who are the majority on the council — are looking to make cuts at fire, police, library and the arts and our mayor, who is wholly incompetent, only serves to help them."

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September 27, 2011

Sluts on Parade in Burlington (UPDATE with photos)

If you missed the inaugural SlutWalk Burlington last Saturday (we did because we don't like to get wet), here's what it looked like, courtesy of Fed Up Vermont, the organization that coordinated the march. No word on how many folks braved the rain to come out and rally for women's sexual rights (including the right to not be blamed for your own rape), but it looks like they had a good turnout despite the weather. Kudos, sluts! Keep on SlutWalking!

September 26, 2011

At Montpelier Rally, Shumlin Voices Support For Climate Change Protesters Jailed at White House

Spa star rally The 1000-plus people who biked, hiked and bused to Montpelier for a climate change rally on Saturday may have been asking one another afterward, “So, did the planet move?”

It might well have, but Vermont’s mainstream media wasn’t on hand to report on it. By ignoring this spirited gathering on the Statehouse lawn — one of more than 2000 worldwide "Moving Planet Day" events organized by a coalition of groups including, Oxfam, the Sierra Club and Greenpeace — the daily papers, wire services, and radio and television outlets missed at least two important stories:

• Vermonters are accelerating the momentum on climate change issues that got going in August when Middlebury’s Bill McKibben led a series of civil-disobedience sit-ins at the White House gates.

• Peter Shumlin gave a tub-thumper of a speech that surely qualifies him as the most radical of the 50 governors on environmental and clean-energy concern.

Continue reading "At Montpelier Rally, Shumlin Voices Support For Climate Change Protesters Jailed at White House" »

September 23, 2011

Sluts on Parade in Burlington

5858649408_c17ec44494_b No, really. The title is true. Sluts in fact will be on parade in Burlington. At noon on Saturday, self-professed sluts, slut-lovers and friends of sluts will be taking a stand on Church Street against rape-victim-blaming and other crimes against women. The first annual SlutWalk is part of a global movement to draw attention to various women's issues (really humanity's issues) by taking back the word "slut" and empowering the ladies.

Quick history on SlutWalks: Back in April, a Toronto police officer told a class of college students that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized." Obviously, this pissed off a lot of ladies and from their ire sprang the SlutWalk concept. They decided to march in solidarity to decry the notion that some women bring sexual violence on themselves and to protest slut-shaming and victim-blaming. As the organizers of the first march wrote, women “are tired of being oppressed by slut-shaming; of being judged by our sexuality and feeling unsafe as a result…. Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work.”

Since the Toronto rally, which drew thousands of participants — many dressed in little more than some lacy skivvies — the movement has spread to more than 70 cities across the globe. SlutWalks have taken place in London, Sydney, Sao Paolo and New Delhi. In the U.S., there have been marches in Chicago, Denver, Boston and Seattle. And now little Burlington, Vt., can join in the fun. 

Continue reading "Sluts on Parade in Burlington" »

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