School of the Americas Protest in 2003

Immediately after the protest in Miami against the FTAA, many of us headed to the annual demonstration organized by School of the Americas Watch at the main gate of Fort Benning on the weekend of Nov. 21-23, 2003.

The U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA), located in Fort Benning, Georgia, is a military training institution focused on training officers from Latin American countries. Since its creation in 1946, some 60,000 Latin American military officers have graduated from the school.

The mission of the SOA, known as the School of Assassins, is to train soldiers to protect the interests of multinational corporations, and maintain the economic status quo for the few rich and powerful in the U.S. and their cohorts in Latin America. Religions leaders union organizers, and indigenous communities have been the targets and victims of SOA violence.

In 2000, pressure on Congress to stop funding the SOA increased to the point where the Pentagon decided to rename the school the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, abbreviated as WHISC or WHINSEC.

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Demonstrations in Miami Against the FTAA

“In November, 2003, trade ministers from 34 countries met in Miami, Florida, to negotiate the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). FTAA threatens to devastate workers, the environment, and public services like health care, education, and water, and to destroy indigenous rights and cultural diversity across North, Central, and South America.

“Thousands of union members, environmentalists, feminists, anarchists, students, farm workers, media activists, and human rights activists who gathered in Miami to struggle against the FTAA were brutally attacked with rubber bullets, pepper spray, electric guns and shock batons, embedded reporters and information warfare, all coordinated by the new United States Department of Homeland Security.

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Santa Cruz Night Out

Salsa in the Streets. August 12, 2003.

Text by Coalition for Community Commons
Photos by Bradley

Santa Cruz Night Out is a community based event downtown where families and visitors will enjoy a variety of events showcasing the diverse cultural talents of Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz Night Out is planned for three Tuesday nights in August from 5:00 – 8:00 pm. The purpose of Santa Cruz Night Out is to create an open-air street fair atmosphere on Pacific Avenue (between Cathcart and Lincoln Streets) for families to enjoy while invigorating downtown businesses on a weeknight.

Would you like to see the diverse talents of Santa Cruz displayed in your downtown? Would you like to experience downtown from a whole different perspective? Wonder what Pacific Avenue would be with less cars cruising the street and more space for the community to gather?

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Demo at K-Mart Against militarized Easter baskets

I took a handful of photos at today’s [March 16, 2003] demonstration outside of K-Mart in Capitola.

I went into K-Mart to look for the Easter baskets containing the action figures, but I could hardly find them. The articles about this demo gave me the impression that the Easter baskets with military men had replaced traditional baskets! I eventually did find the white guy with guns next to some candy in an Easter basket.

Shortly thereafter, a group of mostly women gathered outside K-Mart armed with bunny ears, poster boards, and leaflets on militarized Easter baskets.

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Recruitment Center Closed for Peace

A collection of photos from my lunch break on Wednesday, March 5, 2003, the day of the National Moratorium to Stop the War on Iraq.

The Santa Cruz County recruiting offices for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines remained closed all day due to a large rally and civil disobedience action held outside their offices at 41st and Clares Streets in Capitola.

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Corporate Walk of Shame

On Tuesday, February 26, 2003, more than 30 people showed up in downtown Santa Cruz to express their opposition to Corporate America. Santa Cruz was one of many cities participating in a day of action to reform Starbucks. In addition to Starbucks, Borders and the Gap were also targeted on Pacific Avenue because of their significant roles in the exploitative neoliberal “hands off” global economy.

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International D.I.Y. of Action

We know that the mainstream media will not do a quality job of covering the peace movement or any other movement involving social and economic justice.

SANTA CRUZ, CA – I was delighted to see thousands of people marching from the Santa Cruz County Building to the Mission Plaza. There has not been a demonstration this large here in many years (Bruce Bratton, are you in?). I believe this is only a small taste of organized mass resistance to war in Santa Cruz.

Most of my time was spent conversing with people and distributing flyers about Santa Cruz Indymedia. Most people I spoke with were very excited to learn about Santa Cruz Indymedia. I specifically made a point to try and explain Indymedia to the hundreds of photographers and videographers that participated in the march and rally.

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