Boycotts We Support

Did you know that it was a boycott that made the Congress pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voter's Rights Act of 1965? It was.
 Therefore, this is a new feature of this magazine which is itself based on boycott. This feature is ongoing as any boycott is as only when the goal is achieved, does the boycott end. Thank you for your participation.

Heated protests in the Middle East on Wednesday were mirrored locally when Palestinian supporters and self-proclaimed Zionists clashed on the Quad 

 Palestinian and Israeli land claims moved protesters to scream, cry and trade insults Ð despite the approximate 6,000 miles that separate the West Bank from campus. Members of the Urbana-Champaign Struggle for Unity demanded the University pull its investments in several corporations that "support Israeli terrorism."

 They specifically targeted four companies that manufacture weapons: Raytheon, United Technologies, Lockheed Martin and Boeing Corporation. A University investment statement indicated the University invested more than $5 million last year, as of Dec. 31, 2000, in these four companies.

 "(These companies) support the Israeli apartheid state and the weaponry murders the Palestinians, their homes and their families," Struggle for Unity member and University graduate student Aaron Love told the crowd of about 50 Palestinian supporters.

 Raytheon spokesman David Polk said he didn't think universities were among the company's largest investors. He declined to comment on the company's relationship with Israel because "these questions would be better posed to the (U.S.) Department of Defense since they dictate foreign military sales."

 Proponents of an Israeli state faced the group waving Israeli flags and signs equating Palestinians with terrorism. About 10 feet and four Urbana police officers separated the two sides. Police stepped in three times when opposing protesters "got too close" or seemed on the verge of violence.

 "Basically, we're here to show our support of Israel in our own fight against terrorism," said Michael Frazin, senior in engineering.

 Frazin, member of the Jewish solidarity group Tagar, challenged the argument that Israel has abused Palestinians. He accused Palestinians of inciting violence, argued Jewish victims outnumbered Palestinian victims and compared their leader Yasser Arafat to Osama bin Laden.

 "The Israeli army is merely defending itself against terrorist networks, same as the United States is now. It hits home now. Americans are beginning to see what it feels like to live in Israel," he said.

 Frazin added he doubts the University would opt to pull funds because the companies at stake are large and profitable.

 However, student pressure prompted the University of California at Berkley to divest in Israel last year. The city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, also pulled its funds from similar companies, although the University of Michigan did not follow suit.

 University law professor Francis Boyle compared the Zionist movement in Israel to South African apartheid in the 1970s and '80s.

 "Israel illegally occupies the West Bank and the Gaza strip ... they have no business being there," Boyle said. "Palestinians are treated like third class citizens."

 He said economic pressure is a "tried and true way to deal with this problem" and hopes divestment will have the same results in the Middle East.

 Palestinian supporters spoke to the University's Board of Trustees at its monthly meeting after the protest ended. Trustee Susan Gravenhorst walked past the protests on her way to the meeting in the union. Gravenhorst declined to comment on the call for divestment because she did "not know enough about the topic at present."

 Francis A. Boyle

Editor's note;  The senior engineering student, Frazin, has been mislead; the Zionists are the terrorists and the Palestinians are retaliating in self defense. Moreover, Palestinian victims far outnumber Israeli victims as any Israeli who is truthful would tell you.

World Bank Bond Boycott
Editor's note: In the first edition of True Democracy, Date distributed: March 2, 2001, there is a demand which states, "forgive the debt of all poor Third World nations;"

Document reposted by APIC

Africa Policy Electronic Distribution List: an information service provided by AFRICA ACTION (incorporating the Africa Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa). Find more information for action for Africa at

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +economy/development+
+US policy focus+


This posting contains the text of a leaflet from the World Bank Bond Boycott campaign in South Africa.  For more information see the web sites cited in the posting. For previous documents and additional background on apartheid-caused debt, see previous postings at:

Also in this posting find a summary of upcoming events related to the Africa Action "Africa's Right to Health" campaign.

The World Bank Bond Boycott Comes to South Africa!
[Distributed by World Bank Bonds Boycott, Center for Economic Justice, 1830 Connecticut Ave., NW, 4th floor, Washington, DC 20009. Tel: (202) 299-0020 / Fax: (202) 299-0021 Web:
To receive occasional updates on the World Bank Bonds boycott, join our listserve: Send blank e-mail to <>.

(In South Africa) For more information, and to get involved, contact Patrick Bond, 083-633-5548; Molly Dhlamini, 082-811-9874; David Masondo, 082-886-3525; Darrell Moellendorf,  717-4351; David Monyae, 717-4384; or Trevor Ngwane 083-293-7691.
Further information is available at the Alternative Information and Development  Centre (Jhb: 339-4121, CT: 685-1565) (]

Why should we add another voice to the global protest against World Bank and IMF policies?

In 1944, the World Bank and its partner, the International Monetary Fund, were founded in Bretton Woods, a resort town in the northeast United States. White-ruled South Africa was given special treatment, and was one of the first member-states within the two institutions. The Bank and IMF were then--and are still--mainly controlled by the US government, which happily promoted apartheid because it served the interests of large US companies. The World Bank traditionally has a US citizen as its president (today, James Wolfensohn-Bilderberg member) and the IMF is headed by a European (Horst Koehler).

Instead of carrying out their mandates to "reconstruct" and "develop" countries in need of assistance and to assure orderly flows of capital, the World Bank and IMF have presided over disaster. The past two decades have witnessed unbearable Third World debt crisis, and periodic financial collapses (for which the Bank and IMF provide commercial bank bailouts that protect the rich at the expense of the poor). The Bank and IMF are deeply implicated.

From the very commencement of apartheid in 1948, straight through the struggle for liberation, and even after, the World Bank and IMF consistently sided with the interests of the white, wealthy population. The Bank and IMF made loans to prop up colonialism across Southern Africa during the 1950s-60s, and then from the1960s-90s lined the pockets of corrupt dictators like Mobutu Sese Seko and Hastings Banda. The Bank supported foolish white-elephant projects which did nothing to uplift the poor. The huge dams it promoted at Kariba and in Lesotho mainly benefit big corporations, displace tens of thousands of poor people, and are environmentally disastrous.

We therefore endorse the demand by Jubilee South Africa for total Third World debt cancellation, plus reparations for World Bank and IMF crimes against the people of the region. Specific damage done by these two institutions during South Africa's apartheid era includes:

* the World Bank's US$100 million in loans to Eskom from 1951-1967 that gave only white people electric power, but for which all South Africans paid the bill;

* the World Bank's absolute refusal to heed a United Nations General Assembly instruction in 1966 not to lend to apartheid South Africa;

* IMF apartheid-supporting loans of more than $2 billion between the Soweto uprising in 1976 and 1983, when the US Congress finally prohibited lending to Pretoria;

* a World Bank loan for Lesotho dams which were widely acknowledged to "sanctions-bust" apartheid South Africa in 1986, via a London trust; and

* IMF advice to Pretoria in 1991 to impose the regressive Value Added Tax, in opposition to which 3.5 million people went on a two-day stayaway.

Subsequently, neo-apartheid lending and policy advice by the Bretton Woods twins included:

* an $850 million IMF loan to South Africa in December 1993 which carried conditions of wage restraint and cuts in the budget deficit, which in turn hampered the transition to democracy;

* World Bank promotion of "market-oriented" land reform in 1993-1994, which established such onerous conditions (similar to the failed Zimbabwe policy) that instead of 30% land redistribution as mandated in the RDP, less than 1% of good land was redistributed;

* the World Bank's endorsement of bank-centered housing policy in August 1994, with recommendations for smaller housing subsidies;

* World Bank design of South African infrastructure policy in November 1994, which provided the rural and urban poor with only pit latrines, no electricity connections, inadequate roads, and communal taps instead of house or yard taps;

* the World Bank's insistence that corrupt Lesotho Highlands Development Authority boss Masupha Sole stay in his job in December 1994 (six years after he began taking bribes from international construction corporations), in a threatening letter to the Lesotho government;

* the World Bank's promotion of water cut-offs for those unable to afford payments, opposition to a free "lifeline" water supply, and recommendations against irrigation subsidies for black South Africans in October 1995, within a government water-pricing policy in which the Bank claimed (in its 1999 Country Assistance Review) it played an "instrumental" role;

* the World Bank's conservative role in the Lund Commission in 1996, which recommended a 44% cut in the monthly grant to impoverished, dependent children from R135 per month to R75;

* the World Bank's participation in the failed Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) policy in June 1996, through contributing both two staff economists and its economic model;

* the World Bank and IMF's consistent message to South African workers that their wages are too high, and that unemployment can only be cured through "labour flexibility";

* the World Bank's participation in Egoli 2002, through research support and encouragement of municipal privatisation;

* the World Bank's repeated commitments to invest, through its subsidiary the International Finance Corporation, in privatised infrastructure, housing securities for high-income families, for-profit "managed healthcare" schemes, and the now-bankrupt, US-owned Dominos Pizza franchise;

* the consistent failure of World Bank and IMF "structural adjustment programmes" in Southern Africa; and

* the stubborn refusal by the World Bank and IMF to cancel debt owed by our impoverished neighbours since the mid-1990s, except in tiny amounts--and only on the condition that, for example in Mozambique, public health service charges increase by 400% and all water systems be privatised.

Some say the World Bank and IMF are reforming themselves, and are more attuned to poverty, environment, gender, public health, educational and other social concerns. The Bank's new-and-improved image includes its alleged role as a "Knowledge Bank" -- using South Africa as the main pilot project -- to impart international best practice.

In reality, however, the minor reforms to date have made no difference. Environmentally-destructive, politically-repressive projects like the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline still receive funding (in June 2000), and neoliberal policies continue to be imposed on Third World countries. In a March 2000 "Sourcebook on Community Driven Development in the Africa Region," Bank staff wrote of water,

"work is still needed with political leaders in some national governments to move away from the concept of free water for all... Promote increased capital cost recovery from users. An upfront cash contribution based on their willingness-to-pay is required from users to demonstrate demand and develop community capacity to administer funds and tariffs. Ensure 100% recovery of operation and maintenance costs."

Following such advice, more thousands of South Africans would get cholera, women-headed households would continue to pay a devastating personal price when they cannot afford water, and municipal officials would further alienate themselves from the public.

Ironically, the World Bank is now proposing a R1,6 billion hospital rehabilitation loan, which would give South Africa unnecessary foreign debt, and introduce Bank-style neoliberalism even deeper into the healthcare system. Because of GEAR-related budget cuts, promoted by the Bank, many South African hospitals are in dire shape. Do we need a Bank loan and advice to fix them? Do we need the arsonist to tell us how to extinguish a fire?

The international movement for social and economic justice is making simple demands of the Bank/IMF:

* Cancel all Third World debts!

* Pay reparations for decades of lending that kept the Third World suffering from poverty, corruption and dictatorship!

* End the neoliberal "Washington Consensus" which is responsible for the worst inequality ever recorded in human history!

In South Africa, numerous civil society groups protested in five cities on 26 September, 2000, adding this demand:

* The World Bank, IMF and International Finance Corporation must immediately close their South African offices and withdraw their missions!

South Africa doesn't need these "multilateral institutions," whose main aim is promoting the interests of the US, Europe, Japan and their transnational corporations! Instead, we need to change neoliberal policies at home, which the World Bank, IMF and World Trade Organisation have pestered our government to adopt!

To do these things, we need to encourage all our institutions--pension funds, churches, municipalities, universities--to join the global "World Bank Bonds Boycott" so that their international fund managers do not invest in Bank Bonds.

The World Bank Bonds Boycott has already been endorsed by three U.S. city councils (San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley) and all the major US-based Socially Responsible Investment funds. It is simple, as these investors have shown, to instruct international investment managers not to invest in World Bank Bonds, which provide the Bank with 80% of its operational funds.

The signal that this sends to the financial markets is critical. We need to ensure that all South African-based fund managers--who invest up to 15% of their monies abroad (as is presently allowed)--receive a strong message: to profit by investing in World Bank Bonds--in view of the Bank's ongoing destructive lending--is simply immoral.

But it is also financially irresponsible to invest in the World Bank. The more that large investors around the world join the Bonds Boycott and commit not to buying World Bank Bonds, the less demand there will be for those Bonds. Anyone buying World Bank Bonds is therefore buying an asset which will decline in value.

Joining the Boycott will not cost our institutions anything. Existing endowments will not be affected, since we are not calling for "divestment" of existing Bank Bonds, but instead, a commitment not to invest in the future. (There is no shortage of other international investment choices.) The need for economic democracy--especially when it comes to investment decisions--has never been more urgent, and the need to watchdog our funds so they are not used to support oppression by the World Bank, is one small but vital step for bringing our institutions into line with values of social justice.

A committee is being established at Wits University in Johannesburg to ask Wits and the entire society, whether World Bank Bonds should be placed on a boycott list in future.

Celebrate June 2001-- the fifth anniversary of GEAR by joining the campaign against World Bank bonds, and against the Bank's R1,6 billion hospital loan.

To be added to or dropped from the distribution list write to For more information about reposted material, please contact directly the source mentioned in the posting.

Africa Action / Africa Policy Information Center (APIC)
110 Maryland Ave. NE, #508, Washington, DC 20002.
Phone: 202-546-7961. Fax: 202-546-1545.
Do not buy from the following companies that give money to Republican Candidates and the Republican Party:

As Bush says "cut off their money and it will make them ineffective."

Companies to boycott
Coca Cola
Pepsi Cola
Shell Oil
American Express
Marriot Hotels
JC Penney
Dell Computers
Florida Oranges, Grapefruit, Orange juice and Grapefruit juice and
Florida Tourism

Editor's note: All tourism in the United States.
It's very important to make a campaign to boycott products from Israel and companies that support Zionism.

Before this it is necessary to organize an extensive movement.

I read a book : STEVENS, Richard, American Zionist and US Foreign Policy 1942-1947 (Institute of Palestine Studies, Beirut, 1962), that described the invincible structure and work of Zionist Organizations in the United States.

Editor's note: Neta Golam, an Israeli Jewish woman began a boycott just like this one providing a long list of Israeli settler's products. We need to support this boycott. It's a matter of life and death.
Israel's foes want war crimes tribunal, boycott of U.S.

TEHRAN, April 26 (AFP) -

The Tehran conference in support of the Palestinian uprising closed here late Wednesday with a final statement calling for the creation of an international court to try Israeli "war crimes."

The document, signed by more than 30 nations, also condemns the United States for its political, military and economic support of Israel and calls for an Arab and Muslim boycott of U.S. products.

More than 30 countries as well as Islamic militant movements opposed to the Middle East peace process attended the two-day conference, which featured fiery calls to step up the armed campaign against the Jewish state.

The final statement, hammered out after intense negotiations between Iranian officials and the visiting delegations, called on Islamic nations to "break all ties, especially political and economic" with Israel.

It denounced "organised crimes by Israel against the Palestinian people, the attacks against leaders of Palestinian movements, the destruction or the seizure of houses and land, as well as the development of Jewish sites."

The statement said an Arab and Islamic boycott of U.S. goods was a "natural and necessary reaction to Washington's support for Israel" and warned of a "total and global embargo" if the United States goes ahead with plans to move its embassy in Israel into the disputed holy city of Jerusalem.

It also condemned what it called Israel's efforts to Judaise the city, which it said must be the capital of a future Palestinian state, and said Israel's nuclear weapons stockpile was "a threat to peace and stability in the region."

The conference was attended by Khaled Meshaal, political director of the radical Hamas movement, as well as the chief of the Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.

Washington said their attendance, and statements by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei alleging the Holocaust had been exaggerated to drum up sympathy for the 1948 creation of the state of Israel, showed Tehran was backing international terrorism.

Iran shrugged off the criticism and vowed to continue its "moral and humanitarian support of the Islamic resistance in Lebanon and of the Palestinians."

Iran has not recognized Israel since its 1979 Islamic revolution and has long denounced the US-brokered peace process between the Jewish state and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who was not represented at the conference.

Miroslav Antic,
From: secr <>

Save the world - don't buy American goods.

Status of the boycott: Gap Inc has experienced a 51% drop in profits--and dropping--since January 2000; the Forest Stewardship Council, the despicable organization from whom the Gap Fishers bought a fake green label for their forest destruction, is likely to fall (see FSC newsbrief below); the Gap Boycott is growing, for example, with activists in Japan coming on board, activists at the College of William and Mary--the oldest college in the US--coming on board, along with over ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY new activists and activists groups worldwide pledging to organize protests on the International Day of Action Against the Gap, Saturday, December 1, and dozens of creative actions in the US, UK, and Canada over the past months!

Meanwhile, now that the FSC has given the Gap Fishers their lying seal of "sustainability," they have been filing logging plans faster and more furiously than ever before, violating environmental laws with impunity, and there's been no further progress on the sweatshop front, since Gap's token gesture of increasing their factory monitors from ~10 to ~80 (human rights organizations are calling for independent monitors)--and with Gap's massive lay-offs (over 10%), these window-dressing positions may no longer exist.

But changes are imminent. We are gearing up for the International Day of Action Against the Gap, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1st. And we are beginning a new tactic, which we call the PEER PRESSURE PUSH (details will follow in the November newsletter), which, along with the boycott, we hope will motivate the Fishers to finally do the right thing in forest and factory!

*We ARE going to win for redwoods and workers--check out to help make it happen!!!***

This past weekend environmental groups met in London to assess whether the FSC can be reformed or whether it should be dumped entirely as a sell-out to the timber industry--the ultimate greenwash. This, in the wake of the FSC certification of liquidation logging companies in Indonesia--against the wishes of over 100 environmental and human rights groups. Despite this massive outcry, the FSC--in its arrogant and contemptuous fashion, which our organization and Sierra Club Canada, among others, has experienced first-hand--has been certifying companies operating in Indonesia that are notorious for their liquidation logging of some of the last virgin rainforest on the face of the earth, forest that is habitat to an endangered Asian tiger, among other endangered species, as well as indigenous peoples. Another meeting will be held in the U.S. in December addressing the same issue, in which Save the Redwoods/Boycott the Gap and the Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance will participate.

As many of you know, the integrity of the FSC has been in question for several years--in the wake of that organization's certification of liquidation logging companies, such as the Gap Fishers' Mendocino Redwood Company of California and JD Irving of Canada, a scandalous certification in Gabon challenged by Rainforest Action Network, the FSC's reduction of standards in response to timber industry pressure, such as reducing the content of "certified" wood in particle board bearing the FSC label from 70% to 30% in February 1999), among many other travesties and criticisms.

Our organization, Save the Redwoods/Boycott the Gap (SRBG), along with other Mendocino, California, watershed protection groups, were early whistle blowers exposing the FSC. But their Indonesia certifications appear to be the point of no return for the larger environmental groups, who are now seriously questioning the viability of the entire organization.

SRBG has taken the position that an organization that meets in secret, that does not share its information about the logging companies it certifies with the public nor include the public in the certification decision-making process, an organization that privatizes a process that should be public, that essentially decides the fate of public trust resources in back-room deals, playing the Big Boy Game--thus disempowering the public at large, as well as local communities that are directly affected by such certifications, an organization whose member certifying companies earn their livelihood from the timber companies they certify, making them very partial in the process, CANNOT BE REFORMED.

To us, the new "controversy" of SFI (the Sustainable Forestry Initiative--an invention solely of the timber industry) versus FSC amounts to Wolf versus Wolf-in-sheep's-clothing. They both should be exposed and dumped. People have to bite the bullet when it comes to forest products: dramatically reduce our consumption of them; use alternative building materials, such as recycled plastic building products (check out US Plastic Lumber); recycle and re-use the wood from building demolition; only use wood from tree plantations created from reclaimed wasteland or long-time agricultural land (not from natural forests/watersheds converted to plantations) or from truly sustainable logging opportunities (there are precious few of these at this point in the history of deforestation; evidently there's one in British Columbia run by native peoples--they currently use the FSC aegis, which they will have to lose if they want to maintain their credibility--the regional aegis along with contact info will be provided in the November newsletter).

Congratulations to Steve Antler and other Mendocino grassroots activists whose campaign to save Big River, begun over a year ago, has been parleyed into a substantial victory: Hawthorn Timber has agreed to sell 7,400 acres of its redwood holdings in the lower watershed to the public, to be established as a state park. Most of the $26 million price-tag came from state agencies, via the parks bond embraced by California voters at the last election. The Mendocino Land Trust still has to raise a little over $2 million in matching funds by the end of the year. Your contribution to the Big River Fund is tax-deductible and can be sent to: Mendocino Land Trust, P O Box 1094, Mendocino CA 95460. You should include a note in the memo section of your check that the contribution is for the "Big River Fund." Contact (707) 962-0470 for more info.***


In the coming months we will be seeing democracy and civil liberties compromised in the name of the "war on terrorism"--already the US Congress handed over its war authority to the Executive Branch, and Senator Dianne Feinstein (Trilateral Commission member)has proposed legislation to prohibit foreign students from entering the country for six months. The hidden agenda is, as ever, to strengthen the position of the powerful--exploitative corporate interests--and to silence their opponents--the proponents of global justice and a sustainable planet. We must expose and challenge this at every turn.***

Mary Bull, Coordinator
Save the Redwoods/Boycott the Gap Campaign
252 Frederick Street, San Francisco, CA 94117 . 415-731-7924

Mary Pjerrou, President
Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance

Other Contacts/Information Sources:

Mark Hilovsky, Greenbuilder
Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters
510-835-6303 Listserve
(message text = Subscribe BACHlist,
followed by email address, then name)
Info on Gap Sweatshops:



Mary Bull
Save the Redwoods/Boycott the Gap Campaign
252 Frederick Street, San Francisco, CA 94117 415-731-7924


November 7, 2001


Call the WBAI and KPFK Pledge Lines

WBAI: 212-968-0500

KPFK: 818-985-5535

* Protest the Squandering of An Estimated $2 Million on High-Price Law Firms
* Demand the Return of Democracy Now!
* Settle the Lawsuits!
* Restore Democratic Accountability to the Network!

Educate the pledge room volunteers about the crisis at Pacifica!

According to various reports, the mediated settlement to the Pacifica lawsuits has reached an impasse. Let's keep the pressure on Pacifica to do the right thing and settle the lawsuits! Pledge no money to the network until democratic accountability is restored!

Call WBAI in New York and KPFK in Los Angeles today to protest the fiscal irresponsibility of the Pacifica Board and to demand the return of Democracy Now! to the airwaves.

URGENT ACTION: Los Angeles, Thursday November 8 -- major donors to KPFK will present Mark Schubb, General Manager with a letter signed by a dozen major donors who are withholding funds to KPFK until there is a settlement of the lawsuits and the Network is democratized. Also presented will be several thousand signatures of listeners who are protesting the removal of David Barsamian's Alternative Radio. Join the picket outside KPFK from 9:00-10:30 AM --3729 Cahuenga Blvd West in North Hollywood.
The Pacifica Campaign is a grass-roots organization representing listeners and staff alike, fighting to regain and preserve the Pacifica Network's 50-year tradition of progressive community-based radio.

Pacifica Campaign
51 MacDougal St., #80
New York, NY 10012
BOYCOTT Home Depot, Hallmark, ExxonMobil Natalie Davis <>

If anyone needs a one-stop portal to reach Home Depot and other anti-gay companies and organizations, I've just set up the Homophobia Hall of Shame on the Armchair Activist page at The links will take you to contact pages for the various companies. If you have suggestions to add to the HHS, drop me a line at The site also provides information on getting involved with other progressive activism pursuits.

The Armchair Activist -
Visit the site, join the mailing list, work for a better world. New and improved!
News, Commentary, Music, Activism, Grooviness.
Mouthing off for the masses:
August, 28, 2001


Contact: ›
* Lucas Benitez or Romeo Ramirez, Coalition of Immokalee Workers: ›(941)657-8311 or ›(941) 821-5481
* Brian Payne, Student/Farmworker Alliance: (941) 867-9160
* Los Angeles/Irvine Action, Brian Montes: (213)380-3929;
* LA Media/Info Line: (323)291-2475
* LA Taco Bell Welcome Center (Sep 23-25): 4167 S. Normandie Avenue, Los Angeles
*See also

IMMOKALEE, FL -- Beginning on September 13, 2001, a caravan of migrant workers, college students and activists will embark on a ten-city, cross-country bus tour to raise awareness about the National Taco Bell Boycott and the sweatshop conditions faced by migrant farmworkers in America's fields. ›The tour will culminate with demonstrations in Los Angeles, California on September 23 and at Taco Bell corporate headquarters in Irvine, CA on September 24, confirmed speakers include Tony Morello from Rage Against the Machine. ›The tour comes on the heels of five months of protests at Taco Bell restaurants across the country, with nearly 100 actions in states including Alabama, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Indiana.

In each city along the "Taco Bell Truth Tour", the workers will be welcomed by community activists and will participate in teach-ins, demonstrations in front of local Taco Bells, and major community rallies. ›The tour, and in particular the LA and Irvine protests, will be the first major public actions to cast light on the multi-billion dollar fast food industry's ties to the sweatshop-like conditions faced by farmworkers in America's fields.

"The tomatoes Taco Bell buys for its tacos and Chalupa's are produced in what can only be described as sweatshop conditions," said Lucas Benitez of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, one of the tour's organizers. "Twenty years of picking at sub-poverty wages, no right to overtime pay, no right to organize or join a union, no health insurance, no sick leave, no paid holidays or vacation, and no pension is a national disgrace."

Key dates in for the cross-country "Taco Bell Truth Tour":
September 13: Tour Kick-Off in Tampa
September 23: Los Angeles, California
September 24: Irvine, California, TACO BELL HEADQUARTERS
September 28: Washington, DC (organized outside of the Truth Tour)

Other stops and rallies on "Truth Tour":
September 15: Atlanta, GA
September 16: Chicago, IL
September 17: Madison, WI
September 19: Denver, CO
September 21: San Francisco, CA
September 22: Fresno, CA

HISTORY: Since 1997, tomato pickers in Immokalee, Florida's largest farmworker community, have been organizing for the right to join in talks with the state's corporate tomato growers to find ways to improve farm labor conditions and raise the crop picking-piece rate. ›Despite signature drives, community-wide work stoppages, marches, and a 30-day hunger strike by six members of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) -- ultimately ended by the intervention of former President Jimmy Carter -- the growers continue to refuse to meet with farm worker representatives and have only marginally raised wages.

When workers discovered that Taco Bell is a major buyer of the tomatoes they pick, they informed company executives in January, 2000 of the deplorable wages and working conditions in Florida's fields and requested a meeting to discuss possible solutions. ›To date, despite numerous pleas from workers and growing public pressure, Taco Bell has refused to meet with CIW representatives.

DEMAND: Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is calling on Taco Bell to use its considerable leverage as a major buyer of Florida tomatoes to help bring about real changes in the wages and working conditions of the farmworkers who pick those tomatoes. Specifically, farmworkers are demanding that Taco Bell open a meaningful, three-part dialogue -- bringing together representatives of Taco Bell, their tomato suppliers, and representatives of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers -- to discuss mutually-beneficial solutions to the problems farmworkers face in Florida's fields.

Possible solutions include: a proposal that Taco Bell increase the price it pays per pound of tomatoes by 1 cent, with the increase to be passed on, in whole, to the pickers. (Pickers generally receive between 1.2 - 1.5 cents per pound today. A penny per pound increase could nearly double pickers' wages, effectively making up for the decline in the real piece rate due to inflation since 1980.) Taco Bell, tomato industry, and worker representatives could also examine and draft a Code of Conduct, defining the basic wage and labor standards to be required of all Taco Bell tomato suppliers.

Workers will not be satisfied until substantive dialogue with Taco Bell and their employers is established, and measurable progress in the area of wages and working conditions is made.

Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Editor's note: When, not if, the minimum wage rises from the demand in the first edition, then you will see these workers benefit. You'll also see them given health benefits too worldwide on an as needed basis. Needed as most of these workers don't have insurance now and their family members don't either.
Boycott Bank 1 for discrimination against Muslims.

Please take an action immediately.

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition calls on its members, supporters and all people of conscience to take part in events scheduled around the globe in September to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres. These events will draw the public's attention to the plight of Palestinian refugees, Israel's human rights abuses and the suffering it inflicts on the Palestinian people. The events will reaffirm the inalienable right of Palestinian refugees to return to homes and lands from which they were expelled in 1948 and thereafter. By highlighting the unity of the Palestinian people, the events are also intended to show unqualified solidarity with our people in occupied Palestine who continue to suffer human rights abuses under Israeli occupation.

Invited speakers for the forthcoming events include survivors of the Sabra and Shatila massacres, and national and international figures. In the US, commemorations have so far been scheduled in the North East (New York City), Mid-West (Chicago), northern California (San Francisco), The South (Atlanta Georgia and Austin Texas). For regular updates on regional events, please visit To inform us about events in your area, please send a message to

Editor's note: Even though September has ended, I think it would be a good idea to boycott Israel anyway. A massacre is taking place there of innocent people. Thank you.

In September 1982, approximately two thousand innocent Palestinian and Lebanese men, women and children were killed in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in Beirut. These massacres were financed and supported by Israel whose military surrounded the camps and occupied Beirut at the time. Israel's current elected prime minister, Ariel Sharon, was defense minister in 1982. He was recently indicted for war crimes and genocide specifically for his role in the Sabra and Shatila massacres. The ongoing Al-Aqsa Intifada began in September 2000 following Ariel Sharon's provocative visit to Islam's holiest site in Jerusalem. In the face of Israel's massacres, ethnic cleansing, expulsions and terror, the Al-Aqsa Initifada and the earlier 1987-93 uprising demonstrate the determination and resilience of the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation from occupation. They also reaffirm the inalienable right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes of origin and to full restitution of all their destroyed and confiscated properties as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Law and by UN resolutions. Ariel Sharon is reportedly visiting New York City on September 23.


To join an Al-Awda/PRRC grassroots action committee currently mobilizing for September 22-23 events in your region please visit:

To help establish Al-Awda/PRRC action committees in your area, please send a message to: indicating your location.


Groups wishing to co-sponsor the September regional events or to inquire about similar activities in their areas are requested contact us at A complete listing of organizations that have already endorsed the regional events will be published as it becomes available.


To help defray costs, please address donations to:

PRRC, The Palestine Right To Return Coalition
P.O. Box 1172
Orange, CT 06477
Fax: (717) 832-1123

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition is the largest network of grassroots activists dedicated to Palestinian human rights.


TRUE DEMOCRACY     FALL 2001     Copyright © 2001 by News Sourse, Inc.