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News and reports

May 4, 2007 | Pages 10 and 11

Defend abortion rights
Military-free zone at UC-Santa Cruz
Protesting the FAIR bigots
No sweats struggle at University of Washington

Defend abortion rights
By Brian Lenzo

ROCHESTER, N.Y.--More than 175 people lined the street at a busy intersection here April 25 to protest the latest ruling by the Supreme Court that upholds a federal ban on the intact dilation-and-extraction abortion procedure, misnamed "partial birth" abortion by the right.

The demonstration was called by Planned Parenthood, and about equal numbers of men and women turned out to carry signs that read "Stop the war on women," "Support the Freedom of Choice Act" and "Our lives, our bodies." Organizers led the crowd in a loud chant of "Not the courts, not the state--women should decide their fate!"

Many saw the Freedom of Choice Act that's currently proposed in the House and Senate as crucial to keeping abortion legal. While women's right to abortion should certainly be codified into law, the fight to make that happen, while also guaranteeing access to abortion, can't happen solely in the halls of Congress. It will take building a movement in the streets.

This rally shows the potential for rebuilding that kind of movement, and was a great first step in building a new fight for abortion rights.

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Military-free zone at UC-Santa Cruz
By Alessandro Tinonga and Jessica Shakarian

SANTA CRUZ, Calif.--Students Against War (SAW) at the University of California-Santa Cruz (UCSC) held a rally April 24 to celebrate military recruiters canceling their plans to attend the campus' Spring Job Fair.

For the past two years, student protests have stopped military recruiters from advertising on the campus. While protesters were prepared to take on the recruiters once again, the military instead decided not to show up. Despite claims by the recruitment center that they were "overbooked," SAW believes their cancellation is a clear indication that protests have effectively made UCSC a "military-free zone."

To celebrate, approximately 100 people turned out for a rally, with members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) leading the way. Starting at Quarry Plaza in the center of the campus, protesters marched around campus, ending in front of the chancellor's office, where they held a memorial for the fallen men and women in Iraq.

Various students and IVAW members spoke on topics ranging from the possibility of war with Iran; to the corporations who come to career fairs to recruit students; to the ties that UCSC holds with aerospace giant Lockheed Martin to help manage nuclear labs.

This shows that protest by students can keep the military from using our campuses to recruit more men and women to kill and die for oil in Iraq.

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Protesting the FAIR bigots
By Jeff Skinner

WASHINGTON--Some 50 immigrant rights activists came out on April 22 to confront a group of anti-immigrant bigots staging a rally in a park in front of the White House.

The bigots' rally, organized in part by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), featured speakers spouting such racist trash as "Illegal immigration should have stopped on September 12, 2001."

The counter-protest kept up a steady barrage of chants and heckling throughout the bigots' demonstration. Although antiracist protesters were initially kept out of the park by police, the group eventually made its way back into the park and much closer to the speakers' platform, where they continued to disrupt the proceedings with more chants, whistles and air horns.

People left the protest energized and ready for the upcoming immigrant rights demonstration on May 1. Coco Magellanes of the group Méxicanos Sin Fronteras linked the protest with the ongoing fight for immigrant rights. "Anything people do to support immigrant rights will help bring about a recognition of those rights," Magellanes said. "We have to build not only demonstrations like May Day, but the civil rights movement as a whole."

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No sweats struggle at University of Washington
By Steve Leigh

SEATTLE--Chanting "DSP! Make the UW sweat-free!" 75 students marched through the University of Washington (UW) campus April 27 to put pressure on UW president Mark Emmert.

The activists are demanding that UW join the "Designated Supplier Program" (DSP). This would ensure that all apparel with the UW logo would be made in shops where workers have the freedom to form unions and earn a living wage.

Emmert at first seemed to be moving toward joining the DSP, but recently backed away. The Student Labor Action Project (SLAP), which organized the rally and march, is planning future actions to force UW to join the DSP.

This march coincided with "Washington Weekend" when future students, parents, alumni and the public flock to the campus. Hundreds lined up for free hamburgers flipped by Emmert--while SLAP rallied, marched and leafleted the crowd.

So far, 30 universities and colleges have signed on to the DSP, including Western Washington State University and Seattle University. Students hope this will put pressure on the UW to do the right thing as well.

E-mail [email protected] for information on how you can form a similar campaign at your college or university.

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