On Thursday, hundreds converged on Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. to begin an ongoing nonviolent presence, with the aim of ending corporatism and militarism, among other issues. The organizing group, called October 2011: Stop the Machine, has been organizing the event since February. The start of the event marks the 10 year anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan.
The presence speaks to growing energy and anger at tax cuts for the wealthy and trillions of tax dollars spent on wars as giant cuts are made to education and healthcare and unemployment and poverty rates continue to increase. Similar in spirit to Occupy Wall Street in New York, the October 2011 movement, technically a separate group, stands in solidarity with the occupations in New York and those in other parts of the country.
According to the organizers, the purpose of the presence in Freedom Plaza is to create solidarity among the people and groups who support peace and economic, environmental, and social justice, to demonstrate the power of nonviolence, and to affect change in governmental action.
Committees formed by occupants of Freedom Plaza will begin to form today on topics such as health care, education, elections, and the environment. Skill-sharing sessions and teach-ins are also being held. Food, legal, and medical tents have been established, along with an art space to make signs and a stage with sound equipment from which to hold evening assemblies. Contrary to what some media are calling a movement solely of young, white, middle-class college students, participants are extremely diverse in age, race, gender, and socioeconomic status. The group expects the numbers to grow over the coming days into the thousands.
Media Resources: Washington Post 10/6/11; Tuscon Citizen 10/6/11; New York Times 10/6/11; October2011.org 10/6/11;
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .