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The Baltimore Free Farm

It is the best of times. It is the worst of times. At least at the Baltimore Free Farm. It has been 3.5 years since the Baltimore Free Farm sprouted up in Baltimore and in that time it has given dozens of people land to grow on, hundreds of cultural events and workshops, and thousands of pounds of free food to the Hampden and Baltimore community.

Eleven percent of teachers would vote to extend the contract. Photo by: Iris Kirsch.

October 14 of 2010 was a monumental day. On that day, the Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU), Local 340 of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), voted down the contract which had been put before us by so-called labor-management cooperation. After some shenanigans, the contract passed in a re-vote, and workers in Baltimore schools have been suffering under the pseudo-merit-pay system for three years. Now, negotiations are back open.

Bulldozers destroying indigenous land in the Hollywood film, Avatar. Image source: j-miin.tumblr.com

Throughout American history, landjacking has often been accompanied by violence, whether physical or structural. The James Cameron blockbuster movie Avatar illustrated how corporate interests use naked force as they attempted to landjack the home of the Na’vi, the indigenous population on the planet Pandora. What Avatar masterfully depicts are the methods that avaricious developers or corporation interests will use in order to extract resources and maximize profits.

Columbia University History Professor, Rashid Khalidi, delivered a lecture called, “The U.S. as a Dishonest Broker over Palestine," on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at the Third National Conference of Historians Against the War, which was held at Towson University. Drawing from research presented in his latest book, "Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East," Professor Khalidi argues that as a so-called peace broker to the Israel-Palestine conflict, the United States has essentially acted to advance "conflict perpetuation" rather than conflict resolution. This video was produced by Indyreader's regular contributor, Richard Concepcion.

Lee-Jackson Monument in Baltimore, MD. Photo By: Kate Drabinski
Baltimore is a city with a vexed relationship to its own Civil War past, and for good reason. Maryland never seceded from the Union, but its citizens leaned strongly toward the Confederacy. Any schoolchild from or tourist to Baltimore knows the first blood of the Civil War was shed here, in the Pratt Street Riots, violence that ensued when Baltimoreans attacked Union soldiers heading south through the city for war.

Despite an overcast sky, interspersed with occasional rain showers, social justice advocates joined together in solidarity on Saturday morning, May 11 around 10 AM in Baltimore, Maryland, to launch the “Poor Peoples Campaign.” The plan was for the activists, numbering in the hundreds, to rally at the East Baltimore site (Biddle St. and Montford Ave.) and then march out of the city along Route 1 (Washington Blvd.), untill they reached, later that day - College Park, Maryland.

Image source: www.reviewtrailers.com

The word is “transformation.” That is what came to mind after seeing the movie “42” about the life of baseball great Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. It is the reason that people were moved to clap at the end of the film. It is the reason we felt good and wanted to say something to the person of the opposite race as we tumbled out of the theater, expelled from a moment in time that had been precious. We had cheered Robinson together in his darkest moments pummeled by racist jabs. We had scoffed at the "nigger" taunts and "monkey" jokes, marveling at the obscenity of blunt trauma racism in the l940s. We were united in solidarity as our humanity was polished in that special hour.

On Saturday, April 6, 2013, Jerry Lembcke, Associate Professor of Sociology College of the Holy Cross, spoke at the Third National Conference of Historians Against the War called "The New Faces of War," which was held at Towson University. Lembcke participated on a panel called "U.S. Soldiers and the Vietnam War Experience."

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