May 13, 2013

May 13, 2013

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Although The Wire is utterly brilliant in depicting the parallel hierarchies of power across organizations and the connections from City Hall to the loading docks to streets, there is one critical group missing from the show: progressive activists and advocates. Our progressive activism and advocacy for sustainability and social justice bears witness to the fact that we do not adhere to notions of preordination; nor do we subscribe to the supremacy of modern city institutions. City institutions in Baltimore continue to create negative outcomes because we have not built and sustained the social movements and organizations necessary to hold them accountable and compel them to be responsive to the needs of the people.

The DOJ and FBI hope to increase surveillance of online communications. Source:

A recent article in the Washington Post details the first measures of potential legislation known as CALEA 2. The FBI and Department of Justice want to fine companies for noncompliance with surveillance orders. The death of privacy has been a popular trope in establishment media lately. Unfortunately, pitiful displays by establishment journalists like Tom Brokaw encourage Americans to comply with expanded state surveillance measures. But the facts of the reporting are usually true: our privacy is under attack from almost all authorities we are trained to trust.

On Friday, April 5, 2013, J.R.W. Smail Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Alfred McCoy, delivered the keynote speech at the Third National Conference of Historians Against the War, called "The New Faces of War." Professor McCoy's book, Policing America's Empire: The United States, the Philippines and the Rise of the Surveillance State, won the 2011 George McT. Kahin Prize of the Association for Asian Studies. Excerpts of his keynote speech are featured in this video, which was produced by Richard Concepcion.

On Saturday, April 6, 2013, Jim Baldridge, a Vietnam war veteran who lives in Baltimore and member of Veterans for Peace, spoke at the Third National Conference of Historians Against the War called "The New Faces of War," which was held at Towson University. Baldridge participated on a panel called "U.S. Soldiers and the Vietnam War Experience."

On Saturday, April 6, 2013, veteran peace and justice activist and historian, David Swanson, spoke at the Third National Conference of Historians Against the War called "The New Faces of War," which was held at Towson University. Swanson, whose latest book is When the World Outlawed War, participated on a panel called "Law and the New Faces of War."

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I have spoken with several teachers in the few days since we received word that Alonso would be leaving us. None mentioned feeling the pride that congressman Elijah Cummings expresses on his official website. I found it telling that very few were willing to have their names listed with their comments. There is a heightened sense of fear amongst teachers, and even the mildly critical comments teachers made could result in backlash. Baltimore has not yet seen the type of attacks on tenured teachers that Alonso helped to execute while working for Joel Klein in New York. But we all know these attacks are possible.

Indyreader member Dan Staples presenting at the Mobilizing and Organizing From Below Conference in Baltimore in 2012. Photo by: Casey McKeel.

I first started noticing the Indypendent Reader papers at local cafés and businesses around the time that the State of the Media issue was out. I was always impressed by the topics and perspectives presented in the issues, as well as the professional look of the paper itself. It was certainly not the kind of thrown-together aesthetic I saw in many of the local political zines I was used to. The articles were interesting, critical, and presented a side of Baltimore you never saw in the mainstream press.