There are many similarities between the conditions faced by children of low-income families in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador with children in Gaza, Palestine. In both cases, they are facing murderous violence. The Central Americans face a dangerous trip across Mexico and are not permitted to enter by the U.S. Israel is waging a murderous war against the population of Gaza. In both cases the United States bears a lot of responsibility. It is racist to devalue the lives of Palestinians and Central Americans. Let us do more than be outraged at U.S. support for Israel and our closing of the border with Mexico. It is people’s responsibility in the U.S. to challenge our government’s oppressive policies–let us organize to end all support for Israel, to open our borders and grant refugee status to those fleeing violence and poverty in places such as Central America and Mexico, and against CAFTA, NAFTA and other neoliberal policies.
(letter I sent to the Olympian July 19, 2014–anniversary of Nicaraguan Revolution)
Right now, Central Americans in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, live in an atmosphere of perpetual violence and extreme poverty. As a result, hundreds of thousands of children and youths, often alone, migrate to the U.S.A.
The U.S. has contributed to this humanitarian crisis by actively supporting murderous military dictatorships there in the past. In 2009, the U.S. supported a military coup in Honduras against democratically elected and progressive President Zelaya. It has since supported repressive, corrupt governments there. The U.S.A contributes to poverty, high unemployment and limited educational opportunities in Central America through our current economic policies. This furthers opportunities for gangs like MS-13 to recruit. The selling of U.S. weapons to gangs there and the high demand for drugs like heroin here, fuels the violence. This is taking a huge death toll on Central American youths.
These children and their families fleeing extremely dangerous conditions are refugees. They should be given asylum and welcomed in our communities. The position of the Democratic and Republican Parties to deport those who have crossed the border is inhumane. The U.S. government should set up centers in Central American countries to grant refugee status and finance safe passage to the U.S., and grant asylum to those already here.
The protests in communities such as Murietta, California against these young immigrants are mean-spirited and racist. Soon, many Central American youths will be arriving at JBLM. Others are coming here directly. Let’s welcome them, by opening our schools, communities, social services and hearts to them.
Included here is first the text of my talk and then second, a YouTube video of the forum where I gave this talk–at the Southside Commons space of LELO-Seattle.
I haven’t posted for awhile and hope to start posting more regularly. Here is a brief proposal I made today in response to discussion about the Evergreen police possibly spying on and epecially sharing information with other police agencies and Fusion Center.
That some Evergreen police spy on protesters is very likely and intolerable. Spying on and reporting on PMR (anti-war group) and its members sadly would not be the first or last time of campus police or occasionally right-wing groups on campus doing behavior of this kind. Larry Hildes, the lead attorney in the case against Towery, is an Evergreen grad and has evidence of the Evergreen police, receiving, gathering and sharing information with regards to port protests (PMR) with other police agencies. He spoke today, February 25th, on Democracy Now. This spying, passing on information is an attack on all concerned about democracy and the right to protest. I propose that the GSU, Evergreen faculty and faculty union, the staff union, Longshore union, concerned student groups and concerned students, staff and faculty demand:
1) that the Evergreen administration support a full and open investigation that includes involvement of students, faculty and staff that is transparent into any and all spying or intelligence gathering by the Evergreen police and their sharing of “intelligence” with other police agencies, Fusion centers since the formation of the Evergreen police.
2) That the Evergreen police or others who have given this information on non-violent anti-war protesters and groups to police agencies should be disciplined.
3) That the Evergreen administration should make a commitment to stop this behavior so that this violation of our civil liberties and 1st amendment rights does not happen again.
4) That there be an independent oversight committee that has access to all relevant documents so that people can organize for justice without fear of being surveilled.
End of My Court Case and Statement by Peter Bohmer
May 9, 2013
I went to Thurston County District Court today and accepted the following deal. The assault charges (on a State Police Officer) were dropped against me and the district attorney and judge stipulated that they cannot bring a charge of assault in any form against me in the future connected to the temporary shelter and actions of March 5th, 2013. I agreed to a deferral on the trespass charge with the agreement that it would be dropped in one year if I am not arrested and I would be found guilty on this charge if I am arrested in the next year. I agreed to pay $43 to cover court costs. When Judge Wilcox asked me what happened on March 5th, I said the following:
1) Housing and shelter is a basic human right.
2) Olympia and Thurston County criminalize the poor and homeless.
3) That in response to this increased criminalization of homeless people and as someone who has organized to end homelessness, and in order to take action in solidarity with homeless people, I went onto the parking lot of the abandoned Fish and Wildlife Building on North Washington St. in Olympia on March 5th at about 6:15 P.M.
4) I saw the State Police on the property and heard their order to leave but decided to remain on the property to show my support for the on-site temporary shelter and the people there.
I want to thank my lawyer, Legrand Jones, for his excellent representation. There are six defendants remaining facing trespassing charges. Let us all support them and continue the struggle to end poverty and homelessness. Peter
My reflection on Thomas Herndon’s exposé of a study often quoted to justify austerity; i.e., cutting social programs.April 22, 2013
It is really important that we demand the U.S. government accept the victory of Maduro. His margin in the recent election was almost as big a margin as Obama in voting percentages in 2012. As far as I know the U.S. and Spain are the two countries who have not accepted the results. This is interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela. Capriles and the right-wing in Venezuela not accepting their loss in a system where votes are counted very accurately creates a very dangerous situation. Destabilization somewhat reminiscent of the attempted 2002 coup is occurring including attacks on community media. Let us also challenge the U.S. media misrepresentation and stress the fairness of the count of the April 14th election.
That is the main issue and should be our main focus, support for the electoral process in Venezuela and Maduro as President .
As someone who is in solidarity with the Venezuelan revolution, a secondary but important issue is why the election was so close, especially since Maduro seemed comfortably ahead in the polls? This is not questioning his victory but the small margin, 2 percentage points. I hope that the response in Venezuela goes beyond the necessary defense of Maduro’s victory; that it extends to a serious examination of some of the ongoing problems such as corruption, clientalism, violence and major inefficiencies in some public programs. I hope there is a major and ongoing process where there is consultation with the popular classes about their criticisms and this leads as quickly as possible to the deepening of the revolution –growth of participatory democracy, popular power and socialization of the economy.
The death of President Hugo Chávez is a great loss for the people of Venezuela and to people all over the world. U.S. imperialism and the right-wing and the rich in Venezuela are using this period as an opportunity to intensify their efforts to destroy the development of “Socialism for the 21st Century” and turn back the advancements. The Venezuelan people no longer have Chavez to support them. My hope is that out of the tragic death of Chávez that participatory democracy and socialism from below can flower and expand and that the Maduro led government will support this transformation rather than move to the right to appease the opposition.
La lucha continua, Peter Bohmer