On this week's show...
* in Oaxaca, Mexico, police and paramilitaries responded to the months-long popular uprising with armed attacks, killing several people including an indymedia videogrpaher and a local newspaper photographer
* Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai speaks at the University of Pittsburgh
* locals with the Student Farmworker Alliance hold a demonstration at the McDonalds in Oakland
* and more global news from Uruguay, Portugal, Ecuador, and more
Welcome to this week's edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of the news from the grassroots, news overlooked by the corporate media.
On today's show...
in Oaxaca, Mexico, police and paramilitaries responded to the months-long popular uprising with armed attacks, killing several people including an indymedia videographer and a local newspaper photographer
Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai speaks at the University of Pittsburgh
locals with the Student Farmworker Alliance hold a demonstration at the McDonalds in Oakland
and more global news from Uruguay, Portugal, Ecuador, and more
Rustbelt Radio airs live every Monday from 6-7 PM on WRCT 88.3 FM in Pittsburgh, PA, and again on Tuesday mornings 9-10 AM. We're also on Pacifica affiliate WVJW Benwood, 94.1 FM in the Wheeling, West Virginia area, on Thursdays from 6-7 PM. And we can be heard on WPTS, 92.1 FM from the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, Saturday mornings from 9-10 AM.
We're also available on the internet, both on WRCT's live webstream at W-R-C-T dot ORG and for download, stream or podcast at radio dot I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot org.
We turn now to local headlines.
[2:15] McDonald's Protest
This past weekend, the Student Farmworker Alliance, in solidarity with the Coalition of Imokalee Workers, called the 27th and 28th of this month as national days of action against McDonalds. The farmworkers of the CIW in Florida are demanding that McDonalds pays a fair wage for the tomatoes that are grown for the fast food giant.
Over the weekend, actions took place in nearly 40 cities across the country, including here in Pittsburgh. On Friday afternoon, about a dozen people gathered outside the McDonald’s on Forbes Avenue in Oakland to pass out literature about unfair practices at the restaurant. One protestor dressed as Ronald McDonald, drew attention from many people on the street.
We spoke to Crystal Gamet who is working with the Student Farmworker Alliance to build a movement against McDonald’s in Pittsburgh:
* file0118.ogg: Mcdonalds/crystal
At the end of the demonstration the group presented a letter of demands to the Manager inside McDonalds. Included in this letter is information on modern day slavery rings that have been found and documented in the tomato fields of Florida. The letter also demands that McDonalds works with the CIW to implement an enforceable code of conduct to ensure fair and safe working conditions for the farm workers.
Since 1994, the Italian Humanitarian group "Emergency" has made its mission to aid the civilian victims of war. In those 12 years, the group established medical facilities in war zones across the globe, and currently operates programs in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Iraq, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and Sri Lanka. While the group was founded and is based in Italy, in 2003 a US-based chapter was founded and is headquartered in Pittsburgh. Last Thursday, that Pittsburgh-based chapter hosted Dr. Gino Strada, a war surgeon and co-founder of Emergency. Rustbelt Radio had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Strada about civilians in war zones, as well as his recent experience providing medical care in Afghanistan. Dr. Strada began by talking about the founding of Emergency:
Dr. Strada was already in Afghanistan when US troops invaded and began occupying the country. Here, he describes his impression of that invasion as a humanitarian who had been working in that country for several years
For more information on Emergency, you can visit their US website at www.emergencyUSA.org. You can also download Dr. Strada's complete speech from Thursday's event from the Pittsburgh IMC's website at www.indypgh.org.
For more on local news, you can visit pittsburgh dot I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot org.
[ HMB BREAK RUSTBELT - 0:20 (fades down 0:10 in to start global intro) ]
You are listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news overlooked by the corporate media. We turn now to news from other independent media sources around the world.
As the Federal Communications Commission prepares to look again at its regulations on media ownership this winter, a new set of research studies on the effects of media consolidation released by the Benton Foundation and the Social Science Research Council shows how lax media ownership policy has had harmful effects on grassroots and local media and has blocked the participation of women and people of color in all forms of broadcast media. Earlier this year, the FCC ordered destroyed a report showing how local media outlets are likely to cover more local news. The collection of new studies, entitled Does Bigger Media Equal Better Media? Four Academic Studies of Media Ownership in the United States, can be accessed in full text online at the web site www.benton.org.
In a study led by Carolyn Byerly, an associate professor of journalism at Howard University, it's reported that of 12,844 media outlets which filed Form 323 reports, which are intended to provide details on demographics of ownership of commercial radio stations to the FCC, 3.4% were women-owned, and 3.6% were owned by minorities. Most of these outlets were in rural areas and small towns. The FCC's form 323 records do not include demographic information for non-commercial stations, who file a separate report called the Form 323-E that, unlike Form 323, has no areas to indicate information on gender or ethnicity. Such outlets as college radio stations were not taken into account in the study.
Station groups that consolidated markets by owning a number of stations exceeding established ownership caps focused on news, adult contemporary, rock, classic rock, country, and top 40; excluded were, as just some examples, hip hop, jazz, alternative news sources, and tejano music. Niche and alternative formats were more common in stations under the ownership cap, even though over-the-cap stations would seem to have more money to spend on developing these formats.
Survey respondents cited media biases in white-owned broadcast stations, including a tendency to focus on white victims of crime, while overlooking crimes committed against persons of color.
In preparation for reconsidering its rules on media ownership, the FCC is allowing a 120 day public input period. To make your voice heard, you can visit the web site of the Stop Big Media Coalition and file a confidential online comment to the FCC. Go to www.stopbigmedia.com/comment.php. Comments are due December 21st. You can also write a letter to the FCC at the following address:
FCC Docket 06-93
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554.
[3:00] Uruguay Paper Mills
In May of 2005, the Finnish Company Finland Botnia began construction of a paper mill processing factory in the town of Fray Bentos near the Uruguay river, and Argentinean- Uruguayan Border. Groups from both countries have been protesting against the building of this factory, and on
Friday, October 13th, 2006 protesters cut road links between the two
countries to stop trucks from reaching the factory.
This factory is part of a $1.7 billion project involving several pulp mills that are being constructed in Uruguay by Finland Botnia and also by the spanish
This demonstration, and others, were launched after the World Bank released an environmental impact report about the plant. The report stated that the Finland Botnia project met its environmental standards, and that therefore the World Bank would let it wouldn't contaminate.
Members of the Popular Environmental Assembly of ColĂłn (an Argentinean Border town), and members of the Assembly of GualeguaychĂş, a town north of
Buenos Aires, decided to start blockading the truck and car routes
towards Uruguay. About 300 people blocked the roads leading to the bridge
that crosses the Uruguay river. Their protests are motivated by fear that the plant will pollute their river and environment and also hurt the tourism business of the
Denouncing the factories' poisons, one activist describes their protests:
* papeleras.ogg: papeleras.ogg
Meanwhile the government insists on stopping protesters from demonstrating because their protests are illegal according to an agreement between Argentina, the Hague and the Mercosur. The Argentinean government has taken the issue to the International Justice Court in the Hague, which arbitrates cross-border issues between countries.
The wave of protests against the project have already caused Ence, the
Spanish company that was developing one of two pulp mills for the site, to
relocate its project elsewhere in Uruguay.
Argentinean activist Anama Martinez, a member of the Popular Environmental Assembly of Colon, believes that the struggle of the people from Colon and Gualeguaychu is a struggle for health and life. She says “ I don't want more children, Argentineans, uruguayans with disabilities or dead because of issues that could be prevented, such as better public health and such as saying No to contamination. Let's always remember that the three reasons that cause the most disability in the world and that are preventable are: war, poverty, and contamination.”
[2:00 ] Portuguese to hold Abortion Vote
On October 19th, the Portuguese Parliament approved holding a referendum on the question of whether to legalize abortion. The vote is expected to be held in January of 2007. Three years have passed since the last referendum vote on this issue, which did not favor the legalization of abortion.
Currently abortions are only legal in Portugal if a woman has been raped, if her life is in danger, or if the fetus has serious abnormalities.
The governing Socialist Party is now proposing that women should be allowed to choose an abortion up to the 10th week of pregnancy. Campaigners say that while rich women can afford to go abroad for abortions, thousands of poor women end up in the hospital each year after resorting to backstreet operations.
Prime Minister Jose Socrates (sew-CRAH-tace) says he wants to end the situation where the abortion ban leads to these illegal, unsafe terminations. He stated illegal abortions are quote "a sign of a backward country."
Portugal is the only country in the European Union that actively prosecutes women and their doctors for illegal abortion. The penalties include incarcerating women for up to three years if found guilty of having an illegal abortion, and incarcerating doctors for up to eight years for performing the procedure.
According to Women on Waves, between 20,000 and 40,000 illegal and unsafe abortions take place in Portugal each year. Women on Waves is an organization that works to prevent unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions. They operate a mobile clinic on a ship that sails to countries where abortion is illegal or severely restricted.
Women on Waves traveled to Portugal in 2004, in order to bring their services to women seeking abortions. However, upon arrival they were blocked by the Portuguese Navy.
[2:00 ] Ecuadorean Elections
Amidst allegations of election fraud, Ecuador has set plans for a runoff vote on November 26 between the two leading presidential candidates in its national elections. The first election resulted in banana tycoon Alvaro Noboa, the richest man in Ecuador, winning 27% of the vote, and Raphael Correa, a leftist economist, winning 23% of the vote. A candidate must take 40% of the vote or beat all rivals by at least 10% to be declared the winner.
Ecuadoreans have ousted three presidents in the last 10 years through massive peoples’ protests. While the country’s banana , oil, and tourism industries earn millions, about half the country’s population lives near the poverty line, and the country’s indigenous population, about a quarter of the total, is largely disenfranchised. Alvaro Noboa favors close ties with the U.S. and free trade, and has promised to use his experience as a successful businessman to bring Ecuador’s poor into the middle class. Raphael Correa opposes the planned free trade agreement with the U.S., and has promised to overhaul the health and education systems. He allies himself with Hugo Chavez, saying that (quote) We are looking for a united Latin America that can confront a globalization that is inhumane and cruel. (endquote).
After the first vote on October 15th Correa alleged that there had been electoral fraud. Reported irregularities include the announced failure of the rapid count by the E-VOTE company, the discovery of altered and as many as 10 percent missing ballots in Guayas Province , and photographic evidence of members of Noboa’s party with marked ballots at voting stations. The Ecuadorean court and the Organization for American States have said they found the elections to be valid.
While polls now show Noboa with a lead, the indigenous movement Pachekutik, as well as the Democratic Left and Democratic Popular Movement parties, have declared support for Correa.
You can read more independent global news stories by visting indymedia: I-N-D-Y-M-E-D-I-A dot O-R-G.
You're listening to Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.
Wangari Maathai is the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her work founding the Green Belt movement, working with rural women to restore forests in Kenya. She attended the University of Pittsburgh to obtain a master’s degree in biological sciences. Last Thursday, October 26th, she returned to Pittsburgh for the first time in 40 years to accept an honorary doctorate degree awarded by the University of Pittsburgh.
In her public address at the event, she described founding the Green Belt movement. When Maathai graduated the University of Pittsburgh in 1965, she went back to Kenya and joined the University of Nairobi, helping to found a school of veterinary science.
* Women.wav [:10]
The national conference for women of Kenya was convened to prepare for the first U.N conference on Women in 1975:
* Un-greenbelt.wav [3:50]
Maathai also described how her experiences researching a tick-borne livestock disease in rural Kenya exposed her to the environmental degradation that was occurring there, and inspired her to act:
* environment.wav [9:40]
Maathai said the decision to award the prize to Mohammed Yunis and the Grameen Bank in Bangledesh, who pioneered the development of microcredit loans as a strategy against poverty, reinforces this message:
* Yunis.wav [1:20]
That was 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai speaking in Pittsburgh.
[1:00] Calendar of Events
And now we present the Indymedia Calendar of Events:
Tonight October 30th, at 7pm, the movie 500 Miles to Babylon will be screened at the Thomas Merton Center in Garfield. This one-hour film documents Iraq under the U.S. occupation. The filmmaker David Martinez will be present.
On Wednesday November 1st from 6:00-7:30 pm, join Voices for Animals as they protest the Ringling Brothers Circus at Mellon Arena. They will continue to protest the circus throughout the week. For more information go to vfa dash online . org.
On Thursday November 2nd, at 7pm, Point Park University will be having a special movie screening. They will be showing "Democracy on a Deadline: The Global Struggle for an Independent Press." This will be held in the University Center, located at 414 Wood Street downtown.
Also on the 2nd, the city of Pittsburgh will be hosting a Green Forum to discuss utilizing vacant lots from 5:00 until 9:30 pm. This will take place at the Pittsburgh Project on the Northside. For more information log on to redd up pittsburgh. com
[ Outro Music ]
Thanks for tuning in to Rustbelt Radio here on WRCT Pittsburgh, WVJW Benwood and WPTS Pittsburgh.
Our hosts this week are Andalusia Knoll and Vani Natarajan with contributions from Seth Crippen, Brian Dipippa, Sarah Valenzuela, Santa Cruz Indymedia, Carlin Joy, Andalusia Knoll, David Meieran, Vani Natarajan, Morgan Ress and Jessica McPherson. This week's show was produced by Donald Deeley. Special thanks to all of our hosts, producers, and contributors.
You can get involved with Rustbelt Radio! To contact us, or to send us your comments, email RADIO at I-N-D-Y-P-G-H dot ORG. All of our shows are available for download or podcast on our website at RADIO dot INDY-P-G-H dot ORG and this show can be heard again Tuesday morning on WRCT at 9 AM after Democracy Now!
Tune in next week at this time for another edition of Rustbelt Radio, the Pittsburgh Independent Media Center's weekly review of news from the grassroots.