Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the staff of the CitiZine!

Here is the link to an organization called Heifer International, where you can "buy" animals (like sheep, cows, goats), honeybees, or trees to donate to impoverished families across the globe. Consider this as a meaningful alternative to ordinary Christmas gifts, and help out someone who has nothing!

Give a Heifer!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Watch the History Channel tonight!

We are really excited about a documentary airing tonight on the History Channel called The People Speak. It's based on Howard Zinn's books like A People's History of the United States and includes some big-name actors delivering speeches or writings of historical figures. The writers at the CitiZine are big Zinn fans and we think this is going to be an interesting program.

So turn on the History Channel tonight (Sunday, December 12) at 8 pm EST!

Here's a trailer:

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ad Culture?

This poster is from a UK-based activist group called Don't Panic. See a larger (easier-to-read) version here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Interested in our Latest Issue?

If you're looking at this page now, we're hoping you got to read the latest issue of the CitiZine! We thought we could post some links regarding our article topics in case you're interested in further reading (or viewing):

Cover Figure: Noam Chomsky
Watch videos, hear speeches, and learn more about Noam here.

Reverend Billy and Buy Nothing Day
Reverend Billy's website!

War Is Over (If You Want It)
In an awareness "campaign" against the Vietnam War, John Lennon bought out billboards across the world with this slogan. Here's a photo of one of the billboards:

Sodexo's Ethics
We published Sodexo's response concerning their history and social impact as a corporation. We thought we would publish some stories here about some of their shady business:
UMass Opinion Piece about Sodexo (then Sodexho) labor in 2004
Racial Bias Lawsuit with Sodexo
Research on Sodexo concerning anti-unionism, environmental destruction, and the prison industry

Why are we anonymous?
There are some people wondering why the staff writers don't sign their names to their articles (except for guest contributers). I [the editor] recently wrote an email responding to the concern that "good journalists aren't anonymous". Here is a selection from my response that might help clear up some misunderstandings about this zine:

I understand and agree with your views on anonymity concerning journalists, but we, the staff writers, do not really consider ourselves journalists. The staff consists of activists, not journalists. We are using print media to express our explicit opinions instead of objective news, and want to offer a platform for alternative artists and/or writers.

We are not afraid of reactions to our work (as we print any responses to our articles freely), but made the conscious decision not to include our name because we want readers to consider the writing without the framing of their previous opinions of the author. This is not "anonymous journalism", its just anonymous activism. I love formal journalism and its purposes, and hope to be involved with it in the future, but this is not a newspaper and the same principles do not really apply.

With regards to finding an adviser, we do not really think we need one. A group doesn't necessarily have to follow the procedures recommended by Eastern. We work fine without one, and we don't need approval from SGA because a budget is not needed.
We are a "zine", distinctly different from other kinds of publications (What is a Zine?), and having an adviser pretty much defeats the purpose and definition of being "underground".

Also, we are definitely not concerned with the proposed "benefits" of having a byline attached to an article (future pride, etc.). We write this for ourselves, with a faint hope that we might inspire one or two people to think outside the box about issues (or introduce largely ignored issues altogether). There are many publications with anonymous writing (not "journalists", just writers), and we just don't feel the need to attach a name. However, there is one staff member that is actually concerned with mixing his politics and his outside career, which influences his anonymity. If there is a guest writer we include their name in order to make readers aware that the article is not the collective view or writing of the staff.

Again, we are simply activists that use writing and art, not journalists, and we don't feel the need to adhere to certain requirements without good cause.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cap and Trade video

Annie Leonard, the creator of the short video "the Story of Stuff" has now come out with a new video called "Cap and Trade." This video has some helpful information about carbon trading and what that really means for curbing emissions.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Michael Moore's Open Letter to Obama

In light of Obama's approval of the 30,000 troop surge in Afghanistan, we want to re-post Michael Moore's open letter to the President (originally published on The Huffinton Post). We agree with Moore's sentiments and are praying for an end to the war without sending more troops and withdrawing the rest of our forces from the conflict. Here's his letter, written before the final decision was announced this morning, and please post your reactions and/or opinions about the troop surge:

Dear President Obama,

Do you really want to be the new "war president"? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do -- destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they've always heard is true -- that all politicians are alike. I simply can't believe you're about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn't so.

It is not your job to do what the generals tell you to do. We are a civilian-run government. WE tell the Joint Chiefs what to do, not the other way around. That's the way General Washington insisted it must be. That's what President Truman told General MacArthur when MacArthur wanted to invade China. "You're fired!," said Truman, and that was that. And you should have fired Gen. McChrystal when he went to the press to preempt you, telling the press what YOU had to do. Let me be blunt: We love our kids in the armed services, but we f*#&in' hate these generals, from Westmoreland in Vietnam to, yes, even Colin Powell for lying to the UN with his made-up drawings of WMD (he has since sought redemption).

So now you feel backed into a corner. 30 years ago this past Thursday (Thanksgiving) the Soviet generals had a cool idea -- "Let's invade Afghanistan!" Well, that turned out to be the final nail in the USSR coffin.

There's a reason they don't call Afghanistan the "Garden State" (though they probably should, seeing how the corrupt President Karzai, whom we back, has his brother in the heroin trade raising poppies). Afghanistan's nickname is the "Graveyard of Empires." If you don't believe it, give the British a call. I'd have you call Genghis Khan but I lost his number. I do have Gorbachev's number though. It's + 41 22 789 1662. I'm sure he could give you an earful about the historic blunder you're about to commit.

With our economic collapse still in full swing and our precious young men and women being sacrificed on the altar of arrogance and greed, the breakdown of this great civilization we call America will head, full throttle, into oblivion if you become the "war president." Empires never think the end is near, until the end is here. Empires think that more evil will force the heathens to toe the line -- and yet it never works. The heathens usually tear them to shreds.

Choose carefully, President Obama. You of all people know that it doesn't have to be this way. You still have a few hours to listen to your heart, and your own clear thinking. You know that nothing good can come from sending more troops halfway around the world to a place neither you nor they understand, to achieve an objective that neither you nor they understand, in a country that does not want us there. You can feel it in your bones.

I know you know that there are LESS than a hundred al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan! A hundred thousand troops trying to crush a hundred guys living in caves? Are you serious? Have you drunk Bush's Kool-Aid? I refuse to believe it.

Your potential decision to expand the war (while saying that you're doing it so you can "end the war") will do more to set your legacy in stone than any of the great things you've said and done in your first year. One more throwing a bone from you to the Republicans and the coalition of the hopeful and the hopeless may be gone -- and this nation will be back in the hands of the haters quicker than you can shout "tea bag!"

Choose carefully, Mr. President. Your corporate backers are going to abandon you as soon as it is clear you are a one-term president and that the nation will be safely back in the hands of the usual idiots who do their bidding. That could be Wednesday morning.

We the people still love you. We the people still have a sliver of hope. But we the people can't take it anymore. We can't take your caving in, over and over, when we elected you by a big, wide margin of millions to get in there and get the job done. What part of "landslide victory" don't you understand?

Don't be deceived into thinking that sending a few more troops into Afghanistan will make a difference, or earn you the respect of the haters. They will not stop until this country is torn asunder and every last dollar is extracted from the poor and soon-to-be poor. You could send a million troops over there and the crazy Right still wouldn't be happy. You would still be the victim of their incessant venom on hate radio and television because no matter what you do, you can't change the one thing about yourself that sends them over the edge.

The haters were not the ones who elected you, and they can't be won over by abandoning the rest of us.

President Obama, it's time to come home. Ask your neighbors in Chicago and the parents of the young men and women doing the fighting and dying if they want more billions and more troops sent to Afghanistan. Do you think they will say, "No, we don't need health care, we don't need jobs, we don't need homes. You go on ahead, Mr. President, and send our wealth and our sons and daughters overseas, 'cause we don't need them, either."

What would Martin Luther King, Jr. do? What would your grandmother do? Not send more poor people to kill other poor people who pose no threat to them, that's what they'd do. Not spend billions and trillions to wage war while American children are sleeping on the streets and standing in bread lines.

All of us that voted and prayed for you and cried the night of your victory have endured an Orwellian hell of eight years of crimes committed in our name: torture, rendition, suspension of the bill of rights, invading nations who had not attacked us, blowing up neighborhoods that Saddam "might" be in (but never was), slaughtering wedding parties in Afghanistan. We watched as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were slaughtered and tens of thousands of our brave young men and women were killed, maimed, or endured mental anguish -- the full terror of which we scarcely know.

When we elected you we didn't expect miracles. We didn't even expect much change. But we expected some. We thought you would stop the madness. Stop the killing. Stop the insane idea that men with guns can reorganize a nation that doesn't even function as a nation and never, ever has.

Stop, stop, stop! For the sake of the lives of young Americans and Afghan civilians, stop. For the sake of your presidency, hope, and the future of our nation, stop. For God's sake, stop.

Tonight we still have hope.

Tomorrow, we shall see. The ball is in your court. You DON'T have to do this. You can be a profile in courage. You can be your mother's son.

We're counting on you.

Michael Moore