Monday, November 7, 2011

SOA Watch, November 18-20, 2011

Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia is not only barracks for up to 120,000 US troops, it is also the site of America's assassin training program, WHINSEC, formerly known as the SOA or School of Americas.  Members of Occupy Birmingham will be attending the annual protest at the gates, 12,000 are expected.  Not only is this an awesome show of nonviolent resistance, it is also a event and protest it is also a huge educational, spiritual, and musical event, with Giant Puppets! See how protests are supposed to look like, this is what democracy looks like!  I was there in 2006, and I guarantee it will also make an impression on everyone who attends.  

Corporate oppression and colonial exploitation of Latin America is well-documented.  Many Latino people have attempted to flee economic disasters now flee for their lives here in Alabama where they came looking for work.  Now that the American economy has hit a wall, minorities are being forced to take the fall as usual.  Since anti-immigrant legislation HB56 passed, Alabama has once again become ground zero for human rights abuses in America.  People have had their very existence declared a crime, this is NOT what democracy looks like, this is the racist fascism of the same sort Alabama has been all too well known for in the past.  If we can resist successfully here in the heart of Dixie, we can fight back the evil trend towards inhumanity and racism.  The General Assembly of Occupy Birmingham has passed a motion to place HB56 at the forefront of the Occupy Alabama movement.  Because of Birmingham's  historical significance in the fight against racism, we of all communities must overcome the forces of hatred and bigotry that have reared their ugly heads, especially 'leaders' like Scott Beason and Luther Strange.  With togetherness, love and justified anger, we SHALL overcome. (More info on HB56)


About the SOA Watch, from soawatch.org:  "SOA Watch is an independent organization that seeks to close the US Army School of the Americas, under whatever name it is called, through vigils and fasts, demonstrations and nonviolent protest, as well as media and legislative work.

On November 16, 1989, six Jesuit priests, their co-worker and her teenage daughter were massacred in El Salvador. A U.S. Congressional Task Force reported that those responsible were trained at the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA) at Ft. Benning, Georgia.

In 1990 SOA Watch began in a tiny apartment outside the main gate of Ft. Benning. While starting with a small group, SOA Watch quickly drew upon the knowledge and experience of many in the U.S. who had worked with the people of Latin America in the 1970's and 80's.

Today, the SOA Watch movement is a large, diverse, grassroots movement rooted in solidarity with the people of Latin America. The goal of SOA Watch is to close the SOA and to change U.S. foreign policy in Latin America by educating the public, lobbying Congress and participating in creative, nonviolent resistance. The Pentagon has responded to the growing movement and Congress' near closure of the SOA with a PR campaign to give the SOA a new image. In an attempt to disassociate the school with its horrific past, the SOA was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in January of 2001.

Driving through 280 - (280 becomes Victory Drive, which intersects with Fort Benning Road, where the main gates of Fort Benning are located).  People who are coming from from the North on I-185S to Columbus need to be careful to not miss the Exit 1N/Victory Drive, since it is the last exit before military base (the Hwy goes onto the base) In past years, people have been arrested by military police for accidentally driving onto the open base.  Those who wish to carpool or share a room please visit the forum posting at  http://forum.occupybirmingham.org/index.php?topic=237.0

Walter Simon
Occupy Birmingham

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