July-August 2015 Gainesville Iguana

iguana coverThe July-August 2015 Iguana issue of the Gainesville Iguana is now available online, and it’s got lots of good stuff (Gainesville’s own monument to the Confederate War Dead and what to do about it, Florida’s 24-hour waiting period for abortions stalled by a state court, livable wage campaign in Alachua County, the Gainesville Community Calendar, and more!). You can also pick the issue up at any of our distribution spots, which you can find here.

The System Stinks!

by bill gilbert

Rise Up Citizens! It is time to Alter the present Political System/Government because it has become Destructive of the Stated Self-evident Truths of the Declaration of Independence, those of Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness.

The majority of the Senators and Representatives in the U.S. Congress who claim to represent us do not represent us but represent corporate and other wealthy special interests based primarily in Wall Street. Those congresspersons do not represent the People because they are beholding primarily to those corporate and wealthy special interests that financed their election campaigns.

This all came about because of the Supreme Court case decisions of Santa Clara v. Southern Railroad 1886, Buckley v. Valeo 1976, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 2010, and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission 2014 that essentially handed the political system over to corporate and wealthy special interests by allowing unlimited amounts of money to flow, even in secrecy, from corporations and wealthy special interests to support or oppose candidates and/or members of Congress.

This has amounted to a Supreme Court Coup d’e-tat handing the reins of power over to corporate and wealthy special interests that now control the legislative and executive branches of government.

Continue reading

94.7 WGOT-LP moves ahead with studio plans

By Fred Sowder, WGOT board member

Nearly a year and a half after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted a request for WGOT-LP, the Civic Media Center’s radio project, to move up the dial to its own frequency, plans have been coming together for a physical broadcast studio space. WGOT is partnering with Sweetwater Organic Coffee for this studio space. Board member Dave Drobach adds, “We are excited to have a physical studio and expand to a 24-hour LP-FM signal!”

Although the FCC has granted us our own frequency, the location of the tower (near I-75 and NW 39th Avenue) and power (100 watts) will not be changing because of current definitions of low power FM (LPFM) radio.

Continue reading

“The Gap” showing on May 28 in Alachua

“The Gap” is a short documentary describing the difficulties of people unable to obtain health care. Made in Gainesville by Jordanna Goldman and Christopher Cogle, M.D. it is being used by Florida Chain in its statewide campaign to have Florida accept funds for Medicaid expansion. It was shown at the Civic Media Center by the Alachua County Labor Coalition. It will be shown again on May 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the County Library, 14913 NW 140th St, Alachua. It will be followed by a discussion of what action to take.

Probably for no better reason than their resistance to Obamacare, Governor Rick Scott and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives have refused to allow Florida to accept funds from the Federal Government which would cover almost one million people without health insurance. They are largely people who work but don’t earn enough to qualify for Obamacare subsidies or are unemployed and looking for jobs.

Continue reading

Peace Poetry Contest and Peace Scholarship announce winners

Peace PoetryJP 1 peace scholarship winnersVeterans for Peace held their sixth annual Peace Poetry contest reading/reception on May 9. There were 225 poems submitted from all K–12 schools in Alachua County, and 34 winners were chosen. The students read their poems in front of 150 guests and received a gift certificate to a local bookstore and a book, which included all of the winning poems. This year Veterans for Peace also awarded three $500 scholarships to 3 students — Manuela Osorio (pictured), Catalina Cardenas (pictured), and Michelle Nelson —entering or attending college who have demonstrated leadership in peace and social justice causes. Musicians Lauren Ann Robinson and Bill Hutchinson performed at the event. Photos by Deborah Hendrix.

Tombstone display honors Iraq, Afghanistan fallen soldiers

11074393_10206199526854367_7752921689650873715_nVeterans for Peace will be displaying more than 6,827 tombstones from dawn on May 23 through dusk on Memorial Day on Eighth Avenue just east of 34th Street as part of their Memorial Day Weekend event to remember those who have died in the wars in Afghanistan since 2001 and in Iraq since 2003.

The tombstones will line the street along Eighth Avenue just east of 34th Street, where the Solar System Walk is located. This is the ninth year VFP has set up the display, and in 2008 we had to cross over to the North side of Eighth Avenue due to the continuing number of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Veterans for Peace feel that these losses cannot be adequately understood with facts and figures alone. The visual impact of the tombstones conveys the reality of these numbers.

Continue reading

Kenneth “Kenito” Weeks, 1943–2015, peace activist

Kenneth_WeeksKenneth “Kenito” Weeks died April 17 at his home in Gainesville, after a two-year cancer battle. Born in Washington, DC in 1943, he had been a Floridian since 1960 and resident of north Florida since 1978.

Kenito considered himself to be a citizen of the world, and he was involved in the struggles for peace and justice, civil rights, the labor movement, and the environmental and anti-war movements for decades. He was recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, and the Nature Conservancy for his dedication, and was a life member of the Sierra Club. He was an active member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Labor Party of Alachua County Committee of 100, the Industrial Workers of the World, and the United Farm Workers.

Continue reading

Abby Goldsmith, Rest in Power

Abby.forObituaryAbby Goldsmith died peacefully on Monday, April 27, 2015 at her home after a brief illness, surrounded by family and friends.

She was born in Meriden, CT, July 21, 1945 to Dr. Henry and Ingeborg Alberty Caplan.

Her activism commenced with protesting the War in Vietnam and she was arrested and handcuffed in front of her young children on trumped up charges that were soon dismissed. Consequently, she became an anarcho-syndicist and, in 1971, moved with her then partner to Florida; they aimed for Jacksonville but by navigational error ended up in Gainesville. Always wearing black, the color of anarchists, she was known as “Black Abby”.   Then, wishing to change the world but becoming disheartened by the disorganization of anarchists, she changed political philosophies several times and settled in as, and forever remained, a Marxist.

Continue reading

A proposal for a livable wage for Alachua County workers

by the alachua county labor coalition

Throughout the nation, a movement has been fomenting around the need for a living wage. Thousands of workers have gone on strike, politicians have stumped, and large companies such as McDonalds and Walmart have given token raises; but little has been done in Florida to make a living wage a reality. In Alachua County, a coalition of religious organizations, businesses, labor unions, and economic justice activists have come together to make a tangible change for Alachua County workers. Our ambitious goal is to have the 10 largest employers in the County pay a Living Wage by 2020. We aim to enforce Article X, Section 24 of the Florida Constitution, which is currently being scorned by many of our elected officials.

All working Floridians are entitled to be paid a minimum wage that is sufficient to provide a decent and healthy life for them and their families, that protects their employers from unfair low-wage competition, and that does not force them to rely on taxpayer-funded public services in order to avoid economic hardship.

Continue reading

Looking back: Kent State revisted

by Joe Courter

What follows is an article from the Iguana in April 1995, Vol 9, #7 we’re publishing as part of an occasional series of “look-backs.” It was published on the 25-year anniversary of the killings at Kent State.

May 4th 1995 will mark the 25th anniversary of the 1970 killing of four students at Kent State University by soldiers of the Ohio National Guard. As someone who was a college freshman in the spring of 1970; and active in the anti-war activities that were happening at my campus in southwestern Michigan, these killings had a profound personal impact; they were students of my age doing what I would have been doing had I been there at Kent State. That United States armed and trained soldiers would shoot and kill students made me realize how much the government hated the anti-war movement, and this increased my resolve to oppose the U.S. policy which turned young men into killers, be they soldiers in Vietnam or Ohio. Or Mississippi, where only ten days after the Kent killings, two students were killed at Jackson State in a protest of both the war and the Kent State shootings.

Continue reading