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Join the 2015 November Vigil PDF Print E-mail

Vigil at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia - March to the Stewart Dentention Center - Workshops - Concerts - Strategy Sessions - Puppetista Pageant - Grassroots Movement Building

Click here to visit the November Vigil mobilizing page!
HR 1232 - Stop Militarization of the U.S. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Arturo J. Viscarra   
Thursday, 21 May 2015 11:18

Militarization is bad for Latin America and bad for the United States:

Support H.R. 1232, the Stop Miliarizing Law Enforcment Act - the first domestic legislation that SOA Watch has officially endorsed.

SOA Watch has long opposed U.S.-supported militarization in Latin America, due to its proven correlation with increased human rights violations by Latin American armies and police forces. The frightening face of domestic U.S. militarization in response to protests in Ferguson, Baltimore, and other places has also proven that we in the U.S. are also at risk of brutal, heavy-handed, and intrusive "policing" that stifles dissent and erodes other fundamental human and civil rights.

Ask your Representative to cosponsor HR 1232, The Stop Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act.

We have for the first time officially supported and lobbied for domestic legislation in the last few months, including the Spring Days of Action: HR 1232, The Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act, sponsored by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) would severely limit the types of equipment the Pentagon could transfer to local police under the "1033" Program, preventing transfers of high-caliber weapons, armored military vehicles, weaponized drones, long-range acoustic devices, grenade launchers, and grenades or similar explosives in most cases.

President Obama recently announced an Executive Action limiting some types of Pentagon transfers to local police, but it is not enough. In fact, we now have even more momentum to keep pushing for deeper protections against further domestic militarization.

Weapons manufacturers, the Pentagon, and irresponsible police departments and others that are militarizing the U.S. need to know that we are going to step up the fight on this fundamental issue through research, education, organizing, grassroots lobbying, and other methods. We must do so quickly to avoid the plight of so many Latin Americans - having to deal with military or militarized police, and the fear that it instills, on a regular basis.

SEND an email to your Representative to cosponsor of HR 1232, The Stop Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act.

ORDER a set of Advocacy Postcards in support of HR 1232, The Stop Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 May 2015 17:38
We are Winning! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Hendrik Voss   
Monday, 18 May 2015 17:43

Following the militarized police repression against the anti-police brutality protests in response to the August 9, 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, SOA Watch and other social justice organizations campaigned against the transfer of military equipment to local police departments.

In what amounts to a victory for the power of grassroots pressure, President Obama is going to announce today, that the federal government will no longer provide heavy military equipment like tanks and grenade launchers to local cops. Let's build on the momentum, and on the public support for demilitarization initiatives! Click here to tell Congress to take a stand and to pass the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act

As a movement organization that is working towards justice and self-determination for all, SOA Watch's advocacy work supports reform measures that limit the ability of state security forces to impose their will on communities, be it in the United States or Latin America.

Let's keep the pressure on for the demilitarization of our world, our hemisphere, and our lives! DonateCan you make a generous donation now, to build on this victory and to help grow our ability to impact policy decisions? Together we can change the culture of violence and domination, and create a culture of justice and peace. Please support the work with a financial contribution

After 2 Years: Megan, Michael and Greg have been Released from Federal Prison

We are also celebrating the release of three of our friends from federal prison this weekend! Former SOA Watch Prisoners of Conscience Megan Rice and Michael Walli, and Greg Boertje-Obed were released on Saturday, after the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati last week overturned their 2013 sabotage convictions and ordered re-sentencing on their remaining conviction for injuring government property at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. Transform Now PlowsharesThe Transform Now Plowshares activists had already served 2 years in federal prison for their disarmament action at the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, TN to protest plans for a new multibillion dollar nuclear bomb plant there. Megan was originally sentenced to nearly three years and Michael and Greg were each sentenced to just over five years. Welcome home Megan, Michael, and Greg: We are looking forward to continuing the struggle together with you on the outside!

Maria GuardadoRest in Power María Guardado

Amid these victories, we also have deep sadness in our hearts. Our compañera María Guardado passed away on Saturday. She was a fighter for justice and will be dearly missed.

María Guardado was a local activist who protested against the US-supported military regime in El Salvador during the ’70s and early ’80s that killed more than 80,000 civilians and kidnapped and tortured many others. On June 12, 1980, she was kidnapped, raped, and brutally tortured by graduates of the School of the Americas. In 1983, she was granted political asylum in the US, where she continued her activism, protesting the US government’s support of Salvadorian regime.

La Lucha Sigue! The Struggle Continues!

April 22-25: Flood DC with Justice! PDF Print E-mail
Growing Stronger Together - Resisting the 'Drug War' Across the Americas.

Social change needs grassroots power. Photos and report back from the 2015 Spring Days of Action in Wshington, DC

Wednesday, April 22 (#EarthDay)

On Wednesday morning,SOA Watch activists, including several former Prisoners of Conscience, joined the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance at two actions at the Environmental Protection Agency and at the Pentagon. We called out the Pentagon's role in the destruction of Mother Earth. Eight of the activists were arrested by Pentagon police, when they demanded a meeting with Pentagon officials and refused to leave without it. Click here for photos from the march and the arrests.

Since the SOA graduate-led military coup in 2009, Honduras has become the most dangerous country in the world for environmental and land activists. Indigenous environmental campaigners are particularly at risk because they are up against powerful political and economic interests who have grown used to exploiting their land with impunity.

Wednesday, April 22, 6pm-8pm
Corruption, Crime and Community Organizing in the US and Mexico, by Simón Sedillo, an independent journalist and a documentary film maker.

Simón Sedillo presented new material from various struggles for dignity and self determination taking place in Mexico today. Sedillo presented an insightful breakdown on the supposed "war on drugs", with updates from Michoacán and Guerrero as well as a broader analysis of the the effects of the U.S. military political economy on Mexico and the Mexican people. The story in the news today is about Mexican crime and corruption, but what about the role of crime and corruption in the USA? Sedillo's presentation included community based video productions. Click here for photos from the presentation.

Following the talk, we came together at Haydee's for a karaoke party, to join into the rich tradition of music and resistance, and to build community.

Thursday, April 23
On Thursday morning, SOA Watch Legislative and Advocacy Coordinator, Arturo Viscarra, and activante Jenne Ristau, led a lobby training to inform the movement about our grassroots lobby efforts. As SOA Watch activists listened and participated, so too did SOA Watch Latin America Liaison Brigitte Gynther, who provided insight to the destructive impact the ill-named Aliiance for Prosperity will have on Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador if passed through Congress. John Lindsay-Poland provided the participants with up to date research on US military aid.

The day before, as US-supported Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez spoke in Washington, DC about supposedly promoting peace and prosperity in Honduras - the most violent country in the world, especially after the 2099 SOA-led coup - SOA Watch kicked off the Spring Days of Action by accompanying Honduran Human Rights activist Berta Cáceres from COPINH in speaking truth to power before Congress. 

12pm - 4:30pm Lobbying. Grassroots activists from across the country visted their Representatives.

In the evening, we came together for a social gathering.

Friday, April 24
We spoke truth to power on Capitol Hill. After an intense day of grassroots lobbying, SOA Watch activists decided to take lobbying on Capitol Hill a step further and protest inside Sen. Marco Rubio's office, to call him out on not taking a stand in opposition to the failed "Drug War".

As the activists entered Senator Rubio's office, they immediately unfurled a banner reading "The War on Drugs is a War on Us" in English and Spanish. Rubio, who is an outspoken critic of the normalization of US relations with Cuba, and actively seeks to continue tired Cold War policies of the past, has failed to take a stand on the issue of the Drug War, funded by Plan Mexico, a 2 billion dollar Congressional initiative that has caused immense suffering in Mexico at a high human cost in the name of security and the Drug War. In addition to Plan Mexico, recent news reports that the US has recently sold over $1 billion in weaponry to the Mexican military and police.

Also on Friday morning, four human activists staged a sit-in at the embassy of El Salvador, with the intention of getting arrested to call attention to the situation of a group of Salvadoran women currently serving extreme prison sentences in El Salvador for having had miscarriages. Protesters included Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of Latin America solidarity organization School of the Americas Watch; Ed Kinane, of Syracuse, NY, retired educator and nonviolent peace activist; John Honeck, a counselor and activist from Hamlin, NY; and Paki Wieland, of Northampton, MA, longtime peace and justice activist and member of Grandmothers for Peace. The group delivered a letter to the embassy to express their solidarity and to seek the release of the 17 women. Julienne Oldfield of Syracuse, NY, and Palma Ryan of Cliff Island, ME, also participated in the sit-in. The four spent the night in general lock up, and the following day in the holding cells of the district court. They were released on Saturday afternoon, and will have to return to DC for a court date in May 2015. For the media release and photos, click here.
the online action in support of the women.

8pm CONCERT at Don Juan's at 1660 Lamont St NW, Washington, DC
Art and music are the backbone of the Resistance, and have always been a vital pat of the SOA Watch movement. As part of our Spring Days of Action, we had a concert featuring Elena of Elena y los Fulanos, Fenomedon, Alumbra DC, Luci Murphy, Kumara, Juan, Xavier, Cesar. Come Rock against militarization and the failed Drug War! For photos from the concert, please click here.

Saturday, April 25
9:00 am - 4:30 pm Forum and Strategy Session. University of DC David A. Clarke School of Law, 4340 Connecticut Ave. NW.
Growing Stronger Together: Resisting the "Drug War" Across the Americas

We held a strategy session for grassroots organizers who are pushing back against militarization. Participants learned from and strategized together with Berta Cáceres, the general co-ordinator of Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Indígenas Populares - COPINH (Civic Council of Popular Indigenous Organisations) from Honduras, Simón Sedillo, a community rights defense organizer and film maker, who has spent the last 8 years documenting, producing and teaching community based video documentation in Mexico, and many other new and old grassroots organizers like yourself. Following the morning session, part of the group drove up to Baltimore, to join the protests against the police killing of Freddie Gray, a 25-year old black man who died of severe injuries to his spine in police custody. Break out groups engaged in a brainstorm and visioning process to plan for our next steps as a movement.

Click here for photos from the strategy session.

Growing The movement's continued commitment to justice has only made our roots deeper and our reach towards the sun lengthen. More recently, SOA Watch's partnership with groups protesting the U.S. funding and militarizing of the Drug War in Mexico, have made seedlings whispering in the wind take root and cultivate in our shared communities. This April we continue in this same tradition of growing by challenging the Drug War in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, and in the U.S.

Stronger Change occurs over time, sprouting from the seeds planted by those who have come before us. Now, it is our job to continue to grow the movement, push for greater change, and continue building an alternative to war and empire, state violence and impunity, Mass incarceration, the root causes of migration, the criminalization of dissent - the greatest social struggles we are currently resisting in the hemisphere are linked by the disastrous "Drug War".

Together We are many communities in resistance, in Mexico, the U.S. and throughout the Americas, working for self-determination, justice, and an end to the violence of the Drug War. We are taking our message to Washington, DC not as individuals, but as a collective, echoing the millions of voices speaking truth to power and telling our own histories and herstories so that the powers that be cannot claim ignorance of the truth, and make a decision whether or not they will be part of the change for a better, more peaceful world.

Confronting The War on Drugs

The "Drug War" is militarizing, incarcerating, and killing communities in Latin America and in the U.S., especially traditionally oppressed peoples. Let's join join together to tell Congress the War on Drugs must end.

The enforced disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico proved once again that the disastrous results of U.S. military aid and training in Latin America are ongoing. Similarly, in Ferguson and other U.S. cities have reminded us that police militarization and the treatment of black and brown people as internal enemies are also major problems in the U.S., while putting into context what militarization looks like on the ground for so many in Latin America and beyond.

Local Organizing

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 April 2015 14:13

We are looking forward to the Spring Days of Action, that are taking place in Washington, DC in the end of April! Click here to register now, so we know that we can count you in. In the lead-up to SOA Watch's DC mobilization, parents of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa are coming to the US:

Stand in Solidarity with the Parents of the Disappeared Ayotzinapa Students from Mexico
Caravana 43

In September 2014, dozens of students from Ayotzinapa's teachers' college in the Mexican state of Guerrero were attacked by police. #Ayotzi43DCSix people were killed. The police then forcibly disappeared 43 students, who have been missing ever  since. The Ayotzinapa 43 have become a symbol of the over 100,000 murdered and 25,000 disappeared in the last 8 years of the US/Mexican Drug War.

*** Please note, April 7th D.C. event has been updated*****

From now until April 28, 2015, parents of the 43 disappeared students are traveling in three caravans throughout the US, covering over 40 cities from the US/Mexico border along the Pacific, central and Atlantic region states. The Caravana43 is calling for justice and accountability, and will shed light on the connection between US foreign policy, and the violence in Mexico. Caravana43The US government is funding and training the repressive Mexican military and police, and enforcing oppressive economic policies. The results are disastrous. The Caravana43 will build bonds between the people of Mexico and the United States on the issue of systemic violence by the police against its people.

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