On November 2, 2011, Global Exchange will stand in solidarity with the Occupy Oakland (#OO) movement and the broader Occupy Wall Street (#OWS) movement to participate in the General Strike/Day of Action.

Join us on the streets (or online) tomorrow and unite with thousands to demand an end to corporate greed, bank bailouts, the gross income disparity destroying this planet and a shift to new alternatives for a peaceful and just society. We are the 99% who say enough is enough.

We know the facts, but seeing them together is staggering:

  • Unemployment is firmly mired in the double digits and growing, while the rich remain sheltered from paying their fair share of tax on earnings and capital gains;
  • The climate crisis remains unaddressed by global leaders and the U.S. Congress while President Obama contemplates whether or not to green-light the devastating Keystone XL pipeline;
  • We are heading into the 10th year of war spending (at $3 billion a week!);
  • Corporations fought hard and won Citizens United and the ‘right’ to spend unlimited funds to get candidates into office;
  • The wealthy (such as the Koch brothers) encourage corrupt Governors to end worker protections;
  • Banks and Wall Street continue getting huge bonuses (Wall Street bonuses were on average above $125,000 per person for 2010) and bailouts while the rest of us get sold out;
  • Free Trade agreements, like NAFTA, have cost the U.S. manufacturing it’s base and good jobs while in Mexico millions have lost their livelihoods. Millions of Mexicans have migrated north, while thousands of economically desperate youth back home have become victims of violence in the drug war run by the drug cartels;
  • Fewer and fewer students can afford to attend college (public university costs have risen over 8% in the last year alone), and those that do, face skyrocketing debts that would have seemed unimaginable just 15 years ago; upon graduation when they don’t see any openings in their field they head straight for a “McJob” or the unemployment line.

Enough is enough.
We support our local community.
We resist injustice everywhere.
We are the 99%.

On Wednesday, our staffed office in San Francisco will take to the streets in Oakland as thousands did during the General Strike of December 3, 1946. Our Fair Trade stores in Berkeley, San Francisco and DC will be open to support artisans in the majority world and 9.9% of store income for the day will be donated to #occupyoakland and #occupydc.

Keep up to date: We’ll be using our website, blog, twitter account and facebook as a hub of information and live updates, so check them throughout the day. The good folks at Movement Generation have a great list of events posted here.

Join us as we stand in solidarity with the 99% and demand justice, people power NOT corporate power and true democracy.

Show your support – “I AM 99%” stickers are now available. Click here to order sheets of 6, calling for: Public Health, Jobs & Justice, Tax the Billionaires, End the Wars, Public Schools and Green Jobs Now.

Catch up on movement news: At Global Exchange, we’ve been posting our observations as this movement grows, as well as blogging about our participation in various marches, rallies and our recent experience in New York at #OWS.

Here’s a list of our Occupy blog posts:

Get Occupy Updates Sent Direct to You: Subscribe to our People to People Blog here.

Just Added! Check out our photos from the Occupy Oakland General Strike/Day of Action!

Join the sit-in this Monday, October 26!

Update: Monday Sept 26 – over 180 people were arrested for trespassing on Parliament Hill this morning including Maude Barlow, national chairperson at the Council of Canadians, Dave Coles, President of the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers union and CEP Executive Assistant, Fred Wilson, Graham Saul of Climate Action Network and Mikisew Cree George Poitras. Check here for photos: CEP’s flickr photostream and Council of Canadians photostream
Thank you everyone!

On Monday, Sept 26 hundreds will gather in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, to protest the building of the Keystone XL pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico.

On the heels of the massive Tar Sands Action at the White House at the end of August, the invitation to mirror the DC action was issued by the Council of Canadians, Greenpeace Canada and the Indigenous Environment Network with a long list of expert, celebrity, organization and activist endorsements. While we in the US work to show President Obama that he has the support to stand up to the oil and gas industry and say no to the pipeline (he’s scheduled to approve the application this year), our Canadian and First Nations friends will be pressuring Prime Minister Harper to stop this massive increase in tar sands exploitation.

In August, I posted a blog with a link to a short film I helped put together called The Oil Up There. It’s worth encouraging you and others to watch it again – and remind ourselves why an expansion of the tar sands is a disaster for both people and the planet.

Daily from August 20 – September 3, hundreds of people joined the Tar Sands Action in Washington DC, where more than 1200 people were arrested at the White House in what is being called the largest act of civil disobedience in defense of the environment in US history.

The DC days of action were colourful and moving and folks from all across the continent stepped up. It’s been noted that a photo of the arrest of NASA scientist James Hansen sums up the dire and immediate situation if Keystone XL goes ahead. In 1988 he testified on climate change to congressional committees about global warming and the need to take action to limit climate change. Twenty-three years later that message needs to be heard louder than ever.

This week the Canadian Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) held a briefing with Members of Parliament, calling for a reversal of the Keystone XL permit and raised questions about the apparently expired certificate approval held by TransCanada Keystone Pipeline CP Ltd, and whether President Obama thus has the ability to approve an international pipeline with an expired certificate and required National Energy Board (NEB) approval. In a letter to the NEB dated September 23, they note:

Condition #22 to that Certificate stipulated that:
Unless the Board otherwise directs prior to 11 March 2011, this Certificate shall expire on 11 March 2011 unless construction in respect of the Project has commenced by that date.
Our understanding is that the Board made no direction prior to March 11, 2011, and that no construction in respect of the Project had commenced by that date. Accordingly, OC-56 expired on March 11, 2011, and there is no current approval that would allow TCPL to proceed further with the Keystone XL pipeline.

Stay tuned.

To my friends in Canada, I wish I could be there with you on Monday, and thank you/meegwetch!

For those of you in Canada, visit the Ottawa Tar Sands Action web page to find out how you can get involved. Read Council of Canadians campaigner, Andrea Harden-Donahue’s, thoughts before the protest, here.

 In the U.S., the actions against the Tar Sands have not slowed. According to 350.org, the State Department is holding a number of public hearings on the proposed pipeline, and community members are being asked to attend the meetings and testify.

Get involved from wherever you are and STOP KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE.

Last week was a busy one for the True Cost of Chevron Network.

Dozens of activists including those from Angola, Nigeria, Canada, Alaska, and the U.S. Gulf Coast traveled to San Ramon, California to attend Chevron’s annual shareholder meeting to deliver a new report: The True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report. This report includes accounts by more than 40 authors and records egregious corporate behavior in locations as diverse as California, Burma, Colombia, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, the Philippines and the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Outside the Chevron AGM, activists joined together to fight back in protest against the dire impacts of Chevron’s reckless pursuit of profits.

Two days before Chevron’s shareholder meeting, members of communities from around the world that have been impacted by Chevron’s reckless business operations participated in a True Cost of Chevron Teach-In.

To find out more about what happened during these events, here’s info on photos, videos and press clippings for you:


Check them out here on Flickr.


For more press clippings, visit our Energy Program in the News web page.


Watch Videos from outside the Chevron AGM here.

Here’s one of Global Exchange Energy Program Director Antonia Juhashz:


Get your copy of The True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report. Download the report or make a $15 contribution to Global Exchange to receive a hard copy of the book.

Sign on to the petition “Leave it in the Ground: Statement against Arctic Offshore Drilling”: Please take 30 seconds to sign the petition here.

Cover of True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report

Last night I participated in an incredible event. One dozen community leaders from areas harmed by Chevron’s operations and experts from leading advocacy organizations traveled from all corners of the globe to come together as The True Cost of Chevron Network.

We exposed not only Chevron’s abuses, but also the incredible and powerful united front formed to take on the oil giant. Audience members attending the True Cost of Chevron Public Teach-in were crying, cheering, listening intently and ready to take action.

One of the 2011 True Cost of Chevron Ads

Today, we all can learn more as Global Exchange and The True Cost of Chevron Network release our third annual True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report and tomorrow we can take action at Chevron’s annual shareholder meeting.

CEO John Watson opened Chevron’s 2010 Annual Report by telling the corporation’s stockholders that “2010 was an outstanding year for Chevron.”

The communities who bear the costs of Chevron’s operations do not agree.

These communities have seen Chevron continue its long history of human rights violations, ignore longstanding decisions of Indigenous communities, destroy livelihoods, and convert dollars into unjust political influence in the United States and around the world.

This is why dozens of activists, including those from Angola, Nigeria, Canada, Alaska, and the U.S. Gulf Coast have traveled to San Ramon, California to attend Chevron’s annual shareholder meeting to deliver this new report: The True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report.

The report – being released to the public today – includes accounts by more than 40 authors and records egregious corporate behavior in locations as diverse as California, Burma, Colombia, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, the Philippines and the U.S. Gulf Coast, including new sections detailing Chevron’s pursuit of ever-riskier and ever-deeper offshore projects in the South China Sea, the North Sea, and the Canadian Arctic and its role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The report also profiles the historic victory and ongoing battle over Chevron’s crimes in Ecuador.


Get your report today. Download the report, or make a $15 contribution to Global Exchange to receive a hard copy of the book.

In the Bay Area? Join the True Cost of Chevron Network to take on Chevron at their annual shareholder meeting tomorrow, May 25th. We will come together to fight back against the dire impacts of Chevron’s reckless pursuit of profits. Join us for a colorful and fun rally outside Chevron’s headquarters in support of those dozens of community leaders who will go into the meeting to demand human rights, environmental, economic and climate justice, and more.

Can’t make it to the protest? Follow updates right here on our Chevron Program blog, the Chevron Program Facebook page, and on Twitter. Also see the 2011 True Cost of Chevron Ads.

On May 25th, two days after an illuminating and informative True Cost of Chevron Teach-in, people will travel from around the world to descend on San Ramon, CA to confront Chevron at its annual shareholder meeting. They’ll come from Angola, Alaska, Ecuador, Nigeria, Indonesia, Canada, Texas, California, and more. They will all have two things in common: they all come from communities that have suffered the dire impacts of Chevron’s reckless pursuit of profits, and they’re all fighting back.

You’re welcome to join a rally outside Chevron’s headquarters in support of human rights, environmental, economic and climate justice, and more.

Across the globe, Chevron’s outdated practices are putting our climate and the health of communities at great risk. That’s why it’s the focus of a growing resistance movement. By expanding, strengthening, and highlighting this movement, we are building more allies and creating a powerful advocacy base for lasting change.

Chevron Protest Information

When: Wednesday, May 25 · 7:00am – 11:00am
Where: Chevron’s World Headquarters at 6001 Bollinger Canyon Rd San Ramon, California 94583

For more information: Check out the Facebook invite

Got questions about the protest? Check out the event on Facebook first, then contact Mike G. or Tonya Hennessey if you’ve still got questions.

Can’t make it to the protest? Follow updates on this blog, the Chevron Program Facebook page, and on Twitter.

Find out why Chevron’s shareholders should say NO to offshore drilling: Global Exchange Energy Program Director Antonia Juhasz’s Huffington Post article Chevron’s Shareholders Should Say No to Offshore Drilling spells it out for you.

P.S. The third annual True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report is coming out tomorrow! This report includes accounts by more than 40 authors – led by those on the front lines of Chevron’s operations — reporting egregious corporate behavior in locations around the world. To get your copy, check back here on our blog tomorrow for ordering info.

February 14th is a date usually associated with chocolate, flowers and the exchange of Valentine cards. But this February 14th is special, one that now marks the day when a historic verdict was passed down by the Ecuador court against Chevron.

Today, a judge in the Ecuadorian Amazon ruled that Chevron was responsible for polluting the Ecuadorean jungle and ordered Chevron to pay more than $9 billion in damages.

This ruling is in favor of the residents of Ecuador’s Amazon region who have spent the last 18 years seeking damages for crude oil pollution. Chevron has denied the allegations of environmental damage.

From San Francisco to New York and the UK, news is spreading fast about this momentous verdict.

Our friends at Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network had this to say about the ruling in a joint statement released earlier today:

As of today, Chevron’s guilt for extensive oil contamination in the Amazon rainforest is official. It is time Chevron takes responsibility for these environmental and public health damages, which they have fought for the past 18 years.

Today’s ruling in Ecuador against Chevron proves overwhelmingly that the oil giant is responsible for billions (of) gallons of highly toxic waste sludge deliberately dumped into local streams and rivers, which thousands depend on for drinking, bathing, and fishing.

Chevron has spent the last 18 years waging unprecedented public relations and lobbying campaigns to avoid cleaning up the environmental and public health catastrophe it left in the Amazon rainforest. Today’s guilty verdict sends a loud and clear message: It is time Chevron clean up its disastrous mess in Ecuador.

Today’s case is historic and unprecedented. It is the first time Indigenous people have sued a multinational corporation in the country where the crime was committed and won.

Today’s historic ruling against Chevron is a testament to the strength of the Ecuadorian people who have spent 18 years bringing Chevron to justice while suffering the effects of the company’s extensive oil contamination.

Though this ruling is in favor of the residents of Ecuador’s Amazon region, those who have worked hard to get this verdict passed acknowledge that it’s not time to celebrate, but rather, it’s time to demand that Chevron pay up. There is more work to be done, and a long road lay ahead.

Rally Tomorrow at Chevron: Help Declare “Chevron’s guilty!” at Chevron’s headquarters

Global Exchange supports the following call to action from Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network:

If you’re in the California Bay Area, please join others on Tue Feb 15th to gather at Chevron’s headquarters and declare “Chevron’s guilty!”

When: Tuesday, February 15th 11:30am
6001 Bollinger Canyon Road
San Ramon, CA
Where: You can either meet there or join the brigade at 10:00am as it departs on a bio-diesel bus near Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco.
Contact: They have limited space on the bus, so if you’d like to join, call Maria at 202-257-8061.

In the world of organizing against Big Oil, victories often seem far too rare. Thus, when they do occur, we must mark them, celebrate them, and ensure that they stick.

Chevron announced on Friday that it will withdraw from all of its coal operations by the end of 2011.

This is a crucial victory.

We began exposing Chevron’s dirty coal secret in 2009 in our first True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report.

We then reached out to those communities on the front lines of Chevron’s current and planned coal operations, who told their own stories in our 2010 Alternative Annual Report.

John Kinney of Black Warrior Riverkeeper in Alabama described Chevron’s North River Coal Mine in Berry, and its constant toxic waste polluting local ground and surface waters.

Brad Mohrmann of Powder River Basin Sierra Club in Wyoming warned of Chevron’s plans to develop the first new coal mine in the Powder River Basin area in at least a decade. The mine would sit along the Tongue River, an area of both environmental and cultural importance to the Northern Cheyenne Native American community.

Chevron already operates the giant Kemmerer Coal Mine in Wyoming, named one of the most dangerous mines in the nation by Congressman George Miller. This mine was highlighted in our “Thank you, Chevron” Ad campaign by Underground Ads (pictured below.)

Elouise Brown of Dooda Desert Rock in New Mexico wrote of Chevron’s McKinley Mine near Window Rock, 60% of which sits on Navajo land. After 40 years of constant production, the mine is now just about tapped out and concerns now abound as to how the land will be made safe from the deadly contaminants that have been polluting the community for decades.

We made Chevron’s coal operations a central part of our messaging to the press, the public, activists, advocates, policy makers, and Chevron’s shareholders, its board members, and its executives last year, including at Chevron’s Annual Shareholder Meeting.

Together, we demanded that Chevron drop its dirty coal operations – and it did.


Contact Chevron. Thank the company for declaring its plans to sell its coal operations by the end of the year, tell them you’ll be watching to make sure that this pledge is fullfilled, and that the company should now spread this environmental and social commitment to all of its operations.

Contact the groups fighting Chevron’s coal operations
in their own communities and offer your help and support (see links above).

Get Ready! The 2011 Alternative Annual Report is in the works as are plans for Chevron’s 2011 Annual Shareholder Meeting.

Stay connected and learn more about how you can contribute in the weeks to come. Here are a few ways to connect:

On December 27, 2009, on the one-year memorial of the major Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, concerned people from around the world met in Cairo to travel to Gaza, despite the siege, for the Gaza Freedom March, calling for an end to the siege of Gaza. Only 100 marchers were allowed into Gaza; protests in Cairo generated international attention. Over 150 solidarity actions occurred around the world including Israel, the West Bank, Switzerland, New York, and Minnesota. Video courtesy of our friends at Code Pink Women for Peace and edited by Linda Bobel.

Visit the Code Pink website for info about the next Gaza march leaving at the end of this month, and Global Exchange Reality Tours for other travel opportunities to Palestine.

The following post was written by Rae Abileah and originally appeared on MONDOWEISS The War of Ideas in the Middle East. Rae Abileah is a 28-year-old Jewish-American of Israeli descent and is a national organizer with CODEPINK Women for Peace and a member of Jewish Voice for Peace.  She lives in San Francisco, CA and can be reached at rae@codepink.org.

Being young and Jewish and realizing what Israel’s occupation is really like, contrary to what we may have been taught in our religious schools or high school trips to the holy land, can be a lonely journey. It can be compared to a “coming out” experience, where sharing your perceptions with friends and family, let alone a room full of over 4,000 Jews, can be a daunting task.  While more American Jews—and particularly young American Jews—are growing disillusioned with Israeli policies implemented in the name of all Jews with the support of old-guard groups such as AIPAC, it is still often a scary thing to publicly criticize Israel within the broader community.

In New Orleans during the Jewish Federation’s General Assembly (GA), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) created a safe space for young Jews, like myself, whose stomachs are still churning from the bombings in Gaza nearly two years ago, and whose eyes can no longer be averted from the daily reality of oppression for Palestinians. We came together to organize effectively and from the heart.  And if we have faith in our generation’s capacity to transform politics and create peace, then we can believe in JVP’s mission as possible in the face of all odds.

On Monday morning, the GA plenary began with Oscar the Grouch — seriously, the Sesame Street puppet opened the plenary with a satire about how gross it was that Israelis were so friendly, always sharing, caring and helping each other out. Next, New Orleans Mayor Landrieu stressed a belief in tikkun olam, the Jewish principle of “repairing the world”, and almost in the same breath, an unending support for Israel. Contradiction? We think so.  Our well-orchestrated protest began with the bold voice of local New Orleans resident Emily Ratner, who stood up after applause for Netanyahu and proclaimed, “The Loyalty Oath delegitimizes Israel!” as she unfurled a banner with the same message.  (The protest was captured on video by AP here) As Emily was removed from the room she continued shouting, and Netanyahu commented from the podium, “If they came to delegitimize Israel, they came to the wrong address.” We believe we were knocking on exactly the right door, with a message to the Jews in attendance: Israel’s occupation and oppressive policies delegitimize Israel in the eyes of the world.

The second protester was Israeli resident Eitan Isaacson who unfurled a banner stating, “Silencing Dissent Delegitimizes Israel.”  He was forcefully removed from the building while chanting in English and Hebrew. Isaacson stated that the purpose of the action was as follows: “We’re here to call out the elephant in the room. Israel continues to expropriate Palestinian land for Jewish-only communities, passes increasingly racist laws in the Knesset, the foreign minister wants to strip Palestinian citizens of their citizenship — these are the reasons Israel is becoming a pariah in the world.”

After Netanyahu continued to decry delegitimization, Matthew Taylor of Berkeley, CA, arose, unfurled a banner reading “Occupation Delegitimizes Israel” and spoke the slogan loudly.  Taylor was pushed to the ground, his button-down shirt ripped open, and his shoe flung from his foot (he lost the shoe during the protest). (Photo: attached) Meanwhile, an enraged rabbi grabbed Taylor’s banner and proceeded to rip it to pieces with his teeth and fists.

Several minutes later, Israeli activist Matan Cohen stood up on his chair to unfurl yet another banner while shouting, “The siege on Gaza delegitimizes Israel!” Matan is the founder of Anarchists Against the Wall in Israel and has been a prominent organizer at Hampshire College.  Cohen explained his reasoning for demonstrating: “Right now, the choice for those of us who care about the future of Israel and Palestine is between the status quo–which includes continued settlement expansion, the siege of Gaza, and the racist Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman–or Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions. Given that choice, Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions will win every time.”

And finally, after Netanyahu summarized the two “greatest threats” to Israel – a nuclear Iran and “delegitimizers”– I stood up and unfurled a pink banner that read, “The settlements betray Jewish values” and in Hebrew: “Justice, justice you shall pursue,” a verse from Deuteronomy.  The crowd had grown increasingly hostile with each disruption, and I was instantly attacked from all sides.  A man in the row in front of me pulled the El Al seat cover off his chair and tried to gag me with it.  Another man came up from the side and grabbed me by the throat.  I fell into a pile of chairs until two female sheriffs buoyed me up and hustled me out of the room. The police later confided that they were trying to protect me from the angry mob and get me out of there in one piece.

The JTA reported: “Jeff Shapiro from San Antonio grabbed her from behind and put her in a choke hold, dragging her backwards towards the floor.  When asked later if he had ever put a woman in a chokehold, he replied, ‘Not really. No. I really did not know what was going to happen, I wanted to keep her in check. I was trying to help.’” Jeff Shapiro, according to an Internet search is the president of the synagogue brotherhood and a 7th grade teacher at Temple Beth-El, and is the chair of the Federation’s San Antonio Association for Jewish Education.

Some in the audience chanted “Am Yisrael Chai” and later “Bibi! Bibi!” to try to drown out our voices.  Others tackled us or shouted obscenities.  But not all were outraged by our actions and words.  We heard later about the many Jewish students who were brought to tears seeing the visual display of an internal conflict of values they themselves felt.

As Rob Eshman’s blog in the Jewish Journal summarized:
“What were they against?” one Israeli journalist in the audience asked rhetorically. “The loyalty oath? The occupation? Gaza? Most Jews would agree with them.”

Why did we feel the need to take such a bold, direct action that some might view as rude or inappropriate?  We would have been content to stand silently holding up our banners, revealing the truth in a more subtle, somber way, but the instant violence projected at us meant that our banners were ripped from our hands within seconds of unfurling them.  Giving voice to the cause of justice seemed the moral thing to do.  We also would have been happy to participate in dialogue, had the GA created a comprehensive program that encouraged a multiplicity of views and opinions.  Rather, the GA was a propaganda grounds for furthering a narrative about the state of Israel that simply does not stand up to the facts as we have witnessed them.  When the traditional routes of civic engagement fail us, we turn to nonviolent direct action, and the time-honored tactics that secured women the right to vote, an eight-hour day for workers, and civil rights protections for people of color.

By staging this loud disruption of Netanyahu’s speech, we inserted an alternative narrative into the GA and into the media in Israel and the US. The Israeli occupation and the oppression of Palestinians in Israel cannot be ignored.  We made visible the unsettling disconnect between Jewish values of social justice and current Israeli policies. Instead of the single-sided story Netanyahu and his supporters hoped to present, we were able to create a dynamic conversation that reverberated through the papers, radio stations (including the Israeli Army Radio), blogs, twitter, and among the delegates.  Our disruption has been picked up by AP, the New York Times, Haaretz, The Jersualem Post, NPR, Democracy Now!, The Jewish Forward, Ynet News, and many more outlets.  We heard from many students who said the protest sparked discussions about Israel’s policies and emotional exchanges.  A group of rabbinic students met to discuss the occupation. With our actions, we opened up the possibility for people to have genuine dialogue about these issues, and we are part of a seismic generational shift in the Jewish community that Peter Beinart outlined in his groundbreaking piece in the New York Review of Books entitled “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment.” (Incidentally, Beinart tweeted after our action, “Expect more of this.”) We are not willing to leave our Jewish and democratic values at the door, which means we must stand up and criticize Israeli policies.

The shift is also evident in blogger comments about the actions we took at the GA, which include remarks such as: “I think the use of force in this instance against people peaceably holding banners is more than a bit ridiculous.”  Rabbi Moshe Waldoks commented, “These protests would not have been necessary if the American Jewish leadership at the GA had created an open opportunity to ask the questions that need to be asked about the loyalty oath…”

A new website launched November 8, www.YoungJewishProud.org, presents our group’s Young Jewish Declaration, a compelling vision of collective identity, purpose and values written as an invitation and call to action for peers who care about Israel and Palestine. It is also a strong challenge to elders.  The declaration includes these words: “We are your children, your nieces and nephews, your grandchildren… We refuse to knowingly oppress others, and we refuse to oppress each other. We won’t be won over by free vacations and scholarship money. We won’t buy the logic that slaughter means safety. We will not quietly witness the violation of human rights in Palestine.”

The actions are in part a protest of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and Jewish Public Affairs Council (JCPA) newly announced $6 million dollar program to target campus, church, peace and human rights groups that are working to end Israel’s human rights violations through nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions pressure campaigns. The Federations and JCPA are calling this initiative the “Israel Action Network.”  Critics say it is a “Shoot the Messenger” approach.

We also announced the creation of a spoof Birthright Trip called Taglit-Lekulanu, Birthright for All, open to Palestinian and Jewish-Americans, which was followed up with a spoof denial. The goal of the spoof was to highlight the one-sided narrative that Birthright presents, the ways it renders Palestinians invisible. The rebuttal laid bare the problematic assumptions underlying Birthright trips, such as the emphasis on marrying Jews and procreating.  The spoof was picked up Tuesday, November 9 by Haaretz in a piece that sheds a glaring light on the Birthright agenda.

Perhaps the most inspiring voice of the day came from the youngest member of the JVP delegation, 17-year-old Hanna King, a freshman at Swarthmore College, who was quoted in the Jewish Daily Forward as saying, “I think I’m very much succeeding in practicing tikkun olam and derech eretz by standing up for the rights for all people.  It such hypocrisy for these Jewish leaders that I grew up learning to say that, you know, that the Holocaust was a tragedy but what we’re doing to [the Palestinians] is fine.”  In an article in Haaretz, King continued to say, “We believe that the actions that Israel is taking, like settlements, like the occupation, like the loyalty oath, are contrary to the Jewish values that we learnt in Jewish day school.  This is not Tikkun Olam. Oppressing people in refugee camps is not Tikkun Olam. And it is a hypocrisy that I cannot abide.  We must be tough on all countries that abuse human rights but I care about Israel because for me it’s personal.“

This article originally appeared on Huffington Post on September 28, 2010.

On May 26, I was arrested at Chevron’s annual shareholder meeting. Chevron, a California-based company, held the meeting at its Houston office — the old Enron building.

On Thursday, my lawyer, and the lawyers of the four others arrested at the meeting, go to court in a preliminary hearing. Chevron has asked the Houston prosecutors for jail time.

Today, John Letzing of MarketWatch wrote what I believe to be a very important article: “Chevron throws book at shareholder activist. Are criminal charges the best way to deal with a meeting disruption?” challenging the decision by Chevron to “throw the book” at one of its shareholders for the “crime” of voicing criticism at its annual shareholder meeting.

Letzing writes of the unusual choice by Chevron:

Juhasz’s prosecution may result in an odd instance of a company having one of its stockholders incarcerated, and raises questions about the best way for firms to deal with activists who buy in, just to make a statement.
“‘This is very, very unusual,’ says Sanjai Bhagat, a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Leeds School of Business. ‘I’m a little puzzled as to why management would take such unusually strong steps.'”

“Boston University Prof. James Post said he can’t recall a similar case where a company pursued a shareholder activist with criminal charges, and for good reason: ‘A company almost never wins in a case like that.’

The article has already received over 100 comments. While far too many focus on questioning my gender (I guess my short San Francisco hairdo doesn’t translate well across the nation!), most stay to the point, which, in most of the instances thus far, seems to be agreeing with Chevron.

There are important exceptions, including this one from “Larry Lynn,” who writes: “I have decided to have my family trust divest any Chevron/Standard stocks. Chevron/Standard is willing to compromise everything in order to enhance their bottom line. Halliburton had the courtesy to relocate to Dubai. If Chevron/Standard will not act in the interest of the citizens of the United States, kick them out and shut them down.”

Your Comments Are Welcome!

Due to the constraints imposed upon me by the case, I cannot write about the case here. But you can learn much more on my websites: http://www.TyrannyofOil.org and http://www.GlobalExchange.org/chevron.

Follow Antonia Juhasz on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AntoniaJuhasz