Represent.Boston on April 15th

Perhaps you have already heard of Represent.Us, a relatively new, nationally based, nonprofit, cross partisan, anti-corruption organization.

I am happy to report that there is already a local group, called Represent.Boston, that is working actively in Cambridge. We are working on passing legislation that gives residents more power to voice their opinions in the face of big money. The legislation sets up a public-voucher system, involves improved transparency and disclosure, and ensures that locally elected leaders can not vote on zoning changes for companies from whom they have received money.

We’re having an event on Wednesday, 4/15 from 4-6 p.m. in the heart of Central Square. Look for a tent near the T station. You are more than welcome to come by and see what we are up to. I think it may help you to feel a bit more hopeful about the future of our democracy!

The legislation that Represent.Boston is proposing is based on the American Anti-Corruption Act (AACA) proposed by Represent.Us. The overall strategy is to think nationally, but act locally. If you have a few minutes, you can:

  1. Watch a 4.5 minute informational video about Represent.Us
  2. Read about our Cambridge legislation
  3. Sign to support this local act
  4. Sign up to volunteer for Represent.Boston
  5. Tweet your support to @representboston

If you like what you see, please be sure to endorse what we are doing in Cambridge by co-sponsoring AACA. The more endorsements we collect, the more likely it is that Cambridge will respond positively to our legislation and pass necessary reform.

Contact: info(AT)

Money ≠ Speech Overpass Light Brigade Protest


President Obama is currently contemplating issuing an Executive Order requiring disclosure of campaign contributions for federal contractors. This would be a very exciting victory for our movement to shine the light on corporations that are attempting to buy our elections. It is very likely that significant grassroots pressure will make the difference.

Join us as we encourage President Obama to shine the light on corporate corruption of our democracy as part of nationwide rallies on April 2 – the year anniversary of the McCutcheon U.S. Supreme Court ruling that further put our democracy up for sale. The McCutcheon decision equated money with free speech – Sean McCutcheon argued that the $120K cap on contributions to individual campaigns limited his free speech, and the Supreme Court ruled in his favor. The ruling applies to corporations also since they earned corporate personhood in the 2010 Citizen’s United decision.

We will debut our Overpass Light Brigade-inspired signs that will read “Money ≠ Speech”. We plan to meet in the Boston Common right in front of the Mass State House. We will have a rally, take some great pictures, and those willing to carry the signs to a walking bridge over Route 28 will share our message there!

Tues 3/31, 5 PM, Stop Harvard’s Discrimination!


On Tuesday, March 31, starting at 5 pm, workers, students and allies will picket to get justice for survivors of employment discrimination by the world’s richest university. Please join us in Harvard Yard at Massachusetts Hall, steps from the Harvard Sq T stop in Cambridge (map). We’ll expose three specific cases of workplace discrimination:

Judy Rouse: an active UNITE HERE shop steward, Judy worked in a dining hall where managers called workers of color derogatory names. Judy was written up for her union activity and even assaulted by a manager. When she called the HUPD* to report the assault, Judy herself was terminated, and slapped with a no-trespass order in a flagrant abuse of police power.

Nassim Kerkache: famous for his dedication on the job, Nassim became a union rep in HUCTW, and stood up to a boss who made racist comments about him & his co-workers. Nassim’s reward was to have the boss tell him to pick between being laid off or demoted three salary grades! Denied promotion in favor of a less-qualified, US-born colleague (who made efforts to help management sweep sexual harassment under the rug), Nassim was fired after he took a disability leave.

Paul Casey: employed for 30+ years, Paul was targeted by an administrator who perceived him as disabled and tried to get him to quit. After taking an approved leave to have his hip replaced, Paul pushed himself to return to his busy job. He came back to work only to be told a few weeks later that he would be laid off due to “lack of work.” His job duties were simply assigned to co-workers.

PHONE/EMAIL ZAP: Please call or email William Murphy, Harvard’s Director of Labor Relations, any time at 617 496-9193, Suggested message, “I am appalled by convincing narratives of discrimination against terminated employees Judy Rouse, Nassim Kerkache and Paul Casey. I call on you to use all your influence to see that their cases are promptly resolved! Failure to do so will invite further consequences.”

For more information about workplace discrimination at Harvard, please visit

Harvard University Police Department
Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers

Wed 3/18, Union Activist On Trial! Pack the Court / Donate!

(from act-ma)

Dear All,

This Wednesday 3/18/15, IWW Delegate Jason goes on trial for phony charges including assaulting a police officer. Jason was attacked by the cops and slammed with a frame-up because he attended a peaceful, legal picket on 11/14/13. There are two ways you can help:

Pack the court! Come to Jason’s trial at Cambridge District Court, 4040 Mystic Valley Parkway, Medford, MA 02155 (a short walk from the Orange Line’s Wellington T). The trial starts Wednesday at 9 a.m. (Jason’s lawyer advises court-appropriate attire for supporters).

Donate! Please click here to help with Jason’s legal and living expenses. You can also send checks to: Boston IWW, PO Box 391724, Cambridge, MA 02139 (please indicate your check is intended to assist Jason).

Background: On 11/14/13, I was picketing with other union members in front of Cambridge’s Insomnia Cookies. Insomnia workers had joined the IWW and gone on strike in August due to long shifts ending after 2 a.m. with no breaks, for pay below minimum wage. They demanded health benefits, $15/hr and a union, and were all promptly fired.* The cops had been trying to shut down our pickets for months, becoming ever more aggressive in their attempts to help crush the fledgling Insomnia Workers’ Union.

That night in November, scores of Cambridge and Harvard cops swarmed our picket and demanded we shut down our portable PA. We promptly turned it off. The cops surrounded me (I’d been holding the PA) and began to push me backwards into the street. Concerned for my safety, my friend and fellow IWW delegate Jason cried out to the cops that they should let me be. Immediately four of them piled on Jason, one of them seizing him by the throat and covering his mouth and nose. They punched him, bloodying his face, threw him down on the ground, and pinned him partially under a car. Finally they dragged Jason away, and he was hit with false charges that could bring jail time.

Bravely refusing to accept a disadvantageous “deal” that would limit his employment opportunities, Jason has held out for a trial. The fact that he has open charges means he cannot find regular work, and is relying on odd jobs for income.

Jason goes on trial Wednesday, after months and months of appearing in court due to the frame-up. Please come to the trial to show support, or make a donation to assist Jason, and please forward this email as widely as possible.

An Injury to One is an Injury to All!

–Geoff for the Boston Industrial Workers of the World

* The union’s campaign ultimately won back pay and offers of reemployment for the strikers.

Farmers Rally Against Sprouts Greenwashed “Farmers Market”

WHEN: Saturday, March 14, 2015 at 1pm

WHERE: Sprouts Farmers Market, 1530 Geary Road, Walnut Creek, CA 94597

WHAT: Farmers and supporters of the Gill Tract Farm Coalition will rally to tell Sprouts “Save the Gill Tract! Don’t pave over this historic farmland!”

On March 14th, farmers and supporters of the Gill Tract Farm are gathering to demand that Sprouts “Farmers Market” stop their plans to pave over public historic farmland in Albany, CA to put up a big-box store. The farmers and supporters are demanding that all 20 acres of the historic Gill Tract be protected as an education and research center in urban agriculture and food justice, including a productive urban farm.

Farmers like Hank Herrera want to highlight the hypocrisy of Sprouts calling itself a “farmers market” while it is destroying the historic Gill Tract farmland to build its newest store.

“Sprouts is not a Farmer’s Market. Using that name for a big-box supermarket is an insult to local farmers who are actually working to fix our broken food system.” – Hank Herrera, New Hope Farms & Gill Tract Farm Coalition

Supporters from the labor and food justice communities, like Brooke Anderson, are also expressing their concerns with Sprouts.

“We do not need another corporate supermarket giant that exploits its workers, especially not on public land. We need a real farmers market.” – Brooke Anderson, Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project

In late February, UC Berkeley cut down 53 trees in preparation for the construction of the new Sprouts store, despite an ongoing lawsuit regarding the projects’ Environmental Impact Report. Farmers and supporters want to see the land used for a community-university partnership exploring innovative solutions to problems in our food system.


Despite almost 20 years of local organizing against commercial development, UC Berkeley continues to push for a chain grocery store and commercial retail space on the Gill Tract.

In April 2012, Occupy the Farm raised the profile of this 20-year community struggle by camping on the land and planting a publicly-accessible farm on the Gill Tract. Under pressure from community activists, Whole Foods pulled out of the proposed development, and instead opened two blocks south of the tract. Occupy the Farm helped win temporary protection for a portion of the land, some of which is now the vibrant Gill Tract Community Farm. Farmers hope to see this project expand to all remaining 20 acres of the historic farmland stewarded by the University of California, Berkeley for research and education for the public good.