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WERU 89.9 FM Blue Hill, Maine Local News and Public Affairs Archives

Audio archives of spoken word broadcasts from Community Radio WERU 89.9 FM Blue Hill (weru.org)

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  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al vs. Monsanto; Maine’s GMO labeling bill

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) On March 29th, 2011 OSGATA, et al vs. Monsanto was filed in federal district court. 60 family farms, seed businesses and agricultural organizations were seeking protection from Monsanto’s heavy handed tactics of investigating and suing farmers for patent right infringement, if they claimed their genetically modified seeds had spread to the fields of farmers who had not purchased the GE seed.
    b) In January 2012, the case was dismissed. This June, the US Court of Appeals First Circuit found that the plaintiffs did have standing, but that the case could not go forth, “because Monsanto has made binding assurances that it will ‘not take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of Monsanto’s biotech genes (because, for example, some transgenic seed or pollen blew onto the grower’s land’”. OSGATA, et al, still looks for their day in court. They have asked the Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeals’ decision.
    c) Jim Gerritsen also discusses Maine’s GMO labeling bill, poised to take effect.

    Guest:
    Jim Gerritsen, president of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association; Co-owner and operator of Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater, Maine

    www.osgata.org/
    archive.constantcontact.com/fs122/1104248386985/archive/1113747008645.html
    www.pubpat.org/assets/files/seed/OrganicSeedSCTPetition.pdf
    www.woodprairie.com/

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) This week thousands of fast food workers across the US went on strike for better wages, calling for a $15 per an hour wage and the right to unionize. The Fast Food Forward campaign began in NYC and has spread across the country. Fast food workers also went on strike in NYC this past November and April,
    b) In June, The Left Forum in NYC hosted a panel titled “Foundations of Economic Justice: Low Wage Workers Forward”. It was organized, moderated and recorded by Richard Hill of WPKEN, Bridgeport, CT and Between the Lines producer Scott Harris.
    (www.btlonline.org)
    c) Two of the panelist were current KFC workers. They gave their perspectives as fast food workers active in a movement for better wages. Two other panelists gave academic analysis on the current state of an economy based on low wage workers.

    Guests:
    A) Michael Zweig, professor of Economics at Stony Brook University; director of the Center for the Study of Working Class Life; author of book The Working Class Majority (Cornell).
    B) Shanita Simon, KFC worker; NY Communities for Change
    www.nycommunities.org/
    C) Catherine Ruetschlin, policy analyst at Demos; author of November, 2012 report: Retail’s Hidden Potential — How Raising Wages Would Benefit Workers, the Industry and the Overall Economy
    www.demos.org/sites/default/files/publications/RetailsHiddenPotential_Demos.pdf
    www.demos.org/about-demos
    D)Joseph Barrera, KFC worker; New York Communities for Change

    www.btlonline.org/leftforumcoop.html
    www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/29/fast-food-workers-strike-wages

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Action in Fairfield blocking railway carrying fracked oil from North Dakota to New Brunswick; The proposed cancellation of a bus route in Bangor; Food and Medicine and Eastern Maine Labor Council’s annual 4th of July event

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) We hear a report on last week’s action in Fairfield, where activists blocked a train carrying fracked oil from the Bakken shale fields in North Dakota to an Irving refinery in St. John, New Brunswick.
    b) We also discuss campaigns they are working on, including the city of Bangor’s plans to cancel their Odlin Road bus route, which would deeply effect a number of people without other transportation options. FAM also discusses their involvement in a national campaign to improve the quality and availability of in-home care and better conditions for home care workers.
    c) We speak with members of the Brewer based organization Food and Medicine and the eastern Maine labor Council about their annual 4th of July event.

    Guests:

    A) Bob Toole, president of Food and Medicine. Member of Eastern Maine Labor Council
    B) Ethan Drutchas, intern with Food and Medicine.
    C) Jack McKay, president of Eastern Maine Labor Council, organizer with Food and Medicine
    D) Read Brugger, 350 Maine, arrested in train blockade civil disobedience
    www.350maine.org/
    E) Sass Linnekan, resident of Benton, arrested in train blockade civil disobedience

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Walmart and Gap employ former Senators Mitchell and Snowe for alternative Bangladesh safety agreement

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) Today we look at the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, in the wake of recent disasters in the garment industry, including the Tasreen Fire which killed 112 in November, and the Rana Building collapse in April, which killed 1,127 workers.
    b) 50 retail giants have signed the Accord. Though mostly European, 5 US companies, including Sean John, Abercrombie and Fitch and PVH, the parent company of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, have signed the Accord; but a number of US companies have not notably, Wal-Mart and Gap.
    c) In the wake of bad publicity and an international campaign, these companies have now employed former Maine Senators Mitchell and Snowe of the Bipartisan Policy Center to “facilitate” a separate set of industry safety standards. Activists say Wal-Mart and Gap have sought out Mitchell and Snowe for political smokescreen.

    Guest:
    Bjorn Skorpen Claeson,

    gapdeathtraps.com/faq/
    www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-fisk-bangladesh-apparel-accord-20130517%2c0%2c1118465.story
    bipartisanpolicy.org/news/press-releases/2013/05/leading-north-american-retailers-and-brands-address-systemic-safety-issu
    fashionista.com/2013/05/gap-wal-mart-working-on-another-competing-bangladesh-safety-reform-plan/
    www.nytimes.com/2013/05/31/business/american-retailers-announce-new-effort-for-factory-safety-in-bangladesh.html?_r=0
    laborrights.org/sites/default/files/publications-and-resources/Accord_on_Fire_and_Building_Safety_in_Bangladesh_2013-05-13.pdf
    www.industriall-union.org/sectors/garment

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Turkish activist Bengi Akbulut on resisting the demolition and development of Genzi Park in Taksim Square.

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) Today we hear from Turkish activist Bengi Akbulut. She has been past of the coalition resisting the demolition and development of Genzi Park in Taksim Square, in Istanbul, Turkey, since 2012,a nd has been part of the intensified resistance of the past 2 weeks.
    b) We spoke with her at the Left Forum in NYC, just prior to the Turkish government’s crackdown. At the end of the program we share parts of her email response following.
    c) The interview is conducted by Brooklyn, NY based journalist Rob Eshleman, who published it in The Brooklyn Rail.
    www.brooklynrail.org/2013/07/express/occupy-taksimbengi-akbulut-with-robert-s-eshelman#

    Guests:
    A) Bengi Akbulut, Our Commons activist and participant in Genzi Park, Taksim Square, Istanbul Turkey
    B) Rob Eshleman, interviewer

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Maine’s proposed Omnibus Energy Bill and it’s connection to gas fracking; expedited wind corridor; moratorium on dump expansion passed

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) today we look at the Maine legislature’s Energy Omnibus Bill, which would accelerate and subsidizes the development of natural gas infrastructure in the state, which would increase the demand for fracked gas. Gas fracking has proved to be profoundly destructive extractive process, use has proliferated. Despite proponents heralding natural gas as transitional green fuel, today’s guests underscore that burning natural gas hydrocarbons contributes, as well, to climate change.
    b) We also look at plans for an expedited wind power corridor with parallels to the East West Corridor and a legislative effort to re-initiate community rights to comment projects in currently expedited areas.
    c)We also look at the passage of a bill which puts a year moratorium on dump expansions in Maine.
    d) And we give a brief update on a First Nation action yesterday to oppose gas fracking at Elsipogtok, Big Cove , New Brunswick.

    Guests:
    Glenn Brand, Sierra Club Maine Chapter Director
    Hillary Lister, Maine activist and independent researcher, who has worked on monitoring legislation and organizing around trash dumping and incineration issues, the East West Corridor, industrial wind, gas pipeline development and democratic process and participation.

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Anarchism in principle and practice

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) Montreal again hosted it’s annual anarchist book fair, a gathering of progressive presses, zine creators, artists and numerous workshops.
    b) Montreal based activist, Jaggi Singh, gave a workshop on The Practice and Relevance of Anarchism.
    c) We spoke with him afterward on some of the basic principles attributed to anarchist social change philosophy and actions.

    Guest:
    Jaggi Singh, Montreal based activist

    www.anarchistbookfair.ca/mark-your-calendars-montreal-anarchist-bookfair-2013-may-25-26

    www.radicalmontreal.com/2013/05/2013-montreal-anarchist-bookfair.html

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

    Program Topic: Two unsuccessful legislative attempts to block tar sands pipeline and metallic mining; developments in global retailers reaction to Bangladesh building collapse

    Key Discussion Points:
    a) This week, the Maine legislature’s Natural Resources Committee watered down a bill that would have set a two year moratorium on pumping of tar sands oil through the Montreal Portland Pipeline, 76% owned by Exxon Mobil. Changes were made to the bill after the Maine Attorney General’s office claimed such a moratorium would interfere with federal interstate commerce laws.
    b) A bill (LD 1059) that would have reversed last year’s legislation that opens Maine to open pit metallic mining did not pass out of committee this week. Instead, LD 1302 was voted out of committee, a bill that only seeks to mitigate environmental damages. Though 350 Maine and others did not support this compromise, other environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Council of Maine did.
    c) Over 30, primarily European, clothing companies have signed onto a legally binding building and fire safety agreement for their Bangladesh factories. It requires independent safety inspections with public reports, mandatory factory building renovations, an obligation that brands and retailers underwrite the cost of repairs, and a genuine role for workers and unions. Us companies, such as Walmart and Gap have not signed on, making them the continued target of labor rights campaigns.

    Guests:
    A) Bob Klotz, organizer with 350 Maine Team, www.350maine.org
    FMI:
    thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/05/02/1952171/exxon-spills-tar-sands-oil-again-in-missouri-cant-find-126000-gallons-spilled-in-arkansas/?mobile=nc
    news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2013/05/130510-earth-co2-milestone-400-ppm/

    B) Liana Foxvog, organizer with International Labor Rights Forum, Sweatfree Communities campaign
    FMI:
    www.ilrf.org
    corporateactionnetwork.org/campaigns/human-rights-for-all-walmart-workers-the-bangladesh-fire/petitions/demand-that-walmart-ensure-basic-safety-and-human-rights-of-its-workers-2
    Laborrights.org/safety
    Gapdeathtraps.com

    C)Update on Coal is Stupid blockade in Somerset, MA
    FMI: www.heraldnews.com/news/x438180711/Activists-declaring-Coal-Is-Stupid-attempt-blockade-of-coal-delivery-at-Somersets-Brayton-Point?zc_p=1

    No Comments