Social Justice E-Zine #22

goforth at igc.apc.org goforth at igc.apc.org
Sun Aug 25 16:05:54 MDT 1996


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URBACIDE:  Urbacide is the systematic eradication of the cultural
essence of a city. Military tactics include the deliberate
obliteration of houses of worship, schools, museums, libraries,
burial grounds, media outlets and cultural monuments.  The term
Urbacide was coined to describe the Serbian siege of Sarajevo
during the Yugoslavian civil war.  In the case of Sarajevo,
urbacide was employed in an attempt to break the will of a
multicultural city which refused to succumb to the forces of
tribalism.


                       SOCIAL JUSTICE #22
                     AUGUST 21, 1996, 1996
                          Kim Goforth
                          Ray Goforth

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IN THIS ISSUE:

1) OPENING NOTES ON THE ZINE
2) UNION SUMMER BREATHES NEW LIFE INTO AMERICAN LABOR MOVEMENT
3) BILL BRICKER:  NUCLEAR WHISTLEBLOWER
4) MICROSOFT APOLOGIZES OVER RACIST & HOMOPHOBIC THESAURUS
5) FIRST KNOWN JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT COMPLAINT BASED ON SEXUAL
   ORIENTATION INVOLVES DOMESTIC ABUSE CASE.
6) FREE SPEECH 101:  ACLU GIVES PRINCETON UNIVERSITY AN "F" FOR
   BARRING POLITICAL SPEECH ON ITS COMPUTER NETWORK.

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   Welcome to the latest issue of SOCIAL JUSTICE E-ZINE.  The
name Social Justice encompasses the struggles of people
everywhere who work for gender equality, democratic government,
economic opportunity, intellectual freedom, environmental
protection, and human rights.
   Social Justice is an electronic magazine (e-zine) designed for
free distribution through the internet. Feel free to make copies
and share with friends (or enemies).  Think of this as a regular
magazine without the recycling.  If there's nothing you want to
read in this issue, just hit delete.
   Those wishing to be added to the subscription list (or
conversely, those who want off the list) should write to us at:

goforth at igc.apc.org

Some of our other projects:

Social Justice: http://www.tripod.com/~goforth/socialjustice.html
Progressive Web Site:  http://www.geocities.com/capitolhill/2915
Feminist Web Site:  http://www.geocities.com/capitolhill/2995
Human Rights in China:  http://www.tripod.com/~hric/hric.html

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   UNION SUMMER BREATHES NEW LIFE INTO AMERICAN LABOR MOVEMENT
   by Ray Goforth

As we near the close of the twentieth century, the United States
and much of the "first world" are in the midst of significant
structural changes to their economies.  Beginning in the early
1970's, western economies began evolving into a different form in
the industrialized world.  Capital became far more mobile.  Rapid
advances in electronics technology made it possible to
decentralize and globalize business activities.  Inflation gnawed
away at the investment attractiveness of industrial centers.
These were all the beginnings of the transition to a
post-industrial economy.

In many ways, the transition to post-industrial capitalism is as
profound a period of change as the Industrial Revolution.  The
nature of work, the relationship between citizen and state, and
the whole web of social relationships that evolved in the post-
World War II period are undergoing rapid change.  The behaviors
and assumptions that guided the western world for forty years
seem to no longer apply.  What is at stake during this period of
transition is the formation of the new economic, social and
political relationships that will carry us into the next
millennia.  What set of values will the American people embrace
and what will be the consequences of those decisions?

One answer to this question is a historic effort by the "new"
AFL-CIO.  The Union Summer campaign has been modeled after the
1964 Freedom Summer campaign which challenged institutionalized
racism to register african-american voters in the American South.
The aim of Union Summer is to place 1,000 college students and
other young people as labor organizing interns around the United
States.

"Since we first announced this initiative, we have been flooded
with applications from workers and students interested in
becoming Union Summer activists," AFL-CIO president John Sweeney
said.  "From strawberry fields in California to supermarkets in
the midwest to hospitals in the northeast to voter registration
sites in the deep south, Union Summer activists will be fighting
for the rights of working people, for fairness and dignity, for a
better America.  We are convinced that Union Summer can change
America."

This initiative comes at an important crossroads for the American
Union movement.  Union membership has been dwindling for decades
and the manufacturing sector of the economy it was dependant upon
has dwindled even more.  Union leadership was slow to recognize
the depth of economic restructuring that hit the country in waves
beginning in the 1970's.  As most unions stuck to tired old
strategies, they became less and less relevant to the average
working American.  Unions increasing cut deals with management
that sacrificed new union members (providing reduced or
nonexistent benefits) to subsidize the benefit packages of older
workers.  Now, after a successful revolution, the "new" AFL-CIO
is set to demonstrate whether it can create a union movement for
the new millennium.  By reaching out to younger workers and those
in the emerging service sector, Union Summer has a good chance of
success.

Union Summer volunteer Ebony Vines is certainly excited about the
possibility:  "My generation is coming of age at a time when jobs
are scarce and secure jobs even scarcer.  A living wage is not
something we can count on.  It's something we have to fight for.
Unions were there to fight for my parents.  They're there to
fight for me.  No other institution out there really seems to
care about workers.  I want to be part of the fight for justice."

For more information please contact:

Union Summer
815 Sixteenth Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20006
United States of America
phone:  (800) 952-2550
fax:  (202) 408-0303

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               BILL BRICKER:  NUCLEAR WHISTLEBLOWER

In 1987, Ed Bricker, a Hanford Nuclear Process Operator, elevated
his concerns over severe nuclear safety deficiencies to a
United States Congressional subcommittee investigating Hanford.
Despite his efforts to keep his communications with Congress
quiet, Hanford management became aware of his activities, and
directed the security department to "devise a plan" that would
result in the termination of Bricker from his job. The Hanford
security forces went after Ed with a vengeance, interviewing Ed's
co-workers, friends, and neighbors, and compiling a huge dossier
on Bricker that required 14 ring binders to accommodate. Bricker
was ordered twice for psychiatric evaluation by management, and
was assigned menial and humiliating jobs as punishment for his
status as "spy for the government."

In 1990, the Department of Labor ruled that Hanford contractors
had deliberately targeted Ed Bricker for termination because of
his protected reports to Congress and the news media. Five
years of litigation ensued, with the Department of Energy paying
the litigation costs of the contractors, which amounted to over
one million dollars. The case was finally settled in December
1994 for $200,000.

But that wasn't the only fallout from the Bricker case. Congress,
the national news media and various government agencies all got
involved in reviewing Ed Bricker's case.  When, in 1993, a
federal judge threw out Bricker's federal claims against
contractors Westinghouse and Rockwell, on the grounds
that "Congress never meant to protect" employees like Bricker,
Congress reacted. Citing the judge's decision, it amended the
employee protection provisions of the Energy Reorganization Act
to include contractor employees like Bricker.

Fast forward to June 1996. Even though Ed Bricker is gone from
Hanford, his memory lingers on in the minds of the Cold Warriors
at Hanford. And that memory is visited, in a negative way, upon
his brother, Bill.

A health physicist by training, Bill Bricker has worked at
Hanford since 1984, moving from Rockwell to Westinghouse in 1987,
and then, against his wishes, to Bechtel in the fall of 1993.

Bill Bricker raised numerous concerns about Hanford practices,
including:

    * circumventing safety procedures and good practices to show
gains in decommissioning at the expense of worker safety;

    * unqualified workers performing N Reactor Operator work. For
instance, untrained workers were operating forklifts, bridge
cranes, 30-ton cranes, and rigging devices;

    * poor mechanisms for tracking personnel radiation exposure;

    * decommissioning and decontamination ("D&D") Workers'
disregard of Lock and Tag procedures at the N Basin. Lock and Tag
procedures are used for the protection of personnel to prevent
the inadvertent energizing of electrical equipment, movement of
hazardous solution, and/or exposure to radioactive and hazardous
materials. Operators were finding torn off Lock and Tag tags
which D&D workers were stashing in random desk drawers and other
hiding places on site. D&D workers were also failing to log Lock
and Tag changes in the appropriate log books. In addition,
equipment that was supposed to be "locked and tagged" had been
illegally put back into service for use. The unauthorized removal
of Lock and Tags could lead to both the degradation of the
environment due to the leakage of contamination as well as severe
danger to workers who fail to wear proper protective clothing or
respiratory protection.

Bill Bricker was walking in the steps of his older brother, but
Ed had bequeathed to his younger brother something that wasn't
available to Ed: a law to protect workers from reprisal from the
employers for reporting concerns. So when Bechtel, and its
subcontractor, TMA, Inc., targeted Bill Bricker for layoff, Bill
had recourse. He filed a whistleblower retaliation claim with the
United States Department of Labor.

The U.S. Department of Labor investigated, and recently ruled in
favor of Bill Bricker. In the Labor Department finding, the
District Director of the Wage & Hour Division of the Department
of Labor, based out of Seattle,Washington found that Bricker had
"made disclosures of a nature protected" by law, and stated,

"While the firm contends that a non-biased reduction-in-force
resulted in his termination, this investigation concluded that he
was identified early as an undesirable employee and transferred
to a dead end and vulnerable job resulting in termination. The
rating system used to rank employees for termination purposes
allowed the firms to select him out of the group to be retained
with minimal effort. While his supervisor and manager indicated
he was a competent employee it is also apparent that they
intended him to go."

The Labor Department ordered Bechtel and TMA, Inc. to reinstate
Bill Bricker in a position as Site Safety Officer or equivalent,
restoration of all benefits, back pay from the effective date of
the layoff to the date of reinstatement, attorney's fees and
costs, and expungement of all negative references from his files.

The finding in Bill Bricker's case comes on the heels of three
high-profile terminations of Hanford whistleblowers which
occurred immediately prior to a visit by the United States
Secretary of Energy, Hazel R. O'Leary, to the Hanford Site.
O'Leary has been praised for instituting some of the deepest
reforms designed to protect whistleblowers at DOE sites. Tom
Carpenter, Director of the West Coast Office of GAP stated:

"The new wave of whistleblower reprisals at Hanford are of grave
concern to us and hopefully to the folks at DOE headquarters and
the field office. It is clear that the message of the Secretary
is being ignored at Hanford, and that more attention is needed at
this site."

Bechtel and TMA have announced that they are appealing the Labor
Department decision. The question remains, will the DOE support
Bricker this time, or will it provide money to Bechtel, the
world's largest construction company in the world, to litigate
against Bill Bricker.

For More Information Contact:

Government Accountability Project
1402 Third Avenue, Suite 1215
Seattle, WA 98101
United States of America
phone:  (206) 292-2850
fax:  (206) 292-0610
tomcgap at halcyon.com
http://www.halcyon.com/tomcgap

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    MICROSOFT APOLOGIZES OVER RACIST & HOMOPHOBIC THESAURUS
    by Ray Goforth

Microsoft took out newspaper advertising in Mexico and Spain last
month apologizing for racist synonyms included in the spanish
language version of Word 6.0.

Some of the offending phrases included "savage" and "man-eater"
as synonyms for Indian while "pervert" was referenced to lesbian.

On the other end of the spectrum the thesaurus gave "civilized,
white and aryan" as synonyms for "western."

Microsoft officials have set out to correct the problem promising
that a new version of the thesaurus will be available free from
their website soon.

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    FIRST KNOWN JUDICIAL MISCONDUCT COMPLAINT BASED ON SEXUAL
           ORIENTATION INVOLVES DOMESTIC ABUSE CASE.

(NEW YORK, June 20, 1996) On behalf of a lesbian thrown out of
court when she sought protection from domestic abuse, Lambda
Legal Defense and Education Fund today filed a complaint of
judicial misconduct against a judge in Wilmington, Delaware.

The judge threatened to jail the woman if she tried to return to
court and dismissed her case as involving "funny relationships,"
ordering her and her former partner out of his courtroom.  Both
women were in court for a hearing while the city Solicitor's
Office pursued a charge of aggravated harassment against the
former partner.

"This judge would slam the doors of justice in the face of an
abused woman, simply because the judge is prejudiced against
lesbians and gay men," said David Buckel, staff attorney for
Lambda, the national gay legal organization.  "Gay people, like
straight people, sometimes must resort to the courts to ensure
their safety, and they have the right to equal access to those
courts," he said.

The complaint, filed with the state's Court on the Judiciary, is
the first known case in Delaware alleging judicial misconduct
based on sexual orientation discrimination.  To protect the
confidentiality of the woman in this domestic abuse case, her
name and that of the judge are not being released.

The woman, who has a young daughter, allegedly was stalked by her
former partner, whom she also said made harassing phone calls to
her employer, friends and family and slashed the tires of a
friend's car.  At a hearing in December, 1995, the judge rejected
the case for involving two lesbians and domestic abuse, saying:

"You all have these funny relationships -- that's fine -- I have
nothing to do with it, but don't bring it in here for me to try
to decide, I don't know how to handle it.  Now take this stuff
out of here, I'm dismissing the case, you all control your
business another way, get out of here.  It's too much for me.
Don't bring it back -- the next time you come back, I'll put
somebody in jail."

The entire courtroom then erupted in laughter.  "I have never
been so humiliated, hurt, and disgusted as I was that day," the
woman stated in her complaint.

"I am a human being, I am a tax-paying citizen, I am a proud
black American, I am a proud lesbian American, and I am a mother
with the duty to teach my daughter values I am not some alien
>from another planet with funny relationships,'" she said.

As often happens following incomplete actions against domestic
abusers, the former partner later escalated the harassment and
physically attacked the woman's new partner, the woman said.  "I
live in fear for myself and for my loved ones," she said.

Wilmington Chief Prosecutor Anthony Forcina, said, "I realize the
victim was humiliated by what occurred that day.  Regardless of
sexual orientation, all people are entitled to have their day in
court."  Forcina added, "My office will support any victim of
domestic violence."

Charges against the judge include violations of Delaware's Code
of Judicial Conduct, which requires that judges act "in a manner
that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality
of the judiciary" and avoid actions that might be interpreted as
bias against "personal characteristics," including sexual
orientation.

The complaint calls for the court to enforce its Code of Judicial
Conduct, investigate whether sexual orientation discrimination
has harmed others attempting access to Delaware courts, require
the judge to undergo sensitivity training with respect to
lesbians and gay men in the judicial system, and censure or at
least reprimand the judge for his misconduct.

Lambda Executive Director Kevin Cathcart called on Delaware and
other states to step up efforts against anti-gay discrimination
by judges.

"Court doors might have been open for this lesbian, and she might
have found safety, if more judges were educated to not
discriminate against lesbians and gay men.  Non-discrimination
prohibitions must be more than a footnote in state judiciary
codes, as they now are for Delaware.  Judicial education must
aggressively address anti-gay discrimination," Cathcart
said.  "Just last month, the California State Court system took
the additional step of funding a $25,000 study to determine the
extent of sexual orientation bias in the courts," he added.

The American Bar Association (ABA) recommended in 1990, that all
state codes on judicial conduct adopt non-discrimination
prohibitions that include sexual orientation, which 25 states
did, including Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, and West
Virginia.

Delaware, instead, added a footnote to the commentary section of
its code with a general nondiscrimination provision.

Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund is the nation's oldest
and largest legal organization dedicated to achieving full
recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, and people
with HIV/AIDS.  It has headquarters in New York and regional
offices in Chicago and Los Angeles, with plans to open an Atlanta
office in 1997.


For More Information:
LAMBDA LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND
David Buckel, 212/995-8585
Peg Byron, 212/995-9475

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FREE SPEECH 101:  ACLU GIVES PRINCETON UNIVERSITY AN "F" FOR
BARRING POLITICAL SPEECH ON ITS COMPUTER NETWORK.

Wednesday, August 15, 1996

NEW YORK--In a letter sent today to Princeton University
officials,  the American Civil Liberties Union urged them to
reconsider a policy barring students and staff from using the
computer network for "political purposes."

The letter was sparked by complaints the ACLU national office
received over a recent memo from Princeton officials advising
faculty, staff and students, "especially in this year of a
presidential election," that the school's not-for-profit status
barred it from allowing use of the computer network "for
political purposes."

The ACLU called this conclusion mistaken, pointing out in its
letter that the Internal Revenue Code specifies that only the
University itself is barred from political activity -- not
faculty, staff, or students acting independently.  In fact, the
ACLU said, the IRS has previously held that statements in support
of political candidates appearing on the editorial page of a
student newspaper would not be considered violations of a
university's 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

"Because there exists no legitimate reason for Princeton's
blanket prohibition of political speech over the computer
network," the ACLU letter stated, "it is an unjustified
content-based restriction on the free expression rights of
students, faculty and staff.  Therefore, the policy is
not only unworthy of a great university like Princeton, it is in
violation of the New Jersey State Constitution."  The letter was
signed by ACLU national staff attorney Ann Beeson and David
Rocah, staff attorney of the ACLU of New Jersey.

"We understand the university's concerns regarding it's
tax-exempt status," Rocah said.  "But this is free speech 101.
Sadly, Princeton is not making the grade."

Rocah said the ACLU would consider legal action if the university
refuses to drop its censorship policy.

"Traditionally, college campuses are the center of political
discussion and debate," said Beeson.  "The fact that the debate
is taking place on the Internet does not mean that the speech is
any less deserving of protection."

Beeson added that the policy could bar students and staff from a
wide range of protected expression, including downloading
position papers from the Dole or Clinton website; sending e-mail
to their parents urging them to vote for Ralph Nader; and
organizing online discussion groups for  student chapters of
politically active groups such as Greenpeace.   In short, Rocah
said, "Everything that would be acceptable, even welcome,
off-line, becomes off-limits on the Internet."

In its letter, the ACLU called on the school to take a leadership
role in the academic community:  "As a school with a
well-deserved reputation as a leader in American higher
education, Princeton should be the first to promote and defend
academic freedom and freedom of expression within its
community, to the very limits of the law," the letter said.

Beeson added that the ACLU  is working to develop model
guidelines for colleges and universities to help sort out the
confusion in academia regarding free expression on the Internet.
Many schools have already put in place "Appropriate Use Policies"
to police student and faculty computer use, some of which violate
rights of free expression, Beeson said.

For More Information Contact

American Civil Liberties Union
Ann Beeson, ACLU National (212) 944-9800, x788
David Rocah, ACLU of New Jersey (201) 642-2084
ACLU's website <http://www.aclu.org>and America Online site
(keyword: ACLU).]

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For those who have inquired:  We (Ray and Kim Goforth) spent
several years doing progressive political organizing work in
southern California.  We moved to Seattle, Washington, USA in
1988 where we took positions with different social service
agencies. In 1995, we both completed undergraduate degrees in
political-economy at The Evergreen State College.  We are
currently law students at the University of Washington.  Kim's
area of interest is women's and children's advocacy.  Ray's is
sustainable development and human rights.

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