Counter Point Journal Issue 2 (May 2009)


Counter Point Journal Issue 2 (May 2009)
May 2009
CxPJ Collective
extracted text
Counter Point Journal

Issue 2 - May 2.009



Evergreen under military occupation?

Talk is cheapfree speech isn't
by the CxPJ Collem-ve

Demonstrators staged a mock checkpoint in front of Red Square with a painted representation of the West Bankw:11 and a volunt~ry detainee. (Photo by AndrewSernatinger)

or...Criminal charges and la11Vsuit threatened
against street theater performance

deadly weapon and brandishing a

cal damage to the property of a

weapon for intimidation." Van Gildperson ... or subject[ing] the perCampus police have suggested crimi- er scolded Costantino for allowing
son ... to physical confinement or
nal charges and an Evergreen staff the performance to happen. "Had
is threatening civil action against a anyone actually touched me during
Disorderly Conduct, for "intenstreet theater performance that oc- this exchange we would be having a
tionally disrupt[ing] any lawful
curred on Red Square on May 13.
very different communication."
assembly or meeting of persons
The performance of a mock checkVan Gilder filed a formal comwithout lawful authority."
point was organized by the Mideast plaint with TESC Officer April MeySolidarity Project (MSP). It featured ers. In a later·email, Van Gilder indi- Ironically, on the previous day, after
three people dressed in fatigues cated that "Pending the outcome of the street theater performance had
with toy guns, standing in front of these processes will determine what ended, Costantino stated that "Police
a painted representation of the West civil actions will be available for me visited the demonstration a number
Bank wall. Passersby were asked for to pursue."
of times during the day. They inditheir IDs or to identify the contents
John Hurley, vice president for cated to me that they saw no viola-·
of their bags. At times during the finance and administration, sup- •tions oflaw."
performance, skits were staged in ported Van Gilder's police complaint,
Because of the threats of criminal
which volunteers were tackled to the stating that the street theater perfor- and civil action, MSP has declined
ground, zip-tied, and detained. The mance "should be made an example to make any statemen ts on the retoy guns were marked
cord. However, inwith bright orange tips.
dividual members
The mock checkpoint
have expressed
was intended to convey
incredulity at the
the realities of military
claims, stating that
occupations. Although
the only people
the focus was on the
detained were volAR-IS
hundreds of Israeli
unteers, and also
checkpoints in the P a l - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - pointing out the
hypocrisy of these
estinian territories, it
also alluded to the US checkpoints of as a 'teachable moment' for the charges, stating that the abortion
established in Iraq and Afghanistan. students, the student group, and any protesters who frequent Red Square
Two of the mock checkpoint guards advisor they may have had."
and the belligerent preacher, "Bible
were actual military veterans.
That afternoon, Officer Meyers Jim"Webber, are routinely granted
On the day of the performance, sent an email to Evergreen Police freedom of speech and not subjectHal Van Gilder, project manager for and members of the administration, ed to criminal charges."
Evergreen facilities, emailed a com- which she hoped would "add value
Reactions to the mock checkpoint
plaint to Art Costantino, cc'd to Ev- to the discussion" of the perfor- varied greatly. A few active-duty
ergreen Police and other members mance. Although she acknowledged soldiers took personal affront. One
of the college administration. Ac- that she was not present during the passerby approvingly asked, "Are
cording to the email, "an individual performance, she reported that, "It you giving us a taste of our own
dressed in a military uniform hailed is apparent that the WAY the dem- medicine?" while another asked
me as 'Hey, you, tall guy with the onstrators were demonstrating "Where's Afghanistan? Is that in
bag. What's in the bag?"' Van Gilder violated three laws." The laws that Iraq?" MSP members had hoped to
asked what authority the man had. Meyers cited (including relevant pas- prepare a statemedt of apology and
request for dialogue with people
According to Van Gilder, a second sages that she highlighted) were:
mock checkpoint guard pointed his
who might have been emotionally
Unlawful Carrying or Handling
triggered by the event, but the ontoy gun at Van Gilder and indicated
of a Weapon, with "weapon" degoing police investigation has made
that he was the authority. (Checkfined as "any firearm, dagger,
point participants denied pointing
public statements inadvisable.
sword, knife or other cutting or
a toy gun at Van Gilder.)
From the beginning, campus
stabbing instrument, club, or any
police attempted to prevent the
Van Gilder walked away "with the
other weapon apparently capable
street theater from happening. In
military uniformed men shouting
of producing bodily harm."
something I don't recall."
the morning of May 13, when the
Harassment, defined as "know- mock checkpoint was first set up
In the email, Van Gilder claims
he was a victim of "assault with a
ingly threaten[ing] to cause physi- near the library loop, campus po-

Members ofMSPbelieve that campus policemay
have been concerned that such street theater
reflects negativeo, on the police's controversial
request for
semiautomatic rifies.

lice officer Lana Brewster informed

the participants that they needed a
permit to demonstrate. Participants
said that they were not selling anything and were instead exercising
free speech. Onlookers pointed out
that the abortion protesters did not
need permits. Brewster replied that
the abortion protesters protested on
Red Square, and the area located at
the library loop was not considered
"Red Square," thus making a distinction between Red Square, where free
speech is allowed, and the library
loop, which supposedly requires a
permit to express oneself. However,
onlookers noted that religious proselytizers distributed Bibles at the lib rary loop without impedance.
At various times in the morning,
Brewster parked her police car in
fron t of the installation in order to
obstruct it, blocked the demonstration by positioning her body in front
of the participants, and shouted over
the participants as they performed.
Ironically, onlookers claimed
Brewster's presence made the checkpoint look more official. Brewster
also threatened to taser participants
if the street theater performance
went too far.
The street theater participants
eventually acquiesced to Brewster's
demand to move the performance
further into Red Square.
Individual members of MSP
believe that Campus Police took
personal affront to the mock checkpoint-with its depiction of a military occupation on campus -and feel
that police may have been concerned
that such street theater reflects negatively on the police's controversial
request for AR-15 semiautomatic
The day after the mock checkpoint,
a male Christian proselytizer demonstrated on Red Square and had
confrontational encounters with
passersby. As of yet, it is unknown
whether criminal charges are being
considered against him.

See related article on page 7-

What does money have to do with free
speech? Well, everything.
With our la'st publication, the
Mideast Solidarity Project was kind
enough to front the bill. It was only
fitting for MSP to sponsor Counter
Point because issues specifically regarding Israel/Palestine were being
cut from the CPJ.
So our modest print cost was going to be picked up by MSP as part of
their education and materials budget
and we'd continue to print monthly
and that'd be the end of it.
Or so we thought.
In the last two weeks MSP has been
reviewed as the sponsor of The Counter
Point Journal to defend how printing
a paper featuring more than 50% articles about Mideast issues fits into
their mission statement. (It does.)
Then MSP was told S&A did not
receive a purchase o'rder for the printing. (They did.)
Then S&A said that MSP could not
use its money from one part of its
budget, and it would need to be reallocated. (S&A refused to authorize reallocation.)
Then MSP was told that any newspaper falls under the Student Communications Media policy, which requires authorization from the Board
of Trustees, but Counter Point could become a zine to bypass it. (S&A changed
their minds.)
When asked what defines a zine,
S&A board members, clearly confused,
could not produce a definition. Lastly,
we were told to wait for word from
the attorney general. (Until the end of

S&A was informed about our purchase and staff advisors personally
inspected the paper after its printing.
It was only three weeks after printing that anything really happened.
In yet another discussion with the
S&A student board, we were told, by
a student wearing an ACLU t-shirt no
less, that there was no need to provide
funding for Counter Point because The
Cooper Point Journal is the "designated
free speech area''! (No joke, this is a recorded meeting that you can request a
copy of.) Earlier, MSP had applied for
money to print an ad in the CPJ, but
they were denied on the grounds that
MSP had its own paper!
As we've gone through this process,
we also tried to meet with Jason Slotkin, editor in chief of the Cooper Point
Journal, to ask if the CPJ was interested in supporting free speech. In what
little correspondence we were able
to make with him, Jason told us that
he had neither time nor knowledge
about the issue (free speech). We tried
to schedule multiple meetings with
him, all of which he has rejected. We
even offered to come to the CPJ's open
meetings to discuss with the entire
staff. Unfortunately, Slotkin informed
us that, "As for the Thursday meeting
that no longer is an open discussion
meeting. This time is now dedicated
to CPJ website discussions." What he
neglected to say is that there are two
other open meetings, which they have
now invited students to, via the CPJ's
new editorial column, cleverly titled
"CPSay." Seems to be getting kinda
cramped in that free speech area.
What it boils down to is that when
the CPJ, paid for with our money,
makes a habit of rejecting us, and
then the college does its part in trying
to prevent other newspapers from
getting access to Our own funding,
it's censorship. Free speech isn't just
about what you can say, but where
you can say it and with what kind of
reach,. Quite frankly, none of us expected when we started a paper that
we would be met with this level of

FREE SPEECH continues on page 2

2-Counter Point Journal


FREE SPEECH continued from page 1

resistance from the college. After all,
they've told us at every step, 'if you
don't like it, start your own newspaper!' (Woops, we did.)
As for the S&A Board, most of
them are good people and they've
been put in charge of defending a
policy that was never theirs in the
first place. We are disappointed with
the choices they've made, and quite
troubled by talk of "free speech
zones,'' but the Student Communications Media policy and the Board
of Trustees are the. problem. While
newspapers close down around the
country, you'd th,ink it would be
a priority to maintain free press in
our community, especially considering that the CPJ, bad as it can be,
will be online-only next year.
In the meantime, you, dear reader, can support us by continuing
to submit articles, writing to us to
let us know what you think of our
paper (,
tossing a few dollars our way, tell. ing the GSU that you support their
revised media proposal, and/or getting in touch with the S&A Board,
the Cooper Point Journal and the
office of the Vice President to tell
them to support free speech and
give funding access and support to
any group that takes the time to create media for the campus.
Oh, we do have one correction to
print from our previous issue, and
it's important that we admit our
mistake: Art's last name is Costantino, not Constantino. Sorry, Art.
Thanks to everyone who gave us
support for this issue.
Just before we went to
press, S&A allocated money for MSP
to sponsor issues z and 3. Hooray!


Dismay over TESC
non-union labor
This letter came to us from an Evergreen
alum who had originally sent it to the
Cooper Point Journal. He's said that
they rejected the article, so we're printing
it here instead. -The Editors.
As an Evergreen alumni (Class of
2000) and as a current journeyman
carpenter with the Carpenter's
Union Local 1148 (Olympia), I was
dismayed to learn that the college's
CAB renovation contract went to
Paducci Construction, a non-union
company. In addition, the Longhouse remodel also went to a nonunion company, Christensen Brothers. This is tens of millions of dollars
in both state and student money going to companies who are required
to have no contracts with their
workers regarding health, safety, retirement, apprenticeship training or
collective bargaining agreements.
At the danger of sounding like
a nostalgic_alumni, I'll chance it
and say that during my time at Evergreen this would not have been
permitted by the students. In 1998
I witnessed Evergreen Earth Firsters! form a large and active partnership with the striking United Steel
Workers of America at the Tacoma
docks. In 1999, I stood arm-in-arm
with union members on the streets
of Seattle. In 2000, I witnessed the
unionization of the food workers
on campus. A large part of why I
chose to join the union was due to
the battles, strength and solidariry
I saw demonstrated by the unions
during my time as a student. Well,
what happened?
By hiring non-union companies
to build at Evergreen, the students,
faculty, administrators and staff
are undermining our local unions.
These unions not only provide a
livable wage, healthcare and retirement, but they also provide training
to thousands of high school graduates through their apprenticeship
programs. I see it as an alarming
sign of the times when no alarms
are raised.
In Solidarity,
Mac Lojowsky

Foreclosure resistance: Internships availablef
by Peter Cooper

This_Mother's Day, seven mothers
and one father in Minnesota working
with the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) defied foreclosure orders issued by their
banks and promised to remain in
their homes indefinitely. The struggle of these families on the brink of
homelessness embodies the brutal
human rights crisis fostered by the
latest economic downturn, but also
provides us as Evergreen students
ways to work for real justice, even as
we exercise forms of privilege and
power we seek to ultimately destroy.
This announcement is the latest
in a months-long campaign. The
campaign includes sit-ins and dem- Members of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign stage a sit-in
onstrations at the "Sheriff's Sales,'' demonstration.

where houses once belonging to
families and individuals are sold ing what Martin Luther King called dation-shaking movements here in
to investors still looking to make a "a new and unsettling force" for eco- Austin, while going back to an unquick buck on the housing market. nomic human rights. These are the derpaid and underappreciatedjob as
It includes the resistance of a local UN-declared human rights to hous- a preschool teacher to pay bills.
As students with access to a large
Minneapolis activist who, after 20 ing, food, education, social security
of institutional resources such
years living in her house, is fightStudents and former students as grants, computers, and the inteling her imminent eviction. Perhaps
most dramatically it includes the are a crucial part of this campaign. lectual support of faculty and other
coordinated takeover, unveiled this PPEHRC recognizes the skills and students who study and participate
past Valentine's Day, of thirteen va- resources of students and actively in their own movements, we sit
cant houses to house thirteen home- recruits them into the organization. at a crucial nexus. This privilege
less families-some with disabilities, Campaign organizations all over the shouldn't exist, but while it is there
country sponsor internships as al- we should reap as much as we can to
some with children.
spring breaks, arid as Sum- support the possibilities of change
Some of these families were
that will support everyone's basic
evicted from their new homes in the mers of Social Action.
inneeds. Even after college we should
midst of a Minnesota winter. One
use our skills and connections to aid
family had their truck confiscated.
This is a scene reccurring all over the seeking fundamental change in the in grassroots movements, even if it.
nation as groups associated with and social and economic systems are too means we have to find so meting else
independent from the Campaign rare in a world of surface-level and to keep us fed.
Meanwhile, as you prepare to enstage similar actions as part of a po- temporary fixes.
the job market or work at the jobs
litical and social movement building
mer, I returned to my hometown you already have, just think: What
process, and as acts of survival.
These local and timely actions of Austin, Texas, looking for work would "work" even mean if I and evare part of a larger movement for that would pay me to help make eryone had access to food, healthcare,
human rights in the United States. the world a better place. My experi- housing and education?
Long portrayed as a stumbling block ences with Minneapolis PPEHRC had
for developing countries or excuses paved the way for a profound disap- Peter Cooper is enrolled in an Independent
for US military action, human rights pointment with the array of direct Leaming Contract due at the end of Winter
are being denied to those in our own service jobs I found on my arrival. I Quarter. You can reach him at peterppehcountry. PPEHRC has created itself as decided to maintain my relationship For more information on
a multiracial organization of poor with PPEHRC while doing the work PPEHRC and Economic Human Rights see
folks from across the country, build- of ferretting out the grassroots foun-


The CxPJ is a collective of Evergreen
community members who decided
to form a monthly alternative press
for marginalized voices.
We are always accepting submissions of articles with an emphasis on
timely, relevant, and local issues. We
specifically seek submissions that
are well researched or include interviews or comments from those who
are involved or affected by the issue being discussed. We also accept
photography, poetry, art, and other
creative works.
To submit original work, send it
to The
deadline for submissions to be
considered for the June graduation issue is June 2.
The editorial collective reserves
the right to question, edit, or not
publish any content it receives. The
collective will make every attemptto
consult the author(s) in regards to
any changes proposed.
This doesn't mean we' II make major edits
to your work withoutyour consent, despite
what some silly folks on Live/ournal are
claiming that this means. You coulda asked
ifyou weren'tsure,y'know.
The Counter Point Journal is also available on line at
As we go to press, we are now receiving official sponsorship by MSP.


ilieS CTG HJori~r WE~Tr--~











; >----<\


















it hits the streets weeks nine and ten and will be free to evergreen students
to re.serve your copy CO-f!Z

CxPJ logos by Lamise AI-Shawahin


"Swine Flu" poster accountability: an explanation
The first time I heard about Swine
flu was during the Procession of the
Species. A group of buskers had written it on their cardboard sign, and
although I passed this off as another
scare tactic, it seemed to ring out
into my consciousness ...SWINE FLU ...
Within days the mainstream media
had pushed the story to the tip of
everyone's tongue. Conversations
on the bus started with "Swine flu ..."
and ended with "... we're all gonna
di e."
The most contagious part ofthis virus
is not the virus itselfbut the climate offear
that comes with it. Something had
to be done; I needed the spectrum
of thought to expand. I wanted to
point out that what was happening
was not about a virus at all, but Oppression through Fear.
Some facts you may have seen
around campus: 1 person has died in
the United States from swine flu. Meanwhile 5,769 died last week from obesity.
Fear is a tool of oppression and oppression is the greatest pandemic we

I wanted to put this Pandemic into
perspective and out the fear campaign
for what it is. I wanted to re-frame the
situation, but most of all I wanted my
friends to stop being scared.
So, I sat down and made a poster
that stated the facts above. Unfortunately that poster hurt peoplepeople that I don't know and people
whom I love dearly. I very seriously and
emphatically apologize to anyone who
took issue with the poster.
Please permit me to explain my
reasoning behind the framework
of obesity. I have seen an epidemic
of obesity grow as I have grown. According to the CDC, in 1987 obesity
rates in Washington State were1ess
an 10%, by 1998 that rate had risen to
15%, and by 2007 that number was
25%. That is one out of four people. If
this is affecting a quarter of the state,
this dialogue must take place.
We must put an end to fat-phobia.
The discrimination of any group of
people is completely unacceptable,

and fat-phobia is no exception.
But we also must question why
this oppression is happening. Why
is it that the socio-economically oppressed seem to be particularly affected by it? Who's decision was it,
and at what point did food start to
be replaced with chemicals? How
can the effects of this be blamed on
the people? swine flu pales in comparison to the violence our food system has wrought on us.
The War On Oppression is not
meant to be comfortable, but it is
meant to be won. We are all oppressed and we are all oppressors.
It is through this kind of dialogue
that we define oppression and fight
it. I invite you to continue the debate.
Write on those posters, hell - tear
them down or post your own.
I also want to share what this dialogue has already taught me ... I will
judge the content of my messages by
the empowerment those messages
-Rand Hunt

Counter PointJournal-3


The future of campus food service: self-operation?
by Andrew Sernatinger

Food is one of the few issues at Evergreen that just about everyone agrees
is political. Food touches every issue,
from sustainable farming to indigenous sovereignty to worker solidarity to prison abolition. Even the volume of academic programs having to
do with the science, politics, culture
and gender of food have increased in
the last few years. So its not surprising that food has been the site of the
most struggles at the college.

The Flaming Eggplant Cafe
This year's highlight has been the
opening of the Flaming Eggplant, a
student-run cafe located in a trailer
on Red Square. The Eggplant, which
opened at the beginning of fall quarter, grew out of a campaign launched
by Students Organizing for Food
Autonomy (SOFA) in the 2005-2006
school year. SOFA's campaign initially advocated for a self-operated
campus food service, citing the relationship between food sourcing and
environmental sustainability, the
major expense and rigidity of catering contracts with outside companies,
and a specific critique of Aramark,
the campus's current caterer, for their
investment in the prison-industrial
complex and the.wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At the close of 2005-2006, SOFA
members developed a business
proposal for the college to open a
student-run cafe in the CAB building as part of the CAB's redesign.
The cafe received student support
in the form of a ballot initiative and
was subsequently authorized by the
college's Board of Trustees. For the
next two years, Eggplant organizers
worked diligently on the logistics of
the cafe, with plans to open a trailer
to begin service before the CAB redesign, costing approximately $46,000.
The Eggplant proposed and passed
a student '1tax" levy at the end of
2005-2006 to raise funds for the cafe
to open in 2007-2008. Some students,
however, were upset when the cafe
did not open in the fall of 2007, especially after one Flaming Eggplant
coordinator gave a provocative interview about the delays in the Cooper
Point Journal.
A project of the Eggplant's magnitude requires a considerable amount
of work just to get things running.
"Fall quarter we had people working between 40-60 hours a week,"

said one former Eggplant volunteer.
Julianne Panagacos, Eggplant Office and Kitchen Coordinator added,
"It's a job, it's not school. That's really
important to recognize in the longterm planning of a student-run food
service. Students are transient and
need effective leadership to be able to
organize all this temporary energy."
She continued, "It has been a
frequent problem where there are
a lot of students who come to campus, recognize that Aramark's here,
wanna see that something's different, especially before we were open,
and say 'What's happening? Why
aren't you guys doing this?' instead
of 'How can I help?" The Eggplant
currently runs with volunteers and
interns for credit, building off of the
cafe's dedicated base.
The Eggplant, like many first-year
businesses, does not currently turn a
profit. "We had money in our budget
for start-up and what was left over is
what's subsidizing our operation
right now,'' says Panagacos. "When
that runs out what will happen is
that we will ask the S&A Board for
money to close out our fiscal year. So
it comes from S&A money, which is
student money instead of Evergreen
money." The Eggplant functions as
a Tier 1 organization out of Student
Activities, along with KAOS Radio,
the Childcare Center, the Office of
Sexual Assault Prevention and the
Cooper Point Journal (until next year
when they will become a Tier 2).
In regards to their fiscal plan, Panagacos said, "We have every intention to getting as close to [turning a
profit] as possible. We are selling a lot
of really high cost and high quality
food." Another Eggplant volunteer
agreed, "Our bottom line is food and
we haven't compromised. The [foodprice] system doesn't recognize the
cost of pesticides and shitty wages."
In large part, the Eggplant has
demonstrated what a team of dedicated organizers can accomplish with
persistence. The Eggplant recently
held its Big Annual Meeting (BAM)
on May 6th with overwhelming approval. There, coordinators showcased the cafe's many achievements
and elected student representatives
to the cafe's Board of Advisors. Eggplant coordinators also presented
their plan to hire a full-time support
staff to ease the load on students for
purchase orders and paperwork.
One student attendee objected to
the staff position not on the basis of
disagreement, but on transparency.

"I just don't understand why you deal that would extent their presguys couldn't put this on the [end of ence past the current contract.
the year] ballot like you've done before," she asked. As they debated for Self-operation
a few minutes, Panagacos ended the
discussion by stating, "If you don't While SOFA's primary goal was for
like it, you can join the S&A Board." the campus to adopt a self-operated
This raises the issue of how best to service, consensus on what that looks
create an efficient structure that like, how to do it and even if it's still
supports the work of its organizers a goal does not exist yet. "We havenl
while also respecting the concerns had a conversation about whether
of the body of students who pay our goal is still to completely take
into S&A. As it stands, oversight for over food service," said Panagacos.
the Eggplant is arranged through a On the other hand one Eggplant staff
Board of Advisors comprised of five member explained, "Self-operation
students, one faculty, one staff and is both possible and desirable. They
two advisors appointed by the Vice thought we couldn't do this, and here
we are doing it."
Panagacos commented on selfoperation, "We've paved the way for
Aramark and students
self-op to happen, we've seen what is
Though the issue is sometimes raised hard and what's not. We've seen that
whether the Eggplant is taking away its possible because we're doing it,
business from Aramark, Panaga- but there are definitely areas where
cos comments, "A lot of what we've more support in business services
heard about Aramark through Sha- would really help the whole college
ron [Goodman, Director of Residen- get to that place." The Eggplant curtial and Dining Services] is that they rently runs all of its transactions
have beeq experiencing record levels through business services, which
of business.because there are more puts a significant load on the office as
people on campus. It seems like more weHas creating bureaucratic delays.
At this point, the dialog has shiftpeople are buying food instead of a
lot of people who used to buy at Ara- ed away from self-operation as run
mark are now buying at the Flaming directly by students and into a plan
Eggplant. That's a good thing for us, where the college would run the
because we're doing the amount of various operations. "We can't run an
entire operation like the Eggplant,"
business that we're able to sustain."
Some Evergreen students, in their said Giselle Garcia, former Eggplant
criticism of Aramark, have grouped coordinator. Panagacos added, "It
service workers in with the corpora- would be in the same spaces and a
tion's legacy. (I personally wimessed lot of the same stuff, it just wouldn't
one student yell at workers, call- be Aramark that's making the orders.
ing them corporate whores, as they It wouldn't be them that's making
served him food.) Campus food a profit at the end of the day or it
workers, however, did not come to wouldn't be them with a loss."
"We don't just want to take over
the school with Aramark, but unionized with one of the previous cater- college food service and run huge
ing companies and have continued deficits. We want to figure out, with
as the school has transitioned to . what we're doing now, how do we
not order from Sysco and still make
other caterers.
Little known to most patrons, this work,'' Panagacos added. (The
campus food service employs work- college's flat managerial contract
ers who commute from areas around with Bon Apetit catering corporathe South Sound including Shel- tion left Evergreen with a deficit of
ton, Lacey, and Centralia. Food ser- approximately $1.5 million.)
vice employees at the college range
This new vision for self-operation
from old to young, some supporting takes a turn on campus food service
families on a wage that starts a dollar that recognizes different needs and
above minimum and has greater se- tastes. Nearly everyone interviewed
curity through representation with were quick to admit that the Egga progressive union. Other workers plant's success is due in large part
are students, supporting themselves to the fact that they are satisfying a
niche, with high quality food, cofas they continue through school.
Aramark also recently put in a bid fee (except in December when it for
to the college to revamp the kitchens some reason turned piss-poor), and
in the Greenery as part of a contract inexpensive and filling options like

rice and beans. Running the cafeteria,
market and cafes through the school
is in line with a DTF and independent analyst report issued in 2001.
The report suggested self-operation
for the college, and presents the
possibility of a less-costly operation
while maintaining the union labor
force and providing sustainable food
Self-operation at Evergreen has
only come as far as it has because of
the work of students and will only
advance with more planning and organization.

ce Disapapaidin-




Geoduck Union shenanigans: a rundown
by Andrew Sernatinger

Authors note: The issues discussed below
might at fiat be taken for "gossip." They
are not gossip. These events did actually occur, and because they involve public elected
officials they should be taken as necessary
for understanding our political situation
as it pertains to our student government.
Furthermore, these specific actions demonstrate the need for accountability and
for the creation of a process to account for
Most people have pretty much no
idea what the Geoduck Union does,
or why its important. Aside from an
occasional two-paragraph update in
the Cooper Point Journal, the student
government lives as an abstraction
in the lives of most students. So as
we close out the year and approach
elections, it might be helpful to do a
year-in-review of the GSU.
We begin with last year's elections. The usual assortment of candidates were joined by what came
to be known as the Glasses Party, a
group of students wearing signature
glasses to identify their commonality as candidates,Most Glasses candidates ran on an incoherent platform
of pancakes, dolphins and assorted
In response, then-representative

and graduating senior Charles Loosen decided to submit a last-minute
candidacy to combat what he referred to in a CPJ interview as the
"fascism" of the Giasses Party. Successfully convincing the campus of
the threat of fellow students, Loosen,
along with other continuing representatives Brittany Newhouse and
Sammi Webster, were re-elected;
Loosen, as a graduating senior, reenrolled at Evergreen for two-credits
just to be on the Union.
Also elected were Kris Craig, on a
campaign of reason citing the SDS
sit-in's insanity, and Jake Mixon,
running on a campaign to make the
campus sustainable by growing food
basically everywhere. (Mixon erected
signs around campus that read "We
Could Grow Food Here-Vote Jake
Mixon.") Glasses party candidates
Raissa Huntley, Christopher Rotondo, Kate Schiffman and Shyam Khanna were also elected, only one of who
used the pancake platform.
Issues within the union were
quick to appear. Early in the quarter,
Brittany Newhouse, having campaigned with Loosen, resigned from
her seat on the Union to become
the student representative to the
Board of Trustees (as of now, no reports have been issuedby Newhouse
about the Board's activity). Halfway

through fall quarter, the candidate
of reason, Kris Craig, turned out not
to be a student and was forced to resign (although technically he wasn't
forced because that would mean he
was never a representative in the first
Around the same time that the rifle proposal was brought to the GSU,
CPJ Reporter Madeline Berman gave
a full-page interview to Jake Mixon,
giving him space to talk about how
he vehemently supports police because he wants to create a 'safe campus' and is afraid of violent students.
This fear even led Mixon to purchase
a gun to protect himself. Mixon,
however, personally delivered a
death threat to a recent Evergreen
graduate, to quote: "If I ever see you
off-campus, I'm going to fucking
kill you." Mixon resigned shortly
after the encounter details were sent
around various listservs and a grievance was filed against him.
Representatives Loosen, Xander
Chateaubriand and Victor Sal].ders
also resigned at the end of winter
quarter. Sanders, a continuing representative who helped put together
the late night "drunk bus," resigned
with an email saying he just didn't
"want to play anymore." Chateaubriand, enrolled in a full-time contract with Art Costantino, resigµed

for personal reasons but was largely
regarded as following Costantino's
lead in votes.
So why don't people know what
the Geoduck Union does? Well, because it hasn't been able to do much
of anything. The government's constitution was written in the 20052006 school year to mirror the Olympia City Council's model, adding in
a consensus structure. Consensus is
typically regarded as a decision-making model to be used with people
who voluntarily come together and
share similar goals. Representatives
are not a group who come together
with similar goals, but are voted in by
the student body to represent different interests and values. This makes
it difficult to reach consensus, and
has drowned the union in inactivity
for the last three years. (Members of
the classics club originally created •
the constitution, styling themselves
as regular philosopher-kings, and
under the supervision of Costantino
no less.)
Its been this kind of rife internal
dynamic that has prevented the
student union from seriously addressing this year's pressing issues:
budget cuts, police rifles, sexual violence, tuition, disaster preparedness
and racism among others. However,
since _thy retirement 9f the afore-

mentioned reps, the Union has been
able to issue a resolution regarding
the Active-Shooter Response Plan,
pass a proposal to revamp the existing Student Communications Media
Policy and begin work on the disciplinary code for Registered Student
Even though there are only nine
remaining representatives, the
Union is not a moot issue; the state
does require the c_ollege to recognize
the collective voice of students to
some extent. What role students will
have in creating their own policy remains to be seen.

4-Counter Point Journal


From Elma to Evergreen:
·b y way of Aghanistan and elsewhere
by Phan Nguyen,from interviews with Travis Roberts

32-year-old Travis Roberts is not the kind of
Evergreen student you would see profiled in
Evergreen's promotional materials. Asa former
private military contractor in Kosovo and Afghanistan, black market entrepreneur, pimp,
and substance abuser with PTSD, Roberts isn't
proud of his past either. But with the Obama
administration's continued military pursuit
of-well, wha~ever- in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Roberts's story deserves a hearing. It's as
American as apple pie and the war on terror.
And it forces us to question whether any war,
however justified, can ever be just.
Travis Roberts at the US embassy compound in Afghanistan

Travis Roberts is a local boy. Growing on violence, because that was a part
up in Elma, Washington in the 1980s, of what I did for so long."
he used to wonder why so many VietAs part of his military intelligence
nam vets were living in the woods of traingin, Roberts studied Arabic
nearby Capitol Forest. In 2006, after at the Defense Language Institute,
returning from Afghanistan and suf- (DLI) where he was also assigned a
fering from PTSD amassed from tours Lebanese-American Muslim identity,
in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Egypt/ "Kamal Shami."
°Israel- and having squandered
After a stint in 1999 guarding the
hundreds of thousands of dollars Egyptian-Israeli/Palestinian border
gained from the Afghan black mar- with the Multinational Force and
ket-Roberts journeyed to the same Observers (MFO ), Roberts returned to
Capitol Forest to seek refuge, only to the US with two possessions: a medal
be driven out by the preponderance for rescuing an Israeli policeman and
of meth addicts.
The Army years
It was ten years earlier, at age 20, that
Roberts had joined the Army, figuring "that it was the only way that I
could get a decent job and receive the
school benefits that they offered, and
the training."
One thing that did not influence
his decision to enlist, however, was
a patriotic sense of duty. "Before I
went into the Army, I had a certain
set of values," Roberts said. "And
when I basic training, they
issued me a new set of values .... !
knew they were going to do something like that. But I thought that I
was too smart, that of course I'm going to believe in what I believe in. I'm
not gonna think intervening in these
foreign countries is a good thing. I'm
not gonna think that using military
might to reinforce foreign economic
policies is wonderful and that everything's cool, or I'm just gonna become a conservative or whatever."
Roberts never did become a conservative. "But what happened was
a little bit more personal somehow. I
ended up internalizing these values
of oppression on a more individual level, as far as the· people that I
worked with, the culture in the military, the hierarchy. And that played
itself out eventually in my relationships with my children and my wife.
I started ordering them around like a
sargeant. I learned to put extra value

• Roberts with the French liaison atthe MFO.

New Mexico: peace, drugs, and
the military-academic-industrial complex
In 2001, Roberts left the Army and
enlisted in the New Mexico National
Guard. He applied to work in the
National Guard's drug interdiction
program, but: despite his qualifications, he was turned down. "Certain
people were in control of that program, and I don't think they wanted anybody outside of their circle
involved." He would later find out
why. "I already knew that these guys
carried the M-16s from the armory
in their cars. I thought that was a
little strange:'' One night, at a party,
Roberts encountered "guys from my
guard unit selling large quantities
of drugs. And those guys happened
to be the ones that were involved in
the drug interdiction program. And
everything started to make sense. All
the convoys down to the border, it all
seemed to fit together."
At the same time, Roberts was
enrolled in the University of New
Mexico, majoring in politicaf science
and later West Asian studies, with a
minor in peace studies. The first class
he took at UNM was in Ancient Near
Eastern History with Prof. Richard
Berthold, based on the merit that
Berthold had just infamously proclaimed in reference to the recent
9/11 attacks, "Anybody who blows up
the Pentagon gets my vote." That was

good enough for Roberts. "I felt that
what he said was right on. I immediately enrolled in his course."
Roberts also became involved in
local peace groups. In 2003, when
former Secretary of the Army Louis
Caldera was instated as President of
the University of New Mexico, Roberts wondered, "Why is Louis Caldera, with all his Washington cronies,
being installed as the president of
the university that has so many research grants from the_government
to conduct research in collaboration
with Los Alamos National Laboratories, weapons research at Sandia
Laboratories and Kirtland Air Force
Base, and all these very controversial '
weapons research programs?" Sure
enough, Caldera began promoting
more military research at UNM. At
an open forum, Roberts scolded Caldera. The UNM student newspaper
described the scene:

Travis Roberts, a UNM senior and military veteran... described what he calied
the mass murder of thousands of innocent civilians by technology designed,
at least in part, at Sandia National
Laboratories and Kirtland Air Force
Base-two military institutions UNM
has research grants from. "Shame on
you, President Caldera, for allowing
this institution, which is supposed to
foster education and life, to contribute
to the atrocities occurring in the world,"
said Roberts, who broke down into tears
as he spoke.
Roberts credits hls time as a peace
activist as one of the times he has felt
proudest. It wouldn't last.
Get rich quick in Afghanistan

to launch some type of investment in
Afghanistan when you're working at
the embassy."
The situation in Afghanistan was
prime for business. "Just like anywhere you go, there's already a surplus of people there with a lot of
good business ideas, and the only
thing they're missing is capital. And
everybody over there with any connection to the contractors know that
the contractors are capital, because
they're all made of money. And they
would always approach you - especially once they got to know
you-with their business idea.
"It's like a bank-people coming in
and asking for loans-I have an idea,
I wanna start this business, I wanna
do this. It doesn't take long before
you have an idea of who knows how
to do what."
Indeed, for contractors, such businesses could not be avoided. "The
State Dept. wouldn't give us permission to carry weapons or to bring
weapons on convoys. I think that it
had something to do with liability. I
don't think that they wanted to send
me and the people that I worked
with-the South Africans-out on
these convoys with their weapons
to possibly create a massacre. They
wanted to tell us that our job starts
when we get to the embassy. And
what happens in between there is on
"But anybody that has been there
knows that you can't move busloads
and long convoys full of westerners through parts of Afghanistan
unarmed." The inference was that
the contractors would have to rely
on sources not directly tied to the
US. "So we were forced to purchase
large quantities of weapons on the
black market-AK-47s, Makarov pistols-because we had to provide security for ourselves. And not only that,
but the arms dealers that we were
dealing with, that worked for our
company, were under investigation
for purchasing Stinger missiles for
the Taliban. But see, that's the kind
of connections that you need in order to operate in Afghanistan sucessfully. You just can't operate without
that. If we didn't have those kind of
connections, then we would've been
impotent to carry out our tasks."

In 2004, Roberts suffered a mental breakdown. He quit school and
moved to Tennessse. Unemployed
with a pregnant wife and two children, Roberts was offered a job that
would utilize the skills he knew best.
He signed a one-year contract with
Group 4Fakk, an Irish/British security company (now known as G4S) to
provide security for US army personnel in Kosovo. He was now a private
military contractor.
After his contract ended, Roberts
took a more lucrative contract with
Global Risk Strategies, assigned to
guard the US embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan for $167,000 a year. But Going "freelance"
there were opportunities to make
even more money on the side. "A lot In May 2006 Roberts was promoted
of people working [as contractors] to chief intelligence officer. Soon afat the embassy-they all have some- ter, he overdosed on a combination of
thing going on the side. Everybody valium, codeine, alcohol, and hashish.
had capital, because we m·ade so "I was unconscious. I woke up four
much money at the embassy. With 14 days later." He was also fired.
By that time, Roberts was already
grand a month coming in, and with
prices of things cheap in Afghani- separated from his wife, pending distan, you can pretty much finance vorce. "I started up an operation after
things. You have capital. It doesn't I lost my job. It only took me a week.
take long to save up enough money I had rented out my own compound,

•hired a security team, rented vehicles,
and sat down and formulated a plan
to make some serious money selling
information and brokering deals between different firms and providing
services, such as manpower or bringing equipment to the people who
needed it- for example, weapons,
communications equipment, people.
I had stacks of resumes." As a front,
the compound operated as a restaurant with a business license from the
Afghan Investment Support Agency.
There were thousands of unemployed Nepalese Gurkhas in Afghanistan, trafficked in by the Nepalese
Mafia under empty promises of work.
"Once I opened my restaurant, they
all started coming there, and they're
all giving me their resumes, and
they all begged for work. "there were
enough unemployed Nepalese guys
in Kabul to staff an entire battalion,
if not a brigade. I sent e-mails out to
all the security companies.... I'd go
through the stack and find people
they needed and take a payment
from the security company."
Roberts could supply manpower
to a broad clientele. "Yeah, the US
or anybody, you know-the Afghan
national army, Australian security
companies, British security companies, the Danish Embassy, whatever.
You know, 'The Danish Embassy
needs additional security because of
the cartoons that came out about the
Prophet Mohammed in Denmark,
so we need an extra twenty guys to
guard the embassy because people
are gonna come burn it down.' Then
I would say, okay, well I got twenty
guys. Give me $20,000 and then here
they are-today, standing tall."
Roberts also sold intelligence. After soliticing his services to varous
multinational companies operating
in Afghanistan, "all these people
would come over to my restaurant
and introduce themselves. And if
they had a requirement for a certain
type of information, then they'd ask
me. Like PSI would come over and
say, 'We're bidding on the embassy
contract and we require this information which we think will improve
our odds of obtaining the security
contract at the embassy. Can you provide us with that information, and if
so, here's the price.' And I would say,
okay, yeah, I got that information, or
I can get that information. Let's do
this deal. Give me cash. That's how it
was done."
One of the primary ways intelligence was collected was through
another branch of Roberts's business: prostitution. "I brought in the
women via the Nepalese Mafia, under visas to come and work at my restaurant. And that's when we turned
this compound into a brothel."

Counter Point Journal- 5


First comes warthen comes prostitution
Roberts wants people to be clear:
"Prostitution and the 'War on Terror'
are two things that go hand-in-hand.
Wherever the troops go, the prostitutes follow. And I'm not talking
about a few. I'm talking about thousands and thousands of Chinese prostitutes. Everywhere where US troops
go, everywhere where there's contractors, hundreds of brothels pop up.
"And it's not just the US troops
in Iraq and Afghanistan. I know a
lot of these hookers. They follow
'em wherever they go: Sudan, Ivory
Coast. French troops go to the Ivory
Coast-thousands of Chinese hookers in the Ivory Coast. Dubai is a
transit point for everybody going to
these wars. And there's thousands
and thousands of 'em there. That's
one thing, is the link between prostitution and the 'warriors on terror."'
When Roberts worked as a contractor, the security companies
''would bus us down to the whorebar, provide security for the bus
while we were all inside, pay a 4river,
pay somebody to stand out there.
Sometimes we'd rent out the entire
whorebars for the entire evening."
But it wasn't limited to contractors.
Roberts recalls that in Kosovo, the
US Army's MWR (Morale, Welfare, and
Recreation) would bus soldiers to Bulgaria to indulge in prostitution.
Despite the activities occurring
in his compound, Roberts had little
to worry from the authorities. "The
Kabul government was set up to do
business. The government doesn't
care if you pimp hos." He received


on drugs, alcohol, and women. "I erts witnessed first-hand and par- people to take war seriously. I want
spent so much money on nothing. I ticipated in the micro-economy that 'em to be educated about it-not to
didn't know people could spend that props up around war zones, an econ- come over to the freakin' table and
much money and not have it any- omy that mimics the greater corpo- say, 'Where is Afghanistan? Is that in
rate needs that fuel wars. "I mod- Iraq?' That's fucking lame, if you ask
He returned to the us and even- eled my business [in Afghanistan] me. I mean, can you believe that?
tually made his way back to Elma, completely after US corporations. I
"I want people to-I wish that my
Washington. capitol Forest, with exploited the natives, I ripped off buddies-I've had three buddies,
its predominance of meth heads, my investors, I avoided paying taxes, two extremely close friends, put bulproved inhospitable, so he moved I skirted the rules and regulations. lets through their own brains. And
into the woods north of Elma, living There was no oversight. It was the I think that in both cases, it was beon MREs that he had saved from his Wild West. Anything could go.
cause they couldn't deal with this.
Army years. "I set up my tent, threw
"As long as [my clients] could pay, They couldn't deal with this at all.
a mattress inside of it, and stayed we could do anything we wanted. They couldn't go to the therapy in
there for the whole winter. Matter of We could kill anybody, we could do Aberdeen or this or that. And they
fact, it was the Hannukah Eve Wind- anything. As long as we weren't at- both put bullets through their brains.
storm, and a tree fell on my tent. It tacking the US."
One went to Kosovo in 2001 and put
was bad. There were trees always fallAs for the benefit to the Afghanis, a bullet through his brain there, on
ing on my tent. It was really cold. It "most of the Afghanis that sup- Camp Bondsteel, where I spent two
got down to the teens, twice in No- ported the presence of foreigners in years. He put a bullet through his
vember that year."
their country are the Afghanis that brain there. And then another close
His remaining money was lost benefited from it, and that's a very friend in Kosovo put a bullet through
at the bar in Elma, where he would limited sector of the population. If his brain.
spend hundreds of dollars in alcohol somebody wanted to go get an inter"There's all kinds of vets that kill
a day.
view of an Afghani saying that hav- themselves, Thousands of'em. Why?
He was finally convinced to move ing the US troops here is wonderful, Because they know the reality of
into a friend's house in March 2007. it wouldn't be hard. All you'd have what's going on. They actually know
A.girlfriend in Seattle who - - - ~ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~ - what's going on, and they
would later become h~ wife,
~~·t dealkwdith it because
moved- in with him. Rob.
Its so fuc e up.
erts needed a job, so again
"You know, I can't walk
al • d

anywhere-two blocks
his speci
from my house-because
up forize

Roberts inside his restaurant.

tice. I really just didn't know what to
do. So eventually I made a decision. I
put a bullet in her-in her face. Right
here [points between the eyes].
"I think about that a lot. I have a
lot of nightmares about that. And
I just don't think that people think
about that when they think about
the war in Afghanistan or the escalation of the troops. I think people just
see a news flash, or something scrolling along the bottom of the screen.
That's what I think they think of.
Just numbers. 17,000. What's that
other year-long tour in Ko- stav
~~v~::~a~: 0
mean? I don't know.
sovo as a miiltary contrac'J
"I want people to understand that
tor. He was forced to resign
~e~ore, and I don't know war means something a lot differafter six months, however,
if it's because of when I
ent than what they see in the movwhen the company doctor
was in Afghanistan. I had
ies, where one side lines up, then
told him his blood pressure was too to do is go down to the embassy and to shoot a lot of dogs and cats in Afanother side lines up, and they shoot
high to continue.
find somebody that makes $600 a ghanistan, because they're starved
at each other. There's a lot more to it
Upon returning to the Pacific month, which is more money than and feral and they're everywhere.
than that. It's not two sides fighting.
northwest, Roberts enrolled at The most Afghanis make in a year, and
"But one day in particular, I was
The whole thing is fucked up. People
Evergreen State College, where he is ask him, 'Is it cool thattheAmericans walking along in Afghanistan and
don't know how fucked-up fucked
now finishing up the degree that he are here?' And they're gonna give you shit hit the fan. I heard some dogs
up is. You can't even explain it, beall the right answers, on camera. But growling, and I came around the
cause it doesn't make any sense."
if you are a Muslim and you speak corner, and I looked over there, and
Arabic, and you're learning Farsi, and there was a girl laying on the ground,
The saying "War is Hell" is a cliche. It
you know about Islam [Roberts had on the side of the road. Nobody else
says nothing about the civilians who
been assuming the Kamal Shami identity in sight. And her feet were-sticking died in it. It says nothing about how
he was given at DLI], eventually even out-what was left of her feet. They
it could have been avoided. It says
those people will open up and tell were all burned. Her arms were sticknothing about those who profit from
you that the only reason they sup- ing out-one hand completely gone,
it, from the industries that live off of
port the US is because they have a job. one hand no fingers. All arms burnt.
it. And it makes no sense of it.
And if Massoud was here, they'd kick Belly burnt. Face co.mpletely unEven worse, it normalizes war. It
the fucking US out. That's what they touched. And, I mean, she was beauhonors those who engage in war and
always say. [Ahmad Shah Massoud was tiful -probably about 14. And the
survive. It signals a rite of passage, a
a leader in the Afghan resista_nce against dogs were freakin' - had one of her
proud scar that demonstrates that
Soviet occupation.]
arms pulled out into the road, tugwhat didn't kill someone made them
"These contractors that I worked ging on it. And the feet-as soon as I
with, they don't care if the Afghan came around the corner, I saw a dog
But for Roberts, "Before I joined
people are fucked over. They just justrip a piece of her foot off and run
the Army, I used to be a completely
want a job. They hope we stay over away, and other dogs were chasing it
different person. I used to be so
there as long as we can so they can and trying to get to the feet. And she
happy. I used to have some kind of a
keep working and making phat was alive.
spark. I used to be able to do so much
"And you know, I really didn't
stuff and produce high-quality work.
know what to do. I was looking
But I can't now. I can't concentrate."
The business license for Roberts's restaurant in Kabul.
around, trying to figure out what was
Fucked up
Roberts never expected the Army
going on. I fired off a round from my
to change him the way it did. "Unvisits from the tax collector, which
was working on in New Mexcio. He When asked to reflect on the contro- pistol, and all the dogs scattered. But
fortunately, I thought that I was bethe simply brushed aside. Besides, is currently taking "Art and Activversy around the mock checkpoint they didn't scatter very far; they were
ter than that. And then these things
"every single business over there was
ism." He sees a therapist in Aberdeen street theater (see page 1), Roberts re- in a big circle around me. I walked
that I gained in the .Army made me
like that, even the ones that operto deal with his PTSD. He has been plied, "We can take all this shit that over to her, and I stood there for a
worse. And now I'm trying to reverse
ated with contracts with the State sober for two months.
goes on [overseas] and brush it all few minutes, looking around, yellthat process."
Department-everything that goes
under the rug. Or we can tell every- ing for people. I was afraid, because
What Roberts internalized from
on over there is shady. They all have
body about it and invite the public in. these dogs were snarling. And they
the Army grew as he used the trainprostitutes living in their offices. All Twelve years of a young life
Because who's making the decisions weren't very far away from me. And
ing that he was given, until he got
the restaurants over there in Kabul There are many lessons that Travis
whether this shit goes down or not? you know, I really didn't know what
are filled with Westerners, and you
sucked into the "excesses" of war. Yet
Roberts learned that he hopes he can I mean, maybe it's the corporations to do about this whole situation. She
Roberts's experiences demonstrate
don't know who they work for. You impart on others. "The alcohol's a big
or the people in control. But only the was burnt to a crisp. She was alive, ·
that nothing in war was ever "excess."
don't know what they're doing. But one. If you don't know that alcohol
people I see around can do anything but she was just staring straight up
It was always part of the scheme.
they all have something going on.
anq violence are part of the military, about it to change it. So that's what I into the sky. And the dogs were eatAnd they all work for somebody, and you'll find out real quick'' when you
want people to take out of it. I want ing her. She didn't even seem to nothey're all buying and selling someenlist. "Then the prostitutes and
thing. You can bet on that."
black market follow." Roberts's adultRoberts didn't fear the Afghan hood has revolved around the miligovernment, but the Taliban and the
tary, war, and corruption. In the New
Afghan people were another thing.
Mexico National Guard, he learned
Major anti-US riots erupted in 2006 that the drug war was used to faciliafter a US military truck crashed into
tate the drug trade. At the University
several Afghan civilian cars, killing
of New Mexico, he found himself
several people. For security, Roberts
confronting the nexus between the
rigged up a harness that would enMilitary-Industrial Complex and
able him to hide inside a well. Morethe University, under the aegis of its
over, the Taliban had retaken most then-president, Louis Caldera.
of the countryside. Establishments
Even his role as a peacekeeper on
similar to Roberts's had been at- the Egyptian-Israeli border with
tacked. "The security situation had the MFO wasn't honorable. The eseroded to a point where I couldn't tablishment of the MFO in 1981 freed
operate safely. I couldn't guarantee Israel from minding the Egyptian
my own safety. Also, being involved front, which in turn allowed it to
in this was just really taking its toll
invade Lebanon in 1982, resulting in
on my conscience and my ability to
the deaths of up to 20,000 Lebanese
function mentally and emotionally. and Palestinians-in addition to faI just couldn't maintain myself-I
cilitating further Israeli settlement
couldn't keep doing that. So I quit."
expansion in the West Bank. "The Roberts left Afghanistan in the fall
was designed in Israel's favor," said
of.2006 and traveled to China, where
he spent $30,000 in ten days, mostly
In Kosovo and Afghanistan, Rob- The restaurant where Roberts conducted his business, after painted with a mural that he had commissioned.

"These contractors that I worked with, they
{i k d
don't care ifthe Afghan people are e
over. Thev1ust want a10 b. I hev hope we
over there as long as we canbso they
k,, can ~:
keep working and making phat an .

! :i~:

6- Counter Point Journal


Reflections on a class
trip to Venezuela
to walk through it together. That
was our first day.
The revolution is reforming our
The country was in the middle of
hemisphere from south to north. It a lively political date on the amendis a mixed bag of ideologies that re- ment to the constitution that aboljects dogmatism and orthodoxy. It is ished term limits. Our class interpower from below and charismatic viewed community leaders, workers,
leadership from above.It is defined women, gays, opposition members,
by a deepening of democracy, a rejec- and government officials about this
tion of violence, the empowerment and other aspects of Venezuelan soand inclusion of all people, respect ciety. Everyone had an opinion and
for the land, and the rejection of im- spared no words of good or ill about
perialism. Forty students from Ever- the problems and successes of their
green went to Venezuela, the epicen- country or their view on the amendter of the revolutionary earthquake, ment. Most in our class arrived skepto find out the meaning of 21st cen- tical of the change in law, but after
tury socialism and see for ourselves careful consideration, I came out
what the corporate media here is too strongly for it. Undeniably, if the
scared to accurately report.
amendment had lost, it would have
Arriving in Caracas we met with meant a major setback to the revoluCharles Hardy, author of Cowboy in tionary government.
Caracas, who surprised us with a trip
I visited seven community radio
to a land takeover ceremony. After a and television stations, all of which
three-hour bus ride, we came upon were built after Chavez was elected
the celebration of a community of president. The community media is
poor farmers who le- __________ by law set up so that
gally took title of an
70% of the content
abandoned parcel of
shown must come
land owned previously arrived skeptical of from the community
by a wealthy landownin which it is a part
er. As a result of 500
of while only 15% can
years of colonialism,
come from the station
the majority of land
itself and 15% from
in Venezuela is owned
outside tlte communiby a small percentage
ty. Hundreds of small
of light-skinned capiradio and several teletalists, who inherited
vision stations have
the land from their
spread across the land,
slave owning and inproviding extreme lodigenous killing forecal news of the people
fathers. In 1998 this heritage of rac- and by the people. I went on two difist wealth accumulation, combined ferent radio shows as a guest, where
with neoliberal economic policies, the host asked us about Obama, our
made Venezuela one of the most experiences here, Palestine and US
unequal countries in the world with foreign policy. This was a starkly dif80% of the population falling below
ferent and participative press than
the poverty line, many in extreme the private media, which is vehepoverty.
mently anti-Chavez, that still domiThe people struggled for three nates the airwaves.
years to legally take over the land,
The truth about Venezuela is hard
forming themselves into a coopera- to discover from reading about it in
rive and community council. People the New York Times. On the ground
cried and spoke movingly of what a deep sense of optimism pervades
it meant to them to be able to work communities, especially in the
their own land and share together, poorest and formally most ignored
sustainably, the abundance. These sectors of society. Since becoming
families fed us while explaining that president Chavez's social programs
the Chavez government has opened have virtually wiped out illiteracy by
the door for them but that they had teaching over three and a half mil-

h Venezuela? Evergreen State College, Seminar 2 E1107
Rising," 2006, documentary covering the rise of Chavez!
-Intervention Keynote Address,"

Consul General of Venezuela,
'ator of
r; "The Chavez code: cracking
ervention in Venezuela"

by Bruce Wilkinson

ewl.litin American Left: Evergreen, Seminar 2, D11d7
ntrol Panel with Eva Golinger and Larry Mosqueda
Bohmer and students
Martin Sanchez, CISPES and PCASC
town Olympia, Washington and State Ave.
u ar Education: Art All Day!Jg,f t6s '

telling, poetry, skits and more!

·. uration: Evergree
.El Salvador, live fee
Victo ! Otto

Most in our class

the change in law,
but after careful
consideration, I
came OUt Strongly
fi •

lion people how to read, beginning
with the new constitution and their
rights protected therein. He has provided free high quality healthcare for
all in the form of over six thousand
clinics run by Cuban doctors, training the next generation of socially
conscious Venezuelan doctors. Barriers to education were removed with
Chavez, expanding the university
system by half a million a year, providing free breakfasts and lunches
and grants for living expenses.All of

these things are the product of a gov- decisions that matter to their comernment determined to work for the munity, a truly free and accessible
good of all people and none of it is press, solidarity with all movements
ever mentioned in the international for sovereignty and justice and
equality for all people then your setThe government is far from per- ting yourself in the right direction.
fect but they are in a process that will Another world is happening, free
take time and mistakes will be made. healthcare, free education, freedom
Hundreds of years of the rich party- of speech, and direct democratic coning on the backs of the oppressed trol of the decisions that affect you
takes time to clean up. However most is not just a dream anymore it
when your principles are the con- is a reality.
tinuing inclusion of all people in the

Protesting stop-loss outside Fort Lewis
Photo by Kyle

much support in the form of honks
and peace signs. Only a few middle
Last Saturday around sixty people got fingers were shown, and the day protogether on Freedom Bridge, gressed peacefully. There were two
way overpass near Fort Lewis to Washington Sate Patrol cars present
protest stop-loss. Stop-loss is a back- to make sure we didn't affect traffic,
door draft that has been in place since and two Lakewood police cars were
the end of the Vietnam War. The rally present for backup. The officers spent
began with a short march from the a long day of sitting in their cars and
nearby GI coffeehouse, Coffee Strong, counting sheep, which leaves me
to the bridge, where people followed wondering if that was the best use of
a marching band that played songs our tax dollars.
such as "Get Up, Stand Up" and "You
There were about six counterAre My Sunshine." After arriving at protesters waving American flags,
the bridge, people lined both sides, sandwiched between the band and
signs waving. Two large signs held the sign that said, "Erid This Backabove the freeway read, "Stop stop- door Draft." I walked over to ask a
loss, support your troops." It was few questions about how supporting
a beautiful sunny day, and we got stop-loss was supporting the troops.
The counterprotesters responded
that stop-loss didn't exist and we
were prote~ting something that
doesn't exist. I told them there were
soldiers on the bridge who had experienced stop-loss firsthand, and the
counterprotesters informed me that
this was only a policy under Bush
but now that Obama was president,
that policy was gone. At this point
they decided to stop talking with me
and went back to their flag waving,
protesting against something which
they don't believe exists.
At this point I think it important
by Tessa Wyllie de Echeverria


to give a little background on stoploss. It started right after the Vietnam War and its draft ended. The
policy states that, "In the event of
war, one's enlistment in the Armed
Forces continues until six months
after the war ends, unless the enlistment is ended sooner by the
President of the United States." After
Obama was elected, he stated that
the United States army would be
stopping this policy. However in order to get out of being called back up
by stop-loss, one must "complete an
involuntary deployment of twelve to
fifteen months and 90 days stabilization time (to 'out-process' from the
military)," after which.they can apply
to end their contact.
Even under this new policy, the
army holds the power to reinstate
stop-loss at anytime. "Still," Robert
Gates (Secretary of Defense) said that
changes "do carry somi:: risk," and
that the Army retains the authority
to use stop-loss under "extraordinary circumstances." The timeline
for ending this policy plans to have
so percent of the soldiers out of the
program by 2010 to 2011. Judging by
this information, it doesn't sound
like stop-loss is over to me. Furthermore the beginning of its end has yet
to be implemented.



Counter PointJoumal-7


El Salvador on the eve of inauguration
by Ashley Waldron, Ken Hoyt,
representing CISPES

Cyanide, the chemical used to extract gold from ore threatens to pollute the environment of El Salvador
if the mining project begins. Cyanide
a deadly poison by itself in addition
to the other heavy metals freed by the
leeching process-aluminum, zinc,
mercury, arsenic-would pollute
the soil as well as the largest water
source in the country: the Rio Lempa.
The Rio Lempa is a massive body of
water that supplies drinking water
to more than half of the residents of
El Salvador. Pollution is guaranteed,
accidents are commonplace, the history of mining in the rest of Latin
America, is fucking tragic. (Go read
Open Veins ofLatin America by Eduardo
Galeano, if you haven't yet)
Resistance has been strong. In
2007, at the Central American alliance against Metallic Mining conference in Cabanas, more than one
thousand protestors rallied at the
Canadian Embassy to protest mining.
The Catholic Church is even against
mining, especially the current archbishop, who has been especially
. vocal. The FMLN has fought the
mining process in the legislative assembly, going up against rightwing
politicians, many of whom have been
purchased by the mining company.
Perhaps the strongest resistance
however has been from those oriented towards direct action. There
are numerous tories of communities
organizing and mobilizing to keep
anyone with a corporate or gringo
appearance out of the town, and
even dismantling of mining equipment. Other types of direct action include the re-ignition of El Salvador's
rich tradition of popular education,
classes and workshops carried out
by anti-mining activists, that serve
to organize and raise awareness
amongst the affected populace-the
people of El Salvador.

l\TI'l,11 (~ISl11~S

schemes for highways amd dry canals
(the Panama canal isn't big enough
anymore) to connect huge ports that
serve to facilitate the ongoing robbery of El Salvador's wealth- meaning more sweatshops, invasive mining, and huge hydroelectric dams.
These "projects of death" already
have and will continue to displace
entire communities, and poison the
land, water and people. These projects will be paid for directly by the
people, or through international
loans, but ownership will be private.
If government could have been a
defense against these assaults, it was
neutralized with the signing of DRCAFTA~ the Central American Free
Trade Agreement.
The third part of the neocolonial
assault is the way in which dissent
has been criminalized. A proud
member of Bush's "coalition of the
willing" El Salvador just recently
brought its troops home from Iraq C>1.;Fazap:i.-. c-mm:i.-t.-t.-- :i.:a:a. s-:i.:i.c'l.-.r:i.-t:.-:,
but continues to wage war on it's
-.v:i.-t:.b. -t.b.- . ,_ _p i - -:E ::E:1 s-.:i.---c'l.-r
own people with it's own PATRIOT
act or "Anti-Terrorist law" under
In 1992, the FMLN and the gov- and is on record disapproving of the
which activists have already been ernment signed the Peace Ac- kinds oflawsuits discussed earlier.
On June 1, CISPES, or the Comcharged with terrorism which is up- cords ending twelve fratricidal years
wards of 60 years in prison. When of declared war. We were in solidar- mittee in Solidarity with the People
the people stand up to these assaults ity then. We will continue in solidar- of El Salvador will be celebrating the
on their homelands, an increasingly ity to struggle with the people and inauguration of a people-centered
militaristic police force will repress against this current phase of war in government, partying alongside
protests with tear gas and rubber- the struggle towards real peace.
millions of Salvadorans and compacoated metal bullets, arrest organizWe hope to hold Obama account- iieros world-wide. We hope to see
ers and leaders, throw them into hor- able and remind him of the things you there.
rible prison conditions with charges he said before he became president._
of terrorism, or worse- political He voted no on CAFTA as a senator
murders have hardly been relegated
to El Salvador's past.

In early May, the Canadian mining
company Pacific Rim announced that
it will sue El Salvador for the crime
of not permitting it to open a gold
and silver mine. This will be the first
of such cases to be heard by a special
international arbitration court established by the Central American Free
Trade Agreement or CAFTA. This
confirmation of legal action is real
fucking alarming, especially when it
coincides with the historic electoral
victory for the people ofEl Salvador.
A little over a hundred days ago,
Pacific Rim first filed its Notice of Intent to sue for damages, lost profits
and lost investments, during which
El Salvador had time to decide how
to react. The mining company claims
it has already spent $75 million "exploring," which is the geological
term for driving their industrial
equipment into people's communities and neighborhoods and punching enormous holes in the ground-a
perfectly phallic illustration of capitalist exploitation. On top of the $75
million investment they're going to
sue for lost profits, which could be in
the hundreds of millions. The country's already broke-poverty that has
only been exacerbated by CAFTA in
the first place.
The disputed mine is planned for
the town of San Isidro in the department of Cabanas, the name for the
site is un-ironically El Dorado-the
mythical city of gold. While mining
. proponents would claim that a country in which people are going hungry
Hope and change
can't afford to turn down such an opWe, CISPES are in solidarity with
portunity for foreign investment and
the people of El Salvador. On March
new jobs, Salvadoran civil society,
15th we watched The People of El Salthe people, and therefore, the FMLN
vador overcome egregious electoral
(the Farabundo Marti National Libfraud, a massive fear campaign and
eration Front), El Salvador's Leftist
US intervention to elect a leader that
political party, are in staunch opporeally represents them. On that day
Just a piece of the puzzle
they said no to centuries of oppresSalvadoran taxes on the profits
from the gold would only be about 2 Anti-Mining activists see the mine as sion and imperialism. On that day
percent. Potential jobs would num- part of an even larger attack on the they began the construction of a dual
power system wherein the state and
ber in the hundreds, and few would country and all of Central America.
Plan Puebla Panama, or the "mega- the social movement will work tobe long term, but the potential and
projects," are massive development gether to create "a new El Salvador."
guaranteed risks are immense.



FMLN, Farabundo Martf National
Liberation Front

ARENA, or Republican Nationalist

Used to be guerillas, still revolutionaries. Rightwing death squad party,
Candidate: Rodrigo Avila. Used to be a
Candidate: President Elect Mauricio
police officer, has bragged about killing
Funes ex-journalist, college dropout,
people during the war, but was too
wordsmith and charismatic badass.
afraid to debate Funes.
Flag: American red white and blue with
Flag: Red with a white star
a cross on it
Party of the People

Party of the rich

Inauguration will occur on June 1 2009.

Controlled government since 1989.

Mock checkpoint proves people don't like to live under military occupation. Hmmm ...
by Lamise Al-Shawahin

On Wednesday May 13th, 2009 a

group of Evergreen students engaged
in a street theater production that
simulated an Israeli Defense Force
(henceforth called the Israeli Occupation Force, or IOF) check point in
Red Square. The demonstration was
an attempt to raise awareness about
the daily harassment that Palestinians are subjected to living under the
Israeli government.
The simulation consisted of two
boards painted to look like the security (read: apartheid) walls constructed on Palestinian land and three people dressed as IOF soldiers carrying
plastic guns with bright orange caps.
The mock-soldiers asked passing students for their ID and to reveal the
contents of their backpacks. They
did not enforce their demands if students were unwilling to comply.
Tessa Wyllie-de Echeverria, one
of the organizers of the event, stated
that the street theater performance
was, "a great way to show people a
glimpse of reality that they're too
busy with their daily lives to go out
and research."

Many members of the Evergreen
community took offense to the performance. It was considered disturbing by some community members
who complained both directly and
indirectly to the demonstrators. A
few students who were not consenting performers felt threatened. This
reporter was unable to find any evidence of direct threats being made.
Hal R. Van Gilder, the Project
Manager for Facilities Services at

Evergreen, sent an email to Art
Costantino stating, "No one and I
mean NO One [sic] will be allowed to
point a gun at me and threaten me
in my work place. I believe that this
is assault with a deadly weapon and
brandishing a weapon for intimidation." Later on in the correspondence
he called the demonstration a "little
deadly weapon assault." In a reply to
that correspondence, John A. Hurley,
Vice President for Finance and Administration stated, "[n]o employee
or student or community member
should experience this level of harassment."
Another member of the Evergreen community, Frank Fatseas,
approached the demonstrators asking how they would react if he were
to stage a mock beheading ''like the
Islamo-fascists do on CNN." He went
on to say, "I bet you'd call me a racist
if we did that next week." The reference he was making was not entirely
clear, but there are no instances of
Palestinians beheading anyone that
have been shown on CNN.
Fatseas appeared tp be comfortable linking an isolated terrorist act
with the entirety of Palestinian people and felt it to be proportionate to
use such an act to represent all; one
can assume, Muslims/Arabs/Middle
Easterners. An isolated incident of a
beheading (It is unclear as to whose
beheading is being referenced. Perhaps Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's
second wife?) and the daily reality of living under apartheid are two
completely disproportionate things.
Apparently, the crime of one Muslim/Arab/Middle Easterner/ North

African/ South Asian is a burden to
all members of the aforementioned
groups and somehow has the power
to dismiss the suffering of Palestinians.
With this level of outcry towards a
demonstration in which no one was
physically harmed, one would assume that those who expressed concerns would be extremely enraged to
hear that this type of harassment is
a daily reality for Palestinians. The
ability to contact authorities and arrest a group of people who they felt
were violating their rights is a privilege that Palestinians do not have.
Those living under the occupation
do not have the privilege of state authorities backing them when their
human rights are violated, nor do
they have aresponsive organization
to report the atrocities committed
against them.
Wyllie de Echeverria said "[w]e
heard many complaints that being
dressed as authority figures gave
mixed messages to people, but one
of the points we were trying to make
is that the authority figures in Israel
are the ones who are abusing their
B'Tselem, a groµp that aims to
educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the occupied territories, reports that, "Israel's policy is based on
the assumption that every single Palestinian is a security threat, thereby
justifying restrictions on his or her
freedom of movement. This assumption is racist and leads to the sweeping violation of the human rights of
an entire population on the basis of

national origin. As such, the policy
flagrantly violates international law."
In spite of the policies violating international law, the harassment and
violence persists.
. The actual walls in Palestine are
roughly 8 meters high, topped off
with razor wire, and surrounded by
''buffer zones." The buffer zones can
be anywhere from 30 to 100 meters
wide with electric fences, trenches,
cameras, sensors, and military patrol.
The buffer zone gives occupation
forces an excuse to expel many residents living near the wall from their
homes, as well as uprooting hundreds of olive trees. The occupation
demolished at least 165 houses in
2007 in addition to the destruction
of dozens of businesses. Ultra conservative Israeli MP's recently pro-

tested a proposal to ease, 11ot remove,
the restrictions on Palestinians try~
ing to get through the checkpoints at
a checkpoint near the occupied West
Bank city of Hebron.
It is frequently the case that the
wall is erected just meters away from
homes, shops, and schools. Passing
through checkpoints in Palestine is
a part of daily life; a Palestinian may
have to pass through a checkpoint to
get to work, visit a loved one, or even
go to a hospital. Palestinians have
been humiliated, detained, beaten
and even shot at while attempting to
cross through these checkpoints.
In the end, the performance broke
people out of their daily routine and,
despite their political stance, made
the occupation in Palestine part of
their discourse.on campus.

If the mock checkpoint was an outrage, what's a real checkpoint like?
(Photo by Nicholas Dehning)

8-Counter Point Journal


llllperial ventriloquislll: A review of The American Pilot
If you've walked past the State The-

ater in the past few weeks, you may
have noticed the disconcerting poster
advertising Harlequin's current production, The American Pilot. In the
poster, a close-up on the face of an
Air Force pilot is offset by an out-offocus woman behind him, who casts
an alluring look in his direction from
underneath her hijab. The image is
evocative of the old stereotype of the
exotic, mysterious eastern woman
who, hidden under swaths of cloth,
beckons with her gaze. On its website
Harlequin describes The American Pilot, written by Scottish dramatist David Greig, as a "portrayal of how the
third world views the US and how
the US views the third world." Unfortunately, the play is neither, and only
succeeds in projecting western ideals
onto non-western characters.
The play takes place in "an unnamed third-world country where
the fight for liberty against an oppressive, American-backed government has been going on for years,"
according to Scot Whitney, the director. Also unnamed are the characters. With a few exceptions, they are
addressed by their job descriptions:
Farmer, Trader, Captain, etc. The
plot unfolds around an American
Air Force pilot who crashes in some
mountains, where Farmer finds him
and takes him home to be cared for.
It then falls into the hands of the
people of the village-and ultimately the captain of the rebel forces that
govern the region -to decide what to
do with him. They debate whether
it would be to their benefit to hand
him over to the United States and
hope that they receive support in
return, or hold him hostage and see
their cause gain attention around
the world.
Supposedly, Greig's play is an allegory. With nameless characters
and an unspecified location, the

play could be set i_n a number of_ her existed within the parameters
war-torn countries and is therefore of a Honda commercial. It's doubtsupposedly able to·represent a gener- ful that many first-worlders take
alized relationship between the US comfort in the sight of helicopter
and the "third world." (Apparently convoys, let alone people who have
"third world" has evolved from an lived under military occupation.
adjective that describes a nation's This is clearly not The Third World
level of industrialization, to a noun speaking.
loosely defined as a conglomerate
When the captain of the district is
of countries that are essentially one called in to decide what to do with
entity.) Anyway, let's suppose that the pilot, he sees the injured man
The Third World is something that laying crumpled on the ground and rebel army as terrorists. But it is
can be represented in one situation, says "His presence makes me feel clear from the way his characters
spoken for with one voice. The issue weak," as if a half-starved American denigrate their own lives and identhen, is who does the speaking.
with a broken leg were intrinsically tities, while elevating a bloodied,
Farmer opens the play with the more masculine than a robust gue- half-conscious American to divine
status (the daughter actually says he
line, "The American pilot was the rilla soldier from The Third World.
that Greig believes western
most beautiful creature I had ever
Captain and his Translator disseen. His skin was the color of sand cuss the resistance at length, dur- culture, along with other hallmarks
flecked with gold ...his eyes were as ing which time Captain repeatedly of the developed world, are what evblue as the sky he fell from." A - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - eryone ultimately aspires to be a
part of. This is not "a portrayal
bizarre way to describe someof how the third world views the
one who has just survived a
US," this is the imperialist west
plane crash and is probably
(probably unassumingly) immore black and blue than gold. •
buing oppressed, non-western
Thus begins ninety minutes of
I to
characters with American ideals.
idol worship/envy that implies
This is problematic.
in the characters a desire to be
It's problematic because in
Farmer and his daughter - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1999, 85% of Americans agreed
with the statement, "Democracy
share a scene in which he confesses laments the futility of their efforts,
to her that he wishes he could have finally declaring that he wishes he may have problems, but it's better
been an engineer instead of a farmer. had never come back from exile in than any other form of government,"
He fantasizes about building huge Norway and that, in fact, he wishes according to the Pew Research Cendams, reducing the role of the farm- he were Norwegian. To insinuate ter. One year earlier, a CBS poll reer to stereotypically parochial terms, that people who make sacrifices in corded that in response to the queswhile romanticizing the developed the struggle for self-determination tion "Should the United States try to
world. Maybe some farmers in The don't really believe in that cause, that change a dictatorship to a democraThird World feel that agriculture is if they had a choice they would trade cy where it can?" 29% of those polled
unfulfilling, but why is this a defin- their cause for an American passport, answered yes, 16% said it depends,
ing element in a character who sym- or a Norwegian one, undermines the and 7% weren't sure, totaling 52%
bolizes The Third World Farmer? reality of such sacrifices. This is not who did not necessarily consider US
intervention in other governments
The Third World speaking.
Whose view is this?
Later in the play his daughter deThe pilot has hardly any lines; the objectionable.
It's not surprising then, that in
scribes, in a fit of ecstasy, a vision in most he says is, "My whole fucking
which she sees their valley with a big record collection is on there," in ref- 2003, according to several polls, an
road from the village to the moun- erence to his iPod as it is being con- overwhelming 75% of the American
tains, cars driving fast, a dam, and fiscated. The lack of a distinct voice population supported a war that,
"helicopters like a flock of geese." from the character that symbolizes while primarily based on the supShe concludes by saying that this is the United States further empha- posed nuclear threat posed by Iraq,
how she knows the pilot was sent by sizes the fact that every other voice was secondarily touted as a war to
God to save them, as if paradise to on stage speaks for the west, masked liberate the Iraqi people from an evil
only by a markedly uncomplicated dictatorship.
One more statistic: in 2005 a PIPA
sentence structure.
showed that when asked whethThe overarching issue with this
play is that Greig does not have a er the US should support a country
point of reference for speaking to that is becoming a democracy if
the experience of oppressed peoples. there is a high likelihood that the
Translator tells Captain, "You rep- people will elect an "Islamic funresent the legitimate aspirations damentalist" leader, 54% answered
of your people," so Greig isn't glo- no. This further indicates that for
rifying the US military as a totally many Americans, democracy means
beneficent force or portraying the more than representation -it means

In asociety where public opinion
is gleaned from pop culture, art• create
lStS have arespons,·b ·1 ,ty
works that challenge dangerous
assumptions, not reinforce them.


American culture; for some, the
two are synonymous to the point
of exclusion of other cultures. This
assumption of cultural superiority,
and its conflation with the idea of
democracy is clearly linked to the
idea that military action is justified
if its purpose is to bring "democracy"
to another country.
In a society where public opinion
is gleaned from pop culture, artists
have a responsibility to create works
that challenge dangerous assumptions, not reinforce them. Producing
a play where characters from The
Third World rhapsodize on the desire to live a Western life does little
to challenge the assumption that
everyone wants to be American, and
would be happy for the US to "liberate" them. If Harlequin wants to
stage a "portrayal of how the third
world views the US" they might do
well to consider what implications
different voices bring with them,
and which ones can do justice to the
experiences of people who are on the
reality side of conflict.
This isn't to say that westerners
can't create good plays about the
Middle East. Iraqi Refugee Project is
a docu-drama recently finished by
Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, two
Americans who transformed interviews conducted with Iraqi refugees in Jordan into an anthology of
monologues. In this case, the only
thing imposed on the narratives is
theatrical constraint.
And I know I've been going along
with the idea of The Third World as ·
a geographic area, but it's important
to point out that, rather than a physical place, "third world" is a condition subject to change. Like in Iraq,
a country that was first world until
the US imposed years of debilitating
sanctions and then bombed the shit
out of the infrastructure and civilian population. Just sayin'.

The Israel lobby double dares Evergreen
In last month's Counter Point Journal, the Mideast Solidarity Project (yes, formerly SESAME) sought genuine participants for a formal civil debate on the
Palestine-Israel conflict, a~er the campus pro-Israel group, SllA Shalom, declined to participate. Little did it expect to receive astrange offer- and adare.
by Phan Nguyen
In the US, the Israel public relations

on its own to add the Mideast Solidarity Project to its email list. MSP
began receiving unsolicited proIsrael propaganda ranging from
generalized demonizations of Arabs
and Islam to personal attacks against
Desmond Tutu.
When MSP asked to unsubscribe
from the email list, it received a response not from SIIA Shalom, but
from Robert Jacobs, the Northwest •
Regional Director of StandWithUs,
reproduced below. Note how Jacobs
attempts to bait MSP into inviting
him onto campus. One must wonder
if StandWith Us operates like a mythical creature that must be invited before it enters.
Also note how Jacobs makes light
of the various censorship controversies on campus when he compares
MSP to Nazis for simply unsubscribing to an email list that it never asked
to subscribe to in the first place. Finally, note that this email was written by a grown man, representing a
multimillion dollar PR organization,
ostensibly fighting for Israel's survival.

campaign is a multimillion dollar industry with a particular emphasis on
college campuses. To this end, various Israel PR groups have funneled
money into student groups, have
flown US college students to Israel
for public relations training, and
have sponsored campus events such
as "Islamofacism Awareness Week,"
and "Israelpalooza." In an attempt to
turn college-age students ·on to Israel,
the Israel lobby has done everything
from producing policy papers (such
as "Israel in the Age of Eminem," authored by famed Republican PR consultant Frank Luntz) to sponsoring
the "Women of the Israel Defense
Force" bikini spreads in Maxim magazine.
Evergreen is not immune to the Israel lobby. Evergreen professor Steve
Niva was profiled as an enemy of Israel for his research on Palestinian
suicide bombings in the pro-Israel
magazine CAMERA on Campus. In
these last two years, the infamous
PR group StandWithUs has given at
least $7000 to Evergreen students From: Robert Jacobs
to promote Israel on campus. Since Sent: Tue 4/21/2009 12:22 PM
then, StandWithUs has continued at- To: Sesame
tempting to establish greater footing Subject: RE: SIIA Shalom - Imam preaches
extermination of all Jews
at Evergreen.
Last March, SIIA Shalom decided
Out of curiosity, why is it that MSP does

not want to see the other side of the argument? Do you doubtthe veracity of the videos of Palestinian media on Palestinian Media Watch? Do you doubt the statements
made by Ziad Abu Alhaj that were taped off
of Ha mas TV? Were they mistranslated?
If not, why is it you do not want to hear
the other side of the story?
I challenge you to invite us to speak on
campus and to listen. But I know that is a
challenge you won't make, because you do
not want anything to disrupt the bizarre
belief system you've built around you-a
belief system that would have leftists and
liberals support Hamas, the most repressive theocracy in Middle East, over Israel, a
country that, yes, has problems (as does every other country) and social ills that need
correction, but that is ademocracy ...
Are you willing to take us up on the challenge? Are you willing to disagree respectfully with someone after listening to them
rather than shout them down? How much
difference is there between your refusal to
listen and tole~ate and the Nazi's refusal to
listen to the Communists in the 192o's and
3o's and the Nazis' burning of books with
which they disagreed?
Prove you believe in democratic discussion and debate. Invite us to speak. Or
come hear us speak ifwe visit the campus.
Robert Jacobs
Northwest Regional Director

StandWithUs has such wholesome-looking material. Why do they have to be so mean?