From Rochester with Love!

Rochester Students for a Democratic Society has been very active in the past few months since forming. They've had at least two successful solidarity actions – one in support of the uprising in Greece and another for Oscar Grant (see Oakland on Fire, front page). Currently, they are organizing a Do-It-Yourself Festival and March 19 anti-war activities, among other events.

Rochester Indymedia (R-IMC) recently put out a year-in-review feature that highlights 76 articles from local contributors, covering everything from animal rights to the Iraq war to the bailout. R-IMC also hosted a number of directors with their films this year: Hannah Dobbz with Shelter: A Squatumentary; Frank Lopez AKA "The Stimulator" from It's the End of the World As We Know It and I Feel Fine with Ground Noise and Static; Helia Rasti and Jonathan Stribling-Uss with Shutdown: The Rise and Fall of DASW; and Mara Ahmed with The Muslims I Know. IndyTV, R-IMC’s cable access TV show has completed over 25 shows since it started last year. The collective is working on putting out a print edition of the Web site.

Rochester Food Not Bombs (FNB) is continuing to serve the community through consistent meal shares and local events. During the winter, FNB has to get creative to share meals as blustery/snowy evenings make for poor serving times outside. This year, the anti-war storefront on Monroe Ave. has opened its doors to the group as a fall-back on those not-so-nice days. The group is also moving forward to put together a cook zine, record oral histories of the current chapter (now over 2 1/2 years old), as well as expand and offer assistance to others who would like to start a food not bombs in their neighborhood.

The Anarchist/Anti-authoritarian Reading Group continues. We meet once a month and are currently finishing a discussion on Peter Kropotkin's The Conquest of Bread.

The IWW-Rochester is currently looking for an identity. One direction that might bear fruit is an organizing training offered by the national. This is in the works. Also, as a way to meet and greet with the community, the group is going to be screening the film Wobblies at the end of March.

Rochester anti-war activists are attempting a paradigm shift in organizing for the sixth anniversary of the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq through the use of a spokescouncil. In previous years of organizing for March 19, decision-making processes, goal setting, and strategy and tactics were usually directed by larger anti-war organizations, and other organizations were asked to join the effort and subsume their autonomy. So far, there have been three meetings with at least 15 different organizations present and somewhere between 20-30 folks present. The group uses a hybrid of consensus and direct-democracy for decision-making.

Critical Mass still meets on the last Friday of the month at the Liberty Pole in downtown Rochester at 6 p.m. They ride regardless of weather conditions – rain, shine, sleet or snow. Numbers decline substantially in the winters, but still they ride!

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