Category Archives: November-December 2019

Getting behind the new generation

Intro by Joe Courter

What we are witnessing, at least to those prepared to look, is a generation change in the Democratic party.  Being a person of that older generation, I found Ryan Grim’s article in the Washington Post, “Haunted by the Reagan era,” quite valuable, explaining the timidity of the Democratic party leadership and the bold fire of the next generation coming in.  A lot has to deal with perceptions of the power of the Reagan-era Republicans to those who lived through their reign, and the new generation shaped by Obama, with all the hope and disappointment therein. The concluding paragraphs of the article are below, but you can read the whole thing here:

“A lot of us were politicized under Obama,” Varshini Prakash, a co-founder of the Sunrise Movement, which focuses on climate change, told me. “We were like, ‘We don’t need to take control of the government, because . . . there’s this benevolent figure in the government who likes us and cares about the issues we care about, or at least says he does, and all we need to do is convince him of the right course of action.’ And that proved to be untrue.” 

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Our Santa Fe River and SAFEBOR fight for Ginnie Springs

by Hannah Bunkin

On Nov. 1, a bustling crowd gathered in High Springs. The occasion? To make our position clear: we reject Nestlé as it prepares to privatize our water. Over 9,000 comments have been submitted to the SRWMD to review as it considers renewing Seven Springs Water Co.’s permit to withdraw 1.152 million gallons of water per day from Ginnie Springs. 

Crucially, Nestlé is one among many threats to our watershed to naturally exist, flourish, regenerate, and evolve. These activities also threaten the rights of the residents of Alachua County to a healthy, flourishing Santa Fe River and the right to pure, clean, unpolluted water. 

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Winter Warrior, graphic book, documents extraordinary life of Scott Camil

by Joe Courter

The new book Winter Warrior uses the words of Scott Camil as he tells of his youth, and the path that took him to Viet Nam, and then upon his return, into the anti-war movement as a leader so effective that government agents shot him in an attempted drug sting, as an effort to neutralize him in J. Edgar Hoover’s words. His words are illustrated by graphic artist Eve Gilbert whose simple drawings are augmented by speech bubbles enhancing her illustrations of Camil’s words.

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Do you know women who deserve tribute in the Celebrate Women 2020 magazine?

by Pam Smith

There are hundreds of women in Gainesville and the rest of Alachua County who have worked tirelessly over the past 60 years to make the world a better place. 

Some did it so quietly that the rest of us hardly knew that they were making big differences. Others thought and wrote powerful pieces that changed the way we thought in a split second. Still others created businesses, created organizations, tilled the ground, organized voters, advocated for the people who were less powerful, tended to the ones who needed hope and guidance, and in general used their one life to move humanity closer to “justice for all.”

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Voter registration as resistance to criminalization:  Updates on defending Amendment 4

by Panagioti Tsolkas

Local organizers with the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) invite you to volunteer in an effort to find and register newly eligible voters in Alachua and surrounding counties. Training and volunteer orientation occurs Monday through Friday, 2 – 3pm at the FLIC office in the Seagle Building, 4th Floor, 408 West University Ave.

It has been said before that if voting changed anything it would be illegal. Although the sources of that quote has been disputed (was it Emma Goldman? Mark Twain? Some meme-making troll?) the sentiment is understood and it became popularized for a reason. People are skeptical about the government, on most all sides of the political spectrum (yes there are more than two sides!) But the concept of voting being illegal is not just hyperbole or anarchists rhetoric. 

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Whitey Markle, Florida conservation icon, dies

The following obituary appeared in the Gainesville Sun on Nov. 5.

by  Cindy Swirko

Whitey Markle, who described himself as a proud Florida Cracker and whose heritage was reflected in his music and his environmental activism, died Monday night in Gainesville from an illness. He was 75.

Markle was a longtime president of the Suwannee-St. Johns Sierra Club whose efforts ranged from a night airboat curfew on Alachua County lakes to advocacy for protection of waterways in the region and the state. He lived in Citra.

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Ajamu Mutima (1952-2019), rest in power

by Linda Altman

Ajamu Mutima, 67, died on October 13, 2019 in Neptune Beach, Florida.  Ajamu was born on Aug. 21, 1952 in Daytona Beach to Stimon L. Meeks and Ruth Butler Meeks.

He graduated among the top students at Daytona Beach’s Mainland High School, and due to his excellent academic record, he was nationally sought after by many colleges and universities. He subsequently signed with the University of Florida Basketball Team and was one of the first Black players to play on the team.

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Operation Green Light

by Joe Courter

Robert Hutchinson posted this excerpt on Facebook on Oct. 16:

“Florida’s standard punishment for a wide variety of infractions is suspension of the driver’s license. In Alachua County, there are 20,000 current driver’s license suspensions, affecting roughly 15 percent of the driving age population. Infractions include vandalism and graffiti, failure to pay parking tickets, missing childcare payments, sexting, alcohol or tobacco possession by a minor, and many other non-driving offenses. Possession of marijuana or other drugs carries a mandatory one-year revocation.

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HOW WE WIN: Non-Violent Direct Action Campaigning

A workshop with lifelong activist, author, and retired professor, George Lakey

When: Nov. 23, Saturday, 9am-12:30pm, 
Where: Gainesville Quaker Meetinghouse, 702 NW 39th St., Gainesville

Sponsored by the Gainesville Quakers & Indivisible Gainesville

Addressing the current U.S. political turbulence, George Lakey draws lessons for today from a century of successful direct action campaigns by civic groups, women, labor, civil rights, LGBTQ, immigrants, environmentalists, religious groups, and students. In addition to strategy and tactics Lakey reveals best practices for fostering cooperative, inclusive leadership, and unity with diversity.

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From the publisher … The countdown

by Joe Courter

In less than a year, in all likelihood, votes will have been counted in the 2020 Presidential election. The road there is not clear, in fact it is uncharted. But the calendar pages will turn, and we will be there.

Last month the Iguana’s headline was “Impeach,” as we went to the printer just days after Nancy Pelosi set the process into motion. As predicted, it has taken over the news cycle, an easy story to fixate on while other events in the country and world are moved to back pages or just deleted. Investigations continue, hearings are held and testimonies are given (or not), denials and accusations are made, and speculations abound.  

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United protest greets Donald Trump, Jr.

by Ashley Ngyuen, Coordinator, Alachua County Labor Coalition

On Oct. 10, hundreds of University of Florida students, staff, faculty, and local residents gathered in Turlington Plaza, fueled by anger and ready to drown out voices of hate. 

The University’s ACCENT Speakers Bureau, an organization tasked with bringing speakers to campus using student fees, had paid Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle $50,000 for their appearance in the University Auditorium. Students and members of the community were outraged that student fees were used to fund, what was essentially, a political campaign stop for the Donald Trump 2020 presidential run. 

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Nestlé withdrawals are absurd

by Jim Tatum

The evening of Nov. 1,  Our Santa Fe River, Inc., Suwannee St. Johns Group Sierra Club and Climate Action Gator, organized and deployed a passionate protest against Nestlé water bottling company.

The reason for this protest was because Seven Springs Water Company wants to renew a pumping permit near Ginnie Springs to sell water to Nestle to bottle and ship out of the area. 

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November/December 2019 Gainesville Iguana

The November/December issue of the Iguana is now available, and you can access it here! If you want to get your hands on a hard copy, check out our distro locations here.