You are hereOrganizing Locally
by Linda Milazzo
CODEPINK Women For Peace will be traveling to Gaza on March 6th. The purpose of their mission is to provide "humanitarian and emotional support to women and women's organizations and exert pressure on US, Egyptian and Israeli governments to lift the blockade and promote peace and human rights in the region."
In advance of their trip, CODEPINK has created a petition that asks signers to write President Obama's special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, to request that he meet with the women of Gaza. As an American Jew who opposes Israel's inhumane treatment of Palestinians, I answered CODEPINK's call, signed the petition, and wrote a letter to Mr. Mitchell. The letter that follows is my personal statement to Mr. Mitchell and not the statement of CODEPINK.
By Dave Lindorff
I can’t count how many people have bombarded me with criticisms, usually laced with insults and often obscenities, when I have written articles calling for pressure on Democratic politicians to do the right thing, whether that is impeaching the last president and vice president for war crimes or in the case of our new president, standing and fighting for a people’s bailout, instead of a Wall Street bailout.
The common refrain I hear is that the Democrats and Republicans are the same, and that we need a third party. Another common refrain is that “all you suckers” who voted for Obama are to blame. We should have voted for Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader, they say.
Now I have nothing against McKinney and Nader. That ticket would make for a wonderful administration, I agree. But I also have to point out that there is zero chance of these two people being elected in my lifetime (I’m 59 and pretty healthy) or theirs.
by Linda Milazzo
In an effort to establish peaceful diplomacy with the government and people of Iran, and to model for the new Obama administration the power of cooperative good will, three highly regarded American peace makers have ventured to Iran. CODEPINK cofounders, Jodie Evans and Medea Benjamin, along with former Army Colonel and decorated Foreign Service Diplomat Ann Wright, are visiting Iran on visas coordinated by the Fellowship Of Reconciliation, which similarly organized the September 24th meeting in New York City between civilian leaders of the American peace movement and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In that historic citizen diplomacy gathering, Iranian President Ahmadinejad met with approximately 120 representatives from American peace and social justice organizations, where over the course of two hours, he took unfiltered questions from the groups. The question from the women of Codepink, who travel extensively on missions of peace, addressed why the organization's founders were repeatedly denied visas to Iran. Ahmadinejad promised to remedy the situation and provide the women their visas. Thanks to the efforts of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, working in consort with the government of Iran, visas to Iran were issued on Monday to Benjamin, Evans and Wright. Seventy-two hours later, these intrepid citizen diplomats were packed and on their way.
I caught up with Evans yesterday on her stop-over in Frankfurt and asked her to explain the intent of her mission. She replied:
"We're traveling to Iran to strengthen our connections with as many groups as possible in the areas of government, culture, education, women and, of course, peace. We've come to deepen our work as citizen diplomats to model the type of diplomacy we HOPE to see from our new government."
To underscore that voting third party or not voting at all will help elect McCain and Palin, and thereby re-empower the self-righteous ideologues who berated progressives, liberals, democrats, greens, libertarians, etc., for the past 8 years while their leaders were on board, I've asked my fantastic vlogger collaborator, Sharona L. Smith (VoiceOfAmericans2008), to compile a short video of some of the harassment we've endured.
Before you decide NOT to vote for Barack Obama, who I view as our most realistic HOPE to restore some sense of sanity to our rapidly failing world, I implore you to watch Sharona's masterful 4+minute compilation of pro-Obama/pro-McCain confrontations... and more:
Sister Emmanuelle, a nun who lived for years among scavengers in Cairo's slums and who won wide acclaim for defending the rights of the poor and marginalized, died Monday at age 99.
A spokeswoman for her association, Sandrine de Carlo, said the Belgium-born nun died in her sleep at a retirement home in Callian, a town in southeastern France.
by Linda Milazzo
As corporate media reports obsessively on Joe The Plumber, who misrepresented himself to Barack Obama saying he'd be victimized by Obama's tax plan, Americans more in need than Joe are being victimized for REAL everyday - not in hypothetical ways like Joe's imagined fears of paying rich people's taxes even though he isn't rich. But in ways that jeopardize every aspect of their existence due to the collusion between the American government and the financiers it loves.
And while John McCain and Sarah Palin make this self-serving plumber the cause celebre for their campaign, increasing numbers of Americans less fortunate than Joe are losing their homes, their jobs, their health insurance, and more. Yes, while physically imposing Joe 'Wutchagonnadoforme' Wurtzelbacher, alias "Joe The Plumber," bemoans his fabricated tax burden, Americans in greater need than seemingly healthy Joe, are suffering more burdensome tragedies than his phobia of spreading his wealth. Interestingly, what Joe fears the most - the spreading of wealth (be it real or imagined), may one day be his salvation - just as it was on Friday for Jocelyne Voltaire, whose home was saved by the kindness of strangers who spread THEIR wealth to her. These strangers' generosity toward Jocelyne defines the American spirit far better than the vitriol toward SHARING that defines the McCain campaign.
So who is Jocelyne Voltaire, and why is her story more relevant to America's current crisis than that of plumber Joe?
Please check out and forward the video and other coverage of a groundbreaking presentation of ordinary/extraordinary Americans to the L.A. City Council by "Mad-As-Hell Network" (MAHN).
The group's director Peter Thottam, screen actor Judd Nelson, Code Pink organizer Jodie Evans, and other locals make outraged appeals to Council in response to the crisis unfolding before us.
This is where rubber meets road, folks. This is how we take back our country before it's too late. Please try this at home.
Keep an eye out for MAHN, mon, (http://www.madashellnetwork.org), as it appears to be a powerful, all-inclusive organization that's sure to grow. Since Congress, the Federal Gov, and even the presidential candidates are ignoring the people these days, presenting to City Councils and State Gov's all over the country is a great idea!
Sometimes it's worth a day, or half-day, off from work to take control of our own well-being, economically and otherwise.
Perhaps a bailout of some kind was needed, but will the current administration actually do anything for the people, or will another Trillion Dollars be squandered on fat CEO salaries, bonuses, and golden parachutes for the billionaires, while Americans lose their homes and jobs at the same time?
The Smithfield and Wackenhut RICO Suits: Forward into the Past
Global Labor Strategies
(part 2 in a series - read part 1)
In our last post we described how the RICO suits filed by Smithfield Packing and Wackenhut Corporation represent a sharp escalation in the long standing corporate assault on human and labor rights. Not content with stripping workers and their organizations of fundamental labor rights, big corporations are now going after basic constitutional rights. We argued that these suits threaten the civil rights not just of unions but of everyone.
Yom Kippur, 5769
New York City
Rabbi Daniel Cohen
Congregation Agudath Sholom
Rabbi Barry Freundel
Kesher Israel Congregation
Dear Rabbis Cohen and Freundel,
Please forgive the presumption -- not only don't we know one another, I'm the kind of "cultural Jew" who makes even Reform Rabbis weep.
But as far as I can tell, now that Joe Lieberman and his family have moved from New Haven to Stamford, you, Rabbi Cohen, are his primary Rabbi in Connecticut. And you, Rabbi Freundel, lead the congregation where Sen. Lieberman worships in Washington.
Sen. McCain loves Joe Lieberman -- he wanted him as his running mate, if press reports are accurate.
Sen. McCain listens to Joe Lieberman.
Sen. Lieberman is, if you will, John McCain's rabbi.
On Saturday I went to Carson, California, to attend a rally for Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. For those who aren't familiar with the city of Carson, it's approximately 19 miles south of downtown Los Angeles. In the 2004 Presidential election, Carson, which had a population of just under 90,000, donated three times as much money to George W. Bush than to John Kerry. This year, for the 2008 elections, residents of Carson have given slightly more to Republican candidates than to Democrats by a slim margin of $3,000. Thus the gap between Republicans and Democrats in Carson has narrowed.
The Palin rally, which you may have seen on youtube and TV, was held at the Home Depot ADT Tennis Stadium. Because of the surprising popularity of Mrs. Palin and easy access to free tickets, all 20,000 stadium seats, plus an overflow area were filled. I got a handful of tickets, recruited my friend Rebecca Tobias, Program Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics, and trekked on out to Carson. We scored ground level seats in the stadium from which I watched, listened and steadily bristled. When I could no longer stomach Palin's lies and distortions, I jumped up, and at the top of my lungs, repeatedly called Palin a L-I-A-R! I was shouted down in Palinese by her 20,000 admirers, then escorted out by security. I took extra time as I climbed the steps from the ground up to the top just to keep her admirers shouting. The few minute reprieve from Palin's lies was to me a righteous diversion.
When I neared the top of the steps I turned back to Mrs. Palin and continued to call her a L-I-A-R, until I was ushered out the door. Thankfully my escorts showed me the utmost respect for they privately shared my feelings. They're working folk. They see through Mrs. Palin. But that's just the start of this story...
Nine years after the World Trade Organization came to Seattle, a new feature film sets out to dramatize the historic protests that the institution's meetings provoked. The issue that Battle in Seattle filmmaker Stuart Townsend seeks to raise, as he recently stated, is "[what it takes] to create real and meaningful change."
Smithfield Packing v. The Constitution | Global Labor Strategies (first of a series)
A Federal court in Virginia ruled on January 29th that Smithfield Packing could proceed with a civil lawsuit filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against the United Food and Commercial Workers, Jobs With Justice, and others. At issue is a corporate campaign spearheaded by the union to support its organizing drive at Smithfield’s Tar Heel North Carolina pork processing plant. The action if successful could push the US labor movement into a legal black hole in which it could vanish.
Coordinator Trip Report - Scandinavia
by Bruce Gagnon | Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
This report covers the period of September 18-29 as I traveled to Sweden, Denmark, and Norway for a speaking tour. The trip was organized by GN board member Agneta Norberg and Barbara Bradefors from Sweden who belong to Women for Peace.
My first stop was in Malmo, Sweden for the European Social Forum where I spoke at an event on the militarization of space. Also included were GN chairperson Dave Webb (CND, England), Jan Tamas (No to Bases Campaign, Czech Republic) as well as Agneta who highlighted the growing efforts of Scandinavian aerospace corporations to join the space militarization program. Just prior to my leaving home, I did two email interviews with peace publications that produced full-page spreads that were distributed in Malmo.
Hundreds of workshops were spread out all over Malmo during the Social Forum. The only other one I was able to attend was an excellent forum on the growing dangers of an expanding NATO which has become a global offensive military alliance under the control of the U.S. and trying to substitute itself for the United Nations. The U.S. is now pressuring NATO members to increase their military spending and to buy their
Texas scientists have finally stopped agonizing over creationism and gotten busy organizing.
Today, a group of university professors announced in a press conference the 21st Century Science Coalition, a vehicle to promote science education in Texas and push back against the retrograde agenda at the State Board of Education. It’s about time. The obscure but powerful board is a known hotbed of pseudo-scientific activity. At least six of its 15 members, including Chairman Don McLeroy, are creationists who have done little to hide their contempt for evolutionary biology. With an overhaul of the state’s science curriculum underway, this religious right faction has an opportunity to leave its fingerprints all over biology textbooks.
Atlanta GA: Say "No" to Paulson's Plunder at "Cash for Trash" Sale at Fed Reserve, Tomorrow, 6 PM - 7:30 PM
Say "No" to Paulson's Plunder at "Cash for Trash" sale at Fed Reserve
October 02, 2008
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
JOIN IN A LIVELY "TRASH FOR CASH" sale in front of the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta help us say "NO BUSH BAILOUT.""
Date: Thursday, October 2, 2008.
Location: Federal Reserve Bank, 1000 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, GA, 30309).
Time : 6 pm - 7:30 pm.
If you want, bring some garbage / plastic bags with something in them so they look sorta full. We will hand our Wall St. "trash" (junk bonds / hedge funds / derivatives) to a "Federal Reserve officer" (one of us in a suit). Bring your own slogans on signs or here are some suggestions, "Honk if you want trash for cash," "Say NO to Paulson's Plunder," "Bailout Main St, not Wall St." "We don't want Wall Street's trash." Press may attend.
Psst - pass the word! Let's show these folks emough is enough!
Fed Reserve Bank, 1000 P'tree St NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
COOKS NOT TERRORISTS
A global day of action for the end of the FBI's campaign of infiltration and disruption of the Food Not Bombs movement in the U.S.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2008
The Anniversary of the Patriot Act
A global day of action for the end of the FBI's campaign of infiltration and disruption of the Food Not Bombs movement in the U.S.
Free the our political prisoners
Drop the Patriot Act Charges on the Minneapolis 8
Betty Gardner of bettybarnesgardner.com wrote:
I have written a political, marionette, parody play for the theatre. I am hoping to network with people who might find my project worthwhile and perhaps garner assistance in producing the play or manning the puppets. Can you pass this info on? If anyone in the Democrat group is interested in assisting me either as a representative of your group or as an independent individual they can contact me. This play is short, and could be offered as a fundraiser for the presidential campaign for Barack Obama.
The title of the play comes from a small book that I have written and self published: The President’s New Clothe, based on Hans Christen Anderson’s story, The Emperor’s New Clothes. The story begins with people sitting around an office table. The leader explaining that the war that they started based on “fashions of mass destruction,” is not going well, and the public wants to see the fashions. There are no fashions. To maintain power they must come up with a plan to pacify the public discontent. They decide to find someone high up in the public eye they can convince the non-existent clothes are a reality. They conspire that only smart, patriotic people can see them. If you can’t see them, you are incompetent or not-patriotic. They must persuade someone who is gullible, egotistic and not smart enough to figure it out to parade in them: Enter, George.
D.C. couple, New Orleans priest honored for their work for peace
Pax Christi USA names Mary Joan and Jerry Park, 2008 Teachers of Peace; Fr. Vien Nguyen, recipient of the Eileen Egan Peacemaker Award
At an awards ceremony which included social justice advocates from across the United States, Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace movement, recognized the work of Mary Joan and Jerry Park by naming them the recipients of this year’s Teacher of Peace Award. The Parks were honored for their long commitment to teaching peace and nonviolence to children through their Washington, D.C.-based organization Little Friends for Peace. Past Teacher of Peace Award recipients include Dorothy Day, Rev. Daniel Berrigan, S.J., Sr. Helen Prejean, C.S.J, and Msgr. Ray East, who was on hand to formally present the award to the Parks.
“Jerry and I are humbled, honored, grateful and energized to receive this award,” stated Mary Joan Park. “We are all peacemakers, peace-builders, peace partners, and we are all on this journey to build a culture of peace. Tonight is a great night to honor and recognize all teachers of peace, of making this a career, validating this mission of peacemaking.”
NEW YORK - The George W. Bush administration's plan to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to rescue giant Wall Street firms from their current financial meltdown has unleashed a spontaneous wave of protests across the United States.
Protesters said they want the Congress to protect millions of U.S. citizens who are on the verge of losing their homes due to bad lending practices of creditors instead of doling out public money to big investment firms responsible for ruining the economy.
"People are up in arms about this," Matt Holland of the TrueMajority.org, an advocacy group comprising 700,000 members that played a major role in organising the protests, told IPS. "Our members are livid. They're hitting the streets."
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmental crusader Al Gore urged young people on Wednesday to engage in civil disobedience to stop the construction of coal plants without the ability to store carbon.
The former U.S. vice president, whose climate change documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" won an Academy Award, told a philanthropic meeting in New York City that "the world has lost ground to the climate crisis."
Peace Activists Go To Trial in DC for "Ghosts of War" Action in Senate Gallery By Joy First
Ten activists will be tried at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in Washington, DC beginning September 29, 2008. They are being charged with “Unlawful Conduct” and face a possible sentence of up to six months in jail if they are found guilty.
On March 12, 2008, the defendants went to the Senate gallery, put a piece of cloth over their heads to dramatize the suffering and death resulting from the war and occupation of Iraq, and called on the Senators to end the funding for the war. “The right to peacefully and nonviolently petition the government is a cornerstone of democracy,” said Eve Tetaz, a 77-year-old activist who is a former teacher and was arrested during the action. All of the activists participating have had training in nonviolent civil resistance, and have participated in actions calling for an end to the war since 2003. This action was organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance.
Veterans Occupy National Archives, Maintain Solemn Oaths to Defend the Constitution Against All Enemies Foreign & Domestic
On Tuesday morning, September 23, 7:30am, at the front of the National Archives Building on Constitution Ave. in Washington, D.C., five military veterans will risk arrest as they climb a 9-foot retaining fence and occupy a 35-foot high ledge to raise a 22x8 foot banner stating, "DEFEND OUR CONSTITUTION. ARREST BUSH AND CHENEY: WAR CRIMINALS!"
The group has declared its intention to stay on the ledge, fasting for 24 hours "in remembrance of those who have perished and those still suffering from the crimes of the Bush administration," according to a written statement. With a portable PA system, they will broadcast recorded statements from prominent Americans for the impeachment and/or arrest of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney. "Citizens Arrest Warrants" will be distributed to people waiting in line to enter the National Archives.
The veterans emphasized they are taking this action because "Bush and Cheney's serial abuse of the Law of the Land clearly marks them as domestic enemies of the Constitution, they have illegally invaded and occupied Iraq, deliberately destroyed civilian infrastructure, authorized torture, and unlawfully detained prisoners. These actions clearly mark them as war criminals, accountability extends beyond impeachment to prosecution for war crimes even after their terms of office expire."
Avaaz.org is a new global web movement with a simple democratic mission: to close the gap between the world we have, and the world most people everywhere want.
“Avaaz” means “Voice” in many Asian, Middle Eastern and Eastern European languages.
Across the world, most people want stronger protections for the environment, greater respect for human rights, and concerted efforts to end poverty, corruption and war. Yet globalization faces a huge democratic deficit as international decisions are shaped by political elites and unaccountable corporations -- not the views and values of the world’s people.
European Social Forum: It's All About NATO
by Bruce Gagnon | Organizing Notes
I arrived in Copenhagen today after spending the last couple of days in Malmo, Sweden for the European Social Forum. Yesterday afternoon a march was held where 10,000 people walked for 3 and 1/2 hours through the city streets in a beautiful spirited procession. Thousands of people watched us from their home windows or on the street as we passed through the city. The weather was perfect. Just before the march took off I was the final speaker at the rally (for two minutes). I was lucky I got to speak at all as we got to the rally late after a large group of us stopped for some lunch at a local fallafel joint. I'm glad we ate first.
Before the march yesterday I participated in a forum on space issues along with GN chair Dave Webb from England who is also the Vice-Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarament in the UK. Jan Tamas, our good friend and a leader of the resistance against deployment of the U.S. Star Wars radar in the Czech Republic, was there too. GN board member Agenta Norberg, a long-time activist from Sweden, made the arrangements to get us all there to talk. It was a well attended event and we felt excited to have reached many new people.
With pink clipboards, "Make Out Not War" stickers and chocolate kisses in hand, hundreds of CODEPINK women will go door-to-door Saturday all over America, asking their neighbors to sign a petition to demand Congress bring the troops home within one year.
They'll be joining thousands of other volunteers from all 50 states, from 20 peace and justice organizations, doing the same in the historic Million Doors for Peace day of action. They hope to reach one million citizens who long for peace but are unsure how to work toward it in the lead-up to the presidential election.
WHAT: Hundreds of women to knock on doors all over America, joining thousands of others in Million Doors for Peace campaign asking neighbors to petition for troops out of Iraq within a year!
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 20
Political activists and legal groups are preparing to file multiple lawsuits against the cities and police departments of Denver and St. Paul because of their treatment of convention protesters.
The groups say protesters demonstrating against the war in Iraq and other issues in both cities were mistreated and their civil rights were violated.
The National Lawyers Guild of Minnesota is preparing multiple suits against authorities in St. Paul on behalf of protesters, according to the group. They say protesters were illegally detained and their First Amendment rights were violated.
Zinn: US 'In Need of Rebellion'
Al Jazeera speaks to Howard Zinn, the author, American historian, social critic and activist, about how the Iraq war damaged attitudes towards the US and why the US "empire" is close to collapse.
Q: Where is the United States heading in terms of world power and influence?
HZ: America has been heading - for some time, and is heading right now - toward less and less world power, less and less influence.
Obviously, since the war in Iraq, the rest of the world has fallen away from the United States, and if American foreign policy continues in the way it has been - that is aggressive and violent and uncaring about the feelings and thoughts of other people - then the influence of the United States is going to decline more and more.
This is an empire which is on the one hand the most powerful empire that ever existed; on the other hand an empire that is crumbling - an empire that has no future ... because the rest of the world is alienated and simply because this empire is top-heavy with military commitments, with bases around the world, with the exhaustion of its own resources at home.