Calling on Senator Murphy to Oppose Senate Bill #170

by Stanley Heller, Middle East Crisis Committee

Imagine if your business or group supported Cesar Chavez grape boycott your state government put you on a blacklist, and you would be forbidden all state contracts and any pension fund investment. Or maybe state authorities punish you because you refused to buy Nestle products in the ’70s when it was dressing up saleswomen as nurses and pushing baby formula on women in the poorest countries in defiance of all good health sense. Imagine if when Macy’s and Woolworths boycotted Nazi German goods in the ’30s they would be sanctioned. What if the states did something similar to groups demanding action against Sudan because of what its government did in Darfur?

Senate Bill #170 proposes just that in regard to one boycott, the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement that works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law. It was proposed by Florida Sen. Rubio and has 28 cosponsors including CT Senator Blumenthal. It goes beyond boycotts. It punishes any “entity” that advocates “sanctions” so it could be triggered if a group called for a cut-off of cluster bombs to Israel. If passed SB #170 would be an outrageous violation of free speech and a very bad precedent for trade unions who use the weapon of boycott to support striking workers. An effort is being made to persuade CT Senator Chris Murphy to oppose the bill. Labor lawyer John Fussell wrote a terrific letter to Murphy about #170 and 194 CT residents signed on to a similar letter opposing #170 that was hand-delivered to him at his town meeting in West Hartford. Email him through his website or even better call his office in DC at (202) 224-4041. For details see www.TheStruggle.org.

Far from punishing people for advocating BDS, state governments should support it. A few years ago Connecticut’s Treasurer reported that the state had $32 million invested in State of Israel Bonds or stocks in Israeli companies.

Resolution to Cut Military Budget Passes Board of Alders

by Henry Lowendorf, GNH Peace Council

The resolution to cut the military budget in order to fund New Haven human services and infrastructure passed the Board of Alders unanimously. The resolution submitted by the City of New Haven Peace Commission was presented at a hearing by the Human Services Committee of the Board and received input from various department heads of the city government.

The resolution called for a citywide hearing to “reveal what the extent of the city’s public and human services needs are, what the gaps are between the city’s needs and all funds provided by taxes, grants and debt, and how those gaps could be met by reducing the annual national military budget” which currently takes more than 55% of the federal discretionary budget and under the Trump administration is likely to dramatically increase.

Asked to imagine what they could do with greater funds, department heads and city workers enthusiastically spoke of providing more nurses and public health services to needy school children, encouraging business development for non-high-tech startups, provide high quality housing, end homelessness, fix potholes and sidewalks, replace outdated public works equipment, take care of the city’s coastline and harbor, replace laid-off park department workers, provide mechanics for the police fleet and build a green fleet garage – among other things.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp approved of the resolution and offered to submit a similar one to the US Conference of Mayors calling on every medium to large city in the nation to hold such a hearing.
The resolution passed the evening of Feb. 21 calls on the Board of Alders to transmit a letter to federal elected representatives asking what they are going to do to reduce the military budget, i.e., cut spending on wars and move funds to human needs.

Listen Here Short Story Reading Series

The Institute Library, 847 Chapel St., is proud to host the Listen Here Short Story reading series. Join us every 3rd Tuesday of the month for a night of classic short stories selected by the staff of the New Haven Review and read by cast members of the NH Theater Company. Reading starts at 7 p.m., with a talk back at 8 p.m. Also freshly baked cookies and tea are available. Free! Our next reading will be Tuesday, March 21. Our theme: “Shock and Awe.” Our stories: “What I Saw from Where I Stood” by Marisa Silver and “Today Will Be a Quiet Day” by Amy Hempel. Please note: the Institute Library is one flight up and not wheel-chair accessible. For more information, visit us at www.institutelibrary.org.

Reminder: PAR Articles and Calendar Items Due Friday, Feb. 17

Dear Progressive Community Members:

Readers want to know:

  • What is the purpose of your organization?
  • How are you building your group?
  • What campaigns are you organizing?
  • What events are you planning?

The deadline for the March Progressive Action Roundtable Newsletter is Friday, Feb. 17. Please send to this e-mail address – parnewhaven@hotmail.com – articles about your group’s recent and current activities and upcoming actions and events.

We ask you to limit your article to 350 words. Be sure to indicate your name and organization as they should appear in your byline. (see other articles for examples.)

Please keep in mind that as layout space permits, we will include photos.

IMPORTANT: Don’t neglect to add your organization’s contact information such as phone number, e-mail address or website, so our readers can get more information about what your group is doing.

If you haven’t written recent articles for PAR, please include information about your group’s purpose. Do not use different fonts or sizes in your article.

About calendar items:

If you mention an event in an article, please also send a SEPARATE calendar announcement.
Please give street addresses for any events or meetings, even for “well-known” public buildings.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please indicate whether your event location is wheelchair accessible.
You can also send us SAVE THE DATE items about future events, even if you do not yet have all the details in place.

The Newsletter will come out approximately Monday, February 27. Please consider this when submitting calendar items.

Here are other suggestions about submitting copy to the PAR Newsletter:
1. If you ask or encourage new groups to submit articles or calendar items to PAR, please give them a copy of these tips.
2. Submit copy by e-mail, either as regular text or as an MS Word or attachment (.doc or .docx).
3. If you are a first-time author for the PAR Newsletter, thank you! We hope you will subscribe and encourage others in your organization to do so.
4. If you know of someone who wants to write an article but does not use e-mail, send an e-mail to us with that person’s name and phone number or call Paula at (203) 562-2798.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT INSERTS:
We prefer to carry articles and calendar listings rather than inserts. But if you have an insert to include in the Newsletter, we ask you to send the information contained in the flyer to this e-mail address as well so that it can be easily added to the PAR calendar.

Your organization must make and pay for the inserts. We will be able to handle only those inserts that are a full sheet (8.5 x 11) or half-sheet (8.5 x 5.5) of paper. We cannot accept postcards or cardstock flyers. There is a fee of $7 for inserts.

Please call Paula at (203) 562-2798 if you want an insert in the next newsletter.

E-mail us if you’d to join our monthly planning meetings or help with the mailings. We always welcome more helpers and new ideas!

Many thanks! We’re looking forward to your articles!

Thank you for your help in creating this community newsletter

With love and solidarity,

– The PAR Planning Committee

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