New Haven Labor History Association Annual Conference and Meeting June 25: Reviving the Labor Movement

Steve Kass, GNHLHA Executive Board, President

This year’s annual conference and meeting of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association (GNHLHA) will honor an organization and an individual with the “Pass It On” awards in addition to having a keynote address on reviving the labor movement.

The honorees are IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services) and Frank R. Annunziato.

1) IRIS started in 1982 and continues to this day to be a vital organization that works in New Haven to resettle refugees and other immigrants from around the world since 1982. IRIS is named after the iris flower, which thrives all over the world and is a symbol of hope and faith.

The numbers and nationalities of clients have fluctuated as the world has changed in the past 34 years. Currently, IRIS addresses the critical needs of hundreds of refugees; about 420 arrived in New Haven and surrounding towns in 2016. Refugees come from a wide range of war-torn countries, including Sudan, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

IRIS recognizes that welcoming persecuted people from other countries is both an ancient and universal custom, and part of a long tradition in the United States. In today’s political climate of hatred and mistrust, organizations such as this provide an extremely important beacon of hope to us all. This award also recognizes the historical link between immigration and labor.

2) Frank R. Annunziato’s career and commitment to the labor movement spans almost 50 years. He is an academic (PhD thesis on collective bargaining in education), writer, teacher, workshop leader, activist, labor historian and organizer. He recently retired as the Executive Director of the University of Rhode Island, American Association of University Professors after 17 years. He was the founding president of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association in 1988.

As always, there will be time for refreshments and socializing with our troubadour, Frank Panzarella, serenading us with labor songs. Please join us on Sunday, June 25 from 1:30 – 4 p.m. at the Greater New Haven Central Labor Council, 267 Chapel St.

Jewish Voice For Peace 2017 National Membership Meeting

Susan Bramhall, Jewish Voice for Peace

Seven members of Jewish Voice For Peace New Haven traveled to Chicago to join over a thousand others at the semiannual national membership meeting of Jewish Voice For Peace (JVP) March 31 – April 2.

This year’s conference reflected the intentional efforts of JVP to become more inclusive and delve deeply into the implications of intersections with related social justice movements. Many speakers presented information on the underlying colonial and racist nature of the Zionist project leading us inevitably to understanding the many separate struggles as one movement with common goals.

The first day of the conference was devoted to the first-ever gathering of Jews of color, Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in solidarity with Palestine and in partnership with JVP (JOCSM). A general session presented by Ilise Cohen titled “Understanding Israeli State Racism and Hierarchy through Mizrahi History, Accommodation, Struggles, and Resistance” was an eye-opening tour of racism within the Jewish community. JOCSM and JVP stand in strong support of the #BlackLivesMatter Vision For Black Lives platform.

Growing out of this deepening connection is a new campaign that will be kicking into high gear this summer: Deadly Exchange. The project will focus on the deadly falsehood that violence against some communities will create security for others as has long been perpetuated by the policies of both the U.S. and Israeli government. The focus will be exposing and working to stop the training of U.S. police by Israeli forces in the art of occupation. And, yes, it happens in Connecticut as well as Ferguson and Atlanta. Stay tuned for more information.

A last note we’d like to share is that the New Haven chapter was honored to facilitate a well-attended train-the-trainers workshop on conducting Anti-Islamophobia workshops. We have just completed the second of these self-study sessions in partnership with members of the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut and hope to offer more in the future. Contact Newhaven@jvp.org for more information.

Videos of keynote sessions by Judith Butler, Linda Sarsour, Rasmeah Odeh and others are all available online at nmm.jewishvoiceforpeace.org.

May Day/International Workers’ Day and Immigrants’ Rights Rally and March

Dozens of area organizations endorsed the day-long May Day and immigrants’ rights rally on the New Haven Green where many hundreds enjoyed entertainment, speakers and exhibits. The day ended with a march from downtown through Grand Avenue, a great example of networking and building a local coalition of resistance. In addition to the sponsors listed on the flyers, there were many more that helped build this day of action, such as Progressive Action Roundtable, People Against Injustice, May Day Celebration Committee, Food Not Bombs, the Shoreline Green Party and GNH Labor History Association.

The support and solidarity for this year’s May Day was broad. Among the speakers prior to the march was Mayor Toni Harp, who declared that New Haven will remain a city welcoming to immigrants.
RESIST Foundation, which awarded a generous grant for the event, wants more people to know about their work so potential applicants and donors will be aware of Radical Philanthropy. Contact them at 259 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144. Telephone: (617) 623-5110.

Website: resist.org.
Local TV station WTNH posted a video on its website with its news story: wtnh.com/2017/05/01/ new-haven-may-day-protests-take-on-new-urgency-under-trump/

Shops Close On “Day Without Immigrants” | New Haven Independent

At least 40 New Haven businesses kept their stores bolted all day Monday to demonstrate the contribution that immigrants make to the region’s economy.

New Haven’s cuisine was most noticeably impacted by city’s participation in a national “Day Without Immigrants” strike — with restaurants as varied as Kasbah Garden Cafe (owned by a Moroccan) on Howe Street to La Molienda Cafe (owned by a Peruvian) on Grand Avenue all vacant for the day. Less visible were the contractors, like maids and gardeners, who didn’t take any gigs.

“The only way we can really demonstrate ourselves, especially for the ones who don’t have any documents and cannot vote, is to show that we have weight in the economy of this country,” said John Lugo, a 15-year organizer Unidad Latina en Accion (ULA).

Source: Shops Close On “Day Without Immigrants” | New Haven Independent

Local 33, Welcome, Latest Union at Yale!

The battle for Yale to recognize the graduate students’ union continues. The past month Local 33 and its supporters have upped their visibility with the encampment on Beinecke Plaza and those who have been fasting. The culmination of the protest was at the Yale graduation on May 22, when over 1,500 supporters of Local 33 took to the streets demanding that Yale recognize the right of the graduate students to organize. The supporters, wearing the colors of Local 33—a bright orange shirt and mortarboard—marched from Dixwell Ave. to Elm and College St. When the Yale procession started with university officials at the head, the marchers sang “We shall not be moved,” which changed to clapping when the graduates walked across Elm St. to the Old Campus. The group of those fasting in wheelchairs also joined and led the marchers to Church St. and City Hall, where they finally broke their fast.

Read all about it: www.local33.org and yaledailynews.com/blog/2017/05/22/local-33-protesters-march-on-old-campus-end-fast.

Wells Fargo Middletown Shut Down for 2 Hours; Protesters Demand Divestment from Dakota Access Pipeline

Dan Fischer, Dragonfly Climate Collective

For nearly two hours on April 7, customers were unable to get into the local Wells Fargo branch. A police officer told people attempting to enter that they would not be able to do so. After all, 76-year-old climate protester Vic Lancia had locked himself to two trash bins, each filled with 500 pounds of concrete and rocks, blocking entrance to the front door. Around the corner, nine Wesleyan students linked arms in order to prevent cars from accessing the drive-thru. They chanted “You can’t drink oil, keep it in the soil!”

Local residents, students and members of climate justice groups–about 45 people in total–protested outside Wells Fargo in opposition to the bank’s funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The proposed $3.8 billion oil pipe-line would threaten the drinking water and land of the Stan-ding Rock Sioux and surrounding indigenous communities in so-called “North Dakota” and other states, posing dangers to the environment and to indigenous sovereignty. Wells Fargo has invested $120 million in the pipeline’s development.

Middletown residents and Wesleyan students have repeatedly protested at Wells Fargo over the past months, but this demonstration marked an escalation in local efforts, with people breaking the law in order to disrupt the bank’s activities.

“I will not stop letting my voice be heard as an indigenous woman. I stand here to protect water from being polluted,” said Katrina Harry, a Navajo woman who joined the demonstration.

“Settler colonialism is a structure that has displaced Native Americans from their land for hundreds of years, and the Dakota Access Pipeline is another violent colonial project endorsed by the United States government,” said Wesleyan student Angel Martin. “I am coming to show solidarity with the water protectors who resisted and are still resisting DAPL. I am coming because indigenous sovereignty matters and native lives matter.”

For the full report of the action and to see photos, please go to http://www.capitalismvsclimate.org/2017/04/wells-fargo-branch-shut-down-for-two-hours-protesters-demand-divestment-from-dakota-access-pipeline.

Barghouti and Nader Accept Gandhi Peace Award

by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

Hundreds gathered at Yale’s SSS building on April 23 to celebrate the Gandhi Peace Award being jointly given to Omar Barghouti and Ralph Nader. The award has been presented since 1960 by Promoting Enduring Peace (PEP).

Omar Barghouti

Omar Barghouti was introduced by Rebecca Vilkomerson, the Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace. She decried his Israeli arrest on March 19 as “politically motivated.” She called him a “charismatic speaker, a brilliant writer, savvy campaign strategist, and a principled thinker.”

Barghouti began his talk by noting Palestine “lingers on in colonial chains.” He dedicated his award to Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israel. He asked that his $2,500 prize money be given in equal shares to Black Lives Matter, Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, and Friends of Sabeel North America. He talked about the “striking similarities” between Israeli treatment of Palestinians and that of blacks in the days of apartheid South Africa. He noted the recent decision of Barcelona, Spain, which ended its complicity with Israeli settlements and explicitly defended boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS). He also listed many other BDS victories.

Ralph Nader was introduced by activist and mediator Charles Pillsbury, who said he was inspired to be a lawyer by Nader and wanted to be one of the activists dubbed “Nader’s Raiders.”

Ralph Nader said he was a student of Gandhi’s thinking that “open non-violent disobedience be active and not passive.” He said, “Peace is desirable not just on philosophical, religious or argumentative grounds, but a survival mechanism which transcends cultures.”

He talked about terrorism, and said the worst terrorism was “state terrorism” which “is always legitimized as in the ser-vice of national defense.”

At the end of his talk, he mentioned Palestinians and Israelis.

He denounced settlements as “illegal colonies.” He talked about breaking the grip of the lobby AIPAC on Congress and categorized some of the resolutions it advances as “bloody beyond belief.” He asked “Who has killed more than 400 times the number of innocent men, women, and children than the other side? The answer is the Israeli government.”

The talks were warmly received with standing ovations.

For more on this year’s awards, visit http://www.pepeace.org/gpa-2017-video-and-photos.

Celebrate May Day May 1 with International Workers’ Day Rally and General Strike

Call for General Strike on May 1!

For full video coverage of the May Day festivities, visit http://www.thestruggle.org/Mayday%202017%20in%20New%20Haven.htm.

The rally begins with speakers and performers on the New Haven Green from noon to 5 p.m. on Monday, May 1, and will be followed by a Solidarity March starting at 5 p.m.

New Haven joins a call for a nationwide strike to demonstrate our economic power by not going to work, not going to school and stopping business as usual. We aim to highlight the economic power of workers: immigrants, women, Muslims, LGBTQ folks, Native Americans and African Americans and every other marginalized group that is currently under attack by the Trump administration.

We are asking you to join us and show solidarity: close your business on May 1; don’t go to work; don’t go to school.

Join the rally on the New Haven Green from 12 to 5 p.m. Speakers, live music, children’s activities, and a May pole! Join local justice, peace, equality, and labor groups as well as social service organizations, educators, students, healthcare workers, artists and ALL people on the Green.

Join the international workers’ march from the Green through Fair Haven at 5 p.m.

Funded in part by a grant from RESIST, Somerville, MA; web: http://resist.org; phone: (617) 623-5110.

Resistance Thursdays at the People’s Center

by Andrea Kaiser, Yale U. Retirees Association

The Peoples Center is hosting an ongoing potluck supper event every Thursday evening at 37 Howe Street. It’s an informal occasion where progressive people of all ages get together to share ideas and experiences over a good homemade supper.

Everyone present has an opportunity to talk about something that they considered has been important recently. One event was a students’ walkout at the Metropolitan Business Academy, a New Haven high school. The students were protesting the history curriculum which only mentioned slavery in its history of African-Americans. The students were threatened with suspension for participating in the peaceful protest.

Another event was the rally in support of UNITE HERE Local 33 when 12,000 petitions were presented to Yale President Peter Salovey’s office. Several persons at the potluck had been there and told a lively account of petitions strung out end-to-end stretching for blocks. A spirited discussion followed after both stories.

Resistance Thursdays are held every Thursday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and are open to everyone of all ages. (There have been people from high school age to 95!) It’s a potluck supper; bring a dish if you can, or just bring yourself.

Discussion Series Talks Immigrant Rights

by Rocel Beatriz Balmes & Sara Tabin, Yale Daily News Staff

Over 50 New Haven residents and Yale affiliates gathered in the Yale Law School on Monday night to discuss immigrant and worker rights as part of the final installment of the Yale and New Haven Discussion Series.

The event, titled “Local Activism in the Trump Age: Protect Immigrant and Worker Rights,” began with a panel and then opened into a group discussion. Panelists included Fatima Rojas of Unidad Latina en Acción, Ana Maria Rivera-Forastieri of JUNTA for Progressive Action, Rev. James Manship of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church and Michael Wishnie ’87 LAW ’93 of the Law School. Monday’s discussion, the fourth and final one in the series for this academic year, centered on current activism in New Haven and the role allies can play in the efforts to resist President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policy.

“[Trump] has really created this heightened anxiety and depression in our community,” Rivera-Forastieri said. “[This] is something I have never seen before.”

During the panel, Rivera-Forastieri said many allies have come forward since November’s election to help, but that at times the outpouring of support can be overwhelming. Some have ended up creating more work for immigrant advocacy groups, who have to reply to emails and keep track of the new volunteers, she added.

Read the whole story here at Yale Daily News: Discussions series talks immigrant rights

City Launches Third Annual Bike Month

by Ashna Gupta, Staff Reporter, Yale Daily News

New Haven residents and bike-afficionados gathered at the Bradley Street Bicycle Co-op from 6 to 8 p.m. on [April 19] to celebrate the launch of the third annual New Haven Bike Month.

Caroline Smith, a co-organizer of New Haven Bike Month, kicked off the month with a launch event that included food, speakers and community art. The launch featured bike portraits by “Faces of Cycling,” a project partnering with New Haven Go that highlights the diversity of cyclists in the Elm City.

Once the annual bike month officially starts in May, events will include various open street events, bicycle clinics, prize giveaways and other celebrations of biking culture.

“At its core, its main mission is that every single person stays excited and empowered to ride bikes,” Smith said.

Source: City launches third annual bike month

Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes FY2018 | War Resisters League

The current edition of the War Resisters League’s famous “pie chart” flyer, Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes, analyzes the Federal Fiscal Year 2018 Budget.  (FY 2018 is 1 October 2017 – 30 September 2018).  Perfect for Tax Day leafletting, as a focus for forums and panels and workshops and more!

Because the Trump administration did not release its full budget proposal for fiscal year 2018 in time for production of this flyer, and Congress has not yet finalized the FY2017 budget, the figures here are based on the 2017 proposed budget altered to incorporate budget-related announcements, including at least $54 billion more for the Pentagon, increase in Homeland Security, and reductions for other slices of the pie.

Each year War Resisters League analyzes federal funds outlays as presented in detailed tables in “Analytical Perspectives” of the Budget of the United States Government. Our analysis is based on federal funds, which do not include trust funds – such as Social Security – that are raised separately from income taxes for specific purposes. What federal income taxes you pay (or donít pay) by April 18, 2017, goes to the federal funds portion of the budget.

Read the whole story and download, or order, all their flyers here: Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes FY2018 | War Resisters League

Arrest of Omar Barghouti Complicates Gandhi Peace Award

by Stanley Heller, Administrator, PEP

At 4 p.m. on April 23, Promoting Enduring Peace is to hold its 46th Gandhi Peace Award ceremony, honoring consumer activist and Pentagon critic Ralph Nader and Palestinian BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) activist Omar Barghouti. On March 19, Israeli authorities arrested Barghouti supposedly for “tax evasion.” (Download the event flyer here)

A special meeting of the Board of Directors of Promoting Enduring Peace reaffirmed its choice of Omar Barghouti as co-winner of the Gandhi Peace Award despite the arrest. The Board has full confidence in Omar Barghouti and assumes that Israel is carrying through on its threats to harass and silence Palestinian activists. Barghouti is being honored for his leadership in the BDS movement, which uses the peaceful tactics of boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure the Israeli government to respect Palestinian rights.

The Gandhi Peace Award has been awarded for over fifty years. It was first given to former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Other laureates include Dorothy Day, Cesar Chavez, Amy Goodman, Rabbis Arik Ascherman and Ehud Bandel, Bill McKibben, Medea Benjamin, Tom Goldtooth and Kathy Kelly.

Promoting Enduring Peace was originally founded in 1952 to foster world peace, in particular to help prevent a world war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and has since embraced efforts to avoid catastrophic climate change and species extinction. Its motto is: “Peace on Earth, Peace with Earth.”
The award ceremony this year will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 23 in New Haven at the Strathcona Hall, 1 Prospect St.

In the past year the Israeli government has threatened BDS activists and Omar Barghouti in particular. At a conference in Jerusalem one Israeli minister called for Barghouti to be denied residence rights in Israel. Another called for the “civil targeted elimination” of BDS leaders. Last May Barghouti’s travel permit was revoked. Now he’s been arrested (though released on bail).

You can sign a petition urging the Israeli government to drop the gag order Omar Barghouti’s case, dismiss the charges, and restore his permission to travel abroad and to return to his home.

We could use your help in gaining Barghouti’s ability to come to the U.S. for the award and for the ceremony in general. Contact PEP at office@pepeace.org.

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