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.

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.

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About calendar items:

If you mention an event in an article, please also send a SEPARATE calendar announcement.
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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.

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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.

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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

New Haven Hosts Replica of Solitary Confinement Cell

by Allie Perry, Shalom UCC, NH and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture

What is it like to be isolated and segregated in a small prison cell 23/7 for days, weeks, years, and in some cases even decades?  The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is clear.  It is not just like torture; it is torture. According to Juan Mendez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, holding a person in solitary confinement for a period of time longer than 15 days is torture. On any given day, however, around 80,000 people in the United States are being held in solitary confinement.

To help people understand that prolonged isolation is a form of torture, NRCAT has created a replica solitary confinement cell. The NRCAT replica confinement cell has traveled around the country and is now coming to New Haven.

For three weeks, the cell will be on display at the New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm Street, for the first week, Monday, Jan. 30-Saturday, Feb. 4; at Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library, 120 High Street for the second week, Sunday, Feb. 5-Saturday, Feb. 11; and for the third week, Feb. 11-18, at the Yale Law School library, 127 Wall St.

Initiated by three New Haven United Church of Christ congregations (United, Redeemer, and Shalom), this project had engaged a powerful coalition of community, religious, and university organizations. In addition to the churches, organizers of this project include: the New Haven Free Public (Ives Memorial) Library, the Yale Undergraduate Prison Project, the Orville Schell Human Rights Center at Yale Law School, Dwight Hall at Yale, My Brother’s Keeper, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Wilton Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the CT ACLU, Malta Justice Initiative, and Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice.

The project’s goals are to provide opportunities to experience a simulation of isolation; to educate the use of solitary confinement, including practices in Connecticut; and to equip people to advocate for limiting and stopping the use of solitary confinement, precisely because such prolonged isolation is cruel, unusual, and degrading treatment.  For the schedule of the extensive program of speakers, panels, book talks, performances, and films during the three weeks that the cell will be in New Haven, go to: www.insidetheboxnhv.org/events.

“We Won’t Go Back!” People’s World African American History Month Celebration

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

“Revisiting Frederick Douglass Two Centuries Later: WE WON’T GO BACK,” is the theme of this year’s 43rd Annual People’s World African American History Month Celebration.

The event to be held on Sunday, February 26, will feature guest speaker James M. Bradford, drumming by Brian Jarawa Gray and a performance by Ice the Beef Youth including the speech that famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave in New Haven.

The event will be held at 4 p.m. at Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave. After filling the Peoples Center to overflow for years, a larger venue was chosen last year.

Douglass’ extraordinary leadership for freedom guides us in today’s stormy political climate with his powerful call to action: “If there is no struggle, there can be no progress….Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will….The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

In 1864 Douglass (1817-1895) addressed more than 1,200 free Black men gathered at Grapevine Point (now Criscuolo Park) in New Haven to become soldiers in the 29th Regiment of the Union Army and fight in the Civil War.

Guest speaker James M. Bradford is active in the anti-prison movement and Working America in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He chairs the Communist Party of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Winners of the High School Arts and Writing Competition will present their essays, poems or artwork on the theme “How can we best unite against bigotry and injustice?”

Students are asked to express in artwork, poetry, essay or song: “On the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass, leading abolitionist, orator and writer who fought against slavery and for women’s rights, how can we unite against hate, bigotry and injustice to continue his legacy in today’s world?” Submissions must be received at 37 Howe St. by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16.

Also on exhibit will be drawings from the Martin Luther King celebration at Peabody Museum created at the People’s World table on the theme, “How can we best unite against hate?”

Donation is $5 or what you can afford. For more information e-mail: ct-pww@pobox.com.

Inauguration Day Strikers Show Solidarity | NHIndependent

by Markeshia Ricks, Jan 20, 2017

They were Latino, black, U.S. citizens and the undocumented. They were LGBTQIA and people with disabilities. They were white allies and women, immigrants of all nationalities. They were of no religion and they were Muslim.

And at a protest that marched from City Hall and through downtown New Haven, they were all welcome.

As one activist put it Friday afternoon, a political campaign season filled with racism, homophobia, Islamaphobia, xenophobia, sexism and ableism had one positive effect: It brought people out of the silos of their individual causes and brought them all together.

More than 100 people turned out to City Hall on the same day as the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump for a general strike against the incoming administration. Participants were encouraged to stay home from work and school in protest to demonstrate that the very communities that were singled out for derision in the recent presidential election also make valuable contributions to the United States too.

Source: Inauguration Day Strikers Show Solidarity | New Haven Independent

Mary Herron Takes Charge

by Brian Slattery, Jan 23, 2017

Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington inspired similar rallies from coast to coast, including a march in Hartford that drew several thousand people to the state capitol. In New Haven at 12:15 p.m., the Green was witness to its own rally. Set up by Yale liaisons to the D.C. march, it had begun at 11 a.m. at Beinecke Plaza on Yale’s campus, with chalk drawings and singing by an a cappella group.

By noon the group had made its way to the Green, where it marched the perimeter of its western half for an hour. Hundreds of people were involved in the protest, which at its largest stretched in a line on Church Street from the corner of Elm to the corner of Chapel.

With chants of “Fired up, ready to go,” “Women’s rights, human rights,” “Keep your hands off my sister,” and “Let’s dump Trump,” the march made a few laps around the Green. Bystanders smiled and waved. A city employee on her way to work yelled, “Thank you! We’re with you!” Cars honked as they passed by.

Source: Mary Herron Takes Charge | New Haven Independent

PROTESTS IN DC

by Joan Cavanagh

I drove down to join the Jan. 21 women’s march with my friend Greg, of my self-adopted Baltimore Neumann family. My home-made sign read: “The swamp is rising. Resist.”

Although some organizations were represented, the march was overwhelmingly one of families and friends joining in sorrow and outrage, with a commitment to protect one another and resist this escalation of the war by the 1% against the rest of us and our planet.

Greg joined the protests on both days. I am submitting with his permission the following email that he sent out on Sunday morning, January 22nd:

“I’m completely overwhelmed by what I saw yesterday and the day before (Jan. 20). Yes, I was there for both days, and frankly inauguration day was even more inspiring than the awesome day that followed, in that there was a brave outpouring from young and old, people who recalled the days of anti-Vietnam War marches, civil rights marches, the Dream speech, and many young people drawn into the political arena of the streets for the first time. Apart from a few anarchists who couldn’t wait in line for their Starbucks fix, so widely reported by the media, there were only brave angry peaceful hearts out there on the street, more numerous it seemed to me than the largely misguided citizens from the Republican camp who rode the train into DC (yes, I talked to quite a few on the train and elsewhere). The bulk of the ‘deplorable’ camp did not seem to be arriving by train, but were chauffeured into the Capitol in black limos and SUVs and talked to no one, but we need to talk to those whose frustration drove them into the hands of the sociopathic leader and his oligarchic government-for-the-rich-and-entitled, who are steadfastly refusing to see the disaster that is looming in front of them. My hat is off to the Black Lives Matter women who peacefully blocked an entrance to the inauguration and were arrested, as well as the group who were arrested, jailed and tortured several days earlier on the steps of the Supreme Court for ‘trespass’ and ‘failure to disperse’. So we have our work cut out for us while we are still free to show what democracy looks like. And my hat is off to all the people who gave up sleep and comfort to travel from the middle of the country and New England and everywhere, as well as those who organized in their home towns for events like Newark, Delaware and sleepy Hilo, Hawaii!”

Gregory Neumann, Baltimore, MD

Report Back from the Inauguration Protest

by Chris Garaffa, ANSWER Coalition

The enormous outpouring of anti-Trump protesters in Washington DC, and indeed the country and the world, on January 20 was a sight to behold. Tens of thousands came to Washington DC to inaugurate the resistance to Trump’s ultra-right wing, pro-Wall Street agenda. From Connecticut, a busload of 55 people, many new to the movement, headed down to DC to join others to protest Trump’s Inauguration. Many others traveled from Connecticut by car or by train.

Thousands of anti-Trump demonstrators filled Navy Memorial Plaza sidewalks and plaza right on the parade route. The Guardian newspaper reporter covering the route tweeted that demonstrators far outnumbered Trump supporters. The rally at the Navy Memorial was broadcast live on Pacifica Radio Network and by C-SPAN. It was an amazing day!

People came from everywhere. Tens of thousands were literally blocked from Navy Memorial for as long as five hours by Secret Service at the main checkpoint on 7th St. through which demonstrators had to funnel. By the time Trump passed the Navy Memorial at 4 p.m. the crowd had swelled and filled the entire area from 7th to 9th St. on Pennsylvania Avenue. The Secret Service and the government used the checkpoints to block anti-Trump demonstrators from entering the Navy Memorial site. Many waited for up to five hours before entering the site. Thousands of others never made it in. The Secret Service in several places also set up an express lane so that Trump supporters could go straight through the checkpoints quickly. As Trump’s motorcade drove by, thousands chanted in protest. The message was loud and clear: Trump and his government of oligarchs will face resistance from the people!

Then, on January 21st, over 2.9 million people joined the women’s march across the country and around the world to say No to Racism, No to misogyny and bigotry. No to the Trump Agenda!

This massive grassroots movement of resistance will continue to grow. The people have spoken. No to Racism! No to bigotry! NO to the Trump agenda!

Indian Point to Close

by Mark Scully, People’s Action for Clean Energy

Friends,

I want to share with you all the exciting news that a deal has been reached to close the Indian Point nuclear plant! This plant, which poses an existential threat to New York City and all of Connecticut, will cease operations in four years.

There are many caveats and causes for caution, but let us celebrate this moment! NY Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has prevailed in his push to remove this threat from New York City. Now we must ensure that the region moves aggressively to replace the substantial power these plants produce with clean, renewable energy. And, as we know, we must remain vigilant long after these plants cease to operate to ensure that all radioactive waste is handled and stored safely.

In related news, I want to share with you a wonderful letter written by Nancy Burton of the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone. In this letter to our state legislators, Nancy argues cogently against a bailout for the Millstone nuclear plant. If our General Assembly appears to be ready to yield to the demands of Dominion Energy, we must be ready to light up the phone lines at the Capitol!

And … we all need to look for constructive, effective ways to promote a clean energy agenda. I recommend to you a document written by a group of former congressional staffers on how to organize ourselves in the difficult days ahead. It’s called “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda,” and it has a lot of pragmatic advice for us all.

Most importantly, we need to move quickly to develop plans to move the state to 100% renewable energy so that we are ready to replace Millstone’s power with clean energy. Is your town already involved? If not, or you are not sure, let me know and we will get you started, and check out our new page on the 100PercentCT page of the PACE website.

Finally, I cannot help but think how thrilled Judi and Lou Friedman would be over the news that Indian Point will close. We owe them both a debt of gratitude for getting to this day, and I think they are smiling down on us.

Follow us on Facebook or on our website www.pace-cleanenergy.org.

Bus Tickets Are Available from New Haven to the Inauguration Day Protest in D.C.

Progressive people from all over the country will be descending on Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20 to stage a massive demonstration along Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day. The bus to D.C. will leave at 11:45 p.m. on the night of Thursday, Jan. 19 from New Haven Green at Church and Chapel streets. We will return from D.C. the following night and arrive back around 12:30 a.m., Jan. 21. All tickets must be purchased in advance and will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. Tickets are $55 round-trip.

To buy a ticket or for more info, email ANSWER in Connecticut at connecticut@answercoalition.org or call (203) 903-4480.

Greater New Haven Green Party Plans for 2017

by Patricia Kane, Organizer

The Green Party of New Haven, energized by new members as a result of this year’s Presidential election, is expanding the Chapter and gearing up to recruit people searching for a new party with a progressive agenda.

The expanded party, which will partner with neighboring towns, will reach out to potential members to develop a list of local priorities, plus identify and support GP candidates for local office.

The only requirement for membership in the Green Party is acceptance of the 10 Key Values that can be found online at http://www.gp.org/ten_key_values_2016.

  1. Grassroots Democracy.
  2. Social Justice And Equal Opportunity
  3. Ecological Wisdom
  4. Non-violence
  5. Decentralization
  6. Community-Based Economics
  7. Feminism And Gender Equity
  8. Respect For Diversity
  9. Personal & Global Responsibility
  10. Future Focus And Sustainability

On the national scene, Dr. Jill Stein has twice campaigned for President, despite being excluded from the national debates and despite the dismissal of her and Bernie Sander’s campaigns as insignificant. Many Greens became Democrats to work and vote for Bernie, but returned to the GP once his candidacy ended. Now many disaffected Democrats and Independents are turning to the GP because of their disillusionment with a rigged political system.

In the past, GP members Allan Brison, Joyce Chen & John Halley were elected to the New Haven Board of Alders. GP member Ralph Ferrucci earned 20 percent of the mayoral votes the year he ran under the Guilty Party banner. CT resident and long-time Green Ralph Nader continues to be an advocate on the local and national levels.

The opening event will be on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 3 p.m. with the screening of Michael Moore’s film “Where to Invade Next,” a lighthearted search for new ideas abroad worth bringing back to the U.S.–followed by refreshments and discussion. Email newhavengreens@yahoogroups.com or go online at http://www.facebook.com/NewHavenGreenParty/?fref=ts for more information. Reservations are requested to insure seating is available.

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