Congress Can Stop Latest Arms Sale to Saudi War Criminal Government

by Stanley Heller, Middle East Crisis Committee

The Obama Administration has announced a $1.1 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia. That country, mightily assisted by the United States, the Al-Sissi dictatorship in Egypt and the Darfur killing regime in Sudan, is attacking Yemen causing thousands of casualties. In a surprise move on August 17 the New York Times called for a suspension in the arms sales to Saudi Arabia over its horrendous attacks on civilian targets in Yemen. Congress has just until the very start of September to oppose the arms deal. Calls to Congressional offices are needed.

gouta atack-syriaThe group “Just Foreign Policy” has an electronic petition calling for rejection of the latest arms deal. It can be reached here: http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/blog.

U.S. Sen. Murphy of CT has taken a leading role in criticizing the Yemen War and Saudi expenditure of perhaps $100 billion to spread its bigoted and women-hating Wahhabi ideology worldwide.
More about Saudi aggression and the terrible human rights record of the absolute monarchy at http://www.SaudiUS.org.

Peace and Fact-Finding Delegation visit Syria

by Henry Lowendorf, Co-Chair, GNH Peace Council

From July 24 to July 30, I co-led a delegation of peace activists and journalists to Syria. In talking with leaders of many NGOs and government ministers, we learned that the vast majority of Syrians support their government and the Syrian Arab Army, which protect them from mercenaries that terrorize the populations they control and which are paid for by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and armed by the CIA. The CIA provides supplies and free passage into Syria through Turkey and Jordan. Syrians believe in, and the UN Charter supports, their right to determine their destiny without interference from the United States and its allies.

syria-mapMy co-leader, Gerry Condon, vice president of Veterans for Peace, said this: “Almost everything we read about Syria in the media is wrong…The reality is that the U.S. government is supporting armed extremist groups who are terrorizing the Syrian people and trying to destroy Syria’s secular state.”

“In order to hide that ugly reality and push violent regime change,” continued Condon, “the U.S. is conducting a psychological warfare campaign to demonize Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. This is a classic tactic that veterans have seen over and over. It is shocking, however, to realize how willingly the media repeat this propaganda, and how many people believe it to be true.”

The Syrians we spoke with, especially Grand Mufti Hassoun and Orthodox Bishop Luca, refuse to see themselves split into narrow groups such as Sunni and Shia, or Muslim and Christian, or Kurdish or Arabic-speaking. This U.S. and Europe formulation is used to divide Syrians as it has with Afghans, Iraqis, and Libyans in order to weaken and conquer Syria. The Grand Mufti told us he is the Mufti of 23 million Syrians, the full Syrian population. The Bishop agreed.

The U.S. peace movement’s premier responsibility is to stop our government’s interference in Syria, its long-held policy of “regime change,” overthrowing the Syrian government to install a subservient client. We must allow Syrians to retain their national sovereignty. Once the foreign aggression ends, Syrians will decide who governs Syria.

For more information, call Henry Lowendorf at (203) 389-9547 or e-mail grnhpeacecouncil@gmail.com.

Important ‘protector’ action with Standing Rock Sioux and their allies fighting to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline Sept. 7, New Haven

Dear friends,

       Please come out for this important “protector” action in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies fighting to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. And please forward this email and/or share the event widely on Facebook if you use it:

dakota-actionThe Camp of the Sacred Stones and Red Warrior Camp, currently defending against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, are calling on allies across the world to take action from September 3rd to 17th on the pipeline companies and financial institutions working to build the pipeline.

TD Securities is part of a consortium lending $3.8B to the companies building the pipeline. Join us in New Haven on Wednesday, Sept. 7 from 4-6 p.m. at the TD bank branch at 994 Chapel Street (corner College St.) to demand that the bank cut off this line of credit. We’ll meet on the corner of the Green across from the bank. Bring drums or other percussion instruments if you can.
Here’s the Call to Action from North Dakota:  https://nodaplsolidarity.org/

About DAPL

The “Dakota Acces” Pipeline (DAPL) is an 1,100 mile fracked-oil pipeline currently under construction from the Bakken shale fields of North Dakota to Peoria, Illinois. DAPL is slated to cross Lakota Treaty Territory at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation where it would be laid underneath the Missouri River, the longest river on the continent.
Construction of the DAPL would endanger a source of fresh water for the Standing Rock Sioux and 8 million people living downstream as well as  many sites that are sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux and other indigenous nations. It would also engender a renewed fracking-frenzy in the Bakken shale region, greatly increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
The DAPL is a massive project being organized by a shady group of the world’s largest fossil-fuel companies and banks. They have offices in cities around the world. Putting direct, nonviolent pressure on the corporations building and funding this project is critical for supporting frontline resistance to DAPL.

Al Marder to be Recognized Aug. 6 at New Haven Peoples Center Reception

A reception and fundraiser highlighting the history of the New Haven Peoples Center will recognize the leadership of it’s president, Alfred L. Marder over a span of 80 years for peace, equality and justice. The event will take place at Coogan Pavilion in Edgewood Park near Whalley Ave and West Rock Ave. from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, also marking Hiroshima Day.

Al Marder poses with New Haven peace activist and Peace Council member Mary Compton at the Peace Day celebration at the Amistad Memorial statue outside New Haven City Hall Sept. 21, 2015.  The statue was built thanks to his guidance and supervision. Marder is chairman of the Amistad Committee.  (photo: cjzurcher)

Al Marder poses with New Haven peace activist and Peace Council member Mary Compton at the Peace Day celebration at the Amistad Memorial statue outside New Haven City Hall Sept. 21, 2015. The statue was built thanks to his guidance and supervision. Marder is chairman of the Amistad Committee.
(photo: cjzurcher)

As founder of the Amistad Committee who served as chair of the City of New Haven Peace Commission for many years as well as the United Nations International Association of Peace Messenger Cities and the U.S. Peace Council, Marder has been called a “hero for peace.”

A resident of Westville, Marder has been active in New Haven since the age of 14 when he was a student at James Hillhouse High School. He expanded his vision through participation in events at the New Haven Peoples Center. The Peoples Center was founded in 1937 to provides social, cultural and educational opportunities for the community. With Al Marder’s participation, it was the site of the first inter-racial theater group in the city called Unity Players. This was one of many efforts that broke down racial segregation at that time.

Today the Peoples Center hosts the youth group New Elm City Dream, and is home to the immigrant rights group Unidad Latina en Accion as well as the SEIU 32 BJ janitors union and Greater New Haven Peace Council. The space is utilized by many social justice organizations.

The event will include an exhibition of Peoples Center memorabilia, remarks by Marder and refreshments. Donations will be accepted toward the restoration fund for the building which was erected in 1851. The Peoples Center, a site on the Connecticut Freedom Trail, is currently raising $10,000 as part of a grant to restore the windows, roof and entry door.

In his early years, Marder served as Executive Director of the Connecticut CIO Youth and Sports Organization and was President of the New Haven Youth Conference. During World War II and the fight against fascism, Al served in the U.S. Infantry from 1942-1946 in the European Theatre and received a Bronze Star. During the McCarthy period, as one who was persecuted for his ideas, he stood firm for civil liberties. He has supported every civil rights and workers rights struggle of his times.

Marder is known for bringing to light the story of the Amistad captives and its lessons of Black-white unity to achieve freedom. Through all the decades, Marder continues organizing, educating and creating positive change. His depth of knowledge, commitment to equality, powers of persuasion and indomitable spirit inspire generations in New Haven and throughout the world.

Requested donation at the door is $25 or what you can afford, no one will be turned away. Tax deductible contributions to the restoration fund can be sent to PERA / New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe St., New Haven CT o6511.

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100+ Attend May 1 International Worker’s Day March in New Haven

by Melinda Tuhus

may-day-2016-iiMore than a hundred people marched through downtown New Haven Sunday May 1, in the annual immigrants’ rights action. An enthusiastic crowd led by Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA) braved cold May showers on May Day this year.

The march included mostly young activists, children and college students. There were many signs and banners and robust chanting. No more deportations!

The marchers were accompanied by a lively group of very humorous and energetic “Radical Cheerleaders.” As the group walked down Chapel Street, the chants called for free education and free health care for all, as well as immigrants’ labor rights. Yale senior Sebi Medina-Tayac, a member of the Piscataway Nation as well as ULA, said the group wanted to bring attention especially to immigrant labor in New Haven, which is concentrated in construction and food service.

ULA works to create a vision for workers’ rights and freedom for all people based not only on lefty labor movements, but also to show the labor movement as something that’s diverse, changing, global and inclusive of people from all backgrounds regardless of citizen status or the color of their skin.

may-day-2016-iMarchers stopped to chant in front of restaurants that they say have mistreated their workers. They said Atticus restaurant fired a long-time worker who spoke out against a pay cut and hired a union-busting firm to thwart the mostly immigrant workers’ attempt to unionize. The owner was not available and a manager said their policy was not to comment on the charges.

The march also stopped at Calhoun College to protest the college named after an avowed racist.

Thank you to New Haven Workers Association – Unidad Latina en Acción for continuing to fight for the dignity of all our communities! Together they seek to build unity for racial, gender and economic justice, including defending the freedom and dignity of and respect for all people and the planet.

Revive the Peace Movement

Stan Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

Several Connecticut groups are in the forefront of a new network, RPM, Revive the Peace Movement Network. Promoting Enduring Peace and the Middle East Crisis Committee joined with CODEPINK and a number of other groups and individuals to form the group to serve as a pole of opinion and a network for discussion and suggestions. Its website is http://www.RPM.world and it is eager for groups to join it and for individuals to get on its mailing list. Its common “Statement” is as follows:

For a Renewed Anti-War Movement

At a time when wars engulf whole regions of the world we must revive the anti-war movement. The peace movement must put greater pressure on politicians and parties to end U.S. wars and to redirect military spending to meeting social needs at home and abroad.

Our primary tools are education and non-violent direct action, such as mass demonstrations, protest, civil disobedience, boycotts and divestment.

We resolutely oppose the wars of the U.S., its allies and clients, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and U.S. support for repressive regimes such as Honduras and Bahrain.

We call for an end to U.S. support for Israel and for justice for Palestinians, in all of historic Palestine and in their places of refuge.

We also recognize that there are other oppressors in the world, from ISIS to Russia, from Iran to China, from North Korea to the Assad regime. We won’t hesitate to oppose their wars, interventions and cruelties.

War and preparation for war are major contributors to catastrophic climate change. Climate change causes declining living conditions that also significantly contribute to war. We need to break this vicious cycle and work for a sustain-able economy based on social and environmental justice, full employment and one hundred percent non-nuclear renewable energy.

War and climate disruption tragically uproot millions from their home countries. We need to open the borders to refugees and meet their needs for health, safety and human dignity.

We challenge the racism and Islamophobia used to justify wars and occupations and the denial of human rights to refugees.

Seven decades after Hiroshima, the human race is still at risk of nuclear annihilation. Nuclear war is an ever present danger. We demand the abolition of all nuclear weaponry.

The militarism and authoritarianism that the U.S. promotes abroad is reflected in the militarism and attacks on civil liberties in our communities at home.

We stand in solidarity with those such as Black Lives Matter who are advocating the demilitarization of police forces.

We stand in solidarity with those who seek liberation, social and economic justice, and democracy in all countries, including the United States.

Another world is possible, free of militarism and war.

Demand for Union Recognition at Zane’s Cycles

(edited from press release – ed.)

On May 21 workers and community members gathered at Zane’s Cycles (330 East Main St., Branford) to protest what they claim to be owner Chris Zane’s exploitative practices.

zanes-storeIn September 2015, workers at Zane’s Cycles facility voted overwhelmingly under federal labor law to bargain collectively for a workplace contract. The workers elected UFCW Local 919 to represent them in contract negotiations. Since then, Chris Zane has agreed to meet eight times to negotiate a contract with the workers. That’s eight negotiating sessions in 8 months.

Among the issues workers want to address, which Zane has refused to reasonably discuss, are:

  • Having a clean, sanitary break room (currently workers eat their lunch in the dirty, greasy work area where they assemble thousands of bikes for Zane)
  • Adequately heated and cooled working area (workers tell us it is often too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer… many have to wear coats while they work in the winter)
  • Paid sick days (workers lose money when they or a family member is sick)
  • Paid vacation days (after building thousands of bikes for Zane, workers can’t even count on a paid vacation after so much hard work)
  • Paid time off to mourn the death of a family member (Zane won’t even agree to pay a worker who has to go to a funeral for a family member!!)

Workers say they feel exploited. Because of the owner’s behavior, Zane’s Cycles has been charged with violating federal labor law. The charges are currently before the National Labor Relations Board. Workers and community members gathered to protest Chris Zane’s bad faith bargaining and his unfair labor practices.

zane-protester

Press Contact: Jorge Cabrera (203) 499-8694.

News from CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs

by John Humphries, Organizer, CT Roundtable

We had a successful first round of Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) stakeholder events and we are now preparing for our spring Roundtable gathering.

GC3 Stakeholder Events – Round 1

On May 5, more than 175 people participated in simultaneous stakeholder events organized by the Governor’s Council on Climate Change at seven locations across the state. You can access the handouts, presentation slides, a video of the event, and some great photos on our website, http://www.ctclimateandjobs.org.

The second round will happen in late July and will provide an opportunity to evaluate some preliminary scenarios for achieving the state’s climate goals.  More details coming soon!

June 7 – Roundtable Gathering

Join us for our statewide gathering on June 7 when we will explore the intersection between the GC3 climate action planning and the state’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy  (being updated this year). We seek to develop points of agreement and shared strategies for influencing these two state processes to ensure an aggressive approach to climate protection that creates local jobs and addresses the needs for climate justice.

A Just Climate Strategy for CT: Creating Jobs and Increasing Equity – Tuesday, June 7, 7 p.m.
North Haven Congregational Church, 28 Church St., North Haven. (food available at 6:30 p.m.) Information: http://www.ctclimateandjobs.org.

Get on the Bus to March for a Clean Energy Revolution Sunday, July 24, in Philly

by 350CT.org

  • Ban Fracking Now!
  • Stop Dirty Energy!
  • Justly Transition to 100% Renewable Energy!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1567763956854719

New Haven Departure: 8:15 a.m. – 6 p.m. Ikea Parking Lot, 450 Sargent Dr.
Hartford Departure:  7:30 a.m – 6 p.m. 1 Union Place, Hartford.
Contacts: Chris (860) 967-9836, christopher.hutch@gmail.com or
Diane (203) 922-2151, dlentakis@sbcglobal.net.

Clean-energy-revolution-CERLogo_FINAL-resizedThe nation’s spotlight will shine on Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention in July 2016. We have a valuable opportunity to use that spotlight to open a broader discussion on fracking and climate change. Over the past decade, Pennsylvania and many states including Connecticut have suffered negative impacts from fracking, pipelines, and power plants. Many residents especially those in the poorest and most oppressed communities have been sickened; water, air and land have been polluted and poisoned.

Climate change presents the United States and the world with an unprecedented challenge and poses a threat to future of life on this planet. Get on the bus with 350CT and other climate activists as we head to Philadelphia to demand a just transition to 100% renewable energy.

We need your participation and voice in the movement for climate justice. Can you help build the July 24 march in Connecticut? Contact us today!

To learn more about 350 CT email organizers@350CT.org, or call (203) 350-3508.

We continue to work toward our 4 demands:

  • 100% Renewable Energy,
  • Stop Fracked Gas Expansion,
  • Green Jobs for Fossil Fuel Workers,
  • An End to Environmental Racism.

If you can help us out with outreach supply costs, please DONATE.

350 Connecticut is a community of people working to move Connecticut beyond fossil fuels through grassroots organizing. Our meetings are open to the public, and we operate using consensus-based decision-making.  We do our work in working groups, and meet all together once a month in a public meeting. We are an organization committed to anti-oppression in all our work and relationships.

International Workers’ Day: Fighting for Our Future, May 1

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

The People’s World in Connecticut is hosting its annual celebration of International Workers’ Day on Sunday, May 1 at 4 p.m. at the King-Davis Labor Center, 77 Huyshope Ave., Hartford. The lives of workers and the 99% are on the line here and around the world and people are in motion. On May Day 2016 we are “Fighting for Our Future.”

We are honored to welcome keynote speaker John Wojcik, editor of People’s World and vice president of the International Labor Communications Association who lives in Chicago.

A panel including representatives of state workers and immigrants and those struggling for jobs in Connecticut will highlight key demands of the moment.

The program includes a presentation of May Day Around the World, music and home made buffet. Donation is $5 or what you can afford. A fund appeal for the annual People’s World will be made. For more information, call (203) 624-4254.

New Haven Stood Up for Planned Parenthood

WORD (Women Organized to Resist & Defend) New Haven

New Haven stood strong with Planned Parenthood April 23 in a beautiful action of support and defense against hate! Over 80 people came out to stand up for healthcare and equality. We vastly outnumbered and drove away the anti-choice bigots who were threatening mass action against Planned Parenthood.

WORD and the people of CT say: we will not stand by while reproductive rights are under attack! As long as patients and workers are being attacked in the streets and legislature, we will be in the streets standing up to the bigotry.

planned-parenthood-protest

Seymour’s Public Comment Policy Discriminates Against Disabled Citizens

This article is written by Joseph A. Luciano, Disability Rights Action Group of CT about himself.

Seymour Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and elder rights advocate Joe Luciano, says his hometown treats public comments provided by citizens with disabilities differently than those given by citizens without disabilities. He has filed an ADA discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice against the Town of Seymour and its first selectman, Kurt Miller.

“Citizens who appear in person to speak their comments have an unfair advantage,” says Luciano. “Their comments are entered into meeting minutes in detail. Mine, however, are entered merely as ‘Correspondence received,’” Luciano says. “All state municipalities, including Seymour, must accommodate persons with disabilities,” he says.

Luciano is unable to travel to evening town meetings because there is no wheelchair transport when meetings begin and end. So he sends his public comment by email and snail mail. Paratransport services are not provided at night in Seymour. “While I use my wheelchair in daylight to ride to downtown places, I do so at risk of life and limb riding in streets and gutters. Absent crosswalks, an impassable sidewalk on DeForest, absent curbcuts—and unremoved snow—are mobility barriers blocking access to sidewalks. At night I cannot safely travel the block and a half to town hall to speak my public comment,” says Luciano.

According to Luciano, the pitfalls and shortcomings of the snow-removal ordinance addressed in his emailed public comment were not entered into the minutes, which show comments in detail spoken by other citizens who presented theirs. “The minutes omitted essential points of my comment. That is, the same property owners year after year flout the snow removal ordinance. They do so with impunity because town safety authorities do not monitor and enforce compliance of ordinance even though enforcement with fines of up to $100 a day is mandated. Sidewalks with unremoved snow are mobility barriers,” explains Luciano.

According to Luciano, barriers to public accommodations and public services have inflicted staggering economic and social costs on American society and have undermined our well-intentioned efforts to educate, rehabilitate, and employ individuals with disabilities. Municipalities that refuse to accommodate persons with disabilities equally in public meetings prevent society from benefiting from the knowledge, skills and of PWDs. “The ADA guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.” DRAGconnecticut@yahoo.com (203) 463-8323.

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