DAPL Protester Vic Lancia Arrested and Fined A Year After Wells Fargo Lock-Down

by Dan Fischer, Dragonfly Climate Collective

This an update and thank-you message for those who have supported our friend Vic Lancia. Almost one year after Vic shut down a Wells Fargo branch in Middletown in April 2017, Vic was arrested in February 2018 and fined in March 2018.

On April 7 of last year, Vic, then about to turn 77 years old, locked himself to concrete barrels blocking the entrance to a Wells Fargo branch in Middletown during a protest against the bank’s funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline and other fossil fuel infrastructure. Vic’s lockdown shut down the branch for nearly two hours. Meanwhile, nine Wesleyan University students blocked the drive-through ATM. Police were unable to extract Vic from the barrels and made no arrests.

At the time, Vic offered the following statement: “Wells Fargo is a major funder of the Dakota Access Pipeline. It’s full speed ahead for fossil fuels even as the destructive consequences of their use become more and more evident by the day. Their ONLY concern is profit! This is corporate tyranny! We, the people, will not continue to ignore this to the peril of the young, our planet, and its inhabitants. And that’s why I am here today disrupting business as usual at Wells Fargo. I am here to say no to profiting from climate destruction. We are part of a worldwide movement TAKING A STAND against greedy and parasitic people. We need to get in their way and tell them: ‘NO!'”

The demonstration was organized by Wesleyan Coalition for Divestment and Transparency, Students Against the Fossil Fuel Industry, and Dragonfly Climate Collective.

According to Vic’s attorney, Wells Fargo appears to have requested police action, and this explains why almost a year later on Feb. 20, 2018, a police officer approached Vic on the street, pulled out a badge, and arrested him. The arrest warrant found probable cause for four violations of Connecticut General Statutes: Breach of Peace in the Second Degree, Disorderly Conduct: Obstructing Free Passage, Trespass in the Second Degree, and Interfering with a Police Officer. [youtu.be/UckxZO1ZEr4]

Ultimately, the state attorney chose to charge Vic with the first three of these violations. As a result, Vic faced a maxi-mum penalty of nine months in jail and $2000 in fines. At Vic’s first court appearance on March 1, 2018, the state attorneys said they would get get in touch with the so-called “victim,” Wells Fargo.

At Vic’s second court appearance on March 26, the State offered Vic two non-criminal infractions as a plea deal, which he accepted: A non-criminal trespass (fee: $90) and a non-criminal Creating a Public Disturbance (fee: $90) with costs and fees imposed (amounting to a total of slightly over $2,000). Vic has raised just enough to be able to cover his fines. Anyone who was looking to contribute might instead donate to a number of ongoing sites of resistance against fossil fuel infrastructure. For example, at this link you can donate to the L’eau Est La Vie (Water is Life) Camp resisting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline: bit.ly/nobbp. capitalismvsclimate.org/2018/04/dapl-protester-vic-lancia-arrested-and-fined-1-year-after-wells-fargo-lock-down.

How To Resist War Taxes | War Resisters League

Resisting war taxes is really very simple — don’t pay all the tax due on your annual Federal income tax form, or don’t pay the Federal excise tax on telephone bills, or both.

Summarized below are a few war tax resistance methods. Detailed descriptions can be found in WRL’s War Tax Resistance: A Guide to Withholding Your Support from the Military and through war tax counselors. Contact the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) for counselors in your area. The probability of collection or prosecution varies among the methods; all — except #4 — are illegal. Serious consideration must be given before embarking on these types of resistance.

1) File and refuse to pay your taxes. This involves filling out an IRS income tax return (e.g., Form 1040) and refusing to pay either a token amount of your taxes (e.g., $1, $9.11, $100), some “military” portion (approximately 1% for nuclear warheads, 4% for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 30% for current military spending, 50% for current and past military spending combined — see WRL’s pie chart for the latest percentages), (or click on the image below to download the pie chart) or the total amount (since a portion of whatever is paid goes largely to the military). Include a letter of explanation with the return.
2) File a blank IRS 1040 income tax return with a note of explanation.
3) Don’t file any Federal income tax returns.
4) Earn less than the taxable income.
5) Resist telephone taxes.

Read more about refusing to support the war effort by not paying taxes here: How To Resist War Taxes | War Resisters League

VICTORY! Charges Dropped Against ANSWER Organizer Norman Clement!

by ANSWER CT

In a victory for protest and resistance, prosecutors were forced on Friday, March 9 to drop the most outrageous charges against ANSWER Coalition organizer Norman Clement stemming from his brutal and unjust arrest at the hands of the State Police at the Feb. 4, 2017 protest in New Haven against Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and planned wall on the Mexican border.

In the 13 months since the arrest, prosecutors and the entire court system dragged the case on to wear out organizers and supporters, knowing there was no evidence for the fabricated charges like “inciting a riot.” Prosecutors attempted to pressure Norm to plead out to charges without any evidence to substantiate their charges. Police lies about emergency vehicles being blocked during the protest were quickly exposed by local media. Police and their mouthpieces in the media tried to paint Norman Clement as a leader of the pro-test. While Norman is a leader in many movements, the march was a spontaneous response to the outrageous and racist policies of the Trump administration.

As we have said before, we consider it to be no coincidence that the two people arrested on February 4, 2017 were people of color. Norman is Indigenous and Nate Blair, who was pulled to the ground and arrested by the New Haven police, is Black. We also consider it no coincidence that Norman was targeted for being a well-known organizer against war, police terror and for the rights of Native peoples. In addition to his work in Connecticut, he traveled twice to Standing Rock as a Water Protector. The March 9 announcement shows that it is the power of the people coming together that will get justice and fight state oppression.

Seymour Police, Town of Seymour Policies Discriminate against Disabled

by Joseph A. Luciano  Disability Rights Action Group of CT

I have asked NBC-TV Troubleshooters to investigate the present-day status of ADA access and mobility in downtown Seymour. Investigation can reveal the plight of persons with disabilities (PWDs) living here.

This is happening 27 years after the Americans with Disabil-ities Act (ADA) was enacted (July 26, 1990). That’s 10,100 days ago. This was happening even before Seymour approved 38 new senior/disabled housing units downtown. On Columbus Street alone, the senior/disabled population has increased from 12 to 38—not counting the disabled living in my downtown apartment complex (Fallview Apts). Often, only able-bodied people can get around in downtown Seymour. I and other PWDs cannot—because police do not enforce ordinances or regulations that enable accessibility. I have filed complaints on these issues against Seymour and its police department with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities (1730312, 1830021). Inex-plicably, CHRO ruled that town and police policy do not discriminate against PWDs—even though only able-bodied persons can get around.

PWDs are routinely denied their rights to access and mobility at Seymour’s new $6.4 million park (Paul Pawlak Sr. Fishway & Park at Tingue Dam). Police do not ticket or tow away vehicles obstructing or blocking access to the “accessible walkway” leading to the scenic lookout.

PWDs are routinely denied their rights to access Seymour’s downtown businesses when property owners flout Seymour Ordinance 14-6, which mandates timely removal of snow from sidewalks. Seymour PD itself routinely flouts Ordinance 1-9, which mandates that flouters “shall” be fined up to $100/day for each day of the offense. Seymour PD has admitted never having fined snow ordinance flouters. Sidewalks covered with snow that should have been removed by town law prevent PWDs from access to groceries, restaurants, pharmacy, banking, worship, theater, shopping, and other reasonable purposes. For more information: DRAGconnecticut@yahoo.com, (203) 463-8323

Conference on Drone Warfare to be Held In Hartford March 14

by Rev. Rich Killmer, Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare

The Connecticut Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14 at Hartford Seminary, 77 Sherman St., Hartford, CT. The presenters include: Andrea Prasow, Associate Director of the Washington Office of Human Rights Watch; Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love, Politics Department, Catholic University, Washington, DC; Rev. Chris Antal, Unitarian Universalist Minister, who resigned as an army chaplain because of the U.S. lethal drone policy; Lt. Colonel Shareda Hosein (U.S. Army Reserves Retired), Muslim Chaplain. Two short films produced by the Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare for congregations will also be screened.

Registration is free, but a free-will offering will be taken. Lunch will be provided. Please register at www.bit.ly/DroneCTConference. For more information, visit www.interfaithdronenetwork.org or call (609) 924-5022 or (207) 450-7242. The conference is co-sponsored by Hartford Seminary and the Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare.

Reconstructing the Dream: March and Event Mark African American History Month 4 p.m. Feb. 25

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

The 44th People’s World African American History Month Celebrations, “Reconstructing the Dream” will be keynoted by Rev. Scott Marks, director of New Haven Rising and co-founder of Connecticut Center for a New Economy. He will address the way forward for equality and justice in 2018, 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, and 150 years since W.E.B. DuBois was born. A national leader of Unite Here, Marks has organized people from all races, nationalities and genders to fight for their homes, jobs and communities. He is traveling the country to train new African American union leaders and is organizing the I AM 2018 effort to carry forward Dr. King’s legacy.

The event will be held on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 4 p.m. at Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave, New Haven, CT 06511. Prior to the event, a march has been organized from the New Haven Peoples Center through the Dwight neighborhood to Troup School. The march, themed “Jobs for Youth, Jobs for All,” will remember neighborhood youth who have been killed, and is sponsored by Ice the Beef, New Elm City Dream/YCL and New Haven Rising.

The event will be opened with drumming by Brian Jarawa Gray. Prizes will be awarded in the Arts and Writing Competition Grades 8 through 12. Students were asked: “What lessons can we learn from Dr. King’s courageous life? What kind of collective action is needed in 2018 to carry his legacy forward? A video “Remembering Dalzenia Henry, Grace Cummings, Emma Fair” will honor the memory of three African American Communist women leaders in Connecticut. Ice the Beef will perform excerpts from King and DuBois.

A donation of $5 or what you can afford is requested. No one will be turned away

Thousands March Against Trump and Demand Equality

by LouAnn Villani, JVPNH and MECC

By a very rough count 10,000 women and male allies and their daughters marched and rallied in Hartford’s Capitol at the “Women’s March CT, Rise and Resist 2018.” I stood with members of Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven, the Middle East Crisis Committee and the Tree of Life Educational Foundation holding banners about imprisoned Palestinian women and watched people pass by us for 50 minutes.

There were lots of signs and banners with a funny and vulgar mix that mocked Donald Trump. There was a drawing of a uterus with the words “This Machine Kills Fascists.” Another very colorful sign said, “Elect a Clown, You Get a Circus.” A good number worked off his notorious “sh**hole” remark. One had a picture of Trump being flushed down a toilet.

A lot of signs were pro-immigrants and #BlackLivesMatter, including one large banner. Other signs were about elections, “Grab Them by the Midterms” and “I’m a Nasty Woman and I Vote.” Throughout the march, there were supporters of Planned Parenthood and women’s right to choose.

One sign I liked said “I March Because Silence Is Not an Option. I Will Not Be Complicit.” Several had the words ‘I Stand With Her” next to a photo of the Statue of Liberty. Many had the words “I Will Not Go Quietly Back to 1950s #Resist.”

For chants, a Latino contingent was loudest and most enthusiastic. And like last year people yelled, “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Donald Trump Has Got to Go,” “We Need a Leader, Not a Creepy Tweeter,” “Dump Trump” and “This is What Democracy Looks Like.”

Our banners had drawings and a photo of Ahed Tamimi, the 16-year-old Palestinian girl whom the Israelis arrested a month ago and are threatening to put in jail for years for slapping a heavily-armed Israeli soldier. Perhaps 100 people commented in support and took photos of us. We also gave out 1,000 half-page flyers which were snapped up in less than 30 minutes.

The march was fantastic, and we sent word of what we did to the Tamimi family in Palestine.

Black History Month Events at the Wilson Library

by Marian Huggins, New Haven Free Public Library

This year’s Black History Month theme for the library fea-tures two prominent writers: James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Along with partners from Project Longevity, we will show the film I Am Not Your Negro, a work adapted from an unfinished James Baldwin manuscript. The screening will be held at the Wilson Branch, 303 Washington Ave., New Haven, on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 2 p.m.

James Baldwin, described as an “American Novelist and Social Critic,” unearths the hard truths about racism in America while describing his responses to the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers and Malcolm X.

Langston Hughes, whose birthday by the way is Feb. 1, was a prolific poet and social activist as well. His writing could be biting, but was usually cloaked either in humor (as in the Jesse B. Semple Stories) or softened by the hopefulness of a future when all would be accepted, like in the poem “I, Too”:

I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.
Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

The Urban Life Experience Book Discussion Series will feature a biography of Langston Hughes for our February meeting, Feb. 24 at noon. New readers are welcome and readers can choose whatever biography (or autobiography) written for teens and adults they’d like to read for the discussion. The Langston Hughes biography is in conjunction with our Black History Month celebration and it fits in with the cultural and social justice theme of the discussion group. The book discussion will be followed by the film Hughes’ Dream Harlem at 1:30 p.m.  Wilson Branch, New Haven Free Public Library, 303 Washington Ave., (203) 946-2228.

Commemorate the 200th Anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ Birth

Power Concedes Nothing Without a Demand. It Never Did, and It Never Will.

Quinnipiac University will mark the 200th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ birth with a series of events to honor his life and his many achievements. One of the high points will be a yearlong exhibition curated by Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute that focuses on the time Douglass spent in Ireland and his enduring relationship with that country.

Frederick Douglass was born a slave in Maryland. At the age of 20, he escaped to the north, where he quickly established himself as a talented speaker and writer.

In 1845, Douglass wrote his life story: “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. Written by Himself.” To avoid being captured and returned to slavery, he traveled to Europe. He spent the first four months of his exile in Ireland, returning there three more times in 1846. Douglass described his time in Ireland as “transformative” and as “the happiest days of my life.” In 1847, he returned to America, his freedom having been “purchased” by female abolitionists.

Exhibit: Frederick Douglass Remembered.

Dates: Feb. 2, 2018, to Jan. 28, 2019
Hours: Monday through Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m.
Main Exhibition: The Lender Special Collection Room, Arnold Bernhard Library, Mount Carmel Campus, Quinnipiac University, 275 Mount Carmel Avenue, Hamden, CT 06518

Friday, Feb. 2. Frederick Douglass in Ireland: “The Black O’Connell” (Frederick Douglass in Éirinn: An Conallach Gorm) exhibition opens to the public.

Tuesday, Feb. 6, 7-10 p.m. From Abolition to #BLM: A Conversation with Danny Glover at the Burt Kahn Court, Mount Carmel Campus. Driven by activists like Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Tubman, early abolitionist efforts became the foundation for contemporary debates over the meaning of freedom. The Black Lives Matter movement, named for the hashtag started on Twitter, is steeped in the American tradition of using free speech and social actions to further the fight for justice and equality. In a fireside-chat style program with Dr. Khalilah Brown-Dean, Glover will explore the similarities of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and its early abolitionist roots (especially Frederick Douglass) to build connections, increase dialogue and end racism.

Wednesday, Feb. 14. Happy Birthday, Frederick! Events throughout the day include special cupcakes and a chance to meet Nathan Richardson (Douglass enactor).

Tuesday, Feb. 20. “Frederick Douglass at 200.”
Memorial service to mark Frederick’s death on February 20, 1895. The service will include a selection of readings in English and Irish, accompanied by traditional Irish music and 19th-century American hymns. Light refreshments will be provided afterward. This event will take place at the Center for Religion on the Mount Carmel Campus.Thursday, February 22. Kenneth Morris and Nettie Douglass, descendants of Frederick Douglass, discuss how they are preserving his legacy. Also, a statue of Frederick Douglass at age 27 (when he visited Ireland) will be on display at the Quinnipiac University School of Law on the North Haven Campus, 370 Bassett Road, North Haven. For more information, please contact: Ann Marie Godbout, Assistant to Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute, (203) 582-6576, ighi@qu.edu, http://www.qu.edu/on-campus/institutes-centers/irelands-great-hunger-institute/frederick-douglass-remembered.html.

PAR Featured on WPKN Radio. Listen.

On Jan. 8, Scott Harris, host of Counterpoint on WPKN Radio (89.5 FM), interviewed Paula Panzarella, one of PAR’s editors and Planning Committee members.

The Planning Committee felt this interview would be a great way to introduce PAR to the many progressive organiza-tions active in the peace movement, the struggle for immi-grant rights, work with Black Lives Matter, promotion of environmental projects, the struggle for civil rights, criminal justice issues, the push for healthcare for all, etc. Many thanks to Scott Harris and WPKN for agreeing to give PAR this opportunity to reach a new audience.

We hope that groups which were not familiar with PAR will send us articles and their event listings so PAR readers can learn about the work they are doing and get involved. PAR readers can listen to the interview on the following link: http://counterpointradio.org/2018/mp3/180108d-ctpt-panzarella.mp3.

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