The Poor People’s Campaign: A Moral Agenda Based on Fundamental Rights

Over the past two years, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has reached out to communities in more than 30 states across this nation. We have met with tens of thousands of people, witnessing the strength of their moral courage in trying times. We have gathered testimonies from hundreds of poor people, and we have chronicled their demands for a better society. The following moral agenda is drawn from this deep engagement and commitment to these struggles of the poor and dispossessed. It is also grounded in an empirical assessment of how we have come to this point today. The Souls of Poor Folk: Auditing America report reveals how the evils of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and the war economy and militarism are persistent, pervasive, and perpetuated by a distorted moral narrative that must be challenged.

We must stop the attention [deficit] that refuses to see these injustices and acknowledge the human and economic costs of inequality. We believe that when decent people see the faces and facts that the Souls of Poor Folk Audit presents, they will be moved deeply in their conscience to change things. When confronted with the undeniable truth of unconscionable cruelty to our fellow human beings, we must join the ranks of those who are determined not to rest until justice and equality are a reality for all. www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Connecticut-Fact-Sheet.pdf.

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.

In the Spirit of Dr. King – Fight the War Machine!

by ANSWER CT

Saturday, April 14, noon-5 p.m. Rally and March – Gather at the White House. Followed by teach-in at George Washington University.

Fifty years after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., peace and social justice groups across the country are uniting to carry on his legacy of determined struggle against racism, war and poverty. Many of these activities are being coordinated by the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

In his final book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stated, “a final problem mankind must solve in order to survive … is finding an alternative to war and human destruction.” This comes just after his statement in the same text that “the time has come for an all-out world war on poverty.” Today, when there is no controversy in Congress about spending at least $700 billion on the war machine while horrendous cuts are being made to almost every program designed to help people survive, these words ring as true as ever.

In the richest country in the history of countries, this situation is unacceptable. Food stamps, Medicaid, programs to save the planet and funds for affordable housing cannot and should not be held hostage to a global war-making machine – a machine aimed not at freedom or democracy but domination and control, complicit in terrible crimes.

From facilitating the brutal war in Yemen to the extreme threats directed at North Korea, Venezuela and Iran, the U.S. government has placed itself completely at odds with Dr. King’s vision: A way of life where people’s needs rather than profits and imperial goals are the center of our society. This vision can be realized only if we seize the time and show that we won’t allow our future to be sacrificed at the altar of war and militarism.

Join us on Saturday, April 14 for a rally, march and teach-in against war, militarism and empire. These actions are timed to coincide with the anti-war Spring Actions 2018. As Dr. King said: “Science has provided us with adequate means for survival and transportation, which make it possible to enjoy the fullness of this great earth. The question now is, do we have the morality and courage required to live together … and not be afraid.”

Initial sponsors (list in formation): ANSWER Coalition; Justice First; Family and Friends of Incarcerated People; CODEPINK; Popular Resistance; Partnership for Civil Justice Fund; Imam Mahdi Bray, National Director of the American Muslim Alliance; Virginia Defenders for Free-dom, Justice & Equality; Internationalist Students Front at George Washington University www.answercoalition.org/ in_the_spirit_of_dr_king_fight_the_war_machine

Stop the Wars at Home and Abroad. Demonstration NYC April 15

by Henry Lowendorf, Greater New Haven Peace Council

There is no way to peace without dramatically cutting the $700 billion Pentagon budget and ending the many wars the US started and is engaged in. STOP THE WARS AT HOME AND ABROAD!

The Trump administration, however, is proposing more war spending and all CT members of Congress voted with their colleagues to increase the Pentagon budget by $80 billion, a third more than Trump asked for. This is a recipe for more killing, more refugees, more cultural devastation and indeed economic disaster for our own country. STOP THE WARS AT HOME AND ABROAD!

Cuts to the funding of education, environment, jobs, health-care, science, civil rights, infrastructure can only be reversed when we stop funding war. Ending the internal assault on minorities, immigrants, people of Muslim faith, women, our youth – ending the mass killings – requires strong opposi-tion to militarization and warmaking. STOP THE WARS AT HOME AND ABROAD!

The No US Foreign Bases Coalition, which brought together many peace organizations (noforeignbases.org) and held a successful conference in Baltimore in January, resolved to organize a national day of demonstrations on tax day 2018. There will be demonstrations in San Francisco, Minneapolis, Chicago and New York.

From Connecticut we want to send a large contingent to New York. We also want to subsidize transportation in particular to encourage youth to participate. Please help organize this effort. Let us know you will march and bring a crowd April 15, 2 p.m., Union Square, New York.
Greater New Haven Peace Council (203) 389-9547, grnhpeacecouncil@gmail.com

Resolution from the Conference on U.S. Military Bases Held Jan. 12-14

by Henry Lowendorf, GNH Peace Council

The Conference on U.S. Foreign Military Bases was held in Baltimore, Maryland, on January 12-14, organized by Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases—con-sisting of more than 250 peace, justice and environmental organ-izations from around the world. It heard from Okinawans and members of the Veterans For Peace from the U.S. who recently visited Okinawa to add their voices to the growing chorus opposed to the presence of U.S. military bases on the island.

We are aware of the terrible role that U.S. bases on Okinawa have played in the destruction of the environment and of the many criminal acts of U.S. military personnel, including rape and murder against the people of Okinawa.

We are also aware of the central role that the U.S. bases on Okinawa played during the criminal war waged by the U.S. against the people of Vietnam and the present-day role they play in the aggressive military presence of the U.S. in the entire region.

On the basis of these facts, the Coalition Against U.S. For-eign Military Bases and all of the Conference participants unanimously demand that all charges against Hiroji Yama-shiro, and his co-defendants Hiroshi Inaba and Atsuhiro Soeda, be dropped and all attempts to silence the people of Okinawa in their just quest to rid their homeland of the many U.S. military bases be stopped.

The Coalition further pledges to support the case of Hiroji Yamashiro, Hiroshi Inaba, Atsuhiro Soeda, and to publicize their cases in the U.S. and to raise the demand that all U.S. military bases be removed from Okinawa.

Issued by the Coordinating Committee of the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases, January 15, 2018.

Committee: Ajamu Baraka, Black Alliance for Peace; Ann Wright and Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK; Al Marder, U.S. Peace Council; Bruce Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power In Space; Nancy Price, WILPF, and others. The very successful conference built unity in the US peace movement. It can be viewed in streaming video on the noforeignbases.org website.

‘Meditating in Troubled Times’ — A Talk by Dr. Paul R. Fleischman, March 5

by Aruna Pawashe, Lecturer, MBB and MCDB Dept., Yale

The Connecticut Vipassana is pleased to host the 4th Annual public talk by Dr. Paul R. Fleischman, MD entitled “Meditating in Troubled Times,” on Monday, March 5, at 4 p.m. It is free and open to the public and takes place at Yale Osborne Memorial Lab, Room 202, 165 Prospect St. For details and to register go to: bit.ly/YaleMeditationLecture.

Dr. Fleischman trained at Yale University and practiced psychiatry for over thirty years. He was appointed a teacher of Vipassana by S.N. Goenka. He has recently lectured at numerous universities in the U.S. as well as in many coun-tries around the world. This year at Yale, he will discuss troubled times on the minds of our students/audience and how meditation can retain its relevance, or even increase its relevance, when the world is so full of turmoil.

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.

By Our Presence, We Grieve Those Who Have Been Killed

By Allie Perry, Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice

If you happened to walk by New Haven’s 1905 Civil War memorial at the Broadway triangle New Year’s Day 2018 at 6 p.m., you might have wondered why, in freezing cold temperatures, a group of eleven was gathered around a cairn of field stones. They were there giving witness and calling attention to the on-going violence of the U.S. wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, by adding yet another stone to the cairn. Each stone is a memorial, inscribed with the number of U.S. service people who died in the previous month in Iraq and Afghanistan and with the approximate number of Iraqi and Afghan civilians killed. Each month the cairn gets higher and heavier, as the cumulative death tolls go up.

This monthly observance began in December 2007. Stephen Kobasa proposed the memorial and secured the New Haven Board of Park Commissioners’ permission to construct it. Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice provided the leadership, inviting local faith communities to lead the monthly rituals. Over the decade since, members of many New Haven area congregations have participated, including: St. Thomas More, First Presbyterian, Amistad Catholic Worker, Center Church, the University Church, Unitarian Society of New Haven, the Zen Center, Shalom UCC, Church of the Redeemer, Congregation Mishkan Israel, United Church on the Green, First Unitarian Universalist Society of New Haven, St. Paul and St. James, Ascension Catholic Church in Hamden, St. Thomas Episcopal.

At that first gathering, stones were placed, retroactively, documenting every month since the March 2003 start of the U.S. war against Iraq. Initially the inscribed numbers included deaths only in Iraq. As the hostilities in Afghanistan escalated, we started inscribing the stones with data for Afghanistan as well.

The permission granted in 2007 was for a temporary installation, to be dismantled when the wars end. Ten years later the violence continues, the wars persist, and, on every first Monday of the month, a group still gathers. By our presence, we grieve those who have been killed, we denounce the violence, and we renew our commitment to work fervently for the end of war and for justice and peace. Join us.

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.

Major Conference on Closing U.S. Foreign Military Bases

Henry Lowendorf, U.S. Peace Council

A broad coalition of U.S. peace organizations has created a major conference in Baltimore, Jan. 12 to 14 — to launch an international campaign to close U.S. foreign military bases.

Major speakers at the Conference on U.S. Foreign Military Bases include Ajamu Baraka, 2016 Green Party vice presidential candidate; Col. Ann Wright, former diplomat, leader of CodePink and Veterans for Peace; David Vine, Associate Professor, American University, author of Base Nation. For a complete list of speakers, visit this link.

This coalition came together to unify the U.S. peace move-ment around a common goal. There is still time to register for this important initiative: http://noforeignbases.org.

Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases, Unity Statement (partial)

While we may have our differences on other issues, we all agree that U.S. foreign military bases are the principal in-struments of imperial global domination and environmental damage through wars of aggression and occupation, and that the closure of U.S. foreign military bases is one of the first necessary steps toward a just, peaceful and sustainable world. Our belief in the urgency of this necessary step is based on the following facts:

  1. While we are opposed to all foreign military bases, we do recognize that the United States maintains the highest number of military bases outside its territory, estimated at almost 1000 (95% of all foreign military bases in the world). Presently, there are U.S. military bases in every Persian Gulf country except Iran.
  2. In addition, the United States has 19 naval air carriers (and 15 more planned), each as part of a Carrier Strike Group, composed of roughly 7,500 personnel, and a carrier air wing of 65 to 70 aircraft — each of which can be considered a floating military base.
  3. These bases are centers of aggressive military actions, threats of political and economic expansion, sabotage and espionage, and crimes against local populations. In addition, these military bases are the largest users of fossil fuel in the world, heavily contributing to environmental degradation.
  4. The annual cost of these bases to the American taxpayers is approximately $156 billion. The support of U.S. foreign military bases drains funds that can be used to fund human needs and enable our cities and states to provide necessary services for the people.

This has made the U.S. a more militarized society and has led to increased tensions between the U.S. and the rest of the world. Stationed throughout the world, almost 1000 in number, U.S. foreign military bases are symbols of the ability of the United States to intrude in the lives of sovereign nations and peoples.

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