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PAR Planning Committee

The Progressive Action Roundtable Planning Committee is happy to announce our first-ever contest for a bumpersticker and/or logo for our newsletter. What phrase or design would you want to see on the cars in front of you? What logo for our newsletter would really speak to your sentiments of a better world?

Depending on the number of entries, we estimate we will be able to announce a winner by June. We are offering a $100 prize for the winning entry. All entries must be in black and white, and be mailed to PAR, P.O. Box 995, New Haven, CT 06504.

Please include your name, address, phone number and e-mail address with your design. You do not need to be a subscriber to participate.

Thank you!

Barbados Peace Conference

by Henry Lowendorf, Greater New Haven Peace Council

In early October political, trade union and peace leaders and members of Parliament from the Caribbean organized the First Caribbean Peace Conference in Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados. The US Peace Council was invited to speak and I was pleased to be its representative.

It was refreshing to hear the strong convergence of opinion from the experience of many small, diverse nations and instructive as some of the colonial history was linked to today’s patterns of exploitation and violence.

Speakers denounced the presence of foreign military bases in the Caribbean – including Guantánamo in Cuba and the foreign military presence of MINUSTAH in Haiti – their significant contribution to environmental degradation and actual erosion of security and stability in the region. They demanded that the Caribbean be considered a Zone of Peace as proclaimed by the 2014 Havana Declaration by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

A fundamental paradox of naming the Caribbean as a zone of peace is that its island states were founded in the most extreme violence – slavery, warfare, genocide, criminality and terrorism, according to Barbadian Pan-Africanist and founder of the Clement Payne Movement, David Comissiong. He pointed out that European nations fought wars against each other in the Caribbean but in 1559, when they signed a peace treaty among themselves, they agreed that further war was OK as long as it was fought in the Caribbean and not in Europe.

Hope McNish, head of the Jamaica Peace Council, called for an end to US attacks on Brazil and Venezuela and warned of an imminent outbreak of nuclear war between the US and North Korea. She connected wars, refugees and the toxification of the environment, raised the demand for reparations and linked the struggles for justice in the Caribbean with that of Black Lives Matter in the US.

Other speakers reminded us that the 1967 Tlatelolco Treaty, signed by the US, established the Caribbean as a nuclear-free zone.

Read the Final Declaration of the First Caribbean Peace Conference http://www.wpc-in.org/statements/bridgetown-declaration.

Mary Johnson, March 29, 1922-Aug. 13, 2017

It is with great sadness that the Progressive Action Roundtable Planning Committee informs our readers that Mary Johnson, a founding member of PAR and leader, strategist and active participant in most of PAR’s committees, has passed on.

We dedicate this issue of our newsletter to Mary. Without her guidance, ideas for informing the public and each other of rallies and events, optimism in the struggle for justice and her persistence in fighting for people’s rights throughout the years, there may not have even been a Progressive Action Roundtable. We all owe so much to her.

Frank Panzarella, “Mary was the den mother for most of the New Haven activist community.”

Mary was directly active in many of the organizations that are PAR-affiliated. She was also active in most of New Haven’s progressive organizations. She most likely was a founding member of many.
She was a great political and personal influence on many. PAR encourages our readers to send in their reminiscences of her. In the words of Frank Panzarella, “Mary was the den mother for most of the New Haven activist community.”

A memorial is being planned for her with details upcoming.

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.

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.

Stop Congressional approval of illegal and immoral wars. Support funding human needs.

Dear Peace Activist!

Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford asked the Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations to provide a LEGAL BASIS for the so called War against Terrorism. This would allow increased intervention in Yemen and Somalia. It would finally put a “legal” coating on, i.e., Congressional approval of, the illegal and immoral Bush/Obama/Trump wars.
We must organize an all-out campaign against this maneuver to “legalize” the aggression of US foreign policy!

We must couple this with our all-out unity approach against the Trump budget of pitting a shameless increased military budget against desperately needed funds for human needs!
The Peace movement must unite, mobilizing our members and allies.

Yours in peace, Alfred L. Marder, President
Greater New Haven Peace Council
Member of the World Peace Council

Resolution to Cut Military Budget Passes Board of Alders

by Henry Lowendorf, GNH Peace Council

The resolution to cut the military budget in order to fund New Haven human services and infrastructure passed the Board of Alders unanimously. The resolution submitted by the City of New Haven Peace Commission was presented at a hearing by the Human Services Committee of the Board and received input from various department heads of the city government.

The resolution called for a citywide hearing to “reveal what the extent of the city’s public and human services needs are, what the gaps are between the city’s needs and all funds provided by taxes, grants and debt, and how those gaps could be met by reducing the annual national military budget” which currently takes more than 55% of the federal discretionary budget and under the Trump administration is likely to dramatically increase.

Asked to imagine what they could do with greater funds, department heads and city workers enthusiastically spoke of providing more nurses and public health services to needy school children, encouraging business development for non-high-tech startups, provide high quality housing, end homelessness, fix potholes and sidewalks, replace outdated public works equipment, take care of the city’s coastline and harbor, replace laid-off park department workers, provide mechanics for the police fleet and build a green fleet garage – among other things.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp approved of the resolution and offered to submit a similar one to the US Conference of Mayors calling on every medium to large city in the nation to hold such a hearing.
The resolution passed the evening of Feb. 21 calls on the Board of Alders to transmit a letter to federal elected representatives asking what they are going to do to reduce the military budget, i.e., cut spending on wars and move funds to human needs.

“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.

Jews, Muslims Gather on New Haven Green to Protest Islamophobia, Hate Crimes

by Kate Ramunni, New Haven Register, Dec. 22, 2016

Two groups that have been the target of hate crimes joined together Wednesday [Dec. 21} night to jointly recommit to justice for both and urge others to do the same. Members of Jewish Voices for Peace and the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut gathered on the New Haven Green, where they sang songs, held signs and advocated for tolerance. More than 30 people huddled together and traveled from corner to corner around the Green as evening traffic rushed by. [….]

“It’s gotten difficult to be a Jew or a Muslim in American society,” said Patrick Korth. “They are irrationally targeting the wrong people,” he said as he stood with the others at the corner of Chapel and College streets.

Wednesday’s demonstration was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace’s Network Against Islamophobia and set on the backdrop of Hanukkah, which starts Saturday night and runs through Jan. 1. The eight-day “festival of lights” celebrates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple. Signs the demonstrators held laid out their beliefs: “We will not be silent when encountering Muslim and racist hate speech and hate crimes. We challenge through our words and actions institutionalized racism and state-sanctioned anti-black violence. We welcome Syrian refugees and stand strong with immigrants and refugees. We stand with Jews against Islamophobia and racism, rekindling our commitment to justice. We stand against U.S. policies on the ‘war on terror’ that demonize Islam and devalue, target and kill Muslims.”

“We need to change the direction of this country to address the problems of the world,” Korth said, “and we are not getting there with our politics.”

Read the whole story here at the New Haven Register’s website: Jews, Muslims gather on New Haven Green to protest Islamophobia, hate crimes

Ben Ehrenreich to Speak in New Haven Nov. 11

by Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace

Ehrenreich

Ehrenreich

Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven (JVPNH) is partnering with Shalom UCC to present a book talk by Ben Ehrenreich on Friday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 at the First Presbyterian Church in New Haven, 704 Whitney Ave. Ben is the author of the recently published book, The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine. His book was reviewed in the New York Times this past July. The review is available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/17/books/review/ben-ehrenreich-the-way-to-the-spring-palestine.html.

Over the past three years, Ben Ehrenreich has been traveling to and living in the West Bank, staying with Palestinian families in its largest cities and its smallest villages, including Nabi Saleh, Hebron, and Umm al-Kheir. Along the way he has written major stories for American outlets, including a remarkable New York Times Magazine cover story, “Is This Where the Third Intifada Will Start?”.

The book offers a first person view of life in the West Bank: the daily challenges, pain and triumphs of resistance while living under oppressive military occupation. Reviewer Andy Shatz wrote: “As heart-breaking as it is, The Way to the Spring is also a strangely joyful book, because Ehrenreich grasps the essence of the Palestinian struggle. It’s not Islam, nor even nationalism, but the stubborn refusal of injustice, the restless search for ‘how it would feel to be free.’”

Reach JVP New Haven on the web: http://www.jvpnh.org, by email: newhaven@jewishvoiceforpeace.org, or facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jvpnewhaven, or twitter: @jvpnewhaven.

People’s World Amistad Awards 2016, Dec. 4: “If There Is No Struggle, There Can Be No Progress”

by Joelle Fishman, People’s World

This year’s People’s World Amistad Awards are dedicated to carrying on the torch of Arthur L. Perry, a great friend, union leader, and warrior for justice who received the People’s World Amistad Award in 2009.

The event is Sunday, December 4, 2016 at 4 p.m. at Wexler Grant Community School, 55 Foote St., New Haven, on the theme “If there is no struggle, there can be no progress — We march united for Racial Justice, Jobs & Peace.”

Awardees Alder Jeanette Morrison, Dan Livingston and Juan Brito are outstanding leaders who have devoted their lives to the fight for economic and social justice for all.

A cultural program will highlight the event.

Alder Jeanette Morrison was elected to represent Ward 22 in New Haven as part of a labor-community coalition. She led the successful movement to rebuild the Dixwell Q House, a youth center in the heart of the African-American community next to Wexler Grant school.  As a social worker she fights to bring families together and for opportunities for children. She is a member of AFSCME.

Dan Livingston is a groundbreaking labor attorney and life-long union and progressive activist. As a member of a firm of “trouble making lawyers” (Livingston, Adler, Pulda, Meiklejohn and Kelly), he represents many public and private sector unions. He represents, works with, and serves on the boards of many coalitions, community and progressive organizations fighting for social justice in our state.

Juan Brito is a School Social Worker at Burns Latino Academy in Hartford and a member of the Hartford Feder-ation of Teachers. He is a writer for La Voz Hispana de Connecticut and a musician who has been performing with his wife Rebecca Delgado since 1977. He has published two books of poetry about his country and his experiences before, during and after the coup d’etat that affected Chile in 1973.

The awards are presented to allies by the People’s World on the occasion of the 97th anniversary of the Communist Party USA.

Tickets are $10. Adbook deadline is Nov. 18, 2016.  Information: ct-pww@pobox.com.

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