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

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.

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.

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.

‘PAR’ to be interviewed live on WPKN’s Counterpoint with Scott Harris tonight

Paula Panzarella, who has been a leader of the Progressive Action Roundtable in New Haven since its beginnings in 1993 (25 years ago) will be interviewed live by WPKN’s Scott Harris, of WPKN’s Counterpoint program, at 9:30 p.m. tonight on WPKN 89.5 FM, and on www.wpkn.org.

If you are unable to listen either on the radio or online, then visit the WPKN’s archives to listen another time.

To listen to the program online visit this page and choose a player. (Try Flash first. It’s probably the easiest, though it is not considered by everyone to be the most secure. But you’ll probably be okay. Or if you are using a Mac and have iTunes, then that is probably easiest.)

From the Counterpoint page on WPKN’s website: 9:30 p.m. — Paula Panzarella, coordinator of the Progressive Action Roundtable of New Haven, CT, talks about the project, a forum for progressive groups in the Greater New Haven area, where actions and ideas are publicized so that others are aware of peace, health, justice, energy, environmental, and other issues for the common good.

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.

Use Your Creativity to Change the World (and this Newsletter)!

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.

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