Building a coalition around a climate action 1-3 p.m. Sunday June 30

At a recent day of discussion for 350 CT, we decided to make an effort to build a wide-ranging coalition around a climate action on Sept. 20 in support of the global climate strike led by the millions of school strikers around the world.

There will be a meeting on June 30 from 1-3 pm at the Unitarian Society of Hartford (50 Bloomfield Avenue) to make a plan. I hope that some PAR subscribers can attend. Thank you!

Anger Over Coast Guard Academy’s Choice of John Bolton as Featured Speaker

Many CT organizations condemned the choice of John R. Bolton, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, as the featured Coast Guard Academy, commencement speaker on May 22. Bolton is notorious for demanding military solutions to international disputes.  He ruined the Korea talks by advising the president to take an all-or-noth-ing approach.  He stoked interference in Venezuelan affairs and helped incite the attempted coup. In 2015 he wrote the infamous New York Times op-ed entitled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.”  His militarism would plunge this coun-try into useless and unjust wars and would endanger the lives of millions of people in the world including U.S. soldiers and Coast Guard officers.

Among the groups that spoke out against Bolton’s appearance are the Greater New Haven Peace Council, Central CT Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Promoting Enduring Peace, Middle East Crisis Committee, Tree of Life Education Fund (CT), We Refuse to Be Enemies (CT), ANSWER Coalition (CT), Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA), CT Peace and Solidarity Coalition and the War Resisters League.

Note To the Environmental Community | Ralph Nader, Consumer Advocate

[Reprinted from CounterPunch, May 6, 2019: www.counterpunch.org/2019/05/06/note-to-the-environmental-community]

In 2003, political strategist Frank Luntz wrote a confidential Republican Party memo on what he called “the environmental communications battle.” In that memo, Luntz advised Republicans to change the words they used to meet their ends. “The scientific debate is closing but not yet closed,” he wrote. “There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science,” Luntz proposed using the phrase “climate change” instead of “global warming.” His reasoning: “[W]hile global warming has catastrophic communications attached to it, climate change sounds a more controllable and less emotional challenge.”

Like it or not, Frank Luntz had a point. When I was growing up in New England, “climate change” meant the changing of the seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Today, in the midst of increasingly alarming scientific studies and giant storms, the necessary response has been diminished by this widely-accepted softening of the words we use to describe the dangerous reality that stands before us. Language matters!

I recently reached out to two leading and widely respected ecologists, Paul Hawken and Bill McKibben, to get their input on the mainstream usage of the benign phrase “climate change.” McKibben now uses the far more potent phrase “climate chaos.” Hawken believes the proper term is “climate volatility.”

One thing is abundantly clear―it’s time to change the words to meet the peril! As Confucius said: “If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.”

Would you join us in replacing the use of the all-together benign phrase “climate change” with variations of more grave language? Consider the following alternatives: climate crisis, climate catastrophe, climate disruption, climate upheaval, or even global warming. Whatever choice of words, we should stop using “climate change.”

Sincerely, Ralph Nader

Remembering Anne Frank: Film Showing of Redemption Blues June 12 @ NH Free Public Library

In commemoration of Anne Frank’s 90th birthday, please join us for a screening of “Redemption Blues,” directed by Peter Stastny  (2017; 84 min., English & German/English subtitles) Wednesday, June 12, 5:30 to 8 p.m., New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm Street.

A lifetime after the Shoah: Forgetting is not an option and memory only goes so far. When prayers are not enough, music can keep us going. It is not too late to mourn and not too soon to replenish.

“Redemption Blues” is a film about the thorny legacy of the Holocaust generation and the insights of some of its last survivors. The film begins where conventional Shoah narratives leave off and traces a path forward, through personal and emotional engagement towards hope.

Director and producer Peter Stastny was born in Vienna as the son of Orthodox Jewish refugees. After a career in psychiatry, he began working with film in the mid-1990s, looking for ways to move forward after the immense trauma endured by the Jewish population of Europe during the Second World War.

Discussion with Peter Stastny will follow the screening. Co-sponsors are: The International Association of New Haven and The City of New Haven Peace Commission. For more information, contact Seth, sgodfrey@nhfpl.org, or (203) 946-7450. New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St.

New Book Documents How Ordinary American Communities Challenge the ‘One Percent’ and Win

Good Trouble: A Shoeleather History of Nonviolent Direct Action is a riveting chronicle of stories that prove time and again the actions of thoughtful, committed people can change their country and the world. It is a brisk, inspiring primer for veteran activists and newcomers alike.

Civil Rights struggles. Labor strikes. Immigrant organizing. Tenant occupations. LGBT campaigns. Each of the 40-plus examples in Good Trouble focuses on the power of organizing and mobilizing, relevant in any context, and serves as an “emergency tool kit” for nonviolent direct action.

“Good Trouble comes to us at a time when faith in our democracy is fading,” writes Rev. Damaris Whittaker, senior minister of Fort Washington Collegiate Church, New York.

“Change is the result of action, but those without hope do not act. Good Trouble is a tale of overcoming despair to beat the system,” says Jackie Allen-Doucot, lifelong member of the Catholic Worker Movement.

The book takes its title from a quote by John Lewis, member of Congress and legendary civil rights hero, who led a 2016 sit-in on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives: “Dr. King and Rosa Parks inspired me to get into trouble, good trouble,” Lewis said at the time.

Good Trouble author Steve Thornton is a retired union organizer who has spent forty-five years in Hartford CT on the front lines of student, labor, community, environmental, and anti-racist struggles. This is his third book, the first with Hard Ball Press, publisher of a wide range of working-class writings (hardballpress.org).

The Shoeleather History Project: Stories from Hartford’s grassroots: www.ShoeleatherHistoryProject.com.

Report on Coalition for People Annual Meeting

On April 17, the Coalition for People held its first annual meeting since 2014. Among the 24 attendees, there were many past members and some newcomers to the group.

The gathering started off with music by Flint Ladder. A slideshow featuring CFP founder Mary Johnson played during the performance.

Elected board members are Dorothy Johnson, Elizabeth Neuse, Holly Hackett and JoAnn Moran. If anyone wants to still join the board, they can be considered during the monthly business meetings. Please call (203) 468-2541 if you are interested in joining the board.

The keynote speaker was Rev. Bonita Grubbs, Director of Christian Community Action. She spoke about the long history of Coalition for People, the legacy of Mary Johnson, what it means to be organizing and inspiring people, and always pushing for what is right, even though it may not always be immediately evident. She gave the example that that week scientists were able to photograph a black hole, proving Albert Einstein’s theory about the existence of black holes, 64 years after Einstein’s death. Many ridiculed Einstein when he first presented that theory, just as many people call activists crazy for trying to change things. But just because we as activists don’t get immediate results doesn’t mean we’re crazy or wrong. Rev. Grubbs talked about the individual lights of each person, their intelligence, skills, how people have their own understanding, that everyone can bring their lights together, discuss reality and solutions from her or his own perspective, and shine the light to push things forward.

Discussion of various topics followed – affordable housing, Yale New Haven Hospital’s plan to move the primary care centers to Long Wharf, healthcare, homelessness, justice. It was a good gathering to share the concerns of Coalition members and supporters, as well as those new to CFP.

The monthly board meetings are open to the membership. For June, July and August, our meetings are on the third Wednesday from 3-5 p.m. at the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Avenue (June 19, July 17, and August 21). For more information, email coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com. Thank you!

Make Music Day Connecticut Returns on June 21

Connecticut Office of the Arts

For the second year, cities and towns across Connecticut will join forces to present over 500 free outdoor musical events on Friday, June 21 for Make Music Day, a global music celebration on the summer solstice each year that brings people of all ages and skill levels together to make music. For information, see www.makemusicnewhaven.org.

Last year, Make Music Day made its Connecticut debut, with an impressive 528 free musical performances at 224 locations across the state, coordinated by twelve regional chapters brought together by the Connecticut Office of the Arts. This year, eighteen chapters have formed to organize Make Music Connecticut, the most of any state, joining more than 80 other U.S. cities hosting thousands of Make Music performances across the country as part of the world’s largest annual music event.

Why We’re Still Standing Out Here in 2019: Sunday Vigil for Peace Mission Statement – Join With Us Noon-1 p.m.

This vigil for peace and justice has been observed every Sunday from 12 until 1 p.m. since May of 1999. Twenty years and four U.S. presidential administrations later, we are still here.

Often people ask us what we mean when we say, “RESIST THIS ENDLESS WAR.” What we mean is that the serial wars fought by the U.S. and its allies are one war being waged on many fronts. Men, women and children are being slaughtered, maimed, traumatized, driven from their homes all over the world so that immense wealth and power can be concentrated in the hands of a very few people.

The weapons of this war are many. Here are just some examples: drone attacks against human beings many thousands of miles away (targets whose bodies the bombardiers, operating their weapons by remote control, will never have to see); the mass deportations of immigrants and refugees (condemning them, in many cases, to a future of torture or death); the systematic dismantling of infrastructure and social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security that most of us not only depend upon but have funded with our hard-earned tax dollars all our lives; the destruction of our environment; the undermining of workers’ rights and the refusal to pass a national minimum wage that is a living wage.

In 2016, we had a presidential election in which the issues of war, peace and economic justice were never seriously addressed. The state of endless war was accepted as the norm. Now we are dealing with an administration that, during its more than two years in power, has exponentially escalated on all fronts this war that we have been describing and resisting for years. And the 2018 “mid-term” elections largely ignored these issues.

With its blatantly racist and xenophobic rhetoric and policies, its utter disregard for the U.S. Constitution and international law, its attempt to roll back even the modest attempts at addressing climate change that are embraced in the Paris Agreement, its utter disregard for human rights at the borders, and its unapologetic war against poor, working-class and non-white people on behalf of the billionaire class it represents, the Trump administration has made transparent the existential threat posed by the 1% to all our lives and to the future of our planet.

RESIST THIS ENDLESS WAR. Join the conversation any Sunday here at Broadway, Park and Elm Streets, New Haven, 12-1 p.m. newhavensundayvigil.wordpress.com

Bad People Believing Bad Things: The Threat of White Nationalism — Talk June 11

John Stoehr invites Jason Stanley, the Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University and author of How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them (published September 2018), to discuss the rising tide of white nationalist ideology and its influence on the American political landscape. Book will be available for sale. Please RSVP by Tuesday, June 11, 7:30 p.m. at the Young Men’s Institute Library, 847 Chapel St, New Haven. Light refreshments available. Suggested admission $10. Sponsored by New Haven Review with the Institute Library and The Editorial Board.

Syrian Revolution to Be Examined June 15

Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

Save the date Saturday, June 15 for a talk by Yasser Munif, a Syrian professor of Sociology at Emerson College in Boston.  He has been to Syria several time during the last eight years of turmoil. He’ll be speaking about reports of hideous treatment and murder of tens of thousands of regime prisoners. We’ll also be talking about the call from Amnesty International for the U.S. to pay compensation to Syria for its brutal bombing campaign in Raqqa, the Putin/Assad bombing of Idlib province and the struggles between democratic forces and the HTS extremists.

Professional singer Dylan Connor will sing some of the songs he’s written about Syria. Connor is on the Syrian-American Council and traveled to Syria just last year. We should also have some photos of Syrian political art.

Final details about location and time of the event have not been set. Look at the sites pepeace.org and thestruggle.org for details in coming days.

New Haven Documentary Film Festival May 30-June 9

The 6th annual New Haven Documentary Film Festival runs from May 30-June 9. The 11-day fest will feature over 100 films and other special events in various venues. All film screenings and workshops are free. For the full schedule, see nhdocs.com.

Michael Moore Retrospective will be at the New Haven Documentary Film Festival Friday, June 7 – Sunday, June 9 at the Whitney Humanities Center Auditorium at Yale, 53 Wall St., New Haven. The Festival will feature free showings of seven of Michael Moore’s films. The audience can discuss the films with Michael Moore and filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus and Peter Davis.

Free and open to the public.

1 2