Notes to PAR Readers

We urge you to check the internet for the many demonstrations protesting the bombing of Gaza. As of this printing, there were rallies and marches in Hartford, New London, New Haven, and Manchester, as well as in cities throughout the US and around the world. The New Haven rally and march on May 22 was in solidarity with the people of Palestine and Colombia, fighting for their right to life and self-determination. Video footage is available at thestruggle.org.

A reminder that PAR does not publish in the summer. The next issue you receive will be the September issue. If your subscription has expired with this issue, you will have a renewal form inserted in this issue. Please look for it and renew your subscription. We ask for $13, or whatever you can afford.

Please let us know if you find out that regularly-occurring meetings or events have resumed so we can list them in our calendar pages. E-mail us at parnewhaven@hotmail.com. Many of the previously regularly scheduled programs have changed frequency, gone on hiatus, or switched to Zoom. We want to keep our readers in the know so they have options for activism.

Are you computer-proficient? We’d like help on the Production Team. We currently use a combination of Word and Open Office for this newsletter, and are open to suggestions for other programs for layout. E-mail parnewhaven@hotmail.com and put “computer-proficient help” in the subject line. A stipend may be available.

May Day, International Workers’ Day Events

Saturday, May 1, New Haven, noon – 4 p.m. rally and march
May 1 is a critical time to take to the streets in a broad coalition for migrant justice and worker justice. Unidad Latina en Acción is convening a “Day Without Immigrants” massive rally on the New Haven Green, and a march at 4 p.m. For information go to ULA’s Facebook page or call (475) 323-9413.

March & Rally to Demand a Long Term Caregivers Bill of Rights at 12 p.m. Event at the Governor’s Mansion, by SEIU District 1199 New England, 15 Trinity St, Hartford. They call us heroes, but on the job – Home Care, Group Home, and Nursing Home workers – we are treated like we’re expendable. May 1st is International Workers’ Day – and we’re calling on Governor Lamont to CARE FOR CAREGIVERS by ending the cycle of structural racism that devalues the work of predominantly Black, Brown, and working class white women who work in long term care.

We are gathering in the northwest corner of Elizabeth Park in West Hartford and marching the half-mile up Asylum Ave. and turning onto Prospect St. to rally in front of the Governor’s mansion.

Free parking and socially distanced shuttle bus beginning at 11:15 from the 1199 office at 77 Huyshope Ave, Hartford. More info: www.facebook.com/events/466564707915332

Workers of the World Unite for an Equitable RECOVERY FOR ALL Sunday, May 2, at 4 p.m. EDT (US & Canada) via Zoom. Host Contact Info: ct-pww@pobox.com.

May Day 2021, International Workers’ Day, comes one year into the COVID-19 crisis, as workers resist racial and economic inequalities and demand fundamental change and a Recovery for All. Come together in unity & solidarity for a special rally hosted by CT People’s World.
Spanish language interpretation will be provided.

Rally Program:

  • Special Guest: RECOVERY FOR ALL Coalition Members;
  • Panel discussion with 1199 workers, Husky For Immigrants, Yale Union workers, also public workers from AFT on the front lines of the fight for essential workers and all workers;
  • Slide show of resistance and victories by workers on all continents, including in CT during COVID-19, challenging giant corporate profits from the impoverishment of working people;
  • Solidarity actions and demands.

Register now using the link below. After registering, you will get a confirmation email with information about joining the rally.

PeoplesWorld.org has extensive coverage of the COVID-19 crisis and struggles for racial, economic and climate justice on the side of the multi-racial working class. Contributions are welcomed to help People’s World get over economic problems due to the pandemic, and continue to contribute to the labor and people’s movements and thrive. Please mail donations to CT People’s World Committee, 37 Howe St., New Haven, CT 06511.

For more visit https://tinyurl.com/FB654654may-day-2021

Vigil Honors Lives Lost to COVID in New Haven

by Megan Fountain, Unidad Latina en Accíon

In a vigil to commemorate one year of the COVID crisis, on March 22 the immigrant organization Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA), along with Black & Brown United in Action, and Hamden Action Now remembered 186 lives lost in New Haven, including two of their loved ones, Nora Garcia and Ignacia Teniza.

photo: Frank Panzarella

To the crowd of sixty people, ULA announced a Rental Relief Fund and called for an economic recovery for immigrants. ULA released a report documenting the needs of their community and the urgent demand for an economic recovery to include immigrants. Since the pandemic began, ULA has mobilized nearly a dozen car caravans to the state capitol and governor’s mansion calling for COVID relief for “essential” undocumented workers, who have been excluded from unemployment insurance and federal stimulus payments.

While US Congress has failed to provide any relief to undocumented workers, the state of Connecticut last week launched UniteCT, a $235 million rental assistance program that is open to all residents regardless of immigrant status. At the same time, the state legislature is considering Senate Bill 956, which would open Husky health insurance to immigrants. The rental assistance fund comes after ULA and partner organizations negotiated for nearly one year with the Connecticut Department of Housing and distributed $2.5 million in a pilot program.

“Today as we remember Nora and Ignacia and the 186 lives lost in our city, we will call for a new day in Connecticut, when healthcare and economic security will be a right for all of us, not just for a few of us,” said John Jairo Lugo, Community Organizing Director of ULA.  “As we mourn the dead, we must denounce the deadly racial and economic inequities in this state, and we must fight for the living by creating a recovery for all that includes undocumented workers and families.”

For more information: Megan Fountain, (203) 479-2959, megan@ulanewhaven.org.

Letter to Judge Requesting Leniency in Sentencing of Mark Colville

by Promoting Enduring Peace

Mark Colville is scheduled to be sentenced April 9 for his participation in the Kings Bay Plowshares anti-nuclear action. The following letter was sent to the judge who will sentence him. For information: kingsbayplowshares7.org.

February 12, 2021

The Honorable Lisa Godbey Wood
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Georgia
801 Gloucester Street, Brunswick, GA 31520

Dear Justice Wood:

I write to you on behalf of the members of Promoting Enduring Peace, an organization founded in Connecticut in 1952. Our mission is to bring together the movements for international peace, planetary harmony, and social justice. We are best known for the American equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize, known as the Gandhi Peace Award, bestowed first on Eleanor Roosevelt in 1960, and since then presented annually to leaders of peace and progress such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Daniel Ellsberg, César Chávez, and Ralph Nader.

Since 1952 we have supported nonviolent ways to highlight the need to put aside weapons of mass destruction that threaten civilization. We are especially moved by peace advocates willing to pay a price to carry out their religious commitment to peace via nonviolent action.

In that regard, we implore you to show leniency in the sentencing of Mark Colville, regarded in our community as a great moral leader. We ask specifically that his sentence be time served.

We ask you to consider the nature of the time when Mark Colville and the other members of the Kings Bay Plowshares entered the Naval facility. They were responding in a noble and completely nonviolent way to the announcement of a $10 trillion “modernization” campaign of U.S. nuclear weapons, and when the President renounced virtually all U.S. weapons control treaties and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea. These few explained that they were desperate to warn the world that we were on a path towards nuclear war. We believe that all of us should follow their example in taking a stand against these supremely destructive weapons systems. But at the time of the Plow-shares action, no one else was listening.

Many of us in Promoting Enduring Peace personally know Mark Colville and can attest to his outstanding and merciful work for the homeless. His family home has been a soup kitchen for years. He has also made great efforts to stop torture everywhere. He has now served 15 months in prison.
Please understand the sacrifices he has made to help make us all safer. Please let him return to his family and his admirable work.

For peace and progress,

James C. van Pelt, President
Stanley Heller, Administrator

Virtual Women’s & Gender Studies Conference at SCSU, Friday and Saturday, April 23 and 24, 2021

This conference offers a creative, critical space for a two-day virtual inquiry across differences and communities into the intersections of gender, race, community, and conflict.  For three decades now, the feminist collective at SCSU has continuously hosted a national conference that reaches across communities and brings together minds and hearts for peace and justice. Keynote Speakers: Margo Okazawa-Rey, Professor Emerita, San Francisco SU, April 23, 7:30-8:30 p.m.; Loretta Ross, Associate Professor, Smith College, April 24, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

On April 24, from 3:45-5 p.m., Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven (JVPNH) will present the session Women Rising: Stories of Six Courageous Palestinian and Israeli Women. The six women will speak about how their lives have been deeply affected by the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, Palestine. JVPNH’s goal is to highlight the spectrum of responses that the women have had to the challenges brought on by the occupation, and to encourage discussion of those responses.

For more information, please contact wgs@southernct.edu  or visit https://inside.southernct.edu/womens-gender-studies/conferences/2021.

‘Outraged Elders’ Keep RBG’s Spirit Alive

by Melinda Tuhus, New Haven Independent, March 16, 2021

Dori Dumas wanted to celebrate Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s birthday on March 15, so she pitched the idea to the other members of the core group of Outraged Elders. They showed up in single-digit windchill temperatures on the Green on Monday, paper lace collars around their necks, signs displayed around “the bench” across from the federal courthouse to signify the wisdom “the notorious RBG” dispensed in her decades on the Supreme Court.

Outraged Elders is the group of Black and white women who planned two COVID-safe Black Lives Matter rallies on the Green last summer to enable older residents who were staying home to avoid catching a deadly disease to safely express their support.

“As a group of women activists, we thought it most appropriate during Women’s History Month to honor the life and legacy of the honorable Ruth Bader Ginsberg, ‘The Notorious R.B.G.’ on her birthday,” said Dumas, who is also president of the Greater New Haven chapter of the NAACP. “The bench is a reminder that we have to keep the pressure on. We have to use our power of the vote and keep pushing for laws that protect and advance equality, women’s rights and more,” she said. “The struggle continues, but the fight continues as well.”

The women used this outing to express support for many struggles, sometimes reading a relevant quote from Ginsberg. The Rev. Allie Perry promoted the efforts of Stop Solitary CT to pass the Protect Act to end solitary confinement in the state’s prisons.

Read the full article here: www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/outraged_elders_keep_rbgs_spirit_alive

Never Ending Books Collective at 810 State St.

neverendingbooks.net

Never Ending Books Collective: We’re friends who value our city and what Never Ending Books has been to us and countless others, and who want to help shepherd it into New Haven’s future. And we want you to be a part of it!

Late last year, news broke that New Haven’s Never Ending Books — for years a sanctuary for artists, bookworms, and performers — was closing. We want to keep it open. And we need your help to make it possible.

The Never Ending Books Collective will create a community-driven, independent art and cultural center dedicated to keeping art at street level by providing an inclusive space for both artists and audiences, a curated print media selection, low-cost events, exhibitions, and more in a multi-use storefront.

That will mean more regular hours; a curated selection of used books for sale; a selection of art, literature, comix, zines, and more from local creators; and eventually, when it’s safe, a space for musicians and performers.

Check out the article from the New Haven Independent: https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/neb_collective.

Sign up for newsletters at neverendingbooks.net. For now our hours are Saturday and Sunday 3-5 p.m. There is also an art exchange those hours: bring in a piece of art and take one from the bookstore. More hours will soon be posted on the website. When you’re in the neighborhood, stop by 810 State Street. If we’re open, please come in!

The Friends of Kensington Playground April Update

by Jane Comins, Friends of Kensington Playground

Taking the Dwight neighborhood’s only public playground for housing amounts to environmental injustice. Our efforts to save Kensington Playground from development continue.

Friends of Kensington Playground lawsuit in State court:

  • The City of New Haven has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit (on the grounds of lack of standing).  One Friend owns her home and lives across the street, so we expect to win on that.
  • The Community Builders (TCB) has filed a motion to be a party in the lawsuit.  The judge has said no for now.

The Mayor said no to mediation at March’s neighborhood meeting, choosing instead to spend taxpayer funds needless-ly to defend a lawsuit.  There are win-win options. Mediation could be helpful.
We asked the national Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to get involved. They have asked the City of New Haven to explain how people in the community were involved in consideration of the sale of the site and how a review of the site’s historic significance was done in advance of the decision to sell it.

Friends of Kensington Playground will be hosting several events in the park. Please come and please wear a mask. Food Pantry, Easter Basket Giveaway: Saturday, April 3, 10 a.m.; Park Spring Clean Up: Sat., April 10, 10-11 a.m.; Kids Bike Safety Clinic: Sat., Apr. 17, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.; Clothing/Household Goods Giveaway – May, date pending.

To get involved, learn more, donate, and sign our petition, please visit our website: KensingtonPlayground.org.

Protecting Dwight’s only playground from sale and development is costly, even though we have done as much of the work as possible ourselves. Please be as generous as you can. Don’t let the City take this playground for $1 with an illegal process. Take a stand for democracy. Fight environ-mental injustice. Require our city, state and federal governments to follow the law.

Green Party of Connecticut Calls Dems’ HR 1 a ‘Poison Pill’ Linking Needed Voting Reforms to Attacks on Third Parties, Independents

An otherwise progressive proposal that would enhance voting rights for many Americans is being used in a stealth attack by the Democratic Party to suppress third parties and to entrench the power of rich people in choosing who Americans can vote for. The Green Party of Connecticut supports many of the important reforms in HR 1, the so-called “For the People Act,” but calls on Democrats to amend the bill to truly do what it says – protect democracy.

Justin Paglino, the Green Party’s 2020 candidate in Connecticut’s third congressional district, said of H.R. 1, “Reforms in this bill that empower voters are welcome, including early voting, public disclosure requirements for donors to corporate Super PACs, and a plan to end partisan gerrymandering. But hidden in HR 1 are measures whose clear purpose is to strengthen establishment power and weaken voices of dissent. HR 1 skyrockets the amount of money that party leadership can give to a candidate from $5,000 to $100 million – and that is not a typo! Even worse, at a time when 62 percent of US voters say we need a new major party, HR 1 dramatically raises the hurdles that third parties already face, instead of lowering them. HR 1 quintuples the donation threshold candidates must meet to earn matching funds, and eliminates the 5%-of-the-vote threshold for federal grants, a provision that has long been the light at the end of the tunnel for third party candidates.”

Paglino, who recently announced his intent to run for Congress again in 2022, added “Connecticut’s third congressional district shows exactly what’s wrong with our election laws. The two-party system has given us a thirty-year incumbent Democrat who refuses to support widely popular policies such as Medicare for All or a Carbon Tax, and Republican challengers whose only prerequisite qualification is that they have large sums of money to run their campaigns.”

The Myopia of Medical Assisted Suicide

by Joan Cavanagh, member, Second Thoughts CT

“In Austin, Texas, at a ‘You Can’t Close America!’ rally, hundreds of demonstrators, nearly all-white, defied social-distancing guidelines by gathering on the steps of the Capitol…A woman wearing a Keep America Great cap waved a sign reading, ‘My Life, My Death, My Choice, Personal Responsibility…‘” [bold emphasis added.]

See Linda Villarosa, “Who Lives? Who Dies? How COVID-19 has revealed the deadly realities of a racially polarized America,” New York Times Magazine, May 3, 2020, p. 50.

“My life, my death, my choice” is the slogan of Compassion and Choices, the national organization devoted to promoting Medical Assisted Suicide (MAS). That it found its way to a Trump-supporting super-spreader event is not surprising, since the implication is that individual behavior has no impact on the lives of others. One of many reasons to oppose MAS is because the premise of these bills is the same.

“Death with dignity” is a phrase often used by MAS proponents, suggesting that the level of care required by many who are disabled, elderly, or very ill somehow demeans them and is a burden on others and on society. This is a fundamental denial of our human connection and responsibility to and for one another.

Even more insidious, Medical Assisted Suicide can easily morph into treatment-rationing for patients whose health care is deemed too expensive for hospitals and insurance companies to sustain. The COVID crisis has dramatically revealed the ways in which poor, disabled, elderly, black and brown people are already discriminated against within the medical system.

Its advocates argue that MAS is intended only for those with a “terminal illness.” But definitions of what is “terminal” are fluid and subjective, life expectancy projections often mistaken. Treatment (or lack thereof) is too often determined by what a patient’s insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, will and will not cover. Many diseases are “terminal” if left untreated. Allowing doctors to prescribe lethal medication offers a cost-effective “out” for insurers.

While it may provide an individual “choice” for a select few, among its many evils the legalization of Medical Assisted Suicide also opens the door to increased limitations on health care, which is an existential threat to the many. Please tell your state representatives to vote “No” on HB 6425, now pending in the Public Health Committee.

Book Review: The United States of War

by Jeffry Larson, PAR reader

Highly commendable is a dense and well-researched history of “the American way of war”: The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State. By David Vine, published by the University of California Press: 2020, in the California Series in Public Anthropology. Available in local libraries.

This admirable history could serve as a fitting documentation of the historical discussion at the beginning of the article from the New Haven Sunday vigilers on the recent attempted coup d’état at the U.S. Capitol that appeared in the February issue of the PAR Newsletter.  This comprehensive reference guide to the “American way of war” describes the aggressive, imperialistic wars that our country has waged since its foundation.

In his preface, Vine makes what may be a minor correction to the vigilers’ dating the U.S.’s regime-changing violence as starting in the 20th Century when he writes: “Some tend to think that this [present] period of forever war is exceptional. Some assume, as I did, that it’s unusual that most new U.S. recruits and new U.S. college students have no memory of a time when their country wasn’t at war. To the contrary, this state of war is the norm in U.S. history.  According to the …Congressional Research Service ,..  the U.S. military has waged war, engaged in combat, or otherwise engaged its forces aggressively in foreign lands in all but eleven years of its existence.” (p. xiv)

The “American way of war” was set forth in General George Washington’s orders to Maj. Gen. John Sullivan about what to do with indigenous tribes who sided with the British in the War of Independence: “Lay waste all the settlements around, that the country may not be merely overrun but destroyed… (Chapter 3: Why Are So Many Places Named Fort? p. 50). Little wonder that this soon-to-be first U.S. president was dubbed “Destroyer of villages” by the indigenous inhabitants.

Vine traces the development of U.S.’s aggressive imperialist policy through the lens of forts constructed largely in foreign lands; he supplies informative maps, tables, and charts.  A companion book by Vine is his Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, published by Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, also available in local libraries through the state’s collective online library catalog; this book serves as a catalog of the 800 foreign bases run by what Americans call their “Department of Defense,” Vine reaches out to families of US soldiers lost in our “forever wars;” he is admirable in his generous treatment of these indirect casualties of U.S. aggression.

January, 2021: The War Comes to the Capitol

by New Haven Sunday Vigil, Jan. 10, 2021

As terrifying as it was, the attempted coup d’etat that occurred in our Capitol on Jan. 6 (possibly a dress rehearsal for a more organized repeat performance) shouldn’t have surprised us. Led by the recently unelected President of the United States himself, members of the current administration and many of its Congressional allies have been fomenting this for months, if not the past four years. They (and those who follow them) will continue to organize for an alt-right, white supremacist-based government takeover unless and until they are removed from office and, hopefully, tried and convicted as traitors.

But how likely is such an outcome? What we have seen since 2016, writ large last Wednesday, are dramatic representations of evils that have been entangled in our nation’s history from its inception: racism, militarism, empire-building, and permanent conditions of economic injustice and war-making.

A Formidable History (AND Present) That Must Be Overcome

In the process of forming this nation, non-white people already living here were displaced, murdered, and, finally, driven into concentration camps in the name of “manifest destiny.” Another group of non-white people was kidnapped, enslaved, and stripped of all human rights to serve as unpaid laborers. After slavery ended, laws were enacted that kept them separate, disenfranchised, and impoverished. They also faced lynch mobs of their fellow citizens that reinforced this system.

Meanwhile, deliberately unequal distribution of resources — land, education, jobs, and income — gave an ever-shrinking number of the population wildly disproportionate access to power and money, a status quo they have maintained and increased over the centuries by pitting the rest of us against each other based on skin color and other characteristics. Simply put, racism and white supremacy have continued to serve the interests of empire-building and wealth consolidation so efficiently that, last Wednesday, an angry white mob was once again led to act on the belief that they have more in common with a corrupt billionaire than with their fellow citizens.

1814 (when British troops set fire to the Capitol building) was the last time such large-scale violence has been visited upon the halls of the U.S. Congress. But throughout the 20th century and during the first two decades of the 21st, our government has organized similar insurrections (some successful, some not) in nations throughout the world whose leaders, for whatever motives, refuse to dance to America’s tune. To quote U.S. Labor Against Racism and War: “With bipartisan Congressional backing, the U.S. has supported violent coup attempts in Bolivia, Venezuela, China, Ukraine, Libya, Nicaragua, Brazil, Syria, and other countries where U.S. oil companies and weapons contractors salivate for profits and regime change.” (https://www.laboragainstracismandwar.org/post/attack-on-congress-shows-we-need-a-strong-labor-movement?)

In the service of these same interests, our nation has been in a permanent state of war since the middle of the 20th century, with “Congressional Authorizations for the Use of Military Force” from Korea and Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan. Along with U.S. serial bombings and military occupations throughout the world, these undeclared but very real wars continue with no end in sight.

War fuels the U.S. economy and helps make the billionaire class ever wealthier and more powerful. In 2020, while the pandemic killed over 360,000 people in the United States alone, weapons contractors took in record profits. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 provided for a military budget of $740 billion and was unchallenged by either party. Meanwhile, we are dealing with massive unemployment, evictions, and an overwhelmed medical system threatening to withhold treatment for the most vulnerable among us.

All of this is what we mean by “endless war” — singular not plural — the war that came to the U.S. Capitol last week.

Reclaiming Our Power As Historical Actors

This war that we face on all fronts transcends partisan politics, and the work to resist it continues with more urgency than ever. We must reclaim our power. For all the injustices woven into its founding, our nation was also constructed around the principle of deeply engaged citizens, able and willing to think and act rationally for the common good. Recently, we have seen the examples of Black Lives Matter, the Climate Change Movement, and the successful effort to unseat two wealthy incumbent Senators in Georgia. We have witnessed labor, human rights and anti-war movements bring about change throughout our history. It is time for us to reclaim that legacy of positive action to finally build a just and equitable society.

RESIST THIS ENDLESS WAR (Vigil every Sunday, 12-1 p.m., Broadway, Park and Elm streets, New Haven, CT) http://newhavensundayvigil.wordpress.com

The Friends of Kensington Playground – Update

by Jane Comins, Friends of Kensington Playground

Our efforts to save Kensington Playground from development continue. As you will recall, the City has voted to sell the parkland to The Community Builders for $1 so that a 15-unit apartment building and parking lot can be built on the greenspace. We have posted citizen’s guides to the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) and Section 106 review (National Historic Preservation Act) on our website, along with our legal complaint and the alternative building sites that we have proposed. Dwight needs our largest park and only public playground. Take a look and join us in our fight.

Thanks to those who donated. We are up against a national corporation.

Please donate. To learn more, get involved, and donate, visit: KensingtonPlayground.org

1 2 3 26