An Invitation to a Liberation Seder April 27

Mikveh Warshaw, Mending Minyan and Jewish Voice for Peace

Join us for our second annual community liberation seder, hosted by Mending Minyan and Jewish Voice for Peace, New Haven (JVP) on Saturday, April 27 from 4:30 to 9 p.m. It will be held in the Congregational Church North Haven, 28 Church St. North Haven. Guests are asked to donate $15-$25, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. After costs are covered excess funds will be donated to a local charity.

During Passover, we recall the story of Exodus where the ancient Hebrew people were liberated from slavery. The night is filled with story-telling, ritual, song, and delicious food! For centuries Passover has been used by communities, Jewish and non-Jewish, as a time to build connections across movements and commit to celebrating liberation struggles. This year, as we read stories of the past, we connect the teachings to our current struggles for a more just world.

This event is hosted by Mending Minyan and JVP. Mending Minyan is a group of Jews and friends of Jews in the New Haven vicinity who are practicing deeply-rooted and joy-based Jewish ritual decoupled from Zionism and in service to building radical Jewish practices in support of struggles against white supremacy and colonization. JVP New Haven is a diverse community of activists inspired by Jew-ish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, and human rights in Palestine, Israel, the U.S., and globally. This event is hosted in the spirit of the liberation for all people, and thus we will be centering the experience of Black and Brown, Queer, Trans, Women, and working-class and other marginalized Jews and non-Jews. This event is open to people of all or no faiths and to children of all ages!

We will be having pot-luck style food so that we can share our wide tradition of dishes we cook for Passover. Please sign up to bring a dish if possible. We are also looking for volunteers to help with setup, break-down, and childcare. Contact us at mikveh.warshaw@gmail.com.

Combating Climate Collapse, Combating Fascism

Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

To top off a month of climate action, Promoting Enduring Peace and other groups will be holding a forum on Sunday, April 28 called “A Green New Deal and Other Ideas on Avoiding Climate Catastrophe.” It will be held in the early afternoon at the Bridgeport Islamic Community Center, 703 State St, Bridgeport, CT. Details are being worked out so check at pepeace.org during the month.

Readers of the Progressive Action Roundtable surely know that the consensus of U.N. scientists has concluded that we must cut back carbon dioxide emissions to nearly half by 2030. That is a massive undertaking. The purpose of the forum is to debate what it will take to overhaul production and consumption so drastically in just 11 years. The Green New Deal popularized by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls for meeting all our power needs with “clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources,” increasing electric car pro-duction, expanding rail lines and guaranteed jobs for all. Richard Smith, an ecosocialist who will be speaking at the event, says that to do a Green New Deal the government will need to nationalize energy and transportation systems, ration power use and plan the U.S. economy. Winona LaDuke has talked about an Indigenous-led Green New Deal that will not let the land and animals be taken as mere things to be used for human benefit. Anarchist Wayne Price talks about Revolutionary Ecosocialism which he sees as out-and-out anti-capitalist and a system based on decentralized planning. We hope to discuss all these ideas at the forum.

PEP is continuing to expand its archives on its newly designed website, pepeace.org. The archives are on climate and nature, Ukraine and Russia, anti-nukes, Korea and the struggle against fascism. Of note is a link to an article about India where a Hindi superiority party rules and the country is rocked by atrocities against Muslims. PEP urged a big turnout at the New York City demonstration “United Against Racism and Fascism.” Hundreds rallied and marched on March 16. TSVN covered the protest. See video on TheStruggle.org.

Taking Coals to Newcastle with HB 5898

by Lisa Blumberg, Second Thoughts CT

Trump wants the Affordable Care Act to implode. Republicans seem willing to swell the ranks of the uninsured and to cut Medicaid funding. There are corporate imperatives to reduce healthcare costs even if quality is diminished. Many people are unable to access basic care and minorities, the old and people with disabilities are often subject to medical prejudices or “quality of life” misconceptions. (1) Legalizing doctor assisted suicide in these times would be akin to taking coals to Newcastle.

Let’s not be confused by rhetoric. The bill (HB 5898) that the Connecticut legislature is poised to consider has nothing to do with “aid in dying.” Aid in dying is palliative care to improve the quality of a person’s remaining life. The World Health Organization views such care as a human right. (2)  Doctor assisted suicide would not expand desperately needed access to palliative care or otherwise increase healthcare choices. Patients already have the right to refuse any type of treatment. The bill is not about patients’ rights but about the authority of doctors. It sets forth the circumstances under which a doctor could actively prescribe lethal drugs to directly cause the death of a supposedly willing patient without fear of liability.

Legalized assisted suicide is exploitable by for-profit entities. There have been cases in Oregon of insurers denying payments for new treatments but offering to pay for lethal drugs. (3)

Proponents talk of “safeguards.” Nothing can prevent an erroneous prognosis or keep a vulnerable person from subtly being steered. Since the bill is about permitted medical behavior and not about patient protection, the minimal criteria written into the bill apply only to the prescribing of the lethal drugs, and not to their use. Who is to know if in any particular case the drugs are self-administered or what a person’s mental state is when she decides to swallow the drugs?

We should focus on efforts to reduce healthcare inequities and not on legitimize assisted suicide. As progressives, we need to care.

Lisa Blumberg is a member of Second Thoughts Connecticut, a bi-partisan organization composed of citizens with disabilities and advocates who oppose the legalization of assisted suicide.

Footnotes
1 http://notdeadyet.org/2017/08/anita-cameron-three-big-reasons-black-people-should-join-the-anti-doctor-assisted-suicide-movement.html
2 https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ palliative-care
3 https://dredf.org/public-policy/assisted-suicide/why-assisted-suicide-must-not-be-legalized

Frida Berrigan to Deliver the Mark Shafer Lecture

by Stanley Heller, Administrator, Promoting Enduring Peace

Promoting Enduring Peace’s big event for March will be the Mark Shafer lecture this year given by Frida Berrigan. Berrigan is a long-time anti-nuclear activist. Frida writes the Little Insurrections blog for Waging Nonviolence and is the author of “It Runs in the Family: On Being Raised by Radicals and Growing into Rebellious Motherhood,” a memoir of her childhood as their daughter and her adult life as an activist and a mother. She lives in New London with her husband Patrick Sheehan-Gaumer and their three children.

The event will take place on Tuesday, March 26 in the Great Hall of the Parish House of United Church on the Green at 323 Temple St. (by the corner of Wall Street). The event will begin at 7 p.m. It’s free. More details at PEPeace.net.

Berrigan comes from a distinguished family of activists. Her mother, Elizabeth McAllister, is in Glynn County Jail. McAllister took part in the Kings Bay Plowshare action in Georgia in 2018. Seven activists entered the nuclear sub base, with hammers and their own blood which they used to try to “convert swords into plowshares.” Incidentally, New Haven’s Mark Colville also took part in the action and is in the same lockup. The trial of the Plowshare activists will begin in March or April.

Frida Berrigan spoke for Promoting Enduring Peace last year at the Gandhi Peace Award event honoring Jackson Browne and got a spontaneous standing ovation. The Mark Shafer Lecture was started in 2013 in honor of peace activist Mark Shafer.

Earlier in the month PEP will have its Annual Meeting, looking at the past year and talking about world developments in peace and environment. It will take place on Thursday, March 7 starting at 6 p.m. in the Marrett Room of the New Haven Free Public Library on 133 Elm St. It’s open to all, but only active members can vote on internal issues.

Another March event of note is the “United Against Fascism and Racism” event in New York City. It’s part of an international effort. It’s happening at noon Saturday, March 16 in Foley Square.

Finally, we’re looking for volunteers to help plan an April conference about the climate crisis. Tentative title, “A Green New Deal and Other Ideas on Averting Climate Catastrophe.” Reach us at office.pepeace@gmail.com.

Boycotting Saudi Arabia

by LouAnn Villani-Heller, Middle East Crisis Committee

A number of groups got together in February and called for an economic, cultural and entertainment boycott of Saudi Arabia. The groups are horrified by the Saudi regime war on Yemen, its murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and its imprisonment of feminists and others.

There are legislative efforts to force the Trump administration to stop its participation in the Saudi war on Yemen. A bill passed the House this year that invokes the War Powers Act to end U.S. involvement, but its future in the Senate is uncertain. The Senate Republican majority has increased after the election, and the new chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee appears to be a supporter of the Trump line. Even if it passes the Senate, Trump can veto the legislation so the whole effort may just “send a message” while the calamity in Yemen continues.

Popular efforts must be made. One possibility is to use the BDS tactics being used against Israeli apartheid. CODE-PINK has already campaigned to get Black Eyed Peas and Mariah Carey to cancel their appearances in Saudi Arabia. It’s appealing to VICE media to end its production of publicity videos for the monarchy. Campaigns to get MIT to break ties with Saudi Arabia and (our own) efforts to get the University of New Haven to end its work for the Saudi police college are other examples. More about this on SaudiUS.org.

On another issue, MECC is continuing to support the courageous stand of Texas teacher Bahia Amawi in refusing to sign a pledge that she would not boycott Israeli goods. Texas passed an outrageous unconstitutional law requiring that promise in 2017. Amawi was fired for her actions. At present, she is suing and is being supported by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. It appears that no trade unions are supporting her or even noticing what’s happening. MECC is gathering signers of a letter calling on unions to rally to support Amawi.

Details at TheStruggle.org.

Tweed Airport and Climate Change: The Environment Is Both Local and Global

by Jeffry Larson, PAR Subscriber, CT Green Party member

Tweed Airport astride the New Haven-East Haven city line has long been an environmental concern to its neighbors because of the noise and pollution it creates. So they have organized a group, stoptweed.org, to limit the airport’s adverse impact. Unfortunately, they have been dismissed as NIMBYs by the corporate and academic jet-setters who find Tweed a convenient amenity.

The City of New Haven has recently abrogated its agreement to limit the length of the runways at Tweed Airport, and, with the state’s permission, plans to increase air traffic there. So, in addition to more local noise and pollution, there will be an increase in the amount of jet fuel emissions–one of the worst greenhouse gases–being poured into the atmosphere.

Tweed is a low-lying shoreline facility, vulnerable to rising sea levels: this would be one of the risks of a proposal hastening catastrophic climate.

Last fall the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued another report on the state of climate change. Denialists predictably dismissed it as “alarmist.” Even climate change activists take its conclusions as somehow assuring us that we have 12 more years to mend our fossil-fuel ways. But the IPCC has been severely criticized by actual researchers for being consistently overly cautious and loath to emphasize the real urgency of our plight. We do not have a guaranteed 12 years to forestall or mitigate climate change. Some leading scientists even believe we’ve already passed the carbon budget turning point.

Apparently, no environmental group or politician or journalist has expressed concern about this. They need to join with local grassroots groups. It is the jet-setters who are the NIMBYs here. As the director of Transport & Environment, one of the mainstream anti-aviation groups in Europe, says, “Air travel is the fastest and cheapest way to fry the planet.”

Ask your local elected officials, environmental groups or reporters why they are not raising questions about this proposed increase in our carbon footprint.

jeffrylarson73@yahoo.com

Politics in Plain English at the Institute Library

by Bennett Graff, Institute Library

The Institute Library, 847 Chapel Street, is proud to announce the launch of a new monthly program Politics in Plain English. Following in the tradition of the Library’s one-time role during the Civil War — when it served as a lyceum where such luminaries as Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, Henry Ward Beecher, and Theodore Parker spoke — the Institute Library once more seeks to become New Haven’s center for a conversation about civics in the America at a time when such a conversation has never been more needed.

The discussions are hosted by John Stoehr, editor and publisher of The Editorial Board, contributing writer to Washington Monthly, and columnist at the New Haven Register. $10 suggested admission—free light refreshments served.

Politics is simpler and more complex than most realize. Fortunately, there are good people able to see through the haze and talk about issues plainly and honestly. Hosted by the Institute Library and sponsored by The Editorial Board, Politics in Plain English brings a panel of writers and thinkers to New Haven to debate current events and bring you into the conversation.

Tuesday, March 12, 7:30-9 p.m. What’s Up with Liberalism and the Left? Josh Holland, contributing writer for The Nation, and Batya Ungar-Sargon, opinion editor for The Forward, takes on the revived embrace of the once-maligned term “liberal” by the left and explore the pushes and pulls of the collection—or is it a coalition?—of interests and political leanings that now make it up.

Tuesday, April 9, 7:30-9 p.m. Peeking Under the Hood: The “Invisible Primary” of 2020. Our guests, Jacob Hacker of Yale and Francis Wilkinson of Bloomberg News, will look not only at the role primaries play in the rough and tumble of selecting candidates, but also at the early jockeying of the “invisible primary,” as candidates coyly deflect press inquiries, leak intel on primary opponents, and position themselves before the starting gate opens.

For more information, please contact John Stoehr at johnastoehr@gmail.com or (912) 247-0515 or Bennett Graff at bennett_lovett_graff@hotmail.com or (203) 640-3573.

The Great Migration: Then and Now — 45th People’s World African American History Events Feb. 24

Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

“The Great Migration: Then and Now — Fleeing Terror, Searching for Jobs and Equality,” is the theme of the 45th People’s World African American History Month celebration on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. at the Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave., New Haven. The day includes a march at 2:30 p.m., arts and writing competition, guest speaker, drumming and dance.

Some stories will be told of the many African American families in New Haven who trace their roots in the city to the great migration from the South in the 1930s and 40s when companies like Winchester recruited workers to come up from North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia. They were fleeing Ku Klux Klan terror and looking for a better life.

Stories will also be told of the migrants from Central American countries coming to New Haven and the United States today, fleeing terror and economic devastation in their countries and hoping to find new opportunities for their families.

The “Jobs for Youth — Jobs for All” march will call on Yale to meet its signed commitment to hire from neighborhoods with high unemployment such as Dwight, Dixwell, Newhall, Fair Haven and the Hill. The march leaves the New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe St., at 2:30 p.m. and will wind through the Dwight neighborhood to Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave., for the 4 p.m. program.

Guest speaker Chauncey K. Robinson, journalist and social media editor of peoplesworld.org from Los Angeles, California, believes that writing and media, in any capacity, should help to reflect the world around us, and be tools to help bring about progressive change. She says she seeks to make sure topics that affect working-class people, peoples of color, and women are constantly in the spotlight.

The program will include drumming by Brian Jarawa Gray and African dance with Ice the Beef. Ice the Beef Youth supports each other through education, dreams, goals, and talent by meeting, sharing stories, laughing, joking, and expressing feelings. They are on Facebook.

Prizes and acknowledgments of entries to the Arts and Writing Competition grades 8 to 12 will be presented. Students are asked to reflect in artwork, essay, poetry, rap or song about grandparents or great-grandparents who came up from the South in the past, or about someone who came up from Latin America or elsewhere recently. “What did they find? How can we continue the struggle for good jobs and equal rights to fulfill the dreams of those who came and made New Haven home?  What are your dreams for a better life?” Entry deadline is Feb. 14. For information e-mail ct-pww@pobox.com.

During the Great Migration (1916 to 1970), six million African Americans left the South. They moved to cities like New Haven in the North and the West. They were fleeing discrimination, lynchings, denied rights and a lack of jobs. They were searching for a better life for themselves and their children.

As they settled they found that segregation and racism were not just in the South. The migration gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement and before that to the art, literature and music of the Harlem Renaissance that stirred the country and the world.

Artist Jacob Lawrence created a series of paintings about the Great Migration in 1940. He said, “And the migrants kept coming…their struggles and triumphs ring true today. People all over the world are still on the move, trying to build better lives for themselves and for their families.”

In 2018 famed activist and scholar Angela Davis said, “I believe that the major civil rights issue of the 21st Century is the issue of immigrant rights.”

Think Global–Run Local: Annual Run For Refugees Feb. 3

Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) is accepting registrations now for its annual Run For Refugees. This 5 kilometer run/walk will take place on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 3 at 10 a.m. It begins and ends at Wilbur Cross High School, 181 Mitchell Drive.

Last year a record crowd of 3,000 were in the run. Be part of history as we attempt to break last year’s record!

Registration and sponsorship information is at www.RunForRefugees.org and Irisct.org.

Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children

Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven

Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven (JVPNH) and Tree of Life Educational Fund (TOLEF) are reaching out to organizations to endorse our resolution in support of the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act. If you are affiliated with an organization, please see the resolution at www.tolef.org/pal-children, and get your organization to sign on. This can be done online.

JVPNH and TOLEF have been leading an effort to get our five CT congresspeople to co-sponsor the bill, which was introduced in the previous congressional session as bill HR.4391 by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN). It has 30 co-sponsors, including six from New England. We had in-person meetings with each of our congresspeople. Each expressed interest, but none signed on as co-sponsors.
Rep. McCollum is very likely to re-introduce the bill in the new Congress, and we are renewing our effort to get our CT delegation to sign on. At this point, we are reaching out to organizations to show support by endorsing the resolution, which calls on our CT delegation to sign on to the bill.

Please see the resolution at http://www.tolef.org/pal-children, and get your organization to join with the many others which have already signed on.

Why Run for Mayor? by Wendy Hamilton

Wendy Hamilton, NH homeless advocate and mayoral candidate

PAR readers may remember the article Wendy wrote in the Feb. 2018 issue of PAR about homelessness and Mark Cochran. Mark died shortly after Yale New Haven Hospital discharged him in winter with no place to go. Wendy has filed the paperwork to run for mayor and has asked if we would share her concerns with our readers.

One day I just felt fed up with the chaos, the lies, the crazy spending, the near bankruptcy, the greed, the lack of compassion, the apathy…

Justin [Elicker] and Liam [Brennan] were sitting on the fence. I decided to commit to the research and the signature-collecting because I want to be heard at the Democratic primary debates coming this fall.

After making a list of city problems, I saw they fit into four categories–Housing, Budget, Safety, and Transportation.

Housing is no longer affordable for the masses without job security and bank loans for the working poor. The cost of living increases during years of flatline wages and a widening wealth gap. Developers and slumlords are getting all the breaks. Homelessness exists in every town and city and is growing despite what mass media says. Foreclosures and evictions are everyday occurrences.

The Budget is a runaway train growing by $100 million plus with our current mayor in office. We are in debt and near bankruptcy. The biggest contribution comes from our property taxes. Biggest expenditures are police, fire, and school systems, all of which need revamping with fair and intelligent contracts and pensions. We also have a huge yearly debt payoff. Yale, on 50% of the town land, only pays about 1/33 of the yearly take. The state offers a little better money but not enough.

Safety, which includes physical elements like crime, fire, pollution of air and water and climate change, is also a desirable feeling for the public to have and many don’t feel safe here for many reasons. Our police and firefighters require contracts to make them feel safe and appreciated. City residents require a civilian review board that can address their problems by affecting real change. We need to stop treating the homeless, the addicted, and sex workers (mostly homeless women) like criminals. We need year-round hazardous waste collection and cleaner parks that operate for the public benefit, not just the lucky few. We need to get housing quickly for those living on the street.  We all need affordable medical care.

Transportation is a city theme. We have trains, buses, major highways, bike and pedestrian trails, and a harbor. We are part of East Coast Metro which includes several huge cities.  The age of automobiles is over, but city hall hasn’t figured it out yet. 25% of us have asthma. Our air is just plain dirty. Bike travel is on the rise fortunately (I am 70 and own 2). Bus routes and schedules need to be examined and improved here. Many here can’t afford a bike or a car or a cab. Cab service is pricey and undependable here. A $40 million boathouse that took years to build on its own pier lies empty and unavailable to us even though our taxes paid for it — a colossal waste.

I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Reminder: Coalition for People Is Looking for Board Members

The Coalition for People annual meeting will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, at the main New Haven Free Public Library, 133 Elm St. We need people on our board to help prioritize the many issues facing people (housing, healthcare, discrimination, various injustices) in our area so we can mobilize and act effectively. Please mark our meeting on your calendar. We hope PAR members will consider joining the board, which meets once a month.

All are invited to attend the annual meeting. Membership dues are $5 annually (due at the annual meeting). Pizza will be served. RSVP if you will attend and if you want to be elected to the board. For more information, email coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com or call (203) 468-2541.

Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) Gathering Momentum in Connecticut

by Owen Charles, Chair Shoreline Green Party

December 18 and Jan. 22 at the New Haven Public Library were the first organizing meetings of a movement to institute Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) in Connecticut. Over 60 people turned out to show their support and get involved, including a number of state representatives, political party leaders, and other organizations. Watch out for the next meetings (likely to be 3rd Tuesdays, 6 p.m., at the NH Public Library) and for progress in the state legislature.

Instituted last year in Maine, Ranked Choice Voting is becoming a real possibility given recent progressive wins in the legislature, and the popular recognition that we need to re-democratize our electoral system.

RCV works by allowing voters to rank their top candidates for an office, and if their top choice does not have enough votes in the first round of counted votes, their next choice is activated… until a winner with greater than 50% is determined. It is a way of ensuring all votes count, greater participation in elections, avoiding the ‘spoiler effect,’ and ensuring that winners are capable of obtaining a majority.

Active in beginning this process and presenting at the meetings have been Adam Friedman and Liz Popolo from Voter Choice MA, Steven Winter (National Popular Vote) of New Haven, Jefferey Hart of New London, and Caleb Kleppner (Fairvote) of New Haven.

State Rep. Josh Elliott pointed out that although he introduced but was not able to proceed with an RCV bill in the last legislative session, the huge number of people and groups supporting it this time is “a very good sign.”

Many dedicated individuals appeared at the meetings and are rolling up their sleeves to get involved. The movement has formed committees for outreach, communication, policy and fundraising and will continue to grow, develop and plan an organized approach to getting RCV in place in Connecticut. Check back for updates–more to come!

Sign up for more information from the CT groups: bit.ly/rcv-ct-signup.

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