Fundraiser for Venezuela Embassy Protectors Jan. 28, New Haven

by Henry Lowendorf, GNH Peace Council

On (new date, place and time) Monday Jan. 27, 2020, the people of Connecticut will welcome the “Embassy Protectors.” We will be able to hear their story and will be raising funds for their defense.

UPDATE: Friends, Embassy Protectors Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers have to appear in court in DC on Wednesday morning the 29th. They would have had to face an overnight 7 hour trip back to DC if they spoke on the 28th.

Thus, we had to move the date for their fundraiser. Sorry for the abrupt change.

The fundraiser will be held and Zeese and Flowers will speak at the Performing Arts space in the New Haven Free Public Library on Monday, Jan. 27, 5:30 to 7:30 (the library closes at 8).

The forum is free and open to the public, although we will be fundraising. The host, the US Peace Council, is building a list of co-sponsors. For more information, please contact Henry Lowendorf, uspeacecouncil@gmail.com, (203) 389-9547.

On May 16, 2019, four US citizens were arrested in the Washington, D.C., Embassy of Venezuela after having occupied that Embassy with as many as 100 other activists over the course of 37 days.

Those final four “Embassy Protectors,” Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers, David Paul and Adrienne Pine, and the scores of others had been asked by the legitimate government of Venezuela to protect its embassy against being stolen by President Donald Trump in an intensification of the US political and economic war on Venezuela, started decades earlier.

“The Four are now facing misdemeanor charges of ‘Interfering with certain protective functions’ of the Federal government that carries a maximum of one-year imprisonment and $100,000 fine for each of them. The United States Government is intent on making examples of these citizens and is using its unlimited resources to make sure that they are penalized and incarcerated.”

Trump, in full regime-change mode, last winter decided who should govern Venezuela. He picked a rightwing parliamentarian, Juan Guaidó, relatively unknown to Venezuelans, to be president trying to force out the elected president Nicolás Maduro. Disagreeing with Trump, the people of Venezuela and their military stood behind the man they elected. In decimating the human rights of Venezuelans, Trump took the whole population hostage by illegally imposing deadly sanctions, threatening a military invasion and backing right-wing violence in the streets. By denying Venezuelans the ability to buy food and medicines the sanctions are intended to coerce that country’s citizenry to submit to the demands of the US.

In parallel to the oppressive measures taken by Washington toward Venezuela, Trump blockaded food, water, medicine and electricity from being delivered to the Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective, to force them out.

 

Call for Proposals for SCSU Women’s & Gender Studies Conference Due Dec. 16

PAR readers are invited to send in proposals for panels, workshops or lectures for the Southern Connecticut State University 2020 Women’s & Gender Studies Conference. The theme is “Gender, Race, Community, & Conflict: Pursuing Peace and Justice.” The conference will take place ​Friday and Saturday,​ ​April 24 ​and 25​, 2020. Submission deadline is Dec. 16​, 2019.

The world is right now witnessing the unprecedented destruction of communities—mostly Indigenous—and their habitats, including the ongoing fires raging across the Amazon rainforest, the Dakota Pipeline construction, and the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. Major conflicts have been exacerbated among genders, races and cultural groups, resulting in unspeakable suffering and violence in communities, from the desecration of Indigenous lands and sacred spaces to climate strikes and the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two-spirit people, and trans women of color.

How do feminists and their communities, Indigenous and settler-colonial, address these problems and heal the breaches that have divided and torn communities apart? How have feminists and activists creatively used the existing power structures to reverse the fragmentation of peoples and break down hierarchies? In the pursuit of peace and justice, what are feminist activists doing within their families and communities to stop the divisions and violence and counter the hatred and demonization against “the other”? How are peace and justice achieved through the intersectional and transnational coalitions across gender, race, class, sexuality, religion, nationality?

Please submit proposals and supporting materials to womensstudies@southernct.edu, with attention to “Conference Committee.” If you have any questions, please call the Women’s & Gender Studies Office at (203) 392-6133. Include name, affiliation, e-mail, and phone number. Proposals should be no longer than one page (250-400 words). Panel proposals are encouraged.

The Women’s & Gender Studies Conference at SCSU is self-supporting; all presenters can pre-register at the dis-counted presenters’ rate. The registration includes all costs for supporting materials and all meals and beverage breaks. For more information, visit the SCSU Women’s & Gender Studies page, or contact Women’s & Gender Studies Program: womensstudies@southernct.edu or (203) 392-6133.

After Week of Occupation of ICE Building, Activists Announce Next Steps

by Constanza Segovia, CT Immigrant Rights Alliance

For one week, under cold rain and wind, community members have been occupying the front of the ICE Office, demanding the release of a Hartford mother from ICE custody.

On Tuesday, Oct. 22, community members and leaders from across the state ended a week-long continuous occupation of the ICE building on a powerful note at a closing rally. The coalition of immigrant and racial justice groups have occupied space outside of the ICE offices in Hartford in support of Wayzaro “Tazz” Walton, a local Hartford mother, who has been in detention since March despite receiving an unconditional pardon by the State of Connecticut and having her US citizen wife petition for her. Each day, the team has spoken to people walking by about the unfair detainment of Tazz, and about the need for CT residents to learn about and protect the state pardon system. They have mobilized the public to contact their elected officials. They have received widespread support, sharing supplies with neighbors. Although the tents have come down, activists are stepping up their efforts to get Tazz released. On Oct. 22, a coalition of immigrant rights groups, led by Hartford Deportation Defense, announced an effort to ask our CT US Senators and Representatives to step in and take action.

“We will continue our fight to demand that our neighbor and friend is released. Tazz is a Queer Black Woman, a demographic that is not well represented in immigration justice. It is important for me as a Queer Black Woman to stand behind and support Tazz, Tamika and family. We will not stop screaming FREE TAZZ until she is out of detention and can live her life in peace,” said Ashley Blount from Hartford Deportation Defense.

Connecticut has one of the most progressive pardon systems in the country and we cannot let that be threatened by this rogue agency. We fight for Tazz but this is also about Richard Thompson who also has a CT pardon and has been detained for two years in Alabama. This is about every person who might be in this situation in the future. This kind of collective effort and joyful resistance that includes children, elders, folks with varying abilities, makes me feel like another world is possible like we can abolish ICE. We commit to continue to envision and PRACTICE ways to keep up the fight while living in joy and love and in relationship with each other.

We are Each A Precious Entity: The Activist Life of Caroline Bridgman-Rees

The following is an edited version from the tribute written by PJ Deak for the Unitarian Society of New Haven.

Caroline Bridgman-Rees

Caroline was born on New Year’s Eve, 1922 and grew up on Staten Island. Her father, a Yale graduate, was a history professor at NYU for 29 years. A decorated war veteran, he came home from WWI in 1918 traumatized by the horrors of war, its barbarism, death, and destruction.

As a result of her father’s experiences, Caroline became very aware of the toll and folly of war – and of the importance of working for peace. In 1945, Caroline, 22, a Phi Beta Kappa and recent graduate of Smith College, joined the Red Cross. She sailed on a ship to the Philippines where she worked with the Red Cross until 1946 when she went to Korea. Why did she do it? To see the world and “to see life with the soldiers.”

She remembered the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with horror and condemnation – a bombing that in her words “was totally against moral and international law and which began a frightful new era that threatened all life on earth.”

In the 1960s, Caroline began her teaching career at Bradford College in Massachusetts – teaching Asian History and Philosophy. Caroline became increasingly concerned about the conflict between the US and both the Vietnamese liberation forces and all of Indochina.

Caroline Bridgman-Rees, Nancy Eberg and Jim Pandaru (l-r)

She joined a number of prominent peace organizations: The American Friends Service Committee; Sane/Freeze – later known as Peace Action; The Women’s International League for Peace And Freedom; The War Resisters League; Mobilization for Survival; and because of her service in the Red Cross, Veterans Against The War.

“I felt then, as I do now, that non-violent direct action is a citizen’s responsibility when the government is committing major war crimes against humanity!”

In 1972 Caroline was one of 171 American peace leaders chosen to attend the Paris Peace Talks. Also in 1972, she was part of a team of women who traveled to India and conducted interviews with Indian women about the role of women in the world – Caroline even had the privilege to interview Ms. Ghandi. In 1973, Caroline, her husband and 10-year-old son traveled through India, Burma, Thailand, Hong Kong, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Caroline became involved with the United Nations as an NGO representative, and also was active with the Greater New Haven Peace Council. In 1991-1992 she spent a year in England giving 45 separate lectures on Nuclear Disarmament and attended an international peace conference in the Netherlands.

When the first Iraq War began, Caroline was active as the anti-war movement surged anew – seeking avenues for mediation and diplomacy rather than violence.

Caroline attended meetings to discuss and take action on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, spoke out about the size of the US military budget, the number of US military bases around the world (over 1,000) and the pollution they are allowed to create. She wrote letters to the editor that were published in the New Haven Register and participated in the New Haven Peace Council and the Unitarian Society of New Haven Peace Task Force.

“We need community, not guns. We must create a world with love, and caring and cooperation.”

Read Caroline Bridgman-Rees’ obituary on Legacy.com.

Towards a New Paradigm of Creative Revolution — Part One

by Owen Charles, environmental, peace and community activist

We are in a time of great innovation, some say, mostly speaking of computer technology, “AI,” microparticle physics, genetic science, and other man-made detritus.

We are in a time of great crisis, meanwhile, as we soak in a toxic environment and begin to experience looming climate destruction borne of man-made garbage–hydrocarbons, plastics, pesticides, and other technologies.

It is time to recognize that we are in a downward spiral. As a species, we are clearly incapable. That is why it is up to SOME of us to recognize we are in a downward spiral… and do something about it.

No, not come up with some technological solution or grand design that will “save the world” but independent, creative, revolutionary ways of disconnecting from and unplugging from the destructive dystopia around us, so that we may build a new future. Tapping into our own creative revolutions, inviting and engaging, and welcoming those around us.

Is this a revolutionary idea? – YES and NO. YES, in that it is the answer towards upending the Existing Order (Capitalism, carnism, consumerism, etc.) that will likely implode as destructive forces it has unleashed grows in Tsunami fashion and drowns (most of) us all.

NO, in that it is already late to be getting to the party. Revolutionary work has started all around. Not cults of 150-year-old revolutionists or other political goings-on…. But, in the almost anonymous goings-on of growing autonomous movements — Bioregionalism groups, independent local movements of people living off the grid, tiny houses, living in vans & other vehicles, autonomous agricultural innovations, “gig economy” pursuits, bartering and new economies, and in the rise of cooperatives, collectives, and back-to-earth communalism–it is no longer enough to say “No”! In fact, it is counter-productive to spend much time doing this–opposing the facets and faults that in aggregate comprise the Existing Order.

While Bob Marley was right that “Total destruction is the only solution (no one can stop them now),” there will not be a turning point among humans to turn around the destruction of the planet (and each other) through our out-of-control hydrocarbonism, consumerism, and Capitalism… not until after climate destruction has so disrupted our lives that the great majority live in constant struggle to survive amidst the new environment of the planet. We ARE beyond… beyond the point of no return. Thus, we don’t say NO… We don’t say INCREMENTALISM. Thus, we say YES!

The clear answer for a monumental transition lies before us… lies in our embracing this, and saying “YES”.

Yes, to new paradigm.

Yes, to new ideas, ways of living, ways of helping each other, ways of creating anew.

Yes, to positive action.

Yes, to communes- bounding together to create new economies, new healthcare and educational possibilities, new ways of moving forward from where we are now.

And in this “new” paradigm there certainly may be echoes of the past… indigenous and ancient ways of basic, communitarian existence in a more balanced harmony with each other and with nature…

You can look at it as saying NO to the toxic culture and capitalism, and war, and… BUT it is important not to look at it this way and to instead approach it as SAYING YES.

Yes, first off to each other.

We need to unleash ourselves from the paradigm of individualism and that it is a dog-eat-dog world… and instead embrace that we are all IN THIS TOGETHER. This is one of the first rules used to sublimate us, is the rule of “divide and conquer”.

Thus fighting each other is abandoned as a mode of revolution, and in fact is Counter-revolutionary. Let’s continue to look around and find and support those who represent a new paradigm hidden in plain sight all around us!

We say YES to each other in the mode of improvisational group creation… “YES, And” … Your idea AND mine… “BOTH AND” (not Either / Or)… this way we do not tear ourselves apart and tear each other down, but we BUILD TOGETHER new ways, new organizations, new creative revolutions.

YES to cooperatives, YES to collectives, YES to unplugging and working, YES to more DOING and less TALKING, YES to CREATING, YES TO BIOREGIONALISM, YES to MUNICIPALISM, YES to YES to YES to YES to YES.

YES to down-sizing, YES to living more ruggedly with less, YES to helping others to do so (not shaming them), YES to creating ways to communicate independently YES to BEING the CHANGE we want to see. YES to worrying less about fear, division, disagreement, and looming destruction, and YES to focusing more on creative revolution to create the new ways of living that sustain us, save us, inspire us, give us some hope, some unity, and rebuild our interior and human goodness from the first step of the first individual, in a chain that has the potential to be unending, and free us from the chains of our dystopia.

Please reach out to us by joining our Facebook group @shorelinegreenparty or contacting me! Owen Charles at owencharles2003@yahoo.com

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