Tag Archives: North America

“Workers Have Power”: Thousands Rally in NYC for May Day, Call for Solidarity with Palestine

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION

A report from Amy Goodman at Democracy Now!

Workers around the world rallied Wednesday to mark May Day, with many calling on the labor movement to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian cause. In New York, Democracy Now! spoke to demonstrators who demanded that U.S. unions apply political pressure for a ceasefire in Gaza and to stop their government’s arms trade with Israel. “Workers do have the power to shape the world,” said Palestinian researcher Riya Al’sanah, who was among thousands gathered at a May Day rally in Manhattan.


Jamil Madbak speaking on the video

Transcript

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org.
We end today’s show on yesterday’s May Day activities in New York. Thousands of students, workers and others rallied in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan to mark May Day.

JAMIL MADBAK: Jamil Madbak. In this current moment, after seven months of Zionist aggression against Gaza, is to underscore that there is a popular movement in support of Palestine, not just the students that are mobilizing, but also organized labor across the United States. That’s really important. After the mass arrests yesterday, we saw faculty at CUNY announce a sickout for today. We saw NYU faculty announce a grade strike. And we’ve seen other actions being taken in support of the students.
We know the United States manufactures bombs that are being dropped on the people in Gaza, the Palestinians, and the Arab population, more broadly. And in that sense, having an organized labor movement that is willing to advocate for the Palestinian struggle, to chip away at the strength of Western imperialism, more broadly, is essential. And for the Palestinians, the inverse is true. Like, it is our mandate to be part of a broader left in this country to help to struggle for worker rights here, understanding that a stronger labor movement means less of an ability to enact this destructive foreign policy.

PROTESTERS: Occupation no more! Occupation no more! Free, free, free Palestine! Free, free, free Palestine!

RIYA AL’SANAH: My name is Riya Al’sanah. I’m a Palestinian researcher, an organizer with the Workers in Palestine initiative. We at Palestinian unions have been organizing and calling for the colleagues in the labor movement and unions internationally to stop arming Israel.

So, since the call in October, on the 16th of October, workers internationally have galvanized and organized in solidarity with the call. We have seen workers in Barcelona port declare that they will not be — they will be stopping arms shipments destined to Israel. Workers in Belgium and transport workers have blocked the supply of weapons to Israel. At the Port of Oakland, we also saw workers here in the U.S. take concrete solidarity and action. Internationally, workers have been organizing in their workplaces and in their unions in solidarity and to heed the call. We see this also with the UAW here in the U.S. and other unions who have been calling for ceasefire and picking up the call from Palestinian workers and Palestinian unions.

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Question related to this article:
 
How can we be sure to get news about peace demonstrations?

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This year, May Day comes at a moment where we Palestinians are subjected to a kind of undescribable onslaught, an undescribable violence. And it’s an important moment in our history to remember that workers do have the power to shape the world. Workers do have the power to influence kind of what happens not only locally, but to influence processes of colonial violence and dispossession on a bigger scale.

The very brave students and faculty on campuses in the U.S. advocating for divestment of Israeli — of military industries is a prime example of the entrenchment of militarism and military industries to all aspects of our lives, including our educational institutions. These campaigns at the moment amplify how the campaign, the call from Palestinian workers to stop arming Israel is a transformative demand for all of us to be involved in on campuses, in our various workplaces, as well.

JULIA THERESE BANNON: As a UAW member and as the president of my local, UAW must use its political power to put teeth into their call for a ceasefire. I am done with the narrative that this is a right-wing attack on free speech. This is the Democratic Party attacking free speech. This is Joe Biden attacking free speech. This is Chuck Schumer attacking a local. These so-called Democrats are the ones threatening our democracy by silencing anyone who speaks against their genocide. UAW must revoke endorsements of these politicians, if they want to make good on their call for a ceasefire.

BHAIRAVI DESAI: I bring you message of solidarity from the 28,000 members of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. We are here to say to Genocide Joe that as long as your bombs are there, we will remain here. How today, on International Workers’ Day, a day that is normally full of pride and celebration, but since October, we cannot have a day that feels like joy or celebration, because the level of death and destruction, it is crushing to our sense of being a human being.

HEALTHCARE WORKER: I stand here before you today as a member of Healthcare Workers for Palestine, New York City. This is a lot closer to them. So, I’m just going to forewarn that I’ll be speaking about the mass graves, that our media has so intentionally neglected. Last weekend —

PROTESTERS: Shame! Shame!

HEALTHCARE WORKER: Last weekend, at least 283 bodies were found in a mass grave in Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis in Gaza. These bodies, our families’ bodies, were found three meters into the ground, covered in waste, headless, skinless, organless, some of them zip-tied, and some of our healthcare workers still in their scrubs.

PROTESTERS: Shame!

HEALTHCARE WORKER: Three days later on Democracy Now!, we find out it wasn’t 283 bodies. It was at least 300. Three days after that, we find out it’s at least 400. And, y’all, we’re tired of playing this game of numbers.

NYU STUDENT: I am speaking to you as a student from the NYU encampment in solidarity with encampments and workers across the globe. To our administrations, we’re not going away. We hold our ground. We say to our administrations, to be suspended for Gaza is the highest honor.

PROTESTERS: Free, free, free Palestine! Free, free, free Palestine!

AMY GOODMAN: Special thanks to Hana Elias, Charina Nadura and Messiah Rhodes. Those voices from the Foley Square rally on May Day.

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Earth Day founder Denis Hayes says young climate activists carry the spirit of his generation

. . SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT . .

An article from Radio Canada

Denis Hayes can see activists of the past in today’s youth-led climate campaigns.

The environmentalist, who left Harvard University to co-ordinate the inaugural Earth Day in 1970, came of age during a period of growing understanding about human impacts on the planet. 

“We now have a generation coming up that seems to be very much in the spirit of the 1960s,” Hayes said in an interview with What On Earth host Laura Lynch.


Denis Hayes, co-ordinator of the first Earth Day and pictured here in 2015, reflected on the origins of the global event in an interview with What On Earth host Laura Lynch. (Jordan Stead/The Associated Press)

They care passionately about climate change and “want to do something to influence and really to shape policy, to guarantee themselves the future,” he added.

The scope of the planet’s problems have changed since the inaugural Earth Day where community events were the focus. The impact of carbon emissions are understood today to be global and have led to rapidly rising global temperatures.

A cohort of young climate justice activists — such as Swedish activist Greta Thunberg — connected worldwide via social media are now pushing for faster and more concrete action on an issue they see as an existential threat.

“We have a bunch of young people who are global citizens, digital natives who are comfortable talking with their peers around the world and capable of building an international movement of, I think, real force,” Hayes said.

Earth Day every day

Axcelle Campana, 34, an environmental justice practitioner and master’s student at Portland State University, says Earth Day can be an inspiring day to mark our commitment to the climate.

But there’s a risk that organizations actively contributing to climate change, like large corporations investing in fossil fuel projects, can co-opt that message.

“If we leave a vacuum, I think inevitably there will be a commercialization, and that will be the dominant narrative and the predominant force driving what Earth Day means,” he told Lynch.

`”We have to kind of step up and make it something in order for it to continue to be relevant.”

“When it comes to action, having one day is just simply not enough,” said Lauren Wright, a 19-year-old student and climate activist from Saskatoon. She is one of 15 plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the federal government  claiming it hasn’t done enough to protect youth from the effects of climate change.

Wright says the increasing frequency of significant climate events — including record-breaking wildfire seasons and disastrous hurricanes  — has made it impossible for young people to ignore.

The ability to connect with other youth via social media has also made it easier to share these experiences and mobilize.

“I can see somebody who’s an activist in the Philippines telling their story about what’s happening to them right now, and then I can see something from somebody in the north of Canada who’s talking about how they’re being affected by brownouts,” she said.

Need for agency

Maria Vamvalis isn’t surprised that young people are turning to activism.

The PhD candidate and former public school teacher researches the impact of climate justice in education. 

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Question for this article:


Are we seeing the dawn of a global youth movement?

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

For many of the youth she’s spoken with as part of that work, grappling with these world-sized climate “polycrises” has left them feeling hopelessness over their futures — a shift she’s noticed in over two decades of teaching. 

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“When they talk about the future, [they say] I’m not going to be living past 50,” she said. “I didn’t have that experience with young people before at all.”

Those feelings can be mitigated when youth are able to directly engage in the challenges — and feel heard.

“Climate justice can become like a social imaginary that enables them to feel a sense of possibility — like if we actually were to centre climate justice, then so many things would change,” said Vamvalis, who teaches an online course on how educators can incorporate climate change education in the classroom with the Accelerating Climate Education Project.

Earth Day, then, can be a moment to reinvigorate a sense of agency for youth worried about the changing climate, she added. 

Wright describes it as a day to “refocus.”

“Earth Day is usually just a day of reflection and education more so than physical action,” she said.

Evolving priorities

When he started Earth Day, Hayes and his peers were focused on smaller scale challenges, such as air pollution from power planets and expansive highways separating communities.

“For years when we were talking about climate change, all we could do was point to lines crossing on a chart sometime out in the future before we got hit with droughts and hurricanes,” he said.

“Whereas if you’ve got a plume coming out of a smokestack and everybody in the neighbourhood is coughing, the debate is much easier to win.”

The way climate activism has changed over five decades reflects a shift in our understanding of changes to the environment itself, said activist Maria Blancas.

“To have a movement that is fighting for the same things … through these different decades, I feel like is really unrealistic,” said Blancas, who was born in Mexico but grew up in Washington state in a farmworker community

“So, for me, it feels like the future issues are probably going to be very different — hopefully, ideally would be different — than what we’re fighting for now.”

Some accuse the younger generation of taking part in an activism fad borne out of social media, Wright says, but the endurance of Earth Day proves otherwise.

“I’m not a young agitator that just came out of the woodwork. There’s been decades and decades of work done by activists and centuries, since time immemorial, of Indigenous land defenders caring for this place,” she said.

Looking forward

Looking ahead to Earth Day in 2050, Campana — who calls himself a “dreamer” — is ambitious.

April 22 is not just a day on the calendar, but a holiday off work and school for folks to get involved in their communities.

“We take commitment to the land and to the earth and to our home seriously enough where we actually provide the space and the time for lots of people to get involved,” he said.

Asked what lessons he would pass on youth activists today, Hayes was bashful.

“I suspect they are not waiting with bated breath for my pearls of wisdom,” he said.

“But I suppose the most important single thing I would say is don’t underestimate yourself…. Somebody is either going to have the torch passed to them, or they’re going to seize the torch, and it might as well be you.”

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Recasting the narrative of pro-Palestine student encampments: a commitment to nonviolent changemaking

. TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

An article from the Global Campaign for Peace Education by An Anonymous Student in Washington DC*

As an Arab-American woman, an activist, and a part of the collective human community, I take it upon myself to advocate for the men, women, and children in Gaza whose suffering has largely been overlooked and tolerated by the international community. These past few weeks, I have found great hope and pride in the actions of the American students who have established college campus encampments all across the country in an effort to direct funding away from the violence in Gaza. In their dedication to speaking out for the protection of human life, their commitment to non-violence, and their courage to act regardless of legal reprimand, thousands across the globe have found hope and regained a battle cry against the Palestinian genocide that continues to unfold. Through attending the George Washington University encampment, I have seen firsthand the nature of these spaces of protest — their spirit, their power, and their peace. Today, I write not only as an advocate for the encampments but also as an advocate for democracy. The pro-Palestine student encampments are valid and effective nonviolent protests that should not only be protected by the government but supported.

Photo Caption: Popular University for Gaza encampment at the University of Oregon demanding divestment from companies supporting Israel. Day 2, April 30, 2024. (Photo: Ian Mohr via flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED]).

 
On April 17, 2024, hundreds of student protesters occupied the South Lawn of Columbia University with demands that the university divest from companies with ties to Israel. Since then, thousands of students across the country have set up over 80 encampments, all calling for the divestment of university funds from organizations that provide financial support to the Israeli government and Israeli companies (Banerjee, 2024). Historically, sit-ins and occupations of campus buildings have been the more popular style of protest; however, the choice to hold encampments sends a message in itself. As stated by Sonal Churiwal, a sophomore at Washington University of St. Louis:

“We can do a march and one hour later it’s dispersed and no one’s there…but an encampment shows that we care and we’re willing to move our entire lives outside for a day, or however long we can, and really commit to this, because we know any inconvenience we’re facing is just a sliver of what Palestinians under occupation, under genocide, are facing” (Alonso, 2024).

Not only do the students sacrifice their comfort and convenience, but they also risk their safety and future security, as students at over 20 encampments have faced arrest charges due to ‘trespassing’ or ‘public disruption’ (Cutler, 2024). Along with the risk of arrest is the risk of harm. Most notably, on the night of April 30, violence broke out at the UCLA encampment as pro-Israeli groups attempted to tear down the encampment barricades. The ensuing clashes between protesters, police, and pro-Israeli groups lead to over 25 members of the encampment group being taken to the hospital due to injuries (Nazzal, 2024). These arrests and violence at the expense of peaceful protesters emerge from a lack of support and protection by the American government and its leaders. In fact, many members of Congress have directly spoken out against the encampments, calling them ‘un-American,’ recommending the National Guard to intervene, and requesting that federal funds be withdrawn from any campus allowing the protests to continue (Parkinson, 2024). The direct condemnation of the student encampments by national leaders has restricted the protesters’ ability to receive police protection and medical aid, putting thousands in harm’s way of police brutality and outside attacks.

The current political narrative also supports biased media coverage of the encampments’ nature and mission. Largely, the media and politicians have characterized the student encampment movement as a campaign built upon antisemitism that creates an unsafe environment for Jewish students on college campuses. These claims are not unfounded, as several protesters have expressed explicit support for Hamas terrorism and used antisemitic rhetoric against Jewish students (Campus antisemitism, 2024). In no way do I believe that these violent actions and words should be overlooked. Nor do I support antisemitism in any form, whether it be in connection to the Israel-Palestine conflict or not. However, there is much danger in directly conflating the student encampment movement with antisemitism, as this both undermines the true mission of the protest, as well as invalidates the Jewish experience of antisemitism. The encampments look to stop American university funding for Israeli military missions against Palestinian civilians, not to threaten, harm, or call for the eradication of the Jewish population. “Many of the student groups behind the protests said that individuals making inflammatory remarks [against the Jewish community] do not represent their groups or their values concerning the war in Gaza” (Alfonesca, 2024). Additionally, MIT Jews for Ceasefire criticized “school administration and politicians” for “co-opting” the Jewish “shared identity to silence Palestinian, Muslim, Arab, and Jewish students” alike (Alfonesca, 2024). They argue that blanketing all student protests as antisemitic “only serves to obfuscate real cases of antisemitism and put Jewish students at even greater risk” (Alfonesca, 2024). Therefore, the continued weaponization of ‘antisemitism’ within the political dialogue which condemns the student encampments leads to an inaccurate depiction of the protesters’ goals, undermines the genuine non-violent foundation of the movement, and puts the Jewish community at further harm of attack against their person and identity.

Since the student protests follow a legitimate framework of nonviolent methods within their behavior and organization, I look to redirect the current narrative surrounding the university encampments away from a story of hate and violence and towards one of true peaceful protest for a just cause. In his work, The Politics of Nonviolent Action, Gene Sharp researched and cataloged ‘198 methods of nonviolent action.’ Ranging from formal statements and physical intervention to drama and music, Sharp outlines a careful selection of nonviolent approaches for securing democratic rights and justice for social justice movements (198 methods). Within the past few weeks, the pro-Palestine student encampments have deployed a handful of these methods. Most notably, through a nonviolent occupation of space, but also through inviting political speakers, hosting indigenous dance groups, and directing university funds to alternative markets, among many other approaches to peaceful activism. Each encampment has its own set of values and regulations to ensure a commitment to nonviolence is upheld and enforced. At the George Washington University encampment, a whiteboard of ‘Community Guidelines’ greets protesters and visitors, outlining rules of ‘grace and patience,’ ‘respect and discipline,’ and ‘revolutionary optimism.’ The space is one of structure, transparency, acceptance, and diversity, which the media and politicians overlook within their characterizations and criticisms of the movement.

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Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

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The student encampments are also in full alignment with the values and instruction of peace education. Peace education looks to promote a culture of peace through transformative understanding and approaches to conflict:

“Peace education would first invite the youth or adult learners to be aware of and to understand the ramifications and roots of a particular conflict and what the possible alternatives might be…peace education elicits well-thought-out alternatives from them to work for the conflict’s resolution and transformation through nonviolent ways” (Navarro-Castro, 2008, p. 26).

Those who participate in the student encampments have heavily immersed themselves in the history and nuance of the political dynamic between Palestine and Israel. They understand that the violence of the past few months is a result of decades of oppression and apartheid, as opposed to a conflict that began on October 7, 2023. These students come to universities with a specific, nonviolent resolution to divert funds away from the Israeli military and away from the general military-industrial complex of the United States. Their demands target an end to violence, and their methods reflect the same intention. The students’ dedication to their cause through peaceful protest is a true commitment to activism through a lens of peace education. Therefore, for the government to condemn their behavior is to take a stance against peaceful, visionary protest, which is a larger stance against the promotion of a culture of peace.

In 1999, the United Nations General Assembly passed the “Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace” (United Nations). Through the declaration, UNESCO defines a culture of peace as a “set of values, attitudes, modes of behavior, and ways of life that reject violence and prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation among individuals, groups, and nations” (U.N). Through their peaceful commitment to engage in dialogue with university leaders, the student encampments uphold a culture of peace within their ‘values, attitudes, and modes of behavior.’ The protesters’ actions — leading marches to diplomatic centers, inviting speakers to discuss the history of the Palestinian region, and hosting creative projects to preserve Palestinian art and culture— align with the promotion of nonviolent change outlined in UNESCO’s frameworks of cultural peace.

As a prominent member of the UN, the United States of America holds a responsibility to both the international community and the American people to uphold and enact UN resolutions. By criticizing and attacking the encampments, American politicians directly violate the 1999 resolution which calls for “the observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms” (United Nations). The declaration also places “special emphasis on democratic principles and practices at all levels of formal, informal and non-formal education,” highlighting students’ vital role in harnessing the democratic process to create change and promote peace (United Nations). To stand against the students is to stand against fundamental freedoms and democratic principles. While as, to stand with the encampments is to uphold the ideals outlined by the “Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace” in promoting a collective mindset that rejects violence and fuels civil dialogue.

As a citizen of this country and a member of the democratic process, I have placed my trust and my voice in the hands of my representatives. I look to those who have been given positions of power to use their platforms to defend the rights and livelihoods of not just my fellow Americans, but also my fellow human beings. I stand behind the American people in continuing to use our voices, our power, and our presence to speak out against the genocide of the Palestinian people, and I implore American leaders to listen to us.

The student encampments are not places of hate, they are places of love where nonviolence triumphs. These student activists are not un-American, for protesting injustice through the freedom of speech granted by the First Amendment is the most American thing one could do. Therefore, if the American government is truly committed to democracy and peace, our leaders have a responsibility not only to protect but also to support the pro-Palestine student encampments.

* My decision to publish this piece anonymously caused much inner conflict and reflection. My anonymity does not come from a lack of belief in my argument, nor does it endorse a lack of willingness to associate myself with this cause. Instead, I was influenced by recent government actions that criminalize pro-Palestinian viewpoints, as well as the potential consequences of future legislation on anti-Israeli dialogue. I feel much frustration with our current political environment, which discourages free speech surrounding the Palestinian genocide. In the future, I look to continue to advocate for social justice and influence government actions to uphold human rights. However, I cannot fulfill this mission if I am prohibited from entering the political sphere due to my stance on the student encampments. Therefore, my anonymity reflects a commitment to future activism and a hope to earn a platform to further promote democracy and peace.

References

° 198 methods of nonviolent action. AEI/ Empowering Humankind. (n.d.). https://www.aeinstein.org/198-methods-of-nonviolent-action

° Alfonesca, K. (2024, April 26). Student protesters denounce antisemitism amid criticism over pro-Palestinian encampments at college campuses. ABC News.

_ Alonso, J. (2024, April 24). Students set up on encampments from coast to Coast. Inside Higher Ed | Higher Education News, Events and Jobs.

° Banerjee, I. (2024, May 2). Timeline: The “Gaza Solidarity Encampment.” Columbia Daily Spectator.

° Campus antisemitism surges amid encampments and related protests at columbia and other u.s. colleges. (2024, April 22). Anti-Defamation League.

° Cutler, S. (2024, May 1) How colleges have responded to student encampments. The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Navarro-Castro, L., & Nario-Galace, J. (2008). Peace education a pathway to a culture of peace. Center for Peace Education, Miriam College.

° Nazzal, S. (2024, May 1). After violent night at UCLA, classes cancelled, UC president Launches Investigation Into response. Los Angeles Times.

° Parkinson, J. (2024, April 30). Speaker Johnson, House Republicans ramp up criticism of “out of control” college protests. ABC News.

° U.N. International Day of peace. International Day of Peace. (n.d.). https://internationaldayofpeace.org/culture-of-peace/#:~:text=As%20defined%20by%20t he%20United,founding%20over%2060%20years%20ago%2C

° United Nations. (n.d.). Declaration and programme of action on a culture of peace. United Nations. https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/285677?ln=en&v=pdf

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Michael Moore: I Now Bring You the Voices of a New Generation

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article and podcast from Michael Moore

It is Day 19 today (May 6) of the Great 2024 Nonviolent Student Uprising against the U.S.-backed slaughter of innocent Palestinian civilians (over 70% of the dead are children, women and the elderly). Nearly 40,000+ souls massacred by the Israel Defense (Offense) Force via carpet bombing, sniper drones, forced starvation and the mass mandatory removal of Gazans into “safe zones” where they are then bombed again and murdered by the Israeli army. 

This horrific assault is armed and supported by the U.S. government and funded by nearly 300 million American taxpayers. This slaughter could end in the next hour if we Americans just simply pulled the plug, closed the bank, cut off the free billions to the Netanyahu regime, and stopped sending weapons to conduct a genocide that is in violation of American and International law. One phone call from President Biden, one stroke of his pen and POOF! — War Is Over. It literally is that easy. 

The youth already know this. That’s why tens of thousands of them across the country and around the world are holding sit-ins, nonviolently occupying campus quads and administration buildings, demanding their universities divest from companies doing business with a rogue and racist regime. These students are risking their college careers, facing suspension and expulsion, future blacklisting as they seek employment after college, physical assault from pro-Israel gangs armed with clubs, mace and explosives, and being arrested by the police because they were exercising their Constitution rights to free speech, freedom of assembly and the freedom to redress their grievances against their government’s actions. 

And for doing this — the most humane, most loving, most American of acts — they are slandered and smeared and called… wait for it!… antisemites! By the very antisemites who back the slaughter of the Semitic people known as the Palestinians! Wow. Now that’s chutzpah!

Lie after lie, day after day, is told about these protests. They are not threatening Jewish students. To the contrary, thousands of Jewish students and faculty have shown up to support and participate in the pro-Palestine, anti-war, anti-genocide demonstrations. The Palestinian students join them for Shabbat dinner on Friday nights. At one encampment the Palestinian students did a Jewish folk dance for their compatriots. The hater pudits don’t want you to know that. Why not? Because they know that’s the world you and I want to live in — as opposed to the world they’re trying to maintain for us: A world without Palestine. These young people have decided they want NONE of that. 

I say more nonviolent civil disobedience! More tent encampments! More sit-ins. More citizens taking to the streets. It’s a proud and time-honored America tradition! We wouldn’t have the rights and freedoms we now enjoy without an entire history of it! 

There would be no women able to vote today if the suffragettes hadn’t thrown up a picket line surrounding and blocking the White House in 1917. For that they were arrested, beaten, imprisoned for months, with many later abandoned by their husbands. 

There would be no UAW or unions in general had not my uncle and 2,000 other GM workers in 1936 taken over the factories in Flint and staged a 44-day sit down strike. 

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Question related to this article:

How can war crimes be documented, stopped, punished and prevented?

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

(continued from left column)

Outside agitators? More of that too! That was the description used by all the media and the racist mayors and governors when Martin Luther King, Jr. showed up to town. He held sit-ins, takeovers, he trespassed everywhere and thank God for him because he moved mountains. He was hated for it. He was slandered and called every disgusting name possible. 

There would be no civil rights laws, no Black members of Congress if King had not been a nonstop “outside agitator” and lawbreaker of racist laws. 

And trespassing? The #1 Trespasser in American History? Her name was Rosa Parks. She broke the law and trespassed into the white section of a Montgomery, AL, bus on December 1st, 1955. And that was that. President Biden said that students who cause “chaos” will be arrested. Joe, Mrs. Parks heard you say that. If she and Dr. King and millions of others had not caused a massive amount of chaos, disruption and lawbreaking, where would we be? What if in 1960 four black students at the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina had not refused to move until they were served? Within a week there were illegal sit-ins demanding integration in over a hundred cities. 

And what of Vietnam? Millions of students taking over campuses! Newsflash: Windows were broken! Oh my! My lifelong friend and co-producer Rod Birleson sent me this text this morning remembering his days as a student in the 1960s and 70s at Easter Michigan University:

It was May, 1970, just days after the National Guard killed 4 students at Kent State.

I was a student at Eastern Michigan University. 

EMU was shut down for 4 days. Marshall law declared. A group of 3 or more students gathered together outdoors was considered an illegal gathering. But the cops could not enter the campus in patrol cars or police buses for those they were going to arrest because we spread roofing nails and broken glass on all the roads leading into campus. Even the city street cleaner could not clear a path, as it also got flat tires. The cops in riot gear had to walk into campus. K-mart sold out of sling shots. When the cops tried to enter the residential dorms to arrest students they couldn’t even get through the lobbies. One dorm started pouring boiling water out of their upper story windows. When they did manage to arrest a student with long hair, the police would cut off their hair and make it into a pony tail and hang it on their “scalp wall” in the police station. The EMU Student Council started paying the bail for any student who had been arrested. Then came the police helicopter dropping tear gas grenades on any group of more than three students.

It didn’t work. The entire campus was liberated. Breaking a few windows seemed like a small crime compared to an American B-52 dropping a load of 500-pound bombs on a village of Vietnamese people. 

Back then we were right. We were young and we were students. Today the young people are right. God bless them.

On this week’s episode(s) of my podcast, my crew and I disobey the college presidents’ and NYC’s Mayor Adam’s orders to “outsiders” to stay off the campuses and to stop trying to “radicalize” our youth (because young people don’t have a mind of their own). My crew (Angie, Donald, and “Anonymous”) paid a visit to the NYC protest encampments made up of students from Columbia University, City College, City University (CUNY), NYU, etc. to hear directly from the brilliant student organizers of these historic demonstrations. These are the voices you won’t hear on the mainstream media. Listen here to their eloquence and passion as they take a stand for the Palestinian people. 

And then either join them — or start one yourself.  

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Pro-Palestinian protests and encampments sweep campuses of major universities across the United States

. TOLERANCE AND SOLIDARITY . .

An article from The Arab American News

College campuses have become breeding grounds for pro-Palestine protests. Student protesters have continued to set up encampments at their universities and display their support for Palestinians and against Israeli aggressions. Students are also demanding that their universities divest from companies that financially support Israel. 


The encampment created by protesters on the Columbia University campus on Wednesday, April 24. – Photo by Reuters.

 
Encampments and protests have been reported at the following universities:

°Columbia University in Manhattan, New York
°The New School in Manhattan
°New York University in Manhattan
°Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts
°Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island
°Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge
°Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts
°Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut
°Emerson College in Boston
°The University of Michigan
°The University of California, Berkeley
°The University of Southern California
°University of Pittsburgh
°University of Minnesota
°Ohio State University
°University of Texas at Arlington
°University of Texas at Austin
°University of Texas at Dallas
°University of Texas at San Antonio
°University of North Carolina at Charlotte
°Emory University in Atlanta
°University of New Mexico in Albuquerque
°American University in Washington
°Rice University in Houston

(Editor’s note: An article in Al Jazeera, mentions similar mobilizations in the Sorbonne University and Sciences Po of Paris, Univerities of Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, Sapienza University of Rome, and the universities of Warwick, Leicester and Leeds in England as of April 26. By May 14, according to Pressenza, similar protests have spread to 17 countries, including India, Mexico, Japan, as well as the UK, Australia and France.)

According to The Associated Press, with protests and encampments arising, universities have taken steps to extinguish tensions on campus. Columbia University shifted to remote classes, canceling in-person classes and the gates of the Harvard Yard were closed to the public. Crowds of protesters were arrested at Columbia University, New York University and Yale.

These protests have also given rise to tensions between students, with both pro-Palestinian protesters denouncing Israel and Jewish students claiming that has led to anti-Semitism, which makes them feel unsafe. Pro-Israel students have said they feel that the protests occurring at their universities are only encouraging anti-Semitic and hate speech.

According to Al Jazeera, student protesters said they are standing in “solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza”, where the death toll is now above 34,300, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Columbia’s University president, Minouche Shafik, released a statement to the school community regarding the protests and shared that she felt “deeply saddened” by it all.

“To deescalate the rancor and give us all a chance to consider next steps, I am announcing that all classes will be held virtually on Monday,” Shafik wrote, also adding that the students who live off campus shouldn’t come to campus.

Pro-Palestinian Columbia students file civil rights complaint

Palestine Legal filed a civil rights complaint against Columbia University this week through the U.S. Department of Education, demanding the agency’s Office for Civil Rights investigate the school’s treatment of Palestinian students and allies.

The complaint goes beyond the events of the last week, when the NYPD arrested more than 100 protesting students. It alleged that for the past months, “Palestinian students, Arabs, Muslims, students perceived to be Palestinian and students associated with or advocating for Palestinians” were subject to anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian harassment and Islamophobia.

The complaint represents four students and Columbia’s Students for Justice in Palestine. Palestine Legal said these students received death threats and were “harassed for wearing keffiyehs or hijab, doxed, stereotyped, being treated differently by high-ranking administrators, including Columbia University President Minouche Shafik.”

Palestine Legal also said the school has the responsibility to protect its students, including Palestinians and supporters, and should not threaten or call the police or military. Columbia has denied threats to call the National Guard were ever on the table in negotiations with protesters.

“Since October 7 alone, the organization has received reports of over 1,800 incidents, over five times the number we received in all of 2022, reflecting an exponential rise in anti-Palestinian repression across the U.S.,” Palestine Legal wrote in a press release.

With protests at Harvard, a sign stated that Harvard Yard was closed to the public, only allowing structures, tents and tables onto the yard with prior permission. Security guards were also checking student IDs.

“Students violating these policies are subject to disciplinary action,” the sign read.

The university’s administration suspended the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee, according to reports. The suspension notice  stated that the committee’s demonstration on April 19 had violated school policy and that committee members did not attend required trainings following a previous probation.

The Palestine Solidarity Committee said in a statement that it was suspended over technicalities and that the university hadn’t provided written clarification on the university’s policies when asked.

“For months, we have been disproportionately targeted by the administration on the grounds of technicalities that we tried to observe vigilantly in the interest of protecting student safety,” the group said in a statement sent to The Middle East Eye.

About 45 protesters at Yale University were arrested and charged with trespassing, according to Officer Christian Bruckhart, a spokesperson for New Haven Police Department. All protesters were let go on promises they would appear in court, he said, in an AP News report.

Protesters assembled tents on Beinecke Plaza at Yale and called for their university to action to divest from defense companies tied to Israel.

Yale President Peter Salovey said in a statement to the school on Monday that police officers gave protesters “several opportunities to leave and avoid arrest”, adding that he felt “deeply saddened that the call for civil discourse and peaceful protest (he) issued” was not recognized or listened to, referring to the previous email he sent Sunday, according to The Yale Daily News.

MIT graduate student Prahlad Iyengar was one of the student protesters who participated in the encampment on that campus Sunday night.

“MIT has not even called for a ceasefire, and that’s a demand we have for sure,” Iyengar said in an AP News report.

Several dozen protesters arrested at Emory University

Thursday morning, an Emory University spokesperson said several dozen protesters “trespassed” into Emory’s campus to set up tents on the school’s quad.

“The activists who initially gathered were not recognized as members of our community and were disrupting the university as our students finish classes and prepare for finals,” a statement read.

Members of the Emory community later joined the initial group, according to the spokesperson.

Pro-Palestinian protesters clashed with police at the Georgia university on Thursday. Police used pepper spray and pepper balls to clear the area of demonstrators, a CNN team on the scene reported.

The statement said “a couple dozen people” were taken into custody after the Emory Police Department notified them they were trespassing and the people refused to leave.

On Thursday, a group of Democratic Georgia state lawmakers  condemned the “excessive force used by Georgia State Patrol” during arrests at Emory University.

“The use of extreme anti-riot tactics by Georgia State Patrol, including tasers and gas, is a dangerous escalation to protests which were by all accounts peaceful and nonviolent,” Georgia State Rep. Ruwa Romman, a Democrat who is also Palestinian, posted on social media in a statement co-signed by 10 other legislators.

(continued in right column)

Question related to this article:

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

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The group blamed Georgia leaders and said they have created an environment where “state police feel free or perhaps are directed— to respond to normal peaceful protests with violence.”

“We cannot allow this dangerous repression to continue,” they continued in the statement. “Regardless of one’s views on this or any other issue, there is no justification for this kind of excessive force. We call on all state officials to immediately deescalate and prevent further harm to our constituents.”

The ACLU of Georgia also said on Thursday it was concerned about law enforcement’s response to the protests.

“The freedom to protest without retribution is essential to our democracy,” the organization said in a statement. “Atlanta has historically been a place where citizens could freely exercise their rights to protest, but we have unfortunately seen a series of unconstitutional crackdowns on speech and protest across Georgia in recent years. Colleges and universities should be places where viewpoints, expression, debate and free speech are encouraged, not suppressed.”

USC cancels its main commencement ceremony

The University of Southern California canceled its main commencement ceremony for 2024 graduating students in May, citing “new safety measures in place.”

“We understand that this is disappointing,” the university said in an announcement on its website.

The announcement came days after the university canceled the commencement speech of its Muslim valedictorian, Asna Tabassum, due to what it called security concerns. USC then canceled appearances by prominent speakers and honorees at the May 10 graduation ceremony.

Encampment forms at University of California, Los Angeles

On Thursday, a “demonstration with encampments” formed at the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) in Royce Quad, the university said in a campus activity update.

“We’re actively monitoring this situation to support a safe and peaceful campus environment that respects our community’s right to free expression while minimizing disruption to our teaching and learning mission,” the update read.

Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA posted on Instagram an invitation for others to join and said, “WE ARE STAYING UNTIL OUR DEMANDS ARE MET! BE HERE!

“We camp in solidarity with Palestine. We refuse to be complicit in this genocidal campaign,” the post read.

Pro-Palestinian encampment forms at George Washington University

George Washington University has joined a growing list of schools across the nation where Pro-Palestinian demonstrators are forming encampments on school campuses, according to videos posted by the GW Hatchet student newspaper.

Students at multiple universities across the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia organized the encampment, a group representing the coalition of Students for Justice in Palestine said in a post on Instagram.

The encampment is a “united demonstration of our power, uplifting our collective demands for financial transparency, boycotts and divestment from the Zionist state, and an end to the racist repression pro-Palestine students,” the post read.

Netanyahu condemns U.S. universities’ campus protests as “anti-Semitic”

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the pro-Palestinian protests on U.S. university campuses as “horrific” and “anti-Semitic”, calling for them to end.

“It has to be stopped. It has to be condemned and condemned unequivocally,” Netanyahu said in a video message on X.

““The response of several university presidents was shameful.””
Netanyahu added that while some officials have responded differently, “more has to be done” in response to the demonstrations.

Netanyahu said that a rise in anti-Semitism in the U.S. “has terrible consequences.”

More people around the world believe he and his right-wing government are the reasons for the rise of anti-Israeli apartheid, which he wrongly attributes it as “anti-Semitism.”

Iran’s foreign minister slams police response to protests

On Thursday, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian expressed “deep concerns” over the police response to pro-Palestinian protests on U.S. university campuses.

Amir-Abdollahian criticized the “suppression and harsh treatment” of professors and students by police in a post on X.

“This suppression is in line with Washington’s full-fledged support for the Israeli regime and clearly demonstrates the U.S. government’s double standards and contradictory behavior regarding freedom of speech,” Amir-Abdollahian posted.

House Speaker Mike Johnson calls on Columbia’s president to resign

House Speaker Mike Johnson called on Columbia University President Nemat “Minouche” Shafik to resign during a tense press conference Wednesday.

The crowd repeatedly interrupted the speaker and booed him and other GOP lawmakers who were with him as they stood at the mics.

“We just can’t allow this kind of hatred and anti-Semitism to flourish on our campuses, and it must be stopped in its tracks,” Johnson said. “Those who are perpetrating this violence should be arrested. I am here today, joining my colleagues and calling on President Shafik to resign if she cannot immediately bring order to this chaos.”

On Wednesday, the Columbia University Board of Trustees released a statement saying they strongly support President  Shafik.

“The Columbia University Board of Trustees strongly supports President Shafik as she steers the university through this extraordinarily challenging time,” the board said in a statement Wednesday. “During the search process for this role, President Shafik told us that she would always take a thoughtful approach to resolving conflict, balancing the disparate voices that make up a vibrant campus like Columbia’s, while taking a firm stance against hatred, harassment and discrimination. That’s exactly what she’s doing now.”

 The board said it is “urgently working” with Shafik to resolve the unrest on campus and “rebuild the bonds of our community.”

Here are the developments at several universities as of Thursday evening (April 25):

°University of Southern California: USC canceled its main commencement ceremony for 2024 graduating students in May, citing “new safety measures in place.”

°Emory University: At least two professors were  detained during protests on campus. CAIR’s Georgia chapter has condemned the arrests and the NAACP in Georgia has called for a meeting with the university’s president.

°Northeastern University: An encampment has been formed and dozens of protesters have formed a human chain around tents.

°City College of New York: The NYPD says it no longer plans to clear the encampment Thursday afternoon.

°George Washington University: An group of Pro-Palestinian demonstrators has started an encampment on campus representing students from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, organizers and the university confirmed.

°Emerson College: More than 100 people were arrested and four police officers were injured Wednesday at Emerson college in Boston during a pro-Palestinian protest, according to the Boston Police Department.

°Columbia University: House Speaker Mike Johnson called on Columbia’s president to resign if she cannot bring order to the campus. While most protests have been non-violent, some Jewish students are worried for their safety, with one Jewish student saying “the anti-Semitic comments and activity is running rampant.” Negotiations between protesters and Columbia officials about clearing the encampment on its lawn were extended early Wednesday morning for another 48 hours.

°University of Southern California: Police arrested nearly 100 protesters at the University of Southern California after a dispersal order.

°University of Texas at Austin: Following tense resistance, the Texas Department of Public Safety said that 57 arrests had been made by law enforcement on the campus. A Fox 7 photographer was among those arrested amid the heated clashes, the news outlet said in a report. The tally is an overall number of people booked in association with the protest. “We don’t classify arrestees by whether or not they’re students at the university,” Kristen Dark, a Travis County Sheriff’s office spokesperson told CNN.

°Cal Poly Humboldt: The California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt campus will remain closed through the weekend as protesters, including “unidentified non-students,” continue to occupy two buildings, school officials said in an update.

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United States: Cornel West on His 2024 Presidential Bid

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

Excerpts from video interview by C-Span on April 2

2024 Independent presidential candidate Cornel West talked about his candidacy, platform, and views on U.S. politics today.

Pedro Echevarria

If you had to boil down your candidacy to a few sentences what would you tell people?

Cornel West

It would be based on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr and Fannie Lou Hamer, which is trying to get beyond all the lies, all the revenge. I try to talk about truth, justice and love in a context where it seems it is very, very difficult to have any moment of substantive morality, where politics has become legalized corruption and normalized bribery, where they will say anything to stay in office and where there is no genuine concern for people, let alone poor people, working people, people who have been subjugated and degraded.  This is not just empty moral rhetoric. If we give up on serious commitment to public life and citizens being human beings, as opposed to being objects to be manipulated. then the country is over, the American project as we have understood it will be over. I want to raise my voice to mobilize people and get people to see that Trump is leading us toward second civil war and Biden is leading us to a third world war. We’ve got to do better than those two as an option at this particular moment of history.

Video of interview

Pedro Echevarria

Do you have a political background? And what do you think about electing someone to office without a political background?

Cornel West

Well, I think what we need, Brother, is we need new persons, new characters and new visions injected into our system.  My political background is that I have been fighting for poor and working people for 55 years. I’ve worked with a number of different candidates. Sometimes they were within the Democratic party, sometimes they have been outside. More and more they have been outside, because the Democratic party, itself, has succumbed to capture by Wall Street and the Pentagon, by the war profiteers, on the one hand, and the money-makers, on the other. The Republican party has given up for a long time, captured by big money.  It’s true that people look at me and say, “Well, you have never been an elected official.” That’s exactly right. I have been an active citizen trying to ensure that truth and justice can procure a place in American politics and that is very much what i would do as president. i would set a completely different tone, a completely different vibe coming from the White House. And that would be “working people you are at the center of public policy. not Wall Street, not looking at the stock market but rather Main Street and looking at access to health care, access to quality education, access to safe communities, access to housing as a human right just like health care is a human right. we have to push back these predators that have been pushing out so many poor and working people when it comes to housing a whole host of other rights.

Pedro Echevarria

On your website one of the things you advocate for is a wealth tax on all billionaire holdings and transactions, a $27 minimum wage and establish a federal universal basic income commission.  As far as the wealth tax is concerned, I know that President Biden has called for increased taxes on the wealthy, but what is your definition of a wealth tax? How would that work?

(Article continued in the column on the right)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

How should elections be organized in a true democracy?

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Cornel West

Well, a wealth tax, really, is something that is very difficult to enforce. as much as i would put it on paper, we know that the wealthy are so clever with their lawyers and create loopholes. I am much more concerned about disinvesting from the military. 62 cents for every one dollar in the discretionary budget in Washington goes to the military.  We have 800 military units around the world and special operations in 130 countries. We have to cut back massively on military spending and put it directly into universal basic income.  Alaska was the first state to endorse me and the Aurora Party, in part because we agreed there should be a basic universal income, a social net below which people cannot fall. It’s so much easier to disinvest from the military and reinvest directly into satisfying basic social needs than to follow through on a wealth tax, because we can have some of the most marvelous wealth taxes on paper and you can’t execute it because these loopholes are still there and the lawyers are hired, and there’s tax evasion in the Cayman Islands.  You know the story, how difficult it is to follow through. Yes, I do support that on paper, but in terms of actually gaining resources for poor and working people we need to support a strong minimum wage and strong wing of the trade union movement as well as the fight for benefits and contribute to a robust public life in the country, we have to engage in a significant disinvestment of the military into satisfying basic social needs of our citizens. 

I go to schools all the time and I see more policemen in elementary schools than nurses and counselors.  Can you imagine if that was the case when we went to school? Good God Almighty, these are precious students, in the hood, in the barrios, the reservations, poor whites.  What kind of future are we talking about with that militarized context? I was just at Atlanta, where we see the militarization, not just of the police, but any security officer. Why? Because as the society begins to decay we appeal to the military and we end up with more and more mass shootings and militaristic ways of dealing with conflict. That is the sign of a country going under.  We’ve got to fight back as countervailing forces against organized greed and institutionalized hatred and routinized indifference to the most vulnerable. The 25th chapter of Matthew is a fundamental lens of which to view the world. What you do to prisoners, poor, the elderfly, the children, the widow, the orphan, the fatherless, the motherless. that is the criteria. . . .

Pedro Echevarria

Dr. West, I want to address a couple of things on your platform, making news even as we are talking today: one step to codify abortion rights as a constitutional mandate and to nationalize the health care industry, including the pharmaceutical industry.  Why do you think that is necessary?

Cornel West

We have to have a fundamental commitment to women having control over their bodies. We know that if there were a debate and a conversation over abortion in men and men were the only ones who gave birth there would be a very different conversation. Let’s be honest about the patriarchal context of the discussion over abortion. Abortion is in many ways a difficult and delicate issue but we have to have a sensitivity to the woman and the child. I am firmly committed to women having control over the reproductive rights, and I am firmly committed to taking the greed out of our health system. I don’t know why we can’t have the same kind of health care system that the congress has, that the military has. They call that single payer because those are the offices tied to national security. i believe that health care like poverty and the human right to housing those are issues of national security too.  The pharmaceutical companies and medical systems have been obsessed with profits and makes it difficult to satisfy the fundamental basic needs of the most vulnerable, and that is why i am committed to ensuring that every citizen has access to quality health care, quality education, safe neighborhoods with communities having oversight over the police . . .

Pedro Echevarria

How much ballot access do you have?

Cornel West

We began with Alaska with the Aurora Party, and then we moved to the United Citizens Party in South Carolina. Very interesting because that was the party that brother Cliburn helped to found in the 60’s and 70’s. I always applaud his early years, and that is the party that endosed me. I’m on the ballot in Utah. on the ballot in Oregon with the Progressive Party. We are on the move. We have low hanging fruits in terms of states where we’re able to get on the ballot once I make the announcement of a Vice-President candidate and they open up their particular dates to get on the ballot.  We are very much on the move and trying to make sure that truth, justice and love has a place in a moment of overwhelming barbarity.

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United States: Exclusive interview: Jill Stein discusses Green Party goals and local issues on Racine visit

FREE FLOW OF INFORMATION .

An article by Denise Lockwood from the Racine Country Eye

Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate, spoke at the Dekoven Center in Racine (Wiscosin) on Tuesday (March 12) as part of her third bid for the White House, bringing attention to various national and local issues.

Stein’s campaign focuses on the Green Party’s core principles, which include environmental sustainability, social justice and a commitment to nonviolence. The party positions itself as an alternative to the two dominant political parties in the United States.

The Green Party, known for its advocacy for environmental issues, emphasizes the need for sustainable energy, strong social programs and a reduced military budget. It champions grassroots democracy and aims to counter corporate political influence, offering voters an alternative that stresses ecological wisdom, social justice and nonviolent solutions.

During her visit, Stein spoke with Racine County Eye reporter Denise Lockwood about the heightened engagement in the current election cycle, indicating a shift in public sentiment.

“People are like, shall we say, are much more engaged in this election than I’ve seen before,” Stein said.

In her previous presidential bids in 2012 and 2016, Stein, originally from Lexington, Mass., has consistently advocated for the Green Party’s ideals. Trained as a physician at Harvard Medical School, Stein’s political transition was driven by her growing concern for the connection between public health and environmental issues.

She also addressed the financial struggles of many Americans, highlighting the burdens of debt.

“What we’re hearing now is like what we’ve learned over the last decade, but the volume is way turned up,” she stated, drawing attention to the pressing issues of college and medical debt and their broader implications for ordinary citizens’ financial stability.

Stein discusses local issues

In discussing local issues, Stein focused on concerns specific to Racine and similar communities, such as housing challenges, gang violence, and childhood lead poisoning. As a physician, she expressed particular concern about Wisconsin’s high rates of lead poisoning and the broader public health implications. Stein linked these issues to larger systemic problems, including racial disparities and inadequate federal housing policies.

(Article continued in the column on the right)

Questions related to this article:

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

How should elections be organized in a true democracy?

(Article continued from the column on the left)

A central component of Stein’s platform is the Green New Deal, which proposes an ambitious plan to address economic, environmental, and social challenges simultaneously.

“Our program intends to eliminate poverty. And number two, ensure that racial justice is a major dimension of our Green New Deal, a major economic redevelopment program,” Stein explained, illustrating her vision for an integrated approach to these intertwined issues.

On immigration, Stein criticized U.S. foreign policy, suggesting that it has contributed to the current migrant crisis. She advocated for comprehensive reforms, including addressing climate change and stabilizing countries economically and politically to reduce the necessity of forced migration.

Stein also discussed the potential for reallocating resources currently directed toward military expenditures.

“We are spending $12,000 this year maintaining forever wars in the Forever War Machine—$12,000 per household—in our tax base,” she claimed, suggesting that these funds could be more effectively used to address domestic issues.

Campaign strategy

Stein’s campaign’s financial strategy, which focuses on smaller donations, reflects a grassroots approach distinct from her competitors.

“We do have small donations coming in. We can do things for far less,” she shared, highlighting the campaign’s reliance on public support rather than large donors.

Stein’s visit also provided insights into the changing political landscape in Wisconsin, a state known for its fluctuating political allegiances. The potential impact of new political groups and the adoption of ranked-choice voting was discussed, indicating possible significant shifts in future elections.

She concluded her visit by emphasizing the need for broader political choices, suggesting that many Americans seek a system that more effectively serves their needs.

“The American people are clamoring for a fair shot,” she said, summarizing the sentiment that her campaign and the Green Party aim to address.

Following the interview, Stein participated in a community discussion about the Green Party’s platform. We’ll have a story about that discussion later today

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United States: the Path to Victory for Southern Autoworkers

. . DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION . .

An article from the United Auto Workers (UAW)

Autoworkers at Mercedes-Benz in Alabama have been organizing to win their union. Today they met with UAW President Shawn Fain and Region 8 Director Tim Smith to talk about their path to victory. Here are remarks that President Fain shared with them:

Good afternoon, Union Family.

It’s my honor to be here, to be with so many badass, fed up autoworkers who are ready to stand up.

Today I’m here to talk about the path to victory. It’s a powerful idea. The path to victory. Because first things first — there is a path.


Before we can even talk about what we need to do to get what we deserve, we have to acknowledge one thing. Working class people, like all of you here today, have the power to change the world. You have the power to change your circumstances. You have the power to take back your time. To take back your life. To win real time off the job. A fair wage. Good healthcare you can afford. A better life for your family. For all of Alabama.

The first thing you need to do to win is to believe that you can win. That this job can be better. That your life can be better. And that those things are worth fighting for. That is why we stand up. That’s why you’re here today. Because deep down, you believe it’s possible.

There is a path. But here’s the other thing about the path to victory. It’s only a path. You have to walk it. Nobody can walk it for you. I didn’t come down here to tell you what all I’m going to do for you as the President of the UAW. That’s not what this is about. Everything you win in this fight will be because you won it.

You are in spitting distance of a life-changing victory. That’s because all of you are coming together with your coworkers to do the work of organizing your workplace. And the company knows it too. That’s why Mercedes is pulling out every trick in the book to instill fear, uncertainty, and division. To scare people off of standing up for a better life.

I’ve been meeting with UAW staff and with some of you. And what’s clear to me is we are doing things differently this time. This time, we are going to make sure we have leaders on each line, on each shift, talking to each other about building their union. That is the path to victory.

And it’s not just about the vote. True victory is not just winning a vote. We want to win big on the day of the election – but we also need to build that organizing muscle, that unity, and that determination to win big in a union contract. That’s what changes lives. That’s what this is all about.

But you have to walk that path to victory. You have to say – I’m ready to talk to my coworkers. I’m ready to have my name be public on a vote yes petition. I’m ready to go to work every day and proudly wear my UAW hat for everyone to see. I’m ready to stand up, strong and loud, and proud about this fight. I can’t win that for you. Our staff can’t win that for you. Only you can walk that path to victory.

Let me be clear, that doesn’t mean you’re walking alone. Our staff, our union, and hundreds of thousands of UAW members are behind you. Across this country, there are working-class people looking to you. For inspiration. For hope. And we’ve all got your back.

I opened these remarks with “union family,” because we are a family. But here in Alabama, it hits close to home. Many of you may not know this but my family’s roots are in the South. I have family from Alabama. And three of my grandparents were from Tennessee, one from Kentucky, and after the Great Depression, all of my grandparents had to move north. And they were blessed to hire in at GM and Chrysler in the early days of the UAW. They stood up for themselves and went and got a better life.

But the real meaning of union is not having to leave for greener pastures. Not having to leave your family and your life behind just to be able to live. The real meaning of union is fighting for a better life where you are. Because it’s your job. It’s your body. It’s your time. It’s your family. It’s your community.

I look around here and I see a lot of people who remind me of myself and my roots. I know struggle. I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck. I’ve been on unemployment. I’ve received government aid to get formula and diapers for my firstborn child.

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Question related to this article:
 
What is the contribution of trade unions to the culture of peace?

(article continued from left column)

Joining the union, the UAW, changed my life. It gave me a wage I could raise a family on. It gave me a job I could rely on. And it gave me hope for the future. So, I put everything I had into building this union. I walked that path. I know what it’s like to be out there at the gates, trying to get your coworkers organized. I know what it’s like to have to fight the company tooth and nail just to have a little dignity on the job. And I know if I didn’t do it, if regular autoworkers like me and you don’t stand up, nothing’s going to change. So, do it for yourself. Do it for your family. And we’ll have your back every step of the way.

You’re so close to the finish line. Some people get within inches of their goal and quit before they realize that if they’d have given one more push they would have reached it.

My running for president of the UAW was very similar. If I hadn’t relied on faith and faced fear and doubt and took on the insurmountable odds of running for president of the UAW, nothing would have changed.


People said I was crazy for running for President. Some who were previously in power tried to make the members afraid to vote for change. But the members took a leap of faith and voted for new leaders and look what we are accomplishing.

Our Big Three contract campaign was the same. People said we were crazy for going for the things we did. Companies said they couldn’t afford it. Companies made threats. The media said we were crazy.

But guess what? We focused on facts in our Big 3 campaign and strike. The fact that the companies made a quarter of a trillion dollars in a decade. The fact that CEO pay went up 40% over the previous 4 years. And the fact that workers were being left behind, although the workers generate those massive profits through their labor. 75% of Americans sided with us in that fight. Using the power of facts and a unified membership.

We won a record contract and the companies still paid out massive stock dividends to investors. CEOs are still giving themselves massive raises, and business is fine.

It’s the same here in Alabama.



Facts: The German three made double what the Big Three made in the last decade. A half a trillion. $460 billion. Mercedes’s CEO got an 80% raise last year. The eight managers on the Mercedes management board got a collective $27 million raise last year. The average Mercedes executive makes $3,600 an hour. It would take a Mercedes production worker at the top rate two years to make what a Mercedes executive earns in one week.

The company, the Governor, and the Business Council are trying to make you afraid to stand up, because you are so close to realizing a life many thought wasn’t possible. Mercedes is using fear, uncertainty, and division because they are afraid.

Mercedes is afraid of you having a voice in your work life. Mercedes is afraid of sharing any control over your work lives. Mercedes is afraid of paying you the wages and benefits you deserve for the massive profits your work, your sacrifice, your blood, and your sweat create. You are an at-will employee, you have no rights, and management has all the control. It’s time to change that.

Years ago, my grandparents had to leave Tennessee to live the American Dream. You don’t have to leave. You can achieve it right here in Alabama.

The first thing I do when I get up every day, daily reading and pray. Recently, I thought of you when I read my daily reading, Hebrews 11:1, “Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.”
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The only people who can organize the South are the workers in the South. And those workers who stand up are forever going to go down in history for doing what so many people said was impossible. Why not you? Why not here?

I said during our campaign at the Big Three that this is our generation’s defining moment. That faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains, and we moved mountains.

Now, here in Alabama, we have another mountain to move. This is your defining moment to change your lives. To change America. And to change the world for the better. So, let’s walk down that path to victory together in Solidarity and let’s finish the job.

So, I came here not to win this thing for you. Not to tell you what to do. I came here to find out for myself the answer to one question. Are you ready to Stand Up? I believe you are, and I believe in you.

If you’re ready, the time is now. This is your defining moment. If we have public supporters in every department, on every line, on every shift, Mercedes workers will be guaranteed to win your election. Raise your hand if you can commit to being that person for your line.

Before you leave today, put your name on the public petition and join your coworkers on the path to victory. We will not let the company divide us. That’s how they win. Solidarity is our strength. That’s how we win.

This isn’t about power, It’s about control. Without a Union contract, they have all the control. You have the power. You just have to recognize it and use it. Let’s finish the job that started so long ago. Let’s walk a new path for working-class people together in solidarity.

Thank you.

International Women’s Day: The Americas

. WOMEN’S EQUALITY . .

A press survey by CPNN

In order to gather photos from the celebration of International Women’s Day, we put the following phrases into the google search engine:
° women’s day photos 2024
° Photos “Journée internationale de la femme” 2024
° Fotos”Día Internacional de la Mujer” 2024
° Fotos “Dia Internacional da Mulher” 2024

Here are the results from the Americas.

ARGENTINA


The center of Buenos Aires on Friday evening during the celebration of International Women’s Day. JUAN IGNACIO RONCORONI (EFE) (from El País)

BERMUDA

The Government kicked of its celebration of International Women’s Day [IWD] with the Public Service IWD Wellness Walk around Hamilton earlier this week, with a number of female Public Service employees taking part, including the Governor, Minister of Youth, Social Development and Seniors and Head of the Public Service Cherie Whitter. The Government has prepared a series of activities throughout the week aimed at recognizing and celebrating the contributions of women in the public service under the theme #InspireInclusion. (from Bernews)

BOLIVIA

Women shouts slogans against gender-based violence during an International Women’s Day march in La Paz, Bolivia, Friday, March 8, 2024. AP Photo/Juan Karita (from APNews)

BRAZIL

People take part in a march in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil March 8. A banner reads “Stop to femicide. Legalization of abortion.” REUTERS/Tita Barros (From Reuters)


PETERBOROUGH, CANADA

Kawartha World Issues Centre and Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre rallied and marched in Downtown Peterborough for International Women’s Day from Peterborough Square to City Hall on Friday afternoon. Photo by David Tuan Bui. (from PTBO Canada)

VANCOUVER, CANADA

Various groups gather outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday March 3, 2024 for speeches followed by a march for International Women’s Day. (CityNews Image) (from Vancouver City News)

CHILE


Protesters march in groups in the commemoration of International Women’s Day in Santiago. SOFIA YANJARI. (from El País)

COLOMBIA

A woman attends an International Women’s Day event with a red handprint across her mouth, a symbolic representation of murdered and missing Indigenous women, in Bogota, Colombia, Friday, March 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara) (from APNews)

ECUADOR


People take part in a march in Quito, Ecuador, March 8. REUTERS/Karen Toro (From Reuters)

GUATEMALA


Young people in Guatemala City release green smoke in the Plaza de la Constitución. DAVID TORO (EFE). (from El País)

HONDURAS

Tegucigalpa, Honduras. International Women’s Day was marked with street actions Fot: Gustavo Amado/EPA (from Renascença)

Question related to this article:
 
Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

MEXICO


More than 180,000 protesters marched through Mexico City demanding access to justice and freedom from violence and fear. Some carried photos of people they were accusing of rape or violence. Other banners demanded that girls grow up without violence and drew attention to missing and murdered women. [Lexie Harrison-Cripps/Al Jazeera] (From Al Jazeera)

PANAMA


Women participate during marches in commemoration of International Women’s Day in Panama City, Panama, 08 March 2024. (from EPA Images)

PERU


Protesters dance during the protest in Lima (Peru). ANGELA PONCE (REUTERS)Argentina. (from El País)



PUERTO RICO


Shouting: “Vivas nos queremos”, “Nosotras parimos, nosotras decidimos” o “¡Qué viva la lucha feminista!” (“We love each other alive”, “We give birth, we decide” or “Long live the feminist struggle!”), two marches toured the streets of the capital of Puerto Rico, this March 8. RICARDO ARDUENGO (REUTERS). (from El País)

UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK

Address by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN, on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2024. (frame from video of UN television)


CHICAGO, UNITED STATES

In Chicago, the day before International Women’s Day, CODEPINK, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and Chicago Area Peace Action dropped a banner over the Chicago river that read: Feminists Say No to War with accompanying signs demanding negotiations in Ukraine and cooperation with China. (from Codepink)


SEATTLE, UNITED STATES

People chant as they walk down John Street on Capitol Hill during a march for International Working Women’s Day on Friday, March 8, in Seattle. Speeches portrayed Palestinian liberation as a “feminist imperative.” (Jennifer Buchanan / The Seattle Times) (from the Seattle Times)

WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES

On March 8th, 2023, peace activists in DC made a large human peace sign in the rotunda, a banner demanding “Peace NOW” was unfurled from an upper level. The group in the rotunda formed a human peace sign donned with pink parasols and peacefully sang “Give Peace A Chance.” The human peace sign and the “Peace NOW” banner were followed up by office visits to Congresswomen who initially signed the Progressive Caucus letter to Biden demanding he pursue a path to negotiations to end the Russia/Ukraine War. (from Codepink)


Women march in Montevideo (Uruguay), this March 8. MARIANA GREIF (REUTERS). (from El País)

VENEZUELA


Women participate in a demonstration in Caracas, Venezuela, March 8. REUTERS/Gaby Oraa. (from Reuters)

USA: 200+ Unions Launch Network to Push for Gaza Cease-Fire

. . HUMAN RIGHTS . .

An article by Brett Wilkins from Common Dreams ( licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Seven national and over 200 local labor unions in the United States on Friday announced  the establishment of a coalition to promote a cease-fire in Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza.


(Click on image to enlarge)

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU), the Association of Flight Attendants, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, the National Education Association, National Nurses United (NNU), the United Auto Workers (UAW), and the United Electrical Workers (UE), and 200 local unions and labor organizations launched the National Labor Network for Cease-fire (NLNC) to “end the death and devastation” in Gaza.

The coalition says it represents more than 9 million union workers—”more than half the labor movement in the United States.”

“The war between Israel and Hamas has continued unabated since Hamas brutally attacked Israel on October 7, killing 1,163 people, and taking 253 hostages,” NLNC said in a statement.

“Israel responded with an onslaught that has killed over 28,000 Palestinians and left over 67,000 others injured,” while “1.7 million Palestinians have been displaced, and humanitarian aid remains mostly blocked from those in need,” the coalition added.

NLCN is calling for:

° An immediate cease-fire in Gaza between Israel and Hamas;
° Restoration of basic human rights;
° The immediate release of hostages taken by Hamas;
° Unimpeded full access for humanitarian aid; and
° A call for a cease-fire by U.S. President Joe Biden.

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Question related to this article:

How can war crimes be documented, stopped, punished and prevented?

Presenting the Palestinian side of the Middle East, Is it important for a culture of peace?

(continued from left column)

In his strongest statement yet, Biden—who has been dubbed “Genocide Joe” by some activists for his staunch support for Israel—said  Friday that he has called for a “temporary cease-fire” during private phone calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Leaders of the seven unions—most of which have already called for a cease-fire—issued statements underscoring the imperative for peace.

“The UAW has a long tradition of calling for peace and justice for working-class people across the globe, and we live that tradition today,” UAW president Shawn Fain said. “In that spirit, we call for an immediate end to the U.S. government’s funding and support of this brutal assault on Gaza.”

Carl Rosen, UE’s president, said: “The support for a cease-fire is overwhelming. We can’t stand by in the face of this suffering. We cannot bomb our way to peace. We express our solidarity with all workers and our common desire for peace in Palestine  and Israel.”

APWU president Mark Dimondstein said that “as a union that stands for equality, social justice, human and labor rights, we unite with unions and people of goodwill around the world in calls for a cease-fire, for justice and peace. The cries of humanity call for nothing less.”

Bonnie Castillo, the NNU’s executive director, asserted that “nurses cannot allow our patients and our colleagues to continue suffering from the traumas of war.”

“We vow to protect and heal all people, and it’s our duty to speak up for every human being’s right to a life free of violence,” she added. “We’re calling for a cease-fire now before one more life is lost, before one more family faces injuries or illnesses.”

The NLCN’s formation follows last week’s cease-fire call  by the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor federation.

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