Monthly Archives: February 2002

National Student Antiwar Conference

They Want a War Without End
We Want a World Without War

February 22-24 Columbia University, New York City

Hosted by People for Peace, the Columbia Coalition Against War and Racism!

There is still time to register for this exciting event! Just visit This conference contains both educational and decision-making sessions. Decisions will be made by elected representatives of campus antiwar committees. Each committee is allowed up to 3 delegates. Non-delegates are also welcome at all the sessions and encouraged to attend!

Here is the current schedule of the conference:

Friday 2/22
9-11 Registration (box office, ground floor, Alfred Lerner Hall)
***There is a $10 registration fee.***
10:30 “Voices for Peace” video showing (417 Int’l Affairs/SIPA Bldg.)

11-1 Opening Panel: The Truth About the War on Terrorism (417 SIPA) Ceylon Mooney, Voices in the Wilderness Ghassan Andoni, director, Palestinian Center for Rapprochement; founder, International Solidarity Movement Rania Masri, Al-Awda Palestinian Right of Return Coalition (invited) Marc Herold, University of New Hampshire professor who has been counting civilian casualties in Afghanistan

1-2:30 Lunch

2:30-4:30 Discussion/voting on proposals for decision-making process (Cinema, Lerner Hall)

5-6:30 Workshops I (various locations in Hamilton Hall and SIPA)
Confirmed topics (list may be incomplete):
Lessons of the Gulf War
Grassroots Media and Parody News
Permaculture and Sustainability
War Resisters League workshop
The War at Home: Civil Liberties and Academic Freedom
Why McDonald’s Needs McDonnall Douglass: Globalization and War
Antiwar Opposition in Afghanistan, the Philippines, and the US
Lessons of the Movement Against the Vietnam War
How to Stop Imperialist Wars: Strategizing for the New Antiwar Movement
The US and the Philippines
Brainstorming Campus Organizing Strategies
Pax Christi workshop
People Opposing War, Empires and Rulers workshop

6:30-midnight PARTY! (West End bar & restaurant)

Saturday 2/23

10-11:30 Workshops II (Hamilton Hall and SIPA)
Confirmed topics:
Non-Violent Direct Action: Refusing to Pay Taxes
The Politics of Oil
“Black Hawk Down” Actors Speak Out Against Bush’s War (with Brendan Sexton & Danny Hoch)
Labor and War Imperialism: What it is and How to Fight It
Political Prisoners Media (w/Robert Jensen)
Grassroots Mobilization (w/Nadia Ahmad)
Coalition Building

11:45-1:30 Points of Unity discussion (304 Barnard Hall, Barnard College (across the street from Columbia))

1:30-3 Lunch

****Special Lunch Session–Debate: Alternatives to War (304 Barnard Hall)****

3-5:30 Discussion and voting: Action proposals

5:30-8 Dinner

8-10 Evening Panel: Stop the War at Home and Abroad! (Lefrak Gymnasium, Barnard Hall) Rita Lasar, Sept. 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows Michael Letwin, New York City Labor Against the War Anthony Arnove, Internation Socialist Organization Humberto Brown, Black Radical Congress Robert Jensen, professor, independent journalist and media critic

Sunday 2/24

11-1 Further discussion and voting: Action proposals (Lerner Cinema)

1-2 Lunch

2-4 Organizing Session: Building on Campuses (Lerner Cinema)

4-5 Antiwar Rally (College Walk, Columbia Campus)

Directions and maps of campus:
For more info, please visit For questions or to contact the Organizing Committee, email

In Defense of Civil Liberties

In Defense of Civil Liberties
Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW 2325
February 21, 2002

As a labor union whose members fight each day for the statutory and constitutional rights of indigent New Yorkers, The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW Local 2325, is deeply opposed to the Bush administration’s broad assault on precious civil liberties and democratic rights.

This assault mirrors other shameful periods of racial, ethnic and/or political hysteria in American history, among them the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798), Asian exclusion (1880s-1890s), “Sedition” prosecutions (World War I), the Palmer Raids (1919-1920), Japanese- American internment (1940s), McCarthyism (1950s), the FBI’s COINTELPRO war on dissent (1960s), and exclusion of Haitian and Central American political refugees (1980s).

Today, these policies are reflected in the:

**”USA Patriot Act,” which authorizes the government, without meaningful judicial review, to: designate domestic groups as “terrorist organizations”; indefinitely incarcerate or detain non- citizens based on mere suspicion; deport immigrants for innocent association with others; and violate confidential financial, medical, educational and other records without probable cause. (First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments).

**Mass detention of more than 1200 foreign nationals–almost all of them from the Mid-East and South Asia–about whom the government has refused to provide information, who have often been denied access to legal counsel or consular officials, who suffer inhumane conditions of confinement–and virtually none of whom have been charged with terrorist acts. (Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments.)

**Detention and deportation hearings before secret immigration courts hearing secret evidence. (Fifth Amendment.)

**Coercive and discriminatory questioning of 5,000 young male legal immigrants, mostly of Middle Eastern descent, without probable cause. (First and Fifth Amendments.)

**Deportation campaign against men of Muslim and Middle Eastern origin. (Fifth Amendment.)

**Authorization by the attorney general–without judicial review–for eavesdropping on confidential attorney-client communication. (Sixth Amendment.)

**Trial of non-citizens accused of terrorism before secret military tribunals which deprive the accused of an independent forum, their chosen attorneys, the presumption of innocence, proof beyond a reasonable doubt, confrontation of evidence, exclusion of hearsay, a unanimous verdict, and habeas corpus review by civilian courts.
(Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments; Geneva Convention).

**Heightened FBI spying on domestic religious and political organizations. (First Amendment.)

**Open consideration of torturing prisoners suspected of terrorism.
(UN Convention Against Torture, Fifth and Eighth Amendments).

History teaches that our civil liberties and democratic rights are most endangered–and most essential–during times of crisis. ALAA, therefore, supports and endorses all efforts to defend these freedoms against attacks such as those discussed above.

A Week of Protests in New York (Socialist Worker)

A week of protests in New York
February 8, 2002 | Page 12
January 30

About 200 people attend a panel called “Fighting Corporate Globalization Since 911” sponsored by the International Socialist Organization (ISO). Speakers include Frances Fox Piven, author of Poor People’s Movements; investigative journalist Gregory Palast; Michael Letwin of New York City Labor Against the War; and ISO member Jennifer Roesch.

January 31

The AFL-CIO’s indoor rally draws a crowd of 400, and 1,000 people–members of UNITE and other unions–march on a Manhattan Gap store.

Students for Global Justice begin their two-day conference at Columbia University.

Some 350 people hear Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman, author Manning Marable and other speakers at an evening plenary.

A roundtable discussion on strategies for the global justice movement, with speakers Jaggi Singh from the Montreal Anti-Capitalist Convergence, Mike Dolan from Public Citizen, and ISO member Katherine Dwyer, draws 80.

February 1

At the Columbia conference, more than 400 people attend the evening panel on “Another World Is Possible: Globalizing Justice and Solidarity.”

A spokescouncil meeting to discuss the weekend’s actions draws more than 400.

February 2

About 15,000 gather at the south end of Central Park and march on the World Economic Forum two miles away. Though police arrested more than 30 people near the back of the march, the expected confrontation as protesters neared the “frozen zone” around the Waldorf didn’t take place.

February 3

Smaller direct-action protests take place across the city.

Police target protesters and arrest more than 100 people for infractions like jaywalking.

February 4

More than 200 people gather outside Arthur Andersen’s New York headquarters to speak out about the Enron scandal holding signs like “WEF=Wasn’t Enron Fun?” and “Andersen cooks Enron’s books!”

Ground Zero at the World Economic Forum (AlterNet)

Ground Zero at the World Economic Forum
By Dara Colwell, AlterNet
Posted on February 4, 2002

s is New York tradition, the velvet rope was firmly in place last week outside the Waldorf Astoria. The exclusive hotel was host to the World Economic Forum — a nongovernmental organization for corporate and political chiefs and their well-heeled friends — and the rope’s “no money, no entry” policy was strictly enforced. While the local police kept the public at good distance, the crowd still made plenty of noise.

The New York protests surrounding the WEF were the first large rally for global justice since last September’s anti-World Bank/IMF protests were cancelled in Washington D.C. They went relatively peacefully, with public demonstrations almost nonexistent until the third day of the meeting. For the first time in its 31-year old history, the WEF convened outside its usual haunt, the luxury resort town of Davos, Switzerland. By shifting to New York, the WEF escaped the throngs of European protestors who regularly turn Davos into a war zone — a move activists say was no accident.

“The WEF claims it’s here to show solidarity with the city,” said David Graeber of the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, one of the organizers of the anti-WEF protests. “We feel outraged they’re cynically manipulating our grief to have a posh party.”

The World Economic Forum is a 21st-century capitalist institution if there ever was one. Funded by members from 1,000 of the largest multinational corporations, it provides an opportunity for high-powered elites (who pay up to $30,000 to attend) to make plans for future globalization measures. Its self-proclaimed mission of “improving the state of the world” is bogus, protestors contend, as the forum’s corporate-led agenda often directly benefits its membership. While the WEF issues no policies or legislation, it does advise the World Trade Organization. And all this happens over swank cocktails behind ornate closed doors.

Against a backdrop of public and police sensitivity to September’s terrorist attacks, the demonstrations in New York were unsurprisingly subdued. The main focus for those critical of the WEF were a series of workshops, led by representatives from socially conscious nongovernmental organizations and economists specializing in globalization issues. Unlike in Seattle, the only fists being raised in New York were those of international spokesmen advocating for change.

“The WEF is an elitist, feudalistic dinosaur that needs to collapse,” said Adam Ma’anit of Holland’s Corporate Europe Observatory. Ma’anit, who spoke at The Public Eye on Davos conference held across from the United Nations, added: “Last year’s slogan — provided by WEF’s sponsor McDonald’s — was, ‘Think globally, eat locally.'” Ma’anit told a room crowded with people balancing on plastic chairs, “this year, the slogan here in New York is, ‘Another world is possible.'”

The “downshift” in tactics from radical street protest to calm discourse showed that another world was possible for protestors — at least for the time being. Activist leaders didn’t opt for a multi-day street protest, largely because of the local media’s hostility to potential violence and the police department’s “zero tolerance” stance. Even the Village Voice, normally staunchly supportive of social activism, gave deference to the NYPD, portraying officers as ruddy-cheeked, “multi-ethnic centurions,” battling violent anarchists who scratched cars and “cost the poor drivers a day’s pay.”

By the second day of the WEF meeting, and with only eight arrests made at a small demonstration for fair wages outside a mid-town GAP store, the local media seemed somewhat taken aback by the lack of violence and began mocking activists. Two faux protestors appeared on the Conan O’Brien Show, kitted out in Halloween masks. “Hey man, you belong to the show!” one shouted from the audience. “You should be Conan O’Pressor.”

What most media failed to notice was that many representatives of global justice, environmental and labor groups were missing from New York. They were at the second World Social Forum, hosted in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The WSF, which parallels the WEF but focuses on developing an alternative, third world vision of globalization, attracted an estimated 50,000 participants, who danced in the streets, waving banners and chanting against globalization. “The real story is Porto Alegre, not the streets of New York,” said Mike Dolan, deputy director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, at a press conference. “That’s why my boss is there and I’m here.”

Still, this kind of traditional direct action effort took place over the weekend in New York. There was a legally permitted rally that wound its way through the city, north of the Waldorf Astoria. Gathering at Central Park’s Grand Army Plaza under Sherman’s statute, thousands of demonstrators kicked off the event as Billy Bragg, an English protest singer, sang “No Power without Accountability” in a deep Cockney accent. The protestors, dressed colorfully, chanted “Capitalism, shut it down!” and carried paper mache figures and placards against the WEF in several languages. Many were not without humor — “Bad Capitalist, No Martini” read one placard.

“We’re here today to break the ice and crack it open,” said Brian Jones, a protestor from New York. “The media and police portray us as hooligans, but we’re here to re-legitimize protest.” This sentiment was mirrored by protestor Todd Polenberg of Brooklyn. “We’re set up as the fall guys here. It’s hard to paint the WEF as evil when it’s pictured as a networking party,” he said, holding a Darth Vader mask with “Evil Empire” emblazoned across it. “Seattle galvanized the movement. It said that we mean business. There’s a sizeable contingent of Americans who are fed up with corporate globalization.”

Protestors voiced concerns over canceling the $2.5 trillion international debt owed to the World Bank. If canceled, developing countries could invest their money to rebuild their fragile economies. Protestors also expressed grave fears regarding environmental issues. For example, WTO policies currently allow multinational corporations to move wood production to developing countries in debt to the World Bank. This is leading to an annual deforestization of territory the size of Greece. One protestor, Mark Hilovsky of San Francisco, even carted a 200-year old redwood tree trunk through the streets to express his alarm over deforestization.

The crowd, which numbered 5,000, according to police, or 15,000, according to NYC’s IndyMedia Web site, was peaceful but spirited on Saturday, Feb. 2. Among the participants were 50 steel workers from Toronto, San Francisco longshore workers and New York City’s Labor Union against War. While more a theatrical display of grassroots effort than direct confrontation, the rally did end with 37 arrests. Police along the route made no comment, save that it was cold.

The next day, however, the protestor’s initial honeymoon period — especially with the media — had ended. At least 87 protestors were arrested in spontaneous protests throughout Manhattan. This upped total arrests to close to 150 in two days, and NYPD police chief, Raymond W. Kelly, called for a crackdown on “hard core protestors.” Of course, the numbers were negligible compared to the usual tumult at Davos.

This year, WEF participants included Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Desmond Tutu and even supermodel Naomi Campbell. The forum’s long-term members, including heads of Coca Cola, Microsoft and Merill Lynch, also attended what activists were soon calling New York’s “million-dollar cocktail party.” Outside the conference on Park Avenue, those roped off from the dialogue continued to assert their need to be heard. “The issue is not whether we’re one world or not — we are one world,” said Michael Letwin, President of New York’s Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, who spoke at the Saturday rally. “The question is, On whose terms?”

NYCLAW Gathering for Anti-WEF Unionists

New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW) invites trade unionists participating in this week’s anti-WEF activities to an informal gathering for food, drink and networking:

WHEN: Saturday, February 2, 6-8 P.M. (but may go later)

WHERE: Conolly Bar & Restaurant, 150 E. 47 St. (Lexington/3 Avenue; 4/5/6/7/S to 42 St.-Grand Central; 6/E/F to 53 St.)

DETAILS: No cover or minimum–refreshments at individual expense. Table in back reserved for NYCLAW.

State of the Union: whose America? (People’s Weekly World)

State of the Union: whose America?
Author: Fred Gaboury
People’s Weekly World Newspaper, 02/02/02 00:00

Historically, presidents have used their State of the Union address as a stage from which to sketch their vision of the nation and its future. So it was with President George W. Bush on Jan. 29: endless involvement in an expanded war against “terrorism,” increased military spending, more tax cuts for the rich, further erosion of democracy and privatization of Social Security and Medicare.

Those interviewed for this article – peace activists, union leaders, advocates for the poor, seniors – spoke of a different vision, one of a nation fighting to advance the goals of peace, equality and economic justice.

Michael Letwin said the president’s speech was meant “to intimidate those who oppose expanding the war and who oppose the economic injustices and violations of civil liberties that are a part of the war atmosphere.”

Letwin, president of the United Auto Workers Association of Legal Aid Lawyers Local 2325, added that Bush’s threats to expand the war made it “even more important for unions and civil liberties organizations to unite to expose the underlying issues behind Bush’s program.”

Mary Day Kent, executive director of the U.S. Section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, said, “There was no mention of the United Nations, and his promise of a $48 billion increase in military spending is a continuation of policies that give blank checks to the military-industrial complex. When he says we will ‘pay any price,’ he’s not talking about himself or his rich friends – and he certainly isn’t talking about Enron!”

Day Kent said she is “appalled” and “deeply concerned” over Bush’s threat to widen the war and his unilateralist go-it-alone policies, a view shared by Bill Burga, president of the Ohio AFL-CIO, who called Bush’s domestic program “hogwash.”

“He’d better be careful. If he acts like a cowboy and starts shooting he could get us in lots of trouble,” Burga said.

Scott Lynch, communications director of Peace Action, said Bush’s proposed increase in Pentagon spending was the largest year-to-year increase in 20 years.

“The U.S. budget is already larger than the combined budgets of the next ten countries. With the increase, it will be larger than the military spending of the rest of the world.” He added that the increase is larger than the total military spending of any other country.

Lynch said if Bush wants to create jobs, increased military spending is a “poor way” to do it. “Sure, some hi-tech jobs may be created at Lockheed, Boeing or Raytheon, but you could create more jobs almost anywhere – health care, education, public works – on a dollar-for-dollar basis.”

Alan Hughes, president of the Arkansas AFL-CIO, said that “people are watching. Bush may be riding high in the polls because of the war in Afghanistan, but working people are paying attention to what’s coming down on the economic front. We still need extended unemployment insurance, subsidies for health care coverage and job training and retraining. And we have to stop on Fast Track or we’ll lose hundreds of thousands more jobs.”

Donna DeWitt, president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, joined Hughes in attacking Bush for ignoring what both called “the Enron problem.”

“He’s using the war to cloak his real intention,” DeWitt said. “As far as his economic stimulus package goes, a better name would be to call it an ‘economic stimulus for the corporations’ – if they can’t make enough profit, have the government give them some. It’s plain trickle-down economics and never has worked.”

Matt Gardner, an analyst at Citizens for Tax Justice, warned of Bush’s desire to make last year’s tax cuts permanent. Pointing to the fact that the cuts are the principle reason last year’s surplus disappeared, Gardner said, “Bush knows that there’s a lot of pressure from the Congressional Progressive Caucus and several senators to postpone cuts in the top income tax brackets and he used his speech to try to prevent that. After all, money can only be spent one of two ways – on tax breaks or for government programs.”

Dave Kemnitz, president of the North Dakota AFL-CIO, blasted what he called Bush’s “two-faced policies. Last night he said he supported an extension in unemployment benefits. But only a few hours before his speech, Senate Republicans blocked a vote on legislation that would have extended unemployment insurance benefits and made more people eligible for benefits. Up here we say the proof is in the pudding. Frankly, I don’t think he cares a hoot about extending unemployment benefits.”

Joelle Fishman, chair of the Communist Party’s Political Action Commission, said the Senate vote on unemployment insurance “was yet another blow” to the millions of workers who have exhausted their benefits since the recession began nearly a year ago.

“It shows the urgency and the necessity of building mass, militant, pressure from below if Congress is to be forced to act in behalf of the people,” Fishman said. “Even more importantly, it illustrates the need for such a movement if we are to change the makeup of Congress in this year’s elections.”

Anti-WEF Events

On FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1 (tomorrow), NYCLAW is participating in the following anti-WEF events:



**10 a.m. ORGANIZING LABOR AGAINST THE WAR. NYCLAW Co-Conveners Brenda Stokely (Pres., AFSCME Local 215, DC 1707) and Michael Letwin (Pres., UAW Local 2325 –ID only; does not imply union endorsement). Location: Hamilton 302.

**1:30 p.m. WEF’S LOCAL AGENDA: FIGHTING NYC BUDGET CUTS. Location: St. Paul’s Art Gallery.

The conference also includes an afternoon plenary and many other workshops. For complete program and further details: <;


7 p.m., FIT Auditorium
27 St., between 7/8 avenues (1/9/C/E to 23 St.)

Speakers (or messages from): Ramsey Clark, former U.S. attorney general; Congress Member Barbara Lee; Mumia Abu-Jamal; Larry Adams, President, National Postal Mail Handlers Union Local 300 & Co- Convener, New York City Labor Against the War; many others.

Sponsored by International A.N.S.W.E.R. Info: <; 212.633.6646, 212.633.6646