Monthly Archives: April 2002

Protest Israeli Consul’s Speech at Central Labor Council

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Protest Israeli Consul’s Speech at Central Labor Council
Mon., April 29, 2002, 9:30 a.m.

31 W. 15 St. (btw. 5/6 aves.-F/N/Q/R/V/4/5/6 to 14 St.)

On Monday morning, Israeli Consul General Alon Pinkas will be a “guest” speaker at the NYC Central Labor Council-no Palestinian representative is invited.

At this critical time, help send a message that U.S. labor must stand with the Israeli peace movement-and with millions of other people around the world-against Israel’s brutal war on the Palestinians.
Sponsored by:
New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW)

100,000 Demand No War at Home or Abroad (People’s Weekly World)

100,000 demand No war at home or abroad
Author: Tim Wheeler
People’s Weekly World Newspaper, 04/27/02 00:00

WASHINGTON – Pennsylvania Avenue became a river of humanity April 20 as nearly 100,000 chanting demonstrators marched from the Washington Monument to the Capitol Building demanding an end to the Bush administration’s “war at home and abroad.”

Cosponsored by a coalition of peace and justice organizations, the march turned out more than twice the numbers organizers had expected, the largest protest yet against George W. Bush’s open-ended “war against terrorism” and his multi-faceted attack on democratic rights at home since the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The diverse crowd was swelled by tens of thousands of students from campuses across the nation. Perhaps a third of the participants were Arab Americans, with entire families marching arm-in-arm, holding up Palestinian flags as they chanted, “Stop the killing, stop the crime! Long live Palestine!”

Abdul Raheem, a leader of the Islamic Center in Gaithersburg, Md., said his organization brought four busloads to demonstrate solidarity with Palestinians. “Israel must end its occupation now.”

Mary Carney, who came on one of four buses from Buffalo, told the World she is opposed to the militarism going on right now.

“It shows Bush’s complete disregard for human rights,” she said. “His policies are driven by corporate greed for oil.”

Brenda Stokeley, co-founder of New York City Labor Against the War, marched with a contingent of union members behind a“D.C. Labor for Peace and Justice” banner.

Stokeley, a candidate for American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees District Council 1707 president, said city workers in New York were called heroes after Sept. 11.

“Now we are called ‘greedy’ and told we have to accept givebacks, layoffs and changes in work rules to eliminate the $5 billion budget deficit,” she said. “We have to organize and demonstrate our strength and oppose the concessions they are demanding from us.”

Sally Peck, a member of the Detroit Metro Gray Panthers, who came on a bus with 46 others, blamed Bush’s runaway $397 billion military buildup for the growing local and state budget crises.

“It aggravates so many ills,” she said. “Instead of funding programs like a prescription drug plan under Medicare or public education for our children, we’re killing people with our tax dollars.”

Clarence Thomas, secrectary-treasurer of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10, was wearing his union jacket, emblazoned with its cargo hook logo. He accused Attorney General John Ashcroft is of pushing a Port Security Act, but his aims go beyond just waterfont workers.

“This is a drive to take away everybody’s union rights and they are using the war on terrorism as a smokescreen,” he said. “They think they have a carte blanche to attack all our civil liberties.”

Thomas said the demonstration was significant because of its diversity, with students, peace organizations, the Palestinian and the Arab commuituy marching together in pursuit of a common goal.

“Bush is becoming isolated. After Sept. 11, people wanted some kind of response but they did not want our civil rights and civil liberties trampled on.”

“The Bush administration has an outlook of unending war,” said Communist Party USA National Chairman Sam Webb, who was leading a contingent of almost 200.

“Certainly if we can’t curb the war danger then it will be impossible to address the pressing needs here at home, whether it is for public schools, healthcare for the 41 million uninsured, housing, day care. All these needs can’t be addressed as long as we are spending nearly $400 billion on military hardware, including new nuclear weapons.”

Webb talked about the importance of the 2002 elections. “The ultraright still dominates the House and wants to retake the Senate. We have to defeat right-wing candidates,” he said. “That will send a signal that people don’t agree with the direction of the Bush administration.”

Ron Daniels, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, also pointed to the November elections and the possibility of breaking the ultra-right Republican stranglehold on the House and Senate.

“We have to invite candidates to public forums and ask their positions on the issues of war and peace,” he told the World. “We have to register people as peace voters and get them to the polls.”

Daniels cited the example of Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), the sole lawmaker to vote against giving Bush wide-ranging power to wage his war around the world.

“Her victory in the Democratic primary sent a message that people of sanity and rationality can win at the polls.”

Julie Ren, spokesperson for the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, one of the initiators of the April 20 Mobilization said, “Our coalition is gaining strength. This is only the beginning.”

Carol Covington had come from Stroud, England, where she is active in the peace movement.

“We think it is really important to support the American peace movement and the peace movement throughout the world,” she said. “We are going to bring back home the story of this amazing demonstration.”

Jose Cruz, Sue Webb and Terrie Albano contributed to this article.
The author can be reached at

Speakers Denounce Bush War on People (People’s Weekly World)

Speakers denounce Bush war on people
Author: Tim Wheeler
People’s Weekly World Newspaper, 04/27/02 00:00

WASHINGTON – Speakers at peace rallies in the nation’s capital, April 20, touched off cheers as they denounced George W. Bush for using the Sept. 11 terrorist attack as a smokescreen for “war” against poor and working people at home and abroad.

Michael Letwin, a founder of New York City Labor Against the War and president of United Auto Workers/Legal Aid Attorneys Local 2325, told the “United We March” throng at the Sylvan Theater that people ask him why labor should speak out against the war. “When blowback from a corrupt foreign policy leads to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack and 1,000 union members die, then war is a labor issue,” he said, referring to the union workers who perished in the World Trade Center collapse. “When Bush sends workers and people of color to kill and be killed in countries like Afghanistan, that is a labor issue.”

Letwin called on the labor movement to speak out for peace and join in the call for the Israeli government to “end the war on the Palestinian people, and end U.S. support for the war on Palestine.”

Citing the Port and Maritime Security Act, which would open the door for requiring three million transport workers to carry identity cards, Clarence Thomas, Secretary-Treasurer of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10, blasted Attorney General John Ashcroft for using the Sept. 11 tragedy “as an excuse to take away union rights and civil liberties. … They don’t want us to have the right to organize and strike.”

Phoebe Jones, a spokesperson for the Every Mother is a Working Mother Network, blasted the Bush administration for punitive measures against poor single mothers.

President Bush and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson seek to attach these measures to the reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).

Welfare reform, she said, “puts forward that caring for your own children has no value … We demand that the value of caring work be reflected in welfare benefits, and end to time limits, other punitive measures and discrimination.”

Jones also criticized Bush’s budget, saying, “While $80 billion would alleviate the worst poverty and suffering, $940 billion a year is spent on military budgets worldwide. The brutality of those priorities that the U.S. inflicts on the world is also inflicted on us here.”

Amy Goodman, moderator of the Paficia Radio “Democracy Now!” program, served as M.C. of the rally, She read a message from Detroit Bishop Thomas Gumbleton denouncing “structures of violence that take from the poor and give to the rich. Our nuclear arsensal has only one purpose: to protect our privileged position in the world.”

Martin Luther King III, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said that if his father were alive today he would be in the forefront of the peace and justice movement.

“We all want to see terrorism stopped,” he said. “If you treat people with dignity and respect, you don’t have to worry about terrorism. We’re going to fight a violent system with non-violence. As my father said, ‘If you don’t learn non-violence, we will face non-existence.’”

Civil liberties attorney Michael Ratner denounced the Bush administration for holding hundreds of prisoners of war at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo, Cuba.

He called it “America’s Devil’s Island penal colony” and charged that the detainees are subject to torture. “There is no regard for treaties or international law by the world’s sole superpower.”

He hailed the courage of the masses of poor people in Venezuela in repelling the Bush-supported coup d’etat and restoring their elected president Hugo Chavez to power.

The crowd fell silent when members of a group called “Peaceful Tomorrows,” family members of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, were introduced.

Amber Amundson, her two young children beside her, spoke of her grief at the death of her husband, Army Specialist Craig Scott Amundson, in the attack on the Pentagon. She told the crowd her husband had a “Visualize World Peace” bumper sticker on the car he drove to the Pentagon each day.

She called for ending the “cycle of violence” and resolving conflict through peaceful means. “Our grief is not a cry for war,” she concluded, as the crowd erupted in cheers and applause.

At the final rally near the Capitol, the Rev. Lucius Walker, founder of Pastors for Peace, surveyed the enormous crowd and hailed it as proof of a new level of unity in the struggle against the reactionary, ultra-right Bush administration.

Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.), recalled the 2000 presidential election when “the Republicans stole from America our most precious right of all – the right of free and fair elections.” She blasted Bush for “spending $1 to $4 billion a month on the war in Afghanistan while slashing funds for human needs at home.”

Bush, she added, rammed through the Ashcroft Patriot Act “a law that denies our sacred freedoms cherished under the Constitution. We must dare to remember all of this and that is why we are here. To wage peace instead of war, we stand together as one. Because through our efforts, I believe we can again make America a force for good in the world.”

The author can be reached at

NYCLAW Monday Israeli Consul Protest Postponed–E-mail the CLC

NYCLAW Monday Israeli Consul Protest Postponed–E-mail the CLC

Last night, New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW) called a protest for Monday, April 29, against the Israeli Consul’s speech at the NYC Central Labor Council.

This morning, the Jewish Labor Committee canceled the speech, stating that: “Due to scheduling conflicts, the Briefing on the Middle East Crisis and U.S. Policy, which was to have been held next Monday, April 29th, has been postponed. A new date for this meeting will be announced in the near future.”



March on Washington, D.C. Saturday, April 20th, 2002

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It’s time for all those who believe in and still cherish democracy, freedom and equality to demand accountability from government officials and

Stop the War at Home and Abroad!

March on Washington, D.C. Saturday, April 20th, 2002

Assemble at 10:30 A.M. at Sylvan Theatre, SW side of the Washington Monument, Rally at 11:00, March at 1:00 P.M. to the Capitol.

The “War on Terrorism” Breeds More Terror.

Join us on April 20th to demand:

A U.S. foreign policy based upon social and economic justice, not military and corporate oppression.

An end to racial profiling and military recruitment targeting youth of color and working class youth.

Government funding for programs to benefit the economic victims of the 9-11 attacks and the recession.
An end to the degrading and secret imprisonment of immigrants.

Increased funding for non-military-based financial aid for education

Full disclosure of military contracts with universities.

Preparatory events will be held in various cities prior to April 20th. Trainings and other activities will take place that weekend, including the Colombia Mobilization rally on April 21 and action and lobbying on the 22nd.

For more information log onto,  write to or call 202-265-3980. HOSTING GROUPS:  National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, National Coalition for Peace and Justice, 9-11 Emergency National Network, NYC Labor Against the War

180/Movement for Democracy and Education, Black Radical Congress-Youth Division, Campaign for Access and Reproductive Equity 2000, Campus Greens, JustAct: Youth Action For Global Justice, Muslim Students Association, National Youth Advocacy Coalition, Not w/Our Money Campaign of the Prison Moratorium Project, Student Environmental Action Coalition, Student Peace Action Network, Students Transforming and Resisting Corporations, Students United for a Responsible Global Environment, United Students Against Sweatshops, United States Student Association, Young Communist League, Young Democratic Socialists, Young People’s Socialist League, Pax Christi, American Friends Service Committee, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Black Radical Congress, Global Exchange, Peace Action, Shundahai Network, School of the Americas Watch, Veterans for Peace, War Resisters League, Women’s Action for New Directions, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Independent Progressive Politics Network, Green Party of the United States, Citizen Soldier, Washington Peace Center, Global Network Against Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, ProLibertad, Solidarity, Center for Peace and Human Security, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, WESPAC, Kwame Ture Work-Study Institute and Library, Promoting Enduring Peace, NY Coalition for Peace and Justice, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, Hudson County Coalition for Peace and Justice, Socialist Party USA, Communist Party USA, Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action, Center for Constitutional Rights.