Monthly Archives: June 2002

Union members slam pro-Israel policies (Workers World, June 13, 2002)

Union members slam pro-Israel policies

Approximately 75 labor union members picketed outside the AFL-CIO general board meeting at the Sheraton Hotel in New York May 21. The protesters criticized the AFL-CIO leadership for its support of the Israeli government and sale of State of Israel Bonds. The protest was initiated by New York City Labor Against the War, and endorsed and supported by the International ANSWER coalition.

Ray LaForrest, a NYCLAW organizer, explained: “We trade unionists demand that the AFL-CIO break with the U.S. policies that support Israeli terror. We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

-Story and photos by Judi Cheng

Voices of Resistance (Workers World)

June 13, 2002



“When I look around this room and see all of you, I can feel the energy and the spirit that’s been building and building against the Bush war drive. We’re here to continue building this movement.”

CHUCK KAUFMAN Nicaragua Network

“Why weren’t we paralyzed like so many others in the peace movement? Because the groups that formed ANSWER have a clear understanding of the U.S. imperialist objectives, a clear understanding of the nature of corporate globalization, a clear understanding of what the right of self-determination means to the oppressed peoples of the world.”

LARRY HOLMES International Action Center

“We need to build a movement that is based on solidarity with the people of the world who are struggling against national oppression and imperialism, both outside the borders of the U.S. and inside. We don’t want a self-absorbed, timid, modest, conservative and meek movement. We want a radical movement. We want a movement that reaches out to the oppressed, the poor and the working people.”

ELIAS RASHMAWI Free Palestine Alliance

“There is a Palestine that has nothing to do with the imperial designs of anything. It has to do with hopes and fears; with the olive trees and the sky and the sea. It has to do with how we plant our vegetables and then eat them. It has to do with how we die and get buried. It is that Palestine. It is that South Africa. It is that El Salvador. It is that U.S. It is our inner cities. It is your family. It is mine. That is what we call Palestine.”

RICHARD BECKER International Action Center

“The Palestinian people have shown through their heroic and determined struggle over more than half a century that they will not be defeated. At the same time, the Palestinians by themselves cannot triumph over the combined power of the U.S. and Israeli states. Their struggle needs the solidarity of people from all over the world, and most importantly from here inside the U.S. That is what makes the Commission of Inquiry on U.S.-backed Israeli Crimes of Occupation such an important initiative.”

MARA VERHEYDEN-HILLIARD Partnership for Civil Justice

“We’ve fought the FBI in the past and won. The reason they are unsuccessful is because of our ability to mobilize.”

YOOMI JEONG Korea Truth Commission

“In Bush’s ‘axis of evil’ speech, North Korea, along with Iran and Iraq were accused of supporting terrorism and manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. Such a statement comes from the president of a country that is the largest manufacturer and exporter of weapons of mass destruction, and one that supported the terrorist regime of the Taliban for years with millions of dollars.”

TERESA GUTIERREZ Committee to Stop U.S. War in Colombia

“You don’t have to be a guerrilla in the jungles of Colombia to earn the ire of Washington. You can be a democratically elected president in Venezuela or an activist for peace in Chicago.”

LARRY ADAMS New York City Labor Against the War

“NYCLAW asserts the view that here in the belly of the beast–where we’re the so-called victims of terrorism–there is opposition to the immediate reaction of our ruling class; that, like you, we see 9/11 as a pretext to unfold an overall global agenda of pillage and plunder of the world that’s particularly aimed at destroying the national liberation movements of oppressed peoples and to promote an agenda of reaction at home.”

RANDA JAMAL Al-Awda NY-NJ and the Free Palestine Alliance

“The situation in Palestine is very critical and everybody needs to take part in it. It’s a universal issue.”

CARL MESSINEO Partnership for Civil Justice

“While we know that it’s Israeli fingers that are pulling the triggers, what they’re aiming [at Palestinians] are U.S.-made and U.S.-paid-for weapons and, under international human rights law, that places an equal amount of culpability on the steps of the U.S. just as well as that of the Israeli government.”

DR. HILLEL COHEN epidemiologist

“What became apparent is that, while the crisis of immediate epidemic in Palestine under Israeli reoccupation was ostensibly averted, there is another, much deeper crisis. And perhaps crisis is not the best word because it’s a continuous degradation. A continuous attack on the health standards of the people.”

SARA FLOUNDERS International Action Center

“The one thing that first impresses you about the strength and the capacity of the Palestinian movement is that you can really see and feel the ability of a political mobilization of the entire people. And a political consciousness that truly is a more powerful weapon than the overwhelming force of the Israeli military machine.”

BRENDA STOKELY AFSCME District Council 1707

“I live in a community where there’s a lot of Arab brothers and sisters and I was concerned after 9/11 about finding that some of those people had been dragged off in the dead of night and then jailed without any due process. I was concerned that Latino, Asian and African American and other brothers and sisters were going to be whipped off to go and fight someplace else. When I went to our board, which is made up of all people of color, the majority women, I thought I was going to have to struggle to convince them. I didn’t have to raise any struggle. They immediately said, my brother, my husband, my uncle, my cousin is not going over to fight that war as long as there is racism and exploitation here in this country.”

ARTURO GARCIA Bayan International-USA

“When the United States invaded the Philippines in 1898 and occupied Manila and initiated a war against the Filipino people, they said the war will be over in one week. But the war lasted for 16 years. The U.S. sent 126,000 troops and killed more than a million Filipinos. But our struggle went on. And now they are repeating history once again.”

GLORIA LA RIVA Committee to Free the Five Cuban Political Prisoners Held in the U.S.

“Nothing exposes the hypocrisy of Bush’s so-called war against terrorism so much as what the U.S. government has done, especially in recent years, against Cuba with its special groups of terrorists in Miami, which the CIA and FBI have fed, nurtured, trained and armed for 43 years.”

WILLIAMS CAMACARO Centro Civico Venezuela

“The U.S. State Department could not hide its joy to the coup of April 11. In the first coup, the countries that participated were the United States, Colombia, Spain and the Israeli secret services. And all the same elements are still operating and co-operating against the democracy in Venezuela.”

LESLIE FEINBERG author and lesbian/gay/bi/trans activist

“Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are an integral part of every human society. So the left wing of our movement understands the truth that the union movement was built on, that an injury to one is an injury to all. … As a gay, secular Jewish revolutionary, I greet my Muslim sisters and brothers here today as an ally. I fight shoulder to shoulder with you against the state terrorism that is emanating from the White House, the Pentagon, and the Justice Department. Don’t let the Zionists fool you when they say they speak for all Jewish people. I fight for Palestinian freedom.”

MAHMOUD AHMAD Free Palestine Alliance

“My parents and I have yet to meet the rest our family in Palestine, like so many other millions of Palestinians around the world. Like so many other millions of Palestinians around the world we continue to live our lives as Palestinians, living in the Diaspora, waiting to execute our inalienable, un-negotiable right to return to live in a democratic, secular Palestine.”

June 1 Emergency National Anti-War Conference (ANSWER)

A.N.S.W.E.R. Press Release
PRESS RELEASE on June 1 Emergency National Anti-War Conference

June 2, 2002

600 ANTI-WAR ACTIVISTS ATTEND JUNE 1 EMERGENCY NATIONAL ANTI-WAR CONFERENCE IN NEW YORK CITY Over 600 activists with International A.N.S.W.E.R. met yesterday in New York City and announced plans for a mass June 29 demonstration at the FBI’s Washington D.C. headquarters to protest John Ashcroft’s domestic espionage program that targets political organizations, mosques and community groups.

A.N.S.W.E.R. — which stands for Act Now to Stop War & End Racism — was one of the central forces behind the 100,000-strong March for Palestine April 20th in Washington, D.C. The activists who planned this demonstration came from around the country Saturday for an all-day, anti-war conference opposing Bush’s war policies that threaten Iraq, Colombia, and the Philippines, back genocide against Palestinians, and take money from people’s needs and funnel it to the Pentagon.

A special section on the conference’s Opening Plenary entitled “Emergency action plan to fight back against the FBI and Ashcroft” featured Mara Verheyden-Hilliard and Carl Messineo, attorneys and co-founders of the Partnership for Civil Justice. “Today we have launched a national fightback movement to stop John Ashcroft and the FBI from bringing back the very worst features from J. Edgar Hoover’s reign over domestic intelligence,” stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, also a member of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition steering committee.

“Ashcroft’s changes have been presented as an innocuous update of FBI procedures,” said Verheyden-Hilliard. “This has become the preferred method of presentation by Ashcroft as the Justice Department shreds the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights.

“These changes, however, are much more insidious than simply allowing the FBI to surf the web,” Verheyden-Hilliard continued. “They are a full-scale revival of Cointelpro, the notorious government infiltration program which reached its peak in the 60s and was aimed at Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement.”

“Ashcroft is facing a growing and powerful anti-war, anti-racist movement that won’t be easily intimidated,” said Larry Holmes, co-director of the International Action Center, also with A.N.S.W.E.R. “We’re not going to let Ashcroft, the FBI, Bush and his right-wing gang — with the complicity of the Democratic Party and Congress — tear up the constitution, open up a war on political dissent, and stop the very necessary movement against his war-mongering, pro-rich madness.”

Later in the day — after a reportback from A.N.S.W.E.R.’s medical and legal delegation that just returned from the West Bank and Gaza — conveners announced plans this summer for mass public inquiries entitled Commission of Inquiry hearings on U.S.-backed Israeli war crimes against the people of Palestine.

Details of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Action Plan will be released in the coming days.


The conference included a wide array of speakers on many topics, including:
– Elias Rashmawi, Free Palestine Alliance
– Larry Adams, President, Mailhandlers Local 300; New York City Labor Against the War
– Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, attorney and co-founder, Partnership for Civil Justice
– Larry Holmes, Co-Director, International Action Center
– Yoomi Jeong, Korea Truth Commission
– Chuck Kaufman, Nicaragua Network
– Jennifer Wager, IFCO/Pastors for Peace
– Arturo Garcia, Bayan International
– Carl Messineo, attorney and co-founder, Partnership for Civil Justice; member of A.N.S.W.E.R. delegation to Palestine
– Dr. Hillel Cohen, public health doctor and epidemiologist; delegate for 1199 Health and Hospital Workers Union; member of A.N.S.W.E.R. delegation to Palestine
– Randa Jamal, Al-Awda NY-NJ, Free Palestine Alliance
– Sara Flounders, International Action Center; member of A.N.S.W.E.R. delegation to Palestine
– Brenda Stokely, President, AFSCME District Council 1707; New York City Labor Against the War
– Williams Camacaro, member, Venezuela Civic Center, NYC
– Teresa Gutierrez, Committee to Stop the U.S. War in Colombia
– Ben Dupuy, Co-Director, Haiti Progres; Secretary General, National Popular Party in Haiti
– Mahmoud Ahmed, Free Palestine Alliance–Chicago
– Richard Becker, Western Regional Coordinator, International Action Center; member of A.N.S.W.E.R. delegation to Palestine
– Gloria La Riva, President, Typographical Sector of the Northern Calif. Media Workers Union; National Committee to Free the Five Cuban Political Prisoners Held in the U.S. – Leslie Feinberg, author and lesbian/gay/bi/trans rights activist
– Brian Becker, International Action Center
– Renee Washington, volunteer organizer, All People’s Congress
– Doreathea Peacock, coordinator, Boston Women’s Fightback Network
– Sharon Ceci, Baltimore A.N.S.W.E.R.
– William Guerrero, IAC
– David Sole, Pres., Auto Workers Local 2334, Detroit
– Ed Childs, chief shop steward, Local 26 HERE (Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees), Boston
– Lyn Meza, Vice-President, IUE-CWA Local 201
– Mike Gimball, NYC AFSCME progressive caucus, local 375, delegate to NYC Central Labor Council
– Trudy Rudnick, organizer, AFT (American Federation of Teachers) Local 3882 in NY
– Andre Powell, trustee, AFSCME Local 119, Baltimore
– Dave Welsch, retired Vice-President, National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)
– Andy Thayer, Chicago Coalition Against War & Racism
– Roger Wareham, Aug. 17 Millions for Reparations march
– Subash Kateel, DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving)
– Khadouri Al-Kaysi, Committee in Support of the Iraqi People
– Ismael Kamal, Sudanese American Society
– Deirdre Griswold, Workers World newspaper
– Peta Lindsay, youth and student coordinator, A.N.S.W.E.R.
– Daniel Keesler, student, School Without Walls high school
– Ayman El-Sawa, IAC
– Deirdre Sinnott, A.N.S.W.E.R. organizer
– Alicia Jrapko, Int’l Action Center–SF
– Cherrene Horavuk, CISPES (Committee in Support of the People of El Salvador)
– Bob Marsh, Iraq Sanctions Challenge
– SOA Watch representative
– Dan Wilson, Philippine Forum, Network in Solidarity with the People of the Philippines
– Tom Burke, Colombia Action Network
– Rebeca Toledo, Committee to Stop the U.S. War in Colombia
– John Parker, International Action Center–LA


International A.N.S.W.E.R., Act Now to Stop War & End Racism


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