Monthly Archives: February 2007

3.17: Endorse NYCLAW’s Statement for Unified Mass Antiwar Action

Sun Feb 25, 2007 4:00 pm (PST)


NYCLAW is reposting the statement below in support of
unified antiwar action on the fourth anniversary of the war in

This is necessary because of a recent call from United for
Peace and Justice (UFPJ) for a March 18 protest in NYC, which
directly conflicts with longstanding plans by ANSWER, Troops Out
Now Coalition, and many others for a national march at the
Pentagon on March 17, which NYCLAW has endorsed. See: and .

[As in the past, NYCLAW also supports the regional protest by
antiwar GIs, vets and military families in Fayetteville, NC on
March 17. See: .]

Unfortunately, UFPJ has played a similarly negative role before.
See: , .

To endorse NYCLAW‘s statement, please go to

Please also sign the Open Letter to UFPJ, posted at:

Mass Movement to End the War Now
New York City Labor Against the War
January 24, 2007

Despite overwhelming rejection of its policies in the November
elections, the Bush administration has steadily escalated its war in
the Middle East.

This has meant not only ordering thousands more troops to Iraq and
Afghanistan, but arming and financing Israel’s attacks on Lebanon and
its increasingly brutal oppression of the Palestinians, launching a
proxy invasion of Somalia, and threatening to attack Iran and Syria.

As in all wars of conquest, ordinary people pay the price. In Iraq
alone, this war for oil and empire has killed at least 655,000 Iraqis,
caused 50,000 U.S. casualties, promoted civil war, and cost $1.2
trillion — with no end in sight.

Meanwhile at home, the administration continues to attack civil
liberties, the Arab-Muslim community, undocumented immigrants, Katrina
refugees, people of color and labor.

Yet this is a bipartisan war, and as a willing accomplice, the
Democratic Party cannot be trusted to end it. Even now, most
politicians refuse to cut-off funding for the occupation of Iraq, let
alone end the war as a whole.

History shows that the U.S. got out of Vietnam only due to tenacious
Vietnamese resistance and to the mass antiwar movement, particularly
among GIs.

Similarly, U.S. war in the Middle East today has been crippled by
overwhelming Iraqi resistance, which deserves the support of a mass
antiwar movement in this country.

This movement — which belongs to rank-and-file participants, rather
than the leaders of any organization — must join together in all
upcoming protests, including those on January 27 and March 17.

To be effective, the movement must be led by those with the strongest
need and greatest power to end the war, including GIs, veterans,
workers, people of color, and immigrants. It must also oppose the
entire war and demand justice — at home and abroad:


1. Immediate withdrawal from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia: No war
funding, timetables, redeployment, advisors, air-war, or aid to U.S.
client regimes. Reparations for U.S. devastation of the region.

2. No Support to the Israeli Apartheid State: End the $5 billion
annual U.S. government aid to Israel, divest all private investments
and union funds, boycott Israel, end the occupation and fully
implement the Palestinian right of return.

3. No Attacks on Iran and Syria — Or Anyone Else.


1. Defend Our Civil Liberties.

2. End Attacks on the Arab/Muslim Community.

3. Full Amnesty for Undocumented Immigrants: No detention or

4. Money for Human Need, Not for War: Rebuild the Gulf Coast for —
and under the control of — Katrina survivors. Decent jobs, food,
housing, healthcare, education and transportation for all poor and
working people.

NYCLAW Co-Conveners
(Other affiliations listed for identification only):

Larry Adams
Former President, NPMHU Local 300

Michael Letwin
Former President, UAW Local 2325/Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys

Brenda Stokely
Former President, AFSCME DC 1707; Co-Chair, Million Worker March

[Subscribe to the NYCLAW low-volume listserv: ]

New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW)
nyclaw at
PO Box 620166, PACC, New York, NY 10129

Open Letter to UPFJ: Support Unified March 17 Antiwar Protest

Open Letter to UPFJ: Support Unified March 17 Antiwar Protest

[Please sign on to the following letter at and circulate widely. Below are only initial signers]

Dear sisters and brothers in the leadership of United for Peace and Justice,

It is with deep concern, sincerity and hope that we the undersigned appeal to you to cancel the protest that you have only recently announced for March 18 in New York City, well after plans had been announced for a D.C. mobilization, thus setting up misconceptions and promoting confusion.

We urge you to support and work for a united mobilization in Washington and use the power of your outreach to endorse and support the march on the Pentagon on March 17 to mark the fourth anniversary of the war.

Surely you must know that the activists in the antiwar movement view your late announcement of a March 18 event as little more than a deliberate attempt to undermine the long scheduled mobilization to Washington and the Pentagon on Saturday, March 17; the talk already going around is:”Why isn’t UFPJ supporting the March on the Pentagon?” People do not see it as uniting.

The hard working rank and file activists of the anti-war movement, as well as the millions of people who have come out to antiwar demonstrations don’t care which coalition calls the march, or what the political differences are between the various coalitions, or about the history of problems that the coalitions have had working together;what they want is for us to march together, especially now.

Indeed, hardworking anti-war activists have attended all rallies called by UFPJ as well as the other coalitions; therefore, demonstrating a consistent expression of unity.We should then expect nothing less from those who have taken leadership responsibility within the U.S. anti-war movement.

The broad array of forces that comprise the resistance to the Iraq war, and new looming wars ie Iran expect the people in decision making positions to take the high road,focus the peoples’ energy on common, united actions and pave the road together to strengthen our unity for peace with justice.

Would it not be an enormous step forward, indeed a step towards revitalizing the anti-war movement, if all concerned abandoned the cynical infighting and divisiveness that only serves to make the movement more fragmented, and weak? UFPJ can make that possible, by calling on its supporters to JOIN ONE LARGE AND STRONG ACTION IN WASHINGTON ON MARCH 17. Anything short of that spreads more negativity than positive unity.

Dear friends, please take this appeal to heart and help unite us all on March 17, 2007.


Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor, Pan-African News Wire, Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice


Brenda Stokely, Co-Convener New York Labor Against The War, Operation Power, TONC, MWMM, MAY 1 Coalition

Comrade Shahid, Pakistan USA Freedom Forum

Charles Barron, New York City Councilmember

Chris Silvera, Secretary Treasurer, IBT Local 808, Million Worker March Movement (MWMM), National Black Teamsters Caucus

Ellie Ommani, member, WESPAC, AIFC, NoWarWestchester, PNN

Eric Anders-Nilsson, Jersey City Peace Movement

Heather Cottin, LI Coalition for Immigrant Rights*

Jesse Lokahi Heiwa, Queer People Of Color Action

Larry Adams, Co-Convener New York Labor Against The War

Michael Letwin, Co-Convener, New York City Labor Against the War & Former Member, UFPJ National and NYC steering committees

Saladin Muhammad, Member, Black Workers For Justice

Teresa Gutierrez, New York Committee to Free the Cuban Five

Troops Out Now Coalition

Vicente Alba Panama, Activist

Veterans, Professors Speak at Teach-in (Columbia Spectator)

Veterans, Professors Speak at Teach-in
By Caroline Kao and Melissa Repko

More than 150 students assembled in Lerner Hall for a teach-in on the Iraq war as part of Thursday’s day of action, led by the Columbia Coalition Against the War.

The panel, consisting of seven veterans, activists, and professors, spoke to the crowd on a broad range of issues related to the war, and welcomed questions from the audience.

Mark LaChance and Jose Vasquez from Iraq Veterans Against the War began the event by stating their concern for all victims of the war, demanding immediate withdrawal, adequate health care for returning veterans, and reparations for Iraqi victims.

Vasquez, a reservist who is working to obtain conscientious objector status, spoke about his change-of-mind after the release of the Abu-Ghraib photographs.

“After being in the military for four years, I decided I didn’t want to kill anymore,” Vasquez said.

The Veterans called on the country to support Iraq war resisters.

Following the Veterans, history professor Richard Bulliet asserted that it was the intention of the U.S. to set up a military dictatorship puppet regime in Iraq and to manipulate ethnic rivalries to justify a war in Iran. “To curtail the war, you also have to think about what’s happening in the war,” Bulliet said. “‘Bring the troops home’-that’s a good slogan. ‘Send the troops somewhere else’-that’s not a good slogan.”

Many observers said that the teach-in was more extreme than the rally in the views of its speakers. Some of the panelists tied the U.S. occupation of Iraq to racist imperialism. “The war in Iraq is not, and has never been, about weapons of mass destruction or terrorism, let alone bringing democracy to Iraq,” said Michael Letwin, a representative from New York City Labor Against War. “It’s always been about U.S. intent to dominate not only Iraq, but the entire Middle East.”

Carlito Rovira, from the Act Now to Stop Racism and End War (ANSWER) Coalition, stressed the importance of unity among activist groups and the need to support resistance in its many forms, “be it the ballot or be it the baseball bat. Struggle is struggle,” he said.

Barnard professor of women’s studies Rebecca Young called attention to issues of gender regarding foreign policy.

“It’s been very, very clear from the beginning of this administration that they have cynically and very cleverly co-opted certain aspects of mainstream feminist language,” Young said, sharply criticizing the administration for its misappropriation of women’s issues in Afghanistan and Iraq as a justification for war.

Towards the end of the teach-in, Edward Said Professor of modern Arab studies Rashid Khalidi, who was not a confirmed speaker, made an appearance. He talked about how the war has negatively impacted the lives of Iraqis, including the escalation of sectarian strife.

“There are trends that have been created by this war, not just in Iraq but in the region as a whole,” Khalidi said. “Iraq was a secular country. Iraq was a country which had all kinds of differences in its population, but people were not cutting one another’s throats … on the basis of what your identity card said your religion was.”

“Remember that this is not something that started without the direct intervention of the U.S.,” Khalidi said. “Long after all of this is put in the past, the evil sectarian consequences will still be there.”

To see a video documentary on the protest, click here:

Anti-War Walkout Scheduled for Noon Today (Columbia Daily Spectator)

February 15, 2007

Coalition of Students, Faculty Will Join With 16 Other Schools to Call for Troops to Withdraw From Iraq

Columbia Daily Spectator

In solidarity with 16 other schools, hundreds of students, faculty, and staff from Columbia University and neighboring institutions are expected to interrupt their daily  routines to rally and march in opposition to the Iraq war today.

The day of action, first announced Feb. 1, is the first in a series of efforts from the newly created Columbia Coalition Against the War to reignite the anti-war movement on campus. The rally, scheduled to start at noon, will be followed by a march circling down to 125th Street and back. From there, demonstrators will congregate in Lerner Hall for a teach-in featuring at least six speakers.

The CCAW has called on all Columbia faculty to either cancel or allow students to miss class unpunished in order to attend the day of action. Organizers have gained support of many professors, students, and local unions, and both national and international anti-war groups. At least 23 professors have e-mailed CCAW saying they will either cancel their classes or encourage their students to participate in the walkout without penalty.

Blair Mosner, BC ’07 and official spokeswoman for the Coalition, said: “we’ve gotten overwhelmingly positive support from professors, unions, students -it’s going to be amazing.” She said they expect hundreds of people.

Students from outside schools are welcome, and expected guests include groups from NYU and Sarah Lawrence College, though the Coalition agreed “we should encourage them to start anti-war movements on their own campuses,” Mosner said.

The rally will feature a speaker from Iraq Veterans Against the War, United for Peace  and Justice, United Auto Workers Local 2110, Transport Workers Union Local 241, Barnard College political science professor Dennis Dalton , and a representative from every group in the Columbia Coalition Against the War. Empaneling the teach-in, which will start with speeches and conclude with a question-and-answer session, will be a  representatives from IVAW and UFPJ, history professor Richard Bulliet , Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies Hamid Dabashi , Michael Letwin of New York City Labor Against the War, Carlito Rovira of Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, and women’s studies professor Rebecca Young . Tickets will be free and available in Lerner to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis.

As of press time, about 40 Columbia University professors had signed the online petition supporting the strike, and three campus labor unions have spoken out in support. Neni Panourgia , an anthropology professor at Co lumbia who has studied political movements, expressed enthusiasm about the campus’s anti-war activism.

“It’s incredibly important for students not only to be able to express their positions, but for students to recognize themselves as members of society and as members of a political space that they help to shape,” she said.

In response to criticism of the strike as misguided hostility toward the University, Panourgia said, “It could only be construed as a strike against the University if the University was either aligning itself with the government or if the University was existing outside of society, but neither is true.”

In preparation, “The University will take reasonable and prudent security precautions to allow an event to proceed according to plan and to ensure the safety of all participants,” University spokesman Robert Hornsby wrote in a statement.

“Student organizations have a shared responsibility to conduct events as proposed,” he added.

Repercussions for faculty and students are not uniform. “Some faculty may feel that a particular event represents a valuable teaching moment, pertinent to their curriculum,” the Office of the Provost said in a statement.

Regarding repercussions for faculty who cancel their classes, the statement said that “faculty … are accountable to their students and to their dean.” Punishments for students who choose to miss class, as the strike calls for, are dispensed at the discretion of their professors.


Student Governing Board Chair Sakib Khan, SEAS ’07, said he felt students were “remarkably in support of the sentiment of the strike” when he went door-to-door in Carman Hall to advertise. “I have yet to hear from anyone who has complained about a canceled class,” Khan said.

While the majority of student responses have been positive, Khan and another student were allegedly attacked while posting and handing out fliers advertising the day of action.

“David Judd, Samantha Stanton, and I dorm-stormed Carman on Sunday night,” Khan said. “We finished by 7:35 and I had some extra fliers so we’re standing outside Carman, handing them out to passer-bys.

I extended my arm, holding a flier, to a 6-foot-4-inch Caucasian male wearing a gray hoodie and said ‘strike against the war.’ He slapped the flier out of my hand, pushed me in the chest and then pushed me in the face. The desk guard at Carman saw the whole thing but thought he [the aggressor] was a friend of mine screwing around.” The incidents have been reported to Public Safety. Associate Vice President James McShane was out of the office Wednesday and did not respond for comment.

U.S. Military Veterans of Columbia University president Luke Stalcup, GS ’08, said that the exact purpose of today’s events were “unclear” to him and that he hoped the CCAW would clarify its message.

“It’s very vague to me,” he said. “It’s important that we be more specific about what we’re advocating for. Everybody wants to end the war, they’re not exactly clear about how they’re advocating ending the war. . . . they have a responsibility [to make their position more clear]. It’s not productive for people to just advocate for these very vague notions.”

Stalcup also said he was “glad that people are taking an interest in what’s going on in Iraq.”

Some faculty members have also opposed the day of action, questioning the strategies of the Coalition. Richard Betts, director of the Institute of War and Peace Studies, said in an e-mail, “I have always opposed the war in Iraq, but a ‘strike’ from classes is a  nonsensical and inappropriate way to demonstrate such sentiment.” Betts said that the Coalition’s day of action “would be a more impressive gesture if taken out of recreation time rather than education time.”

David Epstein, a professor of political science, also did not support the strike because of what he perceives as a disconnect between missing classes and ending the Iraq war. Epstein said in an e-mail, “A big part of the mission of a university is to instill lessons and values in its students to make this sort of war less likely in the future. A Columbia education should be part and parcel of the protest against the war, not its antithesis.”


With a few exceptions, most of the professors who have formally opposed the Coalition’s day of action nevertheless said students would be allowed to miss class unpunished. And despite the supposed incidents of aggression toward those posting fliers, as of now  student groups opposed to the CCAW’s political stance will not be mounting any counter-protest.

College Republicans President Chris Kulawik, CC ’08, said the group’s plans were not set, but that as of Wednesday night even a statement of opposition would be unlikely.

“The idea that we would present a counter-protest is flawed,” Stalcup said. “We’re not a pro-war group. We’re not an anti-war group. We have a really diverse membership . . . I’m really glad that people are able to exercise their right to protest and I hope that they remember the large number of people who have given their lives so that they could have that right.”

Still, Kenneth Prewitt, Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs, said that he fully supports the strike as a valid tactic for instigating change.

“The e-mail that came to faculty was carefully and properly worded to provide multiple options by which the faculty could discharge their responsibilities as professors but  simultaneously try to help the students and the fellow faculty members make a statement,” he said.

Prewitt recalled his own activism as a student during the Vietnam War, and emphasized, “not to try anything strikes me as ignoring the history of social movements and protest movements . . . they have been quite important to this country.”

Members of the Columbia Military Veterans and other members of the military are not technically allowed to express opinions on the war, but Dan Cross, GS and a member of the CMV, said he generally supported the students’ right to protest.

“People should get out and get their message heard, whatever that message is,” Cross said. “I fully support the right of people to go and protest. The reason I’m in the military is in order to ensure peoples’ right to do just that.”

Though no campus religious groups officially endorsed the strike, Omar Siddiqi, CC ’09 and president of the Muslim Students Association, said its reasons for not supporting the strike were “mostly logistical. The vast majority of members of the MSA are against the war.” Similarly, speaking on whether or not there will be a large Intervarsity Christian   Fellowship turnout, Jonathan Walton, CC ’08 and a member of IVCF, said: “I can’t say,  but I know there will be members there. I know  I’ll be there.”

Next NYCLAW Meeting: Mon., 2.5

Fri Feb 2, 2007 11:42 am (PST)

The next NYCLAW meeting will take place Monday, February 5, 2007, 6:30
p.m., at CUNY Grad Center, 365 Fifth Avenue (between 34th and 35th
Street), DSC Lounge, 5th floor, Rm. 5414 (photo ID required to enter

The agenda will include:

1. NYCLAW Statement of January 24.

2. Upcoming antiwar actions, including that planned for DC on March 17.

All NYCLAW members and friends are encouraged to attend.