Posted by TAG - October 31, 2006 | News

The Staten Island Peace Festical drew young and old (Photo: Thomas Good)

Staten Island, NY – October 30, 2006. Saturday’s Staten Island Freedom and Peace Festival drew a good crowd despite monsoon like conditions in the early morning hours. Later, the wind blew tents over and made tabling an interesting exercise but failed to dampen spirits. Frank Geliard played political pop, Spiritchild and Khalil of Movement in Motion rocked with some Lefty hip hop, Silas sang, Karlus Trapp put a hurtin on his guitar and a number of activists sounded off. Pat Korte of SDS, Barbara Walker of the Granny Peace Brigade, Sally Jones of Peace Action Staten Island, Tom Good of Movement for a Democratic Society and others took the podium and demanded peace and justice now. Late in the day, 85 year old Daniel Berrigan braved the elements to address the crowd. All in all, organizer Mike May was very pleased with the event, now in its third year.

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Posted by Kati Ketz - October 30, 2006 | News


Asheville, NC – October 30, 2006. Last week, the week of October 23rd-27th, the UNCA Socialist Unity League of Students for a Democratic Society held an event called “Palestine Solidarity Week”. At the beginning of the week, we built a display on the UNCA quad: a 45 foot long, 8 foot tall wall representing the wall currently being built through the West Bank in Palestine. This wall was used to raise awareness about the issue on campus.

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Posted by Jonathan Harvey - | News

Brooklyn College SDS (Photo: SDS Brooklyn)

Brooklyn, USA – October 30, 2006. For those of yall who weren’t there.. shame on you! At around 1:30 six of us ran into a set of four recruiters in front of Brooklyn College’s local print shop on the ‘junction’ in front of the BC gates (where midwood students, BC students, go to eat and hang out) 1:30 is ‘club hours’ at BC and all the students came pouring out. Luke and I set up a table next to the recruiters with a big sign that said ‘i’m with stupid’ and had an arrow pointing toward them. We were both dressed in military fatigues and were handing out informational pamphlets while spouting mockeries at the recruiters. The rest of us were flyering the massive bc/midwood high-school crowd, engaging students one-on-one when they would stop to chat. Two seperate groups of BC students, none of whom I have personally met before, actually boldly confronted the recruiters directly and completely spontaneously… without even talking to us first. They got in their faces and asked questions like “Why don’t you tell people about the killing and dying?” or “How the hell do you sleep at night?” It was pretty inspiring. One recruiter’s response: “Well not ALL the jobs involve killing or dying! Do you see ME out there doing any of that?” Someone shouted back, “No, your just tricking others into doing it!”

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Brad Will (Photo: NYC IndyMedia)

New York, NY – October 30, 2006. A 9 AM protest was called today at the Mexican Consulate in response to the murder of NYC IMC photojournalist Brad Will on October 27, 2006, in Oaxaca, Mexico. At this point (12:00 EDT) about a dozen arrests were reported to NLN by SDSers on site. Arrestees are being processed at the 13th Precinct (230 East 21st Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, Phone: 212.477.7411). A call has gone out for jail support – activists are requested to come to the 13 Precinct.

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ORLANDO, FL – October 19, 2006 -A local Orlando law firm, Weston, Garrou, DeWitt, & Walters [WGDW], recognized SDS at the University of Central Florida for “commendable activism in connection with freedom of speech issues.”  Thursday, October 19, on the steps of a U.S. courthouse and federal building, members of SDS were presented with a plaque and donation.  Continue Reading…

Posted by Next Left Notes - October 24, 2006 | News

Third Annual Staten Island
Freedom and Peace Festival
Saturday, October 28th
12:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Tappen Park, Stapleton
On Bay Street, between Canal and Water
Enjoy a day of Free live entertainment and activism

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Activists exiting the “Spirit of America” after protesting racial profiling
on the Staten Island Ferry. (Photo: Thomas Good)

Editor’s Note: Since this story went to press there has been discussion between Ms. Schwartz and the US Coast Guard. We were notified by a Public Affairs Chief Petty Officer from District 1 that Ms. Schwartz has indicated that the man who instructed her not to wear the Arabic language T-shirt was not a member of the US Coast Guard but an employee of the NYC Department of Transportation. Ms. Schwartz related that she was confused by the uniforms. Thanks to PAC Thomas Sperduto of the Coast Guard for contacting us. The story has been corrected – what you see here is the updated version.

NEW YORK, NY – October 23, 2006 – Organizers from Movement for a Democratic Society, SDS, the Granny Peace Brigade, the War Resisters League, the Wobblies (IWW), the ISO and other anti-racist activists in New York City joined the We Will Not Be Silent movement in a floating protest on the Staten Island Ferry on Monday, October 23, 2006. The protest was called after a passenger on the SI Ferry was surrounded by US Coast Guard personnel who were responding to a complaint from a ferry crew member who objected to the Arabic lettering on this passenger’s T-shirt. The crew member, a New York City Department of Transportation employee, indicated that wearing an Arabic language T-shirt was a provocation and told the passenger not to wear it again. New York activists were horrified at this sort of racial profiling and organized the Ferry protest to assert that arbitrary authority cannot criminalize an entire language or race. Participants assembled on the New York side of the Staten Island ferry at 5:00 pm – most of whom wore the Arabic language version of the “We Will Not Be Silent” T-shirt.

On Monday, October 9th, a passenger named Stephanie Schwartz boarded the Staten Island Ferry wearing a shirt that read “We Will Not Be Silent” – in both English and Arabic. Immediately after boarding, four armed Coast Guard personnel positioned themselves around her. As she got off the boat, she was approached by a ferry deck hand. Schwartz later recounted the following exchange:

Deck Hand: You’d better not wear that shirt here anymore.
Passenger: Excuse me?
Deck Hand: It’s not safe to wear that shirt in high security places.
Passenger: What about my shirt makes it unsafe? What do you think it means?
Deck Hand: Isn’t that Arabic writing?
Passenger: Yes. Is there something wrong with Arabic writing?
Deck Hand: Well, do you remember what happened with that guy on Jet Blue?
Passenger: Yes. I remember that. It was racial profiling.
Deck Hand: Well, you’re obviously not a threat, but someone else wearing that shirt…
Passenger: Are you saying that an Arab wearing a shirt in Arabic is a terrorist?
Deck Hand: I’m just saying you’d better not wear that shirt here anymore.

Schwartz mobilized friends and colleagues in the progressive community and the Ferry protest was called by an ad hoc group of activists from a number of activist organizations.

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Elizabeth Peterson Dellinger (Photo: Thomas Good)

New York, NY – October 19, 2006. A gala event tonight at Judson Church on the south side of Manhattan’s Washington Square drew a number of War Resisters League faithful and friends. The occasion was the first annual David Dellinger Lecture on Nonviolence, sponsored by the WRL, Historians Against the War, the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute and Judson Memorial Church. The keynote speaker was Staughton Lynd.

Lynd is a quaker, peace and civil rights activist, historian and lawyer. Lynd taught for a time at Spelman College – where he met Howard Zinn. In 1964, Lynd was director of the Freedom Schools of Mississippi. Lynd later taught at Yale until his opposition to the American War in Viet Nam cost him his job. In April 1965, he chaired the first march against the Vietnam War in Washington DC. After the Viet Nam intervention ended, Lynd obtained a law degree from the University of Chicago. He later moved to Youngstown, Ohio where he lawyered, helping disabled and retired workers, until his retirement in 1996. Over the years he and his wife wrote and edited a number of books including the labor classic “Solidarity Unionism”. Lynd was the keynote speaker at the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) Centennary celebration in Chicago in 2005.

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Posted by TAG - October 16, 2006 | News

The Bronx, NY – October 14, 2006 Bronx Action for Justice and Peace sponsored a day long event which included a funeral procession to the Fordham Road recruiting center, speakers from the community, a banner signing, a reading of the names of the US war dead and a ceremony honoring the Iraqi dead. The event drew activists from all five boroughs. Several activist organizations were in attendance: Veterans for Peace, the Granny Peace Brigade, SDS, the War Resisters League and others.
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Posted by TAG - October 13, 2006 | News

Police Sergeant Mirabal arrests a youth for alleged “spitting”
(Photo: Thomas Good)

New York, NY – October 7, 2005. Brandishing his yellow taser pistol, NYPD Sergeant Mirabal told startled protesters they were being arrested for “inciting to riot, disorderly conduct – the whole works!” Police were running to and fro grabbing protesters willy nilly – in the middle of a very surreal scene. A man in a vampire mask – a fake vein throbbing on the back of his neck – walked through the chaos completely oblivious. And no wonder – he wasn’t there for the demonstration. He was part of a film crew shooting their own drama. Park Avenue had been transformed into a movie set for the day. It was an odd coincidence that “I am Legend”, a remake of the Omega Man, was being filmed at the same time and place as what most observers characterized as a police riot was going on.

The day had started quietly enough – SDS New York had scheduled a citywide meeting for 3 pm the same day, not anticipating a peaceful protest would land 6 people in the Tombs. Protesters had gathered at the Mexican Consulate – 39th Street between Madison and Park – around 11 am. On the east side of the consulate were about 30 “minutemen”, the racist anti-immigration group many jokingly call the “minute-klan”. To the west were 60-70 counter demonstrators – including a number of SDSers. The NYPD had herded the two opposing groups into protest pens on either side of the front door of the consulate. Each side waved their flags and chanted. On the minuteman side a particularly bellicose demonstrator baited counter-protesters by bellowing remarks through a bullhorn – remarks that can only be termed childish: “ha ha, we’re winning, you guys are losing…”, etc. It wasn’t immediately apparent that anything out of the ordinary was happening. That would change quickly.

At 12:10 PM one of the anti-racist demonstrators was yanked out of the protest pen by an undercover. No explanation was given. This person was charged with “spitting” – a health code violation – but the charges were later dismissed. At this point it became obvious to media – all of us close enough to hear the police chatter – that Sergeant Mirabal was very jumpy. During the arrest he pulled pepper spray from his belt and clutched it as he yelled at bystanders who asked why he had ordered the arrest of the young protester – but never used it. This scene would be replicated 30 – 40 minutes later, when Mirabal unholstered his Taser and waved it around as he paced to and fro on 39th Street – once again he would not use his weapon.

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