Posted by TAG - May 28, 2007 | News

Demond Mullins of IVAW’s New York City Chapter
(Photo: Thomas Good / Next Left Notes)

New York, NY – May 27, 2007. One day before the City observed the Memorial Day holiday, New York’s Union Square South was the site of an action called “Operation First Casualty” by organizers. Members of several chapters of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) held a noon time press conference on Union Square’s south steps announcing their street theater action. The purpose of the event was to vividly and accurately depict aspects of ordinary life in war torn Iraq – and to build support to bring the troops home now. Leafleters handed out postcards which explained the theatre:

Right now somewhere in Iraq a scene like this is playing itself out, often with deadly results. Our troops are caught in the middle of a violent occupation where they are unwanted by the majority of the Iraqi people. In order to survive daily missions soldiers are taught to use brutal, dehumanizing search and seizure tactics. The detention of Iraqi civilians combined with corporate fraud has inevitably led to resentment, distrust and frustration. This is what is fueling the insurgency and our troops are paying the consquences with their lives and limbs. The average American and Iraqi citizen pays for the occupation in blood and taxes.

“On the other side of the world you can die in a futile occupation. Only by Bush Logic does this constitute support. When we say bring our brothers and sisters in Iraq home now – who are we talking to? The electorate said it last November but we have yet to see any results. We are the weapons of this democracy – ruled by the people,” said Paul Abernathy of the Pittsburgh chapter of IVAW. Abernathy was one of several IVAW activists to speak at the press conference.

“Operation First Casualty is a demonstration that is patterned after similar demonstrations performed by Vietnam Veterans Against the War during the Viet Nam era,” said Demond Mullins, of the New York City chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Mullins, a member of the National Guard, served in Iraq, September 2004 through September 2005.

“Iraqi protesters” are thrown to the ground by IVAW “troops”
(To watch the video click on the above image)

The demonstration began with a group of “Iraqi” protesters clad in white tshirts. They approached the south steps from the west side of Union Square waving fists and shouting. A platoon sized contingent of IVAW, in battle dress – some carrying full packs – advanced cautiously on the protesters from the east. The IVAW vets held their arms and hands where they would be if the actors were carrying weapons. A confusing scene of shouting and protesters being thrown to the ground ensued. Protesters were forced to the pavement, searched and cuffed in nylon flexcuffs all too familiar to many New York City protesters. Eventually the IVAW contingent withdrew pointing their “weapons” at the protesters, some of whom lay still on the ground – handcuffed in the prone position. Media ran to and fro – taping the display for evening news broadcasts. According to the IVAW website – the action was entitled Operation First Casualty “because truth was the first casualty of the Iraq war. It is time for the American people to know the truth so they will act to bring the troops home now.”

Local activist volunteers were recruited to portray civilians in the reenactments of actual interactions between U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians. The shouting and rough treatment of civilians is what Iraqi civilians experience on a daily basis according to IVAW.

NLN photographed/videotaped portions of the press conference and the street theatre. Several members of Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) took part in the action as “protesters”.

View Photos/Videos From The Action…

Posted by John Schreck - May 23, 2007 | News

Members of Lancaster IWW Protest Outside Starbucks (Photo: Starbucks Workers Union)

Lancaster, PA ­ – May 23, 2007. On May 17th, the Lancaster branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the Lancaster Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) protested for over three hours at the Columbia Avenue store in solidarity with the IWW­Starbucks Workers Union. At the peak of the event 25 demonstrators were in attendance and approximately 30 people attended all together.

Three years after the founding of the IWW Starbucks Workers Union, the organization has members in multiple U.S states successfully using Direct Action to rise out of poverty and articulate an independent voice on the job.

View Photos From The Action…

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Posted by Nick Martin - May 21, 2007 | News

SDS Lancaster (Photo: Hawa Lassanah )

Lancaster, PA – May 19, 2007. Lancaster, Pennsylvania, an area known for its traditional values and conservative politics, was home to an Anti-War Shindig on Saturday, May 19th. The event, which was held on Armed Forces Day, was hosted by the Lancaster Students for a Democratic Society. Organizers reported that over 100 people showed up for the event. Those in attendance represented a variety of different organizations, including the Lancaster Coalition for Peace and Justice and the Industrial Workers of the World.

The Shindig began at noon with Lancaster SDS hoisting a large banner at Lancaster’s Penn Square proclaiming “Support the Troops, Bring Them Home!.” SDSers and other demonstrators held signs that read “Ya Basta! End the War in Iraq!,” “600,000 Iraqis killed,” among many other messages.

Lancaster SDSers said they wanted the event to be more than a protest. “We wanted to draw people together who are against the war for more of a family event,” said SDS member Becca Rast. Many attendees danced to the music of The Repercussions, a Lancaster band with socially conscious lyrics. Rob Seitz, a member of the band, said that they were “adding their fuel to the fire,” of the growing movement in Lancaster. Local rap artist Emcee Analytical performed several songs with the Repercussions.

View Photos From The Action…

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Witness Against Torture in Times Square (Photo: Thomas Good)

New York, NY – May 19, 2007. New York City’s Times Square military recruiting center – the busiest in the nation – was the site of a Witness Against Torture (WAT) street theatre action Saturday, May 19th.

The vigil featured a street theatre performance that told the story of capture, torture and indefinite detention. Organizers “called on the American people to take responsibility for the cruelty and inhumanity being perpetrated in our name.” A colorful skit was repeated several times. The skit featured a critique of the US payment of “a bounty” to Afghanis – prompting them to turn in their neighbors as “enemy combatants”. This was followed by a graphic illustration of the torture procedure known as “waterboarding” – used at the Guantanamo concentration camp to elicit forced confessions. “Prisoners” were clad in the familiar orange prison jump suits and black hoods while “guards” wore all black uniforms and black combat caps. Actors sat atop stepladders at either end of the stage – holding aloft signs reading “Guantanamo”, “A Bounty”, “Enemy Combatant” and “Beatings”. Dramatic tension was palpable when the “inmates” held signs stating “Habeas Corpus = Fair Trial” and “Geneva Convention” – only to have these signs snatched away in a rough manner by guards. The presentations concluded with the waterboarding of prisoners – first with actual water being dripped onto hoods and finally with a bucket of paper scraps being dumped on the head of a prisoner. Tourists and New Yorkers walking by stopped and crowded the sidewalk to see the torture scenes played out in a surreal setting – behind the street theatre were the bright billboards of Times Square and a news ticker with stories from the Wall Street Journal.

Live music lightened the mood between performances. Members of WAT engaged with tourists as well – distributing educational materials and asking passersby to sign petition to shut down Guantánamo.

Next Left Notes was there shooting stills and video.

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Posted by Tamara Tal - May 16, 2007 | News

Chapel Hill, NC – May 16, 2007. On Friday, February 16th 2007, six students visited Congressman David Price’s home office as part of a coordinated national effort to pressure Congress to cut off funding for the illegal war on Iraq. 30 minutes after their arrival, the first of the David Price Six was arrested. The six students were charged with first degree trespassing for the ‘crime’ of exercising their first amendment rights to seek a redress of grievances from their Congressperson (1).

The David Price Six visited Representative Price, a self-proclaimed ‘anti-war’ democrat for several reasons. First, Rep. Price has supported the Iraq War by funding its continuation for the last 4 years. Second, Rep. Price continues to fund the occupation despite the overwhelming majority of Iraqi civilians, U.S. service people and 4th district constituents who want the troops out now. Third, Price’s leadership on the war is weak. Of the Iraq-related legislation that Rep. Price has submitted to Congress, one resolution calls upon President Bush to submit a withdrawal plan. The other calls for an investigation into the fraudulent use of war funds by corporations like Bechtel and Haliberton. President Bush will not end this war nor will chasing down mismanaged war funds. It is Rep. Price’s duty to represent the will of the people and bring the troops home now using his constitutionally protected right to withhold funding for the illegal war on Iraq.

With over 300 Iraqi civilians and 3 U.S. service people are dying every day bringing the death toll to over 655,000 Iraqi civilians and 3,400 U.S. service people, Rep. Price’s ‘leadership’ is ineffective at best.

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Posted by Next Left Notes - May 15, 2007 | News

The Iran Pledge of Resistance is an MDS initiative

Austin, TX – May 15, 2007. With 2 US aircraft carriers in the waters of the Persian Gulf, poised to attack Iran, Movement for a Democratic Society chapters are organizing a response. This chapter level initiative is being coordinated at a national level by means of an online petition and discussion/cooperation amongst chapter organizers. David Pratt Hamilton, an organizer with the Austin, Texas, MDS chapter authored a petition which states that signatories vow to engage in acts of nonviolent civil resistance at the first sign of aggressive action on the part of the US government. Organizers are concerned that a President who plunged the country headlong into an illegal war with Iraq, under false pretenses (‘faulty intelligence’ indeed) will not hesitate to attack Iraq in a perverse reincarnation of the Cold War ‘Domino Theory’.

“We need to react publicly and preemptively to the threat of an attack on Iran, not waiting for the event to actually occur. That reaction must propose actions that transcend verbal protest. Merely marching and making speeches would be grossly inadequate. Our most serious possible response would be a large scale campaign of civil disobedience. In accordance with the “Rudd principle” [ a reference to ex-Weatherman Mark Rudd who is committed to nonviolence ] that violence isolates us, strict adherence to non-violence will attract support. The objective is to become a restraining factor in the Bush regime’s attempts to instigate another war. That necessarily involves a threat to disrupt normal governmental activities with Gandhian tactics,” said Hamilton.

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Posted by TAG - | News

Paul Buhle takes his SDS Graphic History on the road
(Photo/Montage: Thomas Good / Next Left Notes, Original Art: Ed Piskor)

Providence, RI – May 15, 2007. “Wobblies” editor Paul Buhle has a new book project – SDS: A Graphic History. Panels culled the book’s many stories, illustrated by a variety of artists, are on exhibit at the John Nicholas Brown Center (Brown University in Providence, RI) until June 1, 2007. After that the SDS Comix installation is hitting the road. Future stops include: The Heartland Cafe, Chicago (July 1-Labor Day); CUNY Graduate Center in New York City (December, with an event being held on December 10th), and; The Workmens Circle, Robertson Avenue, Los Angeles (date not set). Stops in Hartford, Oakland, Portland, Austin, Baltimore and other cities are being planned now. The show will wind up late in 2008 at the American Labor Museum in Haledon, NJ,where the Paterson Strikers marched in 1913 to meet the town’s socialist mayor.

NLN was at the opening installation, in Providence, and was able to obtain PDFs of the panels themselves…

View Panels From The Exhibit…
View Photos From The Providence Installation…

Lancaster, PA – May 15, 2007. The Lancaster chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) is throwing an Anti-war Shindig on May 19th at the corner of King & Queen Sts. (Penn Square) from 12 noon – 1:30 pm

The event is part of a nationwide effort to step up pressure to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan after Bush’s veto of the timetable for withdrawal. Local students and residents will demonstrate against continued funding of the war, and the administration’s unwillingness to listen to the opinions of the majority of Americans. Banners, signs, and other forms of expression will be used to show opposition to the war.

In addition, the event will host live entertainment. Local dance-rock band, The Repercussions, will perform with special guests from 12 noon – 1pm. An organized drum circle, led by professional percussionist Tim Riggs, will run from 1:00-1:30 pm.

The Shindig is a community event, and everyone is encouraged to join in. Participants are welcomed and encouraged to bring their own signs, banners, instruments and anything else to help make their voices heard.

For more information on Lancaster SDS, please visit

For Info/Directions, Contact: Becca Rast / Nick Martin
Phone: 717-519-9140 / 717-413-0782
E-Mail: /

Peace Week at the College of Staten Island (Photo: Thomas Good)

New York, NY – May 5, 2007. Members of the student Peace Club at the College of Staten Island CUNY held a week long series of events focused on ending the illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Dubbed “Peace Week”, the events sparked a dialogue on campus – and drew coverage from the local press. NLN was there.

View Photos From Peace Week…

A May Day marcher approaches Union Square (Photo: Thomas Good)

New York, NY – May 1, 2007. May Day in New York City: Wobblies, SDS, Anarchists and members of New York’s diverse array of immigrant communities filled the streets. All demanding workers’ rights. All standing together against discrimination and injustice. NLN was there.

View Photos From The March…