Denver PD – all suited up and nowhere to go
(Photo: Elaine Brower / NLN)

DENVER, Colo. — Starting on Sunday, August 24, 2008, over 700 people gathered in front of the Capitol Building in Denver to kickoff the weeklong events protesting the democratic national convention, as well as the oppression of the militaristic environment those of us who choose freedom of speech have been denied.

At 9 AM the rally began with a lineup of motivational speakers, high up on the Capitol steps. The rally was called by Recreate 68, mostly comprised of local anti-war groups and residents of Colorado. The protesters heard speeches from Cindy Sheehan, Fred Hampton Jr., Ron Kovic, Vietnam vet and author of “Born on the Fourth of July”, Ward Churchill, Larry Hales, Cynthia McKinney, Larry Holmes, and others, and were roused by a performance by performance by Dead Prez.


Ron Kovic in Denver
(Photo: Elaine Brower / NLN)

Ron Kovic, Vietnam Veteran and author “Born on the fourth of July,” Cindy Sheehan, Peace Mom and Congressional Candidate in San Francisco, Cynthia Mckinney, Green Party Presidential Candidate, Fred Hampton, Jr., son of the former Black Panther, Larry Holmes, Troops Out Now Coalition, and were roused by the music of Dead Prez.

The scene in front of the building, although not a replica of Chicago in 1968 where thousands protested and were beat up by the police, was alive and energized with people from all walks of life, from locations all over the Country, and ranged from age 2 to 72. It had it’s own vitality and beat, which set the stage for the day of spirited marches and moments of confrontation.

The March to the Pepsi Center

At about 11 AM everyone stepped off and got into the streets determined to march directly to the Pepsi Center, about a mile away. The Denver Police would not grant a permit to R68 to get as far as the Pepsi Center, where the convention delegates and press were. Instead, they were determined to force protesters into the “Freedom Cage” constructed for “freedom of speech.” The Cage was far enough away from where the delegates were to keep them from actually seeing or hearing the demands being made by the people to stop the wars, end oppression, end torture, and give us our constitution back!

But the activists involved in the march were not going to accept the herding into the Cage. The numbers swelled to over 1,000 as the march progressed. The street was filled with protesters from curb to curb. The march was led by anti-war Vietnam Veteran Ron Kovic, in his wheelchair and joining the chants calling for shutting down Guantanamo to Troops home now. The crowd was so alive and determined it was something that couldn’t be ignored.

Meanwhile, the Denver police, seen earlier with their new troops transport trucks which allow them to ride on the outside dressed in full battle gear carrying machine guns, and police and bicycles carrying cuffs, batons, mace, and sidearms, all followed and surrounded the march. The police were ignored and the marchers were loud and defiant taking time to chant “5, 4, 3, 2, 1″ and some would drop to the streets in a mock-die in, and the chant would resume “Rise UP! Rise UP! For the people of the World are Watching!”

Heading for the Pepsi Center, the police stopped the front line contingent at a spot to direct them into the cage. One of the R68 organizers told the police we were marching directly to the Pepsi Center under our First Amendment Rights. After a conversation, the police broke the line of blue barricade, and let it go. The crowd felt the palpable victory just won, and became more determined to have their voices heard throughout the City.

The media was in abundance, marching and filming the entire time. As you looked up and down the street you could see wall to wall activists, which included some delegates, noticible by their badges and buttons; anarchists, peace activists, pro-choice activists, former soldiers, mothers, fathers and their kids. It was actually breathtaking, and the press knew it.


Fred Hampton Junior (left) in Denver
(Photo: Elaine Brower / NLN)

Even though it had not been exactly a recreation of the Chicago march, it had a new and better life of it’s own.

Once the march stopped at the gates of the Pepsi Center, where the repressivwe forces were waiting, machine guns in hand, Ron Kovic told everyone to sit down, and show determined defiance of the police state. Hundreds did, right in front of the gates, and it remained that way for about 15 minutes. He gave a rousing speech, and activists were chanting and yelling. Rising, the protesters remained directly in front of the Center, demanding they be heard. The standoff with 1,000 protesters and the police became a very tense situation, and both sides were ready for whatever would happen next.

After about 30 minutes of intense eye contact and angry shouts, delegates needing to get inside started mixing in with the protesters showing their badges to get inside, which they couldn’t. The sun beat down, and the heat from the street was extreme. They held their ground, and won the struggle by having their presence felt and known to those inside the DNC, who were flooding out to take pictures, and those who were trying to get inside.

The marchers walked off, slowly in the direction that was not permitted, and kept marching all the way back to the Capitol.

Abbie Hoffman, who was an extreme activist in 1968, would have been proud! He always said you win if they loose and everyone goes home to fight another day!

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Posted by TAG - August 26, 2008 | News



(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

NEW YORK — In November of 2006, City Council member Melissa Mark Viverito spoke out against police commissioner Ray Kelly’s parade permitting rules. Mark Viverito felt the rules would violate the civil rights of activists. Ironically, on Sunday she faced a large contingent of protesters – permits in hand – at her own front door. Calling Viverito a “serpent” and a “sellout”, members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio visited her luxury townhouse to express their outrage with her support of the 125th Street rezoning plan. To many of the protesters Mark Viverito seemed to personify the gentrification going on in Harlem.

According to her website, “Melissa Mark Viverito made history in November 2005 by becoming the first Puerto Rican woman elected to serve District 8 on the City Council” in 2005. District 8 includes Manhattan Valley, East Harlem, and part of Mott Haven in the Bronx.

Council Member Mark Viverito was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She worked for 1199 SEIU in New York City before being elected to the City Council. Her campaign promised greater transparency in city government. But by 2008, Mark Viverito and her constituency were estranged. On April 30th, Viverito and 41 other City Council members approved a controversial rezoning plan that will bring condominiums and 21 story skyscrapers to Harlem’s historic 125th Street. Only two members of the council, Charles Barron and Tony Avella, voted against the plan. Speaker Christine Quinn called in police to remove protesters from the council chambers when tempers flared in response to the vote. The vote was seen as a victory for real estate developers and was supported by Mayor Bloomberg.

Standing against the gentrification of East Harlem is a grassroots organization called Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio (Movement for Justice in El Barrio). MJB is a self described organization of “immigrants and low-income people of color” who have made their views known and presence felt.

In an effort to avoid being displaced from their neighborhood, members of MJB have filed a groundbreaking lawsuit against property investment giant Dawnay Day Group. The London based firm has a stated goal of increasing the rent sharply in its 47 Harlem properties. MJB alleges that Dawnay Day Group has conducted a campaign of neglect and tenant harrassment in an attempt to force the current residents out so that it may raise the rent. In its suit MJB argues that Dawnay Day has charged current residents “thousands of dollars in false fees” as part of its efforts to drive out low income residents.

In the battle for the soul of East Harlem, Movement for Justice in El Barrio has kept up the pressure on Dawnay Day Group and those politicians, including Mark Viverito, who vote against the interests of their poorer constituents. Complementing its lawsuit and a well run media campaign, MJB has taken to the streets to get their message out.

On Sunday a large contingent of MJB and its supporters rallied at 116th Street and Lexington Avenue – not far from Mark Viverito’s office. The rally was the first stop in what MJB called a “March for Dignity and against Displacement.”

The second stop was the home of City Council member Melissa Mark Viverito.

Carrying signs that said, “Harlem no se vende” (Harlem is not for sale), “We will not be moved” and “El Barrio will not be sold”, the protesters marched down Third Avenue to Viverito’s home. Mothers, fathers and young children held vigil outside the townhouse as activists spoke out against Viverito’s support of gentrification. Protesters spoke through a makeshift bullhorn – a rolled up sign – pointing out that, in addition to voting for the rezoning of 125th Street, Mark Vierito also voted for the Columbia University expansion into West Harlem. The announcement was met with jeers and boos.

The final stop of the protest was the Vertical City realty office on Third Avenue and 99th Street. Here protesters spoke out against the ongoing gentrification of their neighborhood – Vertical City rents Dawnay Day Group’s East Harlem properties. Several speakers vowed to defeat those who would gentrify Harlem as other demonstraters held signs that said, “estamos en la lucha” – we are in a struggle.


(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

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NLN Video

Posted by Elaine Brower - August 18, 2008 | News


(L to R) Elaine Brower, Nat Good of NLN, Bill Perkins and Eric Adams
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

NEW YORK – On Sunday, August 17, 2008, a press conference was held to announce the joint cooperation of State Senators Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn, 20th Dist.) and Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan, 30th Dist.), to introduce in the upcoming January 2009 State Legislative session, a resolution to stop the federalization of the New York State National Guard.

The two Senators joined with Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace and Peace Action New York State in front of the Times Square Military Recruiting Center on W. 43rd Street and Broadway to declare “We will call on Gov. David Paterson to use his authority to challenge calls from the federal government to use the New York National Guard for service in Iraq.”

Outside the Recruiting Station in Times Square Senator Adams said “The Governor has the power to decide if our National Guard troops are to be used on a federal level.” “Our resolution will call on him to do just that.”

Started in Vermont by a local state legislator Representative Fisher of Lincoln, working directly with attorneys from The Liberty Tree Foundation for Democracy, the campaign picked up nationally. The campaign is based upon the legal authority that the “2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force” or (AUMF) issued by Congress, based on UN resolutions, has expired. The conditions set forth in this AUMF stipulated that (1) “Iraq poses an imminent threat to the security of the United States by having weapons of mass destruction; and, (2) “Saddam Hussein poses an imminent threat to the security of the United States and its allies.” These conditions have been met, there is no “national emergency” allowing the use of our state militia any longer, so therefore it should cease and desist.

Not only does the federalization of any state’s National Guard units pose a security risk to that particular state since they cannot respond to a natural disaster or other situation where they are required as by law, but the equipment taken to Iraq, never returns. Each State is required to spend millions of dollars to replace necessary armaments to protect its citizens. Currently, New York State is facing a grave fiscal crisis and budget deficit.


State Senator Bill Perkins looks on as war resister Matthis Chiroux speaks out.
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Participating national organizations include: AfterDowningStreet.org, Cities for Peace, CODEPINK, Courage to Resist, LIBERTY TREE Foundation for the Democratic Revolution, Military Families Speak Out, Peace Action, U.S. Labor Against the War, Women Legislator’s Lobby, Women’s Action for New Directions, and more.

Participating state campaigns: New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, CA, MD, ME, MI, MN, NH, RI, VT, and others. For more information, please see www.nysavetheguard.com and www.bringtheguardhome.org.


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Posted by Elaine Brower - August 8, 2008 | News



Organizers relax after the Freeze
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

NEW YORK – On Wednesday, August 6th, commemorating the 63rd year of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima, the World Can’t Wait called together a group of New York activists to demand “No Attack on Iran!” at the Whitehall Street Ferry Terminal in downtown Manhattan. Knowing that this administration, as well as both presidential candidates have declared that “no options are off the table, including a nuclear strike” on Iran, about 60 people gathered outside the terminal at 5:00 PM to get ready to “freeze” inside at 5:30 PM.

Like the two others before it, this “freeze” action message focused on informing commuters about the current aggression which could lead to a strike on Iran. The unifying message “No Attack on Iran!” was displayed on t-shirts, banners, posters and messages affixed to clothing.

This 3rd action was set to the backdrop of a more conservative crowd, or at least that is what we thought. Staten Island has been portrayed as the most conservative borough in the City, and the audience we targeted could prove to be a tough bunch.

Heading up the escalators, activists picked a spot to stand in, and when the signal was given, the sound of a “lunchroom” whistle, compliments of a member of World Can’t Wait, everyone froze in position for 5 minutes. Police remained totally unfazed by the action, although they were warned ahead of time and expected us.



(Photo: Donyal Svilar / NLN)

Commuters, on the other hand, were surprised, and honestly did not know what to make of these people who were not rushing to catch the next ferryboat home. Some shouted supporting our message, some took fliers that were held in frozen hands, others stopped to take pictures, but none were confrontational.

Some people in the group participating in the action were members of Peace Action of Staten Island and Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) of Staten Island, about 8 residents of the borough. We were very surprised by the positive reactions we received, and stunned that the police did not even wander over to watch!

At 5:35 PM, once again upon our signal, all started chanting “NO ATTACK ON IRAN!” to the commuters who were then boarding the ferry. The terminal resonated with the chanting, and it continued until the boat loaded, and we were left standing relatively alone. Everyone cheered and applauded, felt uplifted by the small event, and hope to do it again soon!

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Posted by Next Left Notes - August 6, 2008 | News


(Photo: Oren Ziv / Active Stills)

RAMALLAH, West Bank — 23 demonstrators were arrested yesterday as they protested in front of the house of Colonel Aviv Reshef, commander of the Israeli army regiment stationed in the Ni’ilin region. Reshef resides in Zichron Yaakov, in Israel’s Haifa district.

The demonstrators were arrested while protesting the shooting of two minors in Ni’ilin last week. The two – Ahmed Mousa, 10-years-old, and Youssef Amireh, 17-years-old, were shot and killed by the Israeli border police. The shooting of Mousa is being investigated by the Israeli Police Internal Affairs Bureau and the Israeli Defense Force.

The demonstrators, who were standing on the sidewalk at the time of their arrest, were beaten and detained. Police continued beating some of the demonstrators after they were detained. Witnesses report that the beatings continued inside the police vehicles.

The 23 will remain in custody for the night and will appear before a judge today.

Ten year old Ahmed Mousa was killed by a border policeman in Ni’ilin on Tuesday, July 29th. He was shot in the forehead from a short distance, while on his family’s land — posing no threat to security forces.

On Wednesday, July 30th, only hours after Mousa was buried, Youssef Amireh was shot in the head by a border policeman sitting inside an armored jeep. He was shot as he stood in a yard in his own village. Amireh was not involved in the ongoing clashes between Israeli security forces and local residents. Two rubber coated bullets, shot from a distance of ten meters, struck Amireh in the head, leaving him clinically dead. After five days in a vegetative state, Amireh died from his wounds.

Amireh was buried on 4 August. The funeral procession can be seen on YouTube.

Amireh is the twelfth Palestinian and seventh minor to be killed protesting the wall; thousands of others have been wounded, many seriously. From its inception, the popular struggle has met with severe military violence, despite its civilian and unarmed nature.

Anarchists Against the Wall said that, “in a place where an army allows itself to kill unarmed demonstrators day after day, we are not surprised that demonstrators protesting this acts are beaten up and arrested. Reshef is directly and morally responsible for the murders in Ni’ilin, and we will continue to demand his accountability, as well as continue to stand together with the people of Ni’ilin”.

Oren Ziv and Bill Templer contributed to this article


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Posted by TAG - August 3, 2008 | News



Mike Morice, Tom Good and Nathaniel Good of MDS enjoy a dry moment
(Photo: Red Dragon / NLN)

NEW YORK — Although pouring rain diminished the expected turnout yesterday, a number of activists heeded the call to protest a potential U.S. attack on Iran.

Filing into Times Square the protesters carried anti-war signs, banners – and umbrellas. After a rally the crowd made its way down Seventh Avenue as pedestrians looked on. A few jeered, many cheered and some joined the procession. Near the midpoint of the march – the sun came out.

Among those who took part in the march were members of the Granny Peace Brigade, Iraq Veterans Against The War, Veterans For Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Movement For A Democratic Society, the Green Party, CodePINK, World Can’t Wait and the Peoples Organization for Progress.


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Palestinian mourners watch the funeral procession for Ahmed Moussa
(Photo: Anne Paq / Active Stills – (c) 2008, activestills.org, not for commercial reuse)

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Israeli troops mortally wounded another Palestinian youth Wednesday – shortly after the funeral of 10-year-old Ahmed Mousa who was shot an killed by Israeli border police on Tuesday. The shootings happening in the West Bank village of Nilin, near what Palestinians call the “apartheid wall”.

An interview with Hindi Mesleh of the Nilin Popular Committee Against the Apartheid Wall on Democracy Now! (1 Aug 2008) gives direct commentary from the struggle in Nilin and reaction among villagers to the killing of 10-year-old Ahmed Hussam Yusuf Mousa on Tuesday, July 29th. Video footage of the demonstration is available at YouTube. The interview also discusses the mortal wounding of 17-year old Yousif Amira by soldiers of the Israeli Border Patrol, “Mishmar haGvul”, in a demonstration following young Ahmed’s funeral on Wednesday, 30 July. The funeral procession for Ahmed began in the city of Ramallah and proceeded westward 25 kilometers to the village of Nilin, where numerous soldiers were positioned in battle readiness at the entrance to the village. They opened fire with tear gas and sound bombs at the mourners, as seen in this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84_ePTW6wEE

Villagers were angered by the presence of the heavily armed Border Patrol at the village entrance the entire day.
[see https://israel.indymedia.org/newswire/display/9398/index.php ]




17-year-old Yousif is clinically dead after being shot by Israeli soldiers
(Photo: Anne Paq / Active Stills – (c) 2008, activestills.org, not for commercial reuse)

Yousif was shot twice in the head at close range by rubber-coat steel bullets, destroying his brain. He has been pronounced clinically dead and lies in a coma in hospital in Ramallah.

On 1 August, enraged villagers dismantled the barbed wire barricade placed by the Israeli military on their lands to prevent them from entering the site where bulldozers are active — the same barrier that little Ahmed was near when his friends tried to tear it apart on the day he was killed. A number of villagers were injured in the four hours of confrontation that erupted over the villagers’ determined action to destroy the barbed wire barrier. Five Palestinians and two international activists were injured by rubber-coated bullets. {1}

In the Democracy Now interview, Hindi Mesleh said, “I don’t know the reply of the army. There is no reply. I don’t know what the excuse they will come up. There is no excuse. Whatever the child was doing, throwing stones or whatever, there is no excuse, and there is no right to kill a nine-years-old child or seventeen-years-old child when they are in a protest. The question is, like—the question is, why these children? They are in the protest because they’re aware of what’s happening and what’s going on in their village. They’re protesting against stealing their lands, killing their brothers, shooting at their houses, invading their village.”

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