Posted by TAG - December 31, 2008 | News

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Vigil for hate crime victim Ali Kamara, December 4, 2008
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Thank you for supporting NLN in 2008.

The last two years have been extremely busy for us and we anticipate this trend will continue as the struggle for peace and justice continues. We are pleased to be able to bear witness to the struggle for democracy and salute all of the activists and organizers who are devoting their time and talents to ending war, exploitation, sexism, racism, anti-gay bigotry and all forms of injustice. At this time we would also like to acknowledge our friends in the National Lawyers Guild who protect all of us as we work to build a better world.


WASHINGTON — The 5th anniversary of the Iraq War, March 19, 2008
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

To celebrate our common struggle we’ve put together a collection of the best NLN photographs from 2008, we hope you enjoy the photographs and the youtube montage.

We’ll see you in the streets – in 2009.

NEW YORK — Councilman Charles Barron and NLN intern Nat Good, October 5, 2008
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Happy New Year from the staff of Next Left Notes:

Brandon Banks, Stephanie Basile, Elaine Brower, Paul Buhle, Thorne Dreyer, Nathaniel and Tom Good, Richie Marini, Devra and Mike Morice and Bill Templer.

View the Best of NLN 2008 Photographs
View the Best of NLN 2008 Video

Posted by Devra Morice - December 29, 2008 | News

The rally at Rockefeller Center
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

NEW YORK — Hundreds rallied Sunday at Rockefeller Center on Sunday in an emergency protest against the Israeli attacks on Gaza. Although the action was called by Al-Awda NY, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, the Arab Muslim American Federation, and the General Union of Palestinian Students, the demonstrators reflected a wide range of outraged citizens, with members of Jews Against The Occupation, Neturei Karta, the organization of anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews, and local peace groups in attendance. Protestors hoisted Palestinian flags and chanted “Free Free Palestine”, “Stop the Massacre”, and “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free” amidst crowds of holiday tourists. Several wore the traditional Arab keffiyah scarf.

Members of the Granny Peace Brigade attended the protest
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

From 50th and 5th, the demonstrators marched to the Israeli Consulate at 42nd and 2nd Avenue.

A young boy is carried by demonstrators
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

More protests are scheduled.

In New York, on Monday, December 29, a funeral procession will meet at 5 p.m. at 6th Avenue and 32nd Street and march to Bryant Park at 6:30 p.m. On Tuesday, there will be a protest at 5 p.m. at the Israeli Consulate located at 800 2nd Avenue, north of 42nd Street.

In Washington, D.C., a protest will be held Monday, December 29, at the Obama-Biden Transition Project located at 451 6th Street NW at 4:30 p.m.

View Photos/Videos From The Action…

Posted by TAG - December 25, 2008 | Interview

Santa and friend offer a holiday message
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

(The following interview took place on 15 December 2008 and was posted on youtube at that time…)

NLN: This is Tom Good with NLN. I’m sitting here today with Santa Claus. Thank you for stopping by, Santa.

Santa: Thank you Tom, for having me.

NLN: If you don’t mind I have a couple of questions for you…

Santa: Sure!

NLN: Santa, what is the number one wish that you have received this year?

Santa: “People want peace, they want the troops home…”
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Santa: People want peace…they want the troops home, now!

NLN: All of the troops? From both wars?

Santa: Ho ho ho, hell yes!

NLN: Well Santa, checking your naughty and nice list, isn’t the Afghanistan war a nice war?

Continue Reading…

Posted by Stephanie Basile - December 12, 2008 | News

(Photo: Diane Krauthamer / IWW)

NEW YORK — A small group of anti-authoritarians visited 3 Bank of America locations on Wednesday. The action was coordinated by the NYC Industrial Workers of the World as a show of solidarity with more than 200 sit-down strikers in Chicago.

The strikers, who are part of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, occupied their factory, Republic Windows & Doors, after being informed just days in advance that the factory would close. Concerned workers and community members around the country took part in solidarity actions to show their support for the Chicago workers.

Republic’s closure was due to being cut off from loans by Bank of America, the company’s main creditor, and the recipient of $25 million in bailout funds. On Dec 5th, the day the factory was slated for closure, the workers instead remained inside and demanded their legal right to severance and vacation pay.

The IWW’s action was one of many actions that targeted Bank of America locations in NYC. Several other groups organized solidarity actions across the city, including the Young Democratic Socialists, Jobs with Justice, the Bail Out the People Movement, and the May 1st Coalition.

For the IWW’s action, a group of around 15-20 demonstrators visited Bank of America branches on 2nd Ave & 4th St, Astor Place, and Union Square. They carried signs, handed out flyers, and chanted “You got bailed out; we got sold out.” At their first two stops, the demonstrators went into the bank while handing out flyers and chanting, and then delivered a letter to the manager on duty. A member of the group would deliver the letter, explain the situation and the workers’ demands, and express the IWW’s concern for their fellow UE workers in Chicago.

The group arrived at the Union Square branch, the third and final stop, to find that management was already expecting them. When they arrived at the bank, a security guard stopped them near the entrance, and a manager came to the door. “The manager seemed like he was aware that actions were going to be happening that day,” said John Cronan Jr., an IWW organizer.

After IWW organizer Mykke Holcomb presented the manager with the letter, he mumbled “No comment” and stood in silence for a moment before finally returning inside. “He seemed like he wanted to get us out of there as soon as possible,” said Cronan. The group remained outside, chanted for about 10 more minutes, and handed out flyers to passersby while managers watched from inside.

Demonstrators at the event said they felt they achieved their main goal, which was to show solidarity with the Chicago workers. “I thought we sent a clear message to Bank of America that the Chicago workers were not alone,” said Cronan.

“It was a show of solidarity, and we’re hoping that message gets across to the Chicago workers,” said Diane Krauthamer, an IWW organizer and filmmaker who produced a short film of the action. “The most important thing is that the workers in Chicago know that they’re not alone.”

Like the UE, the IWW is a democratic, rank and file union. Many wobblies see direct actions such as the sit-down strike as a necessary tool for empowering workers in these times of economic turmoil. “We hope that the spirit of Chicago spreads and inspires all workers facing lay offs and hardships to take action,” said Holcomb.

(Photo: Diane Krauthamer / IWW)


Last night, the UE officially announced that the occupation had ended and that the workers had received all of their demands. This includes 8 weeks’ severance pay, pay for unused sick and vacation time, and two months’ health coverage.

The workers have also established the Window of Opportunity fund, which is dedicated to reopening the factory.


You can watch Diane Krauthamer’s video of the action here:

Posted by Next Left Notes - December 11, 2008 | News

SDS die-in at L3 Corporation – April, 2008
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

NEW YORK (RSU) — On Wednesday The New School’s Radical Student Union, along with members of the War Resisters League, held a demonstration to demand university investment disclosure. The students also demanded the implementation of a committee on socially responsible investment and removal of the treasurer of the Board of Trustees, Robert B. Millard. The demonstration started at the headquarters of L-3 Communications, located at 600 3rd Avenue, and ended at the New School’s Arnhold Hall at 55 W. 13th Street where the Board of Trustees was having their last meeting of the semester. At about 5 p.m., after the students’ request to present their demands to the Board of Trustees was denied, the protest became an impromptu sit-in. Approximately 60 students entered the building and filled the lobby, demanding their requests be met.

Students were protesting the treasurer of the Board of Trustees, Robert B. Millard, because of his position as chairman of the executive committee of the military contractor L-3 Communications. L-3 Communications provides a large percentage of the “intelligence personnel” employed in illegal detention centers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, and is currently facing four lawsuits from Iraqis tortured at Abu Ghraib. An L-3 subsidiary, Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI), armed and trained both sides during the Bosnian conflict in the 1990s and armed and trained the Georgian army prior to and during their attack on Russia.

Bob Kerrey, regarded as an obstacle to Free Inquiry by students
(Photo: Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress)

Last semester, the RSU brought these demands to the attention of the university’s president, Bob Kerrey, when they held a demonstration against L-3 and Millard and attempted to attend a Board of Trustees meeting. At the demonstration they were granted a meeting with Kerrey – it was here where they first brought their research and demands around investment disclosure, Millard, and the Socially Responsible Investment committee (SRI) to the attention of the President. However, Kerrey refused to disclose the university’s investments to them or anyone else and made it perfectly clear that he had no intention of ever letting students know what the university is invested in. He also made it clear that he had no intention of ever letting students sit as voting members of the board of trustees. The Radical Student Union believes this denies students an important right to have a say in their own education. Kerrey hosted a conference on “Free Inquiry” and threats to academic freedom in late October. Ironically, many students see him as the biggest obstacle to the free inquiry of students who care about the future of their university.

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Posted by Penelope Rosemont - | News

The phantom of liberty always comes with a knife between the teeth
The ne plus ultra of social oppression is being shot at in cold blood.

All the stones, torn from the pavement and thrown at the shields of cops or at the façades of commercial temples, all the flaming bottles that traced their orbits in the night sky, all the barricades erected on city streets, dividing our areas from theirs, all the bins of consumer trash which, thanks to the fire of revolt, came to be Something out of Nothing, all the fists raised under the moon, are the arms giving flesh, as well as true power, not only to resistance but also to freedom. And it is precisely the feeling of freedom that, in those moments, remains the sole thing worth betting on: that feeling of forgotten childhood mornings, when everything may happen, for it is ourselves, as creative humans, who have awoken — not those future productive human machines known as “obedient subject,” “student,” “alienated worker,” “owner,” “family wo/man.” The feeling of facing the enemies of freedom — of no longer fearing them.

It is thus for good reason that those who wish to get on with their business as if nothing happens, as if nothing has ever happened, are worried. The phantom of liberty always comes with the knife between the teeth, with the violent will to break the chains, all those chains that turn life into a miserable repetition, serving to reproduce the dominant social relations. Yet from Saturday, December 6, the cities of this country are not functioning properly: no shopping therapy, no open roads leading us to work, no news on the government’s forthcoming recovery initiatives, no carefree switching from one lifestyle TV show to another, no evening drives around Syntagma Sq. etc., etc., etc. These days and nights do not belong to merchants, TV commentators, ministers and cops: These days and nights belong to Alexis!

As surrealists we were on the streets from the start, along with thousands of others, in revolt and solidarity; for surrealism was born with the breath of the street, and does not intend to ever abandon it. After the mass resistance before the State murderers, the breath of the street has become even warmer, even more hospitable and creative than before. It is not in our competence to propose a general line to this movement. Yet we do assume our responsibility in the common struggle, as it is a struggle for freedom. Without having to agree with all aspects of such a mass phenomenon, without being partisans of blind hatred and of violence for its own sake, we accept that this phenomenon exists for a reason.

Let’s not allow this flaming breath of poetry to loosen or die out.

Let’s turn it into a concrete utopia: to transform the world and to transform life!

No peace with cops and their masters!

All in the streets!

Those who cannot feel the rage may as well shut their traps!

Athens Surrealist Group, December 2008

Protesters outside the courthouse.
(Photo: Matthew Daloisio / Witness Against Torture)

CCR Argues Case of Canadian Rendition Victim Maher Arar Against Ashcroft, Thompson, Mueller, et al.

U.S. Officials Must Be Held Accountable for Sending Arar to Torture in Syria In Rare Rehearing CCR Calls for Justice Before Full Second Circuit Panel of Judges

NEW YORK (CCR) — On Tuesday the Center for Constitutional Rights argued that high-level government officials must be held accountable for sending Canadian rendition victim Maher Arar to torture in Syria. The hearing was held before twelve Second Circuit judges after their extremely rare decision to rehear the case sua sponte, that is, of their own accord without a request by either party, in August of this year.

“I hope the respected judges have listened to my lawyer’s oral arguments with their hearts and do not fall in the government’s trap of portraying my case as simply an immigration matter,” said Maher Arar. “The panel has the historic opportunity to hold the United States officials accountable for their actions. Doing so will prove to the rest of the world that America is still a country where the law rules and where wronged human beings, regardless of their religion and color, can obtain justice through the courts.”

In January 2004, three months after he was released home to Canada from Syria, CCR filed Mr. Arar’s suit against John Ashcroft and other U.S. officials, the first to challenge an “extraordinary rendition,” also known as “outsourcing torture.” In February 2006 the District Court dismissed the case on the grounds that allowing it to proceed would harm national security and foreign relations.

CCR appealed the decision, arguing before Judges Cabranes, McLaughlin, and Sack in November 2007, but the majority issued a decision in June 2008 along similar lines, with Judge Sack dissenting. Today’s argument will determine whether Mr. Arar’s case may proceed. There is no date set for the ruling, but a decision is expected in 2009.

“The U.S. officials who sent Maher to Syria to be tortured also prevented Maher from coming to this very court to stop them,” said CCR Senior Attorney Maria LaHood. “We are now asking the court to refuse these same U.S. officials’ efforts to prevent Maher from seeking justice yet again. We are asking the Court to say enough is enough, and to uphold the fundamental constitutional and human rights that truly make our nation free.”

(Photo: Matthew Daloisio / Witness Against Torture)

Mr. Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian citizen, was detained at JFK Airport in September 2002 while changing planes on his way home to Canada. The Bush administration labeled him a member of Al Qaeda and sent him not to Canada, his home and country of citizenship, but against his will to Syrian intelligence authorities renowned for torture. He was tortured, interrogated and detained in a tiny underground cell for nearly a year before the Syrian government released him, stating they had found no connection to any criminal or terrorist organization or activity.

Continue Reading…

Posted by Alan Haber - December 10, 2008 | News

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Vigil and Teach-In for Human Rights, December 10, 2008

On Wednesday, December 10, 2008, at 5 PM, humans from in and around Ann Arbor will converge at Main and Liberty Streets, Southeast corner, and spread out, in behalf of the rights of us all, honoring the 60th anniversary of the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

A candle light vigil, with signs and fact sheets for human rights will demonstrate public commitment to one universal that connects us all, our rights as humans. Everyone is invited to participate.

The demonstration will last one hour.

At 7 PM on the University of Michigan campus, a “teach-in” will begin, in the Anderson Room of the Michigan Union. Considering the sources of our rights, and how they are turned to international law and enforcement, Peter Linebaugh and Judith Kullberg will open the teach-in. Linebaugh teaches history at the University of Toledo, and Kollberg, teaches political science at Eastern Michigan University.

Activists on human rights questions from student and community groups will have opportunity to describe what they have been doing.
The discussion will explore a continuing Ann Arbor Area Campaign for Human Rights, to put human rights forward as a cornerstone both for public policy and in our relations with one another, both locally in our own community, and globally, wherever abuse of human rights exists.

A letter to President Obama will be circulated for signatures, urging him to put human rights forward, and in particular to sign and submit to the Congress the major international law conventions which the United States has not yet ratified. Among those specifically mentioned are the Rights of the Child, Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Rights of Indigenous People. The letter also calls for the United States to recognize the International Criminal Court.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drawn up be a Committee of the newly established United Nations Organization, and ratified December 10, 1948. Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the drafting committee and presented the document to the world. It has been ratified by all the governments of the world.

The December 10 programs are initiated and sponsored by volunteer humans and a number of organizations, including the Common Ground for Peace Working Group of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Ann Arbor Amnesty International, Students Organizing for Labor and Economic Equality, the Panthers for Social Justice of Washtenaw, United Nations Association, Sadaqa Social Justice Network, Michigan Peaceworks, Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights, the Megiddo Peace Project, sds-inclusive and scholars for democratic society, with others likely joining.

Besides being the 60th anniversary of the 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, organizers asserted this year is particularly important, because President Obama is now formulating the policies of the new administration. Some are hopeful that the new administration will mark a real change from the past, and offer encouragement to President Obama. Some think the only way to overcome the power politics of old is for people to stand up in our multitude and insist our government, including the new administration respect human rights. All agree that bringing the United States within the framework of international law, by the President pressing the congress for ratification of outstanding conventions, would be a strong step forward.

Signs and fact sheets at the vigil will highlight human rights problems in human trafficking, health care, the School of Americas, Michigan prisons, Gaza, Congo, Darfur/Sudan, India/Pakistan/Kashmir, climate change, Guantanamo, to name 10. Ann Arbor High School students will be making signs affirming particular human rights.

Ann Arbor groups and individuals do amazing works for human rights, The interested public and other activists will be able to hear some of these stories and join in a sharing of knowledge. This was the vision of the first teach-in, which happened in Ann Arbor March 24, 1965. As that protested the Vietnam War, this teach-in protests the abuses of human rights, and seeks to do something to make things better

An objective of the action is that many organizations committed to human rights be able to cooperate, learn from one another, mutually reinforce our endeavors and amplify our impacts.

Demonstrations and observances of this 60th Anniversary Human Rights Day are happening all around the world. The organizers hope the press, and the media more widely, will look with favor on this action, and give it wide public notice, and coverage.

Visit the web site:

Posted by TAG - December 8, 2008 | News

Progressive Democrat Debi Rose
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

“Debi Rose wants to be your next City Councilwoman because, as a Staten Island native, she has the deep knowledge of the long-existing and complex issues that impact our quality of life, whether it is efforts to build more affordable housing for our families, expand recreational opportunities for our youth and seniors, preserve our waterfront, or create more and better jobs for our residents”
- Deputy Campaign Manager Caroline Cole

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Progressive Democrat Debi Rose held a pair of fundraisers on Sunday. Rose is gearing up for a wide open race – with sitting councilmember Mike McMahon headed off to serve in the Congress a number of local candidates have entered the fray. Rose, who did very well against McMahon in a 2001 primary, is taking nothing for granted and is looking to mobilize her supporters early.

At a fundraising event held at the home of North Shore peace activist Richard Greve, Rose discussed the issues.

“Staten Island needs a strong advocate, someone who is not going to back off…someone who is not beholden to special interests,” said Rose.

Rose has a long history of activism. Active in the peace and civil rights movments, Rose is familiar figure to progressives who reside in New York City’s “forgotten borough”. She has spoken out against the Iraq War, demanded justice for Sean Bell’s family and actively opposed Mayor Bloomberg’s gutting of term limits. Rose has served on Community Board One for 28 years and has been a member of the Staten Island Mental Health Society for the last decade. When she says, “I have the fortitude to fight”, no one who knows her would disagree.

A prominent member of the NAACP, Rose argued Sunday that, “the issue has always been one of equity.” But she is not referring to race alone – she is concerned with issues relevant to the North Shore of Staten Island in its entirety.

“We went from being a borough with five hospitals to a borough of two” – with average emergency room waiting periods of “18 hours or more.” Rose wants better healthcare for all Islanders.

Education is another concern. “Curtis High School is over 125 percent overenrolled,” she noted.

A critic of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, she noted that Bloomberg’s cuts have hurt the arts programs on Staten Island, the after school programs and programs that serve seniors.

Rose pointed out asthma and cancer are prevalent on Staten Island, as is alcoholism. But programs to address these issues have all been cut. Rose promised to find funding to fight these scourges.

An early and vocal opponent of the “temporary” electrical generator that former mayor Rudolph Giuliani built on the North Shore, Rose was a “lone dissenter”. Years later, statistics show that “emissions are higher than what the state reported they would be,” she said.

Rose is looking to create local jobs for Islanders – by building an environment that promotes “green friendly businesses.”

Debi Rose discusses issues as Peace Action chair Dave Poleshuck listens
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

She wants to improve transportation in the one NYC borough that lacks a subway system, a borough in which citizens are “woefully underserved.” She wants a monorail that circles the Island and a light rail system for the North Shore – one that spans the Bayonne Bridge.

Rose wants to see ordinary people have access to the waterfront and for the city to rebuild the “eyesore” that is Richmond Terrace, the road that follows the coastline.

To realize what she described as fulfilling President Obama’s pledge to rebuild U.S. infrastructure she must first be elected and Rose does not diminish the magnitude of that task. Bloomberg will have 45 to 60 days to hold a special election, once Mike McMahon is sworn into his new post of congressman. That puts the election in the dead of winter, most likely in February. This will impact voter turnout. For this reason Rose urged her supporters to get out and petition early – and to remind friends and family to get out the vote.

View Photos/Videos From The Fundraiser…

Debi Rose for City Council campaign website

“There’s a lot of serious work behind Debi’s radiant smile and upbeat approach to life. She has taken on the closing of Bayley Seton Hospital, the emissions of the Rosebank power plant, the need for a Mariner’s Harbor Library, and the need for new North Shore schools. She has represented individuals, families, and communities on the North Shore on Community Board One for almost 30 years, and has rescued hundreds of students from dropping out of high school through the Liberty Partnership Program, where she works as Executive Director. She is one serious lady with a big heart that embraces us all!”
- Sally Jones, Community Organizer
Posted by Elaine Brower - | News

Huntington Armory
(Photo: Elaine Brower / NLN)

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. — Two of us headed out at 5:00 AM early Saturday morning, to meet up with 2 more eager outreachers at the Huntington, Long Island Armory where there was a drill scheduled. Me and Rich Marini of Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS), left from Staten Island to meet Karen Zachett of Long Island Peace Alliance and the VFP LI chapter, and Sheila Croke of LI Pax Christi, who live close to the armory.

I had the literature neatly packaged in bundles with the December Guard GI Special, IVAW pamphlet, “Bring The Guard Home” brochure, Why We Are Here statement from the MP, and wrapping it all up was the GI rights pamphlet. We also had DVD’s of “Sir, No Sir!”. Richie made the cookies. We got there at about 6:40 AM, and met up with the crew already there. We immediately started handing out our stuff to inquisitive troops from the “Fighting 69th” armory unit. They had absolutely no idea what a bunch of crazies were doing out there in the middle of nowhere, in below freezing temperatures, with goodies for them. The reception ranged from friendly, to warm to downright rude! But we were a determined bunch of frozen humans.

Richie of MDS
(Photo: Elaine Brower / NLN)

We broke up in pairs, 2 at the front door, but remaining on the street since there were no sidewalks leading to the pathway, and 2 at the back gate where cars were entering to park in the lot behind the building. There was a steady flow from the parking lot, and the soldiers took the handouts either from the car, or when they walked out of the lot to enter the front door. Some parked in the street, and the 2 in the front were able to catch them before they entered the building.

Continue Reading…