Posted by Thom Cincotta - January 26, 2009 | News


Naomi Wolf at Brooklyn Law School
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Brooklyn, N.Y. — Two Yale and Oxford-educated scholars, Rashid Khalidi * and Naomi Wolf **, addressed one hundred-fifty National Lawyers Guild (NLG) members and concerned citizens on January 23, 2009.

Wolf and Khalidi shared their visions of how to restore the Constitution in the United States and achieve freedom for the Palestinian people. The event was organized by the NLG International Committee and hosted by the Brooklyn Law School student Guild chapter to raise money for travel to the global Congress of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers in Hanoi later this year. Both spoke of the need for citizen action to force politicians to do the right thing.

Naomi Wolf: Roll Back the Fascist Shift

Naomi Wolf expressed “transcendental joy” at the inauguration of Barack Obama three days earlier, but warned that the damage done by George W. Bush still remains. “It ‘s tempting to believe that the clouds have parted and go back to internet shopping,” she said, “but all those laws are still in place, and powerful interests do not want Obama to succeed at rolling back the Patriot Act.”

Drawing on her recent book, End of America, Wolf focused upon the need to alert fellow citizens to the serious erosion of our civil liberties since 9/11. She expressed disappointment and anger that only a relative handful of Americans spoke out against secret renditions, preventive detentions, torture, and warrantless surveillance during the past few years. Wolf called out mainstream journalists who now use the word “torture,” when only weeks ago they referred to such practices as “what some have regarded as torture.” Wolf exclaimed, “Where the hell were you when we needed more voices on the front lines when the majority were silent and willing to yield?”

She praised organizations like the NLG, Human Rights Watch, ACLU, and the Center for Constitutional Rights, for working against affronts to American ‘s founding ideals. She recommended that people put giving money to the NLG at the top of their priority list so we can build a “permanent edifice” to defend civil rights.

In examining the post-9/11 landscape, Wolf heard echoes of tactics from other societies that subverted civil rights through legal avenues. New legal regimes facilitated tyranny in Pinochet ‘s Chile, Hitler ‘s Germany in the early 1930s, Mussolini’s rise to power in Italy, and Stalin’s Russia. She identified ten steps to tyranny, including: hyping an external threat, establishing a prison system outside the rule of law, justification of torture, deployment of paramilitary forces, a surveillance society, infiltration of citizens’ groups, and the criminalization of thought and speech. Wolf outlined the parallels between the acts of Bush and Congress to these other historical moments.

Give Me Liberty

Wolf has followed this analysis with a new book, Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries, to propose action steps for citizens to roll back Bush’s fascistic expansion of government power. In it, she stresses the need to develop our own ways of documenting and telling our reality, rather than looking to the mainstream media for publicity or reinforcement. She calls on activists to take research, analysis, and journalism seriously, rather than simply offer political opinion. Above all, Wolf emphasized the need to hold Obama’s feet to the fire with massive grassroots pressure. We need to act, “not hand over power to a would-be dictator or savior.”


Historian Rashid Khalidi
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Rashid Khalidi: Restore Respect for UN, International Law

Rashid Khalidi put the situation in the Gaza Strip into context by highlighting the legal framework of Israel’s occupation and recent invasion. He also connected the need for change to Obama’s electoral mandate.

Obama has ordered the detention facility at Guanatanamo to be shut down within the year; current and retired U.S. military officials have described Guantanamo as an embarrassing gulag, whose existence threatens our security. About 11,000 Palestinian detained are held captive in the Israeli gulag, explained Khalidi. Several hundred of these detainees languish in “administrative detention” for six-month terms that can be renewed indefinitely without trial. The other 10,000 were prosecuted under the emergency regulations originally issued by the British colonial regime for minor violations that amount to “breathing while Palestinian.”

The new Obama administration promises to end the use of torture. The Israeli high court ruled against torture, which was practiced under the “ticking bomb” scenario. “Curiously,” Khalidi noted, “the urgent need to employ torture seems to dissipate on the Sabbath,” as Israeli interrogators always go on break at this time. This court ruling has been ignored by the security services. If the United States opposes torture and illegal indeterminate detention, then we must also oppose it in Israel, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.

Next, the United States has entered into a status of forces agreement with Iraq whereby American troops will no longer occupy that country. The Israeli occupation of Gaza continues unabated. One can read acres of American newsprint without seeing mention of the fact that Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip violates the Fourth Geneva Convention and numerous United Nations resolutions. If the United States must withdraw from Iraq, Israel should withdraw from Palestinian territories.

Active Malice Toward the UN

Khalidi detailed Israel’s international law violations in Gaza. First, the eighteen-month blockade that preceeded Israel’s recent invasion is a blot on the United State and European Union, who supported the starvation of a civilian population in the hopes that they might turn against their own government. Next, during the conflict, Israel completely ignored the principle of proportionality that is intrinsic to the right of self-defense. Thirteen Israelis died compared to thirteen hundred Gazans, most of whom were civilians. Israel blocked journalists from entry into Gaza, ensuring no witnesses to the crime scene.


View Photos/Videos From The Event…

In addition to gross disproportionality, the targeting of four UN schools and the UN headquarters demonstrated “disrespect, contempt, and active malice for the United Nations as an institution.” The casualty total of UN personnel is not yet known. Khalidi called for a serious impartial investigation. He mentioned the suggestion of UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk that an invasion that does not permit civilians to flee hostilities may constitute a new war crime in itself. “This law-less approach,” said Khalidi, “all but assures the conflict will continue.”

Finally, Khalidi called for a movement in the United States that is critical of the “faith-based and fact-free” U.S. foreign policy towards Israel. Between 1967-1986 and 1992-1998, the UN passed fifty-two resolutions against Israeli actions. Those resolutions would not have passed if the U.S. actively opposed them with its veto power. The United States cannot simply turn its back on these decisions of the UN.

“The Friends of Israel Really Are Not”

Despite enormous support for Israel’s policies in the U.S., history demonstrates that attacks on civilians only create more resistance. A civilian population that is targeted will “circle the wagons” and unite against the occupying force. This is as true for Gaza and Lebanon as it was for the Vietnamese. A large number of Israelis may recognize this, as more news critical of Israel could be found in the Israeli press than in the U.S.

The basic reality in the U.S. is a huge imbalance of power. People who support Israeli settlements, blockades, and force are highly organized, whereas there are no powerful forces pushing for a just resolution. “Memoirs of peace processors” like Jimmy Carter describe what they wish they had done in the Middle East, but current officials are not truly willing to unravel a forty-one year old occupation regime. According to Khalidi, there must be strong pressure – in the form of organization, money, and brains – to change the political reality and compel politicians to do the right thing.

Thom Cincotta is a staffperson for the International Committee of the NLG and a national vice president.

* Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University. He is the author of numerous books on Palestinian identity and Middle Eastern history, in addition to Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Dominance in the Middle East to be released February 2009.

** Naomi Wolf is author of the international bestseller, The Beauty Myth. She is co-founder of the American Freedom Campaign, a non-partisan citizens’ alliance formed to reverse the abuse of executive power and restore our system of checks and balances.

Posted by Devra Morice - January 22, 2009 | News


(Photo: Mike Morice / NLN)

NEW YORK — On January 19, 2009, several hundred protestors braved the snow and cold in Union Square for a Vigil and March for Justice In Gaza. To date, more than 1,317 Palestinians have been killed in the Israel’s siege on Gaza, including 419 children and 109 women. This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, women and children were in the forefront at the Union Square Rally before leading the boisterous march to Washington Square Park. Despite the recent cease-fire, members of the Break The Siege Coalition- NY, which includes Al-Awda, the Arab Muslim American Federation, The General Union of Palestine Students, and NYC Labor Against the War among other groups, called for no let up in the campaign against Israeli aggression and continued protests to permanently put an end to the occupation.


(Photo: Mike Morice / NLN)

Longtime activist and poet Amiri Baraka, noted the similarities between the the civil rights movement, the work of Dr. King, and the struggle against oppression faced by the Palestinian people today.


(Photo: Mike Morice / NLN)

View Photos From The Action…

Posted by Diane Krauthamer - | News


Protesters rally outside Starbucks
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

On a chilly Monday morning in midtown Manhattan, demonstrators displayed powerful messages of solidarity with food and retail workers, demanding fair wages and treatment while sending a prominent message to bosses: “You can’t keep the workers down, New York is a union town!”

On January 19, 2009, approximately 50 people braved the winter weather for the Industrial Workers of the World’s (IWW) annual “March Against Wage Slavery” in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Starting at 11 AM outside of the Starbucks Regional Office on 5th Avenue in the shadows of the Empire State Building, a radical marching band joined by union members and supporters rallied alongside Starbucks baristas to demand that workers be paid a holiday premium of time and a half for working on MLK Day — the only national holiday in which workers do not receive premium pay.


The police presence outside Starbucks
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Starbucks barista and union organizer Liberte Locke spoke of Starbucks’ hypocritical corporate propaganda of claiming to be “committed to diversity” and “social responsibility” while at the same time refusing to honor Dr. King’s legacy in his fight for racial equality and civil rights.

“It’s very important today to remember that we keep our eyes on the prize. Starbucks will recognize us, they will recognize the work of baristas struggling to survive, baristas on food stamps, on Medicaid because they can’t get the company health insurance. Baristas like myself who can’t afford simple things like paying my rent while they buy a $45 million private jet,” Locke said.

Former barista Joe Agins, Jr., who was fired for organizing with the Starbucks Workers Union of the IWW in 2005, said the holiday premium is an important struggle because in light of the inauguration of the first black president, this “is a time in which the company can show workers that Starbucks believes race is important.”

A holiday premium would “benefit the workers’ livelihoods and show (them) respect,” Agins said. Despite the benefits, Starbucks issued a denial of the union’s demand prior to MLK Day 2008.


The Rude Mechanical Orchestra performed at the protest
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

With the Rude Mechanical Orchestra playing an Italian resistance song “Bella Ciao,” along with a Staten Island resistance song, “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” demonstrators marched east to the Wild Edibles Seafood Market location on 3rd Avenue, demanding justice for 12 workers who were fired after attempting to unionize.

“Instead of respecting the workers’ basic rights to receive overtime pay and form a labor union, (Wild Edibles) owner Richard Martin has responded with an aggressive and illegal retaliation campaign,” explained Stephanie Basile, an IWW organizer. Martin heard about the day’s protest activities and closed down the retail location for half of the day with a sign on the door reading “We are closing for a few hours to sort out some building-related issues.” Former Wild Edibles worker Pedro Hernández glanced at the sign and laughed at Martin’s inability to face the confrontation. Basile said closing the store down was “very telling” of Martin’s anti-worker sentiment.


Owner Richard Martin closed Wild Edibles on MLK Day – why?
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

“The fact that he actually chose to close a few hours of business instead of face the union is just another example of how he constantly evades his responsibilities to the workers,” she said. Former and current Wild Edibles employees filed a federal class action lawsuit against the company on September 17, 2007. According to the complaint, Wild Edibles violated New York Labor Law and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by not compensating workers 1 ½ times the base wage for working more than 40 hours per week, and by discriminating and retaliating for protected activity.

Additionally, the IWW has filed a series of unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over retaliation against employees and interference with organizing activities. After independent investigations of these charges, the NLRB has thus far issued two complaints against Wild Edibles over the unlawful discharge of seven employees and other violations of federal law.

“The workers’ demands include much more, including stopping union busting, rehiring all the fired workers, and paying all the back wages,” she said.

All in all, Basile called Monday’s action a “success” because it energized workers and union supporters who work hard every day on building these campaigns for labor rights in New York City. Joe Agins, Jr. said the protest and his union struggles have made him realize that “no matter what you believe in, you can make a difference by standing up for what is right.”

“The union fights for what the workers believe in and we feel that demanding this MLK premium pay is just the beginning,” Agins said.

“We make (CEO) Howard Schultz his money. He owes us respect, he owes us pay raises, he owes us set guaranteed schedules and hours, and health insurance across the board for everyone” Liberte Locke said.

“We have to hold them accountable for what they do to us everyday and stand united, because we are the coffee slingers of Starbucks. We have to let them know each and everyday that we honor Dr. King even if Howard Schultz and Starbucks does not,” she added.

View Photos/Videos From The Action…


NLN Video

Posted by TAG - January 14, 2009 | News



Vigilers on 45th Street
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

NEW YORK — 140 East 45th Street is the temporary home of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. It has been the site of protests and civil disobedience in recent years as activists attempt to communicate directly with their government. On the evening of Tuesday, January 13, peace activists assembled at the mission to light candles for the fallen of Gaza: 940, including hundreds of women and children, at the time of the vigil.

United for Peace and Justice, CodePINK, Peace Action of New York State, the American Friends Service Committee, World Without Wars and other groups held the candlelight vigil to demand the U.S. join the international call for a ceasefire in the Gaza strip. The groups also demanded “unimpeded humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza,” arguing that, “there is no military solution to the crisis in Gaza, Iraq or Afghanistan. A negotiated settlement is the only way to end the death and suffering.”

Shortly after 5 p.m. the police arrived in force — just as protesters began to populate the sidewalk outside the corporate building that houses the U.S. Mission.

As the number of protesters increased,the NYPD moved the crowd into a protest pen on the opposite side of the street. This turned out to beneficial to the vigilers, as the passing traffic was forced to slow down — the pen extended out from the curb into the middle of 45th Street — and drivers strained to read the candlelit signs and banners. As this reporter walked the length of the pen shooting video, the crowd began to sing Study War No More — offering a dramatic scene to passing motorists and pedestrians.

Organizers were pleased with the turnout. Judith LeBlanc of UFPJ NYC told NLN that she counted 225 vigilers — and that vigil organizers had given out 150 candles. A number of participants had brought their own equipment and seven day candles stood shoulder to shoulder with the shabbat variety.



(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Towards the end of the action, Cheryl Wertz, of Peace Action New York, called for a moment of silence. After the memorial moment had passed, she read aloud a letter to Condoleeza Rice written by the vigil organizers and signed by those present. As the vigil ended, participants shook hands and many headed off to a townhall meeting on the Gaza massacre organized by the World Can’t Wait — an uptown conference that featured actress Vanessa Redgrave, journalist Chris Hedges and Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party candidate for the presidency in 2008. Wertz walked over to the U.S. Mission to deliver the letter.

[ As this story goes to press, the BBC is reporting that the number of Palestinian deaths from the Israeli attacks on Gaza has surpassed 1000 -- with 315 of those killed being children. -- Editor ]


View Photos/Videos From The Action…




Posted by Next Left Notes - January 12, 2009 | News


(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

NEW YORK — On Saturday, January 10th, in solidarity with other protests around the world, members of MDS Staten Island joined over a 100 protesters in Harlem — to denounce the indiscriminate bombing of Gazan civilians by Israeli armed forces. The event was one of many protests in recent days as the world takes to the streets in defense of Gaza. Protesters across the globe are demanding an immediate cease fire by Israel, which has the support of the United States government in its assault on the Palestinian civilian population.

Over the last two weeks, the movement against Israeli aggression has grown throughout the world. However, in spite of a UN resolution for Israel to stop the bombing, the United States Congress, both the Senate and the House, recently passed passed a bi-partisan resolution in support of Israel’s “right to defend itself” against terrorism. Conversely, the number of civilians killed, particularly women and children, has caused many in the peace movement to accuse the Israelis of committing genocide.


Members of the New Black Panther Party at the protest
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

In response to the Israeli aggression, Movement for a Democratic Society, World Can’t Wait, the Harlem Revolution Club, the New Black Panther Party and members of various Arab-American activist groups joined together Saturday, in front of the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office building on 125th Street and 7th Avenue. On a cold and snowy afternoon the assembled activists were warmed only by their outrage. Demands shouted into bullhorns, audible over the din of the traffic in the bustling shopping center, announced “Down, Down Israel!”, “Free, Free Palestine”, and “From Harlem to Gaza, we are all Palestinians!”. Protesters ranging in age from 2 to 62 marched through the streets of Harlem, calling attention to what is happening in the Middle East.

The vibrant procession was met with shouts of solidarity, and questioned as to what was happening. A number of pedestrians were happy to see the march taking place, told protesters to keep up the fight, and a few joined the march as it wound down 125th street. Drivers honked their horns in support, people on the buses waved, and even some members of the NYPD, who accompanied the unpermitted march, were overheard saying they denounced what Israel was doing to the people of Gaza.

The march concluded back at the state office building at 3 p.m., with some of the protesters continuing on to Union Square to join another protest for peace and justice in Gaza.

***

CNN is reporting that on Sunday, January 11th, at a protest organized by the International Action Center, the NYPD arrested a number of protesters for allegedly injuring seven police officers. Despite the allegations of injury, the protesters are charged with disorderly conduct — a violation, not a crime — and “reckless endangerment”. Protesters report that police indiscriminately pepper sprayed them — a claim the NYPD denies, according to the NY Daily News. Protesters also reported that the police charged the crowd with horses — and targeted young Arab-American males. Organizers are asking activists to pack the courtroom at 100 Centre Street on Monday morning at 9 a.m. — where a number of those arrested will be arraigned.

Additional protests in defense of Gaza are scheduled.

On Monday, January 12th, a formation called “Jews Say Not In Our Name” — which includes Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights — will hold a vigil at the Israeli consulate at 5:30 p.m. The consulate is located at 800 Second Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets.

On Tuesday, January 13th, United for Peace and Justice is holding a vigil at the US Mission, located at 140 E. 45th Street (between Third Avenue and Lexington Ave). The vigil runs from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Elaine Brower and Thomas Good contributed to this article.

View Photos/Videos From The Action…



Posted by Elaine Brower - January 8, 2009 | News



(Photo: Elaine Brower / NLN)

Loud and rowdy members of the Staten Island chapter of Movement for a Democratic Society joined in with about 300 other protesters on Wednesday evening, January 7th to throw shoes at Mayor Bloomberg.

Bloomberg recently traveled to Israel and held a press conference, joined by his sidekick, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, to foolishly and arrogantly announce that he represented “all the people of New York City and their support for what Israel is doing to protect itself from the terrorist attacks of Hamas.” Immediate outrage rang through communities around the city at this comment. He does not represent the sentiment of “all the people of New York City,” especially when it comes to the horrendous attacks that the government of Israel has been wielding against the innocent people of Gaza.

Hundreds took to the street last night to show Bloomberg that they refuse to accept his comment, demanding peace for the Palestinian people and the end of the Israeli aggression. We gathered at City Hall park, directly outside the building where the Mayor works, and speakers, one by one, denounced his statements of support.

Councilman Charles Barron spoke, as well as many members of the Arab community, joined in solidarity by the December 12th coalition against police brutality, and the International Action Center. Everyone there hurled their shoes at a large poster of Bloomberg’s face mounted by the side of the street, shouting epithets and showing their outrage. However, one Staten Island protester (yours truly) decided to stick to the plan and threw a shoe over the City Hall fence!

The march continued past City Hall, down to the Supreme Court Building with hundreds yelling “Bash Bloomberg”, “Free Gaza Now!” and “Peace for Palestine.” Police were everywhere, including some high ranking officials. Our tax dollars at work once again protecting the streets from its citizens!

When the rally was over about 7:00 PM, the three Staten Islanders headed home feeling good about hitting the streets once again in protest.

View Photos/Videos From The Action…

Posted by Gordon Clark - | Analysis


(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Gordon Clark was the Green Party candidate for Congress in Maryland’s 8th C.D. in 2008.

I was doing my level best to enjoy the recent holidays, and think about the hopeful prospect of a new year, but the steady barrage of TV, radio and newspaper headlines announcing war in the Middle East made it tough.

Just as disturbing as the violence itself was the eerie quiet that quickly descended around it in the media. There was precious little editorial or commentator protest against the Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip, even though the initial attacks killed more people than had died on any previous day in the long and anguished history of this conflict. And then, as the airstrikes escalated into a full ground assault, the prominence of the headlines and stories actually began to decrease, as if the media were already losing interest.

Of course this relative lack of concern only mirrors the position of official Washington. While it is no surprise to anyone who follows this issue, it was still amazing to observe the steady stream of commentators and Congresspeople ready to justify and support the attacks without hesitation – even John Stewart couldn’t help commenting on this lock-step non-debate. And they all do it in such a matter-of-fact, “move along folks, nothing to see here” manner.

Where was Barack Obama in this crisis? It took digging deep inside a couple newspapers to learn that his position was, essentially, “no comment.”



(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Why has Barack had nothing to say? His rationale that “we only have one President at a time” is, I’m sorry to have to point out, a ridiculous fig leaf. It didn’t stop him from commenting on the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and it sure hasn’t stopped him from acting plenty Presidential when it comes to publicly fashioning the largest stimulus package in U.S. history, and making very public speeches about the dire consequences should it not pass..

Another rationale I heard is that he doesn’t want to distract from his focus on the economy. But let war flare up in the Middle East, and I guarantee he’ll be distracted.

Continue Reading…



(Photo: Paul H. Park / NLN)

Yesterday was the first day of the 111th Congress. For the first time after the November elections, the new members were sworn in with pomp and circumstance, and their families in tow. What a proud moment for them, especially the newly minted democrats who rode the wave of national discontent with the republican party. The halls of the Dirksen, Russell and Hart Buildings were freshly scrubbed, and bustling with food, people, and new furniture.

However, gathering a few blocks away were anti-war activists determined to rain on their parade by reminding these partygoers that there are wars happening, with lots of death and destruction, compliments of Congressional funding and complicity. The “March of the Dead”, created by the group calling itself “Activist Response Team” or ART, sent out a call for all those with a conscience to show up on January 6th in D.C. to wear a mask and carry the name of someone killed in illegal wars and occupations.

They gathered, approximately seventy people, in the inclement weather, blocks away, doning white masks and wearing all black signifying the souls of those who will be haunting the criminals who are sending bombs to kill Iraqis, Afghanis, Palestinians and members of the military who are the lethal arm of this government’s quest for empire. About 11:45 AM the solemn march started in a downpour, with media watching and documenting the procession of the dead. Winding their way around the streets of D.C., the 70 represented over a million humans wantonly killed by mega-ton bombs and drone missiles; by soldiers’ bullets, car bombs and IED explosions. The souls of the dead reminding those who are living of the horrors of aggression.

The march stopped at the Supreme Court Building, where the guards expected the protesters to conduct civil disobedience. But moments later, the group moved away kept their ambling pace, hands open with black gloves and staring gazes. Their mission was to bring the dead to Congress.



MDSer Richie Marini is arrested by Capitol Police
(Photo: Paul H. Park / NLN)

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(Photo: ActiveStills.org / Used With Permission)

Israel’s most bloody assault on Gaza since 1967 — codenamed “Operation Cast Lead,” Mivtza Oferet Yetzukah — began on the morning of 27 December, the 6th day of Hanukkah. The name “cast lead” is taken from a famous poem “To Hanukkah” by the Hebrew writer H. N. Bialik, referring to a gift of a “cast-lead top” as a traditional Hanukkah present for children, familiar as the text of a Hanukkah’s children’s song. It ravaged Gaza on December 29, in the Muslim calendar Muharram 1, the first day of the first lunar month, Muslim New Year 1430. Muharram is the most sacred Muslim month after Ramadan, and one in which fighting is traditionally prohibited. In its deadly spin, this “cast-lead top” had by 7 January claimed the lives of over 600, with nearly 3,000 injured, a large proportion of whom are civilians, and many children.

There has been massive protest among Palestinians everywhere, including the West Bank. Less reported in the mainstream media is the killing of demonstrators there by the Israeli Occupation Forces. On 28 December, Anarchists Against the Wall activists joined a demonstration in the village of Ni’ilin against Israel’s war crimes in Gaza. Israeli forces opened fire on a number of youths, killing one protester and leaving another in critical condition, who died three days later on December 31 (see an AATW activist’s description below).

Arafat Rateb Khawaja, 20 years old, was shot in the back with live ammunition, and died in Ramallah Hospital that same day.


(Photo: ActiveStills.org / Used With Permission)

He was buried on 29 December, which AATW described as an “extremely charged funeral in Ni’ilin, followed by a day of clashes with the army.”


(Photo: ActiveStills.org / Used With Permission)

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(Photo: Liberte Locke / IWW)

NEW YORK — While New Yorkers were wishing each other a Happy New Year this past New Year’s Eve, a few select Starbucks managers were met with three different words: Where’s Anna’s Money?

This simple question has become the catchphrase of a campaign to help barista Anna Hurst win two weeks’ pay from the company. Hurst is a member of the Starbucks Workers Union, which is part of the Industrial Workers of the World.

The SWU staged a New Year’s Eve protest as part of the ongoing campaign for Hurst. In addition to demanding pay for Hurst, the demonstrators talked to customers about the union’s struggle for secure work hours and respect on the job. For one of the demonstrators, Starbucks barista Henry Marin, it was his first public action as a member of the union.

The group of about 10 union members spent an hour demonstrating on a cold New Year’s Eve, chanting outside the Union Square East store and holding signs bearing slogans such as “Support Your Local Union Baristas,” and the soon-to-be ubiquitous slogan “Where’s Anna’s Money?” Customers were encouraged to ask management this question inside. One customer reported that the manager he spoke to pretended she had no idea what he was talking about.

Where’s Anna’s Money?

When a person is sick and has to leave work early, and if that person happens to be a part-time hourly wage earner, she or he misses out on the remaining hours in that shift. Having no paid sick time, this and other precarious situations are of the type that Starbucks baristas are used to dealing with.

And thus, when Anna Hurst left work sick during a shift this past August, she already knew she’d have to deal with losing a few hours’ pay. Never do people imagine, though, that their employer will then deny them an additional two weeks of work. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Starbucks did. After having to leave sick, Hurst called work the next day to find out her schedule only to discover that her name had been removed from the schedule for two weeks.

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