“Promise Kept!” by Governor Cuomo
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

NEW YORK — June 26, 2011. Could it be — gay New Yorkers in 2011 are proud, powerful AND able to wed? In a word, Yes.


“New York Said Yes!” to equal rights
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a “same sex marriage” bill into law at 11:15 p.m. on Friday and although the law won’t take effect until July 24, 2011, New Yorkers took to the streets for one big party. The law was signed on the eve of the 42nd annual gay pride parade and Sunday’s march was festive to say the least. The parade route, New York’s storied Fifth Avenue, was lined with onlookers holding signs that said, “Promise Kept” and “Thank You Governor Cuomo.”


Democracy is not a spectator sport…
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

In a political moment where every politician from Mayor Michael Bloomberg to President Obama are discussing how to avoid asking the nation’s wealthy to help pay for the oil wars and Wall Street bailout boondoggles, it is important to recognize a human rights victory when one occurs.


Conformity is not the sincerest form of democracy
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

The Left hasn’t had a lot to celebrate in the Bush-Obama era. From domestic spying and racial profiling by law enforcement to offshore torture and three seemingly interminable wars, progressives in these United States have been taking it on the chin for almost a decade. The latest insult to the intelligence — the Bloomberg / Walker / Christie (et al.) argument that somehow teachers, emergency service and public sector workers are to blame for our fiscal problems — is enough to compel even the most generous observer to question the judgment, if not the sanity, our political “leadership.”


Rep. Jerry Nadler (c) with activist Yetta Kurland
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

As our tax money circles the drain in the Pentagon, as our three undeclared wars grind on, our young people are sent home with TBI, PTSD and missing limbs, only to find no work, a shattered housing market and an all out assault on educators, health care workers and unions. The American Dream? No acronym, euphemism or rosy forecast is big enough to mask the unpleasant reality that is the U.S. today – a nation of downwardly mobile debtors.


New Yorkers were dancing in the streets on Sunday
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

And yet, in one state, in one statement, we have cause for celebration.


(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

As the morally, and literally, bankrupt and bipartisan, political leadership looks to turn back the clock in almost all sectors of American life, it is noteworthy that New York has stepped into the 21st Century. And this happened due to the efforts of a Democrat governor who garnered enough Republican support to do the right thing.


(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Change we can believe in?

Perhaps.


Veteran Bill Gilson standing up for pride — and peace
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

In any event, the passage of the marriage law represents a rare moment of sanity. While the pundits are debating whether Obama’s less-than-ambitious plan to return the U.S. troop deployment in Afghanistan to a pre-surge level is “dangerous” and Obama himself dodged the issue of gay marriage (echoing New Jersey’s Bush-lite governor in espousing support for civil unions), Andrew Cuomo stood up. Does this make Cuomo a progressive? No. His austerity measures will hammer working people and the rich will continue to do quite well, thank you.

And yet, a party is in order.


Tom Hayden: the Left needs to celebrate its victories
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Tom Hayden once noted that the Left needs to recognize and celebrate its rare victories. And that is precisely what we did on Sunday.


A CodePINK activist stands up for Bradley Manning
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

And in the midst of the celebration was a group of Veterans For Peace and CodePINK activists reminding us all that those brave souls who stand up for truth and justice, who blow the whistle on war crimes, shouldn’t be imprisoned. They too should be celebrated. It takes courage to come out with the truth. One soldier, who happens to be gay, did just that – and is paying a high price for an act of conscience.


(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

The Bradley Manning Pride Contingent marched along with the other celebrants and in their ranks were several NLN photographers, recording the moment for posterity. As the contingent moved down Broadway onlookers cheered and eagerly took printed materials – materials explaining Manning’s case and demanding his freedom. As the contingent neared Christopher Street, veterans waved their Veterans’ Affairs cards, families flashed peace signs and all of us who marched knew that we were New Yorkers in the company of other New Yorkers – our city remains a place where diversity is celebrated and tolerance is more than a catchphrase.


Activists working to free political prisoner Bradley Manning
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

It sounds trite but Love was in the air. The New York Times described the march as “euphoric.” Even that superlative seems an understatement to this observer.


“Love Always Wins,” said a young celebrant
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

View Photos From The March…

Posted by TAG - June 4, 2011 | News


(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — June 4, 2011. It’s that time of year again — when a lefty photojournalist’s thoughts turn to equality for gay men and women.


The Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps performing at the march
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

The first of New York City’s pride marches is often held on Staten Island and 2011 was no exception. Visiting the “forgotten borough” to join in the festivities were: “Miss New York” Claire Buffie; “Miss Liberty” Kimberly Cantoni, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, and City Comptroller John Liu. A number of local organizations and politicians also participated in the celebration of diversity.


Miss New York, Clair Buffie, 2011 Grand Marshal
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)


Miss Liberty, Kimberly Cantoni
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)


Celebrating Staten Island Pride
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)


Scott Stringer (l) and John Liu (c) at the march
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)


Miss New York with Assemblyman Matt Titone
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

View Photos/Videos From The Event…


Pride!
(Photo: Thomas Good / NLN)

Posted by TAG - June 1, 2011 | News


“Arrest Kissinger”
(Photo: Ruth Benn / NLN)

NEW YORK — June 1, 2011. A variety of activists protested the appearance of the “oldest U.S. war criminal” at the 92nd Street Y on Tuesday evening.


Veteran Bill Steyert calls for Kissinger’s arrest
(Photo: Ruth Benn / NLN)

The man whom activists said “Was responsible for crimes against humanity in VietNam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Chile, Iraq and many other countries,” is on a book tour. Henry Kissinger, who served as Nixon’s National Security Advisor during the U.S. war in Vietnam, spoke at New York’s 92nd Street Y on Tuesday. Charging $29 a seat, Kissinger was on hand to sign his new book, On China.

Not everyone was pleased to see the former diplomat.


Joyce Horman’s husband was murdered in Chile
(Photo: Ruth Benn / NLN)

Kissinger’s appearance was met by a variety of local activists who haven’t forgotten or forgiven the peace movement’s longtime foe. Holding the former Secretary Of State and National Security Advisor responsible for U.S. atrocities in Vietnam and the CIA-backed coup that resulted in the overthrow and suicide of Chile’s Salvador Allende, the activists formed a cordon outside the Y as police and legal observers looked on.


Protesters provide a list of Kissinger’s alleged war crimes
(Photo: Ruth Benn / NLN)

Protesters’ signs calling for Kissinger’s arrest chronicled his role in some of the sadder chapters in U.S. history: U.S. support for South African apartheid and South Africa’s war on Angola, the illegal bombing of Cambodia and Laos by U.S. forces, the carpet bombing of North Vietnam by the U.S. Air Force, CIA support for Chilean dictator and death squad leader Augusto Pinochet — whose intelligence services murdered U.S. citizens — and U.S. support for the Bangladeshi military that was responsible for mass murder and rape. One activist from the Granny Peace Brigade carried a sign that read “Spain and France have arrest warrants for Kissinger.” Kissinger’s alleged war crimes “Have at times inconvenienced his travels” according to Wikipedia. The Wikipedia piece noted that, “Kissinger has evaded legal summons by investigators in France, Chile and Argentina seeking to question him regarding his role in the disappearances of numerous citizens of the U.S. and other nations.”


“Spain and France have arrest warrants for Kissinger”
(Photo: Ruth Benn / NLN)

When Kissinger received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, American singer-songwriter Tom Lehrer said that, “Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.”

Despite the controversy surrounding his past Kissinger continues to work as a political consultant — according to Bob Woodward’s State Of Denial, published in 2006, Kissinger had advised then president George W. Bush on how to conduct the Iraq War.

Prior to Kissinger’s appearance activists called on the 92nd Street Y to cancel the event. When this initiative failed, organizers called the protest. Organizations participating in the demonstration included the War Resisters League, the World Can’t Wait, War Criminals Watch, Veterans For Peace, Code PINK and Movimiento la Pena del Bronx.

View Photos From The Event…