Friday, June 29, 2007

Celebrate July 4th with the Grannies Peace Brigade and Veterans for Peace

If your looking for peaceful ways to celebrate July 4th here are a couple of suggestions:

1) Granny Peace Brigade Read-In
Wednesday, July 4, noon

The grannies with America's leading civil liberties attorney, Norman Siegel, and celebrities will read the Delaration of Independence, parts of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and names of Iraqi and American dead in the Iraq war in Central Park's Strawberry Fields. Strawberry Fields is in the park a little east of Central Park West near West 72nd Street.

This continues a tradition begun by Norman Siegel in 1969.

For further info Contact:
Joan Wile
(212) 917-441-0651

Sponsored By:
Grandmothers Against the War Granny Peace Brigade

2) VIGIL JULY 4, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

on Wednesday, July 4, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Military Families Speak Out and Veterans for Peace will hold a vigil at the Times Square Recruiting Station at 43 St & Broadway to turn our country's thoughts to the U.S. soldiers on the FRONT LINES,

Join Military Families Speak Out
Veterans for Peace-End the War

Not one more Life! Not one more dollar! Not one more Death!

Annette Rubinstein, 1910-2007

Annette Rubinstein 1910-2007

Annette T. Rubinstein died on June 20 at 97.

The left and progressive forces in the U.S. and around the world have been greatly diminished by her death.

A memorial will be held on Sunday, September 23, 2:00-5:00pm
At the Brecht Forum.
All are invited.

An active socialist for 75 years, Annette was the author of innumerable articles in Science & Society, Monthly Review, Mainstream and Jewish Currents, among others. She wrote the standard progressive introduction to English literature, The Great Tradition: From Shakespeare to Shaw as well as American Literature: Root and Flower, an invaluable overview of that country's literary history. Both emphasize the massive, but officially hidden, presence of the literature of resistance to oppression at the heart of the history and development of modern English language and literature.

In recent years when she was in the country Annette did most of her speaking in classes at the Brecht Forum (New York Marxist School) where she taught since it opened its doors in the Fall of 1975 and continued to teach classes on literature, drama and politics until her last class on Brecht's Galileo this Spring.

In her last public appearance, on the occasion of her 97th birthday in April, Annette returned to the topic of the literature of resistance in her talk and gathered her strength to do an effective public reading in Shelley’s The Mask of Anarchy.

In the 1940s she founded and led the Robert Louis Stevenson school, an innovative primary and secondary school in New York, and during World War II served on Mayor LaGuardia's commission on the status of children in wartime. She was an unsuccessful candidate for congress on the American Labor Party (ALP) ticket in a district on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and also served as state vice chair of the ALP. In 1958 she ran for Lieutenant Governor of New York State as an Independent Socialist candidate. Annette took the 5th amendment when asked by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy if she were a member of the Communist party. McCarthy replied that she was the most charming communist who had sat before his committee, to which she responded, "Aren't you jumping to conclusions, Senator."

Rubinstein was a key adviser to radical New York congressman Vito Marcantonio throughout his career. On his death she edited I Vote My Conscience: Speeches and Writings of Vito Marcantonio 1935-1950.

She also taught widely and was a visiting professor at universities in Eastern Europe and China. Despite her many intellectual and organizational contributions to a global community of activists and left intellectuals, notably at New York City's Brecht Forum, and to Science & Society, Monthly Review and many other publications, she was most proud of her activism. She played an important role in the struggle against racial and class oppression in the New York public schools and would speak anywhere, from street corners to Madison Square Garden.

(I have adapted this from John Bellamy Foster's obituary for Annette at Monthly

Thursday, June 28, 2007

July 7 & July 8: Anti-war expressions at the Brecht Forum

July 7, 2007, 7pm


July 8, 2007, 1pm

Anti-War Expressions
at The Brecht Forum

Written and Performed by Ollin Imagination

Brecht Forum
451 West (between Bank and Bethune Sts)

for more info: 212.242.4201 ext.11

Sliding Scale Tickets $6/$10/$15/$20

Please arrive on time!
The show duration is 50 minutes!

(Take the A, C, E to 14th st 1, 2, 3, 9 to 14th st and 7th Ave.)

"Ollin Imagination's Anti-war Expressions (AWE) is a Latino response to the Iraq war written and performed by Ollin Imagination members Tania Romero, Rafael LandrĂ³n, Luz Schreiber, and Madelene DeLeon.
It is a performance combining poetry, spoken word and music to convey the horrific effects of war on communities in the U. S. and abroad.
These anti-war expressions aim to be a tool in ending the war as well as the aggressive military recruitment of immigrant/poor youth and all youth of color. The various characters explore the multifaceted dimensions of people affected by the war. The artists delve into the minds of war veterans, women, and poor youth and immigrants. The desperation and resiliency of mothers and children torn by war in Iraq are also depicted. The crude reality, discrimination, and hopelessness faced in war are common threads uniting the lives of these characters.

Although filled with the injustices and horrors of war, humor and hope also blend to remind us of the power of human beings and the possibility of a peaceful and just society.

AWE also intends to nurture dialogue and action by placing people closer to the reality of war. Advocating for liberation and creative solutions that address the moral, physical, and spiritual destruction caused by war, Ollin Imagination hopes the show will inspire others to create their own expressions of resistance against warfare, exploitation, all forms of discrimination, or any other issue affecting them and their communities."

For more information:

Monday, June 25, 2007

That's why the call them scholars

"President Bush was presented with a letter Monday signed by 50 high school seniors in the Presidential Scholars program urging a halt to 'violations of the human rights' of terror suspects held by the United States.

"The White House said Bush had not expected the letter but took a moment to read it and talk with a young woman who handed it to him.

"'The president enjoyed a visit with the students, accepted the letter and upon reading it let the student know that the United States does not torture and that we value human rights,' deputy press secretary Dana Perino said."

(from Democratic Underground)

That's why they call the young people scholars. We should call them heroes. The real question is: who knew Bush could read?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

June 27: Vigil for Kian Tajbakhsh

Here's a follow-up to the recent note from our comrade and friend Juliet Ucelli:

"I think I have spoken to many of you about my friend Kian Tajbakhsh, who has been unjustly detained by the Iranian government since May 11, allowed no lawyer or family visits and possibly facing serious charges. (Some of you also know Kian yourselves.) More info is available at

"Amnesty International and other groups have called a vigil at UN Plaza on behalf of the Iranian-American detainees--their notice is below. It's on Wednesday, June 27 from noon to 1 p.m.

"It would be great if anyone who's free during the day or works nearby could attend."



"Amnesty International, the American Islamic Congress, Human Rights Watch, the National Iranian-American Council, the Near Eastern Studies Department at Princeton University, and Vital Voices Global Partnership have organized a vigil to support Haleh, Kian and the other detained Iranian-Americans. The event begins at noon on Wednesday, June 27th at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza across from the United Nations Plaza (at 47th St. and 1st Ave.)."

Monday, June 18, 2007

July 9:"In Darfur" at the Delacorte Theater - free

July 9, 8:00PM

In Darfur

Written by Winter Miller
Directed by Joanna Settle

At the Delacorte Theater in Central Park

Featuring Ron Brice, Leon Addison Brown, Zainab Jah, Aaron Lohr, Heather Raffo, Maduka Steady, Sharon Washington, Rutina Wesley

With SPECIAL GUESTS including Don Cheadle, Mark Hanis, Daoud Ibarahaem Hari, Omer Ismail, Nicholas Kristof and John Prendergast.

Pick up free tickets on the day of the performance, beginning at 1:00pm at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park or from 1-3pm at The Public Theater Box office, 425 Lafayette Street (just below Astor Place).
For more information click here or call 212-539-8750.

In Darfur is the provocative account of three intertwined lives at a camp for internally displaced persons in Darfur. The story follows an aid-worker’s mission to save and protect lives, a journalist’s pursuit to deliver a Page One story and a Darfuri woman’s quest for safety. It is a searing story of urgency and international significance.

(Working as Research Assistant to Nicholas Kristof, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist from The New York Times, playwright Winter Miller is immersed in the issues surrounding the ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan.)

Join The Public Theater in drawing attention to the genocide in Darfur at this one-night-only event.

The Save Darfur Coalition
Genocide Intervention Network

Make a $100 tax-deductible donation – 30% goes to Darfur Beneficiaries – and receive a reserved seat. Order information below.

To learn more about the crisis in Darfur and to get involved,
visit the websites of Save Darfur and Genocide Intervention Network.

*Cast and special guests subject to change.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Who's government?

Every once in a great while despite all the cacophony of the war in Iraq, the immigration battle and the wildly overlong election campaign a sharp light exposes the self-image of the Bush administration.

Several days ago in an attempt to once again brush off the will of the people's representatives over the issue of the utterly incompetent Attorney General, Bush uttered these words:

"They [Congress] can have their votes of no confidence but it's not going to make the determination about who serves in my government."

No one ever accused George W. Bush of having any sense of history or his place in it. But the line of demarcation between his understanding of the relationship between the government and the people and that of Abraham Lincoln becomes all the sharper when his comment is compared to Lincoln's "Government of the people, by the people, for the people, [which] shall not perish from the Earth."

Hopefully it won't be too long before Bush takes his government back to Texas and we can reclaim our government.

June 22: Film showing - EL PUEBLO SE LEVANTA (The people rise up)

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition Film Showing:

(The people rise up)
(A 1970’s Newsreel production.)

Friday, June 22, 7 PM

The story of the 1960’s - 70’s Puerto Rican, revolutionary youth organization, the Young Lords.
Open discussion on the significance of that movement.

ANSWER Coalition office
2295 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.
(Bt 134th & 135th Streets)

(Subway: 7th Ave 2 & 3 or the C & B to 135th Street.)

$7 donation suggested. No one turned away for lack of funds.

ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

June 16 - N.Y. C. Labor Chorus Concert

Photo by Dan Cohen
New York City Labor Chorus

Saturday June 16th - 7:30pm

Ethical Culture Society
2 West 64th Street (off Central Park West)

Celebrate the great tradition of labor and folk music through song.

Seniors, Students, & Unemployed: $15

Film: Salud - June 14

Film screening and discussion of:
by Academy Award Nominee Connie Field

Thursday, June 14th, 6:30 - 9 pm

55 West 17th St, 5th floor,
(bt 5th & 6th Aves)

Also meet one of the 1st U.S. graduates from the Cuban Medical School.
Find out about the week he just spent with PINCC (Prevention International: No Cervical Cancer) in El Salvador.

Filmed in Cuba , South Africa , The Gambia, Honduras and Venezuela .
Salud is a timely film about the competing values that mark the battle for global health.


March to End the War in Iraq

Troops Out Now!
Put the Antiwar Movement Back on the Streets

September 22 – 29 -- Anti-war encampment in Washington D.C.

September 29 – March on Washington D.C.
Assemble at the Capitol – March on the White House

Stop the War Abroad and at Home

All are invited to an Antiwar Strategy meeting in New York City on Saturday, June 16 where there will be more discussion of this proposal, as well as others.

In the spirit of unity, and for the purposes of taking the movement away from politicians and putting it back into the streets, the Troops Out Now Coalition submits this proposal to all antiwar forces:

Our proposal is for an Encampment to Stop the War at Home & Abroad, starting on Saturday, September 22 in Washington D.C., culminating in a mass march on Saturday, September 29.

This proposal is open to change. TONC welcomes and encourages discussion and suggestions for modifying and improving this proposal. Please endorse the proposal if you are in agreement.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Petition to free Kian Tajbakhsh

From our longtime friend and comrade Juliet Ucelli:


"I may have mentioned to some of you that one of the Iranian-U.S. dual citizens currently being detained and charged with espionage by the Iranian government is a good friend of mine for over 20 years, Kian Tajbakhsh.

"Kian left a professorship at the New School (in Urban Planning) to return to his country and work on public service projects like flood relief and social security administration, usually through contracts that the Open Society Institute had with the Iranian government. I've stayed in touch with Kian since we met, when he first came to NYC in the mid-80s and was working as an advocate for low-income housing. He is a principled, progressive person who of course is not a spy for the U.S. and is unfortunately caught in a game between the two governments.

"Some of Kian's friends at Columbia and the New School have initiated a petition to the Iranian government for his release, and I hope that people can sign it by going to The update below and of course the web site itself contain more information. Thanks."


From: "Free Kian"

"Dear friend,

"Kian has been in Evin Prison for four weeks as of today. He has still not
seen a lawyer. This week, he was charged with espionage, which is a
capital crime in Iran. The charges are completely unfounded, and we call
for their dismissal and Kian’s immediate release from prison.

"Many academic and human rights organizations have released letters of
support for Kian, which can be seen at under
“Statements of Support.” We have also added a new section to share your
comments, as well as more media coverage and some of Kian’s writing.

"Please continue to raise awareness about Kian and the other detainees, and
encourage others to visit the website and sign the petition. We are
deeply grateful for your support."

Thank you,

-The Free Kian Campaign

Protest Bush's latest outrage

From Human Rights Campaign Take Action

"Keep Bias Out of America's Health Decisions."

Bush's latest outrage is his appointment of homophobic Dr. James Holsinger, whose "record seems to demonstrate that he is uninterested in the best scientific information available; instead, he allows his anti-gay bias to inform his medical judgments. In past writings he has compared reproductive organs to plumbing parts and he seems to believe homosexuality is a 'lifestyle' choice that should be 'cured.'

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the Bush agenda that "This is the man Bush wants to make our next Surgeon General?"

"Voice your outrage today, by writing your Senators. Tell them to vote NO on Holsinger's nomination." See above link to take action.

If you have any doubts about Holsinger's homophobia, check out "Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality"

Friday, June 08, 2007

June 18: Solidarity Tour-Voices of Iraqi Workers

June 18, 2007, 6:30-8:30pm

Solidarity Tour-Voices of Iraqi Workers

Transit Workers Union Local 100
80 West End Avenue

Hashmeya Muhsin Hussein, President of Iraqi Electrical Utility Workers Union, the first woman to lead a national union in Iraq.
Faleh Abood Umara, General Secretary of Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, which has been leading the struggle to prevent the take over of Iraq’s oil by multinational corporations.

Come to hear about:
• What conditions for working people are like in Iraq?
• How the occupation has affected families and children?
• Why unions oppose the proposed oil investment law?
• What will happen if the occupation continues?
• What will happen if it rapidly ends?
• What do Iraqi working people want to happen?
• How is a peaceful, stable, non-sectarian Iraq possible?

Contribution: $5-10 sliding scale as a donation to support Iraqi unions

Sponsored by: United for Peace and Justice/NYC, US Labor Against the War, CODEPINK NYC For more Info: (212) 868-5545

Thursday, June 07, 2007

In LA people like Paris are untouchable

Photo by: Peter Kramer / Getty;
Thos Robinson / Getty

I don't know if Paris Hilton should have been sentenced to jail in the first place. I'm not sure that if her name were Shirley Smith she would have been. But once she was she obviously should have been treated like any other jailbird.

But it is even more surprising that anyone - least of all someone as politically sophisticated as Rev. Al Sharpton - is surprised that a white, rich celebrity would be given preferential treatment in Los Angeles. According to People online, after her premature release Sharpton said:

"This early release gives all the appearances of economic and racial favoritism that is constantly cited by poor people and people of color," the civil-rights leader and president of National Action Network said Thursday, according to the Drudge Report. "There are any number of cases of people who handle being incarcerated badly and even have health conditions that are not released."

"I have served several sentences for civil rights and civil disobedience actions and I even fasted, which caused health concerns to prison authorities who paid for a doctor to come see me daily rather than release me," Sharpton said. "This act smacks of the double standards that many of us raise."

One of the problems with all this brouhaha over her incarceration, release and possible return to finish her sentence is that as usual she is being used as a distraction from the issues about which people should be concerned. As the war in Iraq tanks and Bush makes an ass of himself at the G8 meeting and the Democratic Congress uncovers more and more administration disasters the clowns will be brought out to entertain the populace. I would much prefer that Sharpton urge people to ignore these distractions and focus on what's important.

But I doubt that that will happen.

Rape is a hate crime

Last Friday the New York Post reported that Sacha Baron Cohen (no relation) the creator of Ali G on HBO (Da Ali G Show) and more recently the smash hit film Borat is expanding to write a book. Publisher Suzanne Herz told the Post:

"This is Borat, so it's hysterical, very funny. He's become an iconic figure ... It'll be like nothing like you've ever read." The Post also said "that readers should expect Borat to tell tourists [to Kazakhstan] about the 'sports' his country has to offer -- which according to him, include archery, rape, pingpong and dog hunting."

This is not, of course, the first time recently that weak attempts at humor have been used to cover up verbal attacks on women. Remember how shlock jocks Opie & Anthony laughed as "Homeless Charlie," a character on their show talked about how he would like to "fuck that bitch." Opie and Anthony laughed and said, "I just imagine the horror in Condoleezza Rice's face ... as she realizes what's going on ... as you were just holding her down and fucking her." They continued to laugh as "Charlie" talked about punching Rice in the face and raping Laura Bush "to death ."

The extraordinary brutality of all this can't be ignored. It's seems to be part and parcel of a broader right-wing attempt regain control over women; to turn women back into chattel.

That's, after all, what the fight over women's bodies is all about. Women can't be free and liberated unless they can control their own sexuality and their own bodies.

The pseudo-humorous use of rape - the classical weapon of male dominance - needs to be counteracted, not through censorship, but by constantly challenging this use of rape in the guise of humor to attack women.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

One Note Rudy echoes W and the boys

If you have enjoyed the last nearly eight years of U.S. politics, you'll certainly appreciate "One Note Rudy":

"It’s unthinkable that you would leave Saddam Hussein in charge of Iraq and be able to fight the war on terror. And the problem is that we see Iraq in a vacuum. Iraq should not be seen in a vacuum. Iraq is part of the overall terrorist war against the United States."

"And during the debate the other night, the Democrats seemed to be back in the 1990s. They don’t seem to have gotten beyond the Cold War. Iran is a threat, a nuclear threat, not just because they can deliver a nuclear warhead with missiles. They’re a nuclear threat because they are the biggest state sponsor of terrorism and they can hand nuclear materials to terrorists. And we saw just last week in New York an attempt by Islamic terrorists to attack JFK Airport; three weeks ago, an attempt to attack Fort Dix."

Does this remind you of anyone else? How about George W. Bush just before last November's election:

"The stakes in this war are high and so are the stakes this November. Americans face a choice between two parties with different attitudes on this War on Terror."

"Five years after 9/11, the worst attack on the American homeland in history, the Democrats offer nothing but criticism and obstruction and endless second-guessing. The party of FDR, the party of Harry Truman has become the party of cut and run."

Or perhaps you prefer Dick Cheney's version:

"That [the 1972 Nixon/McGovern election] was the last time the national Democratic Party took a hard left turn," Cheney told a conference hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation. "But in 2007, it looks like history is repeating itself. Today, on some of the most critical issues facing the country, the new Democratic majority resembles nothing so much as that old party of the early 1970s."

Or Karl Rove's warning before the last election:

"Republicans have a post-9/11 worldview—and many Democrats have a pre-9/11 worldview," Rove told Republican activists. "That doesn't make them unpatriotic, not at all. But it does make them wrong—deeply and profoundly and consistently wrong."

It's interesting how directly "One Note" Rudy echoes the current White House axis of evil.

Monday, June 04, 2007

This should be a really good event!

Left Forum and The Nation Present:

A debate between Stanley Aronowitz and Laura Flanders

Monday June 18 , 7pm

CUNY Graduate Center
Elebash Recital Hall
365 5th Avenue at 34th St.

$5 to $10 admission, ticketing at the door (no advance sales)

Stanley Aronowitz is author of Left Turn: Forging a New Political Future (Paradigm Publishers, 2006), and Laura Flanders is author of Blue Grit: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians (The Penguin Press, 2007), will discuss and debate the possibilities and limitations of working within the Democratic party.
Gary Younge, correspondent for The Guardian and contributor to The Nation will moderate.

Stanley Aronowitz and Laura Flanders will be signing their books after the discussion.

Information: 212-817-2003 or

STANLEY ARONOWITZ is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at CUNY Graduate Center, where he is Director of The Center for the Study of Culture, Technology and Work. He is Founding Editor of Social Text and Situations, was Book Review Editor of Social Policy, and serves on the Editorial Board of Ethnography; Cultural Critique. He has authored and edited 24 books, the most recent being Left Turn: Forging a New Political Future (2006).

LAURA FLANDERS is the host of "RadioNation" heard on Air America Radio and syndicated to non-commercial affiliates nationwide. She is the author most recently of Blue Grit: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians (The Penguin Press, 2007) and also BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species (Verso, 2004), an investigation into the women in George W. Bush's Cabinet.

GARY YOUNGE is a columnist and correspondent for The Guardian and the Alfred Knobler fellow for The Nation. He has written extensively from Southern Africa and throughout Europe, and is author of No Place Like Home: A Black Briton's Journey Through the Deep South (1999), and, most recently, of Stranger in a Strange Land: Encounters in the Disunited States (2006).

Michael Moore on Oprah Tues. 6/5

Michael Moore on Oprah Tuesday

Michael Moore will appear on Oprah tomorrow, Tuesday, June 5, and will present, for the first time on television, scenes from his new film, Sicko. Oprah will interview Michael about the movie and the attention it's receiving before its release (opening day everywhere is June 29).
The theme of Oprah's show is the one film you must see this summer -- Sicko -- and the one book you must read (Cormac McCarthy's "The Road"). Oprah loved Michael's film and wants to make health care for all one of her main missions this year.

So set your recorders for Oprah tomorrow, Tuesday!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Nixon redux: Bush martial law

From a friend:

"Listening to WNYC today, someone called in about a Presidential Directive that was issued in mid-May that has received no coverage and, according to the caller, gives the President virtual dictatoral powers in the event of an "emergency". I googled it, and found about five pages of commentary, but they were ALL ONE COMMENTARY, from clearly anti-Bush blogs. I tried to find a reputable news source that dealt with it, but as the caller stated, NO ONE SEEMS TO BE WRITING ABOUT THIS. So I went to the source:The White House, and downloaded the actual directive. I'm sending it out for you to look over and see if you can decipher it's meaning. If the bloggers are correct, we must not let this go under the radar. In fact, if the bloggers are correct, we are really in grave danger."