Archive for May, 2017

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Dinner and a Movie

“Finally Got The News”

Documentary on the League of Revolutionary Black Workers

Friday June 16th 7pm-9:30pm

Elmwood Community Center, West Hartford

1106 New Britain Ave., West Hartford Ct.

Finally Got the News – Documentary on The League of Revolutionary Black Workers

$15 suggested donation includes a dinner!
No one turned away for lack of funds

In 1969 Black workers in the Detroit auto industry lead a struggle to organize a political movement for Black Liberation and socialism. The League was formed out of the wildcat strikes against speedups at the Dodge factory in 1968 and demonstrated for a very brief time, the power of workplace organizing.

For more info go to the facebook page HERE.

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New London Equality March for Unity and Pride

Sunday June 11, 2017
New London Parade Plaza
New London Ct.
10Am-3Pm
If interested in planning, please email info@outct.org
https://www.facebook.com/events/1782650115378553/?active_tab=about

About the March, courtesy of the planners:
The “Equality March for Unity & Pride” is a grassroots movement which will mobilize the diverse LGBTQ+ communities to peacefully and clearly address concerns about the current political landscapes and how it is contributing to the persecution and discrimination of LGBTQ+ individuals.

Progress has been made over the past decade in the ongoing fight for LGBTQ+ inclusion, access, and justice, but there’s still so much more to be done – especially since the progress we’ve achieved is currently being threatened by increased hostile rhetoric, discriminatory policies, and violence perpetrated against the most vulnerable in our communities.

We will use the Equality March, and sister events across the country, to give voice to our concerns, and to support, uplift, and bring attention to those in our communities who are targeted due to immigration status, ethnicity, religion, skin color, gender, and disability. We affirm and celebrate that we are a mix of diverse communities. Lack of unity has caused many of our needs to be neglected or ignored. But now, for 2017 and beyond, we are working to learn from our prior mistakes and come together through common belief in inalienable human rights and dignity for all.

From the Women’s March Ct.

Beware of people handing out this flyer!! Do NOT sign up. This morning in Brueggers in New Haven there was a man distributing these. This is a group of Trump supporters that want to build a registry of resisters. Thank you, Action Together Connecticut-New Haven County for the heads-up! https://www.buzzfeed.com/…/trump-supporters-have-built-a-do…

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Well us old gals are at it again. Traveling in search of a new home. This should be our last trip. We have contacts who have contacts who are in the know of where to live and where to go. Where to stay away from and where to check out.  Someone told us Vermont is full of cows, well we said even if we don’t drink milk, eat cheese or ice cream we love cows. Bonnie said with giggles, “you should see the place during rush hour, cows here, cows there, cows everywhere.” Yeah okay we will be in the city where we are sure there are very few cows. We’ll see some cows from the train give them a moo moo and be glad we don’t have to clean the barn. We love cows even if they do a job on the ozone. “I have to wonder,” said Bessy Marie, “do cows ever escape the field and come and stand on the train tracks?” I really hope they don’t as the train has no cow catcher in the front of it and if we hit such a creature it would be all over for the cow and cause delays. ( 1 ) Let’s hope not said Olga, lets hope the cows know where they at suppose to be and if they go anywhere else they will not hear the dinner bell. Here is a little song to start us on our way.

I am Cow, by Arrogant Worms.

Rush Hour In Vermont.

 

Lots of these on our trip. No worry the train is only 5 cars long. We were happy we weren’t waiting to cross the road or go on through to the other side of the tracks in Springfield as there was a freight train with almost 75 cars passing by.

The train route

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We know that by the time the train gets to us the bathrooms can be and usually are very smelly. Olga is the smart one in the bunch always brings a mask to wear when she is in the toilet. I just can’t sit there and smell that horrid smell, do my business and not have vomited all over the floor. Then the train folks would have another mess to clean up. So I get one of those masks fold it up keep in in my pocket along with a Lysol wipe or two. No telling what germs lurk around in the train. Germs are a funny thing can’t see them but if they get into you man can they do a job. Both of us gals are too old for that and thank our lucky stars we haven’t contracted anything this past winter on top of what either one of us have all ready. We take our Elderberry syrup each and every day. Getting old, now that is a whole other story. We don’t know too many old folks to sit around with and talk about getting old. I wish we did as then we would say, “Hey we don’t have it all that bad.” At the very least we would know what this getting old is all about and if this or that pain is worth complaining about. Maybe it will go away in a couple of days.

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Gals like us love the train. Having never learned to drive we take it all the time. You know the things you see on the train are much different than what you see in a car whizzing by at 60 miles per hour. These highways leave a lot to be desired as far as good scenery is concerned. Trees, cars, trees, cars. We love the train we get to see the backside of the cities, usually the older part, the graffiti along the tracks is always something to marvel at, an art show caught out of the corner of our eyes and then it retreats into the distant. Last time we were amazed at all of the mullein patches along the tracks. Huge Mullein plants, skunk cabbage, and ferns, ferns, ferns all along the tracks edge and into the woods. Something we very rarely see around these parts are white birch trees. The white lines among the green and brown, lovely. We came home last year in October and what a site to see out the windows of the trees changing colors. Never saw such beauty. What will we see in the spring time wondered Bessy Marie, of course we will be north and hopefully the gardens of tulips near the State Capitol will be in bloom. (more…)

The LGBTQ Movement is an Intersectional Fail

By GLN Co-founder Andy Thayer
Reprinted from CounterPunch

In recent years “intersectionality” has been the biggest buzz word in progressive circles, liberally sprinkled in activist conferences and social media. Yet few movements have been as long on intersectional talk, and little on action, as the LGBTQ movement.

Few events point up this fail more clearly than the impending release from prison this Wednesday of Transgender heroine Chelsea Manning. She is by far the single most important, impactful anti-war activist and whistle-blower that the LGBTQ movement has ever produced.

She exposed war crimes by the U.S. and its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, including murder and torture, such as the infamous “Collateral Murder” video of two Reuters journalists and ten other civilians. She gave the most expansive documentary evidence ever provided of U.S. support for a host of corrupt and vicious dictators across the Middle East. This information helped fuel the wave of Arab Spring revolts, the largest democracy movement ever seen in the region, knocking out a number of these dictators.

Yet from 2010 arrest through her subsequent arduous trial and most of her incarceration – the longest imprisonment of a whistleblower in U.S. history – none of the big LGBTQ non-profits defended her.

You might think that her 2010 incarceration would have produced a “perfect storm” of intersectional and identity politics support. Here you had a working class person who identified as gay, and later came out as a Trans woman, who exposed some of the most scandalous secrets of the U.S. military and State Department in what was to that date by far the largest document dump in U.S. history.

You would think, for example, that in the heart of the most powerful military empire that the world has ever seen, that an activist who opposed the savaging of other countries by the U.S. military would receive intersectional support from a broad section of the U.S. left. And particularly since this activist identified as LGBTQ, the LGBTQ left would particularly be in her corner.

But no. Years earlier a top official in what is now known as the National LGBTQ Task Force told me that “we will never” again come out against a U.S. war, following the Task Force’s public opposition to President George H. W. Bush’s first war against Iraq. He said that the Task Force’s coming out against that war had “nearly destroyed” the organization, as wealthy donors pulled their donations and threatened to never support it again. And this was with the Task Force, the group that likes to posture itself as the “hippest” of the big LGBTQ non-profits.

But it was not the first, nor certainly the last time that LGBTQ non-profits – rightly derided as “Gay Inc.” – prioritized donors’ dollars to fund their salaries and offices, over alleged adherence to intersectional principles.

For all their talk of “grassroots organizing” – another phrase that’s become hackneyed thru repeated misuse – Gay Inc. organizations are staff-driven at best, and at worst, controlled by self-selected boards chosen for their ability to tap contributions from wealthy donors. In this way the wealthiest LGBTQs control the political agenda of what passes for our movement, a pink version of the class stratification talked about in straight society, but rarely mentioned in the movement.

Some say that the reason for this conservatism is Gay, Inc.’s affection for “heteronormativity” – the aping straight people. This is said to explain their recent emphasis on winning equal marriage rights, for example. But this interpretation doesn’t adequately explain where “heteronormativity” itself comes from, and it also radically mis-reads the chronology of how the marriage issue became center-space in our movement.

For many years almost all of the large organizations of LGBTQs opposed pushing for equal marriage rights (the one exception being the Metropolitan Community Church). As late as at its 2005 “Creating Change” conference, for example, the Task Force had only anti-equal marriage speakers at one of the conference’s two plenaries – with no opportunity for proponents to rebut.

More recently, of course, Gay Inc. mercilessly mined the marriage issue for donations, not unlike how they have done with Transgender issues for the last couple of years. The cynicism in both instances is quite breath-taking, especially when you consider, for example, the Human Rights Campaign’s well-documented betrayal [2] of Transgender employment rights under the tutelage of gay Congressman Barney Frank.

The root of Gay Inc.’s betrayal of Chelsea Manning, and their flip-flops on marriage rights and Trans rights, lie directly in their being joined at the hip with the Democratic Party. The incestuous revolving door between military contractors and ex-military officers is only exceeded by Gay Inc’s revolving door with the Democratic Party.

The pollsters and media “professionals” who gave us the disastrous failed campaign against California’s 2008 anti-gay Proposition 8, for example, were drawn directly from the Party. The current president of Gay Inc’s biggest and wealthiest group, the Human Rights Campaign, Chad Griffin, “got his start in politics volunteering for the Bill Clinton presidential campaign, which led to a position in the White House Press Office at the age of 19. Following his stint in the White House and his graduation from Georgetown University, he led a number of political campaigns advocating for or against various California ballot initiatives, as well as a number of fundraising efforts for political candidates, such as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.”

A big reason why Gay Inc. was initially so loath to take on the equal marriage issue was because their main guy, President Bill Clinton, was directly implicated in the worst measure enacted against it – the Defense of Marriage Act – and the series of failed Democratic presidential candidates who followed him also opposed equal marriage rights. As I’ve written elsewhere,

“After Bill Clinton appeased the right by passing the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (and NAFTA, and Anti-Terrorism & Effective Death Penalty Act, etc, etc), he took out ads on Christian Right radio stations bragging about it, as part of his re-election bid.”

Similarly with Chelsea Manning. Besides exposing George W. Bush’s dirty laundry, she also exposed the Obama White House’s illegal support for the military coup which overthrew the elected government in Honduras, with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton providing crucial support for the murderous regime that took over.

Only when an issue is considered acceptable to leading Democrats – or forced onto their agenda by incessant campaigning by truly grassroots activists – has Gay Inc. switched up its issues list. So only after years of polling numbers showed that marriage was a top issue for LGBTQs – reacting to the religious right beating us up on the issue – did Gay Inc. change its tune and decide the issue was “realistic.”

Left to their own devices, Gay Inc. groveled to the Party’s needs. This is why after the 1998 lynching of Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard and the protests in hundreds of cities that followed it, Gay Inc. quickly moved to divert the movement into meaningless, if not positively reactionary, calls for “hate crimes” legislation, feeding the racist mass incarceration boom then underway.

Gay Inc. was loath to embarrass then-President Clinton for his support for the Defense of Marriage Act two years earlier, or the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military employment ban three years before that, in enabling the anti-gay hate that killed Shepard.

All of the pro-LGBTQ reforms of the past two decades that were eventually supported by the Democrats have one thing in common:  They cost virtually no money. From hate crimes legislation to marriage rights to Trans people’s access to public restrooms, all cost the profit system little, if any, serious money. (more…)

As published today, Saturday May 13,2017 in the Guardian On Line,written by Edward Pilkington, Chelsea Manning prepares for freedom, “I want to breath the warm spring air.”

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On Wednesday, some time after dawn, the security gates at the US disciplinary barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, will be thrown open and a slight 5ft 2in woman will walk out into the open air and freedom.

For Chelsea Manning, release from military incarceration will mark a colossal turning point. Having been arrested seven years ago when she was an unknown, lowly and outwardly male soldier, she will emerge into an entirely new life as a civilian, a celebrity, and an openly transgender woman.

 

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Furbirdsqueerly did a review of the show and you can find it HERE.