Archive for the ‘Call to Action’ Category

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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.

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…)

CHELSEA MANNING

International Victory Day!

May 17, 2017

DEFEND ALL WHISTLEBLOWERS

Chelsea Manning is going to be free! Celebrate with us!

Chelsea Mannings 35-year sentence was commuted by Obama. It was a victory for Chelsea of course, but also for all of us in many countries who supported her and benefited from her courageous whistleblowing: the international women and lgbtq movements, the anti-war and anti-racist movements, the movements of whistleblowers, war veterans, refuseniks and everyone who stands for justice.

On May 17, we celebrate Chelsea’s freedom in many cities:

So far events that we know of are also planned in Auckland (New Zealand), Beer Sheva Israel (organized by refusenik pilot Yonatan Shapiro, near prison where Palestinians are on hunger strike), Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Dublin (Ireland), London, Manheim (Germany), Philadelphia  and Seattle.

WE INVITE YOU TO ORGANIZE AN EVENT, no matter how small: a protest, a vigil, a party.  Please send us news of your event and we’ll help publicize it.

I watched the world change from inside prison walls and through the letters that I have received from veterans, trans young people, parents, politicians and artists. My spirits were lifted in dark times, reading of their support, sharing in their triumphs, and helping them through challenges of their own. I hope to take the lessons that I have learned, the love that I have been given, and the hope that I have to work toward making life better for others.  – from Chelsea’s statement on her upcoming release (more…)

Our niece posted on facebook page and gave us permission to use it here. The original was from The Pixel Project: Its Time To Stop Violence Against Women. Together.

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PICTURE OF THE DAY: This infographic makes an interesting point about the prevalence of violence against women by comparing rape statistics with shark attack statistics. Anyone else seen interesting and unusual infographics highlighting violence against women and girls in unconventional ways?

EDITOR’S NOTE:
We did not create this infographic but shared it because it drives home the point about the horrifically high chances of a woman getting raped in her lifetime. Since some of you have asked about the statistics, we did the legwork for you and here are the links to the sources for these statistics:

1. A woman/person’s chance of getting killed by a shark in her/their lifetime – National Geographic:
http://natgeotv.com/uk/shark-attack-experiment-live/facts

2. A woman’s 1 in 6 chance of being raped in her lifetime (U.S. only) – RAINN
https://www.rainn.org/get-informat…/…/sexual-assault-victims

Worldwide, it’s a 1 in 5 chance:
http://www.un.org/en/women/endviolence/pdf/VAW.pdf

3. 100 million sharks culled annually – Australian Marine Conservation Society
http://www.marineconservation.org.au/…/government-on-shark-…

4. Percentage of reported rapists convicted and imprisoned – RAINN
https://rainn.org/get-informat…/statistics/punishing-rapists

Rosa Clemente has posted something that we feel must be shared with activists in this country.

Rest In Power Edward Crawford!

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Be clear that these are political executions….and do not forget Joshua Williams who is incarcerated for his political actions as well as the many Ferguson fighters who have been taken to trial. Crawford was found shot to death Thursday night in his car, just like activist Darren Seals in 2016 and protester DeAndre Joshua the night of the Ferguson verdict in 2014. The latter two had gunshot wounds to the head and their cars were lit on fire. Crawford, it is believed by police, shot himself in the back seat of his car either in an attempted suicide or by accident.

A dedicated activist Crawford was photographed throwing a tear gas canister during the Ferguson Uprising against racist police and the murder of Michael Brown. In our book Edward Crawford was a liberation warrior of the top degree. Daring to pick up a tear gas canister and throwing it away from a group of children is a hero in our book.  Rest In Power Edward Crawford.

This article is a must read:

Ferguson, Mo., Activists Are Dying and It’s Time to Ask Questions

another article to gain some perspective to what is happening in Ferguson is, Darren Seals Isn’t the Only Ferguson Man to Be Shot and Torched in a Car, which speaks about all of the other warriors who have been murdered in Ferguson. This article was written by Justin Glawe in 2016 the year Darren Seals was murdered and begins like this: “The Ferguson protester who was shot to death and subsequently torched inside a car on Tuesday isn’t the first man from St. Louis County in the last two years to see such a gangland-style fate. He’s the sixth.”

 

 

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So you are not against all war yet? You think its quite okay and I bet you say under your breath, because it isn’t me. We remember it so well. When young men were threatened by the draft thousands of people were protesting. Take away the draft or get a nice young handsome president and what do you have? Who cares that the US is drone attacking and dropping bombs all over the place. It isn’t me out there dressed to kill. They ended the draft and I haven’t got the time. Let those who can’t get a job go fight a war. Good way to lift them out of poverty.

Even though this song is about one war I would gather we can put all of them in the same bucket of shit. I would gather that it is about time that we bum rush those who make war and stop them in their tracks. War what is it good for? What are those who make war good for? Listen to this man in the song. He knows and he is telling. He is telling those who sit in their arm chair, and those who play in the band entertaining the wounded and dead. He is telling those who send their young sons to die and those who send them. And we by our telling are telling anyone who wants to listen.

A haunting song we chose for this weeks music series. And the band played waltzing Matildia. Sung by Eric Bogle.

 

Note”

The Gallipoli Campaign of 1915-16, also known as the Battle of Gallipoli or the Dardanelles Campaign, was an unsuccessful attempt by the Allied Powers to control the sea route from Europe to Russia during World War I. “In all, some 480,000 Allied forces took part in the Gallipoli Campaign, at a cost of more than 250,000 casualties, including some 46,000 dead. On the Turkish side, the campaign also cost an estimated 250,000 casualties, with 65,000 killed.” Source: http://www.history.com/topics/world-w…