Friday, February 24, 2006

Detroit March 18 Demonstration to Mark the Third Anniversary of the Iraq War

Originally uploaded by jongela4peace.
For Immediate Release

Media Advisory

Event: Saturday March 18 Protest
Against the 3rd Anniversary of
the Invasion and Occupation of
Location: Gather at 'Spirit of
Detroit', 4:30 p.m.,
Woodward at Jefferson,
Outside Coleman A. Young
Municipal Center
March Down Woodward to the
Central United Methodist
Church, 5:30 p.m.
Cultural Rally Against War,
6:00-9:00 p.m.,
Second Floor Central United
Methodist Church
Contact: Michigan Emergency Committee
Against War & Injustice
Phone: (313) 680-5508

Detroit to Join Over 700 Cities in Mass Demonstrations Against the Continued Occupation of Iraq on March 18

March 18-19 will be marked by hundreds of marches, vigils, rallies and other activities to commemorate the unfortunate third anniversary of the United States invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The Iraq war was a totally unnecessary adventure by the Bush administration. The false claims of weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and an imminent threat against American interests were utilized through the mass media to justify an illegal military campaign which has resulted in the deaths of over 2,300 U.S. troops and the wounding of over 20,000 others. Moreover, the war has caused the deaths of over 100,000 Iraqi civilians, the destruction of the infrastructure of the country and the growth of a broad-based resistance movement to the occupation by the American military and its allies.

At the same time the civil liberties and civil rights of people within the United States is constantly eroding. Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of the Katrina disaster due to the Bush administration policies. Domestic spying by intelligence agencies and the round-up of hundreds of Muslims inside the country and at Guantanamo Bay has further alienated world public opinion against U.S. intentions and policies.

In addition, the economic crisis has deepened while oil companies enjoy windfall profits. For cities like Detroit where $429 million of city taxes went for the Iraq war in 2004, the government has no program to assist the public sectors and the industries that are laying off thousands of workers.

The amount of city taxes going to support the war is twice the budget deficit. We need that money right here for public school funding, job training and placement for the unemployed, affordable housing and health care, improved and expanded shelters for the homeless, reliable public transit and recreation programs for our youth.

Bush's budget has cut over 150 important social programs while the Pentagon budget has been increased substantially. This insanity has got to stop. Only the power of the people mobilized can bring an end to this insane war and occupation.

Please join us on March 18 to make a statement for peace and social justice in our lifetime.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Pan-African News Wire Editor Speaks on the Impact of the Counter-Intelligence Program for African-American History Month

Originally uploaded by eqe99.
For Immediate Release

Media Advisory
African-American History Month Forum
Saturday, February 18, 2006

Event Location: 5920 Second Avenue at Antoinette, Detroit 5:00 p.m.

Pan-African News Wire Editor Abayomi Azikiwe Will Speak on an African-American History Month Panel Examining the Counter-Intelligence Program and the Black Liberation Movement on Saturday, February 18, 5:00 p.m.

This year's Workers World Black History Month forum will feature the editor of the Pan-African News Wire, Abayomi Azikiwe, who will be addressing the history of the United States Government's Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) and its impact on the liberation struggle inside the United States.

Entitled "State Spying, Infiltration & Assassination: Government Attempts to Crush the African-American Liberation Struggle-Past and Present- and how the Struggle for Justice Continues," the forum will feature talks on the conspiracy behind the assassination of Malcolm X, the Detroit Red Squad files and how these policies continue under the current administration of George W. Bush. In addition a video will be shown on the late revolutionary leader Malcolm X.

This event will be held at the offices of the International Action Center in Detroit located at 5920 Second Avenue (at Antoinette, just north of Wayne State University) beginning at 5:00 p.m. A donation of $5 for working people and $1 for the unemployed and students is requested. A special dinner with African-American cuisine will be served.

For more information call (313) 680-5508.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Haitian Masses Angry Over Apparent Ballot Manipulation

Confusion and Frustration
Originally uploaded by Robert Miller.
After dramatic shifts in the vote tabulation for the Haitian national elections, the people in the capital of Port-au-Prince have clashed with police and United Nations forces. Rene Preval, who had initially been reported as gaining well over 50% of the vote, has now been given less than this amount which could require a run-off election.
The Foreign Minister of South Africa, Nkosoana Dlamini-Zuma, has stated that former ousted President Jean Bertrande-Aristide will return to the country after the political situation is considered safe.
Clashes erupt over Haiti election At least one person has been killed and several injured in clashes in Haiti, as tensions mount over the results of last Tuesday's election.
Supporters of presidential front-runner Rene Preval manned burning roadblocks in the capital and occupied a hotel, demanding he be declared the winner.
Witnesses said UN peacekeepers had opened fire on protesters, but the UN said its troops had fired in the air.
Mr Preval returned to Port-au-Prince as the prospect of a run-off vote grew.
The former president's share of the vote fell further on Monday, according to electoral officials.
With nearly 90% of the ballots counted, Mr Preval has 48.7% of the vote - just short of the 50% required to win outright.
Another ex-leader, Leslie Manigat, has 11.8%, while industrialist Charles Henri Baker has 7.9%, officials say.
Burning tyres
Mr Preval used to be an ally of ex-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was forced out of power in 2004.
He has inherited Mr Aristide's strong support among the poor.
Thousands marched in Port-au-Prince for a second day on Monday, as it became increasingly apparent that Mr Preval might face a run-off on 19 March.
Angry protesters say electoral officials have tampered with the vote count to keep him from a first-round victory.
Final results had initially been scheduled for Sunday evening - but as it stands now they may not be known for a few days.
Burning tyres and roadblocks paralysed the capital's streets, as protesters let only journalists and Red Cross vehicles pass, the Associated Press news agency reports.
Witnesses told local media that UN peacekeepers had fired into crowds of demonstrators massing in the middle class Tabarre district, killing at least one.
But UN spokesman David Wimhurst insisted troops had only fired two shots in the air. "No individuals were wounded by UN peacekeepers," he said.
The foreign minister of Brazil, which heads the UN troops contingent in Haiti, has meanwhile called for the UN Security Council to discuss the post-election unrest.
Celso Amorin is said to have made the request during a phone conversation with his US counterpart, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
'Free and fair'
In the Petionville neighbourhood, thousands of screaming Preval supporters poured into the Montana Hotel, where election officials have been tallying results.
UN peacekeepers barred access to the election centre and - after hours spent chanting pro-Preval slogans and frolicking in the hotel pool - the crowd finally dispersed peacefully, AP reports.
Mr Preval, who is leading more than 30 presidential candidates, has returned to the capital from his home town of Marmelade.
Reports suggest the former leader, who has been in talks with UN and international officials, may appeal for calm.
He held a 61% lead when the first results were released late last week, but his share of the vote has since dropped.
There have been accusations of ballot mishandling - but the head of Haiti's electoral council has denied the allegations.
International observers have deemed the election free and fair, despite saying there were some minor procedural irregularities.
Haiti - the poorest country in the continent - is choosing a 129-member parliament as well as a new president.
Story from BBC NEWS: 2006/02/14 01:28:19 GMT

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Coretta Scott King Joins the Ancestors

Originally uploaded by kennethrdenson.
Mrs. Coretta Scott King, the widow of the slain civil rights and peace activist, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., passed away on January 31 in Mexico while receiving treatment for her recent ailments. She was an activist and leader in her own right, being involved in the civil rights, labor and peace movements since the 1950s. When she met her late husband Coretta was well on her way to developing a career as a professional vocalists having studied at Antioch College and the New England Conservatory of Music.
Coretta Scott King, the Woman Who Stood AloneFor Half a Lifetime, a Widow Bore the Weight of a Legacy
By Teresa Wiltz Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, February 1, 2006; C01
At home in Atlanta, Coretta Scott King was someone who hovered on the periphery. Growing up there, I'd spot her at celebrations commemorating her husband's birthday, a national holiday she had made happen, or at the rare ballet concert or arts event. She always seemed to be operating in some official context: regal, tall, beautiful. Aloof.
She was in Atlanta, living there for decades, a civil rights royal with an insistence about her husband's memory that caused an uneasy alliance with her adopted city. Still, she was never really of Atlanta. To understand the difference is to understand the exclusivity of old Atlanta's black bourgeoisie, which didn't take easily to a newcomer who didn't hail from the same stock, even if that husband of hers did win the Nobel Peace Prize.
For all her prominence in the world outside, she was a bit of an outsider in her own town. Whether Atlanta society didn't embrace her or she didn't embrace it is hard to say. But she wasn't likely to be spotted hanging out at a Links cotillion or ringing in the new year with the Boule or enrolling her children in Jack & Jill.
She had other things to do.
Hers was the weight of the widow, a woman for whom a legacy became a profession, a fierce drive to keep the past alive and yank it into the present, a constant vigilance lest others forget. From the moment of that funeral in 1968, where she was snapped in that iconic, Pulitzer Prize-winning photo, stoical, grieving, holding her youngest close, she wrapped herself in widow's weeds. After the funeral, her widow wear morphed into a tasteful pantsuit and ruffled blouse, her lush hair always swept off her face, freeze-framed in controlled waves. In 2003, Oprah Winfrey dragged her onto her TV show and gave her a makeover, freeing the hair a bit, brightening the makeup just a tad. It was a shock to realize how pretty she was, how young and vibrant she looked when she smiled.
We didn't get to see her smile much.
Hers was the legacy of enduring. She was a pre-approved bride, selected by a young Martin when the two were in school in Boston and he, as a young minister, was under pressure from his parents to marry, and marry well. She had the proper criteria: daughter of a farmer with ambition; raised in Marion, Ala.; educated at Antioch College and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston; a singer trained in the classics; a buttoned-up lady. (Still, she wasn't above getting down in the dirt with farm workers and picking a row of cotton.) She was of the generation and class of African American women for whom comportment was everything, women who took to heart the admonishment to keep legs crossed and head up. Sexuality was subsumed in the quest to uplift the race.
Perhaps her aloofness was part of her civil rights defense.
From the moment she married her preacher, theirs was a public marriage. She was the elegant beauty by his side, at rallies, waiting for him outside jail, their union recorded for all to see: Off to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize. Holding their babies as they walk to church with his parents, dressed in their Sunday best. Even then, she knew to don a mask. Every now and then, we got a rare glimpse of the woman, not the wife: riding with her two oldest to school in 1965, the year they desegregated Georgia's public schools. She is looking over her shoulder at her young charges, and is sharp in shades and red lipstick. In that moment, she looks pretty, hip even. Happy.
I look at her pictures and wonder how much happiness she knew. Even before her husband died, she was enduring: bombings of their Montgomery, Ala., home; the death threats; the FBI's exposure of her husband's infidelities. Then her husband was gunned down at a Tennessee motel, and her life abruptly shifted shape. She never married again.
Perhaps she found solace with other women who, too, were The Wife, wives and widows of famous men: Jackie Kennedy, Ethel Kennedy, Myrlie Evers, Betty Shabazz. There is a photo of Coretta with Winnie Mandela. It is 1986, and the women are in South Africa. Winnie's husband is in prison. Coretta's is dead. They've just greeted each other and they stand facing each other, lips barely touching. It's a kiss of solidarity, of recognition. And I can't help but think that maybe Coretta felt most at home away from home.
The pedestal can be a lonely place.
I was a teenager the one time we met, and, as meetings go, it was a brief one. I wanted to meet her because, well, she was Coretta Scott King. I mentioned my family's connection to her -- my grandfather was once the King family doctor -- and walked away, feeling that, well, now, I've just been dismissed. Politely.
My mother, Yvonne, worked with her several years ago in Atlanta. Coretta agreed to serve as honorary chairwoman when my mother organized a fundraiser for a women's shelter. Like me, my mother's encounters with her had been checking her out from afar. Over the years, Coretta and her children had come under considerable fire for the chaotic state of affairs of the King Center, an organization she founded in 1968 to perpetuate her husband's legacy. They'd communicated through Coretta's assistant but had never met face to face until the night of the event. My mother wasn't quite sure what to expect of this woman who had held herself at such a distance.
She was surprised to find a woman who was warm, sweet and very concerned. And she was touched, she remembers, to see a woman used to decades of international presentations looking quite nervous as she waited to give her speech.
Coretta made her last public appearance last month at "Salute to Greatness," a dinner and fundraiser to benefit the King Center. She was pushed out in a wheelchair, and someone helped her stand. This time, she didn't speak. The stroke she'd suffered last year had taken care of that. Instead, she stood, smiling a little, kissing her children. Looking beautiful with her Oprahed hairdo.
Her husband's fiery rhetoric and formidable charisma helped create generations of children and grandchildren of the civil rights movement, people who never knew what it was to be pushed to the back of the bus. And then she went on without him, and mothered his children and carried on the work. She never had any grandchildren of her own.