Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Solidarity with the People of the World

We invite you to do your part for Peace, with the Spring Days of Action to End Drone Killing, Drone Surveillance, Global Militarization! more info here [link]!

Solano Peace, Justice & Freedom coalition (SPJF) is an informal solidarity network, whose interests are primarily expressed in the following archives, collected by "Dr.G.", Minister of Information for the Northbay MDS and host of an affiliated FM radio news program. While the coalition is informal for the concern over participant safety, the archives provide views held by participants of the following affiliations:
Northbay MDS [link]; San Pablo Bay Ecological Preservation Association (SEPA) [link]; Dawnstar INC [link]; Vallejo Cop Watch [link]; Peace and Freedom Party (PFP) of Solano County [link].
Members of the network forward information for public commentary on the Northbay Uprising FM radio news program, broadcast to Vallejo at 89.5fm, Thursdays 4 to 5pm and Tuesday 7 to 9am with a focus on Communitarian power [link] and culture [link].
SPJF is affiliated with Honduras Solidarity Network, and tentatively affiliated with WILPF [link], United for Peace and Justice [link], UNAC [link], Uhuru Solidarity Movement [link].

Contact the SPJF: [SolanoPeaceFreedom@gmail.com]

SPJF's mission is to educate the public about the ongoing crimes against the People of the World by those holding companies and monopolist corporations chartered in the United States, who altogether dictate world government with their networks and uphold government through Fascism [link].
* We condemn all acts of terrorism, bigotry and violence, and we defend dignity and memory for all victims of state terrorism by the United States, domestically and around the world.
We advocate against the use of military intervention and war against the People of the Earth, and
support justice against crimes of war through established principles of international law.
We promote the goal of global peace, and  advocate for social and economic justice for every man, woman and child.

* We work against gang violence in the community, and advocate for peace in our neighborhoods in coalition with all who are affected by the desperation of poverty.
We defend civil liberties from government attack and uphold human rights against police terror and state repression through our efforts towards educating the public about their rights and the current status of our liberties.
* We promote the preservation of the ecology and advocate for the natural right of existence for all life generally considered for the welfare of the ecology.

Peace & Justice and Freedom vigil in Vallejo  
Gathering every 2nd Saturday of the month, 1pm. 
at the Peace Pole at the Waterfront, located at the front entrance of Panama Red Coffee Co. 289 Mare Island Way, Vallejo, CA 94590. 
Directions. On I-80, take Georgia st exit towards Mare Island. At the end of Gerogia st, is the waterfront and Panama Red Coffee Co.
There are 2 "Peace Poles", one was placed by the Solano Peace and Justice Coalition during 2004, and another placed during 2012 by the Sister City Association of Vallejo [link]. We will meet at one and march to the other. Look for our "Peace & Freedom" banner! 

Peace with Jobs! Peace against Imperialism! Peace in the Community! Solidarity for our Human Rights! 
* Solidarity with the Women of the World! [link]
* Solidarity with the People of Pakistan! [link]
* Solidarity with the People of Haiti! [link]
* Solidarity with the People of Afghanistan! [link]
* Solidarity with the People of Africa! [link] [link]
* Solidarity with the People of Thailand! [link]
* Solidarity with the People of Cambodia! [link]
* Solidarity with the People of the Philippines! [link]
* Solidarity with the oppressed People of the First Nations within Canada! [link]
* Solidarity with the People of Lakota! [link]
* Solidarity with the People of Honduras! [link]
* Solidarity with the People of Colombia! [link]
* Solidarity with the Arab People! [link]
* Solidarity with the People of Iran!  [link]
Solidarity with All the Oppressed People of the USA, with the homeless, the wards of the state, and lumpen under-class, with the People of the captive nations of the Reservation system, and with the People of New Afrika [link]! Solidarity for our Labor Rights [link]! And our Constitutional Rights!

Peace through War, a deception masquerading a global megadeath!

* Iraqi Deaths: 1,874,036
* Afghan & Pakistani Deaths: over 2,000,000

Cost of War in just Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001 (as of 2013-09-07) is $1,470,406,206,469... as calculated by the National Priorities Project [costofwar.com]!
"US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq to cost $6 trillion" 2013-09-19 by Sabir Shah from "The News International" [thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-203012-US-wars-in-Afghanistan-Iraq-to-cost-$6-trillion]: LAHORE - The decade-long American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq would end up costing as much as $6 trillion, the equivalent of $75,000 for every American household, calculates the prestigious Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Remember, when President George Bush’s National Economic Council Director, Lawrence Lindsey, had told the country’s largest newspaper “The Wall Street Journal” that the war would cost between $100 billion and $200 billion, he had found himself under intense fire from his colleagues in the administration who claimed that this was a gross overestimation. Consequently, Lawrence Lindsey was forced to resign.It is also imperative to recall that the Bush administration had claimed at the very outset that the Iraq war would finance itself out of Iraqi oil revenues, but Washington DC had instead ended up borrowing some $2 trillion to finance the two wars, the bulk of it from foreign lenders. According to the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government 2013 report, this accounted for roughly 20 per cent of the total amount added to the US national debt between 2001 and 2012. According to the report, the US “has already paid $260 billion in interest on the war debt,” and future interest payments would amount to trillions of dollars.This Harvard University report has also been carried on its website by the Centre for Research on Globalisation, which is a widely-quoted Montreal-based independent research and media organisation. [ ... ]

Ongoing Campaigns
* Advocate for an Economy based on Peace! [link]
* Inside & Out: Write a note of support to these imprisoned anti-nuclear and anti-war activists [link]
* Exposing the Warlords in the community [link]
* Call for an international bill of digital rights [link]
* Divestment and Boycott against Human Rights Abuse [link]
* No Nukes! [link]

Days of Peace
* August 27th, Peace Pact Day: War is Outlawed (according to USA Federal Law) [link]
* Sept 21st, International Day of Peace [link]
Rabbi Simeon ben Gamaliel taught: "The world rests on three things: justice, truth, and peace" (Avot 1:18)

* War Tax Resistance! [link]
* "Bringing Down the New Jim Crow"
campaign materials [link]
* Western States Legal Foundation
Working for Peace & Justice in a Nuclear Free World
[wslfweb.org] [disarmamentactivist.org] [facebook.com/WesternStatesLegalFoundation] [510-839-5877]
* Progressive Letter Writing Cooperative
Would you like a cooperative way to get your voice heard in Washington? Progressive Secretary sends out progressive email letters to Congress, the President, and other officials on peace, the environment, civil rights and other issues. It's free! There is no charge for this. We volunteer our time because Jim and Pat are Quakers and long-time activists, and we believe in helping progressive people make their voices heard on important issues. There are no advertisements or other annoyances. You can cancel at any time. The letters are suggested by participants in the cooperative and are sent to you as a proposal. If you tell us to "send", then the letters are sent to your Congress people and others noted in the proposal over your signature and return address. A report is sent to you. If you like, you can send the letters yourself. Letters are not sent without your specific approval. Your name and email are never given out except to recipients of your letters.

Research pages:
* Military propaganda
* Global Conflict Tracker: Interactive Guide to U.S. Conflict Prevention Priorities in 2014 (from the Center for Preventive Action, a think-tank of the Council on Foreign Relations) [cfr.org/global/global-conflict-tracker/p32137]. 

Note on organizing Peace & Justice vigils and outreach:
California Law prohibits protests at public areas on private property (supermarkets, stripmalls)  [link]

website designed and moderated by Northbay MDS Minister of Information Dr.G.

Peace and Justice Campaign page

We must help them listen and comprehend our concern for Humanity! Support the call for Peace, Justice and Freedom! Join a gathering for near you!

Action Alert:
Organize against the war agenda contained in the upcoming Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act (S 1881). Join the campaign here [link]!

Living Graveyard peace vigil
Monthly every 3rd Monday, January 13, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay Street (two blocks from 12th Street BART)
Covered with sheets to represent the dead of the war of occupation on Iraq, people lie down on the city sidewalk in front of the Federal Building, This is legal, non-violent witness. People stop, look and think.
Participants lie at least three feet apart and do not block entry to the building. The names of some of the Californians who have died in Iraq and the names of some of the Iraqi dead will be read. A gong is sounded after each name. People will hand out flyers, as we do each week at the Tuesday noon vigil.
Please bring a white sheet to cover yourself with. A pad to lay down on is recommended.
sponsors include: * Berkeley Women in Black * East Bay Coalition to Support Self-Rule for Iraqis * Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace and Justice * Peace & Freedom Party * BFUU Social Justice Committee * Gray Panthers * Mustardseed Affinity Group * Father Bill Social Justice Committee, St Joseph Church * Middle East Children’s Alliance * Trinity United Methodist Church * East Bay Peace Action * Southern Alameda County Peace & Justice Coalition * Ecumenical Peace Institute, www.epicalc.org, (510) 990-0374

Peace and Justice movement directory

Sonoma County Peace & Justice Center

[peaceandjusticesonomaco.org] [467 Sebastopol Avenue  Santa Rosa, CA 95401] [707-575-8902]
We work to replace violence, war, racism, and economic injustice through active nonviolence as a way of life and as a means of radical change. 

Mount Diablo Peace & Justice Center

[ourpeacecenter.org] [925-933-7850] [info@mtdpc.org][55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek, CA 94596]

San Jose Peace & Justice Center

[sanjosepeace.org] [408-297-2299] [48 South 7th St, San Jose, CA  95112]

Peace and Justice Resource Center (PJRC)
[tomhayden.com/] [310-559-9522]

Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free World

[nuclearweaponsfree.org] [2201 Broadway, Ste 321 Oakland, California 94612]

Peace Action 
Peace Action West [www.peaceactionwest.org] [2201 Broadway, Suite 321, Oakland, CA]
Jon Rainwater, Executive Director [94612jrainwater@peaceactionwest.org] [510-849-2272 x106]
East Bay Peace Action: Betty Brown [PO Box 6574, Albany, CA 94706]
Peace Action of San Mateo County [sanmateopeaceaction.org][smpa@sanmateopeaceaction.org] [650-342-8244]

Sacramento Area Peace Action

[www.sacpeace.org] (916) 448-7157

Chico Peace and Justice Center

[chico-peace.org] Open 12-2pm M-F [526 Broadway Street Chico, CA 95928] [530-893-9078] [chico-peace@sbcglobal.net] Subscribe to our news updates

THE CHICO VIEWSPAPER: Where Chicoans Explore the Issues that Matter -
The Chico Peace and Justice Center's quarterly publication. The Viewspaper highlights a key social issue each quarter through the perspectives of six unique and dynamic Chicoan voices. The inaugural issue focuses in on the critical and sticky issue of taxes, and features reflective essays from Chicoans Stephanie Elliott, Chris Nelson, Dan Everhart, Michael Coyle, Steve Tchudi, and Carin Anderson.

Chico Peace Vigil, Going strong since 1960

Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute

[mcli.org] [510-848-0599] [PO Box 673, Berkeley, CA 94701-0673]
“International Human Rights Poster” [mcli.org/portfolio/international-human-rights-poster]

Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace & Justice

Social Justice Committee of the
Berkeley Fellowship Unitarian Universalists

meets on the First & Third Sundays of the month at 12:30 pm in the Benjy Room at 1606 Bonita Ave.
The Hal Carlstad Social Justice Center (HCSJC) is located in the Fireside Room on the 2nd floor of the BFUU RE Building with open hours from 1 - 5 pm M-F. 
We have a "Partners for Justice" program with links to many of the groups that we work with on justice issues. To get on the Rise-Up Email list for activists in the SF Bay Area, send an email to [bfuusjev-subscribe@lists.riseup.net]
BFUU [bfuu.org] SUNDAY SERVICES begin at 10:30 am every Sunday.

[epicalc.org] [epicalc@gmail.com] [epicalc@lmi.net] [510-655-1162] [P. O. Box 9334, Berkeley, CA 94709]
“On the Edge of Peace — Voices from the faith-Based Peace and Justice Community”, a new anthology from EPI! Print copies of “On the Edge of Peace”, the price is $15.00 + $5.00 for shipping & handling (for orders outside the US, (or for multiple copies – a price break on shipping) please write or email us for the cost to you. You may read order information in our Donation section. Click here [peaceandjusticeparkhere.net/EPI/#donate].

Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County

Oakland Peace Center

United for Peace and Justice - Bay Area [unitedforpeace.org]

United for Peace and Justice – Bay Area is a regional, movement-building coalition that coordinates and supports the work of existing local groups and strives to strengthen or create solidarity where it is lacking.

United Nations Association (UNA)
"We the peoples of the United Nations determined... to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors..." Preamble, United Nations Charter, 24 October 1945.

East Bay Chapter [unausaeastbay.org] [unaeastbay@sbcglobal.net]. UNA Peace Center [510-849-1752] [2539 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley (at Blake)], hours are Tues - Sat 12-5. UNICEF cards, flags, international fair trade gifts, books, jewelry, T-shirts are available for sale.
Sacramento Chapter [unausasacramento.org] Eddie Lee, President [916-444-7800] [P.O. Box 163381​ Sacramento, CA 95816-9381]

Occupy Beale AFB! 

Democratic World Federalists
[dwfed.org/index.php] [dwfed@dwfed.org] [415-227-4880] [55 New Montgomery Street, Suite 225.
 San Francisco, CA 94105]

California No-Drones Network

Project SALAM: Support And Legal Advocacy for Muslims 
Purpose of Project SALAM: This web site is devoted to researching and documenting the likelihood that the United States Justice Department’s post-9/11 terrorism-related prosecutions and convictions have included a significant number of Muslims who were in fact innocent of any crime. Other cases were severely overcharged and/or over sentenced.

Middle East Children's Alliance
[www.mecaforpeace.org], [510-548-0542], [1101 Eighth Street (near Gilman & San Pablo, lots of parking), Berkeley]
Organizing Benefit Programs for Women and Children in Palestine, fostering industry and trade with the world with products made by the People of Palestine including Extra-Virgin Olive Oil from the West Bank, Stunning Scarves & Shawls, Palestinian Embroidery, Olive Oil Soap and Palestinian Dead Sea Products, Olive wood toys, Hand woven rugs, Painted Ceramics from Jerusalem, Cookbooks and Kitchenware, Children's books, Arabic food and coffee! Organizers of the famous ANNUAL MIDDLE EASTERN HOLIDAY CRAFTS BAZAAR in Berkeley!

Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR)
The only organization in Israel made up of rabbis and rabbinical students from all denominations of Judaism, all of whom uphold the rabbinic concept of tikkun olam - "repairing the world" - referring to universal human rights and social justice.

Courage to Resist
[couragetoresist.org] [510-488-3559]

United States Labor Against the War (USLAW)
[uslaboragainstwar.org] [info (@uslaboragainstwar.org]

Here's what one union leader had to say about why he supports USLAW:
"USLAW is the sturdy bridge..." message from Fred Hirsch, Vice President, elect, of the Plumbers and Fitters Local 393:
  I have been the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council representative on the Steering Committee of US Labor Against the War since 2003. USLAW has functioned magnificently and economically with a skeleton staff of three devoted, bright and talented leaders who are responsible to a vastly experienced Steering Committee and a Board of labor movement leading lights as Co-Convenors. We’re all asked to contribute to many causes.  Though I’m a fixed income retiree, I give to a few groups, but more than any, I give what I can to USLAW to help keep it afloat and fighting the good fight for all of us. Please give as generously as you can.  The labor movement needs the peace movement and the peace movement needs the labor movement. USLAW is the sturdy bridge between the two to the future that we all need. Your donated dollars will go further with USLAW than with any other organization I know. In solidarity, [signed] Fred Hirsch
This month marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of USLAW. USLAW's decade of activity established it as an organization that is truly unique, not only in the American labor movement, but in the global labor movement as well.  It is the only organization that is rooted in the official institutions of the union movement but also counts among its affiliates non-traditional labor organizations like worker centers and ad hoc labor antiwar committees.  It operates within the official bodies of unions but is not dominated by or subservient to them.  It functions as the antiwar voice of the labor movement and labor's voice in the antiwar movement. 
USLAW is a network of nearly 200 labor organizations [uslaboragainstwar.org/article.php?id=16781] - including three national unions, more than two dozen labor councils, eight state labor federations, regional labor bodies, local unions - large and small - and official constituency group organizations - in both the AFL-CIO and Change to Win, and in independent unions like the National Education Association and United Electrical Workers.  USLAW also has hundreds of individual associate members, including unrepresented workers, retirees and union members in both affiliated and unaffiliated organizations. 
It made history in 2005 when it won overwhelming support for a resolution to put the AFL-CIO on record against the Iraq War, calling for rapid withdrawal - the first time in its 50 year history that the federation publicly opposed the deployment of U.S. troops into battle.  This was possible because USLAW is organized "bottom-up" rather than "top-down".
USLAW is one of the architects of the Jobs-Not-Wars Campaign [salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/302/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=11931&tag=JNW_USLAW] and cofounder of the New Priorities Network [newprioritiesnetwork.org/].  Highlights of some of its other accomplishments are recorded in a fact sheet [uslaboragainstwar.org/downloads/Achievements.Dec2012.pdf] posted to the USLAW website [uslaboragainstwar.org/].
Help USLAW start the new year with the resources it needs. USLAW has no big foundation grants.  It is supported by its affiliates and members, and supporters inside and outside of the labor movement. It needs your support to carry on its work -- building an antiwar constituency in the American labor movement, providing ongoing solidarity to the unions and workers of Iraq and other targets of U.S. aggression, demilitarizing U.S. foreign policy, and redirecting our tax dollars to create an environmentally sustainable, just and equitable economy and society. Thank you for all you do and have done for justice, peace and democracy.  Let's resolve together to make 2013 a year in which defeat the austerity schemes,end the U.S. military occupation of Afghanistan, win serious cuts in military spending and put our country on a new course.
Sign the Jobs-Not-Wars petition [salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/302/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=11931&tag=JNW_USLAW].  Then send this to ten others.  Ask them to join you in signing and then send it to ten of their friends. 
We are the majority.  We must not be silent!

Jobs Not Wars coalition

Bay Area New Priorities Campaign
[www.newprioritiescampaign.org]  [newprioritiescampaign (@gmail.com]

The Campaign for New Priorities brings together organizations and individuals from diverse constituencies, communities and movements to demand of our public officials a change of direction for the U.S. – one that prioritizes putting people back to work, restoring and fully funding essential public services, rebuilding and repairing infrastructure, funding the development of new alternative energy technologies, cleaning up and protecting the environment, developing a sustainable peace economy, reducing poverty and inequality, and generally meeting important social and other human needs.
New Priorities Declaration of Principles -

If you agree with these principles, we invite you to sign the Declaration of Principles of the Campaign for New Priorities and get organizations to endorse it. After collecting a lot of signatures and endorsements from organizations, the Campaign will ask public officials in our communities adopt a resolution calling on Congress to adopt these priorities.  It will ask them to hold hearings to let us explain how the economic crisis and cuts in public services impact our families, jobs and communities.
Build the campaign! Please take a moment now to send a message to as many people as you can urging them to sign the Declaration and urge their friends to do the same.  We've made it very easy. 
Just click HERE to send your message [salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2488/p/salsa/web/tellafriend/public/?tell_a_friend_KEY=8617]. Thanks for your support. Together we'll change the priorities and direction our country is taking! 

PANinA: Peace and Nonviolence in Action

"Nevada Desert Experience (NDE)"
[www.NevadaDesertExperience.org] [info@nevadadesertexperience.org] 

NDE is the most visible peace and justice group in Nevada, a leading participant in the national anti-drone movement, and the only nuclear abolition group that focuses on the Nevada National Security Site (the nuclear testing site). We organize local Nevadans as well as amplify the voices of peace-oriented people of faith from all over the country.

SOA Watch: Close the School of the Americas
[soaw.org] [202-234-3440] [info@soaw.org] [PO Box 4566, Washington, DC 20017]

Disarm Activist

Lamorinda Peace and Justice
The Lamorinda Peace and Justice Group meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month from 7 to 9pm in the fireside room of Lafayette Methodist Church, 955 Moraga Road, Lafayette. Our group is committed to working to support a healthy planet, a thriving local community, and a safe, equitable world for all. For more information, call 925-946-0563

Cynthia McKinney (and friends)
[enduswars.org] [livestream.com/dignity] [myspace.com/dignityaction] [myspace.com/runcynthiarun] [twitter.com/cynthiamckinney] [facebook.com/CynthiaMcKinney] [youtube.com/runcynthiarun]

Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR)

[forusa.org] [P.O. Box 271, Nyack, NY 10960] [845-358-4601]
* Oakland [510-763-1403]
* 2017 Mission St #305 San Francisco [510-763-1403]
Since the 1920s, the Fellowship of Reconciliation has sent delegations of peacemakers to regions of the world in conflict and to nations regarded as U.S. enemies. This people-to-people outreach, a form of civilian diplomacy, has taken Americans to such places as Vietnam, the former Soviet Union, Iraq, Nicaragua, Israel/Palestine, and the Philippines. FOR currently sends peace delegations to the Middle East, to Colombia, and to Mexico.

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space  
[PO Box 652 Brunswick, ME 04011]
[207-443-9502] [globalnet@mindspring.com]
[www.space4peace.org] [space4peace.blogspot.com]

WAR and LAW League, nonpartisan, nonprofit, for the rule of law in international affairs. [warandlaw.org/files/index.html]

Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas
[415-924-3227] [mitfamericas.org/Newsletter.htm]

Jews Against the Occupation
A Jewish Voice of Opposition to the War on Palestinians - Jews Against the Occupation is an organization of progressive, secular and religious Jews of all ages throughout the New York City area advocating peace through justice for Palestine and Israel.

Jewish Voice for Peace
Opposed to Bombing Civilians? Sign Jewish Call to Action Petition - HELP END THE GAZA AND LEBANON INVASIONS NOW! Urge the U.S. to put a stop to the attacks on Lebanon and Gaza. Show the world there is a principled Jewish voice that opposes the collective punishment of an entire people.

Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT)
[www.cpt.org] [Box 6508 · Chicago, IL 60680-6508] [773-376-0550] [peacemakers@cpt.org]

Move to Amend

Veterans for Peace
Chapter 87 Sacramento Area [916-456-4595]

Peace Coalition of Monterey County
with Libertarians for Peace [lawsam1951@hotmail.com] [www.libertarians4peace.net]

Human Rights Centre - UN mandated University for Peace
[upeace.org] [hrc.upeace.org]

The Human Rights Centre of the United Nations mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) and Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) jointly organize several online courses on human rights issues throughout the year, including: Health and Human Rights * Business and Human Rights Human Rights * Indigenous Peoples' Rights * International Human Rights Law (Foundation Course).  
These certificate courses are aimed at professionals working with the United Nations, government officials, NGO staff, development workers, human rights advocates, academics and students. We will very much appreciate your kind help in disseminating this opportunity to interested candidates.       
For more information about the courses and registration, please visit [www.hrea.org/upeace] or send an email to [elearning@hrea.org]. Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) [http://www.hrea.org/index.php?language_id=1]

Thursday, June 26, 2014

"A Call for Solidarity From Iraq"

2014-06-26 by Falah Alwan for "Common Dreams" [http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/06/26-4]:
Falah Alwan, President of the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq, testifies on toxic legacy of U.S. war on Iraq at the People's Hearing in Washington, DC on March 27, 2014. (Photo: Cassidy Regan)
As violence in Iraq continues to escalate, and the United States deploys 300 special forces to gather intelligence for potential air strikes, ordinary Iraqi people are caught in the middle of a conflict set in motion by U.S. occupation. The United Nations reported on Tuesday that violence in Iraq over the past two weeks has killed at least 1,000 people and left another 1,000 injured. The U.S. hawks responsible for the 2003 invasion of Iraq  are calling for aggressive military action, but voices within Iraq and across the world warn that U.S. strikes, troops, and war will only make the tragedy worse.
Common Dreams staff writer Sarah Lazare interviews Falah Alwan, President of the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq. Communicating by E-mail from Sadr City, Baghdad where he is based, Alwan discusses discrimination, oppression, and 'modern-day colonialism' in Iraq; the U.S. role in militarizing and dividing society; and how people in the U.S. can stand in solidarity at this difficult time.

SL: What are the root causes of Iraq's escalating violence? What is the role of U.S. occupation and arms flow to the region in stoking sectarian politics?
FA: The main reason behind the current wave of violence is the policies of the sectarian government. The people's demands against discrimination are fair, but the armed political powers have conquered these provinces with their model: brutal fascist control. There is no need to add that the U.S, occupation was and still is the main motive, which is feeding and perpetuating the sectarian policies and conflicts.

SL: Some U.S. political forces are saying the violence in Iraq shows that the U.S. should never have "ended" the war and should in fact invade. What is your response?
FA: The violence—or rather, the recent tragedy of the society in Iraq—is the logical outcome of the U.S. war and invasion, so the U.S. has flamed an endless fire, and the new intervention will fuel the fire.

SL: How can people in the U.S. best stand in solidarity with the Iraqi people at this difficult time?
FA: I think the efforts to compel the U.S. administration to stop its political support to Maliki will be supportive to the front of the opposition against Maliki`s polices. On the other hand, revealing the role of the U.S. in installing Maliki personally as prime minister of Iraq during Bush's reign will be a good initiative, as well as supporting the Iraqi movements for progress.

SL: Are there any other messages you would like to send people in the U.S.?
FA: I think the situation in Iraq is not a result of merely arbitrary events or a result of the bad behavior of the leaders. It is the result of creating or forcing a new political regime and a new distribution of the wealth and power between new political parties, which have been installed by the occupation, according to the interests of the capitalists in the U.S., who are oppressing the people in both nations U.S. and Iraq, but in different ways.
This includes devastating the life and the society in Iraq, seizing the resources, converting it into a battlefield, militarizing daily life. They are oppressing the people, especially the working class, by stealing and seizing their real wages by the taxes, and militarizing the economy and causing vast unemployment.
All the parties in power are representing bourgeois wings.They have become rulers by the U.S. invasion, not by a political development and struggle, so they are backed by the U.S. administration. They all have signed the agreements with the IMF and World Bank, accepting all the orders and conditions of these imperialist organizations.
It is the same class hegemony of the imperialism exercised over the world: a modern kind of colonialism. The recent violence resulted, by the endeavor of the parties in power, to restrain and concentrate the power in the fists of a handful of politicians. This causes the continued ignoring of the people's demands, discrimination and marginalization of many people according to their sect, ethnicity, gender, race, etc. This government, and the whole state of Iraq, is corrupted, dysfunctional, and can never be reformed.

SL: How is the violence in Iraq affecting poor and working people?
We need to distinguish more than one kind of violence. All of them are affecting the poor, toiling, and working people.
Since 2003—for more than one decade—the daily bombing of cars and improvised explosive devices have targeting civilians, especially the poor and crowded provinces. The construction workers, the poor sellers, and porters were repeatedly targeted by the deadly attacks. The violence and oppression of the militias and armed groups are affecting the inhabitants in the provinces under their control, especially women. They are imposing their orders and traditions by force, under the name of Sharia.
The other manner of violence is that of the government against the people, especially against the workers. This includes: preventing the peaceful demonstrations, shooting the sit-in protests, and arresting the activists. In addition, the governmental forces are treating the people in the western governorates roughly and severely, arresting the young people arbitrary and storming into the houses without official warrants. These are examples of what are going on.

SL: What is your expectation for the future?
FA: In a word: a dark and uncertain future. It is a fluid situation and nobody can anticipate the directions of the events. It is an open end, and more than one option is expected. The internal war could continue; a compromise and local solution could be reached, such as the federalization of the west of Iraq; the country could be divided or the government partially changed.
I haven't mentioned the whole revolution in Iraq despite the readiness of the subjective conditions, but the reactionary movements and political forces have imposed their influence and perspective in this crisis and have polarized a huge number of people towards their polices.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"Mass Action Needed Now to Demand; End to U.S. Involvement in Iraq!"

Issued by the Labor Fightback Network. For more information, please call [973-944-8975] or email conference@laborfightback.org or write Labor Fightback Network, P.O. Box 187, Flanders, NJ  07836 or visit our website at [laborfightback.org]. Facebook link: [www.facebook.com/laborfightback]
"Imagine how much stronger the U.S. antiwar movement would be today if its major formations joined together to issue a Call for united demonstrations on both coasts to demand an end to U.S. intervention in Iraq. Such a Call would not, of course, preclude additional actions being organized independently by participating groups, but would result in an urgently needed national focus that would have the potential of bringing huge masses of people into the streets."

1. It's Primarily About Oil -
Much has been written in past days about the December 2011 withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq. But not much has been said about the U.S.'s  retaining a very sizable presence in that beleaguered country after that date. For starters, there is the largest and most expensive embassy in the world covering 4,700,000 sq. ft. and employing a staff of 15,000. And then there are the 13,500 military and security contractors, including those working for the State Department. Add to that the special ops and CIA personnel and it amounts to a huge U.S. investment of personnel and resources in Iraq.
What was behind the government's resolve to maintain such an extensive oversight of Iraq? In two words, it was primarily oil. After all, Iraq has been the second largest producer of crude oil in OPEC.
It is no wonder that during the height of the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq, a favorite demand of peace activists was "No War for Oil!" And let's not forget that in the earliest stages of the war and occupation of Iraq, widespread looting was ignored by the authorities, with one exception: the Oil Ministry was secured and protected.
On a number of occasions Obama has cited oil as a key factor that had to be considered in connection with Iraq, once referring to the "tyranny of oil."

2. The Latest Escalation -
The June 19 announcement by Obama that the U.S. will now send up to 300 "security forces advisers" to Iraq and that "targeted" air strikes are very much on the table is obviously a major escalation of U.S. involvement in Iraq.
The promise that there will be no U.S. boots on the ground has been shunted aside as the U.S. moves more air and naval weapons of death and destruction to the war zone. And once again Washington is bankrolling military intervention, whereas what is urgently needed is more funding for jobs, infrastructure, education and social programs here at home.
The capture of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, on June 10, 2014, by forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) and its advancement on a number of fronts is the rationale given for the U.S. escalation.
There is likely to be confusion on the part of some Americans who genuinely believe in peace -- leaving aside the neoconservatives and others who never met a war they didn't like. After all, ISIS's avowed goal is a renewed Sunni Islamic caliphate -- a single theocratic state for the entire Islamic world. They reject any form of a secular state and believe that only religious law -- the Islamic sharia -- is valid.
Their extreme fanaticism and brutality are horrific. They believe that Shia Muslims -- who are the majority in Iraq -- are "infidels" and worthy of death. They accord women a virtually enslaved existence. The ease with which the ISIS took possession of Mosul from the Iraqi central government raises the question of whether the United States should step in to stop the violence and prevent this fanatical and thoroughly reactionary terrorist organization from imposing its rule on any more territory.
But such involvement poses a clear and present danger of a greatly expanded regional war and contravenes the fundamental principle that  -- whatever the problems are in the region -- they must be settled by the people there, not by U.S. intervention.
There is far greater pressure on the Obama administration to intervene in Iraq than there was to intervene in Syria. Syria has very few oil resources; Iraq's are among the largest on earth. Washington's objective is to control Iraqi oil production and distribution, making sure that oil-field supply and construction firms like Halliburton and Schlumberger are able to make super-profits in Iraq and that Iraq not provide oil at preferential pricing to China.
What is going on now is the unraveling of the U.S. Middle East policy as carried out by six previous administrations. Even though U.S. interventionism in the region has been a complete failure on so many levels, the Obama administration has not fundamentally turned away from it. It is seeking through a variety of actions to impose its dominance on Middle Eastern politics. U.S. intervention, even if one believes it is well-intentioned, has not brought about peace and in fact has made life far worse for the civilian populations of Iraq, Syria, and other countries of the region. Kevin Martin, the national executive director of Peace Action, likened it to attempting to fight a fire by pouring gasoline on it. It has to be stopped.
The U.S.'s objectives in the region have absolutely nothing to do with democracy, human rights, women's rights, progressive secularism, or peace. Moreover, U.S. involvement on any level will not be beneficial to the Iraqi people in any way. It has to be opposed unconditionally.

3. Where Do We Go From Here?
In spite of the complex political situation in Iraq, there is  overwhelming opposition among the American people for any new involvement in that country. Even some Republicans who wholeheartedly supported George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq in 2003 are now calling it a mistake which should not be repeated.  The spontaneous and massive public outcry from all across the country against the threatened bombing of Syria, reinforced by committed activists who took to the streets in several cities, proved to be sufficient at that time to deter the Obama administration from ordering air strikes.
We believe that there is an imperative need for committed peace and social justice groups to organize united mass actions to demand that the United States stay completely out of the conflict. That means: no special forces, no ground troops, no military advisers, no air strikes, no "training," no "intelligence gathering," no drones, no weapons and no money to any belligerent forces. Actions in the streets have already begun. Antiwar vigils have taken place in Washington and local demonstrations are planned for the weekend of June 21-22 in many cities.
Peace activists need to reach out to unions, communities of color, students, the feminist and LGBT movements, the environmentalist movement, the faith community, veterans and other groups. Representatives of those constituencies need to meet together and come to agreement on mass actions in the streets to oppose any U.S. involvement in Iraq. There is no alternative to unity and there is no time more important to forge that unity than now.
If you and/or your organization agree with this perspective, please let us hear from you. Imagine how much stronger the U.S. antiwar movement would be today if its major formations joined together to issue a Call for united demonstrations on both coasts to demand an end to U.S. intervention in Iraq. Such a Call would not, of course, preclude additional actions being organized independently by participating groups, but would result in an urgently needed national focus that would have the potential of bringing huge masses of people into the streets.

Monday, June 23, 2014

"Protests at the White House and nationwide demand no war on Iraq; Actions across the country oppose all U.S. intervention"

2014-06-23 [http://www.answercoalition.org/national/news/protests-at-the-white-house-Iraq.html]:
Opponents of the U.S. war machine rallied outside the White House June 21, joining national days of action held throughout the week. The demonstration was attended by members of the ANSWER Coalition, Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, CODEPINK and others.
On the same day, actions were held in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Eureka, Aubern and Fresno in California; Tallahassee, Fla.; New Haven, Conn.; Boston, Mass.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Pittsburgh, Penn; and Las Vegas, Nev. Altogether, over 20 actions were held across the country in response to the call for the days of action.
Protesters were responding to the increasingly aggressive posture of the U.S. government towards Iraq, especially the threat of a bombing campaign. That Thursday, President Obama announced that up to 300 U.S. military “advisers” would be sent to Iraq.
But the anti-war movement is not fooled by this label. Speaking at the White House rally, ANSWER National Coordinator Brian Becker said, “We recognize that when President Obama says he’s sending military advisers, this is the unmistakable path towards escalation.”
The sickening hypocrisy of the U.S. government, which instigated civil war to divide resistance to the occupation that began in 2003 but is now feigning humanitarian concern, was also a theme of the D.C. action. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, told the rally, “I was in Iraq in 2002 with former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark … at that time, the Iraqi people didn’t see themselves as divided along sectarian and religious lines, they saw themselves as a people, as a united people. But the U.S. government and the generals looked at Iraq and said, ‘let us sow the seeds of division.’”
Eugene Puryear of the ANSWER Coalition added, “They don’t ask anyone from the anti-war movement to come on the Sunday shows, and that’s because we were right in 2003 and we’re right now, and they don’t want to be exposed.” Many of the speakers and participants at the rally called for war criminals like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, who are now being treated as experts and collecting huge speaking fees, to be held accountable for the atrocities they are responsible for.
The days of action initiated by the ANSWER Coalition and supported by Veterans For Peace, World Can't Wait, CODEPINK and others, showed that the people of the United States do not want a new war, and will fight back against any attempt to escalate U.S. intervention in a conflict that is itself a product of U.S. intervention.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

"Obama announces escalation in Iraq; ANSWER Coalition responds to President Obama’s speech on Iraq"

2014-06-19 [http://www.answercoalition.org/national/news/obama-announces-escalation-in.html]:
What U.S. military "advisers" look like

Sending hundreds of U.S. military "advisers" was precisely the path taken by President Kennedy at the start of the Vietnam War.

The following was written by Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition, in response to President Obama's speech on June 19, 2014.
President Obama’s speech to the American people, announcing his decision to re-engage Iraq militarily, lacked honesty and candor about the responsibility that the U.S. government bears for the shredding of Iraq as a unitary nation.
Now is the time for a massive grassroots opposition to an escalating U.S. war in Iraq. It was the national and international opposition that forced President Obama to back away from a wider war in Syria last September. Now we will do it again. We will be in the streets and the offices of Congress and the White House will be flooded with emails and calls demanding a complete withdrawal from Iraq.
The present civil conflict in Iraq is a result of the U.S. war and occupation, which destroyed the Iraqi government and divided the country along sectarian lines in order to conquer it. This reversed Iraq’s long history of secularism, and the coexistence and intermarrying among its diverse communities. Islamic extremist forces were practically non-existent in Iraq until the Pentagon invaded.
President Obama has decided to send hundreds of troops into battle under the convenient label of ‘military advisors’ which was precisely the path taken by President Kennedy at the start of the Vietnam War. Small detachments lead to larger detachments if the first wave doesn’t succeed and no President wants to terminate the conflict if it is perceived as a military defeat. This is the predictable path to an ever greater escalation and the loss of thousands more lives.
President Obama made an historic error by refusing to hold George W. Bush and Dick Cheney accountable for their criminal war of aggression. Nearly a decade of war took another 1 million Iraqi lives. 5 million were made refugees. Tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers were killed or wounded. The U.S. policymakers—the war criminals—who carried out this human atrocity are still walking free, giving speeches and raking in millions of dollars in book deals.
The worldwide anti-war movement stopped U.S. war on Syria - Now is the time to act to stop a new U.S. war on Iraq!