Wednesday, October 29, 2014

November Calendar 11-1-14

NOVEMBER  CALENDAR
Hudson Valley Activist Calendar, Issue #685
Send event announcements or to subscribe, jacdon@earthlink.net
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Attention Readers: We update each calendar online as new events are announced until the next full calendar is posted. The additional items will begin with this mark: √√. In October we added 15 items in the days after publication .
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DON’T FORGET TO VOTE NOVEMBER 4, 2014

But as you do, don’t also forget that the overwhelming majority of elections are won and lost because of money first and voting second. This isn’t the way a genuine democracy chooses its political representatives. It is, however, the way a plutocracy conducts elections. The first step in restoring a democracy is taking money out of elections. Many Americans want to do this. But those who control the three branches of government — executive, legislative and judicial — obviously don’t want to change things.  The politicians thrive on money to gain office and keep office. The right wing Supreme Court thrives ideologically by having the rich control the elections. As a consequence, the richest 0.01%  (one hundredth of one percent) of the U.S. population finances 40% of election spending. The bottom 50% of the American households possess just 1% of the nation's wealth and has virtually nothing to donate to political campaigns. The top 5% of households possess 63% of the wealth and dominate the campaigns. Which group has the power? Which group gets the payback from Congress and the White House?


QUOTE OF THE ISSUE
“American politicians don’t dare say outright that only the wealthy should have political rights — at least not yet. But if you follow the currents of thought now prevalent on the political right to their logical conclusion, that’s where you end up.”

 — Paul Krugman, New York Times, October 24, 2014 (Plutocrats Against Democracy)
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Please note: A brief critical analysis of the 
midterm elections follows these events.

EVENTS:


Rachel Corrie, never to be forgotten.
Sunday, Nov. 2, POUGHKEEPSIE (Vassar campus): A live stage production of the play “My Name is Rachel Corrie” begins at 7:30 p.m. in Rockefeller Hall, Room 200, 124 Raymond Ave. Corrie, a 23-year-old American volunteer, was crushed to death by an Israeli Army bulldozer in Gaza as she tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home. The play, starring Ashley Malloy, recounts the young woman's life from journal entries, letters, and emails she left behind. This current production has been touring colleges across the country to excellent reviews. A significant portion of funds raised will go to support The Freedom Theatre located in the Jenin Refugee Camp in the West Bank. A discussion with Malloy will follow the 90-minute performance. Tickets may be purchased at the door. The sponsors are Vassar Students for Justice in Palestine, Middle East Crisis Response and Hudson Valley BDS. Information, sjpvassar@gmail.com, (845) 876-7906.

Monday, Nov. 3, OLD CHATHAM: A 7 p.m. free public screening of “A Small Act” starts at 7 p.m. at Old Chatham Quaker Meetinghouse, 539 County Rt.13, across from Pitt Hall Road and Powell House. Here’s what it is about: “When Hilde Back sponsored a young, rural Kenyan student in Mukubu primary school, she certainly never expected to hear from him. However Chris Mburu, now a Harvard graduate and a Human Rights Lawyer for the United Nations, decides to find the stranger that changed his life. Inspired by her generosity, he starts a scholarship program of his own and names it for his former benefactor. The students in Mukubu primary school are in the exact same situation as Chris once was. They can’t afford to pay school fees. With the creation of Chris’ fund, these students have new hope. But the program is small.” A moderated discussion will follow the film. Information, (518) 392-9686. Directions: www.oldchathamquakers.org.

Tuesday, Nov. 4, USA: Today is Election Day. The right wing Republican candidate for governor of New York is out of the running, according to the polls. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, seeking reelection, behaves more like a Republican than a Democrat.  His latest reactionary statement a few days ago was to undermine the public school system that he dismissed as “one of the only remaining public monopolies,” which he’d evidently like to change with the help of the charter schools and non-union teachers he so admires. Cuomo did a few good things during his first term but his overall record is conservative. The alternative is Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate, who will get our vote. In our New York 19CD, where we live, the race is between right wing Republican Rep. Chris Gibson, and newcomer centrist Democrat Sean Eldridge. In the absence of a left candidate, center tops the right by default. On Proposition One, about redistricting, The New York Times urges a "no" vote.

Tuesday, Nov. 4, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): Malea Otranto, a representative from UNICEF USA's End Trafficking program, will deliver a lecture on “Human Trafficking: Locally and Internationally" at 5:30 p.m. in the Coykendall Science Building Auditorium. Sponsored by the Political Science Dept. with backing from the United Nations Association of the Hudson Valley. Public and free. Campus map: http://www.newpaltz.edu/map/. Information https://www.facebook.com/events/807478785962416/.

Wade Rathke.
√√ Wednesday Nov. 5, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): Wade Rathke, long-time progressive activist organizer on the regional, national and international level, will lecture on the topic, “Is Grassroots Organizing Dead Or Just Dying? — There Won’t Be A Facebook Revolution!” Rathke is the founder of ACORN — America’s largest community organization of low and moderate-income families seeking economic and social justice. The group became a prime target of the right wing that ultimately helped shut down the organization in 2010 — leaving most of its 175,000 member-families across the country without an advocate. This free public event will begin at 8 p.m. aty the CSB Auditorium on campus. It is sponsored by the SUNY New Paltz Student Associatiion.


√√ Wednesday, Nov.5, CANAAN:  A proposed pipeline for the transmission of natural gas in Columbia County by Kindeer Morgan, the third largest energy company in North America, is the subject of a public informational meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall on County Rt. 5. The gas would be obtained through fracking, which is opposed by many New Yorkers because of its risks to health and the water supply. The meeting is sponsored by the Town of Canaan and there will be a 20 minute Power Point presentation by “Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline” with a question and answer period to follow. It is suggested that people arrive early. Information, Bob Connors, (518) 781-4686, raconnors@yahoo.com.


Young women, drafted at 18, serve in Occupied Territories.
Friday, Nov. 7, KINGSTON: Films of Palestine Series presents “To See If I’m Smiling” at 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills, 320 Sawkill Road. We’re told this free public film “is the personal account of six women in the Israeli Defense Force who served in the Occupied Territories. The documentary explores the moral challenges female soldiers face in being part of the oppression of the Palestinian people.” This film by writer/director Tamar Yarom is the winner of six festival awards for best documentary. The sponsor is Middle East Crisis Response. Information, Jane.toby7@gmail.com, (518) 291-6808, http://www.mideastcrisis.org, http://www.hudsonvalleybds.org.

The New Jim Crow.
Monday, Nov. 10, KINGSTON: The End the New Jim Crow Action Network! (ENJAN), a Hudson Valley group dedicated to fighting racist policies of racial profiling, police brutality, and mass incarceration (the "new Jim Crow"), meets 6-8 p.m. at the New Progressive Baptist Church, 8 Hone St. (Also meets here Nov. 24.) Information, (845) 475-8781, http://www.enjan.org.

Wednesday, Nov. 12, POUGHKEEPSIE: The End the New Jim Crow Network will meet 6-8 p.m. at the Sadie Peterson Delaney African Roots Library, Family Partnership Center, 29 N Hamilton St. (Also meets here Nov. 26.) Information, (845) 475-8781, http://www.enjan.org.

Thursday, Nov. 13, WOODSTOCK: Middle East Crisis Response, a group of Hudson Valley residents joined together to promote peace and human rights in Palestine and the Middle East, will hold its regular meeting tonight, 7-8:30 p.m. at Woodstock Public Library, 5 Library Lane. (Next meeting Nov. 27). Information, (845) 876-7906, http://www.mideastcrisis.org.


Friday, Nov. 14, USA:  All four postal unions and their members are calling a National Day of Action today in opposition to plans to cut back on mail delivery and other postal services. They urge the public to “Tell the Postmaster General and Board of Governors: Stop Delaying America’s Mail." The unions point out that on Jan 5, the U.S. Postal Service is slated to lower ‘service standards’ to virtually eliminate overnight deliveries – including first-class mail from one address to another within the same city or town. All mail throughout the country — letters, publications, and packages —will be delayed. On the same day, 84 mail processing and distributions centers are scheduled to close. Six-day delivery is also being threatened. More details are to come. Mid-Hudson information from organization and legislative director Diana S. Cline (APWU, local 3722), skatergurl96diana@aol.com. The Activist Calendar strongly supports the cause of the postal workers.

Beth Richie.
Monday, Nov. 17, NEW PALTZ (SUNY  campus): “The Problem with Carceral Feminism: Race, Gender and Mass Criminalization” is the topic of  a free public lecture by Dr. Beth E. Richie, Professor of African American Studies, Gender and Women's Studies, Criminology, Law and Justice, and Sociology at University of Illinois Chicago. It takes place at 3:30 p.m. in Lecture Center 100. The emphasis of Richie's scholarly and activist work has been on the ways that race/ethnicity and social position affect women's experience of violence and incarceration, focusing on the experiences of African American battered women and sexual assault survivors. This event is supported by CAS, the Office of the Provost, the Departments of Black Studies, and History, the Scholar's Mentorship Program, the Honors Program, and Residence Life. Co-sponsors include the Native American Studies Program and the Humanistic and Multicultural Education Program. Information, (845) 257-3756.

Tuesday, Nov. 18, HYDE PARK:  There will be a talk and book signing by Richard Norton Smith, author of “On His Own Terms: 
A Life of Nelson Rockefeller” at 7 p.m. in the Henry A. Wallace Center 
of the FDR Presidential Library and Home on Rt. 9. Map and directions, http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/map.html. Information, (845) 486-1142.

Wednesday, Nov. 19, ALBANY: Women Against War is holding its Annual Meeting — Pot Luck Dinner, Honor Women of Peace 2014, and a live performance of the play, "Grounded." It begins at 5:30 p.m. at Academy of the Holy Names School, Upper School Cafeteria, 1074 New Scotland Rd. For potluck bring a dish to share and a donation, $5-20 suggested. This year’s Woman for Peace award goes to Maureen Aumand, honored as “a moving force for peace in the Capital District.” A reviewer wrote “Grounded is a heartbreaking, beautiful, necessary, and perfectly-structured solo drama…an essential story for our times.” There will also be a silent auction. Wheelchair Accessible.  Please RSVP by Nov.17 to Maud Easter, easter@nycap.rr.com. 



Vijay Prashad.
Thursday, Nov. 20, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): Renowned Indian historian Vijay Prashad will appear in a panel discussion titled "U.S. Foreign Policy in Regard to ISIL/ISIS/IS" at 7 p.m. in Lecture Center 102. Joining him will be James Ketterer (Bard College), and Lewis Brownstein (SUNY New Paltz). Prashad is Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, and the Edward Said Chair at the American University of Beirut. He has authored 15 books, including his most recent (2013), “The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South.” Information for this free public event: schiffej@newpaltz.edu.


√√ Friday Nov.21, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): Educators, students, parents, and community members are invited to the 20th Anniversity Multicultural Education Conference, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. in the Student Union. We're told: “The conference is intended to celebrate past work, share current initiatives, and gather new perspectives and ideas for taking action. We will examine the ways inequity in our schools due to race, gender, class, sexual orientation, language, religion, ability, and more can be transformed to inspire greater learning and engagement for all. In addition we will examine ways to overcome the debilitating effects of the current standardized, data-driven, and privatizing approaches to education to reclaim the potential and power of both multicultural and public education.” Speakers include: Enid Lee is a writer, teacher educator and consultant in the area of antiracist and equity-centered education. Stan Karp, an editor for Rethinking Schools. Christine E. Sleeter is Professor Emerita at California State University. Schedule: 8 a.m., Registration. 8:30 a.m. Keynote. 10 a.m., Workshops. 11:15 a.m., Lunch and book signings. 12 Noon-1p.m., Cultural performance. 1:15.-2:30 p.m, Workshops. Her research focuses on anti-racist education and multicultural teacher education. Registration fee (before Nov. 7 if possible): General $40; students $8. Sponsors include: SUNY New Paltz, Mid-Hudson Migrant Education Tutorial and Support Service Program, Mid-Hudson Teacher Center, Ulster County Boces, New York State Center For School Safety, Mid-Hudson School Study Council. Information, Nancy Schniedewind schniedn@newpaltz.edu


Short, brutal lives in factory "farm." 
√√ Thursday, Nov. 27, AMERICA: Happy Thanksgiving. We’d like to talk turkey about turkeys. All told throughout the year in the U.S., up to 300 million turkeys are raised for slaughter every year, nearly 47 million for this single day of gluttony. Their lives are short and brutal. Many never leave the cruel factory “farm” until they are about to be killed. Turkeys are frequently confined so tightly that each bird has only between 2.5 to 4 square feet of space each. This space only gets tighter as the turkeys grow. “The symbolism surrounding the Thanksgiving turkey, much like the modern domestic turkey itself, has been largely manufactured by cynical commercial interests. There is neither compelling historical precedent nor meaningful rationale for associating the butchered carcass of a turkey with our national day of thanksgiving.” This information comes from a brief article titled “The History of Thanksgiving” on the Farm Sanctuary website, http://www.farmsanctuary.org/giving/adopt-a-turkey/adopt-a-turkey-history-of-thanksgiving/. Google “Vegetarian and vegan recipes for Thanksgiving” and you will find some very delicious recipes.

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PUBLIC IGNORED IN MIDTERM ELECTIONS
27 October 2014, Truthout
By Michael Meurer,

Ritual national elections now offer a choice between heavily marketed neoliberal political brands rather than competing aspirational visions. Both parties are dependent on massive special interest funding that ensures they represent the financial class over the working class. Faced with a choice between straight neoliberalism (Republicans) and neoliberalism with a human face (Democrats), voters are simply opting out, with 51 million people who are eligible to vote not registering, and 42% of registered voters declaring themselves independents.

Yet the public is clearly open to an agenda of real, and possibly radical, change. In January 2014, Pew Research published a State of the Union poll that showed:

a) 67% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way wealth and income are distributed in the United States.
b) 73% support raising the minimum wage.
c) 71% support a path to legalization for immigrants.
d) 67% say there is solid evidence of climate change due to human activity.
e) 78% say it is more important for the president and Congress to focus on domestic rather than foreign policy.

Pew also reported in March 2014 that much-coveted younger voters between the ages of 18 and 29 are the only age bloc in which self-described "liberals" outnumber conservatives. They vote over 60% Democratic in national elections.

Demographics notwithstanding, neither Democrats nor Republicans are speaking to public aspirations for change because their campaigns are paid for by a flood of untraceable "dark money." The New York Times reports that 55% of 2014 advertising by outside groups for both parties is funded by super PACs that do not fully disclose their donors. The Times reports that at least 80% of Republican ads by outside groups have been paid for by "secret money," while 75% of Democratic ads by non-party groups have been paid for by super PACs. It should not be a surprise when the national post-election political agenda continues to be tailored to the interests of the ultra-wealthy who fund the elections irrespective of the outcome for either party.


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