Oct. 4, 2011, Issue #669
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Dedicated to Helping Build Activist
Movements in the Hudson Valley
THE WALL STREET OCCUPATIONS
"Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations are breaking out in many U.S. cities following the example set by the occupation of Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park) in New York City that began last month and is still going strong. The big Washington action — months in preparation — will begin on Thursday, Oct. 6 (see below).
On Oct. 5 there will be a solidarity march in New York City sponsored by a number of labor and community groups — see below, including buses from Albany, Highland and Rock Tavern — in support of Occupy Wall Street.
Two events earlier this year — the uprisings in the Arab countries, combined with the right wing attack on the union movement and public sector workers in Wisconsin and the dramatic fight-back by workers and community people — have inspired anti-establishment activism throughout the United States, which contributed to the current demonstrations.
The are many issues behind the various Occupy Wall Street protests. In general the actions are the product of several decades of increasing right wing domination of the American political system, stagnant wages and incomes for the working class and lower middle class, burgeoning poverty, historic economic inequality and the dissipation of the so-called "American Dream" (i.e., possible upward mobility and at least superficial equality).
These social deficits have been exacerbated by the Great Recession, extreme unemployment and underemployment, and the reluctance of the two ruling parties to take the steps necessary to alleviate the increasing immiseration of America's working families. Meanwhile, an enormously wealthy but small minority whistles an idle tune as it inventories the daily-expanding assets of the upper class, much to the justified irritation of public sentiment. And lurking in the background are two potentially toxic realities: the precarious position of U.S. and European capitalism, combined with Washington's declining global hegemony, a volatile mixture which may provoke greater international instability and wars.
It is too early to predict whether the Wall Street Occupations have staying power, or what such power might amount to politically, not least because of the presently decentralized and often explicitly "leaderless" nature of some of the protests. At the least they will shake things up even more, a most positive development. At best, given the immense contradictions within American society today, the growing oppositional force may become a step toward the rebuilding of a needed mass left political movement in our country.
Wednesday, Oct. 5, NEW YORK CITY: A labor and community movement-sponsored march and rally in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators will take place this afternoon. The legal march will leave from City Hall Park (250 Broadway in Manhattan) at 4:30 p.m. heading for Liberty Square/Zuccotti Park (Liberty St. and Broadway), three blocks north of Wall St. A rally and other events will take place at the park until 7 p.m. The march is sponsored by about 35 labor and liberal organizations, including: TWU Local 100, SEIU 1199, CWA 1109, RWDSU, Communications Workers of America, United Auto Workers, United Federation of Teaches, CUNY Professional Staff Congress, National Nurses United, Writers Guild East, CWA Local 1180, Working Families Party, Coalition for the Homeless, NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, New Deal for New York Campaign, National People's Action, Labor-Religion Coalition (NYS), Citizen Action of NY, MoveOn.org, Common Cause NY, 350.org.
Information, http://occupywallst.org/, https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=282473051782707.
Wednesday, Oct. 5, HIGHLAND to NYC: There will be bus available to bring some Mid-Hudson activists to the Occupy Wall Street solidarity march. It will be leaving from the park and ride in Highland (Rt. 9W and Rt. 299) sponsored by the Labor Religion Coalition. Arrive at the park and ride no later than 12:15 p.m. The requested cost is $20 a seat (though it's a sliding scale downward or upward, depending on what you can pay). Sandwiches will be provided but bring snacks, etc. If you wish to take this bus, call Move-On's Dan Vollweiler at (518) 334-6928 to let him know you want a seat, since they may be scarce. The march is intended as a show of support, not an act of civil disobedience. The event lasts from 4:30-7 p.m. The bus will leave by 8 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 5, ALBANY to NYC: The bus making a pickup in Highland (above) originates from the Capital District, leaving at 11 a.m. from NYSUT headquarters, 800 Troy-Schenectady Rd., Latham. For seating arrangements, contact Sara Niccoli, Labor-Religion Coalition, firstname.lastname@example.org, (646) 229-1091.
Wednesday, Oct. 5, ROCK TAVERN to NYC: A Teamster union bus from Orange County bringing labor and community supporters to the New York City solidarity march will depart at 1 p.m. from Local 44515, Stone Castle Rd. RSVP: Sandy Shaddock at( 845) 567-7760 to reserve a seat as seating is limited.
Wednesday, Oct. 5, NEW PALTZ. ALBANY and NEW YORK STATE: State University of New York students from several locations, joined by students from some City University of New York campuses, are planning a statewide walkout/teach-in today in opposition to increased tuition and fees, and cutbacks in services and staff. They are part of a new organization titled New York Students Rising. SUNY New Paltz students will leave classes noon-3 p.m., meeting in front of the Humanities Bldg. Information, http://www.nystudentsrising/.
Wednesday, Oct. 5, ALBANY: A documentary titled "Budrus: It Takes a Village to Unite the Most Divided People on Earth" will be screened 6:30-8:30 p.m at Albany Public Library, Pine Hills Branch, 517 Western Ave. The film focuses on a Palestinian town threatened by the Separation Barrier wall. A discussion will follow this free public event. Information, http://palestinianrightscommittee.org, email@example.com, (518) 465-5425.
Thursday, Oct. 6, WASHINGTON: "Stop the Machine! Create a New World!" is the call to a mass nonviolent action beginning today at Freedom Plaza (13th St. and Pennsylvania Ave. NW) and continuing for as long as activists are willing to sustain the protest — days, weeks or much longer. Some will offer civil disobedience, others will not. People are attending from throughout the U.S. We're told dozens of activists from the Hudson Valley will take part.
• Politically, the specific demands upon the U.S. government are: "Tax the rich and corporations; End the wars, bring the troops home, cut military spending; Protect the social safety net, strengthen Social Security and improved Medicare for all; End corporate welfare for oil companies and other big business interests; Transition to a clean energy economy, reverse environmental degradation; Protect worker rights including collective bargaining, create jobs and raise wages; Get money out of politics."
•This action is being organized by the October 2011 Coalition, composed of "groups who advocate for peace and social, economic and environmental justice, in a sustained occupation and nonviolent resistance to Stop the Machine! Create a New World! What is the machine? Corporatism and militarism. What new world is possible? One in which people's needs are more important than corporate profits, in which we unite our struggles for jobs, education, housing, healthcare and human rights in which we are freed to implement solutions for a peaceful, just and sustainable world." A great many details are available at the coalition's website, http://www.October2011.org, from a schedule of events to FAQs, information about sleeping arrangements, transportation and much more. Information, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• ANSWER and other groups are taking part in a rally at the Federal Building in San Francisco Oct. 6 in solidarity with the start of the Oct. 6 “Stop the Machine” action in Washington.
Thursday, Oct. 6, WOODSTOCK: "The Power of Water in N.Y. — Transition to Preparedness" is the title of a "panel discussion to help communities move toward preparedness and a sustainable, water-secure future." This free public event, sponsored by Transition Woodstock, will be held 7:30-9:30 p.m., at the Reform Church, 16 Tinker St. Panelists include Mary McNamara, Lower Esopus Watershed Partnership; Wolf Bravo, founder, Sustainable Urubamba; Russel Urban-Mead, hydrogeologist. Information, Vickie Anne O'Dougherty, (845) 679-2135.
Thursday, Oct. 6, ALBANY: The State Assembly Environmental Conservation committee holds a public hearing on hydraulic fracturing at 9:30 a.m. in the Legislative Office Building's Harrison Room. The meeting is expected to attract an audience opposed to "fracking," the dangerous method employed to extract natural gas from Marcellus Shale deposits in New York State. A number of anti-fracking groups are expected to attend the hearing. FrackAction is organizing a bus from NYC. We understand carpool information from the Mid-Hudson Valley is available from email@example.com.
Friday, Oct. 7, SEVERAL CITIES: The Bush Administration launched its unjust invasion and occupation of Afghanistan exactly 10 years ago today. The ANSWER Coalition has organized a number of demonstrations demanding an immediate end to U.S. aggression, which has been widened by the Obama Administration, in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and elsewhere. ANSWER is also organizing for UNAC's Oct. 15 protests in several cities.
Friday, Oct. 7, MILLBROOK: Economist, Pavan Sukhdev will speak about the green economy at the Cary Institute, 2801 Sharon Tpk. (Rt 44) at 11 a.m. Sukhdev, former head of the United Nations Environment Program, is the lead author of the report, "Towards a Green Economy." He will explore how the greening of economies is an engine for growth, a source of employment, and a means of alleviating poverty. Free and public. Information, (845) 677-7600, ext. 121, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, Oct. 7, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): This is Local Food Week — Farmfest — in New Paltz Village. Free food and live music will available for all at the Old Main Quad, 1-5 p.m. (Campus map: http://www.newpaltz.edu/map/.) There's also fundraising and an art raffle for the local Gardens for Nutrition and New Paltz Flood Aid. Information, email@example.com, http://www.npfarmfest.blogspot.com/.
Saturday, Oct. 8, NEW YORK CITY: "Indian Point is Old, Dangerous, and Unnecessary — Tell Cuomo to Shut it Down Now!" is the slogan of a 12-2 p.m. rally outside Gov. Cuomo's office, 633 Third Ave. and 41st St. in Manhattan. Indian Point, of course, is the Hudson Valley's very own nuclear power facility, in close enough proximity to New York City to the south and the Mid-Hudson region to the north to cause a calamity should it ever melt down. (It's situated on the Hudson River shore near Peekskill — and two earthquake fault lines!) Speakers include radio host Gary Null and author Chris Williams. Sponsored by The Progressive Radio Network, Indian Point Safe energy Coalition and Stop Indian Point Now. Information, http://progressiveradionetwork.com.
Thursday, Oct. 13, TROY: To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Patriot Act, ACLU President Susan N. Herman will speak about the negative impact on civil liberties of this Bush Administration initiative, now carried forward by the Obama Administration. The venue is the Sanctuary for Independent Media, 3361 6th Ave. (at 101st St.), beginning at 7 p.m. A $10/$5 donation is requested. Information, (518) 272-2390, info@MediaSanctuary.org, http://www.MediaSanctuary.org.
Saturday, Oct. 15, ALBANY: There will be a peace march and rally to mark the 10th anniversary of the unjust U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and drone attacks in adjacent western Pakistan. There will be speakers, live music. Peace and justice organizations are welcome to table at this event, which will be held 12 noon-2 p.m. in Townsend Park — the triangle where Central Ave. converges with Washington Ave. adjacent to Henry Johnson Blvd. (across from the Social
Justice Center). The sponsor is Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace. Information, (518) 439-1968, http://www.bethlehemforpeace.org.
Saturday, Oct. 15, WASHINGTON: A Rally and March for Jobs and Justice, backed by labor, religious, community, and civil rights groups begins at 11 a.m. the Sylvan Theatre at 15th and Independence, followed by a march to the just-opening Martin Luther King Jr. Monument. The event has been initiated by the National Action Network, led by Rev. Al Sharpton, and co-sponsored by Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and Lee Saunders, secretary treasurer of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The march to the King Memorial — at Ohio Drive SW and West Basin Drive SW —will begin round 1 p.m. Speakers include Weingarten, Sharpton, and radio personality Tom Joyner. Several unions are helping organize this event, including the New York State United Teachers, which is organizing buses leaving from many of the union’s 16 regional offices very early Saturday morning.
Saturday, Oct. 15, KINDERHOOK: A 1 p.m. union-backed "Rally for American Jobs" is scheduled outside Rep. Chris Gibson's office, 2 Hudson St., demanding that he vote for President Obama's American Jobs Act. Information, firstname.lastname@example.org, (845) 567-7760,
Sunday, Oct. 16, MILLBROOK: Since the Hudson Valley is one of the most Lyme disease-prone areas of the U.S. this educational hike in the woods may be of interest to a number of readers: The Cary Institute’s Dr. Rick Ostfeld and his research team will discuss how the interactions among acorns, mice, deer, and ticks influence the risk of Lyme disease. This free public 1 p.m. event begins at the Cary East (Gifford House) parking area, 2917 Sharon Turnpike (Rt. 44). Ostfeld has spent more than 20 years studying the ecology of Lyme disease. He will share his insights with participants through a series of informative outdoor stations. Learn the major players in the Lyme disease story as well as research techniques. Participants should bring drinking water and wear socks, sturdy shoes, and long pants. In the event of heavy rain, the program will be cancelled. Reservations are requested. Register on line at http://ecologyoflymedisease.eventbrite.com.
Sunday, Oct. 16, WASHINGTON: A 313-mile "Right to Know" march that began from the Brooklyn, N.Y., Flatbush Food Co-op Oct. 1 will arrive here today on World Food Day as part of a campaign demanding the labeling of genetically engineered food. The event will culminate in a 2 p.m. rally at Lafayette Park, across from the White House, that will "last into the evening with amazing musicians and speakers." Marchers are conducting meetings at natural food stores and co-ops during their journey. According to the organizers: "Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) endanger our health, the environment, and our farmer’s livelihoods. For too long, biotechnology companies like Monsanto have lobbied against labeling products containing their patented plants — plants which are specially designed to be sprayed with cancer-causing weed-killers, and plants which produce pesticides in every one of their cells." Information about GMOs, the march and how to take part, http://right2knowmarch.org.
Monday, Oct. 17, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): Kristin Kimball, author of "The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love," will offer a free public lecture 7 p.m. in the Coykendall Science Building Auditorium. She will be speaking along with her husband, farmer Mark Kimball, a central character in her autobiographical book, which chronicles Kristin Kimball’s transition from a Harvard-educated New York City journalist to a partner in an ambitious sustainable agriculture experiment. The event is sponsored by the SUNY New Paltz Environmental Task Force, the Department of English, the Department of Sociology, and the Environmental Studies Program, with the support of the Provost’s Office and Campus Auxiliary Services. Information, (845) 257-3447.
Friday, Oct. 21, TRENTON, N.J.: Opponents of hydraulic fracturing are planning to protest here today at the Delaware River Basin Commission's special meeting to vote on opening the Delaware River Watershed to fracking. The commission is gathering to “consider adoption of the regulations” to lift the current moratorium on high-volume hydraulic fracturing for methane gas in the Delaware River Basin. The regulations would cover natural gas drilling at an estimated 22,000 gas wells in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware on land that drains into the Delaware River, which provides drinking water to 15 million people in the four states, including Philadelphia. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Protecting Our Waters are encouraging activists to attend 10 a.m.-12 noon meeting the Patriot's Theater, 1 Memorial Drive. A bus will bring people from Philadelphia. According to Josh Fox, the director of "Gasland," the recent documentary that exposed the grave dangers of fracking for natural gas, "If they are going to start drilling, we're going to shut them down." He spoke at an anti-fracking rally last month that drew over a thousand demonstrators in Philadelphia. Information, http://protectingourwaters.wordpress.com/.
Saturday, Oct. 22, ESOPUS: Scenic Hudson reports: "Due to recent storm surges and years of wear and tear, we’re beginning to lose the Hudson River shoreline along Esopus Meadows Preserve. Help us save this fragile, ecologically important land the natural way — by planting trees whose strong roots will prevent erosion" — 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at Esopus Meadows Preserve, River Rd. Volunteers are asked to "Wear long pants and sturdy closed-toed shoes or hiking boots. Bring plenty of water, bug spray and gloves, if you have them. We’ll furnish all tools and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation will supply 100 trees. Minors must be accompanied by an adult. Information, including meeting place, Hudson Parks event coordinator Anthony Coneski, email@example.com, (845) 473-4440, ext. 273, http://www.scenichudson.org/parks/esopusmeadows.
Thursday, Oct. 27, PURCHASE (Manhattanville College campus): Police reform, racial profiling and the controversial practice of stop-and-frisk will be the topics of this year's Annual Henry Schwarzschild Memorial Lecture at Reid Castle, 2900 Purchase St. The featured speaker is Robert Gangi, senior policy advocate for the Urban Justice Center and former executive director of the Correctional Association of New York who has fought throughout his career for the humane treatment of prisoners and the protection of their rights. Gangi is currently leading the Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP), a new initiative of the Urban Justice Center. This free public event is sponsored by The New York Civil Liberties Union and the Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action. Information, (914) 997-7479, firstname.lastname@example.org.