Friday, April 12, 2013

04-11-13 Activist Calendar

April 11, 2013, Issue #668
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NOTE:  This calendar goes through  to May 1. The rest of May will be posted later. 

COLD COMFORT: April 15 is Income Tax Day and if you are lucky enough have a job and earn enough to pay taxes, it must be comforting to know that 47% of America’s income tax revenues go to war and militarism. All told this amounts to $1,355 billion in 2013.  Our grandchildren’s grandchildren will still be paying for it.

Washington says the war and militarism part of the budget is far lower than the figures we offer, which are derived from proven calculations by the War Resisters League.

Part of this is because Uncle Sam deceptively includes trust funds such as Social Security and Medicare into the income tax budget, though they are paid for through a payroll tax. The government details every penny it spends on the Department of Defense — but it conceals the rest of war related monies in other budgets such as military retiree/health care benefits, nuclear weapons, NASA, International Security Assistance, Homeland Security, the various intelligence services, and portion of the State Dept.

Another huge annual expense is paying off the cost of past wars  — veterans’ benefits ($139 billion) and about  80% of the national debt this year ($377 billion).

— An income tax pie chart showing where income tax contributions really go is at

 REFLECTIONS ON EARTH DAY. Tuesday, April 22, is Earth Day. There’s not much happening in the Hudson Valley to mark the occasion. On the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, when there was hardly an environmental maovement, it is estimated there were about 12,000 events through the U.S. Twenty years later, on April 22, 1990, a million people rallied in New York City. Today we have a considerable number of large national environmental organizations and many smaller ones. We’re fighting the good fight on the Tar Sands pipeline and fracking but we’re not making real progress on global warming, the continual destruction of Earth’s ecology, or much else.

Ironically the environmental forces made considerably more gains in the early 1970s than in recent years. The first half of the ‘70s, even under Republican Presidents Nixon and Ford, were still part of the progressive era that was known as the Sixties (1960 to 1975). An unforgiving conservative backlash was evident by the mid-70s. The right wing hated the radical reforms brought about by the black freedom movements, the antiwar movement, the student movement, the women’s movement, the various left wing political movements, the beginning of the LGBT fight for equality, the cultural dissidents and others.

That backlash is still going on, nearly four decades later. It’s like being stuck in conservative era time warp, where even a Democratic President panders to the right wing by pledging  to cut Social Security and Medicare, and placates big business  by doing virtually nothing to halt global warming. We are sinking in conservative quicksand and must fight our way out! The only way to do it is to turn sharply to the left.


Friday April 12, NEW PALTZ: Marxist writer and activist Fred Goldstein will discuss his new book, “Capitalism at a Dead End: Job Destruction, Overproduction and Economic Crisis in the High-Tech Era,” at 7 p.m. in Inquiring Minds Bookstore, 6 Church St. He will sign purchased copies. We’re told: “The book explains that the economic crisis beginning in August 2007 marked a turning point in the history of capitalism, which cannot return to the normal capitalist boom-and-bust cycle.”

Saturday, April 13, NEW PALTZ: A demonstration against pilotless drone warfare abroad and intrusive domestic drone surveillance at home will take place today starting at 11 a.m. with a rally and vigil in front of the Elting Library (93 Main St.). At 12 noon the participants will march with signs and leaflets through the downtown area, returning to the library. Many will stand with signs visible to heavy weekend traffic until 1:30 p.m. The event is being organized by the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter and is co-sponsored by New Paltz Women in Black, Occupy Southern Ulster, Middle East Crisis Response, Real Majority Project, Dutchess Peace, Dutchess Greens and other regional groups. Bring your own sign if you wish. Some signs and lots of leaflets will be available. There’s parking on Plattekill Ave., just south of main street and farther down the street at Village Hall. There will be nationwide anti-drone actions today, sponsored by the ANSWER Coalition. The largest will take place in Washington, with a White House rally and march. Information,,

Tuesday, April 16, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): Former American diplomat Dennis Ross will speak on the topic “What are the challenges for U.S. policy in the Middle East in 2013 and beyond?” There may be oppositional picketing and leafleting outside Lecture Center 100, where his talk is to begin at 7:30 p.m. Ross will speak from a right wing perspective. He is currently associated with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy — a think tank close to AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which is considered by some to be the “Israel lobby” in the U.S.). His views on Palestine and Iran, which will occupy much of his talk, are similar to those of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his far right coalition government. General public admission to this “Distinguished Speaker’” event is $18. SUNY NP students get in free. Tickets may be purchased at the nearby Parker Theatre Box Office or by visiting:

Wednesday, April 17, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): The extraordinary Palestinian documentary “Five Broken Cameras” will be screened at 7:30 p.m. in Lecture Center 102. This 94-minute film — an Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Feature this year — “is a deeply personal, first-hand account of life and nonviolent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village surrounded by Israeli settlements.” The film was shot over several years by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat. Five of his cameras were broken, in one confrontation after another, by Israeli authorities or settlers. This free public showing is sponsored by campus Amnesty International and Students for Justice in Palestine. Information,

Wednesday, April 17, POUGHKEEPSIE:  A public hearing on the proposed merger of Central Hudson gas and electric company into the multinational corporation Fortis, will start at 7 p.m. in the Common Council Chambers on the third floor of the Municipal Building, 62 Civic Center Plaza. Fortis is committed to fossil fuel energy. Many activists are against the merger, since Fortis’ track record shows it has little interest renewable energy. The Ulster County Legislature has already passed a resolution opposing the merger, as have several towns in the Central Hudson service area. The Public Service Commission has extended the public comment period until May 1, and will hold two additional public comment sessions. The other session will be April 18 in Kingston see below). For more  about Fortis: Information,

Thursday, April 18, KINGSTON:  A public hearing on the proposed merger of Central Hudson gas and electric company into the multinational corporation Fortis, will start at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of Kingston City Hall, 420 Broadway. (See Poughkeepsie, above, for more details.)

Sunday, April 21, WOODSTOCK: Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old U.S. peace activist and member of the International Solidarity Movement, was crushed to death by an Israeli Army bulldozer 10 years ago on April 10. Her death occurred during a nonviolent demonstration opposing the destruction of Palestinian homes. Woodstock Women in Black will conduct a vigil in memory of Rachel starting at 12 noon on the Village Green. We regard Rachael Corrie as a martyr to the cause of peace and justice in Israel/Palestine and the world. Her bravery and terrible death have inspired millions of people. For those interested in learning more about Rachel visit:

Sunday, April 21, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): The annual Take Back the Night events start at 12 noon in the Parker Quad and will last until 10 p.m. The purpose is to raise awareness about violence against women. The event is based on the belief that everyone should feel secure walking the streets alone day or night, and safe within their relationships with others. The Quad event — featuring many speakers, poets and performers — includes free T-shirts, free food, poster making and the like until 6 p.m. At 7:30 there will be a march on campus. A speakout will be held 8-10 p.m. consisting of “Personal Survivor Narratives to be displayed as silhouettes.” Suggested donations will go to Family of New Paltz. Campus map: Information,
Sunday, April 21, ALBANY: The seventh annual Albany Social Action Conference lasts 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Humanities Building
 at SUNY Albany,
 1400 Washington Ave. It is described as “a full day of workshops, discussions, and panels with participants committed to peace and social justice. The conference was started 7 years ago to foster ties between students, community members and social justice organizations. Participating groups include Amnesty International, Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, Capital District Against Fracking, Food Not Bombs, Invisible Sun Collective, The Furnace, National Lawyers Guild Albany Chapter, Pink Pony Organizing, Students Revolutionary Coalition, and many more. Details at  Information (845) 616-1046,

Sunday, April 21, and Wednesday, April 24, POUGHKEEPSIE: the Mid-Hudson Sierra Club, and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Poughkeepsie are sponsoring two free film showings that deal with the destruction of public lands due to oil and gas drilling. They both begin at 7 p.m. on two different days at UFP, 67 South Randolph Ave. On Sunday, the film is “Bidder 70.” It’s about activist Tim DeChristopher, who derailed a federal oil and gas lease auction for public land in southern Utah in 2008, effectively safeguarding thousands of acres of pristine Utah land.” On Wednesday, the film is “Gasland,” produced and directed by Josh Fox — the documentary that virtually created the anti-fracking movement. Information, from Joanne Steele, (845) 338-0300.

Thursday, April 25, POUGHKEEPSIE: The 2012 documentary —"The House I Live In"  — will be screened at 7 p.m. at the Lateef Islam Auditorium of the Family Partnership Center, 29 N. Hamilton St. We’re told this film is a riveting documentary which addresses the structural and personal consequences of America's “War on Drugs” and system of mass incarceration. Following this 50-minute version there will be a panel discussion featuring representatives from the Drug Policy Alliance of NYC and Odell Winfield of the End the New Jim Crow Action Network (ENJAN). Public and free. The sponsor is ENJAN. Information, (845) 475-8781,,

Tuesday April 23, DELMAR: A half-hour BBC documentary "The Secret Drone War" will be screened at 7 p.m., followed by a panel discussion. This film provides insight into how the people of Pakistan view the CIA-conducted drones strikes, and shows the devastating result of the strikes, resulting in many civilian deaths. The panel features local activist Joe Lombardo, who visited drone strike victims in Pakistan last October. This free event will be held at Bethlehem Public Library, 451 Delaware Ave. The sponsor is Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace. Information, (518) 466-1192,

Wednesday, April 24, ALBANY: A documentary about 17-year-old Leila Sarsour's daily experiences at a Palestinian girls' school located inside Israeli roadblocks on the West Bank will be screened at 6:30 p.m. It’s titled "Welcome to Hebron" and shows how Leila and her friends are searched daily by Israeli soldiers, and harassed by Israelis. Leila is strong, intelligent and outspoken, and has her own ideas of a daily life free from oppression. The Palestinian Rights Committee of Upper Hudson Peace Action is sponsoring the showing at the Albany Public Library, Pine Hills Branch, 517 Western Ave. Information (518) 465-5425.

Monday, April 29, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): New York is one of only two states in the country where teenagers as young as 16 years old are automatically charged, tried, and sentenced as adults. This has inspired a “Raise the Age” campaign. A meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in the Coykendall Science Building Auditorium in an effort to broaden consciousness about this issue. “Our goal is to educate our fellow students and New Yorkers about the perils facing juveniles who exist in a system that was made for adults.” Speakers include Diana Metz, SUNY New Paltz student; Hernan Carvente, a John Jay student who was formerly incarcerated as a teenager; Jim LeCain, director of the College Program at Brookwood Secure Center; Judge Michael Corriero: director of New York Center for Juvenile Justice; and Domanique, a young woman who was accused of a crime when she was 16, and is now a student at Baruch. The event is co-sponsored by the Black Studies Department, Black Student Union, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and the Student Association. Information,

Wednesday, May 1, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): The SUNY NP Student-Labor Coalition is holding a May Day rally on the Academic Concourse, outside the Humanities Building, from 12-1 p.m. The event is sponsored by United University Professions (NP Chapter); NYPIRG; N.Y. Students Rising; CSEA Local 751, and the Activist Newsletter. At the rally, student and labor leaders will briefly address such issues as adjunct job security and compensation; lecturer workload; campus policies on family leave; student debt; justice for food service workers; support for Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies; the lack of jobs for graduating students, and more. After the rally, participants will carpool to the May Day event at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie. Information,

Wednesday, May 1, POUGHKEEPSIE (Vassar campus): The May 1st Coalition of Vassar College and supporters are conducting a rally followed by an “International Workers’ March in Poughkeepsie for the Empowerment of Workers and Immigrants" on May Day. Attending the “Legalize, Organize, Unionize” event will be students, professors, workers, and people from the Mid-Hudson community. Events begin at 2 p.m. with a rally at Vassar College’s Library Lawn, 124 Raymond Ave. After 3:30 p.m. a march will start on Main St. toward the Family Partnership Center (29 North Hamilton St.). Marchers will arrive about 5 p.m. and “enjoy a celebration of International Workers’ Day with speeches, music, entertainment, performances and free food” at the Center. The event is organized by Vassar May Day Coalition and MEChA de Vassar. Endorsers include Somos la Llave del Futuro, La Voz, End the New Jim Crow Action Network (ENJAN), Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation, Community Voices Heard, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter and more. Information, (615) 306 5531,

Wednesday May 1, POUGHKEEPSIE: The documentary “The People Speak,” will be screened at 7 p.m. at the UU Fellowship, 67 South Randolph Ave. We’re told: “This is a powerful film inspired by Howard Zinn’s books — A People’s History of the United States and Voices of a People’s History of the United States. Using dramatic and musical performances this film gives voice to those who spoke up for social change throughout U.S. history, forging a nation from the bottom up with their insistence on equality and justice.” Narrated by Howard Zinn, the film includes performances by Matt Damon, Bruce Springsteen, Danny Glover, Don Cheadle, Eddie Vedder, Bob Dylan, Marisa Tomei, Morgan Freeman, Rosario Dawson, and many more. It is sponsored by The Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Information