Friday, August 23, 2013

08-23-13 Activist Calendar

August 23, 2013, Issue #670
Send event announcements to

Editor’s Note:

1. Now that the summer holidays are ending we anticipate a big increase in local activism. We will be sending out an updated Calendar in about two weeks around when the season really begins to pick up. We hope to see you at the Sept. 7 “defend women’ rights” event listed below. The Activist Newsletter is a sponsor.  

2. The new Activist Newsletter will be posted around the time of the next calendar. We will continue the coverage of Egypt we began with a three-part series in the Aug. 8 Newsletter. Regarding the latest allegation that the Damascus government used chemical weapons this week, we restate our comment of a couple of months ago on a similar occasion:

“Nerve gas may have been used but we remain unconvinced that the Syrian government ordered its use. Assad fully understood that if gas was deployed it would cross Obama’s “red line,” leading anywhere from a marked increase in U.S. support for the rebels or massive retaliation. Assad clings tenaciously to his life, his office, and his constituency. Why would he, in effect, toss it all away by approving the use of a militarily unnecessary small amount of gas knowing it could trigger his doom? War hawks in Washington are demanding a drastic response from the White House. President Obama is correct to be very cautious because this may well be an opposition maneuver to provoke U.S. intervention.”


Activist Events:

Friday, Aug. 23 to Monday, Aug. 26, NATIONWIDE: During this period, WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend) is organizing “nationwide demonstrations in honor of Women's Equality Day to stop the right-wing attacks targeting women’s rights and the rights of all oppressed people.” (Mid-Hudson WORD will conduct a rally and march in defense of women’s rights in New Paltz, Saturday, Sept. 7, after colleges resume.) Taking part are WORD chapters in Albuquerque, Asheville (NC), Boston, Chicago, Columbia (MO
), Dallas, Flint (MI), Houston, Los Angeles, New Haven, New Paltz, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Seattle. Information,

Saturday, Aug. 24, HUDSON VALLEY: Buses are leaving from several locations in  the region in the very early hours of morning to join tens of thousands of people throughout the country who are congregating at the Mall in the national capital to observe the 50th anniversary of the famous March on Washington. This event was an important milestone on the road to legislation legally outlawing 100 years of post-slavery white oppression colloquially known as the racist Jim Crow system.

The day is mainly remembered for Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech but there were many other militant speeches that touched upon various aspects of segregation, inequality and exploitation. This festive anniversary is also an appropriate moment to contemplate the considerable progress that remains before the complete attainment of King’s “Dream.” It is further fitting to recollect how reviled King was in the years prior to his assassination for his strong opposition to the Vietnam War and his struggle to improve the circumstances of millions of poor and low wage working families. (The actual anniversary day is Wednesday, Aug. 28, and we understand that demonstrations demanding justice for Trayvon Martin and jail for his killer George Zimmerman will take place in a number of cities that are not yet listed.)

Sunday, Aug. 25, NEW PALTZ: An important teach-in to inform the public about the economic, political and environmental dangers inherent in Washington’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal is the topic of a 4:30-6 p.m. meeting in the Elting Memorial Library, 93 Main St. TPP is NAFTA on steroids. We’re told by the event organizers that the TPP “would give corporations unprecedented power to sue nations, states and local municipalities for environmental, labor, food safety and human rights laws they do not like. A tribunal of corporate lawyers would be the judges in any cases that go before it…. The Obama Administration is gung ho for this corporate power grab that puts profits over the people and the planet. They are trying to put it on a ‘fast track’ for passage in early October — which means it could pass without Congressional review or any public debate.”

The TPP is also the principal commercial aspect of the Obama Administration’s so-called “pivot” to Asia, the purpose being to create a powerful U.S.-dominated economic bloc largely in East Asia as part of a policy to “contain” China’s influence in the region and world. The other aspect of the “pivot” is military. This free public teach-in is sponsored by New Paltz Women in Black and Ulster County Move-On. Information, anahatasun@aol.com

Friday, Sept. 6, KINGSTON: There will be a 7 p.m. screening of “Ghost Town: The Hebron Story,” a documentary work-in-progress that shows Palestinian families in Hebron, a town notorious as one of the most volatile in the West Bank due to the proliferation of illegal Israeli settlements. Director Ellie Bernstein, who will be present to answer questions, expects to formally release the film later this year. The narrator is actor Martin Sheen. Also to be shown is a shortened version of the award-winning documentary “Steadfast Hope: The Palestinian Quest for Just Peace.” The event is free but donations to help complete “Ghost Town” would be appreciated. It will take place at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Catskills, .320 Sawkill Rd. The sponsors are Middle East Crisis Response, Hudson Valley BDS, and Woodstock Veterans for Peace. Information, (518) 678-2076 and

Saturday, Sept. 7, NEW PALTZ: The New York Civil Liberties Union, Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation and Mid-Hudson Planned Parenthood are among a score of local and state organizations that have endorsed a rally and march in defense of women’s rights that will take place in New Paltz’s Peace Park (next to Village Hall) at 1 p.m., followed by a spirited march through the business district. The heavy rain date is the next day.

300 people took part at last year's New Paltz rally for women's rights.
Ten women from the Mid-Hudson region initiated the call to action for Sept. 7 — Ariana Basco, Barbara Upton, Caroline Kroft, Donna Goodman, Elizabeth Gross, Nora Hamond-Gallardo, JoAnne Myers, Maggie Veve, Maureen Darras, and Suzanne Kelly. They said: “The past few years have seen an unprecedented attack in more than a dozen states on our right to legal, safe abortion. Our meeting will show solidarity with the fight back by our sisters in those states. In addition our rally will address the plight of low wage women workers, including millions of single mothers living in or near poverty, and the unremitting high levels of violence against women in America, as well as other topics. Join us, activist-singer Pat Lamanna, and a great lineup of speakers.”

Women and men throughout the region are expected to attend the event, which is part of a nationwide series of demonstrations initiated by WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend)  in recognition of Women’s Equality Day. The Mid-Hudson WORD chapter is organizing the New Paltz rally. Information, contact Donna Goodman at,, and also link to

Monday, Sept. 9, OLD CHATHAM: A showing of the new, second film by Josh Fox—“Gasland II” — will be screened at 7 p.m., followed by a moderated discussion. The venue is the Old Chatham Quaker Meetinghouse, 539 County Route 13 (at Pitt Hall Road). This documentary revisits families whose lives have been changed from living near fracking wells. He interviews politicians who have been trying to stop fracking and aid those affected by it. He also interviews Tony Ingraffea, Cornell Professor of Engineering, who says fracking can never be done safely. In another segment, Stanford professor Mark Jacobson argues that the U.S. could stop drilling for coal, oil and natural gas and derive adequate energy from renewable resources such as wind, high-concentrated solar power, geothermal power, hydroelectric power and tidal power. The evening, sponsored by the Quaker Meetinghouse, is free and refreshments will be served. Information, (518) 766-2992.