Thursday, October 29, 2009

Activist Calendar Update Oct. 29, 20O9

Of the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter

Current and back copies of the Activist Newsletter as well as the Activist Calendar are at Send event announcements to


Editor’s Note:

This is a second update of the Activist Calendar we sent Oct. 19. Click on that calendar in the column to your right for other items in this time period. Our next full calendar will be emailed Nov. 12.

The November Activist Newsletter will be emailed in a few days, containing several reports including an analysis of the serious difficulties confronting the national and local peace movement at this time, plus an article on the expanding war in Afghanistan, and on women in Afghanistan, as well as a review of Michael Moore’s new film, “Capitalism: A Love Story, among other articles.


ACTIVIST CALENDAR. After October’s many national and local demonstrations for peace, healthcare reform and environmental sanity, November tends to become more reflective and directly educational. We hope you can attend some of these meetings.

Friday, Oct. 30, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): Dr. Andy Coates, a national spokesperson for Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP), will lecture on the topic "The Hidden Truth About Health Care Reform," starting at 7:30 p.m. in Lecture Center 102. Says Dr. Coates, a practicing physician and professor of medicine and psychiatry at Albany Medical College: "It's important for college students and working families to understand how our grossly expensive health care system is burdening our economy and restraining job and wage growth. There's currently much confusion about what's at stake and what can be done. PNHP will be conducting statewide tours to demonstrate the logic and simplicity of health care for all." This free public event is sponsored by Democracy Matters, Coalition of Concerned Citizens of New Paltz, Citizens for Universal Healthcare, and the Hudson Valley Progressive Coalition. Information, Ruth Molloy, (845) 256-0733,, or Rachel Williams on campus at Campus map:

Friday, Oct. 30, TROY: “Front Lines: Words of Choice” is the title of an evening of theater in support of women's right to choose to have an abortion, 7-10 p.m. at The Sanctuary For Independent Media, 3361 6th Ave. in north Troy (just below 101st St.). We’re told: “The featured guest will be Cindy Cooper, an award-winning playwright, journalist, and creator of the social-activist theater organization Words of Choice. She'll be joined by Alexis Greene, co-editor of the new book ‘Front Lines: Political Plays by American Women.’ Actresses Claudia Schneider and Abigail Ramsay, both members of the NYC-based Words of Choice troupe, will be performing. Together they will work with the audience to explore persuasive language around the continued struggle for women's health and reproductive rights. Suggested donation, $10, $5 student/low-income. Information, (518) 272-2390.

Tuesday, Nov. 3, HYDE PARK (Culinary Institute of America campus): Writer, journalist and professor Mark Danner discusses "Torture, Democracy, and Us: Lost in the War on Terror," 8–9:30 p.m. at the EcoLab Theatre in the Admissions Building on campus, just off Rt. 9. Danner has covered Central America, Haiti, the Balkans and Iraq, among other assignments, and has written extensively about U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War and afterward. His books include “The Secret Way to War: The Downing Street Memo and the Iraq War's Buried History” (2006), among others. He was a longtime staff writer for The New Yorker and is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. He is also Professor of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, and the James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs, Politics, and Humanities at Bard College. The event is free and public. A campus map is at Information,,

Wednesday, Nov. 4, PURCHASE (Manhattanville College campus): Tonya Gonnella Frichner, founder-director of the American Indian Law Alliance, and a member of the Onondaga Nation, will discuss the question of "What does the U.S. veto of the Declaration on Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples Mean for the Human Rights of Native American Peoples in 2009?" This free public event will be held at 7:15 p.m. in the French Parlor at Reid Castle on campus. The college is located at 2900 Purchase Street. Information, Hogarth Center, (914) 323-7156 or Duchesne Center, (914) 323-5186.

Thursday, Nov. 5, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): Three speakers will discuss the important impact of Charles Darwin in a free public meeting titled “Pathways of Evolutionary Theory,” which takes place 5-7 p.m. in Lecture Center 102. We’re told: “Agitation to include creationism in the curriculum of public universities typically leads to caricaturing of Darwin’s research in popular culture. All too often, this fundamentalist advocacy has led to dismissive portrayals of his work even in the halls of Congress. The panel on evolutionary theory will serve as a corrective to these distortions by examining the ideas that influenced his research and, in turn, the profound impact of his work in various disciplines.” The penal includes: Dr. Andi Weiss Bartczak, environmental toxicologist and science consultant, will review The Logic of Darwin's Research. Dr. Gilbert Brenner, Department of Geology (emeritus), elected member of the British Darwin Society, will talk on Darwin's Discoveries and Geology. Dr. Irwin Sperber, Department of Sociology, will sketch Marxist and Laissez- Faire Interpretations of Darwin's Discoveries in the Social Sciences. This event is sponsored by the Department of Sociology. It is co-sponsored by the Evolutionary Studies Program, the Progressive Academic Network (PAN), and endorsed by Hudson Valley Humanists. Information,, (845) 257-2772. Campus map:

Saturday, Nov. 7, TROY: The “Indymedia Film Festival: Where Do We Go from Here?” will present a number of progressive films 2 p.m.-11 p.m. at The Sanctuary For Independent Media, 3361 6th Ave. in north Troy (just below 101st St). We’re told: “Ten years ago, massive protests shut down the World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle and introduced global grassroots citizen journalism known as Indymedia — a potent alternative to the corporate press. Join us for a retrospective screening of seminal Indymedia films, including, ‘This is What Democracy Looks Like,’ ‘Fourth World War,’ ‘A Tribute to Brad Will’ and plenty of others.” Suggested donation, $10, $5 student/low-income. Information, (518) 272-2390.

Sunday, Nov. 8, GOSHEN: A demonstration supporting marriage rights for gays and lesbians in New York State will take place in Church Park (by the 5-way intersection) at 12:30 p.m. There will be speakers and music. The State Senate is meeting in a special session beginning Nov. 10 and may vote on such a measure. The State Assembly has already voted in favor. Sponsors of the rally include the Young Democrats of Orange County, the Democratic Alliance, and the Alliance for the Realization of Legal Equality. Information, 304-0830.

Monday, Nov. 9, STONE RIDGE (SUNY Ulster campus): A lecture on the global water crisis will be delivered by Dr. Norbert Glennon, 6:30 p.m. in the Student Lounge in Vanderlyn Hall. Professor Glennon teaches Law and Public Policy at the University of Arizona. He is the author of “Unquenchable, America’s Water Crisis and What to do About It,” and “Water Follies: Groundwater Pumping and the Fate of America’s Fresh Waters.” The campus is at 491 Cottekill Rd. Seating begins at 6 p.m. The meeting is presented by the Water Discovery Center and the John Burroughs Science Lecture Series at SUNY Ulster. (We’re told “Seating is limited, so contact or (845) 254-3319 to guarantee a space.”) Information,

Wednesday, Nov. 11, SCHENECTADY: Veterans for Peace (Tom Paine Chapter) is sponsoring a progressive documentary showing about American military veterans — "The Good Soldier" — which will be begin at 7 p.m. at Proctors Theatre, 432 State St. We’re informed: “This documentary follows the journeys of five combat veterans from different generations of American wars as they sign up, go into battle, and eventually change their minds about what it means to be a good soldier.” After the film a veterans panel will speak about their experience and reaction to the movie. The panel includes four former marines and an Air Force vet: Tyler Boudreau, USMC 1989 – 2005; Ed Bloch, USMC 1943 – 1948; Frank Houde, USAF 1954 – 1974; Jason Peterson, USMC 1989 – 1995; John Amidon, USMC 1965 -1969. The cost is $6 adults, $4 students and seniors. Information, John Amidon, (518) 312-6442,,

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Activist Calendar, Oct. 21, 2009

ACTIVIST CALENDAR, Oct. 21, Issue #150B
Of the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter

Current and back copies of the Activist Newsletter as well as the Activist Calendar are at Send event announcements to


Editor’s Note:

This update of the Activist Calendar we sent Oct. 19, contains two corrections as well as new items. You can locate the previous Calendar directly below.

We are preparing an article on the decline of the Hudson Valley peace movement in the recent period and it will be emailed in a few days.


Saturday, Oct. 24, WHITE PLAINS: A 3-4 p.m. silent vigil on this international day of action on climate change will be held at the corner of Main and Mamaroneck Sts. Information, (914) 769-8745.

CORRECTION (Route number)
Saturday, Oct. 24, MIDDLETOWN: Orange County Peace and Justice will be hosting a action on climate change at North Galleria Drive (off Rt. 211, near the entrance to the Galleria Mall) from 1-3 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 27, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): Progressive activist, author and commentator Richard Becker will give a talk on “Palestine, Israel and the U.S. Empire,” and also sign copies of his new book of the same title at 7 p.m. in Lecture Center 104. The event, which we recommend, is being sponsored on campus by the Muslim Students Association and is organized by the community group Peace & Social Progress Now! and endorsed by Middle East Crisis Response and the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter. Becker will analyze the struggle for Palestine — from the division of the Middle East by Western powers and the Zionist settler movement to the founding of Israel and its present role as a U.S. surrogate in the region. The book may be purchased at the meeting, or through, and by calling (415) 821-6171. Information,

Wednesday, Oct. 28, PLEASANTVILLE (Pace University campus): A Community Panel on Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan will be held at 7 p.m. featuring Ellie and Ardeshir Ommani, founders of the American Iranian Friendship Committee, and Kouser Izhar, coordinator of the Pakistan USA Freedom Forum. They will discuss the current political and economic climate in all three countries and will offer an assessment of current U.S. policy in the region. It takes place at the Butcher Suite, Kessel Student Center, 861 Bedford Rd. Information,

Thursday, Oct. 29, TROY (Russell Sage College campus): Fabien Cousteau presents "An Insider’s Look at our Planet's Ocean" at Bush Memorial Hall, 7:30-9:30 p.m. The grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau has been continuing the oceanographic work of this legendary environmentalist. Sponsored by the Save Climate Project and The Climate Project. Information, (518) 244-2330,

Friday, Nov. 13, SAUGERTIES: The Latin band Soñando performs at the 11th Annual Benefit Dance and Art and Craft Sale for the Children of Haiti and Hurricane Victims beginning at 7 p.m. The Latin dancing will last from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. The event takes place at New World Home Cooking on 1411 Rt. 212, between Woodstock and Saugerties. Admission $20. Sponsored by the Haitian People’s Support Project and New World Home Cooking. Information, (845) 679-7320, (845) 246-0900,

Monday, October 19, 2009

Activist Calendar, Oct. 19, 2009

ACTIVIST CALENDAR, Oct. 19 2009, Issue #150B
Of the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter

Current and back copies of the Activist Newsletter as well as the Activist Calendar are at Send event announcements to

Monday, Oct. 19, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): “Confronting the Climate Crisis: Challenges and Solutions” is the topic of a 7-9 p.m. presentation by Professor Steven A. Leibo of the Sage Colleges. It’s billed as “A Live and Updated Presentation of Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’” This free public lecture will take place in the auditorium of the Coykendall Science Building on campus, sponsored by SUNY New Paltz Environmental Task Force.
Information,, (845) 257-3447. Campus map,

Tuesday, Oct. 20, NEW PALTZ: A pubic forum on Community-based Climate Change Strategies will be held 7-9 p.m. at Ulster BOCES, 175 Rt. 32N. This discussion will address how the region is being affected by climate change, and how local governments can be more effective in reducing its effects. Speakers include Mark Lowery, Climate Change Coordinator, NYS DEC; Betsy Blair, Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve; Melissa Everett, Sustainable Hudson Valley; Julie Noble, Conservation Advisory Council, Kingston; and Mayor Leo Wiegman, of Croton-on-Hudson. Co-sponsored by Mid-Hudson League of Women Voters, Nature Conservancy, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Sustainable Hudson Valley, and other environmental advocates. Information, (845) 340-2003,

Tuesday, Oct. 20, NEW PALTZ (SUNY Campus): Anne Rochelle will give a talk titled "Homeless Under the Golden Gate: Marriage and Mothering Among Chicanas" from 4:30-6 p.m. at Jacobson Faculty Tower 1010. This event is part of the Women's Studies Colloquium Series Fall 2009 and is co-sponsored by the Sociology Department. Campus map,

Tuesday, Oct. 20, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): The New Paltz Feminist Collective and the Women's Studies Program will present The Coat Hanger Project, a video about the struggle for women's reproductive rights, 7:30 p.m. in Lecture Center 104. A discussion will follow. Information,, campus map:

Wednesday, Oct. 21, ROSENDALE: The area premiere of the film "Coal Country" will be screened at the Rosendale Theater on Main St. at 7:30 p.m. This documentary shows the struggle between the people of West Virginia and other Appalachian communities and mountain-top removal mining companies, and their effects on climate change. A discussion with the filmmakers, several people featured in the film, and a Saugerties resident (recently arrested at a nonviolent civil disobedience action) will follow. Cost, $5 donation. This is a fundraiser for Coal River Mountain Watch of West Virginia. Information, Sue Rosenberg (845) 246-3449,

Thursday, Oct. 22, WOODSTOCK: The Middle East Crisis Response group of Hudson Valley residents opposed to Israeli and U.S. policies toward the Palestinians meets 7-8:30 p.m. at the Library, 5 Library Lane, just off Tinker St. All welcome. Information, (845) 876-7906, ,

Thursday, Oct. 22, WHITE PLAINS: Ron Chisom will speak on “ending of racism” at the WESPAC loft, 255 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 2nd floor, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Chisom is the co-founder of The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond, and senior fellow of Ashoka's Global Academy. Sponsored by Alliance for Just Solutions, YWCA Taking a Stand Against Racism, Anti-Racist Alliance, Center for Racial Justice, Memorial United Methodist Church White Plains, WESPAC Foundation, and Westchester Martin Luther King Jr. Institute for Nonviolence. Information,

Saturday, Oct. 24, U.S. AND WORLD: This is the International Day of Climate Action. So far, about 1,600 actions, at minimum, are taking place in some 120 countries, and the list is growing by the day. Many actions are taking place in the Hudson Valley as well as the rest of the country. The worldwide climate change movement is organizing this international campaign. The number 350 is used, because it is the "safe upper limit," of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, in parts per million (ppm), to preserve the current climate conditions, and stabilize the planetary environment. Current climate treaty proposals act too slowly to get to this level, and it is often cited that 350 ppm is a turning point, where more than this number would make the effects of climate change irreversible. (One reason there are objections to the recently passed climate bill in the House is that it's aiming, at best, for 450 ppm.) Scores of actions are planned for this day within the circulation area of this calendar. To find one near you, access, then click on "find an action." A list of all the protests in the U.S., including in our district, is at

Saturday, Oct. 24, POUGHKEEPSIE to HIGHLAND: The Second Annual Rally for a Green New Deal will take place at Holy Light Pentecostal Church, 33 Clover St. starting at 2 p.m. Speakers include Melissa Everett (Sustainable Hudson Valley), Ned Sullivan (Scenic Hudson), Bishop Debra Gause (Holy Light Pentecostal Church), Pete Seeger, and many others. Sponsored by Sustainable Hudson Valley, Scenic Hudson, NYPIRG, Arlington and Rhinebeck High School Environmental Club students, Vassar Greens, New Paltz Greenworks, Bard Environmental Collective, Hudson Valley Network Spiritual Progressives, and Real Majority Project. Information, Joel Tyner (845) 489-4579,,

Saturday, Oct. 24, ROSENDALE: A community tree planting begins at 11 a.m. at the Recreation Center on Rt. 32., just south of the bridge, to commemorate the International Day of Climate Action. Bring a shovel, plant a tree.

Saturday, Oct. 24, ROSENDALE: "Stories 350: Climate Change in Your Life," an interactive, improvisational performance featuring Hudson River Playback Theater will be held at Canaltown Alley, 402 Main St. at 8 p.m. Admission by donation. Information, (845) 255-7716,

Saturday, Oct. 24, N EW PALTZ: There will be a 350 Climate Action Fair starting at 1 p.m. at Hasbrouck Park, just west of the of the north side of SUNY campus, a block south of New Paltz Village Hall, near Main St. This event is part of today's international protest (above). It is sponsored by the Climate Action Coalition of New Paltz and the SUNY NYPIRG. Say the organizers: "Come to the fair. Experience your green future: cool cars; solar-powered, energy-saving stuff; windmills, etc. Enjoy the outrageous climate change fashion show. Watch children make animal costumes, play games and use the 2,000-plastic-bag rope, listen to music from Mid-Hudson bands, talk with local scientists about the ways climate change might affect our region, and taste local food and beverages. The final event is a group photo of hundreds of people spelling out "350" on the field. Information, Ann Guenther,, or call (845) 626-2847 or (845) 255-9297 or Ariana Bosco, Also,

Saturday, Oct. 24, MIDDLETOWN: Orange County Peace and Justice will be hosting a action on climate change at North Galleria Drive (off Rt. 233, near the entrance to the Galleria Mall) from 1-3 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 24 WHITE PLAINS: "Earthcare Vigil to Witness For Our Earth" will take place at the fountain at Main and Mamaroneck Sts. 3-4 p.m. This Climate Action Day Silent vigil will feature posters and informational handouts, and craft activities for children. Sponsored by Purchase Friends Peace and Social Witness Committee. Information,

Saturday, Oct. 24, ALBANY: A Climate Action rally begins at 2 p.m. at Capitol West Park (West side of Capitol building), Washington Ave. and Swan St. Speakers include Steven Leibo, who attended Al Gore's Climate Change training workshop; Ward Stone, NYS wildlife pathologist; Susan Lawrence of the Sierra Club; and Barbara Warren of Citizens Environmental coalition. Dan Berggren will provide some topical music. Information,

Saturday, Oct. 24, ALBANY: The U.S. antiwar movement has become weaker this last year, so it’s a good time to check out the 1979 documentary “The War At Home,” which will be shown tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, 405 Washington Ave. The film, according to program notes, was “nominated for an Academy Award and is widely considered one of the most important political films ever made. It chronicles the anti-Vietnam War movement of the 1960s and early 1970s. Through a powerful combination of rare archival footage and interviews with students, community leaders, Vietnam veterans, and participants from all points of view, this film shows how the movement for peace grew into a genuine people's revolt. The sponsors are Solidarity Committee of the Capital District, Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, and Upper Hudson Peace Action. Information, (518) 426-0883,,

Sunday, Oct. 25, ROSENDALE: A concert to benefit "Save the Lakes" will be conducted at the Rosendale Community Center on Rt. 32 from 2-4 p.m. The concert will feature the bands Dog on Fleas and Amadou Diallo. The group works to preserve the natural resources on the Williams Lake property, and protect it from predatory development. Admission: $5 children, $10 adults. Sponsored by Save the Lakes. Information, Mourka Meyendorff (845) 658-7102.

Tuesday, Oct. 27, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): Progressive activist, author and commentator Richard Becker will give a talk on “Palestine, Israel and the U.S. Empire,” and also sign copies of his new book of the same title at 7 p.m. in Lecture Center 104. The event is being sponsored on campus by the Muslim Student Association and is organized by the community group Peace & Social Progress Now! and endorsed by Middle East Crisis Response. Becker will analyze the struggle for Palestine — from the division of the Middle East by Western powers and the Zionist settler movement to the founding of Israel and its present role as a U.S. surrogate in the region.
The book may be purchased at the meeting, through or from (415) 821-6171. Information,

Wednesday, Oct. 28, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): A lecture on "Bordering on War: Pat Nixon and Richard Nixon, and the Barricading of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary" will be held from 5-7 p.m. at the Coykendall Science Building, room 132. Vassar Earth Science and Geography Professor Joseph Nevins, will speak. Sponsored by SUNY New Paltz Geography Dept. Information, Campus map,

Wednesday, Oct. 28, TROY (Russell Sage College campus): Fabien Cousteau presents "An Insider’s Look at our Planet's Ocean" at Bush Memorial Hall, 7:30-9:30 p.m. The grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau has been continuing the oceanographic work of this legendary environmentalist. Sponsored by the Save Climate Project and The Climate Project. Information, (518) 244-2330,

Thursday, Oct. 29, PURCHASE (Manhattanville College campus): The 11th Annual Schwarzschild Lecture Against the Death Penalty will be delivered at 7 p.m. at The Castle, 2900 Purchase Ave. featuring author Thomas Cahill. Sponsored by the Lower Hudson Chapter of the N.Y. Civil Liberties Union and the Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action. Information, (914) 997-7479,

Thursday, Oct. 29, NEW PALTZ (SUNY Campus): A lecture titled "Gendered Environmental Practices and Soil Quality,” featuring Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro, will take place 3:30-5 p.m. at the Honors Center. The presentation is part of the Women's Studies Colloquium Series Fall 2009 and is co-sponsored by the Sociology Department. Campus map,

Sunday, Nov. 1, NEW PALTZ: A report on the history and current situation in Colombia will be given at 6 p.m. by John Lugo of the Colombian Action Network and Unidad Latina en Accion. Recently returned from Colombia, he will discuss the U.S. funding of the Colombian military and the social movements for change. The event, sponsored by the Caribbean and Latin America Support Project, takes place at New Paltz Village Hall, 25 Plattekill Ave., a block south of Main St. A potluck begins at 5 p.m. Information, (845) 255-0113, (845) 542-0481.

Sunday, Nov. 1, WOODSTOCK: The film "Waiting for Mercy" will be screened at Woodstock Town Hall, 76 Tinker St., 2-3:30 p.m. Filmmaker Ellie Bernstein tells the story of a 2003 FBI action that took place in Albany. This film shows that the Justice Department and FBI had a policy of harassing and isolating some American Muslims after 9/11. The film won the Best Documentary at the Ballston Spa Film Festival, and was in the ISNA film Festival and Radical Frame Film Festival. Sponsored by Middle East Crisis Response. Information,,

Wednesday, Nov. 4, ANNANDALE (Bard College campus): Norman Finkelstein will speak on the roots of conflict and the prospects for peace between Israel and Palestine starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of Bertlesmann Student Center. Sponsored by Middle East Crisis Response and Bard Students for a Just Peace in Israel/Palestine. Information,

Thursday, Nov. 5 ANNANDALE (Bard College campus): Anna Baltzer, a volunteer with the International Women's Peace Service, will discuss her work in Palestine starting at 7 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of Bertlesmann Student Center. Her book, "Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories," has been praised by Noam Chomsky. Joining her will be Paula Silbey, a local activist who has completed several trips to the occupied West Bank. There will be a question and answer session after the presentation. Sponsored by Middle East Crisis Response and Bard Students for a Just Peace in Israel/Palestine. Information,

Saturday, Nov. 7, RHINEBECK: The Mid-Hudson Larreynaga Sister City Dance takes place tonight at 8 p.m. at Church of the Messiah Parish Hall, 6436 Montgomery St. So Ando will provide the dance music for this annual event to raise money for the schoolchildren of Larreynaga, Nicaragua. The Sister City Project has been in existence since 1988, sending delegations from the Hudson Valley to provide this small village with medical, school and financial support. Cost to attend: $20 person/$35 couples. Information, 845-876-3779,

Sunday, Nov. 8, KINGSTON: A distinctive Arabic meal, prepared by distinguished Palestinian chefs, will be served at La Florentina Restaurant, 604 Ulster Ave., from 1-4 p.m. This unique culinary event will raise funds to help send 12 Hudson Valley residents to Gaza in December, where they will take part in the Gaza Freedom March as part of the International Coalition to end the Illegal Siege of Gaza. Marchers will be bringing supplies for children and families. Cost, $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Information and tickets/donations:, (845) 246-8414, ext. 3.

Monday, Nov. 9, NEW PALTZ: The next regular meeting of the peace and justice group Hudson Valley Pax Christi will begin at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Parish Center, 34 South Chestnut Street (Rt. 208). The meeting takes place here every 2nd Monday of the month.

Tuesday, Nov. 10, TROY (Russell Sage Campus): Sage College President Susan Scrimshaw will lecture on "Public Health and the Climate Crisis" starting at 7:30 p.m. in Bush Memorial Hall on campus at First St. (Ferry St.) and Congress St. The sponsors are the Sage Climate Project and the Climate Project. Information,, (518) 244-2330, Campus map,

Saturday, Nov. 14, POUGHKEEPSIE: the film, "What Would Jesus Buy" will be screened for free at Poughkeepsie Friends Meeting, 249 Hooker Ave. from 7-8:30 p.m. followed by an audience discussion. The film follows Reverend Billy, and the Church of Stop the Shopocalypse. Part of the "Give Peace a Film" series, sponsored by Dutchess Peace Coalition and Poughkeepsie Friends Meeting. For more info (845) 454-6431 or (845) 454-2870.

Thursday, Nov. 19, NEW PALTZ (SUNY Campus): "A History of Women's Economic Writing" is the title of a talk by Edith Kuiper that will be given at the Honors Center from 3:30-5 p.m. The lecture is part of the Women's Studies Colloquium Series Fall 2009 and is co-sponsored by the Sociology Department. Campus map,

Friday, October 9, 2009

Activist Newsletter Oct. 9, 2009

From the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter, #151A, Oct. 9, 2009,



The leaflet for the the Oct. 17 antiwar protest in Kingston is now available. If you support the protest, please email us at and write “Leaflet” in the subject field. We’ll send it to you as a word attachment which we hope you will download, print and distribute. Thanks.
Editor’s Note:

1. This is a mini-newsletter, mainly about the Oct. 17 rally and Afghanistan.
2.The OCT. 17 rally in Kingston will support legislation introduced in the House of Representatives Oct. 4 by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) “prohibiting the funding of a military escalation in Afghanistan.” Among Lee’s 21 co-sponsors is regional Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-22nd CD).


1. Full info about the Kingston rally Oct. 17, the movement and the war.
2. Two other Hudson Valley actions Oct. 17
2. Our Friends The Taliban
3. President Obama gets the Peace Prize


The Mid-Hudson region’s active peace movement is planning to show up in Kingston Saturday, Oct. 17 for a region-wide antiwar protest at Academy Green Park Saturday, 1-3:30 p.m.

The rally — which is part of a day of peace actions in a number of U.S. cities — is being organized by the New Paltz-based Peace & Social Progress Now! (PSPN), and has been endorsed so far by 20 organizations from several counties, with more expected. (For the rally in Albany and the vigil in Nanuet, see below.)

The demonstration is primarily focused on ending the unpopular Afghanistan War, which entered its ninth year this month, and is now being expanded by the Obama Administration despite the fact that “There now are no more than 100 al-Qaeda [operatives] in Afghanistan, [U.S.] officials believe,” according to the Associated Press Oct. 9.

“This is not the ‘good war,’ as some continue to believe even after the pretext has blown up in Uncle Sam’s face,” say the rally organizers. “It is the material expression of George W. Bush’s neoconservative response to the 9/11 terrorist tragedy with aggressive wars — particularly wars mainly intended to increase U.S. hegemony in Central Asia and the Middle East. This has been a terribly costly failure. Intense international police actions and other measures would have been, and remain, far more rational and successful alternatives.”

The Kingston gathering also represents an effort by the score of groups involved to reverse the decline of the Mid-Hudson antiwar movement in an effort to increase public pressure for peace. This weakening over the last two years has been nationwide, perhaps reaching a low point earlier this year, but long time observers of the antiwar movement believe the tide is turning.

Among the speakers at Academy Green Park are Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter editor Jack A. Smith discussing the Afghan War and today’s antiwar movement; activist union delegate Donna Goodman on the labor movement and the wars; attorney Michael Sussman on the erosion of civil liberties since 9/11; author, long time Bard professor and activist Joel Kovel on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Gaza war; SUNY New Paltz student Claire Papell on youth and the wars; Dutchess County legislator Joel Tyner on the tasks confronting a progressive politician; filmmaker Dee Dee Halleck on the war industry and peace economy; Dutchess activist and organizer Fred Nagel on the GI and vets’ antiwar movements; activist Phyllis Rosner on the healthcare issue; and others as they are selected.

Topical singer Bob Lusk will perform, as will peace singers Julie Parisi Kirby and T. G. Vanini.

In addition to Peace & Social Progress Now!, local groups so far endorsing the rally include Dutchess Peace Coalition, Orange County Peace and Justice, Sullivan County Peace and Justice, Coalition of Concerned Citizens of New Paltz, Veterans for Peace (Woodstock), Women in Black (New Paltz), Middle East Crisis Response, United University Professions (SUNY/NP, AFL-CIO), Arts for Peace, Caribbean and Latin America Support Project, New Paltz Democracy Matters, Dutchess Greens, WESPAC, New Paltz Feminist Collective (SUNY), Mid-Hudson ANSWER, Mid-Hudson 911 Truth Commission, Real Majority Project, Orange County Democratic Alliance, Woodstock Peace Economy, Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter.

“We didn’t know what to expect when we put out this call in August,” said Smith, who is the co-chair of PSPN. “It had been evident that a number of people and groups active against the wars during the Bush-Cheney period were now relatively inactive, especially since President Barack Obama won election. But it is clear to us that many other antiwar people and groups are anxious to get back into the struggle, particularly as they grasp the extent to which the Obama Administration is expanding the Afghan War.”

According to new public opinion polls, the majority of Americans oppose the war in Afghanistan, including over 75% of Democratic voters. At the same time, the Obama Administration is reorganizing its war strategy in Afghanistan, contemplating a much deeper penetration into Pakistan, as well seeking to make a deal with the Taliban by paying them off and allowing them to “share” power (see article below).

President Obama will decide within the next two or three weeks how many more GIs he will order to join the 68,000 U.S. troops already fighting in Afghanistan. Gen. Stanley McChrystal wants between 40,000 and 60,000 — numbers that may be intentionally exaggerated in order to allow the White House to “slash” them in half, or some such. A small progressive minority in Congress opposes a troop increase but it will be swept aside.

This important decision to widen the war will be based on an agreement between the White House, the generals and selected politicians — all of whom are dedicated to expanding the conflict in defiance of public opinion and pleas for an open nationwide debate.

The only significant opposition to a bigger war in Afghanistan/Pakistan will come from that sector of the peace movement willing to confront the Obama Administration. “Now is the time for peace-minded Hudson Valley residents to make their voices heard,” says a new leaflet for the Oct. 17 rally being circulated in the region. “Our rally will demand: ‘No more soldiers and marines to Afghanistan! End this unwinnable war and bring the troops home now.’ We oppose a major U.S. military thrust into Pakistan, as well as the continuing U.S. occupation of Iraq, and Israel’s occupation of Palestinian Territories. We say, Money for jobs, healthcare and education, not war, invasion and occupation.”

For further information and directions, contact and (845) 255-5779.



ALBANY: The Northeast Peace and Justice Action Coalition is sponsoring a 12 noon to 3 p.m. rally at Capitol West Park at Washington Ave. and Swan St. This will be followed by a march up to Lark St. and back down to the park. The group demands "Bring all the Troops Home Now from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan." Information, (518) 439-1968,

NANUET: The Rockland Coalition for Peace and Justice will set up a special 1-3 p.m. peace vigil here as part of the national day of protest. It will be at the NW and SW corners of Rt. 59 and Middletown Rd. The demand: End to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.



One of the perennial arguments for not withdrawing from Afghanistan is that “the Taliban will return” if that happened, but this argument evidently is no longer valid in Washington.

The extreme Islamic fundamentalist Taliban took power in the mid-1990s as an unintended consequence of earlier U.S. intervention in the Afghan civil war to crush the progressive government in Kabul starting in 1978.

The Bush Administration invasion in October 2001 pushed the Taliban out of Kabul, the capital — but the plight of the Afghan people, particularly that of women, has not been alleviated except for a very small sector of the country.

In an article that could have been titled “Now They Tell Us,” the Associated Press reported Oct. 9 that “President Obama is prepared to accept some Taliban involvement in Afghanistan's political future.” This includes Washington’s acceptance of “some Taliban role in parts of Afghanistan, the [U.S.] official said. That could mean paving the way for Taliban members willing to renounce violence to participate in a central government.... While still dangerous, the Taliban is seen as an indigenous movement with almost entirely local and territorial aims and far less of a threat to the United States.”

In all probability the Obama Administration wants to duplicate former President Bush’s “successful surge” in Iraq. That is, Washington will make an expensive deal to pay off tens of thousands of Taliban supporters so they won’t shoot at American troops or plant roadside bombs.

Our guess is that the White House will agree to send more troops to join not only the 68,000 American soldiers already there but NATO’s 70,000 plus scores of thousands of “contractors” who perform behind-the-lines military tasks that soldiers used to do.

Some of these troops will remain indefinitely to “secure” Afghanistan while fighting members of the many different groups continuing to resist the occupation — lumped together under the name “Taliban” for convenience — while others will take the war to Pakistan in hopes of breaking the back of al-Qaeda fighters who fled across the border. This could keep the U.S. preoccupied with Afghanistan indefinitely, which is probably why the Obama Administration refuses to discuss an “exit strategy.”

President G. W. Bush bragged in 2002 that Afghan women — who lost virtually all their legal rights when the progressive government was destroyed in the early 1990s — were winning equality as a result of his invasion, but that was nonsense.

On Oct. 7, Zoya (her only name), a representative of the country’s foremost organization in support of women’s rights, the underground RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan), was interviewed on Democracy Now. She said RAWA is in favor of withdrawal of NATO-U.S. troops. “Unfortunately,” she said, “in the past eight years, with thousands of troops, with billions of dollars poured in the country, and with the tens of countries present in Afghanistan... there [has been] no positive change.”

So is this what it’s all about? Deciding that the Taliban isn’t so bad after all, buying them off, tightening the occupation and fighting in Pakistan?



We were hoping that Pete Seeger got the Nobel Peace Prize, or several other very worthy individuals around the world who have long labored in the vineyards of peace and justice, and who have serious accomplishments to their credit.

We suspect President Barack Obama was as surprised as everyone else when he was awakened with the news Friday morning that he was the winner of the prestigious award. And perhaps he was a little embarrassed, too. As someone said on the radio that day, “it was like a talented rookie was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.”

The main reason he was selected by the Swedish Nobel Committee — which certainly deserves its own booby prize for either sublime gullibility or awe-inspiring naiveté — was that he was not G.W. Bush, perhaps the worst president in American history.

The award was given for a perceived effort, not for actual achievement. The man has been on the job for only nine months and he’s still working on bagging a couple of lasting accomplishments. It was a kind of “Yes We Can” prize for the expression of good intentions.

Aside from this, there’s a little matter that the “Peace” Prize was awarded to President Obama while he is in the midst of presiding over two wars of aggression — one of which he is in the process of widening dangerously.

The Nobel Committee probably thought Orwell got it right: “War is peace.”

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Activist Calendar Oct. 1, 2009

ACTIVIST CALENDAR, Oct. 1, Issue #150A
Of the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter

Current and back copies of the Activist Newsletter as well as the Activist Calendar are at Send event announcements to
Editor's Note: A number of new items have been scheduled for the first half of October since our last calendar, Sept. 21. Along with them we have included a few previously noted items from the earlier calendar which also fall within this time period — up to Oct. 19. A new calendar will appear around Oct. 18.

Saturday, Oct. 3, WEST POINT: Antiwar picketing and leafleting to people arriving to attend the Army-Tulane football game starts at 10:30 a.m. at the Thayer Gate. (Thayer Gate is accessed by exiting Rt. 9W at the exit marked as the "Highland Falls, West Point.") RSVP (914) 806-6179,

Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 3-4, KINGSTON: A free, weekend-long festival celebrating the contributions of African Americans to the Hudson Valley will take place this weekend with music, dance and dramatic performances. New Paltz Professor A. J. Williams-Myers will kick-off the event at 11 a.m. Saturday with a one-hour lecture on the topic of African American History in the Hudson Valley, focusing on the social and economic contributions of African Americans to the region for the last 400 years. The event is sponsored by New York State Parks as part of the Quadricentennial-year celebration in the Hudson Valley. Events take place 11 a.m.-4 p.m. both days at the Senate House State Historic Site at 296 Fair St. in uptown Kingston. We’re told the weekend will be “filled with live music, dance, drama, and spoken word performances, as well as art, hands-on activities, food, and free tours of Senate House. Some of the scheduled artists include Voices of Glory, a young a cappella threesome, and recent finalists on the TV show, America’s Got Talent; performers Kim and Reggie Harris; The Voices of Praise choir, the Ulster County Community Choir; the Energy Dance Troupe, the SUNY New Paltz Shades Step Team, Kibola Sougei African Dance Troupe, and historical dramatists Carolyn Evans (as Sojourner Truth) and Terry Gittens (as Bessie Mae).” This event occurs rain or shine. Information, (845) 338-2786,

Sunday, Oct. 4, POUGHKEEPSIE (Vassar College campus): Jewish Voice for Peace and CodePink are backing the U.S. tour of two Israeli women, Maya Wind and Netta Mishly, who have refused service in their country’s armed forces. These women will discuss their situation 4-6 p.m. at Rockefeller Hall room 200 on campus. (Cars may use the Raymond Ave. entrance). The tour is titled “Why We Refuse,” referring to their decision to “refuse to rule over an occupied people, to detain Palestinians without charge, to guard checkpoints, to enforce a siege, and to usher in a humanitarian disaster.” We’re told, “They will provide personal accounts of how they came to be “Shministim” — young people who have signed a letter stating their refusal to join the Israeli army. This was not a decision they came to lightly because they knew they would pay a price: prison.” Information,

Sunday, Oct. 4, NEW PALTZ: The anti-democratic coup in Honduras, the outcome of which is still in question, is the topic of a 6 p.m. public meeting tonight at New Paltz Village Hall, 25 Plattekill Ave., a block south of Main St. (Rt. 299). The speaker is Reina Victoria Estrada, a Honduran activist and health professional now based in the U.S., who has worked with unions, peace groups, the displaced, prisoners, and victims of torture. A potluck supper for those interested begins at 5 p.m. Sponsored by the Caribbean and Latin America Support Project (CLASP). Information, (845) 255-0113.

Sunday, Oct. 4, NYACK: A “Healthcare For All Rally” is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at Nyack Memorial Park. Musical Guests include Pete Seeger, Tom Chapin, Emory Joseph and the Roues Brothers. Organized by Health Care for All Now — a grassroots group including Fellowship of Reconciliation, NAACP, Rockland Progressive Dems, Organizing for America and WESPAC. Information,

Monday, Oct. 5, OLD CHATHAM: The documentary, "Body of War" will be screened at Powell House Quaker Conference and Retreat Center, 524 Pitt Hall Rd. from 7-9 p.m. The film tells the story of a young American veteran who returns home from the Iraq war paralyzed by a bullet to his spine. He learns to deal with this disability, and indicts the government's handling of the invasion. Sponsored by Old Chatham Quaker Meeting. Information, (518) 794-0259, Directions,

Tuesday, Oct. 6, NATIONWIDE: A group called World Can't Wait is calling for Anti-Recruiting Efforts in High Schools across the country today. They say: "Help stop the propaganda being professed by recruiters in High School, where serving the country in the military is a 'life with purpose,' but what purpose?" Information, (866) 973-4463,

Wednesday, Oct. 7, NATIONWIDE: Students for a Democratic Society is calling for a "U.S. out of Afghanistan! End the War Now" nationwide student protest today to commemorate the 8th anniversary of the Afghan war. Information,,

Thursday, Oct. 8, WOODSTOCK: The Middle East Crisis Response group of Hudson Valley residents opposed to Israeli and U.S. policies toward the Palestinians meets 7-8:30 p.m. at the Public Library, 5 Library Lane. All welcome. Information, (845) 876-7906, ,

Saturday, Oct. 10, POUGHKEEPSIE: A free screening of “The 11th Hour” takes place 7-8:30 p.m. at the Poughkeepsie Friends Meeting, 249 Hooker Ave., followed by an audience discussion. “Narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio, this captivating documentary explores the perilous state of our planet, and the means by which we can change our course.” It’s sponsored by the Dutchess Peace Coalition. Information, (845) 454-6431, (845) 454-2870.

Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 10-11, WASHINGTON, D.C.: The National Equality March and related rallies will take place in many parts of the nation's capital. The main event is a 12 noon on Sunday, culminating in a 2 p.m. rally Capitol West Lawn. From the organizer: "We will gather in Washington from all across America to let our elected leaders know that now is the time for full equal rights for LGBT people. We've had a moment thrust upon us by the election of President Barack Obama and the spirit of hope and change, and also by the sense of entitlement in the new generation of grassroots organizing. This march is a vehicle to a larger goal. We want to work to bridge the gap between the national organizations and the grassroots community organizers. We will gather. We will strategize. We will march. And we will leave energized and empowered to do the work that needs to be done in every community across the nation." For transportation from New Paltz, Binghamton, Poughkeepsie, and Monroe contact for more information. For a complete schedule of events, For local actions in NYC, (718) 768-7306,

Monday, Oct. 12, WESTERN HEMISPHERE: This is Trade Action Day. Say the organizers: "People throughout the Americas, including a majority of U.S. citizens, reject the destructive model of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Yet it continues to profit the few at the expense of the many. On Oct. 12, Indigenous Peoples Day, social movements across the hemisphere will launch coordinated actions to call for this failed model to be replaced with trade that actually benefits the majority. Host a movie night, do some street theater, or join a demonstration." At various locations. Sponsors: Witness for Peace, Nicaragua Network, Stop CAFTA Coalition, others. Information, (202) 403-1752, and

Tuesday, Oct. 13, NEWBURGH: A slide show and discussion of urban organic gardens in Havana and organic farming in the Cuban countryside will be presented by three people who visited Cuba in July on the Pastors for Peace 20th Caravan. They are Nora Gallardo, Alison Bodine and Manolo de Los Santos. Cuba is recognized throughout the world for its organic agriculture. The free, public 7-9 p.m. event takes place at the Newburgh Free Library, 124 Grand St. between 2nd and 3rd Sts. Information (845) 452-0557, (212) 926-5757. Endorsed by CLASP/Caribbean and Latin American Support Project

Friday, Oct. 16, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): Brazil is considered the leading country in Latin America in terms of its size, economy and influence, so what goes on there is of interest throughout the Americas. A discussion of “University Quotas and Racial Identity in Rio de Janeiro,” Brazil’s biggest city, is the topic of a discussion By Vania Penha-Lopes, an associate professor of Sociology at Bloomfield College. It will be held 12:15 p.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Honors Center in College Hall on campus, sponsored by the Latin American Studies Program and several scholastic departments. A map of campus is at Information, Benjamin Junge at

Saturday, Oct. 17, KINGSTON: A region-wide antiwar rally, commemorating the 8th anniversary of George W. Bush's ill-advised invasion of Afghanistan — a stalemated war that has lasted longer than World Wars I and II combined, with no end in sight other than the inevitable quagmire — will take place at Academy Green Park, 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (rain or shine). There will be speakers, singers, literature tables, petitions — the works. It is sponsored by Peace & Social Progress Now! (PSPN), the new group organized by the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter, and endorsed by a number of local peace and justice organizations. As well as a protest, this rally is an effort to reinvigorate the Mid-Hudson regional peace movement, which has seen better days, as has the national movement. "Whether our action succeeds or not depends in certain measure on the thousands of readers of this calendar throughout the Hudson Valley, so join us for the sake of peace!" This protest is one of many taking place in the United States Oct. 17 (including in Albany, see below) in response to a call from the National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupation, the ANSWER Coalition, and a number of other national peace organizations. Academy Green Park is in the Uptown section of Kingston. From the traffic circle at NY Thruway Exit 19, go around the circle and emerge via the Chandler Drive outlet. At the first traffic light, turn right on Albany Ave. for about a block and you're there. Park in the lot of a small shopping center or on area streets. Arrive a bit early for the best parking. If you wish to distribute leaflets in your town before the rally or help out on the day of the event, contact us as soon as possible. Information,, and (845) 255-5779. National information, and

Saturday, Oct. 17, ALBANY: A Capital District coalition is sponsoring a 12 noon-3 p.m. antiwar protest here at Capitol West Park (west side of Capitol building), demanding: "Bring all the Troops Home Now from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan." The event begins with a noon rally, followed by a mach up Lark St., then back to the park. This protest is sponsored by the Northeast Peace and Justice Action Coalition. Information, (518) 439-1968 and

Saturday, Oct. 17, BEACON: The annual Dissident Folk & Arts Festival will return for its fourth season to Beacon's Howland Cultural Center, 7-11 p.m. The Festival ‘s theme this year will be Looking Forward: In Praise of Activism. Its goal is to act as a bridge between socially-conscious arts and progressive philosophy, toward political awareness and social change. Performers include this year’s headliners, the progressive Hip-Hop artists Readnex Poetry Squad, from New Paltz and Newburgh; protest song ensemble The Flames of Discontent; folk expansionists Hope Machine from Peekskill; Beacon’s Alvin Bell and Chris Rhue's Freedom Song Review; and other poets, musicians and groups. The Howland Cultural Center is at 477 Main St. Admission is $10, seniors $7, unemployed by affordable donation. Information, (845) 831-4988, (845) 591-2161,,

Sunday, Oct. 18, NEW ROCHELLE: Women in Black will conduct a Palestine Solidarity Vigil 2-3 p.m. today— “for the Children of Gaza” — at Main St. and Memorial Highway. “Wear black if you like. Women and Men are welcome. We will stand on Main St. by the little park. Be a Voice for those whose voice is silenced.“ Sponsors are CodePink Westchester and WESPAC. Information, (914) 654 8990.

Monday, Oct. 19, NEW PALTZ (SUNY campus): “Confronting the Climate Crisis: Challenges and Solutions,” is the topic addressed Dr. Steven Leibo, Professor of Modern International History and Politics at the Sage Colleges in New York. He will present a slide show following up on “An Inconvenient Truth,“ Al Gore’s Academy Award-winning documentary on climate change. His presentation will take place at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Coykendall Science Building on campus. Free and public. A map of campus is at Information, (845) 257-3447. Sponsored by the SUNY New Paltz Environmental Task Force.