Saturday, February 19, 2011

Activist Calendar + Wisconsin

Feb. 19, 2011, Issue #657
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Dedicated to Helping Build  Activist
Movements  in  the  Hudson  Valley.
Editor's Note: Our late February/March calendar will be emailed Feb. 24.

We begin with this report:
—The Largest Day of Labor Demonstrations, So Far

MADISON, WISCONSIN: Today is the without a doubt the biggest day of demonstrations yet since workers and students took to the streets a week ago to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s assault on the public sector’s collective bargaining rights.

The streets were filled with chants of “Kill the Bill!” as tens of thousands of people flooded the streets of downtown Madison. Virtually every union from not only the public but also the private sector is present at the demonstration; among them the SEIU, AFSCME, UAW, IBEW, Teamsters, iron workers, plumbers, firefighters, various teachers unions and many more. High school and college students have come out in large numbers to support the workers’ struggle.

The State Capitol has been completely taken over. Students have been occupying the building around the clock and workers have returned each day to press their demands. Security and police have been largely standing aside while workers and students direct protesters coming in and out of the building.  All four floors of the rotunda are presently packed with demonstrators. Banners and signs supporting the workers are hanging throughout the building. A morning rally on the steps of the capitol was followed by a march around the building.

A strong sentiment of solidarity has been forged between the community, students and workers from various unions. Placards with messages such as “United we bargain, divided we beg” and “Ironworkers support teachers” are seen everywhere. Handwritten signs in support of the workers covered the windows of restaurants, cafes and other small businesses around the capitol. A plane flew overhead with a banner stating, “We support working families.” Similar messages of solidarity were seen all around.

The Tea Party, which had scheduled for today its first “big rally” in support of Walker and his legislative assault on labor, mustered only enough support for a minuscule demonstration that was completely dwarfed by the mass presence of labor and its supporters.

The resilience and fighting spirit of the workers have been an inspiration to all who have come out, and given a real-life lesson on the power of organization.  Spirits are high in Madison. The fight is not yet over.
This report was prepared by the ANSWER Coalition,,

Monday, Feb. 21, NEW PALTZ (SUNY Campus): The new documentary "Crossing the American Crises: From Collapse to Action," will be premiered 5-7 p.m. in Lecture Center 108. The most recent creation of documentarians Mike Fox and Silvia Leindecker, "Crossing the American Crises" looks at how ordinary U.S. citizens have experienced, made sense of, and responded to the Great Recession. Like all of their work, it focuses on grassroots experience and struggles. The film will have special appeal to people interested in class, race, and poverty in the United States. Featured in the film are the Vermont Worker’s Center; LA's Bus Rider's Union; Santa Fe's local Business Alliance; Oakland's Green Jobs Now; Baltimore’s United Workers; and “American” workers, truck drivers, farmers, homeless, ex-felons, minorities, natural disaster survivors, indigenous, immigrants, and residents from coast to coast — covering nearly 40 states across the nation. There will be an informal reception at 4 p.m. for the two accomplished journalists and documentarians. This free public event is jointly sponsored by the Departments of Anthropology, Black Studies, and Sociology. Information, Benjamin Junge (Anthropology), Campus map Campus map: About the film,

Tuesday, Feb. 22, POUGHKEEPSIE: The Adriance Library Community Room at 93 Market St. is the venue for a free public showing at 6:30 p.m. of "Catch-22," the cinematic adaptation of Joseph Heller's scathing black comedy about a small group of flyers in the Mediterranean in 1944. Capt. Yossarian (Alan Arkin) tries to escape the travesties of World War II by convincing his Air Force commanders that he's crazy. Sponsored by Dutchess Peace. Information, (845) 876-7906,

Tuesday, Feb. 22, NEW PALTZ:  The Health Risks of Genetically Modified (GM) Foods is the topic of a talk by community activist and organizer Barbara Upton on behalf of the Institute for Responsible Technology. The 7 p.m. event takes place at the Elting Library, 93 Main St. We're told: "About 80% of all processed foods in the supermarket contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms). FDA scientists warned of potential health risks of GM foods and called for long term safety studies, but were ignored. You can keep yourself and family healthy by avoiding GM foods and together we can create a tipping point of consumer rejection that will require labeling like other countries." (Feel free to bring a snack to share.). Information,

Wednesday, Feb. 23, NEW PALTZ (SUNY Campus): "Stop the Budget Cuts — Defend Education" is the theme of a campus/community meeting 4:30-6 p.m. in the auditorium of the Coykendall Science Building. The sponsor is the campus chapter of United University Professions (UUP - AFL-CIO). The state university system has suffered over $500 million in funding reductions in the last two and a half years and an unspecified amount of additional cuts will be made in the 2011-12 budget. This UUP Town Meeting will address the question "Are the Cuts Inevitable?" Speaking will be union president Phillip Smith, among others. Join students, faculty, staff and community members for an informational meeting and discussion. For information, a statement about the budget and a petition,

The Activist Newsletter/Calendar and Peace and Social Progress Now are organizing a regional public meeting at SUNY New Paltz March 15 to mark the eighth anniversary of the Iraq war, to call for an end to the Afghan war, and to analyze the impact of the popular uprisings in the Middle East on U.S. policy. This indoor event takes place, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at SUNY's Lecture Center 102. (We originally announced 104, but this auditorium is much larger.) There will be speakers, music and a brief video. If you wish to volunteer (leafleting, postering, other tasks) or if your organization is willing to become one of the endorsers of this important demonstration, contact us at