Tuesday, October 13, 2020

NJ’s Response to Election: Join the DC Nov 7 Antiwar Demand of Black is Back in DC

 On the heels of the farce of the US 2020 presidential election - regardless of which war mongering party takes pre-eminent control over the US imperialist war machine - NJ has begun making plans to join our comrades of Black is Back Coalition, Black Alliance for Peace and dozens of other organizations in Washington DC.

Black is Back Nov. 7 Protest Information 

For the 12th consecutive year, the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will march on the White House, November 7, this time under the themes “Black Power Matters,” “Down with Colonialism” and “Black Community Control of the Police.” Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela said community control of police is “the political demand that speaks directly to the issues” that have propelled unprecedented levels of protest in the United States, this year.

According to a NJ coordinator of the Black is Back Coalition Lisa Davis, "I say that we must fight COVID-19 AND colonialism - on both fronts. Black people especially don't have a choice! Black people got no reprieve from police brutality during the lock down! And the wars are ongoing. They didn't stop. So we have to be intentional about building up our immune system, taking vitamin C, D, and Zinc. And we have to mask up and fight. DC gives us the chance to do that."

Bob Witanek editor of #NJAntiWarAgenda paper stated: "On November 7, the election decision will be unsettled and the US will be in great uncertainty after a severely flawed vote. It is important to take up our positions in the streets to show that we are prepared to fight for an end to US wars, sanctions, military occupation, intimidation and threats - as much as the war it has declared on its own people through the COVID rip, massive street repression and lack of infrastructure, health care, housing, food, water, clean air to serve the people. The importance and timing of this event as multiple crises cascade are clear and evident." NJ will be organizing car pooling and encouraging travel via AMTRAK for those who can afford to attempt to add significantly to the numbers of participants.

We are seeking drivers with vehicles willing to accept 1 - 2 additional passengers (or to go solo if they prefer) - with costs for tolls, gas and parking to be shared - as well as passengers who can participate.

We are intending to take every precaution for attenders to avoid COVID-19 exposure - recommending traveling with open vehicle circulation, required masks and other precautions.  We will be doing temperature checks before departure - and will ask anyone with a temperature or showing other symptoms prior to departure to opt out of participation.

Cars / vans will leave Newark, Lincoln Park on Broad Street, 7 am and return around 10pm on November 7.  AMTRAK travelers we recommend you depart Newark (time) or earlier and please be advised that you must make your reservations as early as possible as the rate (currently about $80 round trip ) will increase as the date approaches.

If you are interested in participation - as a driver, passenger or making your own arrangements on Amtrak - we urge you to immediately contact 908-881-5275.  (Lisa we can use my # if you don’t want to use your number but if you want to use your number - that is fine too.)

The following is the Black is Back statement announcing this year’s event:


The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations (BiBC) is calling on colonized and unrepresented people of the U.S. to join us November 7-8 for the Black Power Matters march on the white house opposing the reactionary U.S. agenda being imposed on Africans and others within the U.S. and around the world.

Millions of people within the U.S. have been pushed out of legitimate political life by the rulers of this country. The two ruling parties have both put on their ritual shows called conventions, formally nominating their respective representatives for U.S. president and unveiling their two tame programs that represent the interests of one single white colonial-capitalist ruling class.

More and more people have come to the conclusion that neither the Republican nor the Democratic Party represents the will of the people. However, most people feel that there is no other option than to vote for one or the other.

Many people, especially Africans, are being mobilized to vote because they are afraid of Donald J. Trump, the sitting Republican Party representative of the ruling class.

No matter what is exposed about the corruption and reactionary politics of Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden, many can see no alternative to “holding their nose” and voting for him in opposition to Trump’s reelection. This is despite Biden’s defining role in increasing the prison population in the U.S. by 500 percent which, with the help of the Clintons and others, contributes to the mass incarceration of African people to the point that one in eight prisoners in the world is an African in the U.S.

The fact that Biden played a major role in unleashing the current version of police terror reigning supreme in our communities with his infamous “Crime Bill” is outweighed by fear of a re-elected Republican Trump regime. The fact that Biden’s chosen running mate, Kamala Harris has won the hearts of U.S. rulers as their enthusiastic top prosecutor in California, ruthlessly filling prison cells with Africans and other oppressed and working people is minimized by an assumption that voters are being forced to elect the “lesser of two evils.”

Our Call to march on the White House on November 7th is designed to give coherence to the great discord that has been experienced in the U.S. over the recent years, months, and weeks. Millions of you who have never participated in protest in the past have come out to the streets in protest and outright rebellion because the nature of the colonial-capitalist system is being exposed in bold relief daily.

Outright police murder of African people can no longer be ignored and tolerated by many. The colonialist-capitalist system is becoming increasingly terrifying in the middle of a pandemic where healthcare, like automobiles and refrigerators are commodities only available to the rich and where the colonized bear the brunt of the crisis.

The capitalist economy, based on profit and private ownership of the means of production, cannot provide security for the people. Joblessness with unproductive and underpaid employment is the order of the day and no empty promise of $15.00 per hour over a number of years can ever begin to address the crisis for the oppressed. Meanwhile trillions of public dollars are being shoveled into the coffers of Wall Street and the U.S. ruling class.

U.S. cities are being transformed by entire communities of homeless refugees living demoralizing lives of despair beneath highway underpasses where if they are lucky the city might pass out tents to qualifying wretches as if to ameliorate the results of ruthless gentrification that is too common in African and other colonized communities. An estimated 40 million people in the U.S. are facing eviction before the end of this year and thousands of cars line up daily across the country to receive meager supplies from food giveaways.

At the same time, the U.S. government of both parties is waging wars around the world in a desperate attempt to maintain its role as despotic hegemon.

U.S. special operations forces are initiating coups and engaging in other bloody, mostly secret counterinsurgent activities throughout the Continent of Africa. They assault Africa confidently based on the assumption of no opposing constituency within the U.S. and because the two ruling parties represent a single white ruling class that is united in preserving the system and U.S. world domination.

The Democratic Party has not voiced a single word of opposition to the starvation sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and Venezuela or the low intensity warfare against the government of Iran currently occurring under the Trump Republican regime.

Both ruling parties attempt to divert the people’s criticism of the domestic colonial military forces commonly referred to as police. Trump and Biden oppose even minor, cosmetic changes such as the symbolic call to “defund the police.” They both liquidate the role of the police as an arm of the state with the proclamation that the majority of the police are honest, good people.

Both Trump and Biden refuse to call for Black Community Control of Police as the logical interim movement to minimize police violence against black people while negating the colonial domination of our people. Neither of them acknowledges the existence of the political prisoners, many of whom have been locked up for generations for fighting against the unjust colonial system that is finally coming into public view for many.

Despite the thousands of protests that have come to characterize this period, it is clear that the voices of the most dynamic sector of the population in the U.S. was not at the Republican or Democratic Party conventions and will never reach the agenda of either party.

Despite all the efforts being made to criminalize the ongoing independent mass expression of opposition to the current Trump regime and the existing system, the struggle continues, as it must.

This Call by the Black is Back Coalition is a call to bring a coherent message of dissent. It is a Call to give collective leadership to the spontaneity that has characterized much of our opposition up to now.

The Black is Back Coalition has a National Black Political Agenda for Self-determination that pre-dates the 2016 election of Donald J. Trump and the fantastic protest and uprisings of today.

The National Black Political Agenda that was forged during months of a democratic process with conventions in 11 states and the District of Columbia that culminated in a National Convention for Self-determination in Washington, DC during the Democratic Party Obama regime.

This is a Call by the Coalition for a massive turnout in November for the Black Power Matters March that also directs us to fight against colonialism and for Black Community Control of the Police.

This is a Call that puts the people in charge, as it should be, regardless of which ruling class party or representative is in office. Regardless of whether you feel compelled by necessity to vote for Biden and Harris or to refrain from voting at all in the presidential election, this is a Call to you to help shape our own independent agenda.

This is a Call to cast your vote on November 7-8 with your presence at the Black is Back Coalition mobilization. Because Black Power Matters! Down With Colonialism! Black Community Control of the Police!

Friday, January 3, 2020


Just trying to consolidate the several announcements of NJ area protests against the US murder of Iranian leader Qassem Soleimani . . . if you have information - text 908-881-5275 with the links or details.

Here are some events:


Saturday Jan. 4 11 am, Times Square 47th and Broadway. NYC.

On Saturday, January 4 the ANSWER Coalition, CODEPINK and others are calling on people from around the United States to organize local demonstrations to demand: NO MORE U.S. TROOPS TO IRAQ OR THE MIDDLE EAST! U.S. OUT OF IRAQ NOW! and NO WAR/NO SANCTIONS ON IRAN!

In response to the massive protests in Iraq following the latest U.S. aerial assault that killed scores of Iraqis, Donald Trump has ordered 750 more U.S. troops to the Middle East and potentially 3,000 more. This is in addition to the 5,200 U.S. troops already stationed in Iraq. Every U.S. president over the last 28 years has ordered the bombing of Iraq. The decision by Donald Trump and the Pentagon to launch new air assaults against Iraqis in the past week ignited nationwide resistance by Iraqis who want to reclaim their full sovereignty and do not want Iraq to be used in a U.S. war on Iran.

More than a million Iraqis have died during the past 28 years as a consequence of U.S. occupation, bombings and sanctions. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops have either been killed or suffered life-changing wounds. The U.S. government has spent more than $3 trillion dollars in the on-going occupation and bombing of this oil-rich country. Instead of taking the United States out of this endless war, Trump is building up U.S. forces in the region and threatening a war with Iran.


Sunday, Jan 5, 1 - 4pm A United States war with Iran would be an unmitigated disaster, morally and religiously indefensible. The assassination of Iran’s General Soleimani on Iraqi soil and the mobilization of thousands more US troops to the Middle East can only be viewed as an attempt to start yet another war for oil in the Middle East. At a time when the climate crisis is so dire that an entire continent is literally on fire we cannot permit this to be done in our name. Join us as we say No More Blood for Oil - No War with Iran! Military Park, Broad Street, Newark NJ


Saturday Jan 4 Join us in Somerville this Saturday to protest against the act of aggression that could lead us to war! Say No War in Iran at 12pm in front of the Marine Recruitment Center (41 W Main St, Somerville, NJ 08876.) People will be rallying across the country to oppose barbaric war that serves imperialism and capitalism at the expense of innocent lives.
Monday Jan 6 Newark NJ

Join North NJ Democratic Socialists of America and other local activist groups to show that there is a real anti-war movement here in Jersey!

Where: US Army Recruiting Station
858 Broad St, Newark, NJ 07102
When: Monday, 1/6/2020 @ 3pm

#NJforPeace #NoWarWithIran #DropTheMIC

More Details to Come


On Saturday, January 4 the ANSWER Coalition, CODEPINK, Muslim Peace Fellowship, Veterans for Peace, United AntiWar Coalition (UNAC), United for Peace & Justice (UFPJ), Feminist Foreign Policy, World Beyond War, Popular Resistance and Voices for Creative Nonviolence are calling on people from around the United States to organize local demonstrations to demand: NO MORE U.S. TROOPS TO IRAQ OR THE MIDDLE EAST! U.S. OUT OF IRAQ NOW! and NO WAR/NO SANCTIONS ON IRAN!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Victory for NJ Free Speech - Targum Says (paraphrasing) #NoNJS4001

The editors of NJ Daily Targum struck a major blow to efforts led by NJ Senator Sweeney to usher in a wave of repression against students and faculty at public universities and public schools.  Sweeney has sponsored a proposed bill that would target anti-war and pro Palestinian activism - anyone that criticizes Israel - for sanction and possibly even criminal charges.  The Rutgers Daily Targum - in its long held tradition of being a bastion of advocacy for free speech has stated today, November 25,  clearly and unequivocally - opposition to the bill even calling upon students to actively engage in work to stop it!

I have to admit that over my long years I had tussled with Targum reporters and editors - as a political activist at Rutgers in the 70’s and 80s.  I might have thought that they made me personally and activists in general look silly upon occasion.  (I was doing street theatre in a horse costume on College Avenue once - long story.)  In their minds maybe we were looking foolish - and you never know - we all stumble here and there.  But The Daily Targum as long as is I can remember has always been a bastion for free speech - and today they once again ring that bell!

This is a clarion call for all the state newspapers (many have already denounced this attack on free speech) to reiterate their opposition and especially all of the campus newspapers across the state of New Jersey need to read today’s Targum editorial - and come out swinging with your own defense to inform the students on ALL OF THE CAMPUSES of NJ about these dangers!  That is a most important impact that the Targum editorial can have.

But we all need to take the link to the editorial and tweet it to Assembly and Senato
rs as well as to news outlets - especially campus - throughout NJ, the US and world! 

As the Targum states:

First, nationalities and ethnicities are completely separate matters — something this bill seems to feign ignorance of. Regardless of your personal opinions on Israel, criticizing a government's policies is not the same as criticizing a race, religion nor ethnicity. 

Through this bill, legislators have effectively made collectivized verbal critiques against Israel's government a hate crime, which is damaging by any metric. No institution, whether it be a government, an activist group, a religion or a philosophy, has the right to be above criticism. 

The bill’s vague language makes it especially dangerous. While the intention of the bill is to squash anti-Semitism at public universities, a section of the bill defined an aspect of anti-Semitism as “applying a double standard to Israel.” 

What exactly a “double standard” means in this case is unclear. Can we not criticize one side of an issue unless we criticize the other as well? That is not how critique works — it is completely possible to key in on one issue without focusing on every single injustice occurring in the world at once.

With the loose language used in this bill, it is quite transparent that lawmakers plan to use it to limit free speech for student media, activist groups and on-campus talk in general. 

Looking at the bigger picture here, any attempt to legislate speech must be either critically examined or outright fought. It is acceptable to outlaw genuinely endangering speech, but this is firmly not one of those cases. 

Silencing criticism is not acceptable. Attempting to shut down activism and protest is a violation of our fundamental duty outlined in the Bill of Rights.”

Role of All Marxists Leninist Union in Raising Alarm on NJ S4001 at Rutgers

The dangers of this bill were brought to the attention of the Rutgers community at the AMLU meeting at Scott Hall, on September 12, in a panel discussion hosted by All Marxist Leninist Union that was
broadcast live on Facebook by NJ Revolution Radio.  The event was coordinated between AMLU and #NJAntiWarAgenda with participation "as individuals" of members of American Muslims for Palesine.

AMLU also brought it to the attention of the Rutgers campus through an
op-ed that the Daily Targum ran on October 29. 2019.

The AMLU op-ed excerpted below detailed some of the activities among university and high school students opposing the proposed repressive law.

The anti-war and anti-imperialist struggle would most certainly be crippled, as U.S.-Israeli imperialism is undeniably a global force at the center of many destructive wars and conflicts across the world.

The ability of groups to form coalitions among the anti-imperialist Left would be strictly limited under the bill in such a way that our liberties of free assembly would be curtailed.  

The NJ S4001 Bill, if passed, would persecute any group or individual in educational institutions like high schools and universities who would be “delegitimizing Israel by denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist.” 

That . .. . bill, in the end, would prohibit Students for Justice for Palestine (SJP) and Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) clubs and speakers on campus and thus restrict their right to speak and protest against Israel’s war crimes. . . . 

But we are not alone in our opposition to this bill.  A statement from the Rutgers campus group Anakbayan Rutgers stated, “We must unwaveringly say that fighting for the basic rights to life, land, water, and democracy for Palestinians through boycott or any other means is not a crime, and it is not anti-semitic. The passage of this unjust bill would fly in the face of both academic freedom and freedom of dissent, and more primarily the Palestinian people and their just struggle for liberation.”
Meanwhile, high school students concerned about their rights to advocate in the public schools have started a petition which
stated in part: “We are opposing NJ bills S4001 and A5755 introduced by Sen. (Stephen) Sweeney (D-N.J.) and Assemblywoman (Annette) Quijano *. This proposed law dangerously conflates criticism of Israel with Antisemitism. It would punish legitimate dissent of U.S. foreign policy and its support for Israel. We support student rights to free speech in and out of school, (and to) criticize American foreign policy.”

Protesting US backed Bolivia coup

Members of AMLU were recently instrumental leading a protest on College Avenue (Rutgers, New Brunswick) to condemn the US supported murderous right wing coup against the legitimately elected president of Bolivia Evo Morales.  See report.  Israel exports its products of violence, counter insurgency expertise, its cyber hack and surveillance products to fascist regimes all over Latin America so it is important for the effort to oppose US intervention and war in Latin America to protect our rights to criticize Israel’s direct role in these deadly policies.

There is more news today on the attempt to repress and criminalize solidarity and anti-war voices in NJ.  A volunteer lobbyist, requesting anonymity given the current repressive political climate was in Trenton talking to Assembly members.  The lobbyist stated that most Assembly members they met are opposed and some who were originally supportive are now opposed.  

Ironically though, one assembly member, Gary Schaer, who has a significant Arab constituency as he represents Passaic, NJ, with a concentration of Arab voters, is a strong supporter of the repressive bill.  It is ironic because his constituency will be impacted as members in the community support the victims of violence in the Middle East, including Palestinian victims of Israeli violence.  The lobbyist stated that we need to stay strong to defeat this bill and that he was told that a similar bill could be introduced - even if this one is defeated.  The lobbyist urges everyone to stick to the fight!

AMLU and the Daily Targum were in harmony on a major point in each of the two op-eds - the need for student action.  As AMLU stated, “
We invite you to join the New Jersey Committee to Protect Dissent to protect the rights of students and faculty to discuss and criticize U.S. foreign policy and to support the struggles of the Palestinian people.”

For their part, the Targum editors urge: “Truly any campus group that believes in free speech as a blood right must recruit support to fight this issue, and all Rutgers students — those who stand on either or neither side of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute — must be willing to join in this fight. We all attend a public school and thus would be heavily impacted by this excuse of a bill. We must send the message to our legislators that although we are public, we do not exist to be hammered under the thumb of our lawmakers.”

As part of #NJAntWarAgenda - if you are interested in stipended anti imperialist and pro student rights (especially regarding this kind of bill) for campus organizign - text 908-881-5275.

Open letter to faculty unions includes links to Palestine Legal and CAIR opposition to this bill.

·         Assembly women Annette Quijano no longer appears as co-sponsor of A5755

Sunday, November 17, 2019

NJ Says "NO MORE COUPS!" - Comite Bolivia NJ Formed

NJ is saying “NO MORE COUPS” and staking out clear opposition to the US backed fascist military coup d'etat against the nation and people of Bolivia.    Back to back protests in 2 NJ cities took place this past week, on Thursday November 14 on the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers and on Friday November 15 outside the offices of Senator Menendez, who played a direct role in orchestrating the coup, and Senator Booker, at One Gateway in Newark, NJ.  At the Newark event, the formation of Comite Bolivia NJ (interim name) was announced and a leaflet with information about the new committee was handed out to participants.

The Rutgers protest was attended, all told by about 50 protesters, some staying briefly and others for the full hour long event.  Four large banners from #NJAntiWarAgenda were hung between trees including a 6-foot banner depicting Evo Morale, and in Spanish, calling for his restoration and the reversal of the US backed right wing violent, and according to the protesters, “fascist” and “CIA-Backed” coup.  A popular chant
of the Rutgers protesters was “NO MORE COUPS! RESTORE EVO MORALES!” The event drew attention with many passers-by and some who disagreed gathering to watch the event - some shouting out their opposition. The Rutgers event also addressed other issues of concern including the US backed Israeli bombing of Gaza that has killed several dozen in recent days.  At the end of the rally, about a dozen students marched in the street up College Avenue behind the Evo Morales banner and chanting support for the Bolivian people.

The Newark protest was live streamed by revolutionary street video journalist Lisa Davis.

The following is a summary of the presentations of the event and the time - into the video - for each
presentation. Video of November 15 Newark Bolivia protest against the coup:

Green Party candidate for US Senate Madelyn Hoffman who challenged Golpista (coup maker) Menendez in 2018 spoke out about the need to challenge imperialist supporting candidates for election and the horrendous history of imperialism in Latin America.  Her presentation is in this video.

0:00 Natalia, representing Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) speaking on recent developments of Latin American struggle.
2:42 Dr. Rey Tapia, Bolivian Scholar with a Bolivian perspective on the struggle
5:53 Bob Witanek explains Comite Bolivia and describes November 2 event that occurred in Princeton linking 7 national struggles in Latin American and the Caribbean.  (A video from this event is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDmnFUUNg3I& )
8:19 Jay Arena of Resist the Deportation Machine connects anti-war, anti-imperialist struggle to the struggle to close ICE concentration camps including the Essex County facility on Doremus Avenue

12:49 - Bob Witanek music break sings “Farabundo Marti” about the struggle of the people of El Salvador
17:19 - Jaime Herrera of Comite Roque Dalton FMLN (El Salvador) condemns Menendez involvement in the coup and as an opponent of all fo Latin America struggles and talks about the links between the liberation struggles in Latin America
22:54 Ben Morris a leader of high school student resistance to war and imperialism talked about the struggles to remove recruiters and police from the high schools
24:00 Lisa Davis representing Peoples Organization for Progress and Black is Black nailed US imperialism and called for a “no compromise” position opposing candidates of both parties that support war and imperialism
29:10 John Lisowski representing American Party of Labor gave some of the current background on the Bolivia situation
31:00 Esteban Guevera of PSL offering closing remarks

The back to back rallies indicate a strong NJ organizing effort that is responding in real time to events as they unfold - we need to consolidate this effort and build a support committee for Bolivia because this struggle will be protracted. 

The call for formation of Comite Bolivia NJ reads as follows (Spanish followed by English):

Únase a Comite Bolivia NJ  (Print Flier from Drive) Join On Facebook

Te invitamos a unirte a nosotros en la formación de Comite Bolivia NJ (nombre provisional).

Estados Unidos está respaldando un golpe militar de derecha contra la constitución de Bolivia y sus legítimamente elegidos, y reelegido presidente Evo Morales. El golpe ha sido impuesto con violencia masiva por los extremistas de derecha y la policía. También existe la amenaza de violencia militar contra el pueblo boliviano que se opone al golpe mediante protestas masivas.

Dada la situación, en NJ estamos creando un enfoque organizativo en Bolivia para construir solidaridad y apoyo para el pueblo boliviano para restaurar la democracia y su orden constitucional a través de la educación y la acción solidaria.

Este comité es nuevo y todo, incluido el nombre, se puede definir y redefinir a partir de los aportes de todos los miembros fundadores y miembros. Si está interesado en formar parte de este comité, comuníquese al 908-881-5275.

Please Join Comite Bolivia NJ

We hereby invite you to join us in formation of Comite Bolivia NJ (interim name).

The US is backing a right wing military coup against the constitution of Bolivia and its rightfully elected - and re-elected president Evo Morales.  The coup has been imposed with massive violence by right wing extremists and the police. There is also the threat of military violence against the Bolivian people who are opposing the coup through massive protests.

Given the situation, in NJ we are creatong a Bolivia organizing focus to build solidarity and support for the Bolivian people to restore democracy and its constitutional order through education and solidarity action.

This committee is new and everything including the name, can be defined and redefined given input from all founding and joining members.  If you are interested in being part of this committee, please contact 908-881-5275.

The following is a statement from the Rutgers students that mobilized against the coup:

We are fighting for indigenous rights, the conflict in Bolivia stems from the long history of colonialism in Latin America. We find it abhorrent that the first Indigenous president was ousted and replaced by a Christian fascist who views the traditions of the indigenous people in Bolivia to be “satanic”. People’s lives are in danger, and in the imperial core, Americans must denounce against the crimes this government implements in their name. We stand and we shout in solidarity with all those across Earth that are being held hostage by the American Empire. We won’t stop fighting, we won’t be silenced. Everytime the US decides to drone strike a poor country, we will be there to denounce it. We will be back.”

NEXT EVENT: U.S. Imperialism and Its Impact on Peace, Justice and the Environment of Latin America - What is Happening Today and What We Can Do to Change It

Saturday, November 23rd, 1 - 4pm
Emanuel Lutheran Church, 3 Kirkpatrick Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Admission Free /  In English and in Spanish
Live streaming on: https://www.facebook.com/NJRevRad/

Print fliers from this link

Thank you to Madelyn Hoffman and Colombia Grass Roots for taking the lean on organizing this upcoming event.

Tell Senators Menendez and Booker that you support Comite Bolivia NJ by retweeting:

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Struggles to Uproot Violence, Militarism and Injustice in Latin American and the Caribbean

The Struggles to Uproot Violence, Militarism and Injustice
in Latin American and the Caribbean
Saturday, November 2, 2019, 1 – 4 pm
Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church
112 Witherspoon St, Princeton, NJ

Contacts: Jaime Herrera, 973-277-2098        Bob Witanek, 908-881-5275

Constituents of various Latin American and Caribbean nations will be coming together to head up a panel discussion on November 2, 1 - 4 pm at the Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church to discuss
“The Struggles to Uproot Violence, Militarism and Injustice in Latin American and the Caribbean.”

This panel discussion event will feature perceptions of advocates of the the struggles of Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras, Haiti, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil and possibly other nations,  Speakers will provide a brief overview of the struggles of these nations, the peoples demands, the obstacles, root causes, including the role of the United States and multinational corporations in the plight of these nations.  Latin America and the Caribbean is experiencing a reinvigoration of the popular movements to challenge exploitation by foreign nations and businesses/.

According to organizers, the purpose of the educational event is to build  “mutual support and possibly new connections and alliances among sectors that have common interests and common goals.”

Speakers will include:  Lulu Garcia of A Call to Action on Puerto Rico, Rep of Comite Roque Dalton, FMLN (El Salvador), Aleandro Jaramillo of COSECHA (on topic of US war on migrant diaspora),  advocates of struggle from Ecuador, Colombia, Haiti, Honduras, Bolivia, Mexico and potentially others.  Co-sponsoring organizations include #NJAntiWarAgenda, NJ Hands Off Venezuela,  Colombia Solidarity,  Comite Roque Dalton FMLN, A Call to Action on Puerto Rico, NJ Peace Council.

According to the flier for the event:

Latin America and the Caribbean is experiencing a reinvigoration of the popular movements to challenge exploitation by foreign nations and businesses.  This educational event will build  mutual support and possibly new connections and alliances among sectors that have common interests and common goals.”

According to Bob Witanek of NJ Anti War Agenda, one of the event’s organizers, “The United States is pushing Latin American and Caribbean nations toward allowing the land natural resources of their nations to be developed for the benefit of multinational corporations and in doing so, trampling the rights of the Indigenous and ignoring the  needs of the extremely impoverished masses of people.  The US is also promoting militarism and repression leading to violence and resurgence of death squad enforcement of US designs.  Meanwhile US is pushing Latin nations toward a major war with Venezuela and other nations that could engulf the entire continent of South America and the Caribbean.”

For more information, please call 908-881-5275 (for English) or 973-277-2098 (for Spanish).

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Open letter to all Teachers and Administrators Unions at NJ Public and Private Schools, Including Colleges / Leadership and Ranks:

Open letter to all Teachers and Administrators Unions at NJ Public and Private Schools, Including Colleges / Leadership and Ranks:


The speech and academic freedom rights of all faculty, administrators and students across the state of NJ are threatened by a companion set of proposed NJ law that will, among other things, define questioning “Israel’s right to exist” as an act of “Anti-Semitism” and will go so far as to criminalize a whole set of opinions that are part of the normal discourse when discussing US foreign policy.  The laws proposed are so wide ranging and  so vague as to cast a legal cloud over any legitimate discussion on US war and peace in NJ schools.  The sanctions proposed are draconian and there is even reference to criminal penalties including fines and incarceration.

The proposed law
NJ (S4001/ NJ A5755)  has widespread bipartisan support including the sponsorship of NJ Democrat Senate Kingpin Sweeney.  I invite you to see for yourself what is in this repressive legislation that could come to the floor this fall: 


The question for faculty, staff, administrators, members of unions and organizing graduate students, for students, members of student organizations that address current issues, student unions, etc. - do you recognize the detrimental impact this proposed law could have on your profession, on student participation, on the curriculum, on the careers of faculty with a history of being outspoken on US foreign policy issues, across the board on the over all atmosphere on college campuses and in public and private schools?

Everybody’s job will be at the whim of a potential smear under this repressive legislation.

We invite all levels of participation from union members, leadership and those organizing campus and school unions.

There are many ways to participate:

1. First and foremost - read the proposed bill linked above and the statements about the bill.

2. There will be organized events at Rutgers Newark and New Brunswick and likely other campuses, representation of union officials, or members for identification purposes, as well as rank and file organizations and organizing committees are encouraged to issue statements and participate in the panels / speak out events.

3. Take a formal position in your local or committee and send it to the state and national urging them to join in the statement, as well as copy to entire NJ Senate, Assembly, Governor and candidates in 2019 for Trenton Senate and Assembly positions.

4. Conduct classroom discussion, organizational discussion and other educational efforts and join in opposition to US war escalations - to show that these kinds of laws will not prevent peace organizing on colleges and in schools.

Please text 908-881-5275 if interested in engaging in any of the above proposed actions or if you have other ideas as to how to best stop this.

In struggle against imperialism and against this NJ repressive law proposal!

S4001/ NJ A5755!

Bob Witanek 908-881-5275

Facebook group: 

More links to information from this article: 





Several student, faculty and community organizations are coming together to "put a stop" to attempts to pass what they are calling "repressive" NJ S4001 that conflates opposition to Israeli policies to anti-Semitism and attempts to impose punitive measures for presenting discussions that cast criticism on Israel and its policies and US relations with Israel.

The opponents of the bill, sponsored by NJ Democrat Senate strong man Sweeney, believe passage of the bill will have a chilling impact on the ability to hold "open and honest" consideration of US foreign policy as regards relations to Israel as well as hamper efforts to offer "solidarity to the Palestinian people."

One of the organizers, Rutgers Alumnus Bob Witanek recently wrote a letter calling upon teachers unions on campuses and in public schools to work together toward the defeat of the measure.

Sherry Wolf of AAUP at Rutgers has stated that an "Academic Freedom Committee" has formed and this group will also take up opposition to the bill.

Opponents of this measure will present a short "teach-in" on the topic, Thursday, September 12, at Scott Hall 221 at 9pm.

It will feature presentations by Wassim Kanaan of American Muslims for Palestine, NJ Chapter, Mazhar Syad. a Rutgers MA recipient who was engaged in the successful effort oppose Condolezza Rice's receipt of an honorary degree and serve as keynote speaker in 2014 graduation ceremony to protest her role in the US war on Iraq and Bob Witanek who protested CIA at Rutgers in the 1980s  and more recently in 2018.  Others invited including the organizations Anakbayan, Students for Justice in Palestine, Rutgers AAUP and the Academic Freedom Coalition, among others.

Pizza will be available at event.

For more information, call or text 908-881-5275

Friday, July 19, 2019

Antiwar Organizing Could Soon be a Crime in NJ! #NJANTIWARAGENDA Text 908-881-5275

NJ elected officials of both the Democratic and Republican parties in the NJ Senate and Assembly have introduced bills (NJ S4001/ NJ A5755 ) that would virtually outlaw and criminalize criticism of the policies of Israel (and US policies coordinating with Israel) at NJ college campuses and in NJ public schools.

Under the headline RESOURCES below there are many links with ways you can support the effort to protect our right to dissent in NJ.

The pretext for this extremely repressive proposed law is the false premise that criticism of Israel is “anti-Semitic” – and the proposed law proscribes sanctions and even potential criminal penalties for such activity.  I will leave the debunking of that false narrative to others more qualified (see the resources below)– for my part I will focus on:


This proposed law is a clear broad side attack on NJ students, teachers, faculty and staff's first amendment rights to free speech.  Students have a right to express their opinions, to learn about and support grass roots democracy and actions to introduce legislation.  It sends the wrong message to the youngest generation who - if this law passes - will find these rights infringed upon as they try to find their political voices.

To be clear, by proposing to outlaw criticism of Israel, NJ legislators would also be outlawing criticism of the US policy of SUPPORT for Israel.  The US is a WAR PARTNER of Israel in every corner of the globe.  (e.g. Central America )  The US also has ties to Israel domestically in the wall construction on the US southern border and in training US police departments.  All of these activities link US policy to Israel and this proposed piece of repressive legislation could also be used to disrupt and forbid advocacy opposing those Israel related policies.

This proposed law could create a pretext  to undermine antiwar organizing on NJ college campuses and in NJ public schools.  US relations with and support for Israel underpins US Middle East policy.  An effective antiwar movement obviously must challenge the entire war operation especially regarding US war operations in the Middle East.  This law if enacted could make administrators on colleges and in public schools feel compelled to challenge students, faculty and staff that attempt to raise opposition to US war in the MIddle East and elsewhere.  It will also provide an umbrella for pro-war forces to complain to administrators about anti-war activities using the proposed law as the basis.

A movement that aims to effectively challenge US foreign policy MUST engage the students and faculty at the high school and college levels.  The National Security State takes pains  to undermine the success of such an organizing effort.  In 2018, Rutgers University, through its Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence, partnered with police, Homeland Security, other US government agencies and academics to sponsor a forum entitled “Fighting HateWhile Preserving Freedom” that outlined the partnership between the National Security State and academia toward those goals.  The event was met with protests which I helped coordinate on behalf of #NJANTIWARAGENDA  with endorsement of Anakbayan Rutgers and expert coordination by two lead campus organizers.  This proposed law is the follow up step to implement the repressive ideas that were promoted at the Rutgers event.

If this law is passed in NJ –  administrations at colleges and at public schools will “err on the side of caution.”  If there is advocacy in the schools that touches even tangentially to any issue regarding Israel, administrations – not looking for trouble or that are already a captive asset of government agency  – will forbid the activity.  Students who could potentially play a pivotal role in advancing efforts to effectively advocate against war will end up having their yearning to participate crushed.

The struggle against imperialism and war has to center on the issue of Middle East peace.  Central to lasting Middle East peace is an end to Israel occupation of Palestine and the recognition of the humanity of Palestinians.  So there can be NO effective movement against war without advocacy for the cause of Palestine.  A law preventing mention of these topics creates a major obstacle to the struggle against US war.

Any coalition seeking to unify against war and imperialism and to advocate for Palestinian rights needs to converge the efforts of those in the US committed to those goals with people of all of the nations that are either under attack and oppressed by a partnership between the US, Israel and other partners including UK, KSA, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, many other nations and entities.  Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims play a critical role in every coalition on college campuses and in our communities not only on international issues but around domestic issues that impact everybody’s day to day lives. This proposed law aims to fracture these coalitions thus undermining our effectiveness and any potential success - around all of our fronts of struggle.  I would take it a step further to venture that this law if passed and implemented will virtually shut down any and all effective dissent in NJ.

Therefore the call goes out to all those that oppose US war, imperialism and stand in favor of human rights for Palestinians – we have no choice but to destroy this initiative of the US National Security State (NJ S4001/ NJ A5755 )  The proposed law would provide a mechanism to repress our opposition.  In the process, it could  destroy the lives of students and teachers through false smear and criminalization of our legitimate and necessary organizing.

In addition to lobbying in every way possible the NJ Assembly, Senators and the Governor of NJ – which could include when they show up in our communities - to defeat this repressive proposed law, let us proceed to do precisely the kind of organizing this proposed law aims to disrupt and prevent.  Let us put together the best organized college and high school effort this state and even this nation has ever seen – combining advocacy against war and imperialism, for human rights and liberation of Palestinians with the total defeat of this repressive proposal. We must not only defeat this repression bill, but defeat it so thoroughly that NJ legislators never try to dredge it back up from the cesspool into which it must be rendered.  And as we win the battle against this repressive effort, we will use the momentum to prevent US warfare and further the cause of justice and liberation for Palestinians. 

If you are interested in connecting with others to organize at an event at or near college campuses or public schools please send a text to 908-881-5275.  Follow the links below for many ways to get further involved in this struggle to save our right to dissent in the state of NJ  and also to render a solid defeat to this repressive initiative of National Security State and Israeli Defense Force.

SAY NO to National Security State and Israeli Defense Force ideological hegemony on NJ campuses and in NJ public schools!  And let’s stop the state to state spread of these dictatorial laws.  (Similar laws have passed in Florida and South Carolina.)


This page from CAIR – NJ allows you to write a letter every 24 hours to your NJ Senator and Assembly members::

This is a letter drafted by the coalition of groups with legal input from Palestine Legal followed by their announcement of this effort:

Here is a Facebook group dedicated to stopping this repressive proposed law:

These are some of the articles that have been published on this situation:

Here is a copy of the Senate version of the proposed law:

Meanwhile in a related development Rep. Ilhan Omar and others have introduced a bill to protect our right to support BDS nationally:

Here is a petition in support of the Omar initiative.