Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Highland Park / New Brunswick – Central Jersey Coalition Leads Anti-War Vigils and Protest Rallies

Anti-war Protest Coordination
Held Monthly Protest Vigil for 11 Years – Now on Standby to Organize Emergency Actions in Response to US War Escalations

Locations: Usually at Raritan Ave/Rt 27 north of the Albany Street Bridge in Highland Park
Alternate Locations: New Brunwswick at the corner of Albany & George Street or at “the Fountain” at the corner of Livingston Avenue and George Street


Since 2004, the Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War has kept opposition to US war making in the spotlight in the Highland Park / New Brunswick communities.  Through 2015, the coalition maintained a monthly vigil on Raritan Ave/Rt 27 north of the Albany Street Bridge in Highland Park.  It began on April 14, 2004 to commemorate those who were killed after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March, 2003. Originally called the Iraq Memorial Wall Vigil, it included huge black panels with the name, age, rank, and date of every U.S. soldier killed. In 2008, the panels of the Wall became too numerous to continue to display on a weekly basis. However, the vigil continued another 6 years.

The coalition continues to organize protests at that site, and sometimes on the corner of Albany Street and George Street or at the Fountain on the corner of George Street and Livingston Avenue both in New Brunswick in response to US war escalations and threats,

According to one of the groups coordinators, Ellen Whitt:

"We look at the vigil and our group as against the endless war on working people at home and around the world.

We have a weekly announcement email list that includes many events in the Middlesex County area. People can sign up for this and it includes the time and place of our monthly Planning Meetings.  Contact   to join the contact list.

Every six weeks we sponsor Marc's Place Coffeehouse where we invite speakers to lead a discussion of important current issues including war, social justice and the environment. It also includes performances by area musicians and poets. The coffeehouse is nearly 12 years old. It brings together activists and people new to these issues to discuss how to fight back effectively."

Next Coffeehouse event:
Oct 21: Fighting Racism and Changing the System-Where Do We Go from Here

According to Ellen, top concerns as far as US war escalations go include:
“North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Middle East - Syria, Iraq, Palestinian”

However the coalition stands ready to respond to any and all such war threats as they surface.

Folks can plug in to help improve the effectiveness of the events and activities by:

Attending Planning Meetings to help plan future activities and our work with other groups, volunteerinh to help with the coffeehouse, helping with outreach (includes tabling at community events, distributing leaflets, social media).

According to Ellen, the Coalition works with many groups and is also formally part of other coalitions:

“We are members of the NJ Alliance for Immigrant Justice and NJ Renews. We work with the local chapter of Jewish Voices for Peace, Food and Water Watch, New Labor, Interfaith-RISE (refugee resettlement), DIRE (Deportation and Rapid Response Equipo), among others.”

Related to the coalition’s opposition to war, the group also focuses on
“immigration, environmental, labor issues and issues related to the Middle East. We have frequently worked with both NJ Peace Action and the Coalition for Peace Action,” a
ccording to Ellen.

“We are generally trying to build stronger connections with local and regional groups on issues where we agree to expand our reach,” she added.

Most recently on Monday October 1, the coalition led a rally demanding "Money for Puerto Rico, Not for War!" at the corner of Albany and George in New Brunswick.

All those interested in helping to organize a better Central Jersey response to the US war threats are encouraged to contact Central Jersey Coalition AgainstEndless War today!

Also, please spread the word, contribute and attend:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tutorial: How to Plan an Anti-War Protest

Planning an anti-war event

Care needs to be taken in organizing events in opposition to US warfare.  Having a well prepared plan, a good core group of organizers and participants, goals for the event, and an organizing strategy will greatly enhance success.  Some first steps include:

Determining the goals for the event. 
The following is a sample of possible goals:
- To express opposition - to deployment of naval fleet, selling of weapons, or bombings, etc.
- To educate the public - about a policy, consequences, expenses, and the overall disaster it will likely cause at home and abroad.
- To reach out to the local community - offering opportunities for participation.

Pick an appropriate location. 
Things to consider include:
- Safety
- Parking
- Visibility to vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
- Ability for interaction to share printed hand-outs and speak with passersby.
- A route to march from that location through visible markets and communities, if the opportunity for such event expansion presents itself.
- You can also pick a location that is appropriate for the issue you are addressing, such as in front of your elected officials' offices, at a recruitment center, at a Federal or State Building if you are asking for something from the Federal or State government, corporate headquarters for a company such as Boeing, etc, though the benefits of a strategic symbolism need to be weighed vs. potential community outreach.

Identify individuals and organizations with whom to partner. 
- Look for those who not only support the goals but are also willing to participate in organizing and publicizing the event.  A core group of 2 - 4 individuals is ideal to get things rolling.

Identify the organizations that are sympathetic toward anti-war sentiments and activities in the area.
- Identify the local schools, community centers, businesses (for instance, beauty parlors and barber shops),  places of worship, parks, housing developments, and other proximate opportunities that might aid in the distribution of information.

Identify "hooks and hot-buttons" that would engage the local population and invite participation by passersby.
- Identify the particular issues that are important to the local population and how it relates to the anti-war effort, if reasonably possible.
-  Identify any activities that would interest and bring in the people, such as artistic performances, open mic, and local activist speakers.

 Pick the date.
- The event date should be based upon the definite availability of you, the main organizer, and at least two or three others. 
- Try to ensure a small group is present when starting.   A group is far more likely to receive attention and interest from passersby than a few individuals.
- If your protest/vigil has 4 or fewer attendees, you can turn it into an "informational picket" where the attendees hand out fact sheets, etc.  Sometimes you can build a bigger crowd from passers by depending upon objective circumstances and your approach to the public.

 Plan the publicity.
A layered, multi-channel approach should be used:
- Social networking which could be used to reach individuals as well as organizations.
- Local media which could result in pre-event publicity as well as event-day coverage.
- On-the-ground pre-publicity directed at the local neighborhood through fliers and advance canvassing. 
- Event day live casting of (at least) key parts of the event and photographing the participation.  Use  hash tags on the photos, video, articles, etc. as well as on event signs.  This will make it easier for people to follow your organizing efforts.  (We use #NJAntiWarAgenda, for example.)
- Following the event, be sure to write and post reports with photos, blog, and generally use social networking to celebrate the successes of the event.

Have a time-lined plan for the event.

- The sequence, staffing, and estimated duration for poetry and music, presentations, speeches, info-booths, printed hand-outs, pedestrian engagement, etc.
-  Organizers should have a means to gather the contact information of participants and anyone who shows interest.
- If you are planning to have speakers, it is important to organize a sequence of speakers at your protest, beginning with the most important speaker or the speaker addressing the most important topic, make sure that you have several speakers at the beginning who will describe the whole story within the first 10 - 15 minutes of your program. It is usually useful to ask speakers to stick to a time limit -- whether it be 5 or 10 minutes per person-- just so you can have some measure of control over the program. Be intentional about the people you invite, the topics you want them to cover and the effectiveness of the speakers you choose. 

Material Support

A small amount of funds could make the event more successful.  The following are some items that might need to be purchased to make the event more visible and have a more coherent message:
- Poster board and markers.  You can have pre-made signs or you can allow participants to make their own signs as they arrive.  You should have suggested slogans but encourage them also to express their own anti-war agenda on their signs.
– If the topic is likely to be revisited at future protests, banners with demands, the names of participating organizations and #HashTag phrases that you are using to brand your events could be helpful.
 – About 100 copies of half sheet fliers (cut in 2 to make 200) – depending upon the amount of pedestrian and vehicular traffic are key in communicating a clearer message to those you encounter during your event.
– A sound system – it could be a bullhorn or a more sophisticated rechargeable battery pack sound kit - makes for a more coherent rally type event and gives you an opportunity to address those hanging around, walking by or in vehicles passing the event.  They can be rented, purchased or borrowed from seasoned activists who happen to have their own sound set up.


It is important to have a written piece explaining the purpose of the protest, including contact information what demands you are expressing.  Include information about how to join your group on social networks.  Hand outs promoting a local event are encouraged.  NJ Anti-War Agenda will be made available for this purpose to distribute at your events – contact 908-881-5275 to arrange to get a bundle.


While you do not need a permit for a protest on public sidewalks and right-of-ways for protected free speech, many towns have local ordinances against sound amplification.  While the constitutionality of such ordinances is questionable, sometimes it is easier to acquire a permit or to at least communicate to local officials or police to minimize the possibility of having your activity shut down or curtailed.  Those experienced with organizing events in the town or city you are operating in can advise on whether or not a permit is advisable.  If a permit is required, especially for sound, it is important to find out how long it usually takes to get that permit and plan the date of your event accordingly to allow yourself enough time to get the permit.


These events should not be pop-up events but should be tied to an organizing drive in the neighborhood.  Ideally supporters of the event should work the areas earlier on the day of and in the days and weeks in between events – to talk about the protests, the reasons and how they relate to the struggles of those in the neighborhood.  The goal is to build a movement that engages the entire community – not simply to take a principled stand.  The demand is stronger when it is backed by genuine community support.

Add a social component.
- If possible, invite folks to meet afterwards for a casual chat at a local restaurant or cafe.  Keep the organizing light but do touch on the next steps.  Determine if anyone is interested in helping to organize future events.
We can help you.

NJ Anti-War Agenda is networked with a number of organizers with experience in arranging events, so help is just a phone call away at 908-881-5275.

We are partnered with the following organizations that have also been instrumental in such organizing - you can contact these organizations as well for support and assistance in putting these events together:
NJ Peace Action (973)876-1023

Peoples Organization for Progress  (973)801-0001

Green Party of NJ
Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War  (

Jersey City Peace Movement Protest @ Journal Square Last Sunday of Every Month

Highland Park / New Brunswick – Central Jersey Coalition Leads Anti-War Vigils and Protest Rallies

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Bring the Street Heat for Peace / Against US War

[Pre-poblication - to be published in the soon to be printed paper NJ Anti-War Agenda]

Following of the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, dozens of anti-war protests, rallies, and vigils were held throughout New Jersey - often recurring weekly or monthly.  Additionally, other anti-war events have been held in response to subsequent acts and threats of war.

With the US currently bombing seven nations and threatening attacks on others, it is time to re-energize and expand this tradition of NJ anti-war protest.  NJ protests have occurred in recent months in response to threats against Korea, Iran, Syria, and the Philippines.

To maintain momentum and effectiveness, it is necessary to have core committees based throughout NJ.  Successful efforts require a well-planned strategy for outreach in the community of the protest.

Tutorial: How to Plan an Anti-War Protest

Initiating protests at both new and previous sites is the best way to advance our anti-war agenda and to recruit more people to our efforts.

If you have participated in prior events or are a newcomer, your involvement is valued and needed now to establish a stronger and more effective anti-war agenda in NJ.

This issue of the NJ Anti War Agenda paper contains information on several sites that host frequent protests and events.  It also contains a sample plan for initiating an anti-war protest.

You are encouraged to contact and work with the coordinators whose contact information is provided herein, they need and appreciate your contributions.  We also need people to take leadership initiative by establishing even more sites of anti-war protest. 

If you are interested, please call or text 908-881-5275.  Working together we will be become more effective in expressing our NJ Anti War Agenda!

Jersey City Peace Movement Protest @ Journal Square Last Sunday of Every Month

Highland Park / New Brunswick – Central Jersey Coalition Leads Anti-War Vigils and Protest Rallies

Some past events:

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

JC Anti War Protest Last Sunday of Each Month (since 2003) 12 – 2pm

Anti-war Protest Alert
Every Last Sunday of Each month (since 2003) 12 – 2pm
Where: At the 9/11 Memorial Fountain on Kennedy Blvd near JOURNAL SQUARE PATH STATION, at the intersection of Kennedy Boulevard and Bergen Avenue, Jersey City NJ

Scheduled for October 29, November 26, December 31. January 28, February 25, March 25

JCPM PO BOX 7840 Jersey City, NJ 07307

According to Erik-Anders Nilson, one of the coordinators, the purpose of the monthly Jersey City antiwar protest is:
“We are against all the wars demanding troops and mercenaries be brought back now. We stand for Native American rights and the rights of the Palestinian people. We fight anti-Semitism and Islamaphobia.

Our three main points are:

Other activities of the Jersey City Peace Movement include:Film screenings, awards ceremonies honoring activists, lectures, antiwar activities first and foremost, inspiring people to vote.  They also provide information and friendship to our homeless friends.

According to Erik-Anders:

“We are open to all likeminded organizations and have been joined in past in solidarity on various issues by the following groups: Anakbayan, BLM JerseyCity chapter ,  International Action Center, Food Not Bombs, Action 21, Socks for Success, JC Peoples Alliance, Neturei Karta, Occupy Wall Street, Building Blocks(a Muslim community organization) and local elected officials.”

We at JCPM are from all walks of life, across the spectrum of color/race, religion, sexuality, age and socio-economic structure and welcome likeminded progressive activists to join us at our monthly meetings on the last Sunday at 12 noon."

To find out how you can help make this monthly Jersey City anti-war protest more successful, immediately contact:

Tutorial: How to Plan an Anti-War Protest

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Saturday Sept 23 11am Protest in Newark NJ Planned in Response to Trump Threats at UN #NoTo700BWar


BOB WITANEK 908-881-5275


During US President Trump’s General Assembly speech at the United Nations on September 19th, Venezuela, North Korea, Iran and Yemen were all threatened with U.S. military action.

Meanwhile in an apparent endorsement of this dangerous move toward the precipice of global war, the US Senate has voted 93 – 7 for the $700 Billion price tag to finance this reckless policy.

Meanwhile the US is being racked by natural disasters that threaten the safety, health and very survival of large segments of the US population and that of its neighbors.

This Saturday, September 23, residents from throughout the NJ area are gathering at 11 am at the Martin Luther King monument in Newark, New Jersey to protest against the hostile threats of the Trump Administration made at the United Nations and the financing of those threats through the 9/19/17 $700 Billion war budget vote – with both NJ Senator Booker voting in favor and Senator Menendez not voting..

The protest will demand:



The protest is being called by Peoples Organization for Progress, NJ Peace Action, NJ Anti-War Agenda, the Green Party of New Jersey and the Green Party of Essex County and other organizations to be added shortly.

According to Madelyn Hoffman of NJ Peace Action, “Donald Trump used the platform of the United Nations to call for and threaten military action against much of the world, an action illegal under international law and made worse because it was done at the U.N., a place established to try to minimize the need for war. The world and this country can’t afford another war – the $700 billion military budget approved by the U.S. Senate will be funded by deep cuts to environmental protection, public transportation, public education and more. We need to make our resistance to these policies of war more visible!”

The plan for the demonstration is for several presentations about the threats of war to be made at the MLK monument.  While no march is planned, according to an organizer, Bob Witanek, “If we have the crowds we will march!  It is time for there to be some serious resistance to the escalation of the threat of ultimate war.”

The Facebook event currently has about a dozen confirmed and 50 interested:

For more information contact 908-881-5275.

- 30 -


Newark NJ Patch has picked up our press release about our anti-war protest this Saturday:

Monday, August 21, 2017

NJ Anti-War Agenda

What: A printed paper either 4 or 8 pages called NJ AntiWar Agenda

What will be in it?

At least one article about each nation or area of world where US imperialist war is being escalated, continued or threatened.  Short articles for each conflict or potential conflict that outlines the US involvement, how US involvement is impacting the lives of the peoples of those nations and what is the agenda for ending US involvement in that nation or area of the world.

Articles about the costs of US war including assessing the cutbacks being implemented to pay for bloated war expenditures – and how those cutbacks impact the lives of the major cities of New Jersey including Newark, Camden, Trenton, Bridgeton and other NJ cities.
Articles about the profits generated by the continued escalation of war.
Articles about US imperialism and the importance of an anti-imperialist perspective when opposing US war.
Articles about each and every of the groups around NJ and perhaps in neighboring states that are playing a concrete role on building and futhering an anti-war agenda.
An article about a planned monthly protest in the city of Newark and possible other areas of the state that are reviving the regular protests against escalating war.
Articles about rebuilding protest response and preemptive response networks with the capaibilty of quickly mobilizing large numbers of people to protest against war and the threats of war.
Calendar items and articles about related domestic issue that need to be confronted with equal vigor – the war at home.
Articles about a strategy to incorporate an anti-war agenda into the struggles of NJ

Articles about constituency organizing – religious, youth, high school, universities and colleges, communities, etc.

DEADLINE: The proposed deadline is September 1, 2017.



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Proposal: Monthly Rally in Newark Against US War Escalations / Threats #NJSaysNoToWar

Newark youth holding up signs opposing US war on Korea
Largely with the local support of the Peoples Organization for Progress, anti-war activists including
Newark residents and those from surrounding communities have converged on the Martin Luther King Jr. monument for protests against the various escalations and threats of war by the US administration 3 times since early April. The events have also received strong support from NJ Peace Action and the Green Party of New Jersey.

We are now considering a proposal to make this type of activity a monthly event, picking a particular Friday of each month. 

The proposal is not just to show up for an hour plus protest and then go home but to incorporate into the effort a concerted organizing drive with the goal of connecting to the local pedestrian and vehicle traffic and to integrate the war issues we are raising with the related devastation of the war related economic issues and how the war economy directly and adversely impacts the Newark community.

The monthly event should include organizing during the “in between” times and in the hours before each gathering as well as during the gathering to reach out and connect with pedestrians, shop owners, labor organizations, schools, religious institutions, housing and other outlets in the surrounding blocks.

The most recent anti-war protest we held at the MLK monument occurred Friday June 2.  Prior to the protest, Ruben Mendez and I spent about an hour and a half reaching out on the neighboring blocks, including near the St. Benedicts Prep school Newark Arts High School and also including on the campus of Essex County College.

New tradition.  Cleaning
MLK statue before start of
We shared the flier with a write up of the event and what our anti-war demands throughout the nearby street corners.  For those who expressed support for our anti-war demands, we invited them to hold signs protesting US war moves and threats against Korea.  About 20 people agreed and also allowed us to take pictures with their phones as well and agreed to post the pictures to their social networks.  Some of those we photographed confirmed that it was the first time they had ever held up a protest sign.

We will certainly be doing further follow up to explore expanding a connections with the local youth and others.   The goal will be to determine ways to increase local participation perhaps through the selection of the themes of our events – and possibly also by incorporating music and poetry and other artistic presentations into the events.

The following would be some of the goals of the monthly anti-war presence and the accompanying organizing drive:
Philippine Solidarity Committee
1. RESPOND TO WAR MOVES: The monthly protest would respond to the developments – acts of war and threats as they occur in the in between weeks and would continue to press demands.  It would also provide an established point of connection for any need for emergency response as dangerous escalations including toward nuclear confrontation should occur.
2. RESEARCH / PRINTED PAPER: The organizing effort would develop information and written materials about exactly how the US war escalation is directly impacting the city of Newark through cutbacks and under funding of Newark’s schools, housing, SNAP, recreation and other basic human needs of the community.  Perhaps a 4 page newspaper will be utilized and distributed regularly at the events and during the in between organizing efforts.
Mothers Day Proclamation 
3. INTEGRATED ORGANIZING: The organizing drive will also continue to share and promote information about other struggle oriented activism occurring in Newark including the events of Peoples Organization for Progress and other organizations on the forefront of various Newark struggles.  Any printed material would include information about events and how to get involved in such organizations.
4. OFFER SMALL FIRST STEPS: We will develop ways for people to participate in very small ways initially, like the picture taking described above and use that as a way to help local people get more comfortable with greater participation in our events and like minded community events.
Green Party Governor Candidate
Opposes US War Moves on Korea
5. SYSTEMATIC ORGANIZING: We will develop an approach to the local schools including St. Benedicts and Arts High School and Essex County College, local businesses including shops that are willing to have our printed materials on display, local religious institutions, local unions as well as to those facing the rigors of the criminal justice system at the nearby courthouse.  We will develop outreach to the various constituencies in the close by area.  We will also reach out to organizations around Newark, to Rutgers Newark student body and faculty and brainstorm an approach that at least informs all of the movement infrastructure of Newark with the hopes of engaging more and more constituencies in our activities.
6. SHARED VENUE: We will link our anti-war protest to the demands of various like minded struggles and offer the venue for unified protest as need be given the developments that are occurring on the ground in Newark.
7. STIPENDED ORGANIZING: We will explore through use of “fund me” sites the potential to collect funds to offer stipends to one or more organizers that will be committed to moving this process forward.

FIRST STEPS: This is the proposal.  Of course an early stop of the proposal will be to present it to the POP General Assembly (which meets each Thursday, 6:30 pm at Abysinnian Baptist Church, 224 West Kinney Street in Newark – a few blocks from where we have been protesting.)

I am proposing that keeping with the other events we have organized recently in Newark – we shoot for Friday 4:30 pm (time can slide either way) – I would propose the first Friday of each month but if others have reasons why it should be 2nd, 3rd or 4th – that could be considered as well.

Organizations should circulate the proposal to their membership and begin the decision making process.

Feedback, ideas and support for the proposal can be offered on the form at this link:

You can also call or text 908-881-5275 or write .

You can also join the discussion on Facebook.

News coverage of June 2 Mothers Day Anti-War Protest.