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.

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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.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Mother's Day for Peace action on Friday June 2nd

Event on Facebook - Please RSVP and then invite your friend list!

Retweet announcement

Coverage in Newark Patch


Given the events of today with the US administration withdrawring from the Paris Climate Change accord, the anti-war protest that was already scheduled for Newark, 4:30 pm at the MLK Monument near Old Records Hall on MLK Boulevard will also demand that US rejoin the Paris Climate Change Accord and take genuine action to reverse planetary climate change.

On June 2, 1872, Julia Ward Howe held the first “Mother’s Day” in New York City as an action to speak out about the human cost of war and to plea for peace. All these years later, her call has not yet been answered. Mothers have long been on the forefront of the peace movement; we must honor and continue their efforts to build a world where all of our children are safe and healthy.

Today the struggle is bigger than ever. Though American governments have a long history of violence and imperialism, regardless of the political party, the current administration is particularly concerning, with its instability and lack of care and diplomacy.

  • NORTH KOREA: A second - and now a third - carrier is on its way and two nuclear armed submarines - typically each of which have the capability of taking out 240 cities - are among the US war fleet off the Korean peninsula.
  • SAUDI ARABIA: The arming of Saudi Arabia with its latest annual round - this year $110 B of armaments including tanks, artillery, helicopters, armored carriers, combat ships, and an assortment of other advanced weapons systems. Saudi Arabia is supporting proxy forces in Syria and pressing for all out war on Iran, while conducting US supported warfare and imposing genocidal hunger on Yemen
  • SYRIA: US illegal attack on Syria and its ally forces inside Syria and the attempt of US to declare "no go" zones for Syria and Syria aligned ground forces inside of Syria's borders. Reports that US of late has succeeded in the highest incidence of Syrian civilian casualties inside of Syria.
  • IRAN: Incendiary rallying by Trump with his Saudi counterparts calling for all out war upon Iran and Hezbollah militias. This would effectively lead to abandonment of the Iran Deal, which everyone acknowledges has been upheld by Iran.
  • AFGHANISTAN: Civilian casualties in the US-involved war in Afghanistan are at an all-time high due both to air war and unexploded ordinance on the battlefield left by all factions. Afghanistan was also the site of exploding of the $14 M MOAB bomb. The administration is currently planning another surge of US troops into Afghanistan.
  • IRAQ: Civilian casualties continue to mount in Iraq with the latest reports of another massacre of over 100 Iraqi civilians from US air strikes.

In response, a coalition of New Jersey activists has been building and we invite all who care about the future of this world to join us. A variety of actions are being planned, the next of which is the “Mother’s Day For Peace” demonstration. We will gather on Friday, June 2 at 4:30 PM at the MLK Statue, MLK Blvd and 13th Ave (Near Old Records Hall) in Newark NJ, in honor of the original purpose of Mother's Day: "a call to action to improve the lives of families through health and peace."

We are gathering to demand the immediate cessation of these threats and actual acts of war escalation and specifically:

  • An end to threats against Korea, a withdrawal of all US forces from the region of the Korean peninsula and the restoration of diplomacy toward the formal end of the Korean War
  • An immediate end to regime change-driven Syria policy and a restoration of diplomatic pursuits toward ending the conflict there.
  • The cancellation of the $110 Billion sale of armaments to Saudi Arabia and an end to US support of the US-Saudi War in Yemen
  • An end to threats against Iran
  • No increased US troops to Afghanistan
  • The withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria
  • An end to the use of drone missile strikes and targeted assassination
  • Stop US support for destabilization in Venezuela and stop the increased US militarism in Africa and the Philippines

All are welcome to join us. Mothers are particularly encouraged to speak out against war and for the needs of our families and communities, but this is a struggle for people of all ages, ethnicities, abilities, religions, genders, and sexual orientations. This is part of the struggle for LGBTQIA rights, for protection of our environment and climate, for children’s educations, for health care, and for social justice of all kinds. Without peace, we can have none of the things we care about.

In keeping with the Mothers Day theme - we are offering to assist parents and care givers with coverage for their children - the site of the rally has a cul de sac around the Martin Luther King Jr. statue with an area that is a significant distance from the road.  We will have volunteers on stand by that can relieve parents, guardians and caregivers during the event.
The organizers (so far):

NJ Peace Action
Occupy Bergen County

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Marshall Plan: Self Delusion of US Exceptionalism

I was asked the following question by a reporter:

Good morning! I really would like to ask your comment. The US Congress published the resolution celebrating the success of the Marshall Plan. It was an American initiative to aid Western Europe, in which the United States gave over $13 billion in economic support to help rebuild Western European economies after the end of World War II. The goals of the United States were to rebuild war-devastated regions, remove trade barriers, modernize industry, make Europe prosperous once more, and prevent the spread of communism. Modern resolution «calls upon all Americans to rededicate themselves to the ideals that inspired the Marshall Plan: international cooperation, democracy, free enterprise, and universal respect for all».

If you don’t mind I would like to ask you about your attitude to the Marshall Plan. What is your attitude towards this plan? Nowadays is it still necessary for America to promote democracy in the world and to support financially other countries? 

I also may call you if it is more convenient .Thanks in advance for your answer!

And I responded:
When the United States destroys a nation and people like it did in Iraq or in Libya - it owes unconditional reparations to the peoples - who it has slaughtered - also for the infrastructure it has destroyed. It is a debt that is never tallied nor ever paid. Instead US will use aid as a means to attempt to control what kinds of business interests allied with what political forces is put into power - not for democracy but to exert the kinds of power and control that the US intended to impose in the first place with its military might. Democracy is a word the US uses as cover to justify subterfuge, pressures, political support, military support but the real interests pursued by the US include resources, cheap labor market, consumer base, political, strategic and military ends including basing and other means to extend the US imperial reach,

There is nothing wrong with richer nations providing genuine assistance to other peoples and nations in need but it is never without a price when the US is providing such assistance - it is always with ulterior motives.

The US should also provide such assistance domestically to meet the full needs of its own people - including recovery and support for Puerto Rico, restoration of water at FLint and other cities around the nation, full funding for schools, single payer health. These aspects should be universal but should also be domestically provided but instead resources are expended on military extension of power and other means to extend power and maintenance of an imbalance where a very infinitesimal part of the US and world population controls most of the wealth and an overwhelming majority of world must suffer for a bare existence.

Marshall Plan would be ok if it was motivated by peace and well being and a true spirit of world cooperation. It is obvious to most of the people of the world that is not the case.. It is US exceptionalism that allows the powerful in the US to maintain its self delusion that it is with benevolent purpose, as opposed to as a means of extending empire and power - that US aid is provided to other nations and peoples.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

NJ Continues to Mobilize to Oppose War Escalations / Threats - Report from Newark

April 26 Report

Report on Apr 26 Newark Protest Against Threats of US Attack on Korea #NoUSWarOnKorea
First step - click share button!

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On April 26, the same day that the White House called an all Senate meeting to promote possible military action against North Korea, about 25 area anti-war protesters, led by Peoples Organization for Progress, the NJ Green Party and NJ Against US War on Syria and the Middle East held a protest rally to state unconditional opposition to the idea of any US military attack against the Koreas.

The protesters held hand made and pre-printed signs stating "Peace with" and "No US Attack On Korea".  They used a sound system to communicate to car drivers and passengers as well as pedestrians about the dangers of any such attack on Korea.

Through the sound system, each time vehicles queued up at a red light, Bob Witanek warned the vehicle passengers of the potential for "Hundreds of thousands of casualties North and South of the DMZ" in Korea and the potential of the conflict pushing toward full blown nuclear war with China and possibly Russia.  He also highlighted the billions being spent on US war operations as New Jersey still has never fully complied with the court order to fully fund Newark schools - as well as highlighting a litany of other unmet human needs.
What about a War on BROKE!

The passers by were invited to take pictures of the protest to post on social media and according to the organizers of the rally, several dozen did so, both from vehicles and among the pedestrians.

One father with his toddler daughter in a stroller stopped by to join the rally and after having his picture taken with a sign saying "Give Peace a Chance" his toddler daughter indicated with her outstretched arms and her finger motions that she wanted to hold the sign.  The father concurred so a the sign was given to her and when they left she clutched to the sign as they traversed down the block - taking the protest down the road.

I believe when we have events like this one where there is pedestrian traffic – we should put effort into this tactic – encouraging passers-by to agree to participate – even if just for a minute – holding a sign and allowing us to take a photo of them holding a sign. We should have a handout to give them with a  #HT Hash tag that links to more information about the event.  We can offer an idea of a phrase to put with the posting and contact / URL information.  This will serve as a social network bullhorn to spread our message even further.

Before the rally closed, dispensing from his usual speech, Peoples Organization for Progress Chair Lawrence Hamm played "Give Peace a Chance" and "For What It's Worth" through the sound system, ending the rally that was often times offering expressions of anger about the current situation on a peaceful note.
According to Bob Witanek, a rally organizer, one of the goals of the various organizations that have been rallying against the war moves of the current US administration is to develop throughout New Jersey the ability to respond to war escalations and threats with larger numbers on short notice.  This is the third such rally during the month of April, earlier rallies in Newark and Highland Park responded to a missile attack on Syria and the use of an MOAB, the largest non-nuclear bomb in the US war arsenal in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, also on April 26, the Leonia Vigil for Peace and Justice continued its persistent ongoing protest against US war making at a vigil protest action in Teaneck.

Here are link to a Bergen Record and Peace News blog article on a rally by Leonia Vigil for Peace and Justice from earlier this month:

In the lead up to the event, we first proposed the idea of an emergency response to the White House bipartisan war meeting in a blog article and then – once Wednesday evening in Newark was decided for the event, a second article / press release provided the details.  The two articles were widely shared to about 50 area activist groups on Facebook and the combined readership of both articles was over 1600.  Though at least 4 of us sent the press release to multiple Essex County outlets we were unable to garner interest in actually covering this critical and timely protest event.

Organizations that have been driving the efforts to respond to the growing threats of war in NJ include:
People’s Organizationfor Progress
NJ Against US War on Syria and in the Middle East
Green Party of New Jersey
Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War
NJ Peace Action

While we are not coordinating with them yet – this is another group with activities in motion on the ground around protesting the war moves and threats of the US administration.

Leonia Vigil for Peace and Justice

Other organizations we hope to incorporate into the efforts to unify NJ against war include:
NJ Philippine Solidarity Committee and
Jersey City Peace Movement

(and all others interested in participating and activating against US war actions and threats)

NJ Against US War on Syria and the Middle East, with approved support of Green Party of NJ is 
setting its sites on Bedminster where it has been reported President Trump could be spending some time this summer at his Trump National luxury golf resort.

The group has proposed formation of a vigil committee to coordinate protests there.

We are also considering a regularly scheduled - perhaps monthly - anti-war presence on the streets of Newark - stay tuned for decisions and details.
Those who want to get more involved can call or text 908-881-5275 and on Facebook join:

As is usually the case, we some of us went out and broke bread (tacos) after . . . and discussed future anti-war organizing - if you on the line with us - and you got some time after - join us!

Otber recent actions:
April 7 response to US missile attack on Syria, Newark

Aptil 15 response to US attack on Syria, MOAB use in Afghanistan and threats against Korea, Highland Park

Of course these actions must grow in strength and frequency - as being reported - Democrats in Senate are starting to get in lock step with Trump's march toward (nucelear) war with Korea:
Dems lining up for war on Korea:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Peace Vigil – Oppose US War Moves – Somerset County Proposal

A perfect centrally located place for a Somerset County Peace Vigil is Bedminster, NJ.  While it also happens to be the location of Trump National luxury golf resort . . . that is just a coincidence.

It has been reported that Trump could be spending some time there on weekends this summer though it could just be news rumors.  In any event – if he should come to town and it happens to be on the day that we are going to be vigiling there any way – or we have the capacity to switch our next scheduled vigil to coincide with his visit – all the better.  That would give us an opportunity to leverage our regularly scheduled event to try to communicate a message demanding an end to various military actions and threats of military action by the US administration.

The ideal would be for us to be able to set up a committee of at least 5 Somerset County residents (that would not be an absolute requirement for the vigil host committee but it would be preferred that the committee have a strong Somerset County base).  The responsibility of this committee will be to assess that for any scheduled vigil – at least 3 from the committee will attend.  The committee will be responsible to make sure signs or sign making materials are delivered to the site at least 15 minutes before the scheduled event, that each event is well publicized and promoted, that press work is done, that community outreach is done, and that the precise nature of the activities planned are made clear to participants – that would usually mean to announce that the event is planned as a legal and safe event. 

If there was potential for a march or something like that – that would be made clear.  The committee would also investigate the local ordinances and determine the most appropriate courses of action.

I for one am willing to be a member of such a vigil committee – and I *am* a Somerset County resident.  So we already have ONE member of the Somerset County Peace Vigil Host Committee - should we be able to form such a thing.

Whether or not you are a Somerset County resident – if you would be willing to participate in such an event in Bedminster one or more times, please complete the entry form:

Once we have enough of a hosting committee we will start making a plan!