Sunday, December 10, 2017

NJ Towns Must Respect Democratic Rights of Residents - No to Anti-BDS Resolution(s)


NJ Anti-War Agenda Publishes the following Statement from Maplewood community members against anti-democratic rights and anti-freedom resolution that was considered by Maplewood Township that would have supported silencing of any criticism of Israel and its repressive treatment of the Palestinian people.

At this point it appears as if Maplewood is holding off on moving forward which highlights the importance of the kind of work done by the folks that pulled this letter together.  Measures like the one that had been proposed in Maplewood have actually been passed in Caldwell, Millburn and Livingston, NJ.  Be encouraged to borrow from this letter if it is helpful to opposing similar measures in other NJ towns.


We, the undersigned SOMA residents, are writing to express our adamant opposition to a resolution submitted on November 21 to the Maplewood Township Council condemning the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement against Israel (BDS) by three nonMaplewood residents.

This resolution is part of a campaign to effectively deny American BDS supporters their constitutionally protected right to boycott. At the federal, state, and local level, a coordinated anti-BDS campaign is seeking to prevent Americans from employing their protected right to engage in political speech and action, including criticizing and boycotting foreign governments.

The resolution, which condemns the non-violent, Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice, and equality for the Palestinian people, also attempts to obscure the crimes and abuses perpetrated by Israel and to mischaracterize and suppress the Palestinian struggle for justice.

Modeled on the principled movement that brought down apartheid South Africa, the Palestinian BDS movement is a rapidly growing international movement made up of unions, academic associations, churches, and grassroots movements across the world. The BDS movement has garnered the respect and support of Black Lives Matter, as well as the United Nations, Amnesty International, and the ACLU, and many other people of conscience. In its commitment to freedom, justice, and equality for all, the BDS movement is part of the shared struggle of people of color against racial and economic injustice.

The Palestinian BDS call urges nonviolent pressure of Israel until it complies with international law by meeting three demands:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Palestinian land
2. Providing full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties

Instead of attempting to refute these demands on principled grounds, the presenters of the resolution attacked BDS for being anti-Semitic. But there is nothing in the BDS call for freedom, justice, and equality that is anti-Semitic. In founder Omar Barghouti’s own words, BDS “consistently and categorically rejects all forms of discrimination and racism, including antiSemitism.” Growing Jewish support for BDS is evidence of that.

The presenters also attempted to suggest that Israel is a beacon of democracy. In fact, Israel is a settler colonial and apartheid regime. Beginning at its founding in 1948, Israel ethnically cleansed 750,000 indigenous Palestinians, who have never been allowed to return to their homes, although the right of return is guaranteed under international law. This tragic event has devastated the lives of millions of Palestinians, including the Palestinian signatories of this letter. Israel maintains an ongoing violent military occupation of the West Bank and subjects Gaza to repeated brutal bombing campaigns and a barbaric blockade. Meanwhile Israel’s settlements continue to swell, while Palestinians living in Israel are subject to racist laws and segregation policies, making them second class citizens in Israel. A state that gives different rights to different people based purely on their religious identity cannot be described as a democracy.

Finally, the resolution presenters asserted that BDS threatens peace because it promotes a “hateful agenda.” BDS actually offers the best chance for peace because it is based on an agenda of freedom, equality, and justice, derived from international law.

At a time when the right to dissent and protest in this country is increasingly under attack, we call on the Maplewood Township Council to categorically reject the campaign attempting to smear BDS, deny its supporters their constitutional protections, and provide cover for settler colonialism and apartheid.

At a minimum, the township council should make sure a full and open discussion of the resolution and the issues it raises takes place, one that includes voices of Palestinian SOMA residents. As supporters of equal rights for all, we enthusiastically welcome that debate.

Signed by 28 residents of Maplewood and South Orange

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Peoples Organization for Progress Front and Center Against War

One of the forefront organizations in NJ that is working to organize a stronger anti-war effort is People's Organization for Progress.  At almost every anti-war protest in NJ that has taken place in recent month's, Lawrence Hamm chair of the People's Organization for Progress has played a swivel role in giving quorum to move forward with an event.  We usually try to get 3 or 4 people initially to agree to call a protest assuming that they will take responsibility to make sure all the steps are taken to make sure that it is successful in various ways.

It is Lawrence Hamm, on behalf of POP who has delivered, without rental cost, a sophisticated sound systems with very capable community amplification.  POP also has a wealth of its trademark signs around almost every important issue out there - including on every aspect of the escalation of US wars and threats.  While Chair Hamm, and often Ingrid Hill transports the POP protest infrastructure, sound, signs and other materials, POP also always delivers numbers of participants - it does not just throw its name on the flier.  Many of the protests against US wars in recent months have been well attended by the yellow shirt styling POP membership.

Every decision made by Peoples Organization for Progress is vetted at the organization's Thursday General Assembly meetings that occur  Every Thursday 6:30 pm, 224 W. Kinney St., Newark NJ.  The meetings feature guest speakers, presentations, topical discussions, panels - along with a host of presentations by POP members and guests proposing POP involvement in various initiatives.

NJ Anti War Agenda recently spoke with POP chair Lawrence Hamm. According to Mr. Hamm, The Peoples Organization for Progress (POP) was founded in 1983 and in its constitution, one of the listed “aims and purposes” is to “work for world peace.”  Mr. Hamm explains that  POP's origins are  from the  “revolutionary Black nationalist” period when progressive Black nationalists saw the struggle for peace as part of their work – “to people like WEB Dubois, Paul Robeson, and others for whom peace was at the top of the agenda.  They always worked for peace and against the threat of nuclear war.  There has always been an explicitly anti-imperialist dimension to the revolutionary Black nationalist movement.  POP inherits those aspects of the movement.   We try to bring the best of the Black liberation movement into the present and future,” he states.

Speaking on the connections between the war at home and US wars abroad, Mr Hamm explains: “As Dr. King pointed out there is a facile relationship between imperialist wars abroad and poverty at home.  The latest budget  put forward by the Trump administration called for a $54 billion increase in the military spending and a $54 billion decrease in spending on social programs.  Martin Luther King said in his speech on the Vietnam war that we drop bombs on Vietnamese children abroad and explode the bombs of poverty at home.  In the last 16 years in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq we’ve spent $5 trillion.  Imagine what we could have done with $5 trillion at home!  How many schools and hospitals could have been saved?  How much public housing could have been funded?  We could have eliminated homelessness.  When all is said and done we have accomplished in Iraq and Afghanistan only the destruction of those countries.”

On POP’s future anti-war plans, Mr. Hamm explains:
“We definitely are going to continue to support the work of NJ’s anti-war coalition  and NJ Peace Action particularly in opposing war with North Korea which would be disastrous. . . .   Beforehand POP had protested on the corner of Broad and Market opposing the US attacks on Syria. . . . We will continue to oppose possible war in Korea, war in Syria, to call for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and to oppose unjust imperialist wars abroad. . . . We oppose these wars because they are wrong, we end up supporting dictatorships and opposing progressive governments that don’t agree with US foreign policy.

These wars are disastrous for the people in the countries.  We have caused immense suffering and killed 100s of 1000s of children.  When not directly involved the US is supporting governments like the Saudis and their adventure in Yemen, committing crimes against humanity. Then we have to help people to understand how using resources for war take away resources from use to meet domestic human needs.”

POP was instrumental in mobilizing massive NJ participation in anti-war protests in NYC and NJ in the early days of the latest (and still ongoing) US war in Iraq.  On Iraq, Mr. Hamm states:  “10,000 Americans killed in Iraq, millions of Iraqi, many of them children . . . we’ve gained nothing.  And the wars were proven to be based upon a lie.”

POP plans to make another focus of its antiwar work, the situation in Libya which Mr. Hamm referred to as something that “Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton” have to take responsibility for.  “They helped turn a country with the highest standard of living on the African continent according to the UN and it now is a failed state and now Black People are being bought and sold in a slave market in Libya.  We’re going to be speaking out about that very shortly . . . We’ll be having something at one of our meetings and probably in the streets.”

Speaking on the subject of Africom, Lawrence states “US troops are all over Africa . . . for geopolitical and economic reasons, due to contention among the great powers, which never ended after World Wars I and II albeit it is perhaps more subdued.  In some periods the contention is violent and in other periods it is political – where politics becomes a substitute for warfare.  That’s why we see so many US troops all over the world.  That’s the underlying cause.

The reasons given (by the US) is that we are going to fight the radical Islamist groups or support democratic movements or oppose dictatorships – those are the political reasons that they give.  While they might be engaged in battle with different groups they are there to secure the resources of Africa. . . . One of the reasons Obama had his pivot toward China is because China is a rising economic power and the US is struggling to hold on to the markets they have and to not be pushed out by China in other markets.  And that’s what China is doing.

The only card the US holds right now is that it is the dominant superpower and it tries to translate that military might into economic benefit.

The Chinese go in and try to partner with the governments while the US just wants the resources and does not want to give anything in return unless there’s 1000% interest.  When the US gives foreign aid it becomes a debt trap .”

Contact and some regularly scheduled calendar items:

General Assembly Meeting Every Thu 6:30 pm, 224 W. Kinney St., Newark NJ
Justice Monday Protest Every Monday, 4:30-6 pm outside Rodino Federal Bldg, 970 Broad St., Newark NJ
Recruitment (Almost) Every Saturday, noon, corner of Broad and Market, Newark, NJ

Several of the recent anti-war protests have occurred at the Martin Luther King Jr. monument on MLK Dr. 973-801-0001

Saturday, December 2, 2017

RU Working for the CIA and DIA / US Imperialism

 Rutgers Targum recently reported that Rutgers has a close to $2 million Defense Intelligence Agency grant establishing  “a federally-designated Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence (IC CAE)”

Its purpose is to develop intelligence programs and inform and educate Rutgers Students.  Operating out of the Orwellian named “Rutgers Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety,” Rutgers has established a Center for Critical Intelligence Studies (CCIS) directed by Rutgers Criminal Justice professor John Cohen.  Cohen has an extensive intelligence background most recently working for the Homeland Security Department.  Rutgers also offers a minor in Critical Intelligence Studies (CIS) through this program. 

Richard Moser Ejected After Attemptng to enter
Cohen stated in the Targum article that CCIS’s purpose is to establish education and training for students that want to enter in the field providing them with access to intelligence “professionals” (read spies and operatives) in the field and to provide training in preparation for an intelligence career.  Another aspect of CCIS is to provide training to those who are already working in the field as spies and operatives.  The CIS minor aims to prepare students in intelligence skills including writing, briefings and research.
Rich Moser feels bump on head

According to the article:  “Students are also given exposure to internship and study abroad opportunities ... The classes feature guest lecturers from the FBI, CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness and the  American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).”
AAUP Support at CIA Protest 1986
The minor requires 18 credits of related course work including Introduction to Critical Intelligence Studies, and Critical Thinking and Analytic Writing for the Intelligence Community.

The program is also offering a one week course IC CAE Certificate in Intelligence and National Security delivered by CCIS.

From the days of the Vietnam war, CIA research, recruitment and other operations as well as ties to the US war machine was a source of conflict between anti-war forces and school administrations.  In 1986, during the US war on Central America, 19 students and recent graduates (including this writer) were arrested protesting CIA recruitment at Rutgers in a blockade of the university president’s office in Old Queens.
Abbie Hoffman 

Now Rutgers is a hub, a major intersection where the Pentagon, the CIA and the other masters of war have full court access for recruitment, training, indoctrination on behalf of US imperialism.

Once again – and even more so now than ever, it is necessary for students with the support of the larger anti-war forces to resist this militarization of Rutgers.

Any faculty or students at Rutgers interested in working on putting together a teach-in at Rutgers on the crimes of the CIA, the DIA and the US intelligence in general, from over throwing governments and mass murder, raising of paramilitary death squads, subversion and intervention to thwart the sovereignty and democracy of other nations and peoples, the slaughter of 1000s from CIA and DIA operated drone weapons programs, drug running, money laundering and every other kind of dirty operation . . .please contact us through the number below.

 Rutgers now is directly complicit with these operations.  This collaboration with the 
Younger Bob Witanek
goals of US imperialism and war making around the planet needs to be confronted and protested by all those at Rutgers seeking peace and justice and an end to the interventionism of US imperialism.

I must interject a personal opinion - about our protest in 1986 - while we were unsuccessful in stopping CIA operations at Rutgers - painfully obvious in 2017 . . . the establishment of this massive operation at Rutgers proves THAT OUR PROTEST WAS RIGHT!

Students interested in organizing a teach-in and other activities on this topic should contact this writer at 908-881-5275 (text or voice).  Possible modest stipend available.  Also, contact same number for the following: offering stipend to any of the students enrolled in the CIA minor at Rutgers who would provide me the entire curriculum of all related classes - all assignments and all materials in use.