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Thursday, May 19, 2005

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A big mixed bag of actions to take and plenty to read.

First of all, mark your calendars for Saturday, July 9. ACOSS and assorted newspaper strikers and supporters will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Detroit Newspaper Strike/Lockout with a party/ox roast/fundraiser at UAW Local 909 (Mound Road and Stephens, which is 9.5 Mile Road). More details coming. To volunteer for this day, please write me. We will need plenty of help and we want to get plenty of people. Celebrate the solidarity and we can support the brave Youngstown Ohio newspaper workers while we're at it.

Friday, May 20, 4:30pm
Hilton Garden Inn at Gratiot and Brush. Employees at the Hilton Garden inn have voted for union representation. Shockingly, the owners are ignoring the election. Join UNITE/HERE Local 24 and let the workers know the labor community stands with them. Bring quarters for parking, or park in the Greektown Casino parking lot - you'll need to get your parking ticket validated.

From Michigan Coalition for Human Rights:
May 21 (Saturday) at 2:30pm. "The Battle for Global Economic Justice" featuring Njoki Njoroge Njehu from Kenya, spokeswoman for 50 Years is Enough! U.S. Network for Gobal Economic Justice, an organization opposing the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Where? UD Mercy McNichols campus, Life Sciences Building, 6 Mile E. of Livernois, Detroit. Enter from McNichols (6 Mile) and drive into the parking lot and go as far south in the parking lot as you can. Sponsored by Gray Panthers and co-sponsored by MCHR and others. Info: 313-533-2784.
MCHR suggests we read Naomi Klein's analysis of why the World Bank and the IMF spell disaster for the world's poor. www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20050502&s=klein

Monday, May 23
Mark your Calendar Join us for a Mass Rally
Monday May 23, 2005 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Fisher Building - 3011 W. Grand Blvd
Stop the Lay-offs • Speak out for our Students! • Speak out for our classrooms! • Speak out for public education!
Sponsored by the Detroit Public School Coalition of Unions. Rally signs will be available - Carpooling is strongly advised
Some parking will be available at DFT office at 2875 W. Grand Blvd > -spill over parking available at the Fisher Buidling surface lot - at > your own expense

From Million Worker March Detroit and MECAWI
Let’s give a warm welcome to the two south Korean activists coming to Detroit Wed. May 25. They are survivors of the Gwanju massacre that followed the uprising against the military dictatorship in 1980 in south Korea. Both are currently involved in the fight against U.S. occupation of south Korea and Iraq. Attend their talk and video showing at 7 PM,
May 25 at the Bernath Auditorium in Wayne State U’s Adamany Undergrad Library. It isn’t often that we are able to hear first hand about the
situation in Korea and its relation to the anti-war movement. For more info call MECAWI at 313-680-5508 (www.mecawi.org to download leaflet).

Final reminder- join the Rally for Justice in Benton Harbor, MI Saturday, May 21 at 1 PM at the Public Library. Protest the denial of voting rights to the BH African American community and the frame-up of community leader Rev. Edward Pinkney. For Detroit transportation call 313-680-5508.

From one of my millions of e-mails. This site originated in California, but it's good information and a very fun site. We might as well face the fact about the draft, but we don't have to lay down and take it.
>I thought you would be interested in taking action on this:
You may not know it, but under a little known provision of No Child Left Behind, public high schools must hand over personal information about students -- including minors -- to local military recruiters. I think it's a real invasion of family privacy. The good news is, parents can get their kids off this list by submitting a request in writing to their school district superintendent.
I just found some great information and a useful online tool that makes it easy to "opt out" children from the list high schools are required to release to military recruiters. Just go to http://www.leavemychildalone.org/friends . Not only can you get your own kids off the list, you can help change the law that lets military recruiters prey on our minor children without the parents' explict permission. Hope you find it useful! And tell other people you know about LeaveMyChildAlone.org!

From another:
We think this can't happen to us or someone we know. However, just a few weeks ago, the FBI showed up on MY doorstep wanting to talk to me about one of my clients in a Federal case. With the specter of Lynne Stewart's conviction so newly hanging in the air, a visit from the FBI is even more chilling. It is vitally important to allow criminal defendants access to their right to a vigorous defense. Assaults on the defense attorneys and support staff undermine this right. If we are silent, we are part of the problem.
- Julianne

As you may know, Lynne Stewart was representing an individual indicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and was herself indicted just after 9/11 (2001) by the DOJ of allowing or participating in communications on behalf of her client which allegedly violated terms of an agreement she had been required to sign in order to continue to visit w/ her client during his post-conviction proceedings.

We believe that in the wake of 9/11, Ms. Stewart was singled out and prosecuted by the DOJ for the sole purpose of intimidating the criminal defense bar from representing Arab-Muslim persons accused of "terrorist" crimes. Ms. Stewart was recently convicted and is facing sentencing proceedings.

I write to ask you to inform yourselves about the situation (www.lynnestewart.org; phone (212) 625-9696) and write a letter to the sentencing judge in support of leniency for Ms. Stewart. Letters must be received by her defense team by 7/15/05.

I am attaching the memo from her defense committee and a copy of a draft letter from two attorneys to the sentencing judge.

We are all busy, but please take a few minutes to send a letter in support of leniency in Ms. Stewart's sentencing and forward this others who may care about upholding the protections of the Sixth Amendment.

Finally, notice for the film of the life of Saul Wellman inspired our pal Peter Werbe to send me this letter.

If hagiography "- the lives of the saints- " is the most banal form of literature, why shouldn't we judge cinematic efforts similarly? If all there was to the film, "Professional Revolutionary: The Life of Saul Wellman," scheduled for its premier soon in Detroit, was solely a feel-good video for the faithful, probably no more than a slight grimace would be in order. However, the attempt to create a leftwing superman mythology around a man who embodied the most authoritarian politics of his era begs to be criticized.

Wellman, like many other people of his generation, experienced the Depression, war, revolution, and intense engagement in left politics. But to extract an individual from the social context in which he operated and to neglect the consequences of the politics he promoted tells barely half the story. Maybe the internecine debates of the left are long over and the word "communist" no longer carries with it the meaning it once did, but the Stalinist movement of that day, which Wellman embodied, bares heavy responsibility for the catastrophic losses of the 1930s and '40s, and a burden the Left carries into the 21th century.

Wellman was not just an average Communist Party hack, but a middle-level party functionary that, here and abroad, enforced the opportunistic twists and turns of Stalin's ever-changing party line. To be an uncritical supporter of Stalin and the Soviet Union then meant keeping on one's ideological blinders. Information was available to all that Russia was a totalitarian police state run by one-man rule which ruthlessly suppressed all internal opposition real, and in the psychotic mind of Stalin, imagined. Everything about the Soviet Union from its planned mass starvations, its gulag system, its police state with its exquisite tortures, its purges, its show trials, its pact with Hitler, its lack of workers' democracy, was known to anyone willing to look at what was presented by liberals, Trotskyists, or anarchists. Wellman was one of what Chomsky calls today in a different context, the "willfully ignorant." At that time, critics of Soviet Union were denounced as "counter-revolutionaries," and "agents of fascism and the Mikado." Often this translated into a death sentence for the so-labeled, not only in Russia, but in other countries as well.

When Stalin exported his counter-revolution to Spain, Wellman was there to do the Third International's dirty work supporting the bourgeois Republic rather than the revolutionary forces of the anarchists and socialists whose labor organizations totaled almost two million compared to the Spanish Communist Party's meager 20,000, and which had created a profound revolutionary change in the country. The mythology surrounding the International Brigades, in which Wellman was a commissar (one who assures adherence to the party line on the battlefield), in reality is overshadowed by the arrival of Stalin's dreaded NKVD which set up its own prisons and torture chambers.

CP policy resulted in the loss of the Spanish Civil War and the destruction of the revolution; that fascist victory assured the start of the Second World War and all that it brought with it. Had the Stalinists not attacked the workers' revolutionary gains, a victory over Franco was within reach. When the Spanish dictator died in 1977, there was a party in Detroit at the house of a former Fifth Estate staff member which Wellman attended. When several of us who had read Chomsky, Bookchin, and Pierats on the subject of the CP's treacherous role in Spain brought up our criticisms to Wellman, the real nice guy exploded, not with angry rebuttals, but rather with statements that will forever brand him in many of our minds.

"I killed more anarchists and Trotskyists in Spain than fascists,” he shouted at us, red-faced and unashamed of his admission. When we continued, he pointed at me and said, "We killed you in Spain." Words of a Stalinist executioner, not a "Professional Revolutionary."* In the trailer to the film available on the web site, Wellman admits, "We didn't know our ass from our elbows when we arrived in Spain," but this didn't stop him from carrying out Stalin's dictates and being another counter-revolutionary force along side the fascists that destroyed the accomplishment's of a radical working class.

The film's endless, giddy endorsements of Wellman by a host of barely reconstructed ex-CPers and New Leftists who gained his favor by fawning over his experiences refer to the commissar as their "mentor." What was his advice to them? Kill your political opponents? Spread vicious calumny about them? Never think independently, but faithfully follow a party line no matter how much it confounds reality? Organize like he did on an opportunistic, manipulative and duplicitous basis? Did these film makers read any critical histories of the role of the CP in the labor, anti-racist and peace movements of the time?

The Wellmans of the world have greatly retarded the cause of revolution, not advanced it. Their allegiance to a police state and authoritarian politics have made what was to be capitalism's negation into something understandable reviled and feared by the workers of the world. A better title for the film would have been "Professional Counter-Revolutionary."

For anyone surprised at the harshness of my tone, it is because I know what was destroyed in Spain and a dozen other attempts at authentic revolution by the Wellmans of the world. I suspect for even writing this, there will be some who will react as those of Wellman's generations did to critics of the party (when they weren't assassinated): attempt at social ostracism. To those whom my opinions anger enough to do that, it's no great loss.

However, to the many of you open to serious political investigation and to the acceptance of its consequences, I have an invitation. Detroit's Black & Red has reprinted a chapter from Noam Chomsky's American Power and the New Mandarins (1969) as a small book to which I wrote the introduction. It is a short, concise history of the Spanish Revolution and Civil War with emphasis on the crimes of the Stalinists in accelerating the failure of both. It is available for $5 through me (I'll pay the postage). Also, if you haven't seen the 40th anniversary edition of the Fifth Estate newspaper, I'll throw that in as well.

This film had the potential of looking at a grave historical period in both its glory and its failures using Wellman as its touchstone, but instead it attempts to elevate an individual as central to a process which involves a whole society. That perspective is at the core of authoritarian politics and falls on the shoulders of the film makers.

For a real revolution that doesn't need professionals,
Peter Werbe
c/o Fifth Estate
PO Box 201016
Ferndale MI 48220

*For those interested in a different version of Wellman's unapologetic and murderous rant about killing the true revolutionaries of Spain, ask one of those involved in the film's production. I don't mention his name since this story comes to me second hand. According to the account Wellman told, members of his International Brigade needed nuts for nourishment and attempted to steal a truck which was controlled by the anarchist CNT union. In the mix-up, shots were exchanged and people were struck.

An interesting account which one might be tempted to give the benefit of the doubt if there hadn't been so many massacres of anarchists and socialists by the Stalinists, and often with similarly interesting stories attached to them. Also, one doesn't scream, We killed you in Spain, if it was the result of a tragic accident.

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

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From around the globe to the Metro Detroit area! It's Really Spring This Time Action Alert!

I need everyone who knows a Detroit Newspaper Worker to put out the call for help. If we're going to pull off a 10th year commemoration of the Newspaper struggle, we need all hands on deck. Please contact me so ACOSS and other less organized volunteers can get this party started. We will dedicate the event to the Youngstown Newspaper strikers, now in their sixth month of struggle. In the meantime, visit them at www.valleyvoiceonline.com. Don't let them down. Remember what it meant to look at six months.

Do you know that our government, in their quest to not represent a single citizen of this country, are in talks right now to pass a Thailand Free Trade Agreement? Thailand is the second largest producer of trucks in the world. This agreement would make them the largest. It could cost 25,000 jobs in this country (assembly and parts). Try the congressional switchboard at 800-284-2919 or (if you're at work) at 202 225-3121. Call your senator at 202 224-3121.

From Detroit Area Peace and Justice Network (DAPJN)
Please join Pointes for Peace on Wednesday, May 11 at 7:30 pm to hear Patrick Resta, National Guardsman, speak about his eight month experience as a medic in Iraq
at St. Ambrose Catholic Church
15020 Hampton (near E. Jefferson & Alter)
Grosse Pointe Park
For more information, call Mary Read (313-822-2702) or Carol Bendure (313-882-7732).

Saturday noon. Women in Black. Clark Park in Southwest Detroit. Silent protest, wear black, everyone welcome.

From Million Worker March Detroit:
Hi- I want to urge you to attend and participate in the national meeting of the Million Worker March organizers coming to Detroit this Saturday and Sunday, May 14 and 15. Clarence Thomas of the west coast longshore workers, Brenda Stokely of NYC AFSCME and Saledin Mohammed of Black Workers for Justice (N. Carolina) are only a few among the great labor
activists who are attending. This will be an important chance for us to network and exchange information/strategy on the rapidly changing labor scene. Feel free to bring literature from your local or group to share. Registration is Saturday at 9:30 am at UAW Local 22- 4300 Michigan Avenue (just west of W. Grand Blvd.). Lunch and dinner will be served in the hall (or just attend part of the program). Registration fee is a sliding scale - no one will be turned away. On Saturday night
from 6-8 PM the doors will be opened for a free Public Speak Out about budget cuts, the social cost of the Pentagon budget and more. Sunday will focus more on MWM organizational questions. Hope to see you there.
- David Sole, Pres. UAW Local 2334

From Wobbly brother Jim Rehberg, a reminder to be there for those who are out on the line:
Hello Fellow Workers,
Sad news to pass along. Once again a good job has gone bad. A place called Hercules Drawn Steel has locked out sixtysome workers. From what I've been told by people on the line is that in the past the old Man ran the plant and it was a good job, good pay and benefits. Now the sons have taken oven and have turned it into a mess. Guttng the contract of rights, slashing wages, passing huge health care cost on the workers and cutting the health care of the retirees. They rejected the last best offer Saturday afternoon April 30th and locked them out on MAYDAY. What a slap in the face to the people who by thier labor gave those sons a good life, now they want a better life. The Workers have been walking since then. No scabs yet but the company has plans. They have most all the people on the line but still need a shot in the arm. So if You can visit them and pass the word around. They sure do like company out there. Hercules is at 38901 Armhein Road, Livonia. Just south of 96 and west of Newburgh. Hope You can make it. See You there Jim Rehberg

Coming soon:
Premiere of film "Professional Revolutionary: The Life of Saul Wellman" Sunday, May 22, 3:00 P.M. 100 General Lectures Building, 5045 Anthony Wayne (3rd Street) at Warren, Wayne State University. Guest of honor: Victor Navasky, publisher of "The Nation" and author of "A Matter of Opinion."
Directed by Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker Judith Montell, "Professional Revolutionary" tells the amazing and moving story of celebrated Detroiter Saul Wellman, who risked his life for his beliefs, nearly died in battle in two wars, lived as a radical political leader and then as an outcast, spurned material rewards and security, and eventually became an internationally honored mentor of younger political activists. This film about Saul, who died at the age of 90 in late 2003, was developed in a unique collaboration between Montell, dozens of local activists mentored by Saul, Detroit Public Television, and Wayne State University Distinguished Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Ronald Aronson, and was supported by WSU, Michigan Humanities Council, Detroit Public Benefit Corporation, and hundreds of individual contributors.

Festivities will begin with a fund-raising reception honoring Victor Navasky, National Book Award-winning author of "Naming Names," from 2:00-3:00 in the Polish Lounge of Alex Manoogian Hall (directly west of General Lectures). The film will be shown at 3 PM, followed by a discussion with Victor, director Judith Montell, and film participants and friends of Saul. Through the premiere we hope to raise funds to help pay remaining production costs and enable us to edit the film for broadcast on Detroit Public Television and other PBS stations. Accordingly, we invite you to become a Supporter and meet Victor Navasky at the reception, or become a Patron and also have him personally sign a copy of his new book, "A Matter of Opinion" (all donations are tax deductible as allowed by law).

Please print and fill out the response form below and return it with your check as soon as possible to: Saul Wellman Film Project c/o Ronald Aronson, Room 2426, 5700 Cass, Detroit MI 48202.

NOTE: Supporter and Patron tickets will be mailed. Film-only tickets will be held for pick-up at the door.
>Name(s): _____________________________________________________
>Address: _____________________________________________________
>Phone: __________________Email:______________________________
> _____ Film-only Tickets @ $20 ($10 low income/student)
> _____ Supporter $75/$125 couple (includes film ticket and reception)
> _____ Patron $150/$225 couple (includes ticket and reception plus personally signed copy of A Matter of Opinion)

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Sunday, April 17, 2005

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Thursday, December 25, 2003

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stopping discrimination, part 5,394--Money Talks | Metafilter
"targeting Fortune 500 companies to adopt policies that specifically bar discrimination based on sexual orientation."

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Sunday, December 21, 2003

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Call for a March 20, 2004 Midwest Regional Anti-War Demonstration 

Article from Chicago anti war protests ealier this year

Practically every day brings fresh evidence of the disaster that is the United States occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. From Palestine to Korea, Columbia to the Philippines, the United States increasingly is seen as the greatest threat to world peace and justice. While the lies used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq have been denounced by some politicians--mostly after the invasion itself was a done deal--all leading politicians continue to support the occupation, some as a positive "good," others as an unfortunate "necessity" to preserve American imperial "credibility."

The peace and justice movement in the U.S. needs to speak with a clear voice, a voice which demands respect for the absolute right of the Iraqi people, and all other peoples of the world, to decide their own destinies, without occupying armies, without commercial schemes to rip off their national wealth, without puppets imposed on them from Washington. We need to give voice to the growing sentiment within Iraq, within the U.S. armed forces, and here at home for an immediate END to the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

March 20th marks the anniversary of the first full day of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. It also is the one-year anniversary of one of Chicago's most memorable protests ever--the night over 10,000 people marched on Lake Shore Drive in protest against George Bush's illegal and immoral war. In concert with the national initiatives of the ANSWER and the United For Peace & Justice Coalitions, the Chicago Coalition Against War & Racism (CCAWR) has chosen to commit its resources to help organize a midwest regional anti-war demonstration here in Chicago on March 20, 2004.

Aside from the date of the protest, nothing else has been decided. This is intentional. We have left the precise time and location of the protest and specifying its major theme(s) undetermined so that participating individuals and organizations can collectively create the most dynamic and influential event possible. To make these decisions, we call on peace, justice, and civil rights forces from around the region to send representatives to an organizing meeting in Chicago on the evening of Thursday, January 8th to begin making the decisions necessary to organize a midwest regional demonstration demanding the end of the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The meeting will take place at 6:30 pm in the lower level of the First Methodist Temple, 77 W. Washington Street, Chicago.

For more information, email or call 888.471.0874

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Thursday, December 18, 2003

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PETA Billboard Causes Controversy 

PETA Billboard Causes Controversy
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Thursday, September 18, 2003

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there is a settings tab in the upper right corner of the edit page. I have changed the settings there to match "they call us troublemakers"

I will work on the template soon also.

Best, Mark

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