IN PHOTOS ~~ NEW YORKERS DEMAND MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE

No commentary necessary …. the 2,000 Plus demonstrators say it all on their placards … 

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Related Article from CounterPunch

Wage Gains Won’t Last, Unless Fight for 15 Builds Worker Power

by ARUN GUPTA

When fast-food workers first took the streets in New York City in November 2012 to protest for higher wages and a union no one could have imagined how successful the campaign would be. Since then the low-wage workers movement, known as Fight for 15, has helped spureleven states and numerous cities to raise the minimum hourly wage. It’s enabled campaigns in Seattle and the Bay Area to pass citywide measures for $15-an-hour minimum wage. Fight for 15 and a separate campaign called Organization United for Respect at Walmart has also pushed companies like McDonald’s, Target, and Walmart to announce in early 2015 that they would raise the minimum wage for hundreds of thousands of employees.

The success of the organizing is due to everything from the abysmal recovery from the 2008 economic crisis to Occupy Wall Street’s role in shifting the national dialogue from austerity to economic inequality. But Fight for 15 is due primarily to the Service Employees International Union, which initiated the campaign in 2011 and has poured tens of millions of dollars into growing waves of protest that are battering the image of the fast-food giants.

As the protests have grown, the campaign has become both broad and narrow. SEIU has linked the plight of fast-food workers to that of retail and convenience-store workers, home healthcare aides, childcare workers, and adjunct professors. At the same time Fight for 15 is focusing its fire on McDonald’s. One SEIU insider says the strategy is, “Pummel them until they come to the table.” Another organizer outlined the thinking back in 2013: Fight for 15 was trying to cause enough problems for McDonald’s image and stock price that SEIU could say to the company, “We can make this all go away” if it agreed to a deal on wages and unionization.

Using the National Labor Relations Board, SEIU has filed charges of unfair labor practices and wage theft against McDonald’s franchises. The strategy paid off after the NLRB general counsel ruled in July 2014 that McDonald’s has joint employer responsibility, opening space for SEIU to pressure the corporate parent, rather than dealing with 3,100 U.S. franchisees. SEIU is also raising the heat overseas. The European Union is investigating McDonald’s for allegedly dodging more than $1 billion in taxes and labor federations in Brazil are suing McDonald’s largest franchisee in Latin America for wage and workplace violations. A participant in a recent strategy session held with Scott Courtney, said to be SEIU’s mastermind for Fight for 15, says the next step under consideration is to create trouble for McDonald’s on the property front, which is as much a titan of real estate as it is of hamburgers.

McDonald’s claims the campaign has had no effect on its operations and that it could not afford to raise wages. Over the last year its internationalsales have been flat and its profits have fallen sharply. So its announcement on April 1 that it would raise pay for workers at corporate-owned U.S. stores was widely viewed as a concession to Fight for 15. That move backfired, however, as the raise is only 89 cents an hour on average and affects just 10 percent of its U.S. workforce. Plus, sources say McDonald’s has quietly approached SEIU and is looking for a deal. For nearly two years there have been rumors that SEIU was considering some alternative to a union for the fast-food sector, such as a workers association.

A workers association, however, would mean fewer rights and protections for workers than a traditional union. This points to the question that’s been hanging over Fight for 15 since it caught fire. What is SEIU’s end game? I asked one organizer if the campaign is building working power, and the response was blunt: “The goal is not worker power. It’s a contract.”

Since a traditional union contract with McDonald’s or any other fast-food company remains unlikely, the campaign goals need to be better aligned with reality. Fight for 15 has been remarkably successful on wages, but unless it is trying to increase worker’s power on the job, any wage and benefit improvements won through public pressure, negative publicity, and community-based protest activity will be hard to sustain in the absence of ongoing workplace organization or networks of some sort.

Now, many Fight for 15 organizers point out SEIU is the only big union gambling on trying to organize an industry with millions of unorganized workers, and it’s putting thousands of workers in motion. Organizing low-wage workers is a long overdue response to the neoliberal turn that dealt a historic defeat to organized labor during the 1980s. Millions of new jobs are projected to be in occupations like food prep, retail, and healthcare aides that pay $9 to $12 an hour. The jobs have few benefits, schedules and hours are erratic and there tends to be high turnover. This is the base for Fight for 15, OUR Walmart and a broader campaign known as 15 Now, initiated by the Seattle-based Socialist Alternative.

A fundamental goal of labor organizing is to take labor out of competition with itself. But that is nearly impossible when low-skilled, low-wage workers have few rights and number in the tens of millions. Fight for 15’s approach is unorthodox, but it is constrained by organized labor’s history. Class-struggle unionism has been abandoned by labor leaders who act as junior partners to corporations, like SEIU and Kaiser Permanente, the UAW and auto companies, the machinists union and Boeing, and the building trades and real-estate developers. Many union leaders are also in the pocket of the Democratic Party despite it being in the pocket of Wall Street.

Fight for 15 trying to make trouble for global corporations, but it’s not pursuing a working-class struggle. (Few unions are interested in that; that’s the job of the organized left.) Fight for 15 is more of a legal and public relations campaign, as I explain, than an organizing campaign. It is bearing fruit, but mainly as a spillover than in the fast-food sector. This includes adjunct professor organizing, which with the assistance of unions, especially SEIU, have notched many victories since 2013. Thousands of healthcare workers, who make up about half of SEIU’s membership, are agitating for $15 an hour, which is also in response to the 2014 Supreme Court ruling that imposed limits on union membership for home-care aides. There are also linkages with the Black Lives Matter movement, which is significant given Fight for 15 is the biggest mobilization of African-American workers since the 1960s. While these are inchoate forms of solidarity and social-justice unionism, they remain underdeveloped because of the top-down nature of Fight for 15.

The most intriguing outcomes of Fight for 15 are citywide campaigns for a raise in the minimum wage, which has opened up organizing space for the left. Fifteen dollars an hour is now reality in Seattle, albeit it with loopholes, with most low-wage workers expected to earn that by 2017. San Francisco’s ballot measure for $15 an hour was spearheaded by SEIU Local 1021, which one observer calls a model for a worker-run union. Fight for $15 campaign helped legitimize the idea in Seattle. The local SEIU affiliate’s biggest contribution was a $15-an-hour ballot measure that won in the SeaTac suburb. But the heavy lifting was done by Socialist Alternative and its inside and outside political approach, aggressive reporting and support from The Stranger, a well-regarded newsweekly, and incoming Mayor Ed Murray’s decision to back the measure and establish a committee to shape, for good and bad, the final bill. 15 Now is currently pushing $15 an hour statewide in Oregon and according to sources is encountering resistance from some unions that are reluctant to challenge Democratic politicians.

In terms of Fight for 15, its efforts have been more effective in the digital realm than in the real world when it comes to fast-food workers. One Fight for 15 organizer says, “SEIU would like the public to perceive this as a large and growing movement creating a crisis. They are creating the perception of a wave.”

But the campaign is also hamstrung, and SEIU’s media-centric strategy inhibits it from making hay from it. The organizer explains, “Workers are afraid to stand up. The number one problem is fear. I would say less than 4 percent of the workers we contact stay on board. They jump on and jump off [Fight for 15] all the time.” Workers have every reason to be afraid. One study from 2005 estimated 23,000 workers a year are penalized or fired for legitimate union activity, making a mockery of laws meant to protect workplace organizing.

A rich account of the difficulty and potential of worker-run, shop-based organizing in the fast-food industry is provided by Erik Forman in New Forms of Worker Organization. He recounts an IWW campaign in Jimmy John’s sandwich shops in Minneapolis, which narrowly lost a union vote but gained many concessions, wage increases and most important, worker consciousness, solidarity and power. Provocations and illegal acts by the bosses were used to build organization and militancy, not shunted over to law firms and P.R. agencies as in Fight for 15. But the campaign was dealt a serious blow by the mass firing of six organizers. (Forman’s scathing critique of a complacent union bureaucracy as an outcome of labor law and how labor law proved to be a dead end is also important to consider.)

SEIU has far more resources to confront employer threats of firing and retaliation, but creating a shop-by-shop base of power would still be a monumental task. Fight for 15 could nurture worker power other ways, but it has forgone a bottom-up struggle. Its worker leaders serve to energize other workers, relate a compelling personal story and act as a media spokesperson. In other words, they provide the image of a leader rather than the substance of a leader who can organize the workplace, engage in shop-floor warfare against the boss, develop worker solidarity, and force concessions while building a militant rank and file.

The site of worker power in Fight for 15 is supposed to be the organizing committees, but within the staff-driven campaign participants say workers have little power. Strike votes are usually not held unless the staff leadership is confident it will win. Meetings are for pumping up workers and feeding them information, not democratic debate and decision-making. The annual Fight for 15 conferences, with the next one reportedly set for this summer in Detroit, are described as heavily scripted. I asked one organizer if it was true that worker leaders made decisions during weekly national conference calls. The response was, “That’s bullshit, and I know because I participate in those calls.” Plus, a one person says during a strategy session Scott Courtney was introduced to workers as “the reason you are all here.” Compare this SEIU’s claim in 2013 that it is following the lead of fast-food workers and “We don’t yet understand the scale of it” when in fact it gave birth to the fast-food workers campaign.

Where there is organizing in Fight for 15, it is more in the streets than in the workplace. The big days of action are vital for the sense of momentum. Allies from community groups, students and union staff swell numbers, add to the festivity, make a more favorable media impression, sway public opinion, and make it look as if the campaign is growing.

One can make the case that SEIU made a sound decision in forgoing a worker-centric campaign for a P.R. and legal strategy. But then it can no longer said to be a worker-driven movement. If SEIU admitted workers’ fear of being fired or disciplined by employers leads to high turnover in Fight for 15, it would undermine the perception that more and more fast-food workers are joining and staying with the campaign. A lack of power also means workers follow the dictates of paid organizers, who in turn say they get their marching orders from SEIU leaders.

A few organizers have mentioned SEIU’s P.R. firm, BerlinRosen Public Affairs, is involved in the strategy. In fact, a 25-page document entitled “Strike in a Box,” which bears BerlinRosen’s logo, is presented as a how-to-guide for building a successful strike. This and other documents provide more evidence for the top-down management of Fight for 15, which is logical given the enormous effort devoted to organizing just one protest in one city. The fact that Fight for 15 staged more than 200 protests in U.S. cities on April 15 indicates how many resources SEIU has committed.

For example, one fast-food protest in 2013 was run like a military campaign. The staffing plan included the local organizing leadership, four different media workers, half-a-dozen “defusers” to soothe any trouble, a photographer, videographer, police liaison, chant leader and energizer, a supply team, drivers, onsite legal, a criminal lawyer on standby, breakfast and lunch coordinators, and people designated to hand out signs, flags, t-shirts, and water. A spreadsheet mapped out protests by the minute, noting times and location for loading vans, picking up workers, talking points for press conferences, skits, prayers, dancing in the streets, and “walk backs” of workers the next day to minimize retaliation. Insiders say to maximize turnout, Fight for 15 will sometimes rent hotel rooms for workers the night before a protest, rent vans to drive them to the start point, and provide meals.

Strike in a Box appears to be from an earlier stage of Fight for 15, but it is insightful. It starts with a “Legal FAQ” that describes different types of strikes under labor law. It cautions against any conduct that can be classified as picketing as “picketing is considered coercive and incurs more liability for the union,” such as forcing a union election. Instead it says to focus on unfair labor practices as “ULP strikes are the legal crown jewel of strikes.”

The document gives tips for discovering, recording and tracking unfair labor practices. Workers in various Fight for 15 chapters say uncovering ULPs became a priority nearly two years ago, with organizers regularly asking for incidences of employer retaliation or discrimination.

The link between the legal and media strategy is in the section on “Site Assessments,” which begins by asking how many active and strong ULP’s there are at a particular establishment. The section also asks if it’s a good site to focus on, the existence of strong leaders, and then shifts to questions about messaging:

“Is it an iconic brand? Does the brand help tell a story, locally and/or nationally?

“Do we have spokespeople?

Trained? Reliable? Experienced?

“Do we have stories?

Compelling worker stories

Horror stories about site practices (wage theft, sexual harassment, etc)

Connection to broader themes (cutting hours because of Obamacare, etc)”

Much of the remainder of Strike in a Box is devoted to recruiting workers with strong stories, organizing the strike vote, how to build a “pull plan” to maximize strike-day turnout, shoring up workers confidence, carrying out the actual strike, and the need for compelling visuals, stories and a narrative. Little is said about workplace organizing. This matches the experiences of many workers in the campaign who say they are not provided with any training on how to build shop-floor organization.

None of this is meant to dismiss Fight for 15. It is having a more profound effect than anyone could have hoped for when it began. But politics don’t just happen. By denying a central role SEIU leaders can deflect questions about controversial strategies and on-the-ground organizing. Likewise, analyzing strategy and tactics years from now is little use in books few people will read. There are many more questions that can and should be asked about Fight for 15.

For example, the campaign is focused primarily on wages and then on scheduling. But once they clock out, fast-food workers confront the dilemmas of childcare, healthcare, transportation, and rent. Fight for 15 talks about the difficulty of living on a poverty wage, but does so in moralistic terms: “fairness.” It avoids a deeper critique because “the goal is a contract.” As much as workers need a pay raise, $15 an hour is of little help in many cities where the average rent on a one-bedroom apartment would eat up the entire income of a full-time worker on this wage. In Seattle, Socialist Alternative has pivoted to organizing around runaway rents, but it’s rare for big unions to seriously organize around rent control or tenants’ rights despite the fact that escalating housing costs are one of the biggest burdens that workers shoulder.

Beyond issues of daily life is workers’ role in the labor process. Building worker power would stop promotional campaigns like McDonald’s embarrassing “Pay with Love” or Starbucks clumsy “Race Together” before they happen. This is not all the responsibility of one organizing campaign but without a serious debate about the strategy Fight for 15 is pursuing and shifting to worker-oriented strategies, it’s hard to see how wage gains will translate into a gain of power for workers.

The campaign has raised hopes on the left of a revival of class consciousness and a working-class movement, but will it come to fruition under SEIU? If history and current events are any guide, the missing ingredient is the organized left. It’s anarchists who made Occupy Wall Street happen, socialists who have revitalized many teachers unions, and socialists and the left that have turned $15 an hour into reality. Without a similar effort, Fight for 15 may give fast-food workers more change in their pockets, but not the power to change their lives.

Arun Gupta contributes to outlets including Al Jazeera America, Vice, The Progressive, The Guardian, and In These Times.

IN PHOTOS ~~ NEW YORK SOLIDARITY WITH YARMOUK REFUGEE CAMP

March from Bryant Park to United Nations Headquarters

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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See THIS recent post  (Click on link)

WORLD TURNS A BLIND EYE TO ISIS’ MASSACRE OF PALESTINIANS

IN PHOTOS ~~ PALESTINE IS A ‘SELL OUT’ IN BROOKLYN

We are happy to report that yesterday was a very positive day in front of the Park Slope Food Coop, as we spent a second day offering members a taste of Palestinian olive oil and za’atar on both matzoh and pita bread. By the end of the day the Coop sold out of the Palestinian olive oil and more will have to be ordered. We will continue to put Palestinian olive oil on the table and invite people to join us in an appreciation of Palestine and it’s right to liberation.

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

Commentary From We Will Not Be Silent

In the days leading up to Passover, Park Slope Food Coop members  gather outside the coop to offer free samples of the Palestinian olive oil sold inside, on matzoh and pita bread. We have handed out
Four Questions” to add to the traditional Seder questions, and encouraged shoppers to liberate the Passover story of liberation and talk about the Occupation. 

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    Click here to view more photos from this action. 

Click on link below to see our Holiday Post

DON’T PASSOVER PALESTINE THIS HOLIDAY

IN PHOTOS ~~ 5K GAZA RUN

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On Saturday morning, March 28th, the sky over Prospect Park in Brooklyn was leaden, the temperature was more appropriate to January than March, and it seemed to get worse as the hours passed.  However, that did not stop a spirited group of about 600 participants which included every race, ethnicity, and age from gathering to run, or walk, a 5K loop in the park. The event was organized by UNRWA USA in order to raise money to provide mental health services for the traumatized children of Gaza.  Buoyed only by the comradery and love for the children of Gaza, the runners took off at about 9:30 AM with the swifter among them crossing the finish line fairly shortly thereafter.  The walkers returned much later. 

The original goal was for the Brooklyn runners to raise about $50,000 but the amount collected far exceeded that.  $103,000 was raised and money is still coming in showing great support for this cause.  Races like this one have been organized by UNRWA USA in cities throughout the country.  

There was much elation among the participants because the event was so successful and because everyone felt good about being able to do something to help.  But at the same time it is very disturbing to recognize that with all the wealth in the world a UN agency has to create the equivalent of a school ‘bake sale’ to raise money to attempt to heal some of the scars that Israel inflicted on the children of Gaza last summer, destroying their bodies and their homes and murdering their families.  Also, nothing is getting better.  According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in 2014 more civilians were murdered on the West Bank and in Gaza then at any time since 1967. 

So, while the UNRWA  USA events are very important and should continue because they raise money and help galvanize the many people in the Palestine justice community we all have to do more.  For now, Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) remains our most potent tool.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

Commentary by Chippy Dee

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Some of the 'older' folks called this event the 5K 'Schlep'

Some of the ‘older’ folks called this event the 5K ‘Shlep’ :)

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104 YEARS LATER ~~ REMEMBERING THE TRIANGLE FIRE AT THE SCENE — PHOTO ESSAY

Never were they forgotten!

The workers died because of the sickening greed of their bosses and the malfeasance of local officials who looked the other way. The bosses never paid for the murder of these workers but in the months and years that followed, American unionism took off and laws protecting workers and improving their conditions were established.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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NYC Fire Dept. displays the ladder they have today which they didn't have 104 years ago ... it was raised to the floor where the fire occurred.

NYC Fire Dept. displays the ladder they have today which they didn’t have 104 years ago … it was raised to the floor where the fire occurred.

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The victims were remembered by name

The victims were remembered by name

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Trade Union members and their children came out to remember the tragedy

Trade Union members and their children came out to remember the tragedy

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White carnations were left at the foot of the building .. each with the name of a victim attached to it

White carnations were left at the foot of the building .. each with the name of a victim attached to it

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And red carnations for the more recent victims in Pakistan ... see the poem that follows

And red carnations for the more recent victims in Pakistan … see the poem that follows

TriangleShirtwaist-Baldia 1911, 2012

 © By Tom Karlson

doors chained

exits blocked

!fire!

the elevator buckles,

fire-escape collapses

women roast or leap

their bodies,

smashed, shattered

sculpted by fire or the fall

charred pick-up sticks

counted, named, mourned

by lovers and family

146 six workers

laid out

on that sidewalk morgue

an unwanted mausoleum

lined with

tear and blood and a desolate dream

this mass death births law, unions,

strikes, reduced profits

the factories abandon the city

the law of maximum profit rules

riding the air-slip of gluttony, and greed

pigs after truffles

suits hunting surplus value

vampires, of the eighty-hour work week

medicated by NAFTA

union maids, law, labels, and lady liberty

are renditioned, shackled

flying Air America to points

south then east

and finally Baldia town, Pakistan

one hundred and one years from Triangle

the traveling factory, this profit making monster

with windows, doors

yes locked, barred

!fire!

314

dead, executed

bones broken

blackened lungs never to sing

crushed skulls never to read

broken feet never to dance

three hundred fourteen dreamless bodies

Chilling Factory Fire In Pakistan Kills Over 300…Similar To The 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire In The US Which Killed 146

Chilling Factory Fire In Pakistan Kills Over 300…Similar To The 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire In The US Which Killed 146

IN PHOTOS ~~ REMEMBERING THE NAKBA AND THE WAR IN IRAQ

Remembering the Nakba

"Facing the Ongoing Nakba” tour schedule

“Facing the Ongoing Nakba” tour schedule

 

LogoBut

zion wants us to forget about it …

On the eve of an important event to discuss the Nakba* scheduled to take place this evening, the Executive Director of a tony uptown synagogue in New York City where the event was contracted to take place has attempted to cancel the event with no explanation in what can only be perceived as an effort to shut down discussion of the “ongoing Nakba” within the Jewish community.

The event was to feature the Palestinian human rights organization, Badil (whose timely recently released Corporate Complicity in Violations of International Law in Palestine [pdf] is a must read), and Israeli human rights organization Zochrot. It is part of multi-city speaking tour, and was sponsored in New York by four organizations: Jewish Voice for Peace-New York; Nakba Education Project; Jews Say No!; and the National Lawyers Guild Palestine Subcommittee.

*Nakba, means “catastrophe” in Arabic and refers to the forced displacement of Palestinians that began with Israel’s establishment in 1948, and continues to this day.

Read the full report at Mondoweiss

The cancellation results …

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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On the other side of town, the 12th anniversary of Bush’s catastrophe was remembered

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IN PHOTOS ~~ JEWS IN SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINIAN RIGHT OF RETURN

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

THE POSTERS

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VIEW OF THE AUDIENCE

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IN PHOTOS ~~ ISRAELI ARMY IS NOT OUR FRIEND

'Rabbi' Shmuley Boteach also made an appearance, later tweeting a photo of himself smiling in front of ‘Boycott Israeli Apartheid’ signs.

‘Rabbi’ Shmuley Boteach also made an appearance, later tweeting a photo of himself smiling in front of ‘Boycott Israeli Apartheid’ signs.

From Twitter ~~ The smiling idiot

Embedded image permalink

New Yorkers Turn out in the Rain to Protest Fundraiser for the Israeli Army

Sixty New Yorkers weathered Tuesday evening’s downpour to protest the gala fundraiser organized and hosted by US nonprofit Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) at the Waldorf Astoria. Demonstrators demanded that FIDF be stripped of its current tax-exempt status, which allows it to raise funds used to subsidize the Israeli military at the American taxpayers’ expense. Last year, the FIDF’s tax-exempt fundraising was subsidized by taxpayers to the tune of at least $20 million. Signs and pamphlets at the demonstration reminded attendees and passersby that these tax-exempt millions are not supporting a humanitarian cause, but a military force with a known record of egregious human rights abuses.

Attendees in formal wear and evening gowns appeared disturbed by the chants, signs, and marching protesters, sometimes responding with taunts and curses.  As they marched, protesters read out loud the names and ages of Palestinians killed in Israel’s brutal military assault on Gaza this summer. One dinner attendee responded to the reading of the name of a Palestinian casualty with, “Thank God he’s dead!”

 Rabbi Shmuley Boteach also made an appearance, later tweeting a photo of himself smiling in front of ‘Boycott Israeli Apartheid’ signs. Boteach, who often has vitriolic commentary for anyone criticizing Israel’s human rights record, has recently come under fire for an ad in the New York Times where he accused United States National Security Adviser Susan Rice of turning a blind eye to genocide.

Riham Barghouti of Adalah-NY thanked demonstrators at the end for braving the rain to show that organizations like the Friends of the IDF “are not welcome in New York.”

The FIDF relieves the Israeli military of infrastructure, family support, and morale building expenses by raising funds that provide for soldiers’ medical care, financially support soldiers, and cover infrastructure costs such as housing for soldiers, training facilities, and recreational facilities. During  Israel’s most recent large-scale assault on Gaza during the summer of 2014, dubbed Operation Protective Edge by the Israeli army, Israel’s military managed to drop an atomic bomb’s equivalent in explosives on Gaza, killing 2,257 people and injuring thousands more. The operation also led to the destruction of countless homes, schools, mosques, and United Nations shelters. TheGolani and Givati Brigades, for which FIDF regularly raises funds and which stand to benefit from the FIDF gala, were both involved in the 2014 assault. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and others have said the Israeli military committed war crimes in Gaza. FIDF’s direct support of those brigades exemplifies the organization’s complicity in the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people.

Organized by Adalah-NY and endorsed by a dozen NYC human rights groups, the action took place during Israeli Apartheid Week, an annual, international series of events designed to build awareness of Israel’s apartheid policies against Palestinians and to build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Other New York events include panels, speakers, cultural performances, discussions, and film screenings hosted by organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace and the Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at city universities.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

Commentary From Adalha NY

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More photos HERE

PHOTOS OF NEW YORK’S MULTI ISSUE WOMEN’S DAY MARCH

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In 1910, the International Socialist Women’s Congress declared International Women’s Day.

Today, March 8th, 2015, women in NYC, and from surrounding areas, marched  through Manhattan’s streets demanding equality for women in equal pay, a  $15 hr. minimum wage, jobs, health care, free quality education for all, the end of racism and police brutality and the need for peace.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

Commentary by Chippy Dee

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PHOTO ESSAY ~~ COMMEMORATING SELMA ALABAMA’S BLOODY SUNDAY

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On March 7th,1965, Black citizens from Selma, Alabama attempted to march to the state capital Montgomery demanding the right of Black citizens to vote.

At a bridge on route  to Montgomery they were confronted by a large band of Alabama state troopers armed with  rifles, whips, tear gas, clubs & dogs. They were informed their march was illegal  and they would not be allowed to cross and were given three minutes to disperse. When the marchers requested time to pray they were immediately set upon by the troopers: a brutal racist attack commenced. Beatings, blooded heads and broken bones ensued: Blood flowed freely. 

That day is known as “Bloody Sunday”. This day, March 7th, 2015,  is the 50th  anniversary of  the Alabama State terror attack. In commemoration, 1,000 people joined and walked from the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn bridge to Brooklyn and then to Brooklyn’s Borough Hall to hear President Obama’s speech from Selma Alabama.

(click on link to see and hear)

Full Text of the

President’s speech

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

Commentary by Chippy Dee

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Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around 

IN PHOTOS ~~ NEW YORKERS MARCH FOR PEACE WITH IRAN

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On March 3rd, the day of Netanyahu’s anti-Iran speech to the U.S. Congress, a group of activists gathered at Times Sq. to protest his war oriented speech. They stood in the Square with black and white signs which have become the icon of New York City protestors, and proclaimed loudly “No war on Iran: negotiate”.  From Times Sq. they  marched through Manhattan streets, through Grand Central Station, to the Israeli Consulate chanting  for a diplomatic solution.

When the marchers arrived at the Consulate the police tried to persuade them to demonstrate across the street.

The marchers refused to cross and proclaimed their legal- constitutional right to demonstrate peacefully at the Consulate. Meanwhile, across the street, another group, “Israelis  for a Sustainable Peace”, was also protesting Netanyahu’s polices.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

Commentary by Chippy Dee

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The other Demo

ISRAELIS FOR A SUSTAINABLE PEACE

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IN PHOTOS ~~ NETANYAHU’S WELCOME IN NEW YORK (NOT)

The Emporer's Nuke Clothes Image by Katie Miranda

The Emperor’s Nuke Clothes
Image by Katie Miranda

In a blinding snow fall, March 1st, scores of people gathered to protest the forthcoming speech on March 3rd of Benjamin Netanyahu to the U.S. Congress.

Speakers protested the occupation and settlement of Palestinian land and  the murderous deaths of thousands of Palestinians at the bloodied hands of the Zionists with the aid of American tax dollars. They noted the unity of the Congressnal extreme right  and  the Zionist policy of  pushing the U.S. into war with Iran. The speakers said that Netanyahu does not speak for all American Jews as he pretends.  The message to Netanyahu was ‘GET OUT OF THIS COUNTRY’

The snow might have been blinding but it did not stop us from seeing the truth!

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

Commentary by Chippy Dee

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BANKSY IN GAZA GOING VIRAL ON THE NET

The video below has had nearly a million views since it was posted last night ….

Banksy goes to Gaza

News travels fast. Yesterday, Banksy published video and photos from a recent trip to Gaza on their Instagram account and set the internet ablaze. The New York Times published a statement from the artist: “I don’t want to take sides. But when you see entire suburban neighborhoods reduced to rubble with no hope of a future — what you’re really looking at is a vast outdoor recruitment center for terrorists. And we should probably address this for all our sakes.”

Image: Banksy

Image: Banksy

And look, a Banksy promotional travel video-documentary “Make this the year YOU discover a new destination” where he rappels threw the tunnel and burst out on the other side — in Gaza –“Well away from the tourist track”:

We love Banksy — who doesn’t?

Banksy writes, “A local man came up and said ‘Please – what does this mean?’ I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website – but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens”:

Banksy in Gaza

Banksy in Gaza

Banksy also explains, “Gaza is often described as ‘the world’s largest open air prison’ because no-one is allowed to enter or leave. But that seems a bit unfair to prisons – they don’t have their electricity and drinking water cut off randomly almost every day.”:

Banksy in Gaza

Banksy in Gaza

 

PHOTO ESSAY ~~ THE OCCUPATION IN BLACK AND WHITE … LITERALLY

One would never guess that we were in the middle of an election campaign as snow in Jerusalem dominates the headlines today ..

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Ultra-Orthodox  Jews walk along the Old City walls

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Finally a day of Peace in Palestine

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IN PHOTOS ~~ GRANNY PEACE BRIGADE Vs NYC COUNCIL

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On Abraham Lincoln’s birthday-2/12/15, a cold snow shower day,  the NYC Grannies Peace Brigade demonstrated in front of NYC Hall protesting 15 members of the City Council, going to Israel in February, on an all -expenses paid junket sponsored by Zionist groups. Banners were displayed and leaflets distributed  to passerby’s explaining the protest.

Photos and commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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PALESTINIAN ‘SELFIE’ ON THE RUN ~~ FUN AND GAMES UNDER THE OCCUPATION

Notice the use of the word ‘PALESTINIAN‘ …. could this be a ploy to garner their votes in the upcoming Israeli election?

… If that’s the case, it won’t work!

 

Everyone Thinks This Is A Real Selfie By A Palestinian Running From The Israeli Defense Force

This image appears to show Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar being pursued by Israeli Defence Force members.

This image appears to show Palestinian rapper Tamer Nafar being pursued by Israeli Defense Force members.

Fake selfie of Palestinian being chased by IDF soldiers goes viral

Palestinian rap group DAM allegedly behind fake selfie showing Palestinian running from two IDF soldiers.

A fake selfie showing Palestinian being chased by IDF forces went viral on Twitter Tuesday. The selfie, which was staged and does not depict real IDF soldiers, was taken by Palestinian rap group DAM and shared by unwitting internet users who took it to be real.

According to Buzzfeed, an associate of the DAM rap group confirmed that the photo was staged but did not want to be quoted on record because he and his band mates have enjoyed watching the reaction to the picture online.

When closely examined, there are several hints the picture is a fake – from the sneakers the two “IDF soldiers” are wearing (not part of official IDF uniforms) to the posing of the two soldiers.

However, for those unfamiliar with the IDF, the picture seemed real and it was shared on the internet as an act of defiance by the Palestinian man.

The three people in the photo are DAM members Tamar Nafar, Suhell Nafar and Mahmoud Jreri, according to Buzfeed.

According to the group’s website, DAM is the first Palestinian hip hop group, it was formed in the ’90s after the three Palestinian men were struck by the resemblance of the reality of the streets in a Tupac video that look similar to the streets in their neighborhood of Lyd.

One of their best hits is a song called “Min Irhabi” (“Who’s the terrorist) and was downloaded over a million times after its internet release in 2001. Rolling Stone in France distributed the song for free in one of their issues, according to the DAM website.

 

Source

IN PHOTOS ~~ REMEMBERING THE STOLEN DREAMS ON MLK DAY

There were several marches – the one we went on had about 2,000 people.  Then we went to Grand Central Station where about 200 of us held up the names of unarmed Black citizens, mostly young men, who were killed by the police.  People read about them, who they were, how they died.  After each story people said their name, all together, and raised their fist in the air.  People passing through stopped to listen.  Some family members of those killed were there.  After 3 hours someone read King’s last speech and we repeated it, one line at a time (Occupy style) and then everyone sang We Shall Overcome and Keep Your Eyes on the Prize, Hold On.  Actually, we did the same thing for 24 hours last week.  It is a very powerful experience.

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We’ve come a long way, but we’re not there yet …

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

Marching through the streets …

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At Grand Central …

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ANYTHING DUMMIES CAN DO FEMINISTS CAN DO BETTER ~~ INCLUDING PHOTOSHOPPING

Feminists prove that you don't have to be a dummy to Photoshop

Feminists prove that you don’t have to be a dummy to Photoshop

The extremists have a history of denying the existence of women as can be seen in the following photos … (as much as we might like to deny Hillary’s existence, there are better ways than cutting her out of a photo)

Hillary Before …
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Hillary After …
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They even went as far as denying the role of women during the holocaust
The original …
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Where are the two women in the photo? …
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Two can play at the same game …. 

Feminist Paper Photoshops Male Leaders from Paris March Pics

Feminist paper’s novel response to hareidi papers photoshopping ‘immodest’ pictures of female leaders from publication…
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The original
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The Feminist version
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And finally, the extremist Hareidi version
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Who ever said the camera does not lie?

THE PHOTO TWEET THAT WENT VIRAL AROUND THE WORLD

Selfie with the greatest threat

to Israel

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How a tweet about Gaza children went viral round the globe

Three days ago Dan Cohen tweeted this photo from Gaza with seven words, “Selfie with the greatest threat to Israel,” and the tweet went viral, retweeted 16,000 times. I spoke to Cohen yesterday by Skype in Gaza to ask him about the photo and its resonance.

Where did you make the shot?

I was in Khuza’a, right on the border, east of Khan Younis. The village got destroyed this summer– not entirely but major parts of it. And there were just these cute kids and these kids– as I know you’re aware– are referred to as the demographic threat to Israel. I wanted to invoke that openly-racist language that is used by mainstream political leaders all over the world, including by President Obama.

When did the idea come to you?

It wasn’t like a big plan. There are hordes of adorable children all over the place here. I try and take a lot of photos throughout the day on my phone and then 12 hours later I was going through my pictures in Gaza City. The tagline came to me later, and I tweeted it. I thought I would get 50 retweets. But within 24 hours, it had 10,000 retweets, and it continues to go up.

Has this ever happened to you before?

No I’ve never had anything like this resonance before.

How do you explain it?

I got a notification from some kind of company that tracks trending. A few hours after I tweeted it, it was trending in London, then a few hours after that in Malaysia. So I mean obviously there’s a huge Muslim population in Malaysia, I think that explains why… But in terms of why it went viral, there are a couple things that come to mind to me. The racist language– the very racist concept of children being called a threat simply for their existence– people know about that, that’s not lost on people around the world. And the devastation that Israel just wrought on Gaza that killed 500-plus children, that also doesn’t go unnoticed. The Bakr boys image on the beach, or the father who was shown crying as he holds his child with his head blown off, those images are burned into people’s brains.

I think there were a couple of other factors. People really want to see something happy from Gaza. There’s so much devastation here, it pains people to wonder what the devastation is really like and what people are going thru, so to see sweet innocent children smiling helps.

And there’s one more thing. To be honest, I think people are happy to know that not all white Jews support Israel. So when they see a white guy with the name Dan Cohen whether they know I’m Jewish or think I’m Israeli, that it’s possible for a white Jewish man to recognize that these children are called threats– people respond to that.

What does it feel like to be in Gaza?

Right now it’s cold, it’s windy, it’s rainy and there are tens of thousands of people who have no real shelter. I just got back from Shuja’iyeh and it is really cold out there, a little above freezing, and there are children everywhere, and it’s devastating. Even just to go into Gaza City, where buildings are mostly intact– I’m in an apartment with the windows blown out, and I’m fine, I can leave. But sometimes, my head spins: just the fact that I’m in this prison for mostly children who have been reduced by the world to rubble people, and then I can come and go freely. I don’t have any way to explain that feeling. The dissonance is massive.

As a journalist, can you set out to do another tweet that will get this kind of attention?

No. I was surprised when it got a couple hundred retweets in like 15 minutes. I was really surprised by that.

Is it a grassroots trend or are there major nodes and celebrities? 

I did see that the foreign minister of Venezuela retweeted it. I think; I have to check that. But in terms of celebrities– no, I’m not aware of any.

Dan, you used to do rope access on big buildings in New York for a living. How long have you been a journalist?

Eleven months.

I’ve been a journalist a long time; and I can tell you you’ll remember this for the rest of your career. So do you think that’s the heroin of being a journalist, to have a hit like this? 

No. I have to say, my focus especially when in Gaza, is really not on myself. I’m surrounded by devastation all the time, so any great feelings about myself and what I’m doing is just passing, if there’s even a moment.

IN PHOTOS ~~ SANTA BRINGS HOPE AND CHEER TO PALESTINE

Palestinian activists dressed in Santa Claus outfits on Thursday sprayed graffiti demanding an end to the Israeli occupation and freedom for Palestinians on the Israeli separation wall in the southern West Bank town of Bethlehem.

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Santa Claus sprays graffiti on separation wall in Bethlehem
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BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinian activists dressed in Santa Claus outfits on Thursday sprayed graffiti demanding an end to the Israeli occupation and freedom for Palestinians on the Israeli separation wall in the southern West Bank town of Bethlehem.

Activists handed out candy to passing vehicles in celebration of Christmas and the New Year as others wrote slogans on the eight-meter high concrete wall that cuts Bethlehem off from neighboring Jerusalem.

One of the youths involved in the activity said the aim was to pass on good wishes to those celebrating Christmas in Bethlehem and hopes for a new year full of happiness for Palestinian children.
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The activity took place at a major intersection in Bethlehem where the Israeli wall reaches into the heart of the city to cut off the tomb of Biblical matriarch Rachel from the city around it.

Once a shared Jewish, Christian, and Muslim place of worship, the annexation of the area by Israel’s wall has also meant that non-Jews are no longer allowed to enter it. Instead, they are confronted by the wall’s watchtowers on every side, while access is only allowed from the Israeli side through a checkpoint forbidden to non-Jews.

Local activist Mazen al-Azza told Ma’an that the activists hoped to draw attention to the “danger” the wall represents for Bethlehem, particularly at Christmas since international attention is focused on the city and tens of thousands of foreign tourists pass through.

Al-Azza added that the activist was a message to the whole world that there should be no ambiguity regarding the Palestinian cause in the face of the Israeli occupation.
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Israel began building the separation wall in 2002, and the route has been the target of regular demonstrations by border towns whose land is cut off by its path.

Israel has regularly confiscated large plots of Palestinian land in order to build the wall. When the 435-mile barrier is complete, 85 percent of it will have been built inside the occupied West Bank.

In 2004 the International Court of Justice ruled that the separation wall was illegal and “tantamount to annexation.”

The wall also prevents Palestinians from moving freely in the West Bank between Palestinian villages, towns, and cities, increasingly trapping them in small pockets of Palestinian control.
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