Please re-post this far and wide!


by Clare Bayard, March 25 2008
Last night, I stood over a thousand candles on the lawn in front of San Francisco’s City Hall. Veterans for Peace had organized a vigil to mark the official 4,000 U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, which technically happened Sunday, March 24th. As people began reading the last 1,000 names aloud, my whole body suddenly wracked with mourning. My chest was exploding and I knew it wasn’t a coronary or panic attack, but grief saturated me so thoroughly I could barely stand. Loved ones held me up as we mourned together; I could hardly let go of a former Marine friend who chose military jail instead of Iraq, and I had never felt such frantic, choking relief to have him standing alive beside me. I can’t imagine the world without him now.

I say “technical count” because we don’t even have the numbers to do the math, which means the full picture is beyond our grasp:

4,000 official U.S. servicemembers killed

1-6,000 U.S. servicemember suicides- inadmissible as war casualties

over a thousand nonmilitary contractors, civilians, etc.

how many debilitating injuries?

Plus how many deeply affected partners, parents, family members, friends, lovers in the life of each one of these tens of thousands? The children they might have had, and the ones some already did?

…and, echoing in barely broken silence, the deaths of 650,000 to over a million Iraqis.
A Presbyterian minister, who participates in a similar annual vigil for the deaths of San Francisco’s homeless people, began the ritual with a nondenominational invocation. She spoke of the tremendous loss of so many humans with all their talents and creativities, everything they might have brought to their communities.
I feel lucky to be alive today, walking in the spring sun and holding the fierce grief of so many deaths. I feel lucky that my father, a Vietnam Vet, is alive instead of a name on the black granite Wall in D.C., lucky that I was born.

But war doesn’t play duck-duck-goose, bypassing most people entirely and just taking a scatter of heads. No one in Iraq lives separate from the war, and in a dramatically different way neither do we in the U.S.

War defines daily reality in occupied lands. Where wars are being fought in the streets and skies, where depleted uranium underfoot rises in plumes of dust and a sudden noise might be the last thing you hear, war is everything from the toxic air to the mined soil. In the U.S. there is a myth that war is just happening “over there” where bombs are vaporizing houses and human bodies. As if war was not already here, and as if the multi-variant violence of militarism does not return in the body of every veteran, alive or dead.

My perspective on this is profoundly shaped by being raised by a veteran father; the war on Vietnam lived in my house every day when I was growing up. I was lucky enough to be born. To be housed. 1 in 4 homeless people in my city are veterans. My dad’s class and race privilege and my mom’s waged and unwaged work kept us housed and together, even though the war has never let him go. And in a way, I have come to understand myself as lucky to be the child of a war veteran, in the ways that it helps me to keep my heart alive during the crushing numbness of this “endless war.” I cannot see, or feel myself as disconnected from war—either from those murdered by U.S. occupation, or those within the ranks of our military who are struggling to stay human.

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there's a request to call obama's campaign


Israel is allowing only 41% of Gaza's food requirements
Israel grants only 1 in 7 patients access to urgent treatment outside Gaza
Israel denies medication and hospital supplies to Gaza
Israel is not allowing enough fuel to treat and pump clean water in Gaza
Israel's cruelty has caused more than 70 deaths of untreated Gaza patients since June
"We have to understand why Israel is forced (sic) to do this"

(866) 675-2008

Denying food to 1.5 million civilians is a crime! It is irresponsible for Obama to encourage it.
Denying medicine to sick and dying people is a crime. It is NOT self defense.
Israel's actions are collective punishment. Why does Obama not condemn it?
Denying food, medicine and other essential supplies does nothing to harm fighters or the Hamas government in Gaza. It only harms civilians, one half of whom are children. Does Obama consider them disposable?
Obama's callous defense of Israel's cruelty deserves your action.
Presidential candidates are sensitive to criticism. Your calls have the potential
to make Palestinian rights an issue. Now is the time.

Following is the text of Obama's letter to the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad. A photocopy of the signed letter is at


Dear Ambassador Khalilzad,

I understand that today the U.N. Security Council met regarding the situation in Gaza, and that a resolution or statement could be forthcoming from the Council in short order.

I urge you to ensure that the Security Council issue no statement and pass no resolution on this matter that does not fully condemn the rocket assault Hamas has been conducting on civilians in Southern Israel for over two years.

All of us are concerned about the impact of closed border crossings on Palestinian families. However, we have to understand why Israel is forced to do this. Gaza is governed by Hamas, which is a terrorist organization sworn to Israel’s destruction, and Israeli civilians are being bombarded by rockets on an almost daily basis. That is unacceptable and Israel has a right to respond while seeking to minimize any impact on civilians.

The Security Council should clearly and unequivocally condemn the rocket attacks against Israel, and should make clear that Israel has the right to defend itself against such actions. If it cannot bring itself to make these common sense points, I urge you to ensure that it does not speak at all.


Barack Obama
United States Senator

Urgent Action needed TODAY for affordable housing in Bayview (san francisco specific)


POWER and the Stop Lennar Action Movement need your help—RIGHT NOW.

Call or email Board of Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval
and urge him to sponsor Affordable Housing Initiative!

Lennar is placing an initiative on the ballot to get control of 700 more acres of land in Bayview Hunters Point. You might recognize Lennar as the developer who is currently poisoning children, elderly and low-income families in Bayview Hunters Point.

In response, POWER and the Stop Lennar Action Movement are attempting to place our own initiative on the ballot to block Lennar’s efforts. Specifically, our initiative would require that 50% of the planned 8,500 to 10,000 housing units that Lennar would build be affordable to SF residents. Of those units, our initiative would require that at least 1/3 be affordable at 30% AMI, 1/3 be affordable at 60%AMI, and 1/3 be available to 80% AMI. This would be a landmark decision, opening up TRULY affordable housing to working class San Francisco.

We need 4 supervisors to sign on to this in order for it to qualify for the June 2008 election. However, 2 of the 4 supervisors who were with us are now being pressured by Lennar NOT to sign the initiative. These supervisors have stood with us before, demanding accountability for Lennar, but when the heat is turned up,

Call or email Sandoval RIGHT NOW!
(415) 554-6975

also call Tom Ammiano to let him know how important his signature and his support is
(415) 554-5144

Call these Supervisors RIGHT NOW and urge them to sign and sponsor the Bayview Affordable Housing Initiative!

The deadline for the Supervisors to sign the ordinance in 5pm TODAY – Tuesday Jan. 15, 2008

Thank you for your solidarity and Support!!

CALL TO ACTION re: NOLA housing demolitions

here is an update from Ingrid of the Catalyst Project, followed by an update and appeal from the Coalition to Stop the Demolitions:

Hello friends and family, 12-18-07

Clare Bayard and I have just returned back to Oakland after 2 weeks in
New Orleans. We were there as part of our ongoing Catalyst Project New
Orleans Solidarity Program.

I am so happy to be able to share with you some victories from just
this last week in New Orleans. The struggle to stop the demolition of
4,600 low income public housing units is far from over but the
Coalition to Stop the Demolitions has had some victories this week
that have slowed them down. Hopefully the victories and some more time
will help us build a stronger force for the ongoing struggle for
justice and the right of return of all residents.

Below my email is a letter from the Coalition to Stop the Demolitions,
which lists a bunch of ways national solidarity is needed!

Links to short films from this last week and more:

Just this last week in New Orleans…
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The Intifada Will Not Be Funded

This article can be found on the web at

Target Ford


[from the June 5, 2006 issue of The Nation]

On October 16, 2003, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a New York-based wire service that serves Jewish newspapers worldwide, launched a scorching four-part series on the Ford Foundation. Written by investigative reporter Edwin Black, the series, "Funding Hate," alleged that Ford had provided financial support to several Palestinian nongovernmental organizations accused of anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic behavior at the United Nations World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa, in late summer 2001. A Ford spokesman denied the thrust of Black's allegations: "We have seen no indication that our grantees in Durban or elsewhere engaged in anti-Semitic speech or activities."Collapse )

Jena articles round up (In Progress)

Restoring Classroom Justice
Restorative justice in schools has picked up steam in response to “zero tolerance” policies, which lead to “schoolhouse-to-jailhouse tracking”
By Lewis Wallace
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The Justice that Jena Demands
by Xochitl Bervera
Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children (FFLIC)

I want to tell you about Emmanuelle Narcisse. Collapse )

report from Jena

Jena Ignites a Movement
By Jordan Flaherty
September 21, 2007

Six courageous families in the small Louisiana town of Jena sent out a call for justice that has now been amplified around the world. Yesterday's mass protests in Jena were unlike anything I have seen in my life, a beautiful and enormous outpouring of energy and outrage that may have the potential to ignite a movement.

The basic facts of the case are by now widely known. In this 85% white town, where the high school yard was segregated by race, a Black student asked to sit under a tree that had been reserved for white students only. The next day, three nooses hung from the tree. The white students who hung the nooses received only a mnor punishment, and more importantly, no one in the white power structure of LaSalle Parish, where Jena is located, seemed to take the nooses seriously as racial incident. There were no lectures to the students on the meaning of the nooses, or the legacy of racism, slavery and Jim Crow in the rural south. Instead, the Parish's district attorney told protesting Black students that he could take away their lives, "with a stroke of my pen." He then proceeded to attempt to do just that, charging six students with attempted murder after a schoolyard fight later that year.

In the nine months since their children were charged with attempted murder, the family members of the Jena Six organized meetings, hosted rallies, sent out press releases and letters and made phone calls – whatever they could think of. They were determined to not let this stand. For months, they stood nearly alone, accompanied by solidarity visits from activists from nearby towns and cities in Louisiana and Texas. Many of their friends and neighbors were afraid to speak out, and some reported having their jobs threatened. One white couple who spoke out said they felt pressured to leave town. But, in the face of what seemed like overwhelming obstacles, and with no organizing experience or friends in high places, the people of Jena continued to struggle. After months of silence from the media and from mainstream civil rights organizations, the first media stories began appearing, which were widely forwarded by mail, and amplified by homemade videos. After Mychal Bell's conviction at the end of June, and stories on Democracy Now and in the Final Call newspaper, support started growing exponentially, with hundreds of letters bringing tens of thousands of dollars in donations. By September, it became a movement that even the corporate media could not ignore.

At 5:00am, the buses were already arriving. A full bus from Chicago emptied out, some people brushing their teeth as they stepped into the slightly cold pre-dawn air. They seemed exhausted, but also charged and energized. Next came buses from Baton Rouge, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. By 7:00am, reports were coming in that hundreds of buses were lined up outside of town, some having been briefly prevented by State police from entering. Meanwhile, hundreds of people, from cars and buses and motorcycles, were pouring into Jena, while many thousands more were gathering in the streets outside the Jena courthouse. As simultaneous rallies began in the two locations, thousands of more people streamed into the city. By 9:00am, there were, by some estimates, up to 50,000 people in this town of 2,500. Almost every business in town was shut down, many roads were closed by police checkpoints, and a sea of protest filled the city for miles.

This demonstration was not initiated by any one national organization, and there was little coordination between some of the major organizations involved. The initial call came from the families themselves, and most people had heard about the demonstration through local Black radio stations, especially on syndicated shows like the Michael Baisden and Steve Harvey shows, as well as through blogs and youtube (one activist-made youtube video, recommended by Baisden, has already been seen well over a million times) as well as on social networking sites like myspace. As Howard Witt has pointed out in the Chicago Tribune, "Jackson, Sharpton and other big-name civil rights figures, far from leading this movement, have had to scramble to catch up. So, too, has the national media, which has only recently noticed a story that has been agitating many black Americans for months."

This decentralization was beautiful, although sometimes chaotic. As thousands gathered at the rally at the ball field, which was sponsored by the NAACP, thousands more demonstrators marched from the courthouse to the Jena High School, and tens of thousands continued to arrive and fill the streets around downtown Jena. Because this movement was without central leadership, there were many agendas, and also some confusion, as people were unsure when the march began, or if there was a march, and also unsure about parallel events, such as an afternoon hiphop concert at the ball field, which was mostly attended by people from the local community. People seemed unconcerned about the lack of clarity, however, and marched on their own schedule, which led to a more democratic feel to the day, unlike the more controlled, and sometimes disempowering, marches that some mainstream groups have organized in the past.

The t-shirts on display reflected the lack of central control – every community had made their own t-shirt, literally hundreds of variations on the theme of Free The Jena Six, many personalized to reflect their school or community. Hours of speakers delivered messages of solidarity and calls to action, from Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to performers such as Mos Def and Sunni Patterson, while the enormous crowds marched and chanted, and also simply basked in a truly historic outpouring of activism. Participants varied from children and teens at their first demonstration to civil rights movement veterans. Many people who had never before been to a demonstration ended up organizing a delegation or booking a bus for this journey.

While the vast majority of the white community of Jena chose to stay either indoors or out of town, hundreds of Black Jena residents proudly displayed their "Free The Jena Six" shirts, and continued to gather in the ball field hours after most out of town visitors had left. White activists from across the US also largely stayed away from this historic event – perhaps 1 to 3 percent of the crowd was white, in what amounts to a disturbing silence from the white left and liberals. This silence indicates that the US Left is divided by race in many of the same ways this country is.

Yesterday's march, however, was not about division. It was a generational moment – the kind of watershed event that could signal a turning point in our movements. But what does the gigantic crowd in Jena mean? For some supporters, it felt like a fulfillment of those months that the families stood alone – a moment where the world stood with them, and the power structure backed down. In the last week Mychal Bell's convictions have been overturned, and most of the other students saw their charges lessened. Yesterday was also a moment for grassroots independent media, who built this story, and kept it alive until the 24 hour news channels could no longer ignore it. It was a moment for historically black colleges and universities to shine - Student activists organized bus convoys – five or more buses arrived from many southern schools - which were quickly filled by a broad range of students.

Yesterday was a moment for the unaffiliated left, for people everywhere concerned about a criminal justice system that has locked up two million and keeps growing. It was a moment for those concerned about school systems in the US, and especially the policing of our schools, what activists have called the School to Prison Pipeline. It was a moment for those that feel that the US has still not dealt with our history of slavery and Jim Crow, and our present realities of white supremacy. Perhaps that is where the power in yesterday's demonstration lies; if this undirected and uncontrolled outrage can be directed towards real societal change, if outrages like Jena can finally bring about the conversation on race in this country that we were promised after Katrina, if this united movement to support these six kids can show that we can unite for justice and win, then Jena will truly have been a victory.

As writer Andre Banks asked yesterday, "What would happen if every person who wore a t-shirt today or handed out a flyer or wrote a blog post woke up tomorrow and looked for the Mychal Bell in their own backyard? He, or she, won't be hard to find. What if our outrage, today directed at the small Louisiana town of Jena, extended to parallel injustices in Detroit or Cincinnati or Sacramento or Miami? What if we viewed this mobilization not as the end of a successful, innovative campaign, but as the moment that catalyzes us into broader and deeper action in every place where we are?" If this happens, we can say that it all began with six families in Jena, Louisiana, who refused to stay silent.

Jordan Flaherty is an editor of Left Turn Magazine , a journal of grassroots resistance. His May 9, 2007 article from Jena was one of the first to bring the case to a national audience. His previous articles from Jena are online at To contact Jordan, email: On myspace:


New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE) and Network of Teacher Activist Groups (TAG) have developed: Revealing Racist Roots: The 3 R's for Teaching About the Jena 6, a curriculum guide for teachers to address what's happening in Jena. Download the resource guide in PDF Version or Word Version for free at: OR

Donate to support the legal defense fund:
Jena 6 Defense Committee
PO BOX 2798
Jena, LA 71342

Sign the petitions at:

For more information or to offer concrete support, email:

Coverage from The Final Call newspaper:

Andre Banks' Blog:

The Jena Six and the School To Prison Pipeline:

If you are in nyc and want to get involved Jena Six Support, email:
In New Orleans, email:

Support Organizations:

Please support independent media! Subscribe to Left Turn Magazine.

Jena 6 vigil

Last Friday's initial victory for the Jena 6 made it clear that the growing, national awareness about what's happening in Jena is making a difference. But the fight is just beginning. You can help make sure the word continues to spread by attending or hosting a vigil or rally in your community on September 19th or 20th.
Click below to find or create one, near you:

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana surprised everyone on Friday when it ruled that Mychal Bell shouldn't have been tried as an adult and nullified his conviction. It's a huge win, but the fight is not over. District Attorney Walters is appealing to the state Supreme Court, and if that fails, he'll almost certainly try Mychal and the others as juveniles.

Most people believe that the court's decision to move so quickly was a direct result of hundreds of thousands of voices speaking out and bringing pressure at all levels of the state. That's why it's critical that we keep building awareness and focusing national attention on the injustice unfolding in Jena.

Rallies and vigils are a great way to introduce others to this issue locally, in addition to being educational and personally fulfilling. Even a dozen people gathering on an issue will usually get the attention of local press, especially when it connects to a national story as it does in this case. If a rally or vigil doesn't yet exist in your community, create one. It's easy. We'll give you the materials you need and suggestions on how to make it a success.

National day of action

The rallies, vigils and other activities of the national day of action are planned to coincide with the rally in Jena. We're also giving people a way to download flyers to post in their communities and make phone calls into state officials on the 20th. Learn more and sign up for other activities, here:

Thank you again for standing up and using your voice to defend these young men. We hope that you'll find a way to step things up further this week in your community, in Jena, or wherever you'll be.

Thank You and Peace,

-- James, Van, Gabriel, Clarissa, Mervyn, and the rest of the team
September 18th, 2007

Lynne Stewart on the SF 8

Support of the San Francisco 8

An open call to all my friends and comrades and political cohorts,

...the Movement

After a lazy summer, I was called back to action
by the fact of the tremendous victory that was
won by the lawyers for the San Francisco 8, in
state court in San Francisco, when the Judge
against the strong opposition of the government
(California Attorney General Jerry Brown (!)) set
bail. In my 45 year experience as an activist
and as an attorney, they just don???t set bail in
a case that involves the murder of a cop??? -not
in the police state . They especially don???t
set bail when the defendants are activist black men.

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Iraq Moratorium

Friday Septe4mber 21: the Iraq Moratorium kick off!

from the SF Bay Area Iraq Moratorium website

The Iraq Moratorium is a community based nationwide campaign to organize public displays of opposition to the war in Iraq on the third Friday of each month, starting on September 21.

Our goals are simple: ending the US occupation of Iraq, bringing the troops home now, and funding human needs here at home. The SF Bay Area Iraq Moratorium exists to encourage diverse individuals, communities and organizations to demonstrate their opposition to the war each month in as many different ways as they find useful and possible.

Read the rest of the call: Collapse )

For a list of the many, many events in observation of the moratorium kick off, please check the calendar In San Francisco, note the noon gathering a Civic Center, and the 5 -6 pm vigil at Dianne Feinstein's office.

articles about the Moratorium:

What's a Moratorium?
By Mark Rudd & Doug Viehmeyer

Iraq Moratorium:The THIRD FRIDAY of every month beginning Friday
September 21st
By Bill Fletcher, Jr.

"A Moratorium Wired to Stop the War," by JEREMY BRECHER & BRENDAN SMITH: