Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Forum on human rights abuses on NC tobacco farms this Sunday

The Farm Labor Organizing Committee, the National Farm Worker Ministry, the NC AFL-CIO, and Triangle Friends of Farmworkers are hosting a panel discussion on abuses of farmworkers in the local tobacco industry, Sunday, July 27th, 4-6pm at the Pullen Memorial Baptist Church's Fellowship Hall (1801 Hillsborough Street in Raleigh).  Two British members of Parliament have been on a fact finding mission here for two days in relation to the company British American Tobacco and will speak about what they have seen and heard, as will farmworkers and advocates, including a representative from OXFAM.  FLOC President Baldemar Velasquez will lead a discussion of what can be done to improve conditions in the fields. Representatives Price and Butterfield were invited, but it isn't certain if they will show solidarity.      

Friday, July 18, 2014

Some upcoming protests

Against the Israeli attack on Gaza:

"Join concerned citizens and the Coalition for Peace with Justice in advocating for peace with justice in Palestine/Israel and an end to the shelling of Gaza

Saturday, July 19 • 12:00-4:00 p.m. • Capitol Building Grounds • 1 East Edenton St.• Raleigh, NC

Dr. Ralph McCoy, CPWJ member, Ralph was part of a delegation that visited Gaza in November 2012 as Operation Pillar of Defense, the Israeli shelling of Gaza, began.
Dr. Rania Masri, Arab-American writer, professor, and human rights activist, Dr. Masri is assistant professor at the University of Balamand in Lebanon. Her research and activism have centered on environmental justice, civil rights, and anti-war (Iraq) and anti-occupation (Palestine) and anti-apartheid (Israel).

Since the Israeli shelling of Gaza began on July 8*:

197 persons killed: 149 civilians including 38 children and 28 women
1,390 injured: 393 children and 252 women
20,000 displaced people in need of emergency food assistance
18,000 civilians have taken shelter in UNRWA schools
Water supply to 170,000 people cut due to Israeli rockets hitting water and sanitation facilities in 18 different locations
1,370 homes destroyed or severely damaged
79 schools damaged
23 health facilities damaged

* Source: United Nations 7/15/14"

Carrboro:  July 19th at 6pm at the corner of Weaver and North Greensboro streets [I'm not sure about this, because the announcement says it is on a Thursday).

Durham:  July 23rd at 5:30pm at the corner of Chapel Hill and Main streets (Little Five Points)
              July 25 at 6pm at the corner of Main and Gregson streets.

The ANSWER Coalition is organizing Stop the Massacre in Gaza! rallies in cities across the country in the coming week and a National March on Washington outside the White House August 1, starting at 1pm ( 

There are also the regular vigils - Fridays 5-6pm at the corner of East Franklin Street and Elliot Road in Chapel Hill and the Stop the Arms Race and Build a Culture of Peace Vigil on the first Wednesday each month, 12-1pm at the First Century Post Office on Fayettville Street in Raleigh.  There is also an anti-death penalty vigil every Monday, 5-6pm, at Central Prison in Raleigh (corner of Hunt Drive and Western Boulevard).  

NC public worker union UE150's convention is this Saturday, the 19th, at NCCU and there will be a protest against State Budget Director Art Pope at 12pm at 1000 North Miami Boulevard in Durham (related to    

There will be a Vigil for Children at the Border Monday, July 21st at 7pm at Chapel Hill's Peace and Justice Plaza (corner of East Franklin Street and Henderson Street, at the Post Office across Franklin from UNC).  Organizers are also seeking donations of money or new pencils, crayons, paper, coloring books, small toys, etc. for detained minor asylum seekers.    

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Durham County Library seed banks and the Spring Book Sale

The Durham County Library is starting the Digging Durham Seed Library, where people can donate and check out seeds that grow well in the area ( ).  The seed library is open for donations now, and seeds can be checked out starting on the 23rd.  The Library is also holding workshops on seed saving - there was one at the South Regional Library last Sunday, but there will be two more at the Southwest Regional Library April 12th, 3-5pm, and at the Main Library April 15th, 6:30-8:30pm ( ).  Hopefully this will encourage more people to garden or grow their own food, and it could help preserve food biodiversity.        

The Friends of the Durham Library's Spring Book Sale (one of two each year) is also coming up this weekend in the garage at the Main Library.  This Friday's sale, 4-7pm, is for FODL members only (new members can join starting at 2pm) and the regular sale is Saturday, 10-4.  On Sunday (2-5pm) you can buy a paper grocery bag of books for just $7.  The regular price is a dollar for hardcovers and trade paperbacks and 50 cents for smaller paperbacks, with higher (but still pretty low) prices for special items.  They have over 50,000 books, tapes, CDs, DVDs, flash cards, etc. This is one of my favorite annual events in Durham and it's a good place to find old or rare political works, though you have to search to find them.    

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A moment of silence for Becky Heron

This evening NPR announced that former Durham County Commissioner Becky Heron passed away. It seemed like she was a permanent part of the Commission until she retired a few years ago. She was a commissioner from December 6, 1982 to August 1, 2011, and the first woman chairperson from December 1994 to 1996. In 1995 the NC Association of County Commissioners selected her as that year's Oustanding County Commissioner. She was known for her green and progressive stands. I knew she was doing good work on the Commission, though I was young, but it wasn't until recent years that I followed local government closely, and witnessed her courageous stands on land use issues. I offer my condolences to her family.

Hopefully one or both of the county commissioners elected in 2012 will continue Heron's pro-environmental stand.

For more information, see:

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Anti-war rallies Monday, Petraeus at Duke, etc.

Reject aggression against Syria:

There will be at least two rallies against attacking Syria Monday in central NC. You can see how your representative is leaning at: As of now, it looks like David Price and Mel Watt lean toward approval of a war that would violate international law. G.K. Butterfield has not made a statement. Walter Jones plans to vote against war, and George Holding leans towards a no vote.  Many Republicans are cool to Obama's war plans, but it would be a mistake to call the Republican or Democratic parties anti-war, since that usually means or should mean principled rejection of imperialist wars or war in general, not temporary opposition to wars that are unpopular or launched by a president from the other party.   

Chapel Hill (Orange County Peace Coalition):

Vigil for US Diplomatic Response to Crisis in Syria
Monday, September 9th, 6-7 pm at Peace and Justice Plaza (in front of the Chapel Hill Post Office, at the corner of East Franklin and Henderson streets. They say to bring signs.

As always, there is a separate vigil Friday 5-6pm at East Franklin and Elliot streets, near University Mall.

Greensboro (World Can't Wait):

What: NO WAR ON SYRIA rally

When: Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, 5-6pm

Where: Federal Building, corner of W. Market and Eugene St.

With or without Congressional approval, an attack by the U.S. military can only mean more suffering for the Syrian people. History shows this very clearly: more than a decade of war for US empire in Iraq and Afghanistan has brought devastation to those countries that will take decades to undo. A widespread campaign of drone bombing and US-led air-strikes across the Middle East and North Africa has brought instability and massive suffering to millions of people. The US-led wars have resulted in hundreds of thousandsof civilian deaths, all for the benefit of strategic economic interests of US elites, whose concerns about Syria are anything but “humanitarian.”

Our empathy with the Syrian people and the people throughout the region leads us to stand against US military strikes. We will not let our empathy be twisted into a cry for war for empire!

We are not taking sides in the Syrian civil war. We are taking responsibility for the actions of the U.S. government! Our empathy with the Syrian people is NOT a cry for war!

Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, 5-6pm: Rally at the Federal Building, corner of W. Market and Eugene St.”

General Petraeus Speaking at Duke:

Retired general and alleged war criminal David Petraeus will be speaking at Duke's Page Auditorium 6 to 7:15 pm on the 11th, as part of Duke's Program in American Grand Strategy (see ).

Here is how they plan to greet Petraeus Monday at the City University of New York, where he will be teaching a course:
Protest Petraeus’s first day of class

Monday, Sept. 9th, 2:30 p.m.

CUNY Must Not Be A War College!

War Criminal Petraeus, ROTC, Military Contracts, and Military Recruiters: Out of CUNY!

Protest Petraeus’s first day of class

When: Monday, September 9th, 2:30 p.m.

Where: Macaulay Honors College, 35 West 67th St.
(between Central Park West and Columbus Ave.)

CUNY has signed up a war criminal to “teach” at the Macaulay Honors College. Join with us in protesting this outrage.

The Board of Trustees has appointed former CIA chief David Petraeus – ex-commander of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars – to give a course titled “Are We On the Threshold of the North American Decade?” at the Macaulay Honors College. Whether being paid $200,000 or $1 (the amount his pay has been reduced to following widespread indignation at his salary), this mass murderer must not be allowed to teach at CUNY. The importance of mass protest is highlighted by the fact that many CUNY students and their families come from countries targeted by the U.S. military and dominated by U.S. imperialism.

As commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Petraeus rained death on Afghan civilians. As commander of “coalition” forces in Iraq, he ran the imperialist slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Petraeus brought Col. James Steele – who commanded death squads in Vietnam and Central America – to Iraq to organize and train death squads which carried out “the worst acts of torture” during the U.S. occupation (London Guardian, 6 March).

As CIA chief, Petraeus was the architect of almost 3,000 “targeted killings” by drones.

Meanwhile, the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program is being revived at CCNY, York, Medgar Evers and the College of Staten Island. ROTC was ousted from CUNY in 1971 after widespread protests against its role recruiting and training officers for the U.S. war in Vietnam that killed an estimated 3 million Vietnamese.

The appointment of Petraeus follows CCNY’s recent establishment of the Colin Powell Center, named after the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the U.S. invasion of Panama (1989) and the first Persian Gulf War (1991).

The increasing militarization of CUNY is also reflected in military recruiters; Army and Navy “missile command” and “air warfare” representatives’ participation in a CCNY conference on “Automatic Target Sensing”; arms manufacturers Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin’s backing for CCNY’s $198 million Advanced Science Research Center, etc.

CUNY security’s relationship with the NYPD has expanded in recent years. While campus cops work closely with the NYPD to repress student and worker protests, business-as-usual for the NYPD includes spying on Muslim students on campus. CUNY campus “peace officers” are able to make arrests and to use deadly force (included in the CUNY administration’s arsenal are hollow-point bullets, which even the NYPD is not supposed to use (New York Post, 6 May 1999).

Against this growing militarization of CUNY, the time for massive protest is now!

Ad Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY

The September 9 protests demanding “CUNY Must Not Be a War College” and “War Criminal Petraeus, ROTC, Military Contracts and Military Recruiters: Out of CUNY!” have been endorsed by the following organizations and individuals (list in formation): Internationalist Group, CUNY Internationalist Clubs, Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee, Students Without Borders at Queens College, Class Struggle Education Workers, Workers Power-US, IGNITE, Movimiento Socialista de Trabajadores-NYC, AsociaciĆ³n de Estudiantes Latinas/os y Latinoamericanas/os of CUNY, Sister Circle Collective, Dr. Hester Eisenstein of Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY, Carmelina Cartei, Anakbayan-NY.

Communist Voice for September:

Last Tuesday was the last airing of the August programs (Manchuria 1945... & The War on Freedom on TPC and Truth & Politics, a David Ray Griffiths lecture on DCM, and the difference is because there was a disc problem). This Tuesday Loose Change: Final Cut, a 9/11 truth documentary, should begin airing on both cable access stations at 6pm on Tuesdays.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Demonstrate against an attack on Syria

There were demonstrations and protests against the prospect of a war with Syria last weekend and today, and more are coming up this weekend before Congress votes next week:

Every week there is an anti-war vigil in Chapel Hill at the corner of Franklin Street and Elliot Road (Village Plaza), from 5-6pm at this time of year. 

As part of this year's Radical Rush at UNC, there will be a speak out against "bullshit" at 6pm in the Pit in front of the Student Union, and imperialist war should be included. 

Saturday (9/7) at 2:30 Black Workers for Justice is organizing a rally against the war at the MLK Gardens (900 Rock Quarry Road) in Raleigh. 

[ More rallies scheduled for Saturday in Raleigh, Charlotte, and Asheville (and on the 12th) are listed at ]

There will be two national demonstrations in Washington, DC, marching from the White House to the Capitol.  One will be Saturday at 12 and the other Monday at 10am.  For more information, visit: 

A petition to the members of Congress representing the Triangle and Obama is online at:

[ Pledge not to vote for the members of Congress who authorize war with Syria at: ]

Monday, April 29, 2013

May Day 2013

Here are some local events marking (or sort of marking) International Workers' Day (May 1st), labor day for much of the world. 
5/1 Raleigh:  There will be a rally 3-4pm in Moore Square followed by a march to the NC Legislature and then a rally 5:30-8 at Halifax Square (16 West Jones Street).  For more information call 919 533 9203, see Facebook, or
The NC Student Power Union is rallying 1:30-2:20 at the NCSU Bell Tower before marching to join the rally at Moore Square.  See for more information and transportation. 
I thought there was traditionally a marijuana legalization rally in Raleigh on the 1st, but a quick search doesn't turn up any events this year. 
5/1 Chapel Hill:  Anarchists will be rallying at the Peace and Justice Plaza in front of the Post Office on Franklin Street at 5pm. 
5/5 Sanford:  Workers Taking a Stand Against Fracking  There will be a rally by Workers for Clean Water at Lee County Depot Park (106 Charlotte Avenue) in Sanford at 3pm.  It is organized by Cumnock Preservation, Ed Harris (Stand Your Ground), and Blue Ridge Environmental Defense.  For more information see: .  
5/5 Durham: 
Profit versus the common good in NC government
Legislators are rolling back democratic decisionmaking and laws protecting the social good in favor of elite profits. Join a discussion of this business first policy and what can be done, Sunday, May 5th at 3pm at Durham's Southwest Library (3605 Shannon Road), meeting room A.  For more information email michael_pollock at yahoo dot com. 
If you know of other events, please comment or email me.