Saturday, February 21, 2015

Some upcoming events, 2/21-4/4

Malcolm X remembrance

February 21 | 2-4:30pm | Hayti Heritage Center
Malcolm X: Black Liberation, Black and Muslim Lives Matter
In Remembrance of the 50th Anniversary of his Assassination

This February - Black Liberation Month - marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X - El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.
We invite the Durham community to participate in a public forum and dialogue about brother Malcolm - the movement that he came to inspire and represent, his thoughts, political practice, and militancy. Most importantly, we will discuss how Pan-Africanism, internationalism, Black self-defense, and other concepts Malcolm X raised can apply to today’s movement against state violence and for Black Liberation.Program includes:

– Video and audio of Malcolm X
– An introduction to his life and politics
– Talk by community members who worked with him
Reflections by Muslim leaders on his internationalism and the growing tide of Islamophobia
– Reflections on the #BlackLivesMatter movement, Black Power, and what impact and relevance “By Any Means Necessary” has today
– Open mic and discussionLight refreshments provided.
Please call 919-413-1276 for more information. [or see ]

From a local activist calendar:

Israeli Military Detention: No Way to Treat a Child: Workshop presented by Coalition for Peace with Justice and American Friends Service Committee and local co-sponsors. Each year, on average, 700 Palestinian children are prosecuted in Israeli military courts in the West Bank, documented by UNICEF and Defense for Children International. Join discussion with suggestions for actions to redress the situation. 9 AM-12:30 PM, Sat, Feb 21, Durham Friends Meeting, 404 Alexander Ave, Durham. $25; $15 for students and seniors. RSVP cpwjregister at gmail or 919-914-9881.

Will the Environment Survive a Renewed Middle East Peace Process? Alon Tal, leading Israeli environmental activist with Israel Union for Environmental Defense and Green Zionist Alliance, reviews environmental cooperation in the region and considers current peace process and how it might be leveraged to ensure an ecological dividend for that area.12 Noon, Sun, Feb 22, UNC's Gardner Hall Room 105, between Davis Library and Memorial Hall. Cosponsors: NC Hillel, Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations. agauss at nchillel dot org.

Israeli Apartheid Week 2015 at UNC: Events hosted by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Mon, Feb 23 - Thu, Feb 26.Teach-in: Israeli Apartheid 101 with panel, 6 PM, Feb 23, Bingham Hall 301, near Wilson Library; Short Films with Nick Denes, co-director of London Palestine Film Festival, 6 PM, Feb 25, Bingham Hall; Palestine Cultural Night, 8 PM, Feb 26, Campus YMCA Anne Queen Lounge, next to Memorial Hall, Cameron Ave. Info:

Politics Aside: Promoting Human Rights and Accountability in Israel/Palestine: Speaker Jessica Montell, who served as Executive Director of B'Tselem, Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, is now a visiting research fellow at Hebrew University Faculty of Law. 5:30 - 7 PM, Tue, Feb 24, Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy Rhodes Conference Room, corner of Science Dr and Towerview Rd and Science Dr, Durham. Sponsored by Duke Center for Jewish Studies, Duke Forum for Scholars and Publics, Duke Human Rights Center at Franklin Humanities Institute, UNC Students for Justice in Palestine.
Protest Government Whitewashing of Senate Torture Report: Join NC Stop Torture Now for vigil10 AM, Wed, Feb 25, Federal Building, Person St at New Bern Ave, Raleigh, or outside Senator Burr’s office building, 2000 West 1st St, Winston-Salem [there is also supposed to be an event in Fayetteville, but I don't have details]. If you cannot vigil, then call, email, or tweet President Obama[202-456-1111,, or @BarackObama] to order federal agencies to study the full report they have and take action. For more details:

Law in the Age of "Forever War": 21st Annual Center on Law, Ethics, and National Security Conference. Topics covered include: targeting, surveillance, home-grown terrorism, intelligence gathering in the digital age, law of armed conflict issues, and ensuring human rights and civil liberties. 8 AM Fri, Feb 27 to 5 PM Sat, Feb 28, Duke Law School, Science Dr, Durham. Register:
Putting a Face on Poverty in North Carolina: Speaker Gene Nichol, Director of UNC's Law School Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity, addresses what others know of the low ranking NC has from studies at the Center and sources such as The KIDS COUNT Data Book, an annual publication of Annie E. Casey Foundation, that assesses child well-being nationally and across the 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico. 11 AM, Fri, Feb 27, Celebration Assembly of God Church, 114 Weaver Dairy Rd, Chapel Hill. Sponsored by Shared Learning Association of Chapel Hill.

Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine: Documentary by award-winning producer Connie Fields about a black gospel group from the US visiting the West Bank. Al Helm illustrates the transformative power of art and how it can move us toward understanding. 7:30 PM, Fri, Mar 13, Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist sanctuary, 106 Purefoy Rd, corner of Mason Farm Rd. Sponsored by Peace and Justice Committee of Church and Balance and Accuracy in Journalism (BAJ). More information:

Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective Workdays: Sunday, 1 PM, 621 Hillsborough Rd, Carrboro, email prisonbooks at gmail or details; Political Prisoner Letter Writing Night (supplies provided.), 7 PM, 3rd Wednesdays, Internationalist Books & Community Center, 101 Lloyd St, Carrboro. Info:

Ongoing vigils for justice and peace: Raleigh: Stop the Arms Race and Build a Culture of Peace Vigil, 1st Wednesday of every month, Noon to 1 PM, Century Post Office on Fayetteville St (919-782-0667); Raleigh: End the death penalty (PFADP, AI-USA, NC-ACLU), 5 - 6 PM, Mondays, Central Prison, corner of Hunt Dr and Western Blvd (919-779-1912); Chapel Hill:4:30 - 5:30 PM EST [5-6 PM EDT], Fridays, corner of Elliott Rd and East Franklin St(919-942-2535).”

Shutdown AIPAC (Washington, DC February 28-March 3):

Join CODEPINK, Humanity for Palestine, US Campaign to End The Israeli Occupation, Students for Justice in Palestine East, If Americans Knew, Friends of Sabeel North America, Jews for a Just Peace for Palestinians, Boycott from Within, Answer Coalition, United States Palestinian Community Network, and Just Foreign Policy to #ShutDownAIPAC.
AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and affiliated organizations have long been bending politicians’ ears and filling their pockets, supporting the brutal occupation of Palestine and trying to push the US into war with Iran. Racism is the force that both helped to create and now helps to sustain and justify the brutal occupation of Palestine and the accompanying police state. Now is the time to connect the dots and challenge state-sponsored violence and racist police at home and abroad. Whether your motto is #FreePalestine or #BlackLivesMatter, we must unify our movements to call for an end to global militarism and the plague of racism. February 28th - March 3rd, when war criminal Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will be in DC to address AIPAC and a joint session of Congress, join activists from around the country to #ShutDownAIPAC!”

“Saturday, February 28, 2015
1:00PM Know Your Rights/Civil Disobedience Training at the CODEPINK house (1241 Evarts Street NE, Washington D.C)

7:00 - 10:00PM - #OneStruggle at Trinity Lutheran Church
Join Human Rights lawyer Noura Erakat, Dream Defenders Ahmed Abuznaid, Tef Poe and Tara Thompson from Ferguson, Missouri, Founder of Indigenous Resistance, native American activist Andrew Curley, and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organizer

Sunday, March 1, 2015
12:00 - 3:00PM #ShutDownAIPAC! Rally at the Washington Convention Center
Converge with activists from around the country on the Washington Convention Center with mock settlements, a checkpoint, a creative action with 100 Netanyahu Masks and bloody hands, and speakers including Steven Salaita, Ronnie Barkan and Ariel Gold.

7:00 – 10:00PM the Courage to Speak Out (Busboys and Poets on 5th and K)
Join Miko Peled and Philip Giraldi to discuss AIPAC’s political power and how best to counter it.

Monday, March 2, 2015
(Time TBA) Press Conference
6:00 PM – 9:00PM Protest at the Washington Convention Center
Join activists to protest Israel’s crimes and call out visiting Prime Minister Netanyahu for his government’s policies of occupation, apartheid, and warmongering!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
(Time TBA [at U Capitol]) Protest Netanyahu’s Speech at the joint session of Congress with ANSWER Coalition!!”

From the Alliance for Global Justice (

National Call for Local Actions on Anniversary of Hugo Chavez's Death

March 5 is the second anniversary of the passing of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez, who transformed Venezuela through his courageous struggle to help Venezuelans become protagonists of their destiny.

Before Chávez, Venezuela's natural resources enriched foreign oil companies and elites, both in Venezuela and abroad. Today the country's wealth has been harnessed for true development -- hundreds of thousands of homes and schools have been built, and healthcare has become free and accessible throughout the country. The goal of the Bolivarian revolutionary process is socialism, where every human being can enjoy guaranteed rights of healthcare, education, housing, jobs, equality, culture, social peace, and international solidarity.

The US government is working to destabilize Venezuela’s democratically elected government, using US tax-payer dollars to finance anti-government organizations in Venezuela, encouraging coup attempts and even terrorist attacks on their population. Now, the US is applying sanctions against Venezuela to punish the government and people for defending their sovereignty. It is up to us, the people of the United States, to demand that the US government stop the attacks and destabilization of Venezuela, respect international law and Venezuela's right to self-determination.

This is a dangerous time for Venezuela. The US has spent millions of dollars to destabilize Venezuela and regain control of their oil reserves, which are the largest on the planet. The Obama administration has increased these aggressive policies since the death of President Chávez and the 2013 election of President Maduro.

After losing legislative elections in late 2013, the opposition began violent street protests a year ago which resulted in over 40 deaths, the majority of which were security forces and Maduro supporters. The street protests failed, but the Obama administration and the Venezuelan opposition have continued their efforts to destabilize the country with the goal of removing Maduro from power.

The achievements of the Bolivarian Revolution in the areas of participatory democracy, economic equality, social justice, education, and healthcare are all gains we could benefit from in the United States. It is our political responsibility to oppose US government plans to destroy Venezuela’s democracy.”

These events are listed at :

Boston, Mass.
March 5th, 2015
Encuentro5 at 9A Hamilton Place, Boston, MA 02108-4701
6:30 p.m.
Remembrance of Hugo Chavez facilitated by General Consul Noel Martinez, Vanesa Matamoros and Jorge Marin

San Francisco, Calif.
March 5
24th and Mission St.
5:00 p.m.
Rally in Solidarity with Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution

Los Angeles, Calif.
March 6
Immanuel Presbyterian Church (3300 Wilshire Boulevard)
6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Forum in defense of the Bolivarian Revolution

New York City, N.Y.
March 5
5th Avenue between 33rd and 34th Street
4:00 p.m.
March: "Human Rights Watch, Weapon of the U.S. State Department"

Anti-war march in DC

As part of the Spring Rising ( anti-war intervention, ANSWER is organizing a demonstration Saturday, March 21st, beginning with a rally at Lafayette Park across from the White House at 12, followed by a march to the US Capitol at 1pm.

Durham Seed Libraries

Vegetable and flower seeds will be available for free at libraries in Durham again this year, starting April 4th. If you want to help the staff get things ready, there will be a work session February 25th 6-8pm at the Main Library, but people need to arrive before the Library closes for the day at 6. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Capitalism is the issue, not religion

I offer my condolences to the family and friends of Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha, and Razan Abu-Salha, killed February 10th in a Chapel Hill neighborhood located in Durham County.

Initially there were suggestions that this crime was motivated by atheist intolerance of Islam, though there is also evidence that the accused shooter was not especially anti-Islam. Whatever the facts turn out to be in this case, I find what could be called atheist fundamentalists misguided and extreme. Some atheists seem to think the main problem in the world is religion, as if it is religion that causes violence and ignorance, rather than capitalist unequal development and oppression by the US and other imperialists and their local proxies. In many cases, if people were more religious about following the pro-social aspects of their religion, the world would probably be better off. Activists with a religious ideology, such as Catholic Workers and Quakers, are some of the most dedicated anti-imperialists and social justice advocates in North Carolina, more so than much of the secular Left, even the Marxist Left. They are more active than I am, though some of what they do is paid non-profit work. Resisting imperialist capitalism is more important than fighting religion in the US, though it may be a more important issue in countries where religion dominates society, and it is foolish to unnecessarily alienate religious people by arguing over theology.