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News of our struggle

January 9, 2004 | Page 10

Chicago Social Forum
Protest the Republican National Convention

Stop the war in Iraq

NEW YORK--Some 300 people packed the Washington Square United Methodist Church December 11 to hear a report back from military family members and U.S. veterans recently returned from a delegation to Iraq. The event was hosted by United for Peace and Justice.

Sponsored by Global Exchange, the Occupation Watch Center, Military Families Speak Out and Veterans for Peace, the delegation spent a week in Iraq speaking to soldiers and ordinary Iraqis alike about the realities of the occupation. The delegation included military parents Fernando Suarez del Solar, whose son Jesús was killed during the invasion of Iraq last spring, and Annabel Valencia, who was able to visit her daughter while in Iraq.

One week later, antiwar and veterans' groups, including Veterans for Peace, organized a march of 50 people in through downtown Brooklyn. Several speakers, having just returned from a one-week visit to Iraq, shared stories of what they had seen and heard while meeting with Iraqis and with US soldiers.

Lucy Herschel and Alan Wallis contributed to this report.

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Chicago Social Forum
By Nate Goldbaum

CHICAGO--Activists from many different struggles will come together at the first ever Chicago Social Forum (CSF) January 31 for discussions, debates and building solidarity. Presenters at the CSF will include participants in this year's World Social Forum in Mumbai (Bombay), India, which will have just concluded.

Among the dozens of presenters will be Dr. Quentin Young (Physicians for a National Health Program), Njoki Njehu and Soren Ambrose (50 Years Is Enough/US Network for Global Economic Justice) and Dr. Calvin Morris (Community Renewal Society) and Ahmed Shawki (International Socialist Review).

The CSF takes inspiration from the World Social Forum, which in 2001 attracted over 10,000 people to its first meeting in Brazil and 100,000 in 2003. The social forum movement now includes continental and regional social forums for Europe and the Americas as well as numerous cities. The CSF is the first of several local social forums, from New York City to the Pacific Northwest, underway as a step toward a proposed North American Social Forum in 2005.

The Chicago Social Forum will take place Saturday, January 31, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Jones High School, 606 S. State. For more information or to endorse, call 312-427-2533 or visit

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Protest the Republican National Convention
By Paul Grohman

NEW YORK--It's time to start planning for the Republican National Convention, and to "welcome" it to New York City. More than 60 activists attended a December meeting of the No RNC Clearinghouse, a place for the different groups planning the protests around the RNC to come together.

The Clearinghouse will currently serve to facilitate these groups coming together, but not as any sort of decision-making process. The meeting was attended by a number of groups, including those representing the homeless, the media, local community coalitions, activists from other countries, United for Peace and Justice and the antiwar group ANSWER.

There was a definite recognition of the "police state" created in Miami for the recent protests against the Free Trade Area of the Americas, and the need to evaluate what that will look like in New York City. A representative of the organization Picture the Homeless spoke of his experience in Miami and the so-called "Miami model" of police repression.

A big part of the planning in progress is trying to find ways of using "creative resistance." Some of the ways this is taking shape include: the building of a giant wall so that people can write down their feelings towards the RNC; a Life After Capitalism Conference with Naomi Klein and others to discuss ways to build toward abolishing capitalism and models for a post-capitalist society; and mass marches throughout the city coming together at Times Square.

In the face of the growing oppression in this country, it is very important that we are organizing tactically as well as strategically. We need public outreach, to invite labor unions to get involved and to make sure that this Clearinghouse is open to everyone who wants to protest the RNC.

To find out more, check out, and

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