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News and reports

March 17, 2006 | Pages 10 and 11

Defend immigrant rights
Confronting David Horowitz

Say no to war and occupation

SAN DIEGO--Some 30 marchers arrived at Chicano Park in the Barrio Logan neighborhood on the afternoon of March 12 as part of a two-week, 241-mile march against war and injustice.

The marchers began early in the morning 25 miles to the south in Tijuana, Mexico.

Organized by Guerrero Azteca, the "Walk for Peace" (Peregrinación por la paz) focuses on building antiwar activism in the Latino community and was initiated by war resisters Pablo Paredes, Camilo Mejía and Aidan Delgado and Fernando Suarez del Solar, whose son, Jesús was serving as a U.S. Marine when he was killed in Iraq on March 27, 2003.

Along the way, the marchers will link up with local activists and make stops at important landmarks in the struggle against war and for Latino rights in the U.S. In San Diego, 30 peace and community activists met the marchers for a potluck dinner and rally in Chicano Park.

In addition to Paredes and Suarez del Solar, immigrant rights activist Enrique Morones addressed the rally, linking the U.S. and Iraqi war victims with the deaths of immigrants crossing the border. From here, the walk continues to the Camp Pendleton Marine Base, then to Los Angeles and California's Central Valley, and arrives in San Francisco on March 27.

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-- In Amherst, Mass., more than 100 students, faculty and community members of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst marched on the Whitmore administration building to demand the university end its complicity in the war.

The enthusiastic crowd led a procession through the halls to Chancellor John Lombardi's office to deliver more than 700 signatures in support of the UMass Antiwar Coalition's (AWC) demands, such as the exclusion of military recruiters from campus, the immediate release of the FBI agent employed by the university's police department and the refusal of all future research funding from the Defense Department.

"I can confidently say, as a young working-class Latino, I have been more actively recruited by the military than by any university or any college," said student government candidate Elvis Menendez at the rally that began the march.

In Boston, a protest of 40 people, organized by the Greater Boston Stop the Wars Coalition, came out March 11 to confront war criminal Henry Kissinger as he spoke at the John F. Kennedy Library on a panel entitled "Vietnam and the Presidency."

Kissinger, who served as Richard Nixon's Secretary of State, is responsible for U.S.-sponsored war crimes and millions of deaths in Chile, Cambodia, Angola, Laos, Vietnam and East Timor.

While Kissinger brazenly defended his genocidal policies, he could not avoid protesters who confronted him with chants of "Hey, Kissinger, you can't hide, we charge you with genocide!"

Richard Greenblatt, Mike Schwartz and Tony Udell contributed to this report.

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Defend immigrant rights

WASHINGTON--Up to 20,000 supporters of immigrant rights rallied March 7 outside the Capitol. The rally, primarily organized by Capitol Area Immigrant Rights (CAIR) and Casa de Maryland, was called to protest the anti-immigrant HR 4437 also known as the Sensenbrenner Bill.

The bill, which the House approved in December, would make undocumented immigrants felons, would bar U.S. citizenship to their children born in the U.S., and would criminalize social workers and others who help immigrants without papers by giving them food or shelter.

The Minutemen, a virulent anti-immigrant group that supports the Sensenbrenner Bill, has recently moved into Maryland and is targeting day laborer centers run by Casa de Maryland, a pro-immigrant non-profit organization. Casa de Maryland was attacked by the national Minutemen organization after Casa de Maryland's executive director Gustavo Torres told a reporter that he would not be intimidated.

"[W]e are going to picket their houses, and the schools of their kids, and go to their work," said Torres. "If they are going to do this to us, we are going to respond in the same way, to let people know their neighbors are extremists, that they are anti-immigrant."

In response, the Minutemen launched a campaign to cut off Casa de Maryland's funding sources. Activists plan to build a committee of local organizations to protect immigrant rights and fight the Minutemen.

-- In Madison, Wis., chanting "Sí, se puede," some 40 protesters organized by Voces de la Frontera demonstrated against Wisconsin Assembly Bill 69, which would deny driver's licenses to undocumented workers and force current licenses to expire once a worker's visa expires.

Leone, a member of the Service Employees International Union, told the crowd that this bill--along with the Sensenbrenner Bill--will have the effect of "making it more difficult to organize."

"It will divide supporters by making them afraid to help us," said Leone. "They are going after the most vulnerable members of our society. If you're not an immigrant, they will come for you next!"

Nikita Pion-Klockner, Lauren Schmidt and Terry Schmidt contributed to this report.

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Confronting David Horowitz
By Mark Clinton

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.--About 20 activists confronted right-wing bigot David Horowitz during his March 9 speech at Western New England College. The activists energetically booed, hissed and heckled the almost mind-numbing multitude of racist, sexist, homophobic and misanthropic insults hurled by Horowitz--and quickly many more in the audience of 100 were joining in.

Horowitz most clearly exposed his racism in describing the Palestinians. "Never in human history has there been such a sick society as the Palestinians," said Horowitz.

Ironically, given his self-promotion as a crusader for free speech and ideological balance in higher education, Horowitz's appearance was carefully stage-managed to prevent anything so unseemly as a genuine political debate from breaking out.

Uniformed and plainclothes security officers were present to prevent us from entering the auditorium with signs, search our bags prior to allowing us to enter and warn us that we could be removed if we were disruptive.

The question-and-answer session that followed was limited to a handful of questions (we managed to ask four of the seven that were allowed) and was dominated by Horowitz's transparently evasive responses that nonetheless exposed his bigotries.

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