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News and reports

March 24, 2006 | Pages 14 and 15

Fighting anti-Arab racism
Protesting Hillary Clinton

Say no to war
By Robin Gee

MADISON, Wis.--Wisconsin is among the growing number of states where efforts are underway to bring the issue of the war directly to voters. Supporters say that these initiatives serve to send a message that a majority of U.S. citizens strongly oppose the war and that they offer people the opportunity to speak out directly.

Thirty-two Wisconsin municipalities will have the opportunity during the April 4 statewide elections to vote on referendums calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Many cities and towns across the U.S. have passed antiwar resolutions. In Vermont, a statewide effort to pass antiwar resolutions through that state's town meeting structure garnered widespread support.

Wisconsin is the first state, however, to put an antiwar referendum up for vote on local election ballots. Hundreds have helped gather signatures to get the referendums on the ballot and many continue to help with yard-sign distribution, literature drops and phone calls in an effort to get out the vote April 4.

For more information or to get involved, call 608-250-9240.

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Fighting anti-Arab racism

NEW YORK--Thirty people packed a small room for a panel about the racist Danish cartoons. The event was organized by the International Socialist Organization (ISO) and the Muslim Students Association (MSA).

"The war on terror is a war on immigrants," said Fahd Ahmed, one of the panelists and a member of the South Asian immigrants rights group Desis Rising Up and Moving.

The "war on terror" has ruined people's lives, led to deportations of whole families and created a climate of fear that pervades these communities, he continued.

MSA's Delia Dean focused on the media's manipulation of images and compared the racist stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims to the labeling of Hurricane Katrina's mostly poor and Black victims as "looters."

ISO member Pham Binh explained that "all imperialist wars require racism," which in the past led to Japanese internment and today has led to the widely circulated claim that Iraqis are "unfit" for self-rule in order to justify the ongoing U.S. occupation.

Contributions from the audience led to friendly but impassioned debate about Israel's role in the Middle East, freedom of speech and racism in the "war on terror." The event was a step forward for the left and groups like the MSA at Hunter College and hopefully will serve as the basis for future collaboration around antiwar and antiracist activism.

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Protesting Hillary Clinton
By Jessica Baliant

ALBANY, N.Y.--A coalition of student groups protested the appearance of Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) at the State University of Albany as part of a March 10 telecommunications panel.

The demonstration was in response to her continued support for the occupation of Iraq as well as her unwillingness to offer up an explanation as to why she will not call for the immediate withdrawal of troops from the Middle East.

The conference was comprised of a strictly suit-and-tie crowd showcasing 20 upstate telecommunication companies while many students, many of whom were registered for the event, were prevented from entering the campus center ballroom by police and Secret Service agents.

Eventually, several protesters were allowed in--but the head of campus police made it clear that any type of outburst would be met with arrest. In response, the students placed duct tape on their mouths with the words "free speech" written on them.

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