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News and reports

October 26, 2007 | Pages 14 and 15

Protesting the IMF and World Bank
New York City health care protest
Rochester protest of Colin Powell
Stop the raids
Solidarity with the Jena 6

Protesting the IMF and World Bank
By Rachael Moshman

WASHINGTON--Five hundred protesters from across the country converged here for two days of action against the annual fall meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) held October 20-22.

The neoliberal policies that the World Bank and IMF have infamously pushed on debt-ridden, impoverished countries have cut services and driven millions deeper into poverty.

The protests were organized by the October Rebellion, a coalition of organizations and global justice activists from Washington, D.C., and around the country. October Rebellion's call to action, which came out of the World Social Forum in Kenya in January, demanded the cancellation of all debt owed by impoverished countries; the end to neoliberal structural adjustment polices; and the end to the social and environmental devastation caused by oil, gas, mining and big dam projects.

Events were designed to tie local issues to the broader anti-globalization message. On October 19, 150 people rallied in front of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, calling for a stop to the deportations of undocumented people. The rally then marched to join local groups protesting in front of the D.C. police station, over the recent shooting of 14-year-old Deyonte Rawlings by off-duty D.C. police officers.

Later that night, approximately 100 protesters marched through the streets of Georgetown in the pouring rain--in an attempt to ruin the nights of the partying IMF and World Bank delegates.

The following day, 500 protesters marched to the World Bank, where a People's Tribunal was held. Voices from Cameroon, India, Haiti, El Salvador, Cambodia and the United States testified to the destruction that World Bank and IMF policies have brought to their countries, peoples and struggles.

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New York City health care protest
By Mitch Day

NEW YORK--"Health care for people, not for profits!" was one of the chants shouted by more than 150 people who gathered for the March Against the Profiteering Health Industry on October 17. This was the first demonstration organized by the recently formed Private Health Insurance Must Go! Coalition (PHIMGC).

The first stop on the march was the office of Aetna--one of the nation's largest HMOs whose profit in the second quarter of this year topped $451 million. Brent Nicholson-Earle, a member of PHIMGC and ACT-UP, spoke about how his claim to get access to treatment for AIDS-related wasting was denied for months.

Several nurses came to the event dressed in scrubs and white coats, and the rally was kicked off by April LaRow of the newly formed Nurses for Single Payer. The demonstration urged passage of HR 676, a bill in the House that would create a universal, single-payer health insurance system.

A member of the New York State Nurses Association announced that the union convention had recently endorsed HR 676--adding to a list that includes SEIU1199 and CWA Local 1180.

The march ended at Sen. Hillary Clinton's congressional office, with protesters demanding that Clinton support single-payer legislation instead of her current plan, which would create tax-break incentives for businesses to provide private health insurance for their employees. "Clinton's telling us her plan is 'universal health care.' Her plan is a fraud!" PHIMGC member Ajamu Sankofa shouted.

In order to win real health care for all, we need more demonstrations that target the health insurance industry and demand that politicians support a single-payer system.

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Rochester protest of Colin Powell
By Brian Lenzo

ROCHESTER, N.Y.--Sixty people, including students, faculty and people from the community, demonstrated at the University of Rochester (U of R) October 20 after activists learned that former Secretary of State Colin Powell--who lied to the world and the United Nations about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in the run-up to the war--would be the keynote speaker at a yearly lecturers' festival, and would also receive an honorary doctorate from the University.

Activists also discovered that the U of R would be paying Powell $125,000--even as the U of R, its medical center and hospital (the largest employer in Rochester) are cutting back health care benefits of its employees.

Around 25 students and faculty rallied outside the lecture hall while attendees filed in, chanting, "Don't honor a war criminal" and "Powell lied, millions died!" As Powell took the stage, a contingent of 35 protesters defied campus security and marched onto campus, headed up by a group of street theater performers lampooning Powell, Cheney and Bush.

Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Rochester Against the War, the International Socialist Organization, the Campus Antiwar Network and many others participated.

One student and a university professor who publicized the protest were able to get 375 signatures on a petition protesting Powell's appearance and degree. Many others heard about the protest the night before, at an event featuring independent journalist Dahr Jamail. The protest has given area activists a new sense of excitement regarding antiwar organizing.

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Stop the raids
By Afsaneh Moradian

NEW YORK--Approximately 25 people came out on October 18 to protest a raid involving the FBI, NYPD and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that shocked the Woodside/Elmhurst neighborhoods of Queens the previous weekend.

During the course of two days, the FBI closed down one block at a time and rounded up people for about 20 blocks. Eyewitnesses have estimated that between 100 and 150 people were taken in the raid. Pedro, one of those arrested, said that he was detained while walking to his house. He said there were at least 45 others in his cell at the precinct.

Marchers went through the neighborhood chanting, "Somos trabajadores, no somos criminales" (We are workers, not criminals) and "No mas redadas en nuestras comunidades" (No more raids in our communities).

Alberto, a day laborer and organizer of the event, called the FBI raid, "a racist act, an act of terrorism in our communities."

This was the first action of the newly formed Emergency Response Network of Queens. Organizer Alvaro Lopez said he hoped that the march would "show documented and undocumented immigrant workers that...the only way we can respond to ICE and the FBI is by organizing as a community."

For information about the Emergency Response Network of Queens, call 718-412-2666 or e-mail [email protected].

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Solidarity with the Jena 6
By Jason Farbman

SEATTLE--Students at Seattle Central Community College held a speakout and open mic October 18 in solidarity with the Jena 6, a group of Black teenagers in Louisiana threatened with decades in prison following a school-yard fight that followed weeks of racist incidents.

The event was organized by the Black Student Union and International Socialist Organization. "This is a blatant example of the worsening racism and inequality in America today--it's the New Jim Crow," said Darrin Hoop.

Students also sought to connect the racism of the Jena 6 case to other examples of racism. "I'm here to stand against all racism, and in solidarity with the Arabs and Muslims being scapegoated in the 'war on terror," said Chanan Suarez-Diaz of Iraq Veterans Against the War, pointing out that the racist "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" campus tour would be arriving the following week across town at the University of Washington.

Students on both campuses are determined to continue the struggle against racism in all its forms.

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