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May 7, 2006

1000 Preachers and No Choir - Part II

Notes from the Opening Plenary Speakers at the Chicago Social Forum

JR Fleming, Coalition to Protect Public Housing
The UN Declaration of Human Rights protects the right to adequate housing, regardless of income, health, or marital status. Forceful evictions: can happen when homeowners are taxed out of the ability to keep their homes and through gentrification. The US has been charged with crimes against humanity at the United Nations in Geneva for its inadequate public housing.

Suzanne Adley, Coalition to Protect People's Rights
The US claims the moral high ground and polices the globe, but refuses to be held accountable for its own human rights abuses. Chicago Mayor Daley is in Israel to get police training from the Israelis who have perfected racist and abusive police practices.

The Case of Mr. Muhammad Salah
In 1993, Palestinian-American Salah went to Palestine with aid. After visiting a hospital, he was picked up by Israeli Defense Forces and driven around for hours. He was brought into IDF custody and held for 80 days and tortured. He confessed to some crimes during this torture process and as sentenced to five years in an Israeli prison. In 1998 he returned to Bridgeview, Illinois and learned that he had been placed on the US "Special Designated Terrorist List," which means that his family's assets were frozen and he could not move around freely because under the terms of US law he would have to declare himself a terrorist when getting on a bus.

Salah was indicted by the Clinton administration, but the Justice Department threw out the charges.

The Bush administration recently indicted him based on the confessions in Hebrew he signed while being tortured by the Israeli government.

This is a landmark case because it is detrimental to due process and human rights.

The Coalition to Protect People's Rights was formed to address the issue of torture in all of its forms and to support due process.

More info: " Coalition Mobilizes for Man’s Rights in US Courts," By Sonia Nettnin on Scoop
Public Truth Hearing on the Case of Muhammed Salah, next Saturday, March 11 1-4pm at Chicago-Kent School of Law

Frank Borgers, PhD
This guy works for the California Nurses Association (CNA). In partnership with the Steelworkers, CNA is trying to expand its organizing into other states and other hospital workers. Apparently, they represent the nurses who work at Chicago public hospitals. These RNs have been without a contract for years and are threatening a one day strike.
CNA' s March 2, 2006 press release on the matter
SEIU announces the formation of the Nurse Alliance, a nation-wide membership organization by and for nurses (nurses who are connected to their fellow caregivers by being in the same union, SEIU, the largest healthcare workers' union in the country)

Jesse Sharkey, Save Senn Coalition
So, the Save Senn Coalition lost its fight. The board voted to establish a naval academy at Senn and 1/3 of the school was kicked out. Per Sharkey, our numbers are too small to be effective; but class consciousness is rising. There is a cumulative effect of our organizing and educating.

Abel Nunez, Associate Director of Centro Romero
Immigration is not just a domestic issue. Why are people forced to come? Because wealth is not being distributed fairly. There is state / corporate power over people. Why type of country do we want? A country of exclusion where only a small percentage of the population have everything? Or a country of inclusion, with justice for all?

We need to exercise our power.
It is great that the movement has diversified and de-centralized.
We have learned that it is easy to organize in reaction - for example to oppose specific legislation (HR4437).
But it is harder to mobilize to build.

[further notes must be postponed to a later date. must sleep. Also want to report back from the Walk for Peace and Justice in Israel / Palestine.]

Posted by cj at May 7, 2006 10:19 PM


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