International Action Center – Solidarity Center: 25 Years of Activism!

International Action Center
Solidarity Center

147 W. 24th St, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10011
212-633-6646 www.IACenter.org

25 Years of Activism!

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December, 2016

Dear friends,

Hundreds of thousands of protesters shouted “We say NO!”  “We resist!”  “Not My President!” across the country for the week following reactionary demagogue and billionaire Donald Trump’s win. People of all nationalities, led by youth, denounced his program of racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism, and homophobia.

At this critical time, only the collective voice of millions of people, mobilizing and acting in unity, can defend those threatened and targeted by racist, extremist forces.

International Action Center members were out in the streets, too. The Solidarity Center, where the IAC is based in New York, and which is the base of many other grassroots organizations and committees, provides the kind of organizing that will be needed in the dangerous period ahead.

The IAC is joining the mobilization of a massive resistance to the president-elect’s agenda on Jan. 20 in Washington, D.C., during his Inauguration. The Solidarity Center is a hub for information and coordination; the IAC is arranging transportation to get people to the Counter-Inaugural in the tens of thousands. See the exciting new website  J20Resist.org.

Appeals from Republicans, Democrats and the corporate media to “Give Trump a chance” must be opposed! We cannot “give a chance” to a president-elect who calls for building a wall at the Mexican/U.S. border, says he will deport millions, and whips up racism and hostility to Muslims. Who brags about his super-militarism, says he “loves war,” would use torture “worse than water-boarding,” and threatens to detonate nuclear weapons. Who makes offensive statements about women and mocks people with disabilities. Who denies the dangers of global warming, and threatens those who oppose his extreme right-wing agenda.

We deplore the naming of pro-war generals, white supremacists, neo-fascist forces, and Wall Street billionaires, such as Gen. “Mad Dog” James Mattis, Gen. Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon, Sen. Jeffrey Sessions, and Steven Mnuchin, to key cabinet positions. Even more military officials are being proposed for high government positions, posing a threat to civil liberties and the rights of millions, especially workers and poor people, communities of color and those who dissent and protest.

There is a crisis of the two-party system. Every poll showed that a majority of people opposed the unpopular Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. Both major parties and their candidates are proponents of war, funding the Pentagon’s $1 trillion nuclear upgrade program, and the criminal justice system, rife with inequities and mass incarceration. The IAC played a central role at protests against the Republican and Democratic national conventions this summer.

The reactionaries seek to overturn every right and gain won by people’s movements over decades, to gut essential governmental programs—and to further enrich the wealthy, while squeezing the rest of us, all the while spewing bigotry.

They must be stopped! The only way forward is to build a unified independent movement to fight back. Resistance is the only way!

 

Solidarity with Standing Rock

The magnificent, courageous protests in Standing Rock, N.D., show that people’s resistance is the only way to counter corporate power backed up by military force. A major victory was won on Dec. 4, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers halted construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Tens of thousands of people, some staying for weeks or months, have joined the Standing Rock Sioux Nation to oppose the DAPL. IAC activists from New York, Baltimore, Durham, N.C., and other cities formed solidarity delegations and took supplies to the peaceful encampment.

More than 2,000 U.S. military veterans traveled to Standing Rock to oppose the Army’s threats to close the Oceti Sakowin camp on Dec. 5. They planned to act as “human shields” for the water protectors who braved tear gas, concussion grenades, attack dogs and water cannons in their struggle for land, water and sovereignty. The struggle continues.

The Solidarity Center organized a busload of activists to attend the 47th National Day of Mourning on Nov. 24, in Plymouth, Mass., organized by the United American Indians of New England. It was dedicated to Standing Rock water protectors and called for freedom for ailing Native political prisoner, Leonard Peltier.

The IAC is helping organize national events in support of internationally known political prisoners Mumia Abu-Jamal in Philadelphia on Dec. 9, and Leonard Peltier, on Dec. 10, in Washington, D.C. The IAC actively calls for freedom for Puerto Rican political prisoner Oscar López Rivera. Through social media and on the ground, we built support for the countrywide prisoners’ work stoppage in September.

 

Stop racist crimes; no deportations!

Another important effort undertaken by the IAC was organizing community support for our Muslim neighbors in Bayonne, N.J., when reactionary forces tried to stop the building of an Islamic Community Center by threatening mob violence.

Trump’s election has emboldened far-right extremists to carry out violence against immigrants, Muslims, African Americans, Jewish and LGBTQ people and women. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported 867 “hate incidents” in the 10 days following Nov. 8. It is crucial to counter this; many activists are doing just that.

IAC/Los Angeles joined with Union del Barrio to defend immigrants who were under attack days after the election. Thousands poured into the streets.

Organizing took place throughout North Carolina to oppose a KKK rally there on Dec. 3 to “celebrate” Trump’s election. However, anti-racists protested around the state, and a multinational crowd of over 2,000 demonstrated at Raleigh’s State Capitol.

The New York People’s Power Assembly held an anti-KKK, anti-Trump solidarity protest the same day. When the NY IAC had to cancel its delegation to North Carolina as the bigots hid their rally’s location, activists joined the local action.

These same activists in North Carolina mobilized in the several-day Charlotte Uprising this fall against police killings of African Americans. The IAC/Los Angeles organized an event supporting the Charlotte protests, one of many around the country.

Police violence kills three people a day in the U.S.; victims are disproportionately African Americans and other people of color and people with disabilities. No police officers have been imprisoned for these crimes.

For the past two years the Solidarity Center has been a hub for activists in the Black Lives Matter movement who protest this injustice. The office is home to the PPA, which mobilizes against police brutality nationally, and joins low-wage workers in their Fight for $15/ hour movement. PPA joins with migrant workers fighting for decent pay and unionization; they also meet at the Center.

The Equality for Flatbush Coalition meets there to plan resistance to real estate developers’ racist gentrification in Brooklyn, N.Y. Also, the International Working Women’s Day Coalition gathers there to organize an annual International Women’s Day event with the theme: “Every issue is a woman’s issue.”

The Center is home to immigrant rights’ organizations which protest detentions and deportations. There, the IAC Committee on Latin America and the Caribbean mobilizes against U.S. intervention in these regions, along with other groups which assemble there.

The IAC joined the three-day U.S./Mexico Border Convergence from Oct. 7-10 in Nogales, a city both in Arizona and Mexico, separated by a 650-mile long, 30-foot high fence. The School of the Americas Watch organized this activity in solidarity with migrants who cross the border only to face racist violence and repression.

No U.S. wars, intervention!

For 25 years the IAC office has been a center for organizing solidarity activities with Cuba. As we mourn Fidel Castro’s death, we are alert to attempts by Washington to undermine the country’s gains. Trump is threatening to destroy the “normalization of relations” achieved in the last two years. We support the Cuban people’s right to sovereignty, and to develop and thrive—and oppose U.S. aggression against this Caribbean nation.

We also steadfastly oppose U.S. militarization in Africa, the Middle East and throughout Asia, and Washington’s drone and missile attacks everywhere.The IAC helped to launch the Hands off Syria Coalition. Thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations worldwide have signed the “Urgent Message for Peace—On the Eve of Wider War”, demanding “U.S.: Hands off Syria.” The IAC co-sponsored a forum entitled, “What’s Ahead for the War on Syria: Eyewitness Report from Aleppo,” Dec. 2 in New York. The IAC is co-organizing a national speaking tour of participants in solidarity delegations to Syria and journalists who have been on Aleppo’s front lines. The IAC is proud to have organized the first delegations to Syria in 2013.

We continue to protest U.S. military intervention in Iraq and Washington’s funding and arming of the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen, which has killed untold numbers of civilians and devastated hospitals, schools and entire cities.

 

 

Our support of Palestine is as strong as ever. For the past year Samidoun: Palestine Prisoners Solidarity

Network has mobilized weekly picket lines from the Center, along with larger mobilizations of NY4 Palestine.

 

 

 We must resist!

But all that we have done in past years and in 2016 must now be magnified tenfold to meet the forces of bigotry and hatred unleashed with the Trump election.

We hope that you will be with us every step. Your support and invol

vement are invaluable and have sustained the IAC’s work for 25 years—and we are grateful for it. We could not have done it without your help.

But now we must ask more of ourselves and more of you. We must help to build a united, active, strong people’s movement, with all sectors working together to oppose the Trump agenda. We offer our national office as a center for the organizing to come.

2017 will be a year of resistance! The IAC is committed to building and being part of this movement and will be active wherever we have chapters. We’ll send delegations to support protests in other cities.

Please Donate Here: Your support is needed now more than ever to meet the challenges ahead.

In solidarity and with appreciation,

Teresa Gutierrez, Sara Flounders
East Coast IAC Co-directors

John Parker
West Coast IAC director

And all IAC organizers around the country.