Update: CPD speaks at Rome Occupation; Nov. 7 Kissinger protest
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CPD Co-Director Joanne Landy reports on her October speech to Italian occupiers in Rome
Last month I visited Rome for a one-week vacation. On October 14 I was traveling on the bus with a friend. We had just finished a visit to the beautiful San Giovanni in Laterino church and were on our way to another historic church when I saw out the bus window a large group of people, an array of tents, and at the top of the steps of the Palazzo delle Esposizioni a speaker at the microphone. I knew there was an occupation going on in Rome, so I jumped off the bus and ran over. Sure enough, it was the occupation.
Luckily I had brought along a copy of The Occupied Wall Street Journal, so I took it out of my purse, opened it up so the full front page was showing, and walked slowly up the steps. As people noticed the OWSJ they began to smile and applaud and cheer. When I got to the top, I was asked if I would like to speak to the rally. I happily agreed, and this is (from memory) what I said, holding up the paper all the while:
I am from New York City, and I bring you greetings from Occupy Wall Street! We are all part of a common international struggle against the horrible inequality and injustice that we see everywhere. I am thrilled to see you all gathered here, and I congratulate you on your occupation in your country's capital.
I just heard some very welcome news from New York City. Mayor Bloomberg, working with the owners of the Zuccotti Park where people were staying, was threatening to forcefully evict the occupiers at 7am this morning, using the excuse of a "sanitation emergency." Bloomberg said the evacuation would only be temporary, but everyone believed that this move was a maneuver designed to end the occupation for once and for all. The occupiers sent out an alert that traveled like wildfire across the social networks, asking people to come down and support them in defying the anticipated evacuation.
Well, by 6:15 am hundreds of supporters had come to Zuccotti, many bringing mops, brooms, and pails to help the occupiers clean the park. The situation was very tense -- and then, just 40 minutes before the evacuation was to begin, Bloomberg backed down, and said that at least for now, the protest could go on. What a great victory!
It is an honor to be with you in these early days of your occupation. You've been here for three days so far. May you grow stronger with every passing day! All of us who are struggling for a better world without poverty, insecurity and injustice need one another, whatever country we are in.
The next day, October 15, I joined the huge Roman march, estimated to number more than 200,000 participants, which was part of the global day of protest. Again, I held up The Occupied Wall Street Journal and was cheered by many of the marchers, who really appreciated the show of solidarity.
CPD joins Kissinger protest
CPD is co-sponsoring a protest in New York City on Monday, Nov. 7 against the New-York Historical Society's Waldorf Astoria event honoring Henry Kissinger. Please join us if you can. Details below from the East Timor Action Network press release:
On Monday, November 7, protesters will gather outside the Waldorf Astoria Hotel to express their outrage at the honoring or former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger by the New-York Historical Society (N-YHS). Demonstrators will gather from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at 301 Park Ave. (between 49 & 50 St.) in Manhattan to condemn the honoring of the accused war criminal by the society at a $1000 a ticket gala.
"It is incredible how this war criminal keeps avoiding accountability for his crimes," said Stephanie Rugoff of War Criminals Watch, a sponsor of the upcoming protest. "Instead of feting him with honors, Kissinger should prosecuted for his crimes."
"Kissinger's policies were from the 1% for the 1%, and the 99% suffered the consequences," said John M. Miller, National Coordinator of the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN). "The survivors of those policies can not forget and neither should we."
Historians criticized the politicization of the society: "With this honor, the society throws away 200 years of distinction, sacrificing its standing, subverting and junking a major historical institution by politicizing it. While N-YHS has a right to its politics, there's no doubt that in bestowing this honor on Kissinger those politics are vile. The trustees of this once-great Society should resign. We need a new New York Historical Society," wrote Jesse Lemisch, Professor of History Emeritus, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York and Staughton Lynd, Independent Historian said in a statement.
"We will be at the gala to remind people about Henry Kissinger's sordid and criminal history concerning East Timor, Vietnam, Cambodia, Chile, South Africa, Cyprus, Bangladesh, Angola, West Papua, and elsewhere. Kissinger is responsible for millions of deaths, millions maimed, and millions made homeless," said Tom Keough from Brooklyn for Peace, Anti Militarism Committee.
Among the organizers of the upcoming demonstration are ETAN, War Resisters League NYC, Brooklyn for Peace, War Criminals Watch, Code Pink, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, World Can't Wait, and Veterans for Peace-NYC Chapter 34.
Kissinger is to receive the 2011 History Makers Award from the NYHS. Below is a sampling of some of the history he has made and the consequences.
Between 1969 and 1977, Kissinger as National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State designed and implemented policies which lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths, the overthrow of democratically-elected governments, and the invasion and occupation of sovereign countries. Among his action were: