International monitors for U.S. elections

The Guardian, a British newspaper, reports that an international team, including Russians and Albanians, arrived in Florida, Oct. 30, to monitor the elections. This is the first time in U.S. history that the U.S. government has accepted international monitors of an election.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) put together the team. The monitors are charged with assessing whether the Nov. 5 mid-term elections in Florida meet international standards of democracy “with a focus on evaluation of the actions the authorities have undertaken to remedy the problems that were observed during the 2000 elections,” OSCE spokesman Jens-Hagen Eschenbacher said.

“It is not the first time that a western democracy has been monitored,” Eschenbacher said. “We also assessed the … presidential elections in France, and we are about to send an assessment team to Turkey as well.”

BOSTON: Turning up the heat for peace

At a march and rally to protest the Bush administration’s drive for a war against Iraq, actor Tim Robbins told 15,000 peace protestors that the movement against the war against Vietnam “took many, many years … before these kinds of numbers showed up to protest it.”

The march and rally, which took place on the Boston Common on Nov. 3, was the largest peace demonstration in Boston since the Persian Gulf War a decade ago.

Robbins and his wife, actress Susan Sarandon, have been active in peace and anti-capitalist globalization issues.

TUCSON, Ariz.: Food not bombs

Peace activists delivered a truckload of food to the office of ultra-right Rep. Jim Kolbe (R) and expressed their extreme disappointment that Kolbe voted for the resolution that gives the Bush adminstration the green light to attack Iraq.

“We are here to tell our Congressional representative that he cannot continue to choose to ignore the voices of the constituents he is supposed to represent,” said Kitty Ufford-Chase, Southern Arizona Program Director of the American Friends Service Committee.

Kolbe admitted he voted for war, in spite of the fact that the overwhelming majority of constituents who contacted his office urged him to vote for peace.

AFL-CIO Day of Action at Wal-Mart

On Nov. 21, working families across the nation will join with community, student, civil rights, environmental and consumer activists for a National Day of Action at Wal-Mart. The Day of Action is part of the ongoing People’s Campaign – Justice@Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart customers, many of whom are union members, will join with others in their communities to conduct actions at local stores in every state.

“With events in all 50 states, this Day of Action will demand that Wal-Mart become a responsible corporate citizen that provides good jobs, equal opportunity, fair business and trade practices and respects the rights of workers,” AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and United Food and Commercial Workers President Douglas Dority say in a joint letter to affiliated unions and to state and local central bodies.

Wal-Mart is the largest private employer in the country, with more than 1 million workers, and leads all companies in sales and profits. At the same time, say Sweeney and Dority, it is a corporate outlaw and virulently anti-union.

For state actions: www.afl-cio.org or www.ufcw.org

AUSTIN, Tex: Racial profiling

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit Nov. 1, alleging that an East Texas drug sweep in November 2000, in which 28 African Americans were arrested, was racially motivated.

The lawsuit seeks compensation and an end to a pattern of exclusively raiding the town’s Black community.

In the drug bust, one woman was accused of buying drugs at a time she was in the hospital giving birth. Others had time cards and witnesses to show they were at work at the time they were accused of committing crimes.

Contributors: David Baldinger, Joe Bernick
If you have a national clip please e-mail to pww@pww.org. National clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards.

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