National Clips

DENTON, Tex.: Books not bombs

Approximately 400 students walked out of class, March 5, and gathered on the University of North Texas free speech area to protest the impending war in Iraq. A coalition of UNT student groups coordinated the event, which included speeches from both faculty and students. Dr. Olivia Masih White spoke about her recent trip to Iraq as part of a church peace delegation. She informed the crowd that the people of Iraq have suffered tremendously at the hands of U.S. aggression. Dr. Roberto Caldaron urged the audience to attend the May 3 statewide protest in Austin, titled “Showdown in Texas.”





LARAMIE, Wyo.: ‘Stop mad cowboy disease’

For 20 blocks through downtown, 200 residents carryed signs saying “Stop Mad Cowboy Disease” in honor of International Women’s Day. “By spending money on bombs and instead of food, our society is exposing all us to the possibility of total annihilation by nuclear war,” said Whitney Nichols.





EAST LOS ANGELES: Guerra no, paz si

Hundreds of mostly Mexican American and Latino anti-war protesters marched for two and one-half miles, March 9, chanting “Guerra no! Paz si!” (War, no; Peace, yes). Organized by Latinos Against the War on Iraq, the protest ended with a rally at Salazar Park, the site of a Chicano protest against the Vietnam War in 1970, called the “Chicano Moratorium.” Henry Gutierrez, 54, who attended the 1970 rally, which drew tens of thousands of protesters, also marched.

“If we go to war, Hispanics in particular are going to suffer,” said Gutierrez. “It will mean cuts in public transportation, health care and education. Those are things we depend on.”





PORTLAND, Maine: Support the troops, bring ‘em home

Over 500 celebrated International Women’s Day in the streets shouting, “War’s No Good; Bring (our troops) Home!” Karen Wainberg added that International Women’s Day started in the U.S. in the fight for social and economic justice and was then celebrated by socialists and communists around the world. In 2003, with Bush itching to pull the trigger on Iraq, it was a day for women to unite for peace.





COLUMBIA, Missouri: GOP official resigns

Jack Walters resigned his position as Republican Chairman of Boone County, March 10, because he could not support war with Iraq and the “belligerent and reckless language coming from the White House.” In his resignation letter, Walters added that the “safety and integrity of the country outweighs politics.” The Republican chairman had made public statements charging that the purpose of the war is to gain control of oil.





SELMA, Ala.: Civil rights jubilee

This year marked the 38th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” and the march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, a famous crossing during the Selma to Montgomery march. The jubilee is a national celebration of the right to vote and one of the few commemorative events of the Civil Rights Movement in the country. It was held March 6-9.

Rev. Jesse Jackson, who marched, March 9, said, “The bridge was a barrier that stood between us and the access to state government and the right to vote … The challenges today are beyond the bridge.”

Father Michael Pfleger told the Chicago Defender that racism is still unfinished business and believes Bush is trying to “turn the clock back” on people of color when it comes to civil rights.

“Today our children are now having to fight battles that their grandparents thought they had already won,” Pfleger said. “We’re remembering 38 years ago but, we’re looking and seeing how many bridges have to be crossed…The only bridge Bush wants to march across is to war, and we have to refuse to get on that bridge.”





PITTSBURGH: Steelworkers demand health care

They played by the rules their entire working life. They made the steel for battleships, skyscrapers, schools, cars and hospitals. But in the 21st century, 250,000 retired steelworkers have been swindled out of their health insurance. On March 31, the United Steel Workers of America (USWA) expects that another 95,000 families will face a future without health care coverage when Bethlehem Steel is granted permission by the bankruptcy court to terminate their health care plans.

Congress slammed the door in the their face. “There’s no money. We’re going to war,” they said when steelworkers lobbied the Hill in February.

In a letter to rank and file steelworkers, union President Leo Girard called for “fundamental changes in our healthcare system. The crisis for Bethlehem retirees and millions of other Americans will continue and get worse … That’s why we are urging every steelworker and every USWA retiree to get involved in the fight to end the crisis in retiree health care.”

National clips are compiled weekly by Denise Winebrenner Edwards, who can be reached at dwinebr696@aol.com. Matt Parker and Terrie Albano contributed to this week’s clips.