Category Archives: News

Labor March (Mis)led by Cuomo — By Roy Murphy

Cuomo placards discarded by UAW workers
Photo: Roy Murphy / NLN

NEW YORK — September 9, 2014. Several thousand workers marched up Fifth Avenue to Central Park for the annual Labor Day parade in New York on September 6, 2014. They were observing a city tradition more than 125 years old.

Teamsters, transit workers, teachers and actors were headed up by politicians, few of whom show their support for workers at any other time.

Frank Hickey, Tim Sheard, Yusef Salaam and president Larry Goldbetter
marching with the National Writers Union banner
Photo: Roy Murphy / NLN

Governor Andrew Cuomo was at the head of the Transport Workers union. According to the New York Times, his staff physically blocked his Democratic Primary challenger Zephyr Teachout from meeting him.

Unlike their Transport Workers Union counterparts, UAW workers were less inclined to be a vehicle for Mr. Cuomo’s re-election effort. Dozens of Cuomo placards lay discarded on the sidewalk behind the UAW contingent, remaining on the pavement after the march stepped off. Some UAW members commented that they know “whose pocket Cuomo is in” and whose interests he really serves.

The UAW band at work
Photo: Roy Murphy / NLN

The march called for the support of organized labor, and celebrated its victories. As Joe Rivierzo of Local 360 said, “We’re the people … that brought you the weekend, the eight-hour day, overtime, healthcare, disability insurance, worker’s compensation.”

“We Won’t Go Back” — Thousands Protest Death of Eric Garner by Roy Murphy

Protesters at the “We Won’t Go Back” march on Staten Island
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — August 23, 2014. The Reverend Al Sharpton led a crowd of three to four thousand in Staten Island on Saturday, marching in protest at the death of Eric Garner. Garner died when New York City police applied a chokehold on him on July 17.

“Support NYPD — Stop Police Brutality”
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

Sharpton appeared with Garner’s widow, Esaw. Other relatives of people killed by New York City police, present at the march, included Kadiatou Diallo, whose son Amadou, an unarmed Guinean immigrant, was fatally shot by police outside of his Bronx apartment in 1999, and Constance Malcolm, the mother of Ramarley Graham, an unarmed 18-year-old pursued and shot in his own bathroom in the Bronx by a New York City police officer in 2012.

Gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout with National Writers Union president Larry Goldbetter
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

Supporters included Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham University law professor who is running against Governor Andrew Cuomo in the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary, former Governor David Paterson, and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito at the Garner march
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

Protesters shouted slogans including, “Hands up don’t shoot,” a chant that originated in Ferguson in protests against the police shooting of Michael Brown, and “I can’t breathe,” Garner’s last words.

“I Can’t Breathe” — Eric Garner’s last words
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

A grand jury will meet next month to determine whether anyone should be criminally charged in Garner’s death. The city’s medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.

“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot…”
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

The United Federation of Teachers and 1199 SEIU, a healthcare workers union, co-sponsored the march, along with the National Action Network and the NAACP. There were no incidents or arrests.

Labor was well represented in the march
(Pictured: UAW members Scott Sommer, Joel Schlemowitz, and George Albro)
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

Part of the NAACP contingent
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good)

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Photo Reprint Policy: Reuse encouraged, attribution required — “Thomas Altfather Good”

all images are available under the terms of the
GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL)

© 2014 Thomas Altfather Good

Another Death In The Forgotten Borough by Thomas Altfather Good

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — July 19, 2014. Photo: Reverend Al Sharpton (of the National Action Network) with Esaw Garner, widow of Eric Garner, at a protest held on Saturday, in the Staten Island neighborhood where Mr. Garner died while in police custody.

Eric Garner died on Thursday, July 17, while being pinned to the ground by police during an arrest – a video shot by a friend of Garner’s shows the man being choked and crying out, “I can’t breathe” several times before he stopped moving or speaking. The Saturday rally and march was attended by hundreds of Staten Islanders. Police blocked traffic on Victory Boulevard and Bay Street, in the busy Tompkinsville section of the Island, to allow the large procession to march from the Mt. Sinai church rally site to the 120 Precinct.

Two of the officers who arrested Mr. Garner are being investigated by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau – for using a chokehold on the victim.

Below: New York City Public Advocate Letitia James at the Garner protest.

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Reprint Policy: Reuse encouraged, attribution required — “Thomas Altfather Good”

all images are available under the terms of the
GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL)

© 2014 Thomas Altfather Good

Unholy Wedlock: Unrestricted Drone Warfare And Wedding Party “Militants” — by Thomas Altfather Good

A protester and a predator square off
(Photo: Bud Korotzer / NLN)


NEW YORK — December 18, 2013. The killing of Yemeni wedding goers by U.S. military personnel is a tragic example of unrestricted drone warfare’s fatal dialectic: “collateral damage” as an inevitable byproduct of “near certainty” in targeting alleged terrorists — for remote control assassination.

Drone assassinations violate international law
(Photo: Bud Korotzer / NLN)

On Wednesday, December 18, activists held a vigil in front of Manhattan’s famous St. Patrick’s Cathedral, mourning 15 Yemeni wedding-goers killed on December 12, 2013 by a US drone strike. The vigil offered passersby a chance to acquire that most dangerous item: uncensored and unmanipulated knowledge.

The timing of the event was in part a response to the recent tragedy in Yemen, and in part a reminder of what Christians celebrate during the busiest shopping period in the corporate liturgical calendar.

The demand: stop the killings
(Photo: Bud Korotzer / NLN)

“St. Patrick’s is chosen for the vigil,” said Nick Mottern, coordinator of, “as a reminder one week before the birth of Jesus Christ of his witness on behalf of poor and outcast people, his message of reconciliation and peace and his challenge to the religious and political establishments of his time. In this spirit, we urge Pope Francis and other religious leaders to condemn drone warfare everywhere in the world.”

(Photo: Bud Korotzer / NLN)

The vigil included a large-scale model of the MQ-9 Reaper drone, the workhorse of US drone assassinations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Mottern estimates that over 5,000 people have been killed in US drone strikes since they began in 2001.

Remembering the dead: sons, daughters, mothers, fathers…
(Photo: Bud Korotzer / NLN)

Organizations participating in the outreach effort included: the Granny Peace Brigade; Veterans for Peace; the War Resisters League, and; the World Can’t Wait.


View Photos From The Event…


In this general necessity, guilt has no place. One man can give the signal that liquidates hundreds and thousands of people, then declare himself free from all pangs of conscience, and live happily ever after.

Herbert Marcuse


Drone Vendors, Making A Killing by Thomas Altfather Good

War Resisters protesting drone killings.
(Photo: Ed Hedemann / WRL)

NEW YORK — November 24, 2013. The War Resisters League (WRL) have a message for the holiday season: drone manufacturers are making a killing.

On Monday 25 members of the NYC War Resisters League, Granny Peace Brigade, and other groups demonstrated outside the world headquarters of L-3 Communications,Third Avenue and 39 Street. The activists were protesting L-3’s manufacture of electronics for the Predator drones, used by President Obama, the CIA, and the Pentagon to track and kill “insurgents” — men, women, and children — in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen.

The most infamous of the drone strikes was the Wech Baghtu wedding party airstrike which killed 63 people including 37 Afghan civilians, mostly women and children, and 26 insurgents on November 3, 2008. The group was celebrating a wedding at a housing complex in the village of Wech Baghtu, a Taliban stronghold in the Shah Wali Kot District of Kandahar province, Afghanistan. On November 5, 2008, Afghan President Hamid Karzai demanded that President Barack Obama stop killing civilians.

The War Resisters are calling on Nobel laureate Obama to stop killing, period.

The L-3 project included LED-illuminated signs provided by the Light Brigade and projected messages by The Illuminator art collective. The WRL is well known for its use of creative visuals — one of their posters features the tagline, “More creativity, not war.”


Related: would-be consumers of alcohol must be 21-years-old to buy beer or liquor in New York. Recently the City Council voted to raise the minimum age to buy cigarettes. Yet, 18-year-olds can still enlist in the armed forces — and be deployed to Afghanistan. It would appear that indiscretion can be both youthful — and useful.


A Ruse By Any Other Name — by Thomas Altfather Good

(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)


NEW YORK — September 9, 2013. Saturday’s “Hands off Syria” protest in NYC featured signs calling for respect of international law — and opposing yet another unilateral U.S. military intervention in the Middle East.


A protester at Saturday’s “Hands Off Syria” rally marches down Broadway
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

Recently, President Barack Obama has been working the Hill and lobbying world leaders, looking to garner support for a U.S. military intervention in war torn Syria — in response to Syrian President Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons. But the response to Obama’s intense lobbying efforts has been overwhelmingly negative. Whatever rationale the President has offered has been met with opposition from the majority of the war weary American people who regard Syria’s troubles as “not our business” — and a fair amount of overt cynicism as well: apparently a ruse by any other name has an all too familiar odor. A “limited strike” has the potential for blossoming into a full blown conflict. And then there is the irony of a Nobel Prize winner — who just last week honored Martin Luther King, Jr. — stumping for a new war. Obama’s rhetoric hasn’t sold well and on Saturday several hundred New Yorkers took to the streets to demand that the United States maintain a “Hands Off Syria” policy.


Saying no to war in Syria in Arabic, Czech, Danish,
Dutch, French, German, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Ukrainian.
(Graphic: © Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

A number of protesters at Saturday’s event compared Obama to George W. Bush. It wasn’t intended as flattery.


The push for punitive military intervention has a familiar ring for some
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

Obama’s history of “bipartisan” outreach to militarists in the Congress and his current lobbying for a new war have historical precedents. As far back as 1955 observers were commenting on the two party system’s willingness to overlook ostensible differences when it came to pursuing a hawkish foreign policy.

Bipartisanship in foreign policy overrides competitive group interests under the threat of international communism, and spreads to domestic policy, where the programs of the big parties become ever more undistinguishable, even in the degree of hypocrisy and in the odor of the cliches.
Herbert Marcuse, Eros And Civilization (1955)

And yet Obama appears to have less support for his Syrian intervention than students of history might expect. Republicans, like Tea Party Congressman Michael Grimm — who initially supported the intervention and abruptly withdrew support — appear to place a higher value on opposing any Obama policy than on promoting an aggressive foreign policy (and channeling increased profits to powerful arms vendors). The far Right’s animosity towards Obama may ultimately aid the antiwar protesters’ cause.


Obama: praising Martin Luther King one week, lobbying for war the next?
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)


Protesters marching down NYC’s Broadway – from Times Square to Union Square
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)


A protester’s sign lists the use of chemical weapons — by the U.S.
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)


View Photos/Video Footage From The Protest


Remembering Viet Nam by Howard Machtinger

It’s a long way from Oslo to Syria
– and back to Saigon
(Photo: Thomas Altfather Good / NLN)

I think it is vitally important to organize an alternative campaign to the 13-year-long commemoration of the Viet Nam war now being promoted by the Department of Defense, with a budget of $65,000,000. I am pleased to be working with Veterans for Peace (VFP) — of which I am an associate member — on this project. This link will take you to an Open Letter I hope you will sign in support of the campaign. It explains the background of the DoD initiative, and suggests some ideas for getting started.

The opposition to war and military intervention strikes at the roots: it rebels against those who economic and political dominion depends on the continued (and enlarged) reproduction of the military establishment, its “multipliers,” and the policies which necessitate this reproduction. These interests are not hard to identify, and the war against them does not require missiles, bombs and napalm. But it does require something that is much harder to produce — the spread of uncensored and unmanipulated knowledge.

Herbert Marcuse, Eros And Civilization

At this point, I see our role as informing and suggesting. We hope that people will connect with the campaign in whatever ways make sense in their own local and work contexts. It would be great if communication and coordination could be created between those interested in working on a counter-commemoration, and we (and VFP) are prepared to help move this forward. A Working Group has been created within Veterans for Peace. We are confident that people’s creativity and initiatives will come into play, however and in whatever ways they want to connect directly to our work.

You are welcome, of course, to generate your own ideas, and we hope you will want to work together with us on this campaign! We would like you to circulate the letter for more signatures and help formally launch the alternative commemoration.


In a few weeks we will also be launching a petition campaign on the US government web site. This petition will be shorter and aimed at a broader audience. To get a response from the Obama Administration, we need 100,000 signatures in a month.

Howard Machtinger
Associate Member
Veterans For Peace

[T]he established society seems to be apprehensive of the subversive contents of memory.

Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man