APPLETON, Wis.:Protesters vow to ‘disappear’ Bush

Bush arrived in the home town of the Houdini Museum March 30 to pick up campaign contributions and convince the Republican faithful that 83,000 jobs did not vanish in Wisconsin since he appeared in White House in 2001. Two blocks away in a “free speech zone” hundreds of workers and peace activists marched down College Avenue demanding jobs and an end to the occupation of Iraq. Marchers united in their call that Bush would make a fine addition to the unemployment line in November.

“Appleton’s the home of Harry Houdini and we’re wondering why the jobs have disappeared,” said Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton on the eve of the visit. She also criticized Bush for slashing money that is rebated to the states for social programs and blocking the state’s purchases of medications from Canada.

WASHINGTON: Students arrested for defending worker rights

Police arrested 13 students from George Washington University (GW) and Georgetown University March 29 who occupied the GW student union to protest the university’s refusal to sign a labor code of conduct. The sit-in was part of National Student Labor Week of Action sponsored by the Students Against Sweatshops.

Students insist that GW and its outside vendors abide by anti-discrimination laws and policy, engage in fair negotiations with school employees, and remain neutral during union organizing drives.

BROOKLYN, N.Y.: Profits from slavery challenged

Deadria Farmer-Paellmann is a former law student who filed suit in federal court March 30 against some of the country’s largest banks and railroads seeking reparations for “stolen labor.”

“These are corporations that benefited from stealing people, from stealing labor, from forced breeding, from torture, from committing numerous horrendous acts and there’s no reason why they should be able to hold on to assets they acquired though such horrendous acts,” Farmer-Paellmann said.

The suit charges FleetBoston Financial, CSX railroad and Aetna insurance company with profiting from African people who were kidnapped and enslaved in the U.S. The amount owed to the descendants of enslaved people could be as high as $1.4 trillion. CSX, the only corporation to respond so far, denied all claims.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.: NAACP to register new voters

If you are among the 215,000 unregistered African American voters in Alabama, a representative from the NAACP will be knocking on your door before November. Rev. Nelson B. Rivers III, chief operating officer for the national NAACP, threw down the gauntlet to 200 NAACP leaders attending the Southeast Region Civil Rights Advocacy Training Institute, March 19, to not only register voters, but get them to the polls in November. The Alabama goal of over 200,000 new voters is part of the national plan to register, contact, and mobilize 2 million voters before Nov. 2.

“Sisters and brothers, if your (NAACP) branch isn’t registering voters every week, you need to shut it down,” Rivers said in a fiery speech. “We need more in ’04.”

SILVER SPRING, Md.: Peace Action says defeat Bush

For the first time in its 47-year history, Peace Action, with 85,000 members the nation’s largest peace organization, is formally advocating the defeat of a presidential candidate – George Bush. It has not yet endorsed a presidential candidate.

“George W. Bush’s foreign policy is counterintuitive, radical and dangerous,” said Peace Action Executive Director Kevin Martin. “Bush has pushed this country and the world towards a cataclysm rather than towards safety. Bush has been so harmful to progress on the issues of nuclear disarmament, international cooperation, the arms trade and the elimination of war as a means of resolving international conflict that this country and the world cannot risk another four years of his failed leadership. We feel we have no choice but to issue this unusual ‘dis-endorsement.’”

WASHINGTON: Bush legalizes firing gays

It is a scene right out of George Orwell’s “1984.” According to Scott Bloch, newly-confirmed Bush appointee to head the Office of Special Counsel, a watchdog agency, a gay federal worker who attends a gay pride march cannot be fired, but a gay federal worker who is simply gay can be legally fired.

“Dead wrong,” says Elaine Kaplan, the previous special counsel. “The legal position that (Bloch) is taking, that there is some distinction between discrimination based on sexual orientation and discrimination based on conduct, is absurd,” she told the Federal Times.

National Clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards.
Terrie Albano and David Baldinger contributed to this week’s clips.