Two thousand Palestinian prisoners who joined together in a mass hunger strike have won major concessions from their Israeli jailers, including a pledge to end solitary confinement for all prisoners and allow around 400 prisoners from Gaza to receive family visits. In addition, prisoners on "administrative detention orders" -- Israel's term for imprisonment without charge or trial -- will not have their terms renewed without fresh information or evidence being brought before a military judge. Veteran Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi said, "The hunger strikers' courage is magnificently inspiring, and their selflessness deeply humbling. They have truly demonstrated that non-violent resistance is an essential tool in our struggle for freedom." Read more...
The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, the state’s largest conservation organization, has named Laura Olah, Executive Director of WNPJ member group Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger as the federation’s “Water Conservationist of the Year.” The formal presentation of the award was made at the federation’s annual meeting on April 14 in Stevens Point. Laura is a life-long resident of Sauk County and helped to organize CSWAB in 1990 when Army officials publicly confirmed that high concentrations of carcinogenic solvents had migrated beyond the fence line of the Badger Army Ammunition Plant and contaminated drinking water wells of private homes. In the years that followed and continuing today, Laura has worked tirelessly to hold the Army accountable for the environmental impacts and threats to human health resulting from the decommissioned plant. The award recognizes her more than 20 years of service protecting the environment and health and welfare of the citizens of Wisconsin who reside around the Badger Army Ammunition Plant.
The Immigrant Worker's Union issued this press release about the May Day Rally at the Capitol : As part of a series of national protests on behalf of the 99% over one thousand people rallied at the State Street stairs of the Capitol. "Despite the change in time and format, the spirit of solidarity and struggle remained the same as in other years" said Alex Gillis from Immigrant Workers Union, "this year the importance of the rally revolved around the need for broad and diverse movements to come together all across the city and I feel satisfied that we did it once again, our rally was diverse, inclusive and full of good solidarity". Read more below about the list of speakers and endorsers of the event. CONTACT: Yvonne Geerts (608) 335-0357
Connecticut is on track to the the latest state to abolish the death penalty, after a 20-16 vote by the State Senate in favor of a death penalty repeal bill. The bill now goes to Connecticut's House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass, and then to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who has said he would sign it into law. Senator Edith Prague, who voted for the repeal bill, said, "I cannot stand the thought of being responsible for somebody being falsely accused and facing thedeath penalty. For me, this is a moral issue and realizing that mistakes are obviously made." In the last five years, four states have repealed the death penalty — New Mexico, Illinois, New Jersey and New York. Wisconsin is one of 16 states that do not have a death penalty.
Gegobic Taconite, an out-of-state mining company that had pressed the Wisconsin legislature for a radical change in state mining regulations to permit a massive strip mine in northern Wisconsin's Penokee Hills, has now announced that it is withdrawing from Wisconsin. Gogebic Taconite President Bill Williams issued a statement immediately after Tuesday's Senate vote rejecting a company-authored mining bill, saying the Senate sent a "clear message that Wisconsin will not welcome iron mining. We get the message." Mining opponents, led by members of the Bad River Chippewa, turned out in large numbers for two public hearings, organized protests and a statewide lobby day at the Capitol and kept the phones of Senators ringing with constituent calls. In the end, 16 Democratic Senators were joined by Republican Senator Dale Schultz to provide a 17-16 majority to kill a mining bill that the Walker administration had cited as as one of its top legislative priorities. Read more...
3/12 Mon 7 pm The 300th Solidarity Singalong (One Year Anniversary) - Madison. The High Noon Saloon on East Washington. All welcome to sing the songs and hear groups like the Learning Curve and the Forward Marching Band. Watch the Facebook page, Solidarity Singalong, for details! (archived photo of 1st singalong, March 11, 2011)
WNPJ member group Solidarity Sing-Along was awarded ACLU of Wisconsin's Civil Libertarian of the Year award for 2011. The award was presented on March 17th in Milwaukee at the ACLU's annual Bill of Rights Celebration.
Accepting the award for the group, Sing-Along director Chris Reeder said, "Prior to last year, I thought about my first amendment rights, but only in an abstract way. I knew of them, and I valued them, but I had not made an effort to use them, and I hadn’t worked to protect them. That all changed when I began attending the Solidarity Sing Along. And now, after having stood in my state’s capitol and sung, every weekday, for an hour, without a permit, for over a year, over three hundred times now, I’ll never look at those rights the same way again. What I think about now, every day, is how easily those rights can be taken away if we don’t defend them. More importantly, how easily they can be taken for granted if we don’t exercise them." (Read MORE to see photos: Members of Solidarity Sing-Along at the ACLU event....)