Photos: Peace Rallies

Below are excellent photos of a November 9 peace rally at Umass Amherst, and another peace rally in Greenfield on November 12. With 4 percent of the world's population, the USA spends as much money on war as the rest of the world combined.

Madhura Sengupta wrote a speech. She and Arsema Kifle read the speech at the Amherst rally, which about 35 people attended. The speech reads, in part, “At this moment in time, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans possesses approximately $50 trillion that could be used for food, education, healthcare, housing, and community services.”

Sengupta's speech continues, “Raytheon produces the bombs and weaponry that fuel some of the most brutal and atrocious war crimes across the world. The U.S. military uses Raytheon’s weapons to kill millions of people in Pakistan, Iran, Palestine, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Honduras – horrifyingly, the list is far from finished. Investing in Raytheon is equal to investing in war, genocide, settler-colonialism, and environmental destruction on an unimaginable scale.... We need UMass to invest in life and love, not destruction and death. We refuse to do research for war criminals. We refuse to continue to aid Raytheon in genocide.”

Katie New was at the Amherst rally. In a voice interview on November 16, she told the Valley Post, “Our goal is to end UMass's partnership with a company (Raytheon) that fuels war and genocide around the world.”

The Amherst rally organizers have a web page at:

www.instagram.com/umassdissenters

About 45 people were at the Greenfield rally. One of the speakers was Kate Pousont Scarborough, Anna Gyorgy told the Valley Post.

In her speech, Pousont Scarborough said, “It’s such a natural and intuitive thing, to honor the sacrifices of veterans by celebrating and promoting peace rather than glorifying war.”

One of the group's that organized the rally has a web site at www.traprock.org. Gyorgy is on that group's board.

The below Amherst photos are by Lina Mulualem. The below Greenfield photo is by Anna Gyorgy. To enlarge a photo, click on it then scroll down and click "see full size image." If the file size is big enough, you can click on it again to zoom in.

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In Northampton on November 9 workers had an important victory.

At Smith college, 139 dining workers and housekeepers voted to approve a new union contract. The vote to accept the three-year deal, was 76 – 1. Raises will be 6.5 percent the first year, 4 percent the second year, and another 4 percent the final year. An immediate, one-time $500 bonus for every worker is in the contract too.

“I am really glad that it’s over and we have come to an agreement and can go forward,” Ilse Barron told the Valley Post. She is president of SEIU Local 211 and a cook at Smith college. The workers have a web site at www.seiu.org.

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In Keene on November 17 a land trust announced it has saved 570 acres near Mount Monadnock. The land trust has a web site at www.MonadnockConservancy.org.

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On November 1, Maeg Yosef told the Valley Post the 80 or so workers at the Trader Joe's supermarket in Hadley, Massachusetts would begin negotiating their first union contract with the company on November 3. She did not immediately reply to an email on November 18 asking for an update. The Valley Post will publish her reply in a future article.

On July 28, the federal government announced the results of a union election at the store. The workers won. Yosef is a leader in the union. She has worked at the store for 20 years. The workers have a web site at https://traderjoesunited.org

Federal law regulates the process of workers forming a union, and negotiating contracts with employers. Ultimately a union's power comes from its members' willingness to go on strike, and the community's willingness to not shop at a place where the workers are striking, and not cross picket lines to work as so-called “scabs.”

The Valley Post will update this article at least monthly until the workers have their first contract.


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