Chuck Kaufman

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Chuck Kaufman

National Campaign to Defend Civil Rights

Representatives and supporters of the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) coalition held a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., June 18 2002, to announce the National Campaign to Defend Civil Rights. The group announced a major demonstration on June 29 at the headquarters of the FBI and Justice Department.

"Our community is uniting with other civil rights and anti-war organizations to mobilize for the June 29 demonstration protesting the attacks on civil rights and civil liberties," stated Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society's Freedom Foundation.

Rainbow Coalition/PUSH leader Joe Leonard explained that his organization was mobilizing for the June 29 protest because President George W. Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft's use of racial and political profiling was "a threat to all the hard won civil rights gains of past generations."

"The Bush administration is substantially expanding the FBI and CIA authority to conduct domestic spying in the absence of probable cause or criminal conduct and is authorizing indefinite detention for citizens and non-citizens at the sole discretion and the direction of George Bush and John Ashcroft--without charge or trial, and without access to an attorney," Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice explained in analyzing the government's latest move.

Other speakers at the news conference included: Lubaba Abdallah, Muslim Students Association of U.S. & Canada; the Rev. Graylan Hagler, senior minister, Plymouth Congregational Church; Macrina Cardenas, Mexico Solidarity Network; Peta Lindsay & Daniel Keesler, ANSWER youth and student organizers; Chuck Kaufman, national coordinator, Nicaragua Network; Damu Smith, Black Voices for Peace; and Brian Becker, co-director, International Action Center.[1]

Salt of the Earth Labor College

On April 23 2011, there was a presentation and discussion with Chuck Kaufman, National Coordinator, Alliance for Global Justice, at Salt of the Earth Labor College, Tuscon.[2]

Brother Kaufman will draw on his long experience in worldwide solidarity work, especially Latin American, to advocate for a complete revamp of US militarist foreign policy.

Salt of the Earth Labor College 2014 speakers included;

  • April 19th, US INTERVENTION AND RESISTANCE IN LATIN AMERICA, Presentation and Discussion with Chuck Kaufman, National Coordinator, Alliance for Global Justice.[3]

Global Justice Center forum

In September 2015 Arizona's Republican Sen. John McCain introduced legislation that exempts pet projects from environmental protection laws.

McCain has already been trying to attach S750 to the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Chuck Kaufman of the Alliance for Global Justice explains, "The best way we can defeat this bill is to bring it out into the light of day. If we expose McCain's underhanded tactics, S750 will likely die just like a vampire in the sun. But if he can sneak it by as an amendment on a larger bill, that's how it will get passed." A companion bill, HR1412, has been introduced in the House by Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon, also a Republican.

S750, a border militarization bill that, if passed, would exclude new surveillance installations and other border patrol activities from environmental protection laws. The bill would apply to federal lands within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona and parts of California.

Arizona Rep. Raúl Grijalva, ranking member of the House's Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulations, has introduced legislation to repeal the Oak Flat swap.

Sen. McCain claims S750 is needed for new security installations and to give the U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents unimpeded access to federal lands. However, Dan Millis, Director of the Sierra Club's Borderlands Campaign, noted at a recent community forum at the Global Justice Center in Tucson, Arizona, "It's a very effective argument because you think, 'They don't have access to federal lands? Of course they have access to federal lands! They have more access than anyone else to federal, private, all the lands along the border....So he is spreading the notion that Border Patrol is somehow not granted access to these areas....Well, that's completely false."

José Matús, director of the Indigenous Alliance Without Borders, talked about the regular impositions border agents make on people living in indigenous lands crossed by the border: "They always have had the authority to patrol....They come in their trucks, bikes, waking people up at all hours of the night, asking people for their documents....They've always had that power 100 miles north of the border, but now they want to give them everything, waving all our rights."

Rep. Grijalva also spoke at the forum, which was co-sponsored by the Arizona Peace Council, Alliance for Global Justice and Salt of the Earth Labor College. He was confident regarding the ability to defeat S750 provided people stay aware of it and speak out against it. Grijalva gives much credit to the Oak Flats struggle:

"I think, based on what the Apache nation has done on this issue...it's going to be much more difficult politically...to do that same kind of sneaky process....And for that we should be very grateful to the Oak Flat advocates and the Apache nation for raising this issue...[to] the embarrassment of McCain and the political travesty of doing something in that way and not allowing it to be fully digested and discussed...."

Rep. Grijalva spoke of the dangerous agendas behind S750 in regards to immigration reform and environmental protection:

"It's a two pronged agenda.... Part of the agenda...[is] to end any legislative hope... that we would end up with something semi-rational in terms of comprehensive immigration reform because this bill is about enforcement only-only enforcement....So this bill...suspends any possibility in this cycle of doing anything rational and right. It shifts the debate into...enforcement as opposed to dealing with family unification and all the other aspects of immigration that need to be dealt with.

"The other agenda is about attacking bedrock environmental laws that have been on the books for 50, 40, 45 years.... When we suspend not only 37 laws but all the laws along that 100 mile cut off we're also suspending sacred sites, cultural resources, historic...protections, all part of a Native American legacy in the Southwest that despite colonization has existed and survived....It's both about immigration and the environment and citizen accountability and participation in decision making....Suspending laws sets a dangerous precedent....Mark my word, once these basic fundamental laws that are part of a legal legacy for this county are suspended we have opened a can of worms for that to become a practice."

Immigrant rights activist and founder of Tucson's Coalición de Derechos Humanos (Human Rights Coalition), Isabel Garcia, sees an ominous link between bills like S750 and ecological and climate injustice. According to Garcia, "We have the neoliberal monster and we have the other monster of the military...and we are creating refugees. Then there's the denial on the part of so many people in this country but especially in DC of the impact that we have on climate. We see nothing yet. When the world begins to warm, we will see massive migration. We're already seeing massive migration, but we will see it get huge....Is it any surprise that we have begun to militarize [the border]? Did you see...the military has plans of how we're going to safeguard the United States in case there are mass riots, a mass influx of people? Eventually we created Homeland Security....Do you see how it begins to normalize? We say, 'Well, the military should be involved in borders, why aren't they involved in policing our borders? And what's the difference between the military and Homeland Security, anyway?' And before you know it, we don't know the difference."

Garcia sees this militarization happening in many places and at many levels. She observes, "There was a bill in the [Arizona] legislature...to keep secret the names of police officers who have killed. Border Patrol already does this. They've been hiding the names-who does that? Who does that? The military. The military has no accountability. Nobody has to say who killed whom. And we're moving more and more to this militarized form, and of course the environment is part of it, too. We're all connected, all of this is all totally connected...."[4]

References

  1. [Unite to fight Ashcroft, FBI Announce June 29 protests in Washington, other cities By Workers World Washington bureau Reprinted from the June 27, 2002, issue of Workers World newspaper]
  2. Peoples World, Tucson: For a movement to change the culture of militarism
  3. SELC, Class Schedule for Spring 2014
  4. http://peoplesworld.org/john-mccain-s-midnight-riders-put-borderlands-at-risk/PVJohn McCain's "midnight riders" put borderlands at risk by: James Jordan September 15 2015