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 Student 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.
"NO WAR, NO WAY"
Jan 19, 2003, ANSWER brought together an impressive array of speakers at two rallies—one that began at 11 a.m. in the sprawling National Mall, and a concluding rally at the Washington Shipyard.
Moonanum James, co-chair of United American Indians of New England and a Vietnam-era veteran, opened the rally by connecting the U.S. government’s ongoing racist war against Native peoples with their preparations for a racist war against Iraq.
Anti-war speakers included Charley Richardson and Nancy Lessen from Military Families Speak Out and Liz McAlister, partner and widow of the late peace activist Philip Berrigan. “No blood for oil!” demanded disabled Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic, author of “Born on the Fourth of July.”
Speaking out for labor against the war: Brenda Stokely, president of AFSCME 1707 and Local 215 as well as a co-convener of New York City Labor Against the War; Fred Mason, president of statewide Maryland and D.C. AFL-CIO; Michael Letwin from U.S. Labor Against War and Dr. Nadia Marsh from Doctors and Nurses Against the War.
ANSWER speakers included Youth and Student Coordinator Peta Lindsay, Elias Rashmawi from the Free Palestine Alliance. Jennifer Wager from IFCO/Pastors for Peace, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard from PCJ and Larry Holmes and Brian Becker, both from the International Action Center.
Speakers representing other anti-war coalitions included Bill Fletcher, Jr., co-chair of United for Peace and Justice; Damu Smith from Black Voices for Peace; Medea Benjamin from Global Exchange, and Miles Solay from Not In Our Name.
Jesse Heiwa, from Queers for Peace and Justice, New York, pointed to the growing coalition of lesbian, gay, bi and trans organizations against the war. Brooklyn-based activists Viola Plummer from the December 12th Movement and City Councilman Charles Barron raised the need for anti-racist solidarity, including fighting for reparations. Singer Patti Smith and D.C. cultural artists Pam Parker and Lucy Murphy performed. 
National Conference on Socialism
The Opening Plenary introduced conference participants to the Party for Socialism and Liberation, highlighting recent struggles and campaigns.
The Opening Plenary was chaired by Peta Lindsay, PSL- Los Angeles.
Speaking on the plenary were;
- Muna Coobtee, PSL- Los Angeles, Executive Board Member of Palestinian American Women’s Association
- Crystal Kim, PSL Candidate for Council of the District of Columbia
- Carlos Alvarez, Candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles
- Jinnette Caceres, PSL- New York City and United Federation of Teachers member
- Mike Prysner, Iraq war veteran and PSL Candidate for Congress, 22nd District (Florida)
- Stevie Merino, PSL-Los Angeles and student, Cal. State Long Beach.
- [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]
- [WW http://www.workers.org/pdf/2003/ww013003.pdf Jan. 30, 2003]