Talk at Forum at The Evergreen State College: After Paris: Responding to Islamophobia and the Refugee Crisis
by Peter Bohmer, December 2, 2015
Let Us Learn from Our Past and Welcome Syrians to the United States!
First, a little first about my parents and grandparents! My family is from central Europe; my parents were born and grew up in Vienna, Austria as assimilated Jews. In March 1938, the Austrian government welcomed the invasion of Nazi Germany although there was some popular resistance. Germany immediately annexed Austria. My dad who was 22 years old was arrested and imprisoned in late March 1938 for being active in the Jewish community. He was also beaten by the guards but was released in August 1938. My father and mother immediately fled Austria for France which let in many Jews in although they also limited entry; e.g., from Poland which had the largest Jewish population in Europe…
At the Working Washington organized Gathering and Rally at Heritage Park, Olympia, Washington
Working Washington and the fight for $15 an hour is a very important movement and I want to thank the organizers and all of you for attending this gathering. You are involved in this necessary struggle for economic justice. I recently returned from a month in Greece where because of inhuman policies forcing Greece to cut government spending, cut pensions, lower the minimum wage and raise taxes on basic goods and services, unemployment, poverty, low wages and job security are even worse than in the U.S. Many Greek people asked me about important issues and social movements for justice in the United States and I usually mentioned the ones for climate justice, $15 an hour and a living wage, and the Black Lives Matter movement that has focused on exposing and stopping police shooting of Black people.
$15 an Hour: Its Time has Come!
First a little about significance of the fight for $15 and the statewide Working Washington organization. Since the 1970’s, the gaps between the rich and poor have grown significantly in the United States. The top 1% today takes more than 20% of national income; the average household in the poorest 20% of the population earns about 1/100th of the top 1%. The 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement made public the obscene inequality in the United States between the 1% and the 99%. In Olympia, four years ago, Olympia residents occupied the land where we are standing for more than two months as part of the national Occupy Movement. … (Connect to link above to read the entire talk)
What follows are my answers to a written interview from Kourosh Ziabari, a writer and reporter for the Fars News Agency, an Iranian foreign policy news and analysis website. I submitted the following answers to Kourosh Ziabari’s six questions on August 4, 2015 and slightly revised them on September 18, 2015.
Question 1- For many years, you’ve been a political activist protesting racial discrimination across the United States, as well as other forms of social injustice. You’ve also organized solidarity movements with the people of crisis-hit countries like Vietnam, Puerto Rico and Cuba. How does the US government perceive your activism and how does it react to you? Are such egalitarian and liberal movements ever taken seriously by the White House? Do they leave any impact on the major decisions of the US government and its institutions?
My own active opposition for many years to the U.S. war in Vietnam is probably what I am proudest of in my life. The millions of people in the United States outside the military but also inside the military deserve credit for actively opposing their government’s waging of a murder, immoral and illegal war. Of course, the people who deserve the most credit are the Vietnamese people who opposed the U.S. occupation and war. … (see link above)
This is a video that was shot by Scott Chatfield at anti Vietnam War demo in Del Mar (near San Diego). California in 1972. I recently narrated it, July, 2015, and Scott combined the audio with the video. For this demo, I was convicted of aiding and obstructing a train.(click on this)
Update: Monday, 11:00 A.M., July 13th, 2015. The European Zone governments, the Eurogroup, led by Germany demanded even more concessions and humiliation from Greece such as controlling Greek privatization and the funds generated from it and monitoring and controlling the Greek government’s budget as a price for Greece staying in the Eurozone. It explicitly states there will be no forgiveness of Greek government debt. The Greek Prime Minister, Tsipras, accepted these new conditions which is further blackmail by Germany and Eurogroup. The new plan is even worse than the deal that the Syriza leaders forced through parliament on Friday, July 10th. This even more restrictive austerity plan will now go back to the Greek parliament but Greece has little choice but to “accept” this imperialist deal if it rules out leaving the Eurozone.
What follows is my commentary of July 11th, 2015 after Syriza proposed a restrictive austerity plan with the hope that the Troika would accept it. The Troika led by the German finance minister, Schauble, has now demanded an even greater violation of Greek sovereignty.
Please join Kshama Sawant at our fundraiser Friday, June 12th from 6-9 P.M. There will be food and drink. Kshama Sawant will give a talk at this social and community event and fundraiser which is at Patty and Larry Mosqueda’s house, 2725 Westwood Dr., Olympia, WA 98502
Since her election in 2013, Councilmember Sawant has led the opposition to the corporate agenda in Seattle. An unapologetic fighter for working people, she refuses all corporate donations and only accepts the average worker’s wage. She has tirelessly advocated for workers and the environment, risking arrest standing with workers in Sea-Tac AND stopping coal trains from running through Washington. She is anti-capitalist and an advocate for socialism.
Although Kshama Sawant does not represent Olympia directly, her election to the Seattle City Council and her outspoken support for key movements and issues has furthered activism here such as the movement for a $15 hour minimum wage . Opposition to her reelection will be funded by major corporations. So Kshama Sawant’s reelection is important far beyond Seattle. That is why we are organizing this fundraiser.
Join us in our urgent fight to defend a true champion of the working class and anti-corporate politics! We hope you can make it.
Even if you cannot make this fundraisert, please make a check out to “Vote Sawant’ and mail it to the Mosqueda address above, or go to http://www.kshamasawant.org/