Archive for August, 2008

“”An activist I believe has to be one who moves away from narrow single issue focus and links up with other people in a larger struggle. Th challenge to poor people, working people, immigrant people, people of color, the challenge against youth, the challenge against gays and lesbians, is not a single issue any more but it’s part of a cosmic challenge.”  -Don White

Thousands of people came to pay respect and celebrate the life of Los Angeles activist, Don White. Don was very supportive of Cafe Intifada along with all of the causes and organizations that he supported and worked with.

We will miss him very much.

Here are a few images from the gathering.

(All images are the exclusive property of Cafe Intifada and Emma Rosenthal. For information about printing, publishing or circulating images, please email cafeintifada@earthlink.net.© 2008 emma rosenthal all rights reserved.)
Sonali Kolhatkar, Jim Ingalls and Neal Kolhatkar

Sonali Kolhatkar, Jim Ingalls and Neal Kolhatkar

Inside the sanctuary 1

Inside the sanctuary 1

Inside the sanctuary 2

Inside the sanctuary 2



Aztec dancers opening the program

Aztec dancers opening the program

Lead aztec dancer addresses the community

Lead aztec dancer addresses the community

Activist Margaret Prescod

Activist Margaret Prescod

Singer, Song fighter, Ross Altman

Singer, Song fighter, Ross Altman

Image from the film "Companero" by film makers Sally Marr and Peter Dudar

Image from the film “Companero” by Sally Marr and Peter Dudar
Maria Armoudian and Dennis Davis

Maria Armoudian and Dennis Davis

Jose Luis Orozco and child in bare feet                  Francisco Mayorga                Berny Lobeth Motto
Jose Luis Orozco and child in bare feet    Francisco Mayorga                 Berny Lobeth Motto
Rosemary Lee                          Frank Dorrel
Rosemary Lee                                                              Frank Dorrel                                                                                                                                     Blase Bompane, Theresa Bompane and Jim Lafferty
Blase Bompane, Theresa Bompane and Jim Lafferty










Maria Guardado and Jeff Nuff

Maria Guardado and Jeff Nuff







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There are dead who light up the night

of butterflies,

and the dead who come at dawn

to drink your tea

as peaceful as on the day your

guns mowed them down.

O you who are guests in this place,

leave a few chairs empty

for your hosts to read out

the conditions for peace

in a treaty with the dead.

-Mahmoud Darwish, from Speech of the Red Indian



* Palestine Aid Society Invites you to a Celebration of the Life and Works

of Palestinian Poet and Hero Mahmoud Darwish

1941 – 2008

*Saturday, August 30, 2:00 p.m.
*Glendale Public Library Auditorium
222 E. Harvard St., Glendale, CA — 2nd Floor*

*Violin Performance Dr. Nabil Azzam will premier his new composition*
* “Elegy for Mahmoud Darwish”
Comments by:*
* Historian Dr. Mahmood Ibrahim, Cal Poly Pomona*
*Professor Gabriel Piterberg, UCLA*
*Professor Hamoud Salhi, CSUD*
*Professor Bice Harris, Occidental College*
*Rev. Darrel Meyers*
*Donald Bustany of KPFK’s “Middle East In Focus”*
*and many more*

*Poetry Readings by:*
*Egyptian-American actor/activist Nasser Faris*
* Hip-Hop stars Nizar (“Ragtop”) Wattad*
* and Omar (“Offendum”) Chakaki*
**Program in English
*Admission Free*


The Arab Community in Southern Californi invites you to a community-wide event;

commemorating Mahmoud Darwish as a poetic

treasure to Palestine and the Arab World.

His award winning poetry exemplifies perfectly

his unique ability to not only articulate the

people’s struggle for justice and liberation,

but also contribute to it through his

powerful words.

Mahmoud Darwish published his first book of

poetry at the age of 19. Although he was

widely recognized as Palestine’s national

poet, his work masterfully covers other topics such as love and romance. His work was internationally recognized and celebrated with translations in over 20 languages.

His life, work and legacy stand as a shining example to poets and scholars everywhere of how to contribute, while reflecting on a people, a nation, a culture, a society and it’s struggle for justice and liberation.

“Darwish is the Essential Breath of the Palestinian people, the eloquent witness of exile and belonging….”

Program includes: Comments from family and friends of Mahmoud Darwish from El Birweh, recitals of Darwish’ poetry; and a eulogy to be delivered by renowned Iraqi poet and friend of Mahmoud Darwish, Lamee’a Abbas Amara

When: Sunday, August 31, 2008 – 4 PM

14299 Firestone Boulevard
La Mirada, CA 90638

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11am EST, WBAI

If you missed the broadcast, catch it here:


——– Original Message ——–

Subject: [SDS] Tropic Thunder” Controversy TODAY on “The Largest Minority” Radio Show, 11am EST, WBAI]
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2008 08:36:05 -0400 (EDT)
From: lawrence@dnnyc.net
To: sds-discuss@lists.disstudies.org
Perplexed as to why people are peeved about the word "retard?" Mystified
about why disability advocates are all worked up over a movie?

Listen to WBAI Pacifica Radio at 99.5FM 11AM EST today (Thursday) as the
Lawrence Carter-Long from the Disabilities Network dissects the "Tropic
Thunder" controversy with Tim Shriver of the Special Olympics, Peter Bern
from the ARC and representatives of the Self-Advocacy Association of NYS
on "The Largest Minority."

Outside of NYC, one can listen live via the web from:

Watch the ABC Channel 7 Eyewitness News Story from the Aug 13 protest of
movie in NYC at:

Read the New York NonProfit News Story by going to:

Thanks to all our members and supporters who make our work possible!

Best, Lawrence

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Groups that advocate for people with disabilities called on Sunday for a national boycott of the Ben Stiller comedy “Tropic Thunder,” citing what they say is its negative portrayal of people with intellectual disabilities.

“We are asking people not to go to the movie and hope to bring a consciousness to people about using derogatory words about this population,” said Peter Wheeler, spokesman for Special Olympics, one of 22 disability groups nationwide protesting the satire.

The film, directed by Stiller, will be released on Wednesday by Viacom Inc’s Paramount Pictures and its DreamWorks unit.

The groups plan to picket the movie’s premiere on Monday evening in Los Angeles’s Westwood community.

“That will be the start of a nationwide protest,” said Wheeler. “We will continue to be vocal about the destructive effect of this film.

He said the groups are particularly offended by the film’s repeated use of the word “retard” regarding a character, Simple Jack, played by Stiller in a subplot about an actor.

Representatives of the Special Olympics, the Arc of the United States, the National Down Syndrome Congress, the American Association of People with Disabilities and other groups met with studio executives last week to discuss the film, but DreamWorks did not make any changes.

Peter Berns, executive director the Arc, said in a memo the groups presented various ideas to the studio, from requesting an apology to fixing the film before its release, to producing a national educational campaign.

Chip Sullivan, a spokesman for DreamWorks said: “We have had productive discussions with representatives of disability advocacy organizations and look forward to working with them closely in the future. However no changes or cuts to the film will be made…

“‘Tropic Thunder’ is an R-rated comedy that satirizes Hollywood and its excesses, and makes its point by featuring inappropriate and over-the top characters in ridiculous situations. The film is in no way meant to disparage or harm the image of individuals with disabilities,” he said.

The film also features Robert Downey Jr. as a white actor who changes his skin color to play a black soldier.

Sullivan said that prior to the meetings, DreamWorks had taken down an online promotion, removing references to Simple Jack it felt could appear offensive when taken out of context.

The film was shown in more than 250 promotional screenings around the country since April.

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What follows is my post to the dopex activist list, after one member of the list made a series of unsubstantiated personal attacks against women on the list, myself in particular.  It’s a pattern I’ve seen often; men, fight man to man, but resort to personal attacks when confronted with debating a woman.  The flaming of women on listserves is a problematic deterent against full participation of women in the dialogue of the body politic.


For the full thread, the list can be subscribed to at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dope_x_resistancela/



all this talk about revolution: look how mr. shine responds, MAN TO MAN, to the post by male members of the group with whom he has differences, the same differences he has with me and norma, but with us, he refuses to engage in dialectical dialogue, resorting to abbreviated personal insults and dismissals, as if we were merely bad little girls, who should be seen and not heard, and sent to bed without supper. in his words: norma is a “petty (sic) bourgeois entrepreneur” and i am “lame”–an extremely offensive remark given my status as a (wageless worker and) person with a disability. “lame” is NEVER appropriate, as it is an abelist pejorative that continues the marginalization of pwds.

how angry, bitter, bigoted and personal his response to women, how “rational” and articulate his response to men.

now, i don’t bring this up to harp on mr. shine. his response and provocateur type behavior doesn’t really merit my energy, but i’ve seen this play on so many lists, and it needs to be pointed out. the marginalization of and personal attacks against women in any dialogue, because to engage would threaten the male ego should he fail to rise to the debate, is absolutely unacceptable!!! and yet it almost always goes unaddressed.

i responded to mr. shine’s attack on norma and his “polemic” in a lengthy statement that received a mere three phrase retort by mr. shine.

now, if women workers, union members, activists, like myself, who have put the wheel(chair) to the street for social justice their whole lives, can’t even be considered in the debate (and who is mr. shine to determine qualifications!!!!??) then of what revolution are we speaking!??

as for his repeated phrase “property less proletariat” which i assume is another attack on norma, the (omg!!!) real estate agent; is his beloved amiri baraka part of the property less proletariat? obama? how about all the workers who managed to purchase their own homes; are they to be similarly condemned? and to what end?

and yet, even the owning of property is rather an illusion (andy and i just squeezed into the l.a. housing market and it took real creativity.) the foreclosure scandal proves, we don’t really own our homes, not even the equity. we really pay rent to the bank in what is called a mortgage, because if we default on the loans, as many members of the “propertied proletariat” are experiencing, the bank takes the whole thing, equity and all!!!!

the petit bourgeois is a complicated class, not really a class at all. it contains all the workers and entrepreneurs who don’t own or produce the means of production. this includes the pushcart seller, the gardener, the real estate agent, the free lance electrician, the shop keeper, the private practice medical doctor, the farmer, but not the agribusiness farm worker. the class alliance of the p.b. is fluid. some members are obviously more organically aligned with the ruling class (the bourgeoisie) and others, like myself, and i would suspect, norma, more affiliated with the working class, understanding that any improvements in my life, security, opportunity will only come from collective action and social justice.

the proletariat consists of factory workers and all those involved in the means of production in the form of collective labor. this includes the md who works for the hmo, the labor aristocracy that can condemn the poor entrepreneurs who are kept out of the unions and the elite work. (many entrepreneurs are women, people of color, people with disabilities (pwds) immigrants etc, who have historically been prevented from entering the labor aristocracy.)Just check out the leadership of mr. shine’s electrical union, where he was recently elected recording secretary.


all of the elected officials are men. (he’s the tall blond in the black t-shirt.) if i or norma learned electric circuitry, could we advance to such a level? are there no women in the organization? what effort was made to include women in the leadership slate? are the wives, girlfriends, whores and mistresses of the leadership, members of the proletariat or are they also petty (sic) bourgeois entrepreneurs?

are teachers members of the proletariat? we produce the workers, and as norma so correctly points out, as such, function as tools of the state, while many of us, at the same time attempt to function as subversives, to the extent possible. (i’m retired, forced into usually wageless and otherwise entrepreneurial work by disability discrimination and the labor aristocracy– the teachers’ union, which does absolutely NOTHING regarding issues of discrimination, and the countless others who are more than happy to accept my voluntary labor, input etc, but as highly skilled as i am, won’t provide me with any real work, and certainly not at the wage i commissioned when i was a full time teacher.)

class divisions are complex and class alliances have much more to do with analysis and action then mere credentials and the simplicity of identity politics.

remember the saying from the 70s “class consciousness is knowing which side of the fence you are on. class analysis is knowing who is there with you.”

again, i understand the strategy behind voting for the lesser of two evils, but to claim that it is revolutionary, that it does more than prevent increased repression in the hope of establishing perhaps a few reforms, is naive at best.

it is ridiculous and i think, insulting to assume that all criticism of obama is a vote for mccain. on the other hand, we have so few electoral resources, especially given the hegemony of the two party system, that to resort to infighting over survival strategies seems equally counterproductive.

in my opinion, (as female as it is, not being a member of the penis proletariat–raise your flag!) i believe it is our responsibility as revolutionaries, and transformers, as workers, as entrepreneurs, as proletariats, as women, as men, as lame (sic) wageless workers, as immigrants, indigenous peoples, people of color, euro-amerikans, etc. to use, what in education is called “the teachable moment” and at every opportunity raise consciousness in hope of somehow dismantling this huge machine. to think that electing a representative of the machine will create that opportunity seems to me to be counterintuitive, on the other hand, to argue that at least it prevents worse things from happening, well, that argument i can understand, though it isn’t the path i chose to take.

now, let’s see if mr. shine cares to respond to me point by point. i challenge you, mr. shine, fight me man to man!

peace with justice!

emma rosenthal


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An Evening to Celebrate the Life of Our

Compañero Don White


Sunday, August 10th

6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Immanuel Presbyterian Church

3300 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles 90010
Corner of Berendo Street, 2 blocks west of Vermont Avenue)


Dennis White, Sonali Kolhatkar, Blase & Theresa Bonpane, Margaret Prescod, Jim Lafferty,

Mimi Kennedy, Maria Armoudian, Carlos Escorcia, Angela Sanbrano, Ross Altman,

Aris Anagnos, Carlos Jiménez, Francisco Martinez, Cole Miller, Jose-Luis Orozco,

Frank Dorrel, Sabina Virgo, Dennis Davis, Berny Moto, Mario Avila & others.


A Film about Don in His Own Words ~

By Peter Dudar & Sally Marr

PARKING: Available across the street at the United Teachers Los Angeles Union Hall
Vermont & Wilshire Red Line Stop
ORGANIZED BY: El Comité de Companeros de Don ‘Blanco’

Beloved by Everyone in the Peace & Justice Community of Los Angeles ~

April 18th, 1937 ~ June 19th, 2008

More Information Call: 310-838-8131

Don White           Photo by emma rosenthal

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