Protest says ‘No drones!’

WW photo: John Catalinotto

WW photo: John Catalinotto

On April 20, protesters in New York City marched through the streets in opposition to the ways in which the U.S. imperialist agenda affects all working people. Key slogans were “No drones in NYC!” and “Healthcare not warfare!”

The day’s protest began with a rally at Union Square where speakers captured public attention, voicing their outrage at the city’s handover of public land to private interests and closing hospitals for the purpose of weapons’ development.

On Dec. 19, 2011, billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, in a joint venture, had won a bid for the development of a campus dedicated to engineering and technology research on Roosevelt Island’s southern end. This location currently houses the Goldwater specialty hospital, which has served city residents suffering from chronic illnesses since 1939.

Taxpayers will “donate” $300 million in land and $100 million in cash for the development of this research campus — that is, to the imperialist war machine.

Technion is one of the world’s leading developers of drone technology. Technion faculty members have also published reports promoting the illegal displacement of Palestinians for the development of Israeli settler communities.

At the rally, speakers told of how U.S. imperialism touches the lives of working people on a global scale, with the military wielding its fist in subjugating peoples and exploiting resources in pursuit of profits. People on the street expressed solidarity with the Guantanamo inmates now on hunger strike.

Activists voiced outrage at the U.S.’s aggressive posture toward the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and criticized U.S. hostility toward new Chavista President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela.

Activists highlighted how oppression in the U.S. is maintained today with an increasingly militarized police force, whose modus operandi is to racially profile and harass people of color under the draconian stop-and-frisk policy.

The march, called by the International Action Center and the United National Anti-war Coalition, was supported by a diverse group of organizations.