Judith LeBlanc

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Judith LeBlanc
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Judith LeBlanc is a leader of the Communist Party USA and is the national field organizer for Peace Action, the country's largest grassroots peace organization with 100,000 members across the country. She is also formerly the national co-chair of United for Peace and Justice.[1]

LeBlanc joined the Communist Party USA in 1974.

Background

LeBlanc is a member of the Caddo Tribe of Oklahoma. From 2005-2008 she was the National Co-chair of United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) an organization that she helped found. She is nationally recognized as a leader of the US peace and justice movement and has traveled around the world including to Beirut during the 2007 invasion by Israel.

Le Blanc is one of the vice-chairs of the Communist Party USA and chairs it's Peace and Solidarity Commission. She was formerly a reporter for the People's Weekly World, forerunner of the People's World. She has written extensively on her travels to Japan, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon and elsewhere and was an eyewitness reporter on the 9-11 attacks and their aftermath in New York City.[2]

CPUSA Organization Commission

As at March 1994, the following were members of the Organization Commission of the Communist Party USA: Sam Webb, chair; Pat Barile; Judith LeBlanc; Carole Marks; Elena Mora; Esther Moroze; and Joe Sims.[3]

Communist Party Labor Day call

The Communist Party USA paper People's Weekly World issued a statement to mark Labor Day 1995, entitled "We honor the dead and fight like hell for the living."

Of the more than 100 endorsers listed, almost all were identified members of the Communist Party USA.

Judith LeBlanc, was on the list.[4]

"Changing America"

In 1999 Judith LeBlanc was an host of the Communist Party USA cable TV show "Changing America", while Noel Rabinowitz served as cameraman.[5]

Middle East trips

Judith LeBlanc, with Yasser Arafat, 2002

In 2002, Judith LeBlanc traveled twice to the Middle East. Le Blanc traveled on assignment to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza in May to report on the struggle to end the Israeli occupation.

In October 10-12 she attended the Communist Party of Israel’s Congress. While there she tracked the "crisis in the region in light of the Bush administration’s drive to go to war with Iraq".[6]

Endorsed Communist Party Call

On March 30 2002 the Communist Party USA paper People’s Weekly World called for a national holiday in honor of late Farm Workers Union leader Cesar Chavez. The article was followed by a long list of endorsers including Judith Le Blanc, Almost all endorsers were confirmed members of the Communist Party USA.[7]

United for Peace and Justice

In 2005 Judith LeBlanc, Communist Party USA was on the Steering Committee of United for Peace and Justice[8].

In July 2007 Judith LeBlanc representing Communist Party USA was affiliated to United for Peace and Justice.[9]

As at 2008 and August 4, 2009, Judith LeBlanc was National Organizing Coordinator for United for Peace and Justice[10]

Anne Burlak Timpson Labor Forum

The Anne Burlak Timpson Labor Forum is a creation of the Massachusetts Communist Party USA. It was established in honor of party member Anne Burlak Timpson, who died in 2002.

Founding Committee members were;[11]

WIDF affiliated United States "Regional Workshops"

Circa 2007 these people were members of the US "Regional Workshop" of the former Soviet front Women's International Democratic Federation;[12]

  • LUZ DE LAS NIEVES AYRESS MORENO, Nieves Ayress - nacionalidad chilena

Latino Congreso 2007

Some 2,000 Latino leaders and activists from throughout the United States met in Los Angeles, at the Latino Congreso 2007, Oct. 5-9 to map an action plan and social justice program for the 2008 elections. Their goal was to bring out 10 million Latino voters who can play a decisive role in the presidential and congressional elections.

Helping prepare positions on the Iraq war were Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who chaired the congressional Out of Iraq Caucus, former California state Sen. Tom Hayden, United for Peace and Justice organizer, and Communist Party USA leader, Judith LeBlanc, and Lydia Lopez of the Communist Party front Latinos for Peace.

“America: not another nickel, not another dime, not another soldier, not this time,” Waters declared to a standing ovation. She drew another ovation when she called for African American and Latino unity.

The Congreso unanimously called for complete withdrawal from Iraq starting immediately, no invasion of Iran, and support for Oct. 27 regional demonstrations against the war and Iraq Moratorium activities the third Friday of each month.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Latinos should take a leading role to end the war, as “we are 14 percent of the population with 20 percent of the casualties.”

“It is time to bring the troops home,” he said.

Villaraigosa also called for a broad coalition to win just immigration reform, saying, “No group can do it alone,” and a national campaign to combat poverty.[13]

Open Letter to Obama on Iran

In 2008 Judith LeBlanc of United for Peace & Justice, NY signed an online petition “A Open Letter to Barack Obama on Iran”.[14]

Committees of Correspondence Conference

At the 6th National Convention of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS) at San Francisco's Whitcomb Hotel July 23-26 2009 a Symposium roundtable conversation on "Building the Left and the Progressive Majority." featured CCDS leader Mildred Williamson, Judith LeBlanc of the Communist Party USA, Joseph Schwartz of Democratic Socialists of America, Michael Rubin of Solidarity, Jamala Rogers of Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and Linda Burnham. The panelists discussed the importance of building the left within the current upsurge, working for left unity in struggle against the right, and the tactical issues that arise in uniting the progressive majority.

LeBlanc was a presenter at the workshop on the peace movement and the economy, Michael Eisenscher and Mort Frank of CCDS in Philadelphia. Eisenscher paid special attention to the need for labor solidarity between U.S. workers and Iraqi trade unions, while LeBlanc emphasized connecting anti-war campaigns with the economic crisis. Mort Frank did an in-depth analysis of the best ways to propose cuts in the defense budget, stressing the most deadly weapons actually being used.[15]

Australian visit

In July 2009 Judith Le Blanc toured Australia as a guest of the Communist Party of Australia and and the Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition to take part in the protests against the Talisman Sabre joint US-Australian military exercises which were taking place at Shoalwater Bay near Rockhampton from July 6-26 . While in Sydney on her way to Rockhampton LeBlanc spoke to Anna Pha of the CPA for The Guardian.[16]

Guardian: Judith, could you please tell us about United for Peace and Justice?

Judith LeBlanc: United for Peace and Justice grew out of the struggle to prevent the war in Iraq and it was the coming together of the traditional peace and disarmament groups nationally and a range of local peace and justice centres and coalitions and new grass roots groups that emerged in this struggle to prevent the war. It began with 300 organisations and has grown to 1,400 member groups.

Now we are in the midst of retooling the peace movement, so to speak, and finding new ways to involve people in ending the war in Afghanistan and to build a bridge to that longer-term movement that is needed to end US militarisation and the militarisation of our domestic budget.

G: What is the attitude to those wars in the US?

JB: I think the peace movement scored an incredible victory with the election of Barack Obama and him keeping his pledge that he would set a deadline, a timetable for US withdrawal from Iraq. Of course the timetable that has been set by the new administration is not all that we would like. But you never win a total victory, you always win part and you continue to struggle.

We feel that in many ways our work to end the war and the occupation in Afghanistan is starting from a sound basis. Majority opinion opposed the [Iraq] war and that was mobilised and galvanised into support for the defeat of McCain.

Now we are trying to take that movement that rose in support of the Obama election and the majority opposition to the war in Iraq into a new national dialogue of the history and the impact of the war and the occupation of Afghanistan…

So now we are operating in a new environment, in a new political space in which perhaps we will have great success in helping people understand that you cannot solve issues around national security with war. That the mere presence of the US military in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan gives rise to insurgency. So we want to help the American people to begin pressing Congress and the Obama administration to step back and to tell us what is the exit plan…

So, the movement for peace, the social movements in our country, are they ready to fill the political space that the election of Obama has created? Not quite, but I think the peace movement has enough experience in the six years of the struggle to end the Iraq war to know that it is going to take a strong, well organised, vocal peace movement to make the changes that are needed.

G: So far, how do you assess Obama’s foreign policy?

JB: I think the Obama administration has made headway changing foreign policy. It has spoken about the differences it wants to make in its relationship to Cuba, in its role in pressing for a just Middle East peace between Palestine and Israel, in its relationship to the Muslim world. But the truth is that in order for those words to become a reality we need a stronger peace movement and we need one that can advocate forcefully and in a meaningful way the direct interconnectedness between peace and justice, between domestic policy and foreign policy.

I think the Obama administration has done a good job in thinking through the fact that the Bush administration fomented a considerable amount of not only anxiety but death, dying and anger by launching what was called the “global war on terror” and they dropped that terminology. Unfortunately they did not end the military practice of waging war in the name of national security in Afghanistan.

Obama’s voting record in the Senate was, and he has maintained this position after becoming president, that there is a need to reduce nuclear arms, that there was a need for ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. He is making good on that promise by initiating talks with Russia to cut nuclear armaments. We are hoping, as he said in a speech in Prague recently, that it is not only the moral responsibility of the US to cut nuclear arms but it is a necessity to move towards the abolition of nuclear weapons.

The struggle for nuclear disarmament and the abolition of nuclear weapons is a critical issue for the peace movement to regroup and to retool and for building a mass movement around. We had a very strong and vibrant movement around nuclear disarmament in the ’80s.

We hope to take Obama’s words [on nuclear disarmament] and build a movement that calls for abolition in our lifetimes. We are busy at work planning with our international partners a year-long national petition drive to call on Obama to abolish nuclear weapons.

We are launching it on the anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and concluding this petition drive at the time of the May 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Conference at the United Nations. We hope to apply such mass pressure on the Obama administration that they will take rapid steps to not only sign the joint agreement with Russia to reduce nuclear warheads but also to end the testing of new nuclear weapons and to begin to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in Congress and take giant steps forward before that 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty conference.

We are very hopeful that we can build that mass movement because people understand the nature of war in a different way because of Iraq and because of what’s going on in Afghanistan. They also know that the Obama administration is not the agent of change but can be the vehicle for change. We think that nuclear weapons is a good starting point.

Latinos for Peace

On October 31 2009, Latinos For Peace issued a statement calling for “no escalation of the war in Afghanistan and for expedited withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as an end to the coup government in Honduras”.

More than 100 activists endorsed the call, including Judith LeBlanc, New York.[17]

Peace Action

Judith Le Blanc is the national field organizer for Peace Action, the country's largest grassroots peace organization with 100,000 members across the country.[1]

Building the peace movement

Judith LeBlanc, National Field Organizer of Peace Action and two term National Co-Chair of United for Peace and Justice, spoke at the Tuscon, Arizona Salt of the Earth Labor College, February 13, 2010 on "the strategy and need to continue building a strong, active and broad-based peace movement".[18]

"Obama Year One"

Saturday, February 20, 2010 at Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan, Room 232, Chicago, a forum was held 'Obama Year One."

In the aftermath of the historic 2008 elections and in the midst of the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression, activists and progressives from across movements came together to push for a new New Deal. The new political and economic realities created new opportunities to mobilize for progressive changes including ending wars and militarism; promoting workers' rights; reforming healthcare; and developing economic policies that promote jobs and communities instead of corporate profits. There have been both advances and setbacks in these struggles. One year later, it's time to take stock of lessons learned, evaluate strategic goals, and plan for future campaigns. Join leaders of the labor, peace, immigrant rights, healthcare reform, and economic justice movements in assessing the past year and current political conditions to determine ways we can work together towards progressive change.

The panel included:

Disarm Now! conference

In June 2010, Judith LeBlanc addressed the Disarm Now! Conference, Riverside Church, New York. (Workshops: Beyond the NPT, Nuclear Free Zone in the Middle East) is field organizer for Peace Action, NPT coordinator for PANYS and one of the coordinators for the April 30-May 2 international conference, march and rally in New York City. She was the national co-chair of United for Peace and Justice.[20]

US Social Forum

The US Social Forum, was a gathering of over 15,000 "peace and justice-mongers" in Detroit, June 2010. . The Forum kicked off with a high energy, spirited march into downtown Detroit on Tuesday. Judith LeBlanc and Dave Kunes "had the pleasure of marching with our Peace Action of Michigan homies, and also Will Hopkins from New Hampshire Peace Action".

On Wednesday "we had a terrific mini-organizers meeting", led by Paul Kawika Martin, Jonathan Williams and Judith LeBlanc, with leaders from affiliates and chapters from across the country. That night we hosted a wonderful reception at the Swords into Plowshares gallery and peace center near downtown Detroit. Thanks "to Helen Weber, national Peace Action co-chair and PA MI stalwart, for her work, and also to the other wonderful Michigan volunteers who made the event a success".[21]

Solidarity with the Palestinian People/WikiLeaks

Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour and Judith Le Blanc, Peace Action

On Nov. 29,2010, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, LeBlanc "had the honor of speaking on behalf of civil society organizations to a special meeting at the United Nations (UN)".[22]

I spoke at the UN the morning after the first WikiLeaks release of US diplomatic cables. One of the more galling bits of WikiLeaks information was the order by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to collect biometrics, frequent flyer numbers, work schedules and other data on high-ranking UN officials.
The attempts by the US to sidetrack international law, sideline the UN and block implementation of UN resolutions has a long history especially in regards to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The UN is the only international institution where countries, big and small, rich or poor, can come to register their concerns and raise their demands for equitable treatment in the world community.

The UN spying was galling, but much of the information in the WikiLeaks, was not surprising or shocking for those who have been following US foreign policy. In fact, it proves that we have been right in our analysis and in organizing for peace and disarmament.
The ongoing debate around WikiLeaks gives organizers, historians and activists, an opportunity to draw bigger picture conclusions. Although, it is very tempting to get caught up in the juicy bits of gossip about world leaders, what they drink, wear or their states of mind.
The WikiLeaks disclosures portray the US Empire in decline, no longer able to launch wars wily nilly or control their allies. The diplomatic cables on discussions with the Yemeni government show that in fact, launching covert military actions and drone attacks on Al Qaeda rather than criminal investigations continues to destabilize the world and increase chance for new wars. The world is in deep crisis, and a US foreign, which relies on espionage, arms sales and bribery is a dead end.
The cables related to the coup in Honduras and Iran, for example, reflect an administration struggling for diplomatic approaches rather than the knee jerk vintage Bush cowboy-istic gun slinging. Do we agree with the outcome of the Obama administration’s debates and the approach towards Honduras or Iran, probably not, but gone is the era of nuke first, ask questions later tactics.

Clearly the break in the continuum of US foreign policy that we all hoped for with the election of President Obama is still a work in progress that requires a stronger, more vocal peace movement.
The question is how do we use the WikiLeaks to make our case for an alternative foreign policy. What the world needs is a radically different US foreign policy premised on respect for national sovereignty, international law, and institutions.

The administration needs to work from President Obama’s call for the US to behave as” one of many nations” and to end using diplomats for espionage now.
Closing US bases around the world and real steps on nuclear disarmament would go a long way to addressing the very real threat of rightwing fundamentalist terrorism.
If the US fought for the UN Charter mandated diplomatic role of the UN in the Middle East and around the world, real headway could be made on Middle East peace and ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Some in Congress are calling for placing WikiLeaks on the list of foreign terrorist organizations. Tom Hayden says, “These revelations do no damage to our national security. Instead, they helpfully add to public and Congressional awareness of improper and arguably illegal behavior undertaken under the cover of secrecy. “

Maybe Bill Quigley, Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights, is right. In an article on Common Dreams he said, “ Maybe WikiLeaks has the potential to make transparency and accountability more robust in the US.”
More transparency and accountability is exactly what we need to organize a movement that can fight and win an alternative foreign policy. That’s what the peace movement must do in the Wikiweeks to come.

32nd Annual Conference for Peace

Prasannan Parthasarathi, Judith LeBlanc, and the Rev. Robert Moore address audience questions during a speakers' panel.

The Coalition for Peace Action 's 32nd Annual Conference for Peace was held on November 13, 2011 at Princeton University. The Conference was entitled "Smart Security: Reducing Military Spending to Fund Urgent Needs at Home." The event featured talks from Dr. Gordon Adams, Jo Comferford, Dr. Prasannan Parthasarathi, Swami Tattvavidananda Saraswait, and Judith LeBlanc of the Communist Party USA, who encouraged the audience to be hopeful about our political progress, and to be involved with the current Occupy movements around the country.[23]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Political Affairs: Peace Movement and the 2008 Elections: Interview with Judith LeBlanc, April 11, 2008 (accessed on Dec. 23, 2010)
  2. People's World: Judith LeBlanc (accessed on Dec. 23, 2010)
  3. Political Affairs, March 1994
  4. People's Weekly World Sep 2 1995 p 14
  5. PWW October 30, 1999, page 2
  6. Peoples World, World reporter goes back to Israel and Palestine, by: Evelina Alarcon & John Pappademos, October 10 2002
  7. People's World: Honor César Chávez, March 29 2002 (accessed on Dec. 23, 2010)
  8. United for Peace and Justice: Steering Committee, elected at the UFPJ National Assembly, Feb. 2005 (accessed on July 9, 2008)
  9. Knology: National Organizations Affiliated With UFPJ as of July 17, 2007 (accessed on Dec. 23, 2010)
  10. United for Peace and Justice: Largest US Peace Coalition Marks Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Bombings, Aug. 4, 2009 (accessed on Dec. 23, 2010)
  11. BURLAK TIMPSON LABOR FORUM AND RED FLAME AWARD home page, accessed March 8, 2011
  12. Women’s International Democratic Federation, regional workshops, USA, accessed Feb. 22, 2011
  13. PW, Latino Congreso sets 2008 agenda, by: Rosalio Muñoz and Joelle Fishman, October 12 2007
  14. Open Letter to Obama on Iran
  15. Committees of Correspondence: Socialism and the Emerging Progressive Majority Are Key Topics at Symposium and 6th CCDS Convention, Aug. 6, 2009 (accessed on Dec. 23, 2010)
  16. Guardian, Issue # 1418 8 July 2009, The peace movement in the USA
  17. Organizing for America: Latinos For Peace tell Obama to get out of Afghanistan... and I agree! Get out now!, Oct 31, 2009 (accessed on Dec. 23, 2010)
  18. People's World: Tucson: Rebuilding the peace movement (accessed on Dec. 23, 2010)
  19. New Ground 128, Jan./Feb. 2008
  20. conference speaker bios (accessed on July 18, 2010)
  21. [http://peaceblog.wordpress.com/2010/06/, Peace Action blog, Peace Action in the House at the US Social Forum in Detroit! June 25, 2010]
  22. Peace Action Blog, A WikiWeek! By Judith Le Blanc, December 5, 2010
  23. http://www.peacecoalition.org/news-and-events/recent-events.html, 32nd Annual Conference for Peace, Coalition for Peace Action website, accessed January 4, 2012]