There are six members of Congress from Brooklyn. Five of six voted against the last Supplemental spending bill for Iraq. The Supplemental is a separate bill that President Bush annually sends to Congress to fund the occupation in Iraq. He then pressures Congress (and too easily do they cave in) to give him the money or else be accused of undermining his war and the soldiers he has sent there to fight it.
The one member of Congress to obediently and blindly follow Bush is the notorious war-hawk and right wing Congressman from Bay Ridge and Staten Island, Vito Fossella. But opposition is growing to Fossella among his constituents. As he ignores their problems while voting for war and tax cuts for the rich, people are demanding to know why.
In 2004, labor champion, former NY State Assemblyman and Supreme Court judge, Frank Barbaro gave Fossella a run for his money, garnering 41% of the vote. Frank's campaign was grossly underfunded compared to the well-heeled Fossella but nevertheless, came close to unseating him in what used to be a district taken for granted as a Republican fiefdom. The next time around, Steve Harrison, another progressive Democrat, challenged Fossella and won 43% of the vote. Harrison's campaign was also underfunded compared to the money lavished on Fossella by his wealthy corporate supporters. Harrison is running again this year and is already attracting wide support throughout Brooklyn, Staten Island and New York.
For Fossella, the handwriting is on the wall. Five years of war and five years of Fossella support for the war may spell the end of his Congressional reign.
It was with this in mind that dozens of anti-war protestors marched outside Fossella's Brooklyn office in Bay Ridge today. Joined by members of El Puente, the community and youth leadership group, Bay Ridge and Staten Island constituents picketed Fossella's office and rocked the neighborhood with chants like -
"Hey Fossela, can't you hear? Health care! Not warfare!"
The demonstration was part of this week's commemoration of Five Years of War...Five Years Too Many! In thousands of communities around the country, citizen patriots are demonstrating their love for this country and their opposition to five more years of war.
Diane and Jane of Brooklyn For Peace protest Vito Fossella's pro-war policies.
The protest was called by Bay Ridge Peace Action.
Young people from El Puente helped fill the picket line. Beautiful!
Hey Vito -- get the message?
Vicki McFadyen of Military Families For Peace, addresses the crowd.
The next protest is tonight at 6pm in Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza. Brooklyn Says No to the War, called by Brooklyn For Peace, will march to the U.S. Army Recruiting Station at Flatbush Avenue and Livinsgston Street. Join them - rain or shine!
Then, this Saturday, a citywide action. Thousands will join hands and form a human chain from river to river along Manhattan's 14th Street. That starts at noon on Saturday, March 22nd. More information at FIVE YEARS TOO MANY. See you there.....Matt