SPC in Action

From the April 2012 PNL #813

compiled by Carol Baum

Anti-Drones Weekend: Medea Benjamin to Speak

The Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars is organizing “Stop Drone War Crimes at Hancock Airfield: Say NO to the Global War Zone” April 21-22 in Syracuse. Saturday, April 21 will feature workshops, dinner and speaker Medea Benjamin. Medea is co-founder of CodePink and author of the recently published Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. Sunday, April 22 will be educational outreach and action.

Please join us. Details are being worked out—updates will be on peacecouncil.net and upstatedroneaction.org. All events are free.

Contact Carol. To offer hospitality, contact Ann Tiffany, 315-478-5471.

 

Justice for Palestine

CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel is organizing a demonstration for Land Day, March 30, at the intersection of Erie Blvd. E. and E. Genesee St. in DeWitt. Land Day, Yom al-Ard, commemorates the Israeli security forces’ 1976 killing of six young Palestinians as they protested the Israeli government’s seizure of Palestinian land. The day has since become a symbol of Palestinian resistance to land theft, colonization and occupation. Our third annual Nakba Commemoration, featuring a Skype discussion with Palestinian activist and scholar Mazin Qumsiyeh, is set for Sunday, May 20 at 4 pm at ArtRage. Contact Andy.

 

SPC and Iran

The partial US withdrawal from Iraq had barely commenced when Obama and other public figures began escalating threats to take military action against Iran. SPC held a teach-in on February 28 on Iran and the dangers of the expanding US permanent war economy. With ArtRage Gallery, we co-sponsored a photo slide-show and documentary film viewing, organized by Rochester anti-war activist Judy Bello, who has traveled to Iran several times. In mid-March we signed onto a United for Peace and Justice statement opposing a US military strike on Iran.

If the threats and justifications coming from Obama sound familiar, it could be due to their similarity to Bush’s 2008 declarations against Iran. For a review, look through the 2008 PNL archives online (peacecouncil.net/pnl), especially the June and October issues.

 

AGREE for a Safe Energy Future

 


Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear speaks at a
press conference organized by AGREE calling
for the shut down of the Fitzpatrick nuclear
reactor in Oswego. Photo: Alison Gates

SPC is a founding member of the Alliance for a Green Economy, a new statewide coalition promoting a safe energy future.

 

On March 11, the anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, AGREE hosted an educational event. The following day, we held a joint press conference in Syracuse with national nuclear watch-dog Beyond Nuclear (beyondnuclear.org), which was attended by all three local TV stations, the primary radio news stations and the Post-Standard, and was picked up by WBAI, the New York City Pacifica station. We announced our filing of a joint petition asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to shut down the Fitzpatrick reactor in Scriba, NY. A Mark I GE boiling water reactor, Fitzpatrick is one of 23 operating in the US that are of the same design as those that exploded and melted down in Japan (see the PNL, March 2012).

We are also seeking state funding for a comprehensive study on how to make New York carbon and nuclear free by 2050. For more information on AGREE or to get involved, visit agreenewyork.org or find us on Facebook.  

Jobs Not War

With high school seniors nearing the end of school, the poor economy can be a strong recruiting tool for the US military. Now more than ever it’s important for us to staff informational tables in the local high schools to raise awareness about alternatives to military service. We have upcoming lunch-time tables scheduled for Fowler on April 4, Henninger on April 18, Nottingham on April 25 and Corcoran on April 26. The more people we have tabling, the more students we can reach. To join one of our core activists at a table from 10:45 am-12:40 pm, contact Andy or Jessica.

 

SPC on Social Media

Did you know that you can interact with the Peace Council community on social media through Facebook and Twitter? Visit our Facebook page to share interesting articles on peace, war and social justice issues and to get the most up-to-date info on upcoming events from SPC and our allies.

 

Consensus Workshop

As an organization, SPC is committed to democratic, non-hierarchical forms of decision making that maximize participation and cooperation. The Occupy movement raised the visibility of consensus decision making, but many activists still don’t fully understand how consensus works. On Wednesday, April 4 at 7pm, SPC will host a workshop on consensus process. RSVP helpful. Contact Jessica.

 

Two Row Wampum

Outreach is extending beyond Syracuse for the planned Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign in 2013. Sue Eiholzer of NOON made the first presentation on the campaign on March 18 in Trumansburg. The first regional organizing meeting is Sunday, April 15 in Albany. In the next few months we’ll meet with the Environmental Consortium of Hudson Valley Colleges and Universities and the Beacon Sloop Club. We’ll also staff a booth at the Clearwater Festival.

Committees focused on education, outreach, fundraising and enactment planning are meeting regularly. More organizers are needed. Contact Andy.

 

Bowlathon a Striking Success

 


2012's Central Square Unitarians Bowlathon
team. Photo: Carol Baum

This year’s Bowlathon had 44 teams with 226 bowlers. The spirit was outstanding! Best team name awards went to The 1199%ers (from SEIU 1199) and Emma Goldpins; best team costume went to We’re the 1% and You’re Not and Psychedelic Propaganda; and Team Salsa and Lynne’s Team won the team spirit awards. A highlight was when Permie Madness occupied the lane of We’re the 1% and You’re Not. To see photos, go to flickr.com (can access from SPC website).

 

Not only was it fun, but it was a moneymaker too. Special thanks to people who collected pledges and to teams who joined the Team Pledging Hall of Fame.

Great thanks go to the organizing committee of Carol Baum, Jane Garlow, Nancy Hallock, Rae Kramer and Wendy Yost, and to all who helped make the Bowlathon great fun.

 

Activist Appreciation: Donna Tarbania

Donna Tarbania is an insightful, careful thinker who is a boon to any project she works on. She is an exacting and clear communicator, both with the spoken and written word, and we are grateful she has shared her gifts with SPC. She has done small scale, but challenging, projects, such as writing a shortened version of SPC’s Statement of Purpose. She has also helped with time-consuming jobs, such as being an integral part of Plowshare’s SPC Marketplace Committee.

For the last year and a half, she has been part of the committee organizing and editing a booklet soon to be published by SPC’s Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation. Donna joined the committee at a particularly challenging time and helped get it restarted and refocused, offering much-needed expertise from her publishing background (she is the associate publisher at the Syracuse Cultural Workers).

Thank you so much, Donna, for quietly making so much happen!

 

NYS Frack Ban Coalition

Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation has signed on as an initial member of New Yorkers Against Fracking, a new coalition working for a permanent ban on hydrofracking in New York State. News from Albany is mixed on the No Frack front. While there is some support for a ban bill, it is unlikely to pass in this legislative session. However, a hazardous waste bill has passed the Assembly and may make it to the floor of the Senate for a vote. Please call your state Senator to support this. Contact Jack Ramsden, 315-424-1454.

 

Radical Study Group

In April, the Radical Study Group will continue reading The S Word: A History of an American Tradition…Socialism. Join us on April 4 at 7:30 pm to discuss the book through chapter 4 and on April 18 for the second half of the book. Contact Ursula.

 

Spring Into Action with SPC!

Step up and get involved with SPC. There are many ways to be part of our work, from joining an organizing committee to helping with ongoing tasks (like posting fliers or staffing a table)—and more.

We’re always happy to meet with you to discuss ways you can get involved. Contact Ursula.

 

Bikes Rule

It’s time for Bikes 4 Peace, SPC’s summer youth bike repair project. This year, we’re starting bike repair activities early with an open “Bike Kitchen” for youth and adults on two Tuesdays, April 10 and April 24, from 5-7 pm on the ground floor of the Center (2013 E. Genesee St.—enter in rear). This will be a space to learn, practice and share bicycle repair skills on your own bike or a donated Bikes 4 Peace bike. It’s also a place for us bike lovers to plan for a collective bicycle repair space. In May, we will have a Bikes 4 Peace orientation and planning meeting to prepare for summer repair clinics. Contact Jessica or Ursula.

 

Tax Day

SPC is once again organizing the Penny Poll the week before tax day, in which passersby are asked to “vote” on where their tax dollars should go. They are given pennies to place into jars corresponding to federal budget categories; we then create a People’s Budget and compare it to the federal budget.

We plan to conduct the poll in local colleges—contact Carol to help.

 

PeaceSongsCNY CD Release

 

Join us on Sunday, May 6, from 5-8 pm at Metro Lounge, 505 Westcott St., for a family-friendly musical celebration of peace and social justice at the PeaceSongsCNY CD release party. Many of the 19 musicians on the CD will perform their selections. Performers range from full-time musicians like Sophistafunk and Jamie Notarthomas, to part-timers like Colleen Kattau and Laura Wilansky, to at home strummers like Van Cleary-Hammarstedt. Tickets are $5-10 sliding scale and CDs will be available for only $10 at the show and afterward at SPC’s office.

 

 

Hancock 38: Court is Over

On February 29, the final five members of the Hancock 38 were sentenced. Each was given a one year conditional discharge and fined $375. In addition, previously sentenced defendants returned to court. Some of them chose to redirect their fines to Voices for Creative Nonviolence for the benefit of youths working for peace in Afghanistan. A giant check for $5300 to Voices was presented at a news conference preceding court.

Retired Col. Ann Wright and Kathy Kelly (Voices for Creative Nonviolence) had come earlier to Syracuse to speak—at several colleges, a Post-Standard Editorial Board meeting, the Thursday Morning Roundtable, St. Lucy’s Church, two high schools and The Campbell Conversations radio show. SPC organized a well-attended event the night before the sentencing; one highlight was Skyping with friends in Afghanistan to ask what they would like us to say to the judge.

To view the Hancock 38’s news conference, Ann and Kathy’s talks and sentencing statements, visit SPC’s YouTube channel.

 

SummerCrafts at JazzFest

We’re excited about Syracuse JazzFest moving from the windy hills of OCC to the shore of Jamesville Reservoir, and SPC expects to coordinate our third SummerCrafts there the weekend of June 23-24. Spread the word among craftspeople who may be interested. SummerCrafts is both a summer fundraiser for SPC and a great outreach opportunity for our work. Consider lending a hand. Contact Ursula.

 

ACTS Dinner Coming Up

The Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse is holding is spring banquet, “Celebrating a Decade of Diversity in Action” on Thursday, April 19. SPC, as an ACTS member organization, is hoping to have a small table. Tickets are $50—contact Carol if you can make a donation to help someone go or would like to go yourself.

 

We Are New York

SPC continues to network with other progressive organizations through the We Are New York coalition. Plans this spring include the Spring 99% Training on April 14 (a hands-on training about direct action—see PNL calendar for details) and Tax Day events. Check SPC’s website for details as they evolve.

News from the Center

The Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice, home to SPC and other groups, is excited to be 95% occupied (we have one small office available). We continue to develop the building as a well-functioning, accessible, green facility. 

Current projects include modernizing our ground floor community room (available for outside groups, too), paving our parking lot with porous pavement and strengthening our already dedicated Board, committees and staff. Accessibility continues to be a major priority.

If you would like to coordinate landscaping or are willing to donate your construction skills for small jobs, please contact Brent Bleier at 315-701-1580.

– Walter Putter

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