SPC in Action

From the February 2014 PNL #831

compiled by Jessica Azulay

Strike for Peace!
SPC Annual Bowlathon

The annual Strike for Peace! Bowlathon is scheduled for Sunday, March 30 at Bowl Mor Lanes (201 Highland Ave, E. Syracuse 13057). There will be two afternoon sessions. As always, this fun event will feature costumes, prizes, team spirit, and funny shoes! Spend an afternoon socializing with other peaceniks to benefit SPC’s peace and justice organizing.

Teams are 4-6 people (individuals are welcome—we’ll match you with a team). Entry fee is $15 for adults, $10 for kids (12 and under) and includes two games plus shoes. The alley is completely accessible and bumpers are available. Registration is open until March 14, and discounts are available for early reservations (by February 28). Call Amelia or register online at www.peacecouncil.net/bowl.

 

“Dirty Wars” in Syracuse

SPC’s Ground the Drones, End the Wars committee will host a free showing of Jeremy Scahill and Richard Rowley’s documentary Dirty Wars on Monday, February 10 at 7 pm at ArtRage Gallery (505 Hawley Ave., Syracuse). The film just received an Oscar nomination for Best Feature Documentary and has already won numerous awards.

 

No TPP Fast Track!

As we go to print, the Peace Council is organizing against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement that would affect workers’ rights and wages, the environment, sovereignty of nations and democratic rule of law, internet freedom and online creativity, food safety and agriculture, healthcare, financial regulation, and much more. There is a national movement to tell Congress not to give President Obama the “fast track” power to negotiate and sign the agreement without Congressional approval. On January 28, we held a teach-in about the many ways the TPP would affect our lives. To learn more, see www.flushthetpp.org. 

 

More BDS Activism Needed

Thanks to all who stopped by the CNY Working table at Plowshares to sample the homemade hummus and learn about the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in support of Palestinian rights. We talked to many long-time activists who were very interested but not very aware of this campaign. So, we are even more energized in our determination to bring BDS to the forefront of awareness in our community. Don’t buy Sabra or Tribe hummus, Sodastream, Ahava, Hewlett Packard, or Motorola products! (They are produced in Israeli settlements in Palestine.) Contact Jessica for more information or to get involved with our work.

 

Hancock 17 Drone Resisters


Andrea Levine from Ithaca speaks at a press conference
just before the start of the Hancock 17 Drone War Crime
Resisters trial on January 3, 2014. Photo: Charley Bowman

The trial of the Hancock 17 Drone War Crimes Resisters will conclude on February 7 with the verdict. The trial itself was spread over five long evenings over the course of a month.

The Hancock 17 were on trial for having symbolically blocked the three entrance gates at Hancock Air Base on October 25, 2012. They called for an end to drone warfare and read a Citizen’s War Crimes Indictment. They were at the Base because MQ9 Reaper drones which fly over Afghanistan are piloted from Hancock.

The resisters argued that their actions were legal. They had come to Hancock to ask their government for redress of grievances and to fulfill their duties to uphold International Law, under which wars of aggression and indiscriminate killing are crimes. See SPC’s website for updates.

 

GMO Free CNY

In December, GMO Free CNY met with Senators John DeFrancisco and Dave Valesky and asked them to support legislation that would require the disclosure of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in our food. Please call DeFrancisco (315-428-7632) and Valesky’s (315-478-8745) offices and ask them to sponsor NY’s GMO labeling bill. The next local organizing meeting will be 7 pm on February 10 at the Peace Council Office. To learn more about the campaign for GMO labeling and to sign your business on to the GMO Labeling campaign, contact Ursula or visit www.gmofreeny.net.

 

Organizing Against Solitary Confinement

The Peace Council was happy to partner with the Center for Community Alternatives and NYC-based Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC) on January 26 to host a networking event for over 20 people interested in organizing against solitary confinement. People in isolated confinement are held in small cells for 22-24 hours a day without meaningful human contact, therapy, education or training. New York prisons and jails currently subject far too many people (thousands on any given day), including particularly vulnerable groups like young people and people with mental health needs, to isolated confinement for far too long (months, years, and decades) in conditions that can cause deep and permanent psychological damage. CAIC organizers visited upstate cities to share information about their work and hear about ours. We discussed ideas for collaboration and heard about plans for a demonstration against mass incarceration in Albany in May. Contact Amelia to hear more details or connect with the work.

 

Stop Corporate Rule


Image: Eric P from farmanac.com

In January, democracy activists relaunched local efforts to challenge corporate domination of our political system. To mark the fourth anniversary of the Citizens United US Supreme Court ruling, the Peace Council joined Move to Amend of CNY at a film screening and press conference to promote the Legalize Democracy campaign. Citizens United allows corporations and other organizations to spend unlimited funds for or against candidates, by essentially declaring that corporations are “people” and have the right to free speech. Nationally, Move to Amend is leading efforts to pass local and state resolutions in support of the “We the People” amendment that would abolish corporate personhood and overturn Citizens United. The next meeting of Move to Amend CNY will be at 7 pm on Thursday, February 20 at the Syracuse Peace Council office. To learn more about how you can be part of the national campaign to Legalize Democracy, contact Ursula.

 

Challenging the Two Faces of Drones

SPC’s Ground the Drones, End the Wars Committee is bubbling with plans. Our efforts to educate our community about and build resistance to the US’ illegal use of weaponized drones continues. We also will build on the successful passage of the Syracuse City Council’s resolution to ban drones from our airspace until federal, state, and local legislation is adopted that protects our First and Fourth Amendment rights. Would you like us to push for a similar resolution at the County level? If so, we need you to join the subcommittee!

Our activism is only limited by the number of people standing up. Please join us in this exciting work. Contact Carol.

 

NOON Gets Moving

NOON is picking up steam on a number of exciting projects, and we’re thrilled that the table was quite crowded at our last Steering Committee meeting!

Following the US Supreme Court’s rejection of the Onondaga Nation’s Land Rights case late in 2013, the next steps in legal action to further pursue a just settlement are expected to be taken soon. NOON is preparing to focus our energy on this effort,and will look forward to engaging as many people as possible to make this a successful campaign of support. Justice for the land is justice for everyone.

A major project is on the verge of completion: a new historical marker that will be placed at Onondaga Lake has been approved by the Onondaga Nation Council. The marker tells a different version of CNY’s history than we’ve been taught in school—it shares the perspective of the indigenous people of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. We hope to announce the unveiling of the sign very soon.

We’re also working to improve the navigability of our new website as we continue to pull material from the old site. For information or to get involved, call Carol or Amelia.        

 

Activist Appreciation:
Barbara Floch

Barbara Floch has been involved with the Peace Council for what seems like forever. In the olden days before there was a Plowshares Committee, the job of organizing SPC’s Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival was led by one person. Barb did that role for several years and did a wonderful job. Since the formation of the Plowshares Committee, Barb has been the  liaison to The Mission regarding the food vending at the event, and she has helped organize set up and clean up the Friday night “potluck of munchies.” Because of her experience and knowledge as a craftsperson, Barb has been our main source of “real life” information about the craft show scene—how other shows do things, what they charge, the size of their booths, etc., and her knowledge is invaluable. Barb has been key in developing and carrying out our jurying process to choose Plowshares participants. Barb is upbeat, fun to be with, and very talented with her endlessly evolving crafts. She has a strong following that seeks her out at Plowshares. Last and very much not least—as we have often said—much of the success of the Plowshares Committee is because we meet and EAT!  Sharing wonderful food together for many years has helped us deal with a variety of issues and concerns. Barb always brings something substantial like a homemade casserole. We know that even if our pickings might be little slim because of other demands, Barb will provide with gusto!

 

SPC Meets with Rep. Maffei

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, January 20, SPC met with Rep. Dan Maffei and two of his aides in his Syracuse office. Maffei is on the Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee, so the topics we addressed – the military budget and the two faces of drones (weaponized and surveillance) - were particularly appropriate. We had a friendly exchange of ideas and all left with homework and the promise to get back to each other. We also anticipate a meeting in the spring focused exclusively on drones.

Thanks to Jerry Lotierzo for setting the meeting up. He, Peter Swords, Ursula Rozum and Carol Baum all attended from SPC.

 

Justice in the Americas

The CNY-Colombia Support Network is planning a delegation to visit our sister community, the Small Farmers Movement of Cajibio, Colombia in July. To apply to go on the delegation or to donate to the CNY delegation fund, contact CNY-Cajibio coordinator, Jessica Maxwell, 751-7242. 

 

Fighting Fracking


Rachel Cary, Simone Richmond and Ursula Rozum at the
State of the State anti-fracking protest.Photo: Eric Jones

Two thousand fracktivists from across the state rallied outside  Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State address on January 8 calling for a fracking ban. On February 6, the New Yorkers Against Fracking coalition will meet at the Onondaga Free Library, 4640 W. Seneca Turnpike, at 7 pm. Issues to be discussed include understanding and responding to the NYS Energy Plan and stopping shipments of fracking-waste (known as bakken crude) through Central New York.

 

NY Energy Plan Mostly Business as Usual
Your Comments Needed

In January, the New York Energy Planning Board released the 2014 New York State Energy Plan for public comment. The good news is the Plan sets a goal for 80% greenhouse-gas reductions by 2050, a win for the environmental movement. The bad news is the Plan does not outline any specifics for how New York policy makers intend to meet that goal. Though there are some programs to promote renewable energy in the plan, most of the plan revolves around our current fossil-fuel and nuclear fuel-heavy system. Of particular concern is the Plan’s emphasis on ramping up natural gas infrastructure and use in New York. The Plan is a far cry from the roadmap we need for a carbon-free, nuclear-free energy system.

Through our involvement in the Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE), we’ll be working with other environmental groups to encourage the public to submit comments on the plan and to participate in public hearings. The word on the street is that one of the public hearings on the plan will take place in Syracuse. Stay tuned for details. Contact Jessica or see www.agreenewyork.org.

 

Honoring the Two Row Means “No Fracking”

The Two Row had a significant presence at the Anti-Fracking/Renewable Energy Rally at the New York State Capitol on January 8 where our 30-foot banner garnered much attention. Two Row activists from Onondaga, Syracuse, the Capital District, Hudson Valley, New York City and elsewhere reunited. We gathered nearly 100 signatures on our Declaration of Intent as well (sign at HonorTheTwoRow.org/declaration). Contact Andy, 315-701-1592.

 

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