SPC in Action

From the January 2014 PNL #830

compiled by Jessica Azulay

No Eyes in the Skies!

On December 16, the Syracuse Common Council voted on SPC’s Resolution to protect our privacy in this age of drone surveillance. The unanimous “yes” vote declares that “no agency of the City of Syracuse, nor any agents under contract with the City, will operate Drones in the airspace over the City of Syracuse until federal and state laws, rules and regulations regarding the use of Drones are adopted that adequately protect the privacy of the population as guaranteed by the First and Fourth Amendments to the US Constitution” and that the Council “urges our Federal and State officials to create and adopt such laws, rules and regulations regarding the use of Drones which ensures Constitutional protections of individuals.”
Thanks to Councilor Jean Kessner who sponsored the legislation and the many activists who made phone calls, signed petitions and attended the Council meetings. Special thanks to Ann Tiffany, John Brule, John Murray and Jerry Lotierzo for shepherding the Resolution through a very long process. Check SPC’s website for the full text of the final Resolution.

While we savor this victory, we understand that it is only a step in a process to protect our civil rights and civil liberties from drone surveillance.


Frack-Free Future

On January 8, New Yorkers will converge outside of Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State address to call for a frack-free, renewable energy-powered future. Sign up for one of the buses going from Syracuse to Albany for the protest. Organizing is also underway to prevent the construction of a gas pipeline running from Broome to Onondaga County. To learn more and to get involved, contact Emily Bishop, emily@nyagainstfracking.org.


Interns Wanted

The Peace Council is accepting intern applications for work on a variety of projects in 2014, including Website Development, Database Management, Event Organizing and Community Outreach. Internships can be developed to meet the interests of applicants—most importantly, we love to have new people working, learning and sharing their skills with the Peace Council. Internships are currently unpaid. Hours are flexible, typically between 5-12 hours per week. To apply, visit www.peacecouncil.net/intern or contact Ursula.


Winter Open House

Wednesday January 22, 6-8 pm. Come find out about what’s happening at the Peace Council in the Winter of 2014. Meet with SPC activists to learn about the various ways you can get involved in our ongoing campaigns and organizing efforts for peace and social justice. Light refreshments served. RSVP appreciated but not required. Contact Ursula.


Upcoming Trials

The trial of seventeen nonviolent activists arrested at Hancock Air Base for protesting weaponized drones piloted from Hancock has been rescheduled. They were arrested on October 25, 2012 and are scheduled to go to trial on Friday, January 3 at 5 pm at the Town of DeWitt Courthouse (5400 Butternut Dr., East Syracuse).

We strongly encourage people to come out to support them—this is the first trial of activists who, in addition to being charged with trespass and disorderly conduct, were given “temporary” orders of protection directing them to stay away from the base commander. Violating an order of protection can result in a serious charge, so this in effect denies them their First Amendment rights of assembly, speech and redress of grievances. The trial of the Hancock 31, arrested in April 2013, is expected to begin sometime in January. Before going to either trial, check SPC’s website or contact Carol—dates can change unexpectedly.



Did you know that 93% of the US population supports labeling foods that contain genetically modified organisims (GMO)? Back in November, SPC signed on to the GMO-Free NY campaign, which aims to pass GMO labeling legislation in New York State in 2014. If you are interested in reigning in corporate influence on food policy, join this growing campaign! Also, please call your New York State representatives and ask them to support GMO labeling in NY. Learn more at www.gmofreeny.net or contact Ursula.



The 43rd Annual Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival was all we’d hoped for and more. CNY’s peace-loving community came together in connection, celebration, and commerce. With good weather for traveling and robust pre-event publicity (thanks Carol Baum and intern Brianna Shetler!), we saw a huge crowd pass through the Festival on Saturday, followed by a respectable size crowd on Sunday! SPC’s Marketplace, Crafts Table, Raffle, and Silent Auction all raised money to sustain our year-round antiwar organizing, and many vendors reported high sales and good times had by all.

Thanks to the all-volunteer Plowshares Committee that does so much throughout the year to make Plowshares the successful and heartwarming event it is every year. Additionally, special thanks go to all of the volunteers who helped with set up, clean up, and general staffing; Syracuse City School District and Nottingham High School; Mission Restaurant for providing the delicious and nutritious Plowshares menu; all of the many generous donors to the Raffle and Silent Auction; and, of course, the wonderful vendors and visitors!


Travel to Colombia

The CNY-Cajibio Colombia Sister Community Project is planning a delegation to Colombia this coming July. Participants will  learn about the impacts of US foreign policy in Colombia and will spend time with the Small Farmers Movement of Cajibio learning about issues of sustainable agriculture, food sovereignty and human rights. The estimated cost of the delegation is $900, though subject to change based on airfare. Contact Ann, 478-4571.


Make Your Own Humus

CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel was a new presence this year as part of the SPC contingent of tables at Plowshares. The focus of the table was the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS), which was initiated at the request of Palestinians several years ago. The campaign is designed to put economic pressure on Israel to reconsider its policies regarding occupation of Palestinian lands and oppression of Palestinian people. We are committed to bringing the boycott to central New York and had many excellent conversations with politically aware people who were not aware of this effort. The companies identified for boycott are SodaStream, Sabra Humus, Tribe Humus, Hewlett Packard, and Motorola. To balance the “don’t buy” message, we offered tastes of delicious homemade humus, and offered olive oil and olive oil soap for sale, made in the West Bank and imported via Canaan Fair Trade. Expect to hear more about BDS—and start your personal boycott with the New Year! Contact Jessica.


Drones Summit

SPC and Upstate NY were well represented at CodePink’s “Drones Around the Globe: Proliferation and Resistance” Summit. Ten activists from the Syracuse area, along with nine from Upstate NY joined hundreds of others converged in Washington, DC November 16-17. During a weekend of learning and action, we were gripped by personal stories from members of the Yemeni delegation, inspired and educated by many speakers, protested in front of the White House and at Sen. Schumer’s office, and connected with activists throughout the US and rest of the world.