SPC in Action

From the July-August 2013 PNL #826

compiled by Jessica Azulay

Youth RIOT!

SPC’s youth antiwar effort has regrouped under the name Youth RIOT (Youth Resisting Imperialism and Oppression Together). We are planning a youth-led antiwar conference for late September exploring the theme of “war and its intersections.” Workshops and panels will focus on the real-world workings of imperialism, intersecting systems of oppression, and what we do and need to do to resist global war. Our next planning meeting is on Monday, July 29 at 5:30 pm at the SPC office (first floor). Contact Amelia.


Make Syracuse a Drone Free Zone

About four years ago a committee of the Peace Council formed to consider the problem of UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicles, aka drones) coming to Syracuse. We were concerned about the use of drones as weapons for killing people as well as the dangers of drones flying in our civilian airspace. Picketing at Hancock Air Base began, and soon people from throughout Upstate New York joined in ongoing activism at the base.  Drones are also used for surveillance, not only by the military but also by police and border patrol agencies against civilian populations.

Recently, the committee decided to contact members of the Syracuse Common Council with a proposed Resolution to declare the airspace of Syracuse to be a surveillance-drone free zone. This resulted in the Common Council’s Public Safety Committee holding a public meeting on June 27 to “discuss drones and the potential impact on the Central New York area.” Unfortunately the meeting was very unbalanced. CenterState CEO, a business and economic development organization, was invited to sit at the head table and was given what seemed to be unlimited time to push their agenda—to maximize the economic gain of having drones in Central New York, with no apparent concern about collateral damage to the Bill of Rights.  SPC members and others stated that Syracuse should obtain no surveillance drones until adequate federal regulations are developed and in place that guarantee all the protections afforded by the 4th Amendment of the Bill of Rights—freedom from unwarranted surveillance.  We expect the next step will be a study session and we will urge people to attend. Contact Carol.
John Brule


Free Bradley Manning!


SPC activists Amelia Ramsey-Lefevre
and Mike Smith march with 51 other
SPC activists and hundreds of Bradley
Manning supporters at Fort Meade, MD
on June 1. Photo: Carol Baum

On June 1, the Peace Council took a busload of people from all over Upstate New York to Fort Meade to protest in support of military whistleblower Bradley Manning. The demonstration took place on the eve of Manning’s court martial. He is facing life in prison for telling the world the truth about US war crimes. As Manning’s court martial continues until at least August, SPC will continue raising public awareness about his courageous acts. You can follow the court martial progress at www.bradleymanning.org. And see www.peacecouncil.net/free-bradley-manning for a longer description of the trip to Fort Meade with pictures. Stay tuned for more actions and a possible second trip to Fort Meade to observe Manning’s trial.



Demand Your Right to Privacy
Defend the Fourth Amendment

July 27, 1 pm – Federal Building, 100 S. Clinton St.

The US Constitution guarantees that we have the right to privacy unless there is reason to believe we have committed a crime. The Fourth Amendment spells out freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. Recent revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden add to growing evidence that the state and collaborating corporations are spying on us and people around the world, gobbling up our communications and storing them en masse. Join a community response to the growing surveillance state. Tell the government and spying corporations to stay out of our email, our phone calls and our communications. Gather with the Peace Council and other groups and individuals in a protest to defend whistleblowers and the right to privacy on July 27. We will be leafleting downtown Syracuse starting at noon and then will gather for a protest at 1 pm. Check the Peace Council website or call the office for details. 


Remember Hiroshima

Each August, SPC and Peace Action commemorate the tragic nuclear bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, and we renew our commitment to creating a nuclear-free world. We also remember the disastrous meltdown at the Fukushima Daiitchi nuclear power plant in 2011. We know that  nuclear contamination is equally dangerous whether it comes from bombs or power generation, and the promotion of nuclear power worldwide contributes to nuclear weapons proliferation. Join us this year on Tuesday, August 6 for the Hiroshima Day Annual Dramatic Procession. We will gather outside of City Hall at 11:30 am, and we’ll step off at 12 pm sharp. Please wear white or light colors to help us create a dramatic effect. This year’s route will wind through downtown Syracuse, around the downtown Farmers Market, and will end on the lawn of the MOST museum for a short vigil and song of hope. Contact Carol or Amelia.


Anti-Drones Work Takes to the Streets


With the good weather, the Ground the Drones, Ends the Wars committee takes much of our work outside. Plans are underway for performing a “tableau” (silent, motionless street theater) at the State Fair. We’ll need many people willing to play a part—all that it requires is being completely still for 15 minutes at a time. We’re also preparing for a second year of downtown Syracuse outreach (leafleting, with the model drone as a prop) and a second Drone Country Tour (a take-off on Wine Country tours!) that will make the connection among the players in the drone-industrial complex and does indeed end with wine. And remember, there is the twice a month peace outreach at Hancock Air Base (see sidebar). For those with indoor tastes, come support resisters as a Court Watcher. The 31 people arrested April 28 continue with court appearances throughout the summer, and some cases from previous actions have not been resolved. For dates, see upstatedroneaction.org. If you’re a first-time Court Watcher, contact Carol for background information or to learn more about any of these projects.


Congrats to Cortland Community for Peace… for celebrating five years of virtually
non-stop peace vigils every Saturday on Cortland’s Main Street. Their fifth anniversary
vigil in June drew about 25 people and generated 250 “honks for peace,” peace signs
and cheers from passing motorists.  If you live in the Cortland area and would like to
join in, contact Dave Narby, 607-423-7345, dnarby101@gmail.com.



SPC Garage Sale

*Reduce - get rid of unwanted stuff

*Reuse - your trash is my treasure

*Recycle - down with planned obsolescence

LOTS!!! of Stuff, LOW!!! Prices

September 7-8: Saturday 9 am – 4 pm, Sunday 9 am – 12 pm, 401 Scottholm Blvd., Syracuse. Drop off your “gently used” items Wednesday-Friday, September 4-6 between 3 pm and 10 pm. Wanted: household and sporting goods, books, DVDs, games, toys, furniture, linens, tools, plants, art, jewelry, lamps, holiday items, appliances and MORE.

Please NO clothing, old electronics, things that DON’T work and miscellaneous crap (oops! not-good stuff). Helpers WELCOME for set-up and sale. Food provided. Questions? Call Rae, 445-2840.


Activist Training: Facilitating Consensus

Ever been to a meeting where people talk in circles, over one another, or where one person’s voice dominates the conversation? Don’t like it?  Meetings can be a significant part of activism and organizing with a group, which is why the Peace Council is hosting a Consensus Facilitation training on August 29, 6-8 pm at the Center for Peace and Social Justice community room. This training is intended for individuals who want to improve the quality of meetings by developing their skills in facilitating and participating in consensus decision-making. To RSVP or if you have questions, contact Ursula.


Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation

NOON is in the midst of bringing to fruition several terrific projects. Our updated and expanded Neighbor to Neighbor, Nation to Nation booklet will go to press soon. The booklet, a collection of readings about the relationship of the Onondaga Nation with Central New York, USA, will be widely distributed and we could use your help. The Historic Marker project researches Central New York markers to clarify inaccuracies and expand historical information. Working with the Onondaga Nation and the park superintendent, we are developing a replacement for a sign at Onondaga Lake Park. It should be ready for installation before the end of the year. Information tabling continues throughout the summer. Do you know of an event where NOON materials would be appreciated? Would you be interested in helping staff NOON’s table? New volunteers are always paired with experienced volunteers. Contact Paul at paul@mousehouse.com or 315-243-4498.  A brand new endeavor is our biweekly E-announcements. They feature a NOON project, as well as important dates and events. To receive these and other announcements from our low-volume listserv, or to get involved with NOON projects, contact Carol.


End Police Brutality

The United as One Coalition (UaO) will host a speakout against police brutality on August 21 at 6 pm at the Southwest Community Center. Organizers will speak about the ongoing struggle for justice for victims of police brutality and misconduct, and community members will be invited to share their stories. Come to this event to hear from victims of police brutality as well as to add your voice to the chorus calling for an end to police brutality everywhere. 

At the county level, the legislature seems to be moving forward on creating a jail oversight structure without further input from UaO. A UaO member was unable to speak during the public comment period of the monthly legislature meeting on July 2 because the meeting was delayed without notice. We will continue to put pressure on the legislature to give us a seat at the table throughout this process, and we need your help. Show up to the monthly legislature meeting at 1 pm on Tuesday, August 6 and speak during the public comment period, or just hold a sign in support of UaO. Contact Amelia for details.


SPC Out and About!

In the summertime, the Peace Council looks for opportunities to do outreach at community events. In July, SPC activists staffed a booth at the JazzFest at Jamesville Beach. Special thanks to Sarah Eggers, Herm Bieling, Ann Tiffany, Ed Kinane, Julienne Oldfield, Mike Smith, Mary Barrett and Cheryl Neddo for spending their 4th of July weekend doing outreach with us at JazzFest. Contact Ursula to lend a hand at:

Downtown Arts and Crafts Fair, July 26 - 28

Westcott Street Cultural Fair, Sept. 15


Welcome to all of our new volunteer bike mechanics: Pilar Lyons, Doug Mayer, Pat Coyne, Rocco Morganti, Steve Kowalczyk, David Pittman, Sally Timball and Adrien Tanguey. In June, our team helped 22 kids fix their bikes at the Northeast Community Center. On July 24, our bike repair team will be at the Brady Faith Center, 404 South Ave, from 5 pm-7 pm. And on August 7 and 14, Bikes4Peace will fix bikes in the Spanish Action League parking lot from 5 pm-7 pm. To volunteer or to donate a bicycle for a young person to “earn,” contact Ursula.


Bike Raffle

Once again this summer, the Peace Council’s Fundraising Committee has organized a bicycle raffle—many thanks to our friends at Mello Velo bicycle shop on Westcott Street for their help! Tickets for a chance to win a high quality ($400 value) bicycle are $2 each or $5 for 3 tickets. The winning ticket will be chosen at the close of the Westcott Street Cultural Fair on September 15. (You don’t have to be present to win.) Come by the SPC office to get your tickets—and let us know if you can help out by inviting friends and family to participate in the raffle. Contact Ursula.


SPC Summer Interns

We are delighted to have five terrific summer interns. Sarah Eggers and Mike Smith each work 20 hours a week, with Sarah focusing on fundraising and outreach, and Mike on the Ground the Drones, End the Wars Committee and general antiwar activities. The others work 6-15 hours a week. Weston Hoy is working with the Ground the Drones, End the Wars Committee; Stephanie Joyce is focusing on our visual art needs; and Saptarshi Lahiri is learning about SPC’s infrastructure while working with the Ground the Drones, End the Wars Committee  and the PNL Editorial Committee. SPC staff and activists are so grateful they are here.


Stop the Pipeline!

A coalition of groups from Binghamton to Syracuse is working together to stop a proposed 24-inch gas pipeline that will connect the Millennium Pipeline (newly built along the Southern Tier and already failing) with the Dominion Pipeline near Cortland and the Tennesee Gas Pipeline that runs across southern Onondaga County. Pipelines are often the harbingers of fracking. Towns affected include: Onondaga, Otisco, Lafayette, Tully, Preble, Homer, Cortlandville, Virgil, Lapeer, Lisle, Nanticoke, Maine and Union. Learn more at shaleshockcny.org and to get involved, contact Jack, 424-1454.


Two Row Rocks the Lake

On July 2, the vision of a Two Row paddle came to life on Onondaga Lake. A crowd of several hundred supporters cheered, tweeted and took photos as some two dozen paddlers, Haudenosaunee and non-native allies, landed at Willow Bay. The paddle that morning from the Onondaga Nation had been somewhat treacherous, with high waters and fast currents overturning many of the paddlers. But all made it safe and sound on this first leg of the historic paddle from Onondaga to the United Nations in NYC. Part of the year-long Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign, the paddlers landed at a beautiful festival featuring powerful words, passionate music, Haudenosaunee social dancing, good food and native crafts.

The second leg, down the Hudson River, begins with a daylong Festival at Russell Sage College in Troy on Saturday, July 27, with paddlers launching the following morning from Rensselaer. Events will be held every day, with major plans for Saturday, August 3 in Beacon; Friday, August 9 for the landing in New York City and march to the UN; and Saturday, August 10 for a closing daylong event near Battery Park. For more, see page 9. Full details at www.honorthetworow.org or 315-701-1592.