Educate, Agitate, Organize: SPC IN ACTION

From the July/August 2015 PNL #844

compiled by Carol Baum


March Against Racist Violence

Over 100 people gathered with the Peace Council on June 23 to stand in solidarity with the community of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC following the racist attack that killed nine people on June 17. We marched around the Farmers’ Market in Clinton Square, ending at the Jerry Rescue monument. Speakers responded directly to events in Charleston and called more broadly for an end to systemic racism and for all people of our region to get active in undermining white supremacy. The Peace Council extends our deepest gratitude to speakers Koy Adams, Talina Jones and Emily Napier for their generosity of time and thought.


Koy Adams and Talina Jones (above)
reminded the crowd that as horrific as
the Charleston attack was, it is nothing
new for the Black community. Both
strongly called for immediate action to
change the system. Photo: Kim McCoy

SPC is now working on a plan for ongoing involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-racist work in a broader sense. Look for updates in upcoming emails and PNLs. Contact Amelia.



NOON Raises $4,000 to Support Traditional Mohawk Community

On June 19, Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation raised nearly $4,000 to support the traditional Mohawk resettlement at Kanatsiohareke (near Fonda, NY). Scores of people helped make the event successful by donating their musical talents (Jo Anne Bakeman, Mark Hoffmann and Sandy Bigtree), silent auction items or volunteering. The event was held at May Memorial Unitarian Society and co-sponsored by the Green Sanctuary/Social Justice Committee. Onondaga clanmother Freida Jacques was a key organizer and solicitor of auction items.


A Syracuse University student who hails
from the area and is active in THE General
Body, Koy Adams, above, strongly
called for immediate action to
change the system. Photo: Kim McCoy

Mohawk elder and Kanatsiohareke founder Tom Porter opened the event with a Thanksgiving address of inspiration and challenge. In 1993, Tom led a group of Mohawks to resettle their ancestral homeland in the valley that carries their name. Their community is the realization of a 200 year-old dream, since the Mohawk were “ethnically cleansed” from the area. Kanatsiohareke has sustained its efforts against great odds. Learn more at


–Andy Mager

Syracuse Common Council Moves to Amend

“BE IT RESOLVED, that this Common Council of the City of Syracuse, New York supports an amendment to the United States Constitution to establish that (1) artificial legal entities are not entitled to the same rights and protections as natural persons under the Constitution; and (2) spending money to influence elections is not ‘free speech’ as defined under the First Amendment, assuring the power of federal, state and local governments to limit, regulate, and require disclosure of all the sources of all money spent to influence elections....” The resolution quoted was passed on June 22 by a 9-1 Syracuse Common Council vote.

Syracuse joins 654 other municipalities calling to overturn the court doctrines of “corporate personhood” and “money as speech” (AKA “Citizens United”) which are the basis for billions of corporate ad dollars influencing our elections. The resolution comes after a 3-year campaign by Move To Amend of Syracuse & CNY (MTA). The resolution also received support from the Greater Syracuse Labor Council, labor union locals, the Alliance of Retired Americans, SPC, DREAM Freedom Revival, Public Citizen and 1,107 Syracuse residents who signed petitions.
MTA will soon start a “Movement Education Program” of short readings and discussions about building a diverse and inclusive movement. MTA meets the third Thursday each month at 7 pm at the Center for Peace and Social Justice. Contact Michael Messina-Yauchzy at 663-5640 or

–Michael Messina-Yauchzy

Anti-Drone Court Cases Have Mixed Results

Anti-drones activists recently received a legal setback in fighting the Orders of Protection (OOPs) that have been issued to those participating in nonviolent civil resistance actions at Hancock Air Base (which pilots drones over Afghanistan and trains drone pilots). The OOPs make it criminal to be within a certain distance of the Base, except during legally permitted protests. In an appeal brought by the District Attorney’s office, a decision favorable to us made by a lower court was rendered moot. The way the decision was framed makes it less likely to be able to successfully argue against the OOPs in the way that was tried here.

The best way now to attack the OOPs is by appealing to people’s convictions of violating their OOPs, which occurs when they return to the base to participate in another civil resistance action. There are two appeals in the hopper, and recently four more people are charged with contempt of court for violating their OOPs. We are determined to work our way through the court system until justice is served. With this ruling, cases that had been postponed will most likely be scheduled for the fall.  

Meanwhile, after a recent four-day jury trial, four drone resisters were acquitted of disorderly conduct and obstructing government administration, while being found guilty of trespass (a lesser charge). They participated in a non-violent civil resistance action in April, 2013. Check the SPC website for sentencing dates.


SPC Garage Sale

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! SPC’s annual garage sale is happening September 12-13: Saturday 9 am – 4 pm, Sunday 9 am – 12 pm, 401 Scottholm Blvd., Syracuse. Drop off your “gently used” items Wednesday-Friday, September 9-11 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, or things that DON’T work. Helpers WELCOME for set-up and sale. Food provided. Questions? Call Rae, 445-2840.

Ground the Reaper Drones

SPC’s Ground the Drones, End the Wars Committee recently made summer and fall plans.
The Predator Performances. We have been performing The Predator in libraries over the summer and look forward to more venues. The play takes 20 minutes and is a great vehicle for stimulating discussion. Contact us with suggestions of venues.
NYS Fair Tableau. The next planning meeting for our yearly street theater outside the main entrance of the NYS Fair is Monday, July 20 from 6-8 pm. Contact Carol for location.

Drones Fly, Children Die Vigil

Sunday, July 26 from 9-11 am at the main entrance of Hancock Air Base (6001 E. Molloy Rd., Mattydale). This is a vigil of compassion for the civilian victims of weaponized drone terrorism. Please bring photos of drone victims and signs expressing empathy. Organized by the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars.

Drone Resisters Trial Support.

Since all the Hancock drone resister trials occur in the Town of Dewitt Court, Syracuse-area activists are called upon for hospitality for our out-of-town friends, as well as supporting folks in court. Visit SPC’s website for court dates (note that these can change).
October Anti-drone Walk from Hancock Air Base to Niagara Falls Air Base. The Niagara Falls Base is being groomed to be another drone operations site, similar to Hancock. The SPC Committee will be working on the walk from Syracuse to Oswego. We’ll need walkers, supporters and organizers. Contact Carol.

Issue Outreach at the Downtown Farmers’ Market

For the second summer, SPC is tabling at the Downtown Farmers’ Market on Tuesdays around lunchtime. Volunteers from SPC committees and allied groups are asking passersby to sign petitions and make calls to legislators, and providing them with educational materials. We’ve had a table featuring Move to Amend and one with anti-racism literature. The Palestine-Israel Committee, Veterans for Peace and a table supporting the SAFE Parole Act (which would create a fair parole process in NYS) and others are planned. To help out contact Brian at the SPC office. –Brian Escobar

Local Participation in the US Social Forum

In late June, fifteen Syracuse activists participated in the third US Social Forum in Philadelphia, PA to unite movements for social justice in building another world. Primarily representing SPC and Bread & Roses Collective, Syracuse participants included longtime local activists and newcomers alike, with connections to the Workers Center, ArtRage, THE General Body, ACTS, Green Party, AGREE, Public Citizen, Bitternut Collective, and more.
The first Forum since 2010, it employed a “polycentric” model with simultaneous gatherings in Pennsylvania, California, Mississippi and Mexico. Racism, poverty and the criminal justice system were at the forefront through daily plenaries, while workshops and strategy-building sessions covered a wide variety of topics. Local participants have returned to Syracuse with renewed inspiration to build a better Syracuse. Stay tuned for possible follow-up events and the World Social Forum coming to Montreal in August 2016!             

–Richard Vallejo


70 Years Since the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

2015 marks 70 years since the tragic nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945 by the US. SPC is gearing up for the annual Hiroshima Day Dramatic Procession for a Nuclear Free World. We look hopefully toward a future with no threat of nuclear disaster, whether from weapons or power plants.

This year’s procession steps off at noon from Clinton Square (note new location!) on Thursday, August 6. Participants are asked to arrive at 11:30 to find your place in the procession. A short gathering at the Everson plaza (the Procession’s endpoint) will follow. To help with promoting the event or developing new props, contact Ursula.

In the lead up to the Procession, SPC’s Nuclear Free World Committee screened The War You Don’t See, which investigates the media’s role in war.

Birthday Dinner with Poet Remi Kanazi – October 3!

“There is more truth, and perhaps finally more news, in Remi Kanazi’s poems than the pages of your daily newspaper or the sterile reports flashed across your screens.” –Chris Hedges

Please mark your calendars for the Peace Council Birthday Dinner on Saturday, October 3. To celebrate out 79th, we welcome Palestinian-American poet/spoken word artist Remi Kanazi. Remi is the author of Poetic Injustice: Writings on Resistance and Palestine and the editor of Poets for Palestine. His political commentary has been featured by news outlets throughout the world, including Salon, Al Jazeera English, and BBC Radio. He is a Lannan Residency Fellow and an Advisory Committee member for the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. Remi will be performing his poetry.

The SPC Birthday Dinner is an important annual event for us to celebrate the peace movement and our collective work.  Help with outreach and menu planning by contacting Ursula or Amelia.

Summer Solidarity Vigils for Gaza

July 8 marks one year since the Israeli assault on Gaza, Operation Protective Edge, claimed the lives of over 2,000 Palestinians, including almost 500 children. The CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel committee is organizing solidarity vigils beginning on July 17 to speak out against US complicity in the massacre and to raise awareness about the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Roughly 100,000 Palestinian residents of Gaza are still left homeless, a crisis which is aggravated by the Israeli economic blockade of Gaza. Join us in the streets Fridays from July 17 to August 21, 4-5 pm at the corner of East Genesee St. and Erie Blvd. (opposite the fire department in Dewitt). To help with sign making and outreach, please contact Ursula. We will also be screening the film Some of my Best Friends are Zionists on Wednesday July 29 at 7pm at ArtRage Gallery. The subjects of the film are American Jews who take an independent line on Israel and the Middle East.


Activist Appreciation: Jack Manno

Jack Manno has been an SPC activist for over 40 years. During that time Jack has made his living hawking produce on Westcott Street, writing books, coordinating the Great Lakes Research Consortium and now as a professor of Environmental Studies at SUNY ESF. A longtime cultural worker, poet and community builder, Jack fuses his deep humanism with scientific expertise.

Jack Manno in a safety boat
during the trial run for the
Two Row Wampum paddle
down the Hudson River,
August 2012.
Photo: Karin Wolf

Believing that our indigenous neighbors can help us find a path toward a sustainable future, Jack has worked as an informal environmental advisor to the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs for years. He is an active member of NOON and was a key organizer in the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign. Jack’s latest book, Ending the Fossil Fuel Era, co-edited with two colleagues, offers inspiration and information to help us move to a renewable energy future. His laughter, gentle spirit and fierce commitment to justice make him a joy to work with and someone who the Syracuse Peace Council is proud to claim as a member.            


–Andy Mager