SPC in Action

From the November-December 2013 PNL #829

compiled by Jessica Azulay

Community to Gather at Plowshares

That wonderful time of year is coming around again—time for the Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival! As we go to press, the staff collective and a huge core of volunteers are bustling to get ready for SPC’s biggest fundraiser of the year. This year’s festival will feature over 130 local vendors and their handmade goods. You’ll find clothing, jewelry, soap and candles, winter wear, wooden bowls and decorative objects, metal and stone sculpture, herbal medicinals, wool and yarn products, and information from local community groups—you name it and you’ll probably find it there.

Plus, in addition to crafts vendors, there are lots of opportunities to get great stuff and support the Peace Council at the same time! The SPC Marketplace features a wide array of peace and social justice books, calendars, t-shirts, stickers, buttons, and other fun products. You can win great prizes through the SPC raffle, buy vendor-donated crafts to benefit SPC, or bid on first rate products and services at the Silent Auction. All proceeds benefit the Peace Council!

While you’re shopping you can visit with friends, eat a good meal, and check out music and other entertainment throughout the day. Plowshares is an annual window into the world we’re working toward—supporting the local economy, promoting work for peace and social justice, and just plain having fun.

Join us at Nottingham High School (3100 E. Genesee St., Syracuse) from 10am-5pm on Saturday, Dec 7 and 11am-5pm on Sunday, Dec 8. Questions, 472-5478.


Drone Protests and the Order of Protection

On October 25, 2012, seventeen nonviolent activists were arrested at Hancock Air Base for protesting weaponized drones piloted from Hancock. They were charged with trespass and disorderly conduct and were given “temporary” orders of protection against the Base commander, which would last a year (or until the case was disposed). They were read a list of ways they could not “molest” him, but the most telling was that they were prohibited from going to his place of business (i.e., the base). This in effect denies them their First Amendment rights of assembly, speech and redress of grievances.

The case languished for a year and suddenly, on October 28, 2013, the activists received notices to appear in court on October 30. The orders of protection were extended and a trial date set for Thursday, December 12 at 5 pm at the Town of Dewitt Courthouse (5400 Butternut Dr., East Syracuse).

We strongly encourage people to come out in support—of their actions in protesting weaponized drones, and of their right to protest legally at the base. Contact SPC or check peacecouncil.net closer to the date in case it has been changed.

Recently we learned that an Ithaca-area anti-fracking activist was also served with an order of protection. We are very concerned that this may be a new technique to attempt to limit protest. It also trivializes the very real need for orders of protection for victims of domestic violence and others who actually need protection. Contact Carol.


GMO Free NY potluck!

On November 5, GMO labeling was defeated in Washington state. Many countries around the world label or ban GMO foods but in the US, agribusiness corporations have a grip over food policy which prevents us from knowing what’s in our food. And we have the right to know!

Food justice activists who met at the two marches against Monsanto this year invite you to a special potluck on Wednesday, November 20 at 6pm. We’ll be joined by a longtime French ecological justice activist Prisca Foures who will tell us about the success of the European food movements. We will also discuss potential organizing in New York State to pass GMO labeling legislation in 2014. To RSVP or if you have questions, contact Ursula.


Activist Appreciation: Marie Summerwood

Marie Summerwood is a woman of many talents, and we are so grateful she is willing to share them with SPC.

Marie has been the force behind the food for many SPC Birthday dinners, taking it on again this year. Without her creativity and leadership, we wouldn’t be able to organize such a do-it-yourself, community-centered event. Marie’s commitment to healthy, regional/seasonal and tasty cuisine, as well as her skill and experience cooking for large groups, leaves us begging for more. Meal preparation is something to behold, as volunteer cooks, with varying skill levels and experience, come together under Marie’s leadership. Over the course of two days the sounds of chopping, washing, chatting and laughter fill the kitchen. In addition to being one of the “chief chefs,” this year Marie created a dinner recipe booklet as an SPC fundraiser (copies still available). And when you go to the Plowshares Craftsfair (December 7-8), you will see the results of Marie’s work as a long-time member of the Plowshares Committee. Marie feeds us in body and spirit. Thank you.


CNY Working for BDS

Central New York Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel is busy preparing for Plowshares! We will launch a new phase of our Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign with an interesting, informative and even delicious table. Need some help finding an alternative to the humus you love that’s imported from illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land? Taste some of the other options, or let us give you a recipe. Learn about skin care products that aren’t made by Ahava in the occupied territories. Find out which corporations need to feel the heat of this international boycott. And more!! Contact Jessica.


Supporting Native American Rights

Both Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) and The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign are greatly disappointed by the US Supreme Court’s recent refusal to hear the Onondaga Nation’s Land Rights Action. The decision demonstrates once again the need for a powerful social movement to achieve justice for the Onondaga and other indigenous peoples. As Joseph Heath, attorney for the Nation, stated, “The struggle for healing and justice will continue; this is no longer a land rights case—it is a land rights movement. It is time to admit these historic harms and it is time for justice, time for healing.” Both NOON and the Two Row will continue to be part of that process. See pages 8-9.

NOON’s Thanksgiving Circle for Peace and Hope

For the sixth year, Onondaga people and Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON), will gather together on the north shore of Onondaga Lake to express thanks for the goodness of the Earth and to each other for our ongoing friendship, as we work side-by-side in peace and hope for healing, justice and environmental restoration. Please join us at 10 am on Thursday, November 28 at Willow Bay. Dress for the weather. We’ll have light refreshments. Contact Carol or Amelia.

Two Row Renewal Campaign Continues

Educational events to build on the momentum of the Two Row have been held recently in Central New York, the Hudson Valley and Western New York. More are coming soon in Ithaca and the Southern Tier. An end of year Two Row celebration, featuring participatory Haudenosaunee Social Dancing, is set for Saturday, December 7, dinner at 6 pm, program and dancing at 7 pm at Lafayette High School, 3122 Rt. 11, LaFayette. RSVP for dinner at HonorTheTwoRow.org or 315-901-1592.

A half-hour video documentary about the Two Row is expected to be available in December. Look for it on our website or our Facebook page.


I-81 and Justice in Syracuse

The decision about what to do with the I-81 viaduct will have a profound impact on the future of Syracuse. The Peace Council is joining a new effort, spearheaded by the Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse (ACTS), to bring the voices of those most affected by the decision into the planning process. The developing I-81 task force will advocate for a solution that takes into account social justice and environmental justice concerns. To learn more or to get involved, contact Ursula.


Seeking Interns for 2014!

Special thanks to Fall 2013 intern Briana Shetler for her contributions to the Peace Council over the past few months. We originally met Briana in the Syracuse Common Council chambers during a session about surveillance drones. Briana’s high energy and attention to detail were an asset as she helped to plan the SPC birthday dinner and promote the Plowshares Craftsfair and the CodePink drones summit. We are currently accepting applications for Winter 2014 internships. Contact Ursula or visit www.peacecouncil.net/intern.


Resolution Against Surveillance Drones

SPC’s Ground the Drones Committee has been spearheading a resolution to “defend the civil liberties and civil rights of all people in Syracuse, NY as described in the First and Fourth Amendments”—in particular to ban drones over Syracuse’s airspace until federal, state and local legislation is adopted to protect our privacy (see page 7 for more details). As we go to press, the resolution is scheduled to be discussed at a Common Council study session on November 27, with a vote to be taken December 2 (these dates could change). See our website for updates on the progress of the resolution. Contact Carol.


No Fracking Infrastructure

On October 30 hundreds of New Yorkers rallied against the Department of Environmental Conservation’s new regulations for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities. This preceded the only public hearing for the regulations. The room was filled to capacity within minutes, leaving over 100 people outside. The regulations would permit the development of LNG facilities, which would support fracking and expand the natural gas infrastructure. There was overwhelming opposition to the regulations from anti-frackers who claimed the regulations are inadequate to protect public safety. The DEC recently extended the comment period until December 4. Please visit ThirtyDaysOfFrackingRegs.com to submit comments on the LNG regulations.

Emily Bishop, emily@nyagainstfracking.org


Signs of Success for United as One

As we go to press we’ve been notified that a new countywide jail oversight law has been drafted. This is a major sign of success for our coalition which has been working for the past three years to prevent any more tragic deaths in the county’s “Justice” Center in downtown Syracuse. UaO was formed following the deaths of Chuniece Patterson and Raul Pinet at the jail, due to neglect and harsh interrogation methods by jail staff.

We are very pleased with this sign of progress, though at this time it is too early for us to comment on the new legislation. Coalition members will be reviewing the law and giving feedback to county legislators in the coming weeks. Contact Amelia to get involved or find out more.


SPC Birthday Dinner

On October 5, the Peace Council celebrated our 77th birthday with a fabulous dinner at Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church attended by over 100 SPC supporters. Attendees heard from energetic CodePink activist Noor Mir about the impact our local work is having on the growing international movement to stop drone warfare. We extend countless thanks to the many volunteers who made the event possible, especially to our head cooks Marie Summerwood and Carole Resnick.

Sarah Eggers and Jessica Azulay added an extra element of activism to the dinner with the Pardon Chelsea Manning Photobooth. The photos from the Pardon Chelsea Manning photobooth will be sent to President Obama and are up on the Peace Council Facebook page. To learn more about the national campaign to pardon Chelsea Manning, visit www.bradleymanning.org. If you took photos during the dinner, we hope you’ll share them by sending them to us.


Young People’s Organizing

Youth RIOT (Resisting Imperialism and Oppression Together) hosted a small but thoughtful gathering of students and community organizers on September 29 at SU for a forum titled “War and Its Intersections.” We discussed the role of religion in conflict, the intertwined history of environmental degradation and war, the meaning of the words imperialism and revolution, and direct action and other tactics to challenge the status quo. The group remains connected and ready to come together around emergent issues. Are you seeking space and support to organize around an issue you care about? Contact Ursula.


MAEP Takes a Break

We are sad to announce that the Military Alternatives Education Project (MAEP), our high school counter-recruitment program, is going on hiatus this semester as staff time will be redirected to new fundraising campaigns to address our budget gap. We thank the committed volunteers who have kept this program going for so many years. We plan to reconvene the group in the spring to assess our capacity to restart our truth in recruiting work. If you’re interested in getting involved, contact Amelia.