Syracuse Peace Council Pages

compiled by Carol Baum

Education Not Occupation
We are halfway through the Education Not Occupation phase of the Syracuse Peace Council’s Bush Must Go! campaign (Subscribers see insert for full details; others contact the office or see <www.peacecouncil.net/bush>).

This first phase of the campaign, continuing through May, seeks to educate Central New Yorkers about the connections between Bush’s educational policies and military aggression, both of which fail young people and our nation as a whole.
We are distributing 15,000 copies of the four-page brochure which is the centerfold of this Peace Newsletter. The April educational program, weekly peace outreach and SPC-TV shows have addressed these issues. Our tax day focus—the Peoples’ Poll—focussed on young people’s opinions at all four local colleges (see below for details).

In the coming month we’ll continue distributing brochures and are organizing Youth Action Festival: Drop Beats Not Bombs on Sunday, May 23 from 1-5 pm at the Thornden Park Amphitheater in Syracuse. This youth-oriented event will feature music, poetry and speakers addressing the war in Iraq, education issues, youth empowerment and more. Efforts are also underway to get mainstream media coverage of the issues raised by the campaign.

Help is needed distributing brochures in one of two ways:
1) Be part of a group:
· Sat., May 1, 3-5 pm, meet at 2:30 pm at Most Holy Rosary Parish Cntr., Bellevue Ave., to distribute in the Westside.
· Sat., May 8, 10-12 am, meet at 9:30 am (location to be determined) and distribute in the Southside
Note: Distribution in Eastwood is being done via the Scotsman.
2) Deliver the brochures in your neighborhood at a time of your choosing (or organize some neighbors to work with you). Let us know how many brochures you need and what streets you’ll cover and we’ll get it all set up. Contact Andy Mager.
Bush Must Go lawn signs will be available at SPC for a donation on May 5.
The next phase of our campaign is Human Need Not Corporate Greed. Contact Jessica Maxwell to lend a hand.

SPC's May Education Program
Plugging into the Bush Must Go! Campaign
Thursday, May 20, 7 – 8:30 pm
Westcott Community Center (corner of Euclid and Westcott, Syr.)
followed by refreshments & socializing

The May program is a participatory organizing event to help people support the campaign and utilize their skills and energy to:
• Stop Bush from being elected (for the first time)
• Educate and organize on the issues that are important before and after the election—regardless of who wins.

“Code Peace”
SPC’s 68th Birthday Celebration will be held Saturday, May 15 from 7-9 pm at St. Andrew’s Church (124 Alden St., Syracuse). This year’s program features Hart Seely, Post-Standard reporter and author of Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld, and satirical musician Dave Lippman (aka George Shrub), currently with the Voices in the Wilderness “Wheels of Justice” national tour.
Join us for an evening of scrumptious desserts and good humor as we reflect on the past year. Childcare provided. Sliding scale admission $10-68 (no one turned away). Contact Jessica Maxwell for more information, to help with set up or to donate a dessert.

Weekly Peace Outreach
“Money for Schools Not for War,” “Books Not Bombs” and “Bush Lies People Die” are some of the signs we hold at busy intersections to keep anti-war activism visible. It’s a great way to spend 45 minutes. Every Tuesday from 4:45-5:30 pm.
May 4: Erie Blvd. W. and W. Genesee St. (Westside)
May 11: S. Salina and E. Colvin (Southside)
May 18: Rt. 695 exit ramp to W. Genesee St. (Fairmount)
May 25: Teall Ave. and Rt. 690 (Eastside)
June 1: Adams St. and Rt. 81 (Downtown)

Tax Week College Poll
Students from Onondaga Community College, LeMoyne College, Syracuse University, and the College of Environmental Science and Forestry organized a “Taxation With Representation” penny poll at their colleges during tax week in mid-April. People were given ten pennies and asked to place them into jars corresponding to budget categories. There was enthusiastic participation and dialogue. More than a few students spent several minutes allocating their pennies, followed by even longer political discussion. Many participants questioned their distribution strategy. They debated, “Should I only support the category that is most important to me, or should I distribute the pennies the way in which they ought to be distributed?”
We found that in comparing our results to the actual expenditures of the federal government, participants wanted more funding for human resources and physical resources, and less for the current military. The most controversial category was physical resources. Many participants declared their support for physical resources, wanting to fund environmental protection, transportation, and alternative energy sources. However, they were often reluctant to commit more pennies to physical resources in order to show their disapproval of big business subsidies, especially those for oil and agribusinesses.
Thanks to student organizers Kelly Christian, David Howe, Risa Steifel, and Alex Moulton; Kate Woodle for beautiful signs; and to those who donated jars. For a detailed comparison of the students’ budget with the actual federal budget, see <www.peacecouncil.net>.
—David Howe

Walsh Shows Concern About Depleted Uranium
A delegation from SPC, the Citizens Awareness Network, Physicians for Social Responsibility and Veterans for Peace met with Rep. James Walsh on April 13 to share our concerns about the US military’s use of depleted uranium (DU) weapons. We spoke about the health dangers posed by DU munitions to US soldiers and Iraqi civilians (as well as civilians in other countries) and turned over nearly 200 petition signatures calling on him to take action.
We were pleasantly surprised by the seriousness with which Rep. Walsh listened. At the end, he told us, “I had no idea it was as widely used as it is.” He showed concern about the level of sickness among Gulf War I veterans which may be associated with DU exposure. Walsh agreed to use his position as Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs to ensure that adequate funds are appropriated to test all US military personnel returning from Iraq.
He said he would consider our other requests (see below), but also wanted to “hear the other side from the Pentagon.” Please contact him (423-5657, or < rep.james.walsh@ mail.house.gov>) to express your support for these actions. For more info, see DU.

Requests for Action:
1. Support the NY Congressional Delegation’s letter to Donald Rumsfeld asking the Department of Defense to “ensure that every possible effort is made to protect our troops during and after their tours of duty.” Insist that the Pentagon disclose the quantity of uranium munitions they have used in Iraq and Afghanistan.
2. Sponsor legislation in the House to ensure that veterans are adequately tested, health risks are determined and appropriate measures are taken.
Sponsor a companion bill in the House to Senator Clinton’s bill (being drafted) requiring uranium testing for all US military personnel returning from Iraq.
Co-sponsor the Depleted Uranium Munitions Study Act (H. R. 1483) which requires studies regarding the health effects of exposure to depleted uranium munitions, and the cleanup and mitigation of DU contamination at sites of DU munition use and production in the United States.
3. Support an end to the use of depleted uranium munitions by the US military.

A New Crop of Nonviolence Trainers
Twenty-six people participated in a weekend-long training for nonviolence trainers organized by SPC and partially funded by a grant from the A.J. Muste Foundation. It was held April 2-4 at the Cayuga Nature Center, near Ithaca.
The training brought activists from Central and Western New York together, as well as from New York City and Massachusetts. Participants were busy almost every moment, practicing skills and helping others hone theirs. We practiced facilitating sections on such topics as nonviolence, group process, role plays, and legal issues. The Syracuse group is looking forward to facilitating workshops locally.
Special thanks go to the event’s overall facilitators, who put in many hours of preparation time and were “on” the entire weekend – Ed Kinane, Andy Mager, Winnie Romeril, and Leslie Schultz – and to logistics coordinator, Jessica Maxwell.

Fund Appeal in the Mail
If you’re on the mailing list, please keep watch for the fund appeal we recently sent out, and contribute in any way you can. If you did not receive a mailing, feel free to make a donation (we’d even be happy to mail an appeal letter if you’d like). Consider subscribing to the Peace Newsletter if you don’t already. Become a monthly or quarterly pledger. We’ll make your money go a long way.
If you want to make a tax-deductible donation, a contribution of $50 or more can be made out to the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute (please write SPC in the memo line). This is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by the IRS.