Educate, Agitate, Organize

SPC IN ACTION



compiled by Andy Mager
Syracuse Peace Council
924 Burnet Ave., Syracuse, NY 13203
(315) 472-5478
SPC@peacecouncil.net
www.peacecouncil.net
OFFICE HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 10 am - 5 pm
STAFF and INTERN Email Addresses:
Andy Mager andy@peacecouncil.net
Carol Baum carol@peacecouncil.net
Jessica Maxwell jessica@peacecouncil.net
Aly Wane aly@peacecouncil.net
Ed Blakeslee displays his creative reuse of an SPC lawnsign from 2002 at the May Day candle- light vigil. Photo: Kristen Moser

Maintaining Pressure to End the Occupation

Starting with a candlelight vigil on May Day, SPC coordinated a series of events, actions and media outreach in May to continue building opposition to the occupation of Iraq.

On May 8, SPC staff were quoted in the Post-Standard's article covering Rep. Walsh's open letter. Our letter responding to Walsh appeared in the paper the following week.

On the Saturday before Mother's Day, activists gathered across from the regional market, drawing attention to recent bombings of markets in Iraq. Our signs met with an overwhelmingly positive response from the hundreds of cars passing by, and three local TV stations covered the event, many mentioning Cindy Sheehan's DC peace protest that had inspired our event.

On May 14, SPC organized a protest outside Sen. Clinton's presidential campaign fundraiser at the NYS Fairgrounds, forcing a response from her spokespeople in many of their media interviews. Channel 5 opened their coverage stating that Clinton's fundraiser drew protesters from the Syracuse Peace Council who "blasted Senator Clinton for not doing enough to bring our troops home."

Local Cost of the War Committee activists Mike Pasquale, Rose Viviano and Ann Tiffany outside the Senate Office Building in Washington DC on May 21. They met with foreign policy aides of Sens. Clinton and Schumer, delivering over 1,750 petition signatures calling for an immediate withdrawal of US troops (the petition appeared on the March PNL cover). Photo: An aide to Senator Barack Obama

The following morning 30 activists gathered at the Federal Building, eight of whom blockaded the federal building doors in a nonviolent action against the war. Five were ticketed for their actions and will appear in federal court (see photo).

Later that same week, SPC staff were interviewed by a New York Times correspondent working on a story on the 11 Republican Congressional representatives who met with Bush to express their discontent with his handling of the war - Rep. Walsh was one of them.

SPC's Local Cost of the War committee continues building the local movement to end the war with a strategy meeting for active SPC supporters on June 6. Contact Jessica.

A Lovely Birthday
On April 28, SPC celebrated our 71st birthday with 170 of our closest friends. People came together at St. Andrew's Church to share a lovely dinner, prepared by SPC volunteers under the direction of Marie Summerwood. The menu was created with local food in mind and the Syracuse Real Food Coop generously donated many of the ingredients.

SPECIAL EVENT

Iraq Sanctions and the case of Dr. Rafil Dhafir: Criminalizing Compassion in the "War on Terror"

Thursday, June 28, 7 pm

Maxwell Auditorium
Syracuse University Maxwell School

Speakers: Denis J. Halliday,
former UN Asst. Secretary-General and Head of the UN Humanitarian Program in Iraq 1997-98, Magda
Bayoumi
and others.

FREE

Sponsored by the Dr. Dhafir Support Committee and others.

Following dinner was the premiere of the documentary video, Educate, Agitate, Organize: The Syracuse Peace Council. The video was perfect for a birthday party as it looked back on SPC's long history. Using photos, news clippings, video footage and the diverse voices of local activists, the video traced the history of the Peace Council's work for peace and social justice. Following the screening, SPC activists continued to share stories of past actions and of old friends. Several ideas and suggestions will be added to the video's final cut. To get your own copy of the final video ($12 plus shipping) please contact the office.
-Kim McCoy

SPC Spied on by NYPD
On May 16, the New York City Police Department was forced to release documents detailing widespread surveillance of peace and social justice organizations. SPC was among the over 200 groups listed, including national and local organizations, churches, individuals and groups far from New York City.

The disclosure was forced by a New York Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the NYPD for its actions during the Republican National Convention. Based on the documents, it appears that SPC came to the attention of the NYPD as a result of organizing a weekend Training for Nonviolence Trainers held in Ithaca in April 2004. Not only is SPC outraged that this spying would happen, but much of the information is incorrect.

Thanks to the NYCLU for its work defending civil liberties, and to the CNY chapter for alerting us so quickly. To view the actual documents, go to www.nyclu.org/rncdocs; to see the list of groups spied on, go to www.peacecouncil.net/spy


Steering Committee Changes
Bon Voyage to Kim McCoy. During her relatively brief stint on the SPC Steering Committee, Kim faithfully attended meetings, played a key role in organizing our recent birthday celebration and brought her creative energies into the office on a weekly basis. Kim's willingness to lay out the birthday celebration program (without having previously used the layout software) is a great example of her desire to learn new skills. We thank Kim for her contributions and will miss her sorely - as will the larger Syracuse activist community since Kim is moving to Boston after spending the summer in Ghana.

Richard Vallejo Comes Aboard. Richard, a youth activist and VISTA worker at the Syracuse Cooperative Federal Credit Union, has been connected to SPC for several years, having worked actively on the Military Alternatives Education Project. Richard brings significant technical skills, in addition to a warm smile to the work. We're delighted he has joined.


John Fitzsimmons, Jerry Berrigan, Ann Tiffany and Michael Pasquale block the doors of the Syracuse Federal Building on May 15 to say “Not One More Death, Not One More Dollar, Not One More Day.” About 30 participated in the action, five were ticketed for their actions. Photo: Mara Sapongarage

Fund Appeal Just Out
This year's spring fund appeal is just going out. As you can see from these pages, April and May have been extremely busy months at SPC. Please be as generous as you can. If you have not received the mailing, please consider this an invitation to contribute. As always, tax deductible contributions of $50 or more can be made out to the AJ Muste Memorial Institute; write SPC in the memo line.

SPC is very frugal and your dollar is stretched to the fullest. For more information about SPC's finances, contact Carol.


Singing for Peace
We want to extend our thanks to local musician Jamie Notarthomas who donated a portion of the proceeds from his annual Bob Dylan tribute to SPC this year. As an independent, grassroots, social justice organization, we normally have to work hard for every penny - especially during the summer. Jamie's concert brought in much-needed donations and brought the community together for some much-needed counter-culture.


Plowshares Craftsfair Applications Due July 1
Applications for craftspeople and community groups have been mailed for the December 1-2 event. If desired, please call SPC for an application or download it from: www.peacecouncil.net/plowshares. Deadline for receipt is July 1, 2007. A good time is on the way.


MAEP Internship
SPC just received a $1,500 grant from the AJ Muste Institute to support our work with the local Military Alternatives Education Project. The grant will support an intern to coordinate a fall peace and social justice career fair for Syracuse high school students. Internship application materials will be available in June from SPC. The year-long VISTA position, working on MAEP and other projects is also still available. Contact Jessica.

Day of Action to Defend Civil Liberties
On Tuesday, June 26 the ACLU, Amnesty International, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and other groups are sponsoring a rally and

Weekly Peace Outreach

We're gonna stop this War
Tuesdays: 4:45-5:30 pm
Carpooling available from SPC

June 5: Rt. 695 exit ramp to W. Genesee St. (Fairmount)
June 12:
E. Genesee St. and Erie Blvd. (Dewitt)
June 19:
Rt. 20 (Albany St) and Lincklaen St. (Cazenovia)
June 26:
Rt. 11 (Northern Lights Shopping Center, Mattydale)
July 3: Teall Ave. and Rt. 690 (Eastside)
July 10: Geddes St. and W. Genesee St. (Westside)

lobbying in Washington, DC to tell Congress that we've had enough:
Restore habeas corpus
End torture
End warrantless wiretapping
Close Guantanamo Bay prison
Defend civil rights and civil liberties
Restore the rule of law

Locally, the CNY chapter of the ACLU is organizing buses; SPC is one of the co-sponsors. The bus is free to ACLU members and $10 for non-ACLU members (which includes optional ACLU membership). For more information or to RSVP, contact Barrie Gewanter at 471-2821 or director@cnyclu.org.


Help SPC with Outreach!
With summer approaching SPC will have more opportunities to be out in the community staffing outreach tables at community events. We'll have Peace Newsletters and other free information and sell peace wares (buttons, bumperstickers, T-shirts, etc.). We're organizing a special volunteer orientation on Thursday, June 7, at 6:30 pm, which will include a short tabling workshop (at 7 pm) for anyone interested.

Our tabling season starts in earnest on Saturday, June 9, with the Duck Race to End Racism, and the CNY Pride Parade and Festival. We'll have tables at both events, so please consider offering to help. Consult our calendar for future opportunities. We also need additional help with office staffing if you'd like to make a regular commitment. Contact Aly.


We make a difference! Zinn and History
SPC's Study Group is currently reading Howard Zinn's A Power Governments Cannot Suppress, a collection of essays from the scholar-activist concerned with the power of nonviolence and grassroots activism in history and in post 9/11 USA. Zinn's book is a tonic to the imagination as he reaffirms that even powerful governments are nothing without the complicity of individuals. His historical outlook unearths the real "movers and shakers" of history: the grassroots activists and individual citizens who made a difference by working towards a more humane society. We meet the 2nd and 4th Mondays and newcomers are always welcome at any time. Contact Aly.


SPC Garage Sale Blitz
In early September last year Rae Kramer hosted the first SPC garage sale in years. This year she envisions a weekend with garage sales benefiting SPC scattered throughout the Greater Syracuse area. This wonderful idea needs support from other folks willing to organize and host garage sales elsewhere. Wouldn't it be great to have four, six or more… Call Rae at 445-2840.


Write Julienne, Prisoner of Conscience
Julienne Oldfield, a longtime SPC activist, is now serving her 90-day sentence (until mid-July) for civil disobedience to close the infamous School of the Americas. You can write to her at:

Julienne Oldfield, # 92954-020
Federal Detention Center
PO Box 562, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Info Technology Team
For years, Andy Molloy has essentially been a one person IT support team for SPC. With the upcoming move,SPC realized it was time to gather radical techies together to develop an IT plan. The goals of the team are to help plan SPC's information technology for the move and to create and implement a two-year plan.

If you are a radical techie and would like to help (either by joining the team or offering IT support), contact Carol. Thanks to the recently-formed team of Kanat Bolazar, Paul Melnikow, Mike Miller and Andy Molloy.