Peace Council Pages

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
Syracuse to Host Largest Anti-War Demo since Viet Nam!

SPC will host the largest anti-war demonstration in decades in Upstate New York. Don't miss it: Saturday, September 29 at 1 pm at the Everson Plaza in downtown Syracuse. A short rally will be followed by a march to the Syracuse University quad where a closing rally will be held.

SPC has been working with over 30 groups in a new regional effort - the Upstate NY Anti-War Network. The effort grew out of meetings between SPC and the newly formed active duty chapter of Iraq Vets Against the War at Ft. Drum (IVAW). The response has been overwhelming, with contingents expected from Buffalo to Albany and Binghamton to Watertown! Many hands and minds are needed to make this mobilization succeed.

The demands for the march are:
1. Immediate, complete, unconditional US withdrawal (including private contractors)
2. Full benefits for returning vets
3. Reparations to the Iraqi people
4. Money for jobs, education, and healthcare, not occupation and warfare

The day's events will be followed by a regional networking meeting to discuss follow up work. Local planning is being coordinated by SPC's Local Cost of the War committee which meets every Wednesday. To get involved, contact Carol or Jess.



An Affinity for Action
Earlier this year members of SPC's Local Cost of the War committee (LCW) formed an affinity group to complement LCW's educational and political work. The group's goal is to carry out nonviolent direct action to help end the occupation of Iraq. As Dr. King said, through direct action we demonstrate our commitment to "dramatize [an] issue that can no longer be ignored."

Our efforts to date have been modest: organizing two actions that led to arrests at the Federal Building; starting a new peace outreach presence outside the Regional Market each Saturday; and creating a t-shirt with the message: "US out of Iraq NOW!" We also developed an anti-war tableau that will be displayed at a variety of public venues throughout September. Tableau venues will be announced as they are arranged on the SPC website and in the e-newsletter.

The affinity group's May 15 action at the Federal Building led to five arrests on Federal misdemeanor charges. After two court appearances, all charges were dismissed in the "interest of justice and lack of prosecutorial interest." Additionally, a series of pre-trial conferences have been held in Syracuse City Court for two affinity group members arrested at the Federal Building in March. Another pre-trial conference is set for September 13. The affinity group welcomes your ideas, energy, and active participation. To find out more (or to buy a T-shirt-only $10 each) please contact Paul Frazier at 475-2811 or Mike Pasquale at 446-2720. -Paul Frazier and Mike Pasquale

SPC Move Takes Back Seat to Organizing
Last month we reported that SPC expected to move to the new Syracuse Center Peace and Social Justice in September. With all the upcoming organizing (see the rest of this section) and some delays in renovation work, the move won't come until late October at the earliest. Offers of help are always welcome! We'll keep you posted. Contact Andy.

SPC’s affinity group stages their tableau in downtown Syracuse on August 14, 2007. Photo: Carla Pittarelli

 

Youth March Against the War
The youth of Syracuse are tired of being lied to, tired of being taken advantage of and tired of the apathy many people have adopted towards the war in Iraq.

On August 20, we youth took to the streets in an effort to show the powers that be our frustration.

In a march organized by our youth group (with a little support from the Peace Council), a few charismatic speakers emphasized the finer points of the injustices dealt with in Iraq at several stops along the way. The speakers covered a broad range of topics, such as US Imperialism, the lies of the military and the brutality occurring during the Iraq occupation. Our group of over 30 teenagers and supporters received words of encouragement, peace signs from bystanders, and multiple supportive honks from passing drivers as we marched through downtown Syracuse.

In these times of war, in the city of Syracuse at the very least, there is a sense of displeasure with the government - and a sense that the people are ready to do something about it.

The youth organizers plan to continue working together and seek others to join in their efforts. To learn more, call SPC or see www.peacecouncil.net/youth. -Evan Braun

Marching for a Non-Nuclear Future
August 6 and 9, 2007 was the 62nd anniversary of the US' dropping nuclear bombs on Japan, first on Hiroshima and then on Nagasaki. Over 200,000 people were killed. Every year we gather in a solemn procession to remember the victims and to say NO to nuclear weapons and nuclear power and YES to a responsible energy policy.

 
Syracuse youth activists set off on a march from Forman Park in Syracuse on August 20. The group plans to continue organizing and seeking to activate more young people. Photo: Carol Baum
We marched through downtown Syracuse to a slow drumbeat, in mourning, anger and finally hope, that if enough people choose to act, another world is possible.

Hiroshima Day has been commemorated in Syracuse for over thirty years. This year's event was organized by the American Friends Service Committee, Citizens Awareness Network, Peace Action of CNY and the Syracuse Peace Council.

Thanks to Summer Interns
This summer we were fortunate to have three interns who had diverse interests, but all of whom were committed to the work of SPC.

Rebecca Barrett was especially interested in helping organize events. She worked on the Hiroshima Day Procession and assisted with the weekly peace outreach. She also cheerfully accomplished many of the mundane office tasks which are so crucial to keeping an organization running. We're thrilled that Becca, a Le Moyne student, plans to stay involved with anti-war activism and will help deepen the connections between Le Moyne and SPC.

Weekly Peace Outreach

The Republicans keep lying. The Democrats keep vacillating and SPC keeps up the "street heat."

Tuesdays: 4:45-5:30 pm

Also every Saturday 9-10 am in front of the Regional Market on Park St.

September 4 James Street and Thompson Rd. (Northside)
September 11 S. Salina St. and E. Colvin St. (Southside)
September 18 Rt. 695 exit ramp to W. Genesee St. (Fairmount)
September 25 E. Genesee St. and Erie Blvd. (Dewitt) October 2 Geddes St. and W. Genesee St. (Westside)

Liz Brace, a Middlebury College student interested in journalism, brought her fresh eyes to the Peace Newsletter this summer. She threw herself into editorial committee work, researching, editing and writing articles. We especially appreciate the hours she spent making certain the Activist Contact list (see pages 21-22) was accurate and would make sense to the average person.

Nate Hughes is perhaps the first business major to work as an SPC intern, but if there are more like him, we hope he's not the last. Nate's energy, organizational skills and persistence have enabled him to make great progress on his two main projects: organizing benefit garage sales for September 8 and 15 and reaching out to faith communities. During his coming senior year at SUNY Oswego Nate plans to remain connected to SPC.


Iraq War Resisters
On the evening of August 24 over 100 people were deeply moved by the passionate and heartening stories of Iraq war resisters Sgt. Camilo Mejia and Spc. Eli Israel. A full day of events, hosted by SPC, included a press conference, book signing of Sgt. Mejia's memoir Road to Ar Ramadi, meeting with members of the local chapter of Veterans for Peace (VFP) and the Fort Drum Chapter of Iraq Vets Against the War (IVAW), a potluck dinner and finally, the evening program at St. Lucy's.

Both soldiers courageously declared themselves conscientious objectors while in the military and now speak out about the "real" war in Iraq. They made it clear that our worst fears regarding governmental deceptions are true. Eli told of web sites supporting soldiers who want to resist being blocked by the military. Camilo revealed that in 2003 he was one of only 22 soldiers AWOL (absent without leave). Latest Pentagon statistics place that number at 10,000. Their inspirational words challenge US citizens to actively join and support enlisted men and women who oppose the Iraq war. We were honored to bring them here and look forward to a continued relationship with all vets groups opposing the war and occupation. -Rose Viviano

Back to School
The Military Alternatives Education Project is gearing up for fall tabling at high schools and a peace and social justice oriented career fair for city high school students. Nottingham senior Fiona Knauss has accepted a three month paid internship to help with organizing the career fair. If you are interested in hosting a presentation by MAEP for students, parents or educators, contact Jessica. We can address military recruitment tactics, student/youth rights related to the military, and facts about military service.

SPC’s Anti-war T-shirt Brigade roamed through Syracuse festivals and distributed free handmade t-shirts to anyone who wanted them. Pictured here is the Brigade at the Blues Fest, where we gave out about ten shirts. People put them on immediately. Photo: Carol Baum

Denis Halliday Speaks Out for Dr. Dhafir
On June 28, Dr. Denis Halliday, former UN assistant Secretary General spoke at Syracuse University on The Iraq Sanctions and the Case of Dr. Rafil Dhafir. This internationally known human rights speaker shared his experience of quitting the UN in protest of the genocidal policies of the US-imposed sanctions on Iraq. He also spoke in defense of Dr. Dhafir, an Iraqi born, Syracuse based oncologist who was prosecuted for his charity work with Help the Needy, an organization he founded.

The government claimed that Dr. Dhafir aided terrorists (though they didn't charge him with this in court), while there is ample evidence that his only "crime" was to send food and medicine to relieve the suffering of the Iraqi people. Dr. Dhafir is one of many Muslims in this country being persecuted under fraudulent auspices by the government for supposed terrorist connections. The video of Halliday's speech is available online at: www.peacecouncil.net/video (SPC's new online video archive). To learn more about Dr. Dhafir's case or how to help, check out www.dhafirtrial.net. -Aly Wane


Garage Sale Blitz
Time to track down your good used or new items to sell, or figure out what you need to buy!

September 8th is set for a day of garage sales to benefit the Peace Council. Come out and support some community recycling and help slow down business at Walmart, Target, etc. In addition to raising needed funds for SPC, the sales will also serve as outreach events with literature, sign up lists and buttons, bumperstickers, etc. to buy.

The three sales will all run from 9 am to 3 pm at: 401 Scottholm Blvd. (eastside) (Rae Kramer, Lanny Freshman) 622 Dewitt St. (northside) (Kathy Tryon, Cindy Ostuni) 3905 East Rd. in Cazenovia (Aimee Jurista)

We need:

good quality items to sell
volunteers to help set up and staff the sales
folks to buy the items

Call SPC or see www.peacecouncil.net/sales for specific information about where and when to drop materials or to sign up to help.