Peace Council Pages

Educate, Agitate, Organize

SPC IN ACTION



compiled by Carol Baum

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
Beverly Springer beverly@peacecouncil.net
Aly Wane aly@peacecouncil.net

Carole Resnick (left) and Carol Baum share messages calling for an end to the War and to US Empire at the Blues Fest in downtown Syracuse. Photo: Rose Viviano

Confront US Empire Building in the Middle East
In December, SPC's Iraq Committee held presentations on potential issues, campaigns and actions to move forward on in 2009. We have discussed:

the Status of Forces Agreement and how it impacts our work

the planned use of unmanned drone aircraft for practice bombing missions out of Hancock Airbase and potential actions to intervene

how to support the efforts of LaOnf, a coalition of over 100 Iraqi organizations committed to nonviolence

the NYS campaign to bring home the National Guard

how to support the work of Iraq Veterans Against the War and the Different Drummer Café near Ft. Drum

local efforts to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Iraq and opportunities for direct support

how to use the idea of building a peace economy to relate US empire building to the economic crisis

On Tuesday, January 6 at 7 pm we will begin to make plans for 2009. Please join us - we're meeting at SPC (2nd floor). If you would like to attend, but have problems with stairs please let us know and we can move the meeting to an accessible location. Contact Carol or Jessica.

Exploring Economic Alternatives
On October 19 and November 17 the Syracuse Peace Council hosted community meetings about the recent economic crisis and how we as a community can respond. During the November 17 meeting we compiled a long list of activities we might undertake - such as developing a local currency, strengthening bartering networks and creating more cooperative businesses. On December 18, SPC hosted a presentation on some specific models for alternative economic development.

The next meeting is January 18 at 2 pm at ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave. and will feature Isidor Wallimann of Basel, Switzerland on the Social Economy Network. To find out more or to plug into these efforts, contact SPC.

-Nick Cavanaugh

Peace Outreach Takes a Winter Break
Since late 2001 a handful of SPC folks have been out there at rush hour at busy intersections around the county once or twice a week with our Support-the-Troops/Bring-Them-Home and other anti-war signs. It's an unrivaled way to reach hundreds and thousands of motorists. Given the short and chilly days now upon us, we're taking a winter break. Stay tuned for news of our return.

-Ann Tiffany and Ed Kinane

Steering Committee to Host Planning Retreat
SPC's Steering Committee is hosting a retreat to plan SPC's directions for the next three years. Everyone with a strong connection to SPC is invited to join in the fun. Our last strategic plan was created in 2005 and the time is right for another.

The retreat will most likely be held over a weekend in late January or early February, so that there will be time for playing as well as working together. The agenda includes organizational issues (such as finances, the roles of staff and volunteers, and membership) along with organizing strategies and program priorities.

People are encouraged to attend the entire retreat, but if you can only attend a part, you are welcome to come for a topic that particularly interests you. Contact Carol.

Seven New Steering Committee Members
While we will miss the talents and voices of Gary Bonaparte, Joan Conley and Barbara Humphrey at our monthly steering committee meetings, all will continue to work with SPC in other capacities. SPC is excited to welcome six new members in 2009: Jessica Azulay, Sera Brown, Ben Burdick, Jake Eichten, Carole Resnick, Peter Sinatra and Wendy Yost. All have been active with various SPC projects and will bring a wide range of experience from their other activist work and life experience.

Public Power Progress The Public Power Coalition continues to push municipal energy forward with the city of Syracuse. In December, representatives from the coalition met with NYS Senator Valesky regarding potential state support for the project. We also hosted a meeting with John Montone of Solvay Electric who shared his expertise on generation options and municipalization. On December 22, the city arranged for SourceOne, Inc. (the company conducting the feasibility study) to meet with the Public Power Coalition. In 2009, we hope to engage in a campaign to increase visibility and awareness of public power. Contact Jessica.

Interns Blossom at SPC
This semester saw more college interns working at SPC than ever before, including at least one from each college in Syracuse. Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation was fortunate to have two Syracuse University community fellows working on our historical marker project. The focus of Debbie Toole and AJ Willingham's work was developing a complete list of markers related to the Onondaga Nation and beginning to assemble information to "correct" the misinformation conveyed in many of those markers.

Emily Friedman's energy and enthusiasm led to a successful silent auction at Plowshares and helped with publicity as well.

Four LeMoyne students worked with us on service learning projects: Jasmine Pascale assisted with various office tasks, Debbie Gorman and Ashley Winters organized a post-election discussion at LeMoyne featuring SPC staffers Carol Baum and Jessica Maxwell, and Michelle Tauss assisted in the office with mailing parties, data entry and research, easily completing triple the number of hours required.

OCC student Sarah Natanson made SPC's 2008 display board for Plowshares, updated activist contacts, and organized a post-election event with SPC at OCC that has spawned a new progressive student club.

SPC expects to welcome several new interns for the spring semester as well.

Activist Appreciation: Nick Cavanaugh
Nick Cavanaugh (right) and Candee Wadsworth vigil outside the Federal Court in Albany in support of Onondaga Land Rights and environmental cleanup on October 11, 2007. Photo: Katie Nadeau
Nick Cavanaugh stands out in a crowd - literally given his height. But many people may not recognize how much work Nick does in the community. Nick has a quiet, supportive style, full of enthusiasm, but thoughtful and always conscious of the larger group's needs.

For years he has coordinated NOON's tabling efforts and served on the NOON steering committee. A year ago Nick joined the SPC steering committee, and most recently, has helped to coordinate SPC's response to the economic crisis. Both dependable and creative, we've really appreciated Nick's energy at SPC. Thanks, Nick.

Kinane Scores Court Victory
At the NY State Fair this past Labor Day both the State Police and Army recruiters took a holiday from their sworn duty to defend the Constitution. They had SPC activist Ed Kinane arrested for silently walking about the Fair wearing an orange jump suit with a "Close Guantanamo" sign on his chest.

The DA - who, one supposes, would know better - also forgot the Constitution and charged Ed with trespass and disorderly conduct. Refusing to pay bail, Ed spent a week in jail.

In the September 10 Syracuse New Times, Ed Griffin-Nolan exposed these official shenanigans. Then The Post-Standard's Hart Seely began covering the story. In its September 17 lead editorial, The Post-Standard pointedly questioned the authorities' suppression of Ed's freedom of expression, guaranteed by the First Amendment.

On December 8, in Geddes Town Court, Judge John D. Kinsella, not only dismissed all charges against Ed, but defended the right of free expression at the public Fair. Meanwhile the extra-legal Guantanamo remains open. On December 10, its commander, despite Obama's promise to close the notorious camp, declared that it won’t be closing any time soon. Stay tuned.

-Ed Kinane

SPC's Benefit Bowlathon Sunday, March 1
SPC's annual Strike for Peace Bowlathon is set for Sunday, March 1 at Flamingo Bowl in Liverpool. This annual funraiser never fails to bring out both people's creativity and generosity. Get your teams together now! We will have flyers and pledge sheets available in our office in early January. Contact Jessica.

Voting is Just the Beginning
A thoughtful and energetic group of nearly 50 people attended SPC's November 12 program, "Voting is Just the Beginning: Organizing for Peace and Social Justice after the Election." Many people shared feelings of elation and hope at the end of the Bush era and the prospect of meaningful change. There was general agreement that important opportunities have been created by the election and that the outcome depends to a great degree on the ability of grassroots communities to organize and pressure elected officials. At the same time people expressed varying levels of hope about the incoming Obama administration.

People divided into seven task groups for more detailed discussions of how to make progress on specific issues: End the Occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and Prevent Other Invasions, Build an Economy Based on Social Justice, Regain Civil Liberties, Welcome Immigrants and Change the Debate, End Militarism in our Culture and Schools, Meet Human Needs and Protect the Earth. The event drew together a nice mix of active SPC folks and other progressives who are less directly connected to SPC. For more details, see www.peacecouncil.net/post-election