Educate, Agitate, Organize: SPC IN ACTION

From the March 2014 PNL #832

compiled by Jessica Azulay

“This Has Got to Stop.”
 –Judge Gideon, Town of Dewitt

About 25 people came out for a frigid but very special “Peace Outreach” protest at Hancock Air Base on February 11. The demonstration occurred just four days after 17 fellow activists were sentenced to jail for their nonviolent symbolic blockade at the base in 2012 (see page 9). Soldiers are piloting armed drones from Hancock Air Base, which has been the focus of ongoing, nonviolent protest for seven years. The activists agreed that “This has got to stop,” but what has to stop is not the protests, but drone warfare and the mindset behind it. Contact Carol to join the movement.


Don’t Miss the Bowlathon: March 30

Do you have your team organized for the annual Strike for Peace! Bowlathon? Join us Sunday, March 30 at Bowl Mor Lanes in East Syracuse (201 Highland Ave.) with your 4-5 person team for an afternoon of fun that supports peace and justice organizing. (Individuals are welcome, too—we’ll match you with a team.) The entry fee is $15 for adults, $10 for kids (12 and under) and includes two games plus shoes. The alley is completely accessible, and bumpers are available.

Register by March 14 to be assured of a lane reservation. To register, visit or contact Amelia. Can’t make it this year? Visit the website to make a pledge in support of a bowling team. PLEASE NOTE: sessions times were printed incorrectly in the February Peace Newsletter. The correct times are: Session A, 2 – 4 pm and Session B, 4:30 – 6:30 pm.


“Triple Divide” Film

Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation will join New Yorkers Against Fracking in co-sponsoring a screening of the new documentary Triple Divide. The film exposes the impacts of hydrofracking in Pennsylvania. The filmmakers talk to Pennsylvanians as well as industry representatives and experts in an attempt to answer the question: “How are state regulations and industry handling impacts from fracking?” The film reveals how water contamination is being covered up by the industry and the state. Join us Monday, March 3 at All Saints Church (112 Lancaster Place, Syracuse). Doors open at 6 pm and the film will start at 6:30, followed by a discussion with the directors, journalists Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman.


Monsanto/GMO labeling

Foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been sold in the United States since 1996. Unlike 64 other countries around the world, the United States does not require that foods containing GMO ingredients be labeled. Food justice activists around the country, concerned about potential health risks associated with the consumption of GMOs, are demanding that GMO foods be labeled. In New York State, there are bills in the Assembly and Senate that would require all food sold in New York containing GMOs be labeled as such. Activists with GMO Free CNY are excited to report that the following local businesses have signed on in support of the NY GMO Labeling campaign: the Syracuse Real Food Coop, Natur-Tyme, Green Planet Grocery and Lombardi’s.

Please take action in support of GMO labeling by contacting Senators Valesky (315-478-8745) and DeFrancisco (315-428-7632). On March 23 at 6 pm, GMO Free CNY will be hosting a screening of the film Genetic Roulette at ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave. A suggested donation of $5 benefits the Syracuse Peace Council. Genetic Roulette is a new documentary that exposes the connections between companies like Monsanto and the federal government, and the potential risks associated with eating genetically modified foods. The next GMO Free CNY meeting will be on Thursday, March 6 at 5:30 pm at 2013 E. Genesee St. Contact Ursula.


Pledge for Peace!

If we want peace, why are we still paying for war? The average Onondaga County resident pays $100 each month for war, thanks to the way those in Washington spend our tax dollars. But what if your hard earned dollars could be used for peace? Well, they can!

If you’re fortunate enough to have gainful employment in today’s economy, join our “Work for Peace at Your Day Job” campaign.” Pledge an hour’s wage to the Peace Council each month, and for that hour, wherever you are, you’ll be working for an end to oil wars, an end to drone strikes, a ban on hydrofracking, justice for native people... you’ll be working for peace at your day job!

Peace Council pledgers are a lifeline for our organization. Visit to join the campaign today.


Palestinian Land Day

On Sunday, March 30, CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel will host our annual commemoration of Palestinian Land Day. The event will take place at ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave., Syracuse, from 4-6 pm. There will be an interesting program, and of course, refreshments will be served to welcome all who wish to remember or learn about this important day. In 1976, thousands of Palestinians living within Israel protested the appropriation of their land planned by the Israeli government at that time. This was the first act of mass resistance by the Palestinian minority within Israel and was harshly responded to by the Israeli police with six Palestinian demonstrators killed and hundreds wounded and jailed. Commemoration of this day honors the history of Palestinian resistance within Israel and the continuing efforts of the Palestinian people for justice. Contact Jessica.


Win Ani Tickets!

Singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco will be playing in Syracuse on April 29 at the Palace Theatre – and you could win tickets! Righteous Babe Records, the record label Ani helped found, has given SPC a pair of tickets to raffle off to one lucky music fan.  Raffle prices are $5 for one ticket or $10 for three tickets, with proceeds to benefit SPC. Raffle tickets will be on sale at the Peace Council office, 2013 E. Genesee St., beginning on March 3. The drawing for tickets will take place on April 17. Get yours today!


Speak Up on New York’s Energy Plan

In January, the New York Energy Planning Board released the long-awaited draft State Energy Plan. The draft plan sets a goal for 80% greenhouse-gas reductions by 2050 but has very few details on how state policy-makers plan to achieve that goal. The draft plan also promotes the increased use of fracked gas from neighboring states and more natural gas infrastructure. Environmental groups around the state are calling for ambitious greenhouse-gas reduction goals before 2050; for the phase-out of all dirty energy sources including gas, coal, oil and nuclear power; and for the state to proactively plan for a transition that takes care of low-income people, workers and communities.

We need people like you to comment on the draft plan and demand New York abandon its “all of the above” energy policy. Written comments are due by April 30, 2014. The last of the public hearings will be held on March 6 in Syracuse. Join the Syracuse Peace Council, Alliance for a Green Economy, New Yorkers Against Fracking, Sierra Club and Citizen Action at the hearing. The hearing is currently planned for 11 am in the Gateway Building at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), but groups are pushing for the time to be changed to evening so that more people can participate. Keep an eye on the Peace Council website for details. Contact Jessica.


A Black Panther’s Memoir: Aaron Dixon Speaks

SPC partnered with the Syracuse Greens, Pan-African Community of CNY and Fountain of Life Church to host a speaking event with former Black Panther Party Captain Aaron Dixon. The community came together in song before Dixon spoke about his personal history and the history of the Black Panther Party. Dixon spoke about the choice to take up arms; the services the Black Panthers provided to communities in need (programs which were later mimicked by federal programs); the murders and persecution of members of the Black Panther Party; and the need for people today to embrace community over individulism and competition.

Contact the Peace Council to purchase Dixon’s new memoir, My People Are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain. Find video of Dixon’s talk on our website. Special thanks to Pastor J. Stephens Jr., Rev. J. Thompson, and Howie Hawkins for making this event possible.


Fracking On Hold

Another year has passed, and New York State is still holding off on fracking! At the Environmental Budget Hearing on January 29, NYS legislators determined that for this fiscal year, there is no funding in the state’s budget for moving forward on hydrofracking regulations, which means that the legislature cannot move forward to approve fracking. At the February 3rd Budget Hearing, Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah testified that he is “in no hurry to play with any potential risks to the health and safety of the people of New York.” We cannot rest, though, as New York  energy policy is still pointing toward an increase in the use of fracked gas in New York. See page 4 for information on how to comment on New York’s draft Energy Plan.



The SPC staff collective is excited to welcome three interns to our office this Spring – David Oster, Brian Tackett and Brianna Shetler. David, a student at SU, has been active in the student climate justice movement and is currently organizing students to participate in demonstrations against the Keystone XL pipeline. At SPC, he’ll be working on anti-war organizing and supporting the Peace Newsletter Committee.  Brian will be learning about data systems by helping SPC update our database – you may have met Brian at mailing parties or at SPC outreach tables as he’s been active in many aspects of the Peace Council’s work in recent years. Brianna, also from SU, is working alongside the Ground the Drones and GMO Free CNY committees as well as interning for the Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) a coalition for a carbon-free, nuclear-free New York that SPC is involved in. Stop in and say “Hi!” If you or someone you know would like to intern at SPC, contact Ursula.


Cornel West in Syracuse

To listen to Dr. Cornel West is to have your heart and mind expanded. Cornel doesn’t just connect the dots, he passionately uncovers the web of connections among militarism, race, class and more. He was the keynote speaker at the Drone Summit in Washington D.C. last November, and members of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars (a group the Syracuse Peace Council is very active in) barraged him with requests to speak in Syracuse. He has agreed to come in April. We have not yet confirmed a date; we will broadcast through the SPC website, Facebook and email as soon as we know. Contact Carol.


“Dirty Wars” Available 

Dirty Wars is a game-changing, mind-blowing film... Dirty Wars assumes the tantalizing shape of a mystery thriller as compelling as any feature film.” - Erica Abeel, The Huffington Post

SPC’s Ground the Drones, End the Wars Committee recently screened Dirty Wars to a full house at ArtRage and all were transfixed. What the reviewers said was true. The film is a masterful merger of political exposé, art film, and detective story. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary, Dirty Wars follows investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater and Dirty Wars, into the heart of America’s covert wars, from Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia and beyond. What begins as an investigation of a US night raid gone terribly wrong in a remote corner of Afghanistan, quickly turns into a global investigation of the secretive and powerful Joint Special Operations Command.

We have the DVD and ask for your help showing it widely. Do you belong to an organization or faith community, or have a group of friends who would be interested in seeing it? We will loan you the DVD and are happy to provide a speaker/ discussion facilitator. Contact Carol.