Syracuse Peace Council Pages

compiled by Andy Mager

Where From Here?
For the last six months the Peace Council has focussed almost exclusively on building a movement to prevent a US war against Iraq. While we were unsuccessful at stopping the carnage and destruction of this war, we must remember that our efforts were not in vain. The Bush regime was compelled to respond to a global anti-war movement that many are calling the world’s new “Super Power.” As a result, the “coalition of the willing” was tiny and there were fewer civilian casualties. Washington’s assertions that the war had nothing to do with oil and that there will be no US bases in Iraq are responses to our pressure. We must hold them to these statements.

The need for a vibrant, powerful anti-war movement remains crucial here and elsewhere. Please stay involved, or become active.The process of determining the Peace Council’s priorities for the next few months is still underway, but several key themes are emerging:

1) Challenging the legitimacy of the war against Iraq and supporting calls for the UN to play the lead role in rebuilding and helping Iraqis create new governing structures.
2) Educating people to understand and oppose the vision of US global domination articulated in Bush’s National Security Strategy.
3) More actively linking US bullying abroad with the terrible consequences of the Bush agenda at home.
4) Exploring an SPC role in local youth anti-violence efforts.
Come to the Peace Council’s Open Meeting on May 10 to participate in these discussions. (See page 4 for details.)

SPC Birthday Celebration: Eyewitness Iraq
Celebrate the Syracuse Peace Council’s 67th birthday and hear Ed Kinane’s eyewitness report from Baghdad on Saturday, May 3 at 7:00 pm at St. Andrews Church, 124 Alden St., Syracuse (south of Manley Fieldhouse). Ed recently returned from two months in Iraq, including the entire period of US bombing.
The celebration features dessert, coffee, tea and inspiring music. Admission is $0-$67 (sliding scale), and childcare is available. Come celebrate over six decades of peacemaking with a vibrant commu-nity of concerned folks.

“Get Your Priorities Straight”
Despite media reports that the “war is over,” 125 people marched down James St. into downtown Syracuse on Saturday, April 12 behind the banner: “Get Your Priorities Straight: Fund Human Needs Not War.” The event focussed on the connection between the Bush administration’s war-making abroad and people-hurting at home. Speakers along the march route addressed the ways that education is being defunded, the media is providing biased news, how working people are being hurt and the dangers of the Patriot Act(s). (See page 18 for details on the economic impacts of the war.)

Visiting our Representatives
On March 28, peace demonstrators engaged in acts of civil disobedience at the federal building in Syracuse. Six people delivered indictments to all three federal representatives for supporting war on Iraq in violation of international law. Five of them met directly with Congressman James Walsh, and demanded that he hold a public meeting to address the concerns of his constituents. He refused. Four of the demonstrators refused to leave and were arrested by federal security.
Two weeks later, the Peace Council organized 10 more delegations to visit all three federal representatives’ offices, with one arriving every morning and every afternoon during the week of April 14-18. About 50 people participated in this effort. Each group repeated the demand for a public meeting. Senator Schumer refused our request. Congressman Walsh’s aide in Washington responded that their policy is not to participate in town meetings due to “time” constraints and “control” issues. Clinton’s office has still not responded, despite follow-up phone calls from SPC staff to the Syracuse, NYC, and Washington offices, and re-sending our request by fax. We will continue to address this appalling lack of democracy in our community and nation.

Weekly Peace Vigils

Every Tuesday from 4:45 – 5:45 pm.
• May 6: Teall Ave. & Rt. 690
• May 13: Adams St. & Rt. 81
• May 20: James St. & Thompson Rd.
• May 27: Rt. 57, Liverpool (near outdoor skating rink)

Refusing to Be Enemies:
An Israeli Peace Perspective

The May Peace Council potluck, Thursday, May 15, will feature Israeli peace activist Jessica Nevo. Jessica has been active with peace, human rights and feminist groups in Israel since 1984. She is a founding member of Women in Black in Haifa, and part of New Profile, an organization devoted to alternatives to the war culture and the militaristic values that are so dominant in Israel.
The potluck begins at 6 pm and the program at 7 pm at the Westcott Community Center, 826 Euclid Ave., Syracuse, and is free and open to the public. Jessica will also be speaking on Wednesday, May 14 at 7 pm at Hendricks Chapel at Syracuse University.

Historically, money flows into the Peace Council when our nation is actively at war. When the fighting dies down, funding slows as well. To prevent future wars we need organizations like the Peace Council to be even stronger. Please consider making a contribution or becoming a monthly or quarterly pledger.

SPC & Nonviolence
On Friday, March 28 over 400 people responded to the Peace Council’s call to “Encircle the Federal Building and Contain the Warmakers,” surrounding the building to say that the US war against Iraq must end. Unfortunately, the demonstration will be remembered by many for the “scuffle” which ensued at the very end, rather than for the power of the gathering.

The scuffle, which was highlighted in media coverage of the event, involved provocative counterdemonstrators and some anti-war activists. One of the activists involved in the scuffle was arrested along with one of our “mediator/peacekeepers.” They were arraigned in City Court on April 1 and will return to court in May.
The Syracuse Peace Council is sorry that such an incident occurred at a demonstration we organized.
SPC supports free speech, even that of people who disagree with us, and we ask our co-workers in the peace movement to please be respectful of that at our events. We do understand, however, that counter-demonstrators can be provocative and will schedule trainings on creative and nonviolent responses to such potentially volatile situations.

We ask that everyone consider the impacts their individual actions can have on an event, both positive and negative, and what those actions might mean for the movement locally.

SPC Open Meeting—May 10

Please join us for an Open Peace Council Meeting on Saturday, May 10 from 1:30–3:30 pm at the Westcott Community Center (corner of Westcott St. and Euclid Ave., Syracuse).
As a community-based organization, the Peace Council needs broad input and participation to make our work effective. Learn more about specific projects and talk about how you can plug into the Peace Council’s work. Refreshments and door prizes will be provided.

Volunteers & Interns Sought

With summer approaching, some folks have a lot more time on their hands. The Peace Council welcomes additional summer help. We need regular office volunteers, people to work on specific projects and folks to help paint the outside of the house. Internships for high school or college students are also available. Get in touch. The next volunteer orientation is Tues., May 13 at 7 pm at the office.