Syracuse Peace Council Pages

Bush Must Go!
Campaign, the largest component of the Peace Council’s program work for the coming year, is just being launched. It will utilize the upcoming presidential election to advocate for peace and social justice and help replace the current squatters in the White House. The campaign is divided into five time periods each with a specific theme:

April-May: Education Not Occupation

June-July: Human Need Not Corporate Greed

Aug.-Sept.: Protect the Environment

Oct.-Election Day: Bye Bye Big Brother

Election-Inauguration: Building Real Democracy

During each period, educational inserts will be created and distributed in large numbers (at least 10,000 for each theme), the weekly peace outreach will focus on the theme, a demonstration or other public action will take place locally, we’ll tie in with national organizing efforts, SPC-TV will focus on the theme and one of our monthly educational events will address the issue.

A committee has begun working on the Education Not Occupation phase and welcomes new members. Assistance on committees for each of the other phases will also be needed. Distribution of lawn signs — which say Bush Must Go! and include space for messages about why — will continue until the election. A component will also support the work of a sister city in Pennsylvania where the election is expected to be closely contested, unlike here in New York.

This ambitious campaign needs lots of helpers. Contact Andy Mager.

Democracy, Not Empire: SPC Program for the Year
Since December, SPC’s program committee has been discussing priorities for program work through the presidential inauguration in January, 2005. An ambitious proposal titled Democracy, Not Empire has just been accepted by SPC’s Steering Committee. Find a piece that speaks to you and join in!

• Bush Must Go! (45%)* The highest priority. See above for more details.

• US Global Agenda (20%). Initially the focus will be education around the military and corporate occupation of Iraq, as well as support of local involvement in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) demonstrations in Washington DC in April. Over the summer, energy will go into organizing for both the Democratic and Republican National conventions, along with smaller local actions. There also is a plan to get the Democracy Now! campaign up and running again.
• Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (10%). See page 4 for more details.

• Bill of Rights Defense Campaign (BORDC) and Dr. Dhafir Support (10%). SPC already participates actively in the BORDC. Dr. Dhafir’s trial has been postponed until September and SPC may do some educational work around his case in coming months.

• Empowerment (10%). This category covers the Training for Nonviolence Trainers weekend in early April, a youth nonviolence project, and the second summer of our youth bike project.

• Breaking Events/ Requests for Solidarity (5%). We needed to leave time for emergency response activities (such as the Haiti demonstration reported below), and requests for solidarity.

*The percentages next to the priorities indicate about how much of SPC’s program resources are to be allocated there.

In all of SPC’s program work, grassroots organizing strategies will be emphasized. In considering the balance between global, national, and local work, we’re making a conscious effort to increase the amount of our local work.

Bowl-a-thon a Striking Success
Wow! 51 Teams. 250 bowlers and fans.

The 4th (somewhat) annual SPC Strike for Peace Bowl-a-thon on March 14 was a wonderful time and strikingly successful as a fundraiser. There were old friends and new, with many folks joining us for the first time.

We had representatives from area high schools and colleges and a most interesting variety of community/activist groups, organizations, and costumed enthusiasts.

Special kudos to the Radical Cheerleaders, Ladies in Red Hats, and Spare Friends for entertainment, spirit, and hot outfits. Big thanks too, to Tom Kerr (team: the Pin is Mightier than the Sword), our 50/50 raffle winner, who donated his winnings back to SPC to help “strike out Bush.”

We have raised $3400 so far. Please send any outstanding pledge monies in as soon as possible so we can announce our final total.Thanks to ALL who planned, bowled, donated, and supported, with special mention to Andy Mager and the check-in staff. We hope to make this event a regular part of our SPC annual calendar. Let us know if you would like to be part of the ongoing bowl-a-thon committee.

Weekly Peace Outreach

In conjunction with the Bush Must Go! Campaign (see above) the weekly outreach will focus on the theme of “Education Not Occupation” during April and May. We’ll supply relevant signs, or bring your own. Every Tuesday, 4:45-5:30 pm at a busy intersection near you:

• April 6: West St. and Seymour St. (near Westside)

• April 13: E. Genesee St. and Erie Blvd. (Dewitt)

• April 20: Rt. 57 and Vine St., Village of Liverpool

• April 27: Valley Dr. and Seneca Trpk. (Valley)

Glass Jars and Students Needed for Tax Week
Does anyone have large (1/2 -1 gal) clear glass jars we can have or borrow?

The Syracuse Peace Council is looking for 6 or more identical clear glass jars for a People’s Poll during tax week (April 12). The jars will correspond to different budget categories, and people will be asked to vote with pennies (that we provide) where they think their tax dollars should go.

Since the April theme of SPC’s Bush Mush Go! campaign, is “Education, Not Occupation,” we especially encourage students to participate.

To donate jars or get involved, contact Carol Baum.

STILL Saying No to War

On March 20, the anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, over 250 protests were held throughout the US, plus demonstrations in over 50 countries globally. SPC sent one very full bus to the NYC demonstration organized by United for Peace and Justice, and dozens more carpooled from Central NY to NYC. We also held a solidarity rally in Clinton Square, where some 150 people showed their continued opposition to the US occupation.

Haitians Deserve Democracy!

On March 4, as information emerged about the US government’s role in the ouster of elected Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide, 25-30 people participated in a noontime rally organized by SPC at the federal building. Members of the local Haitian community spoke about their experiences and condemned US involvement in the overthrow of a democratically elected leader. Letters were delivered to the offices of our congressional representatives calling on them to support the Congressional Black Caucus’ demand for an investigation into the US role in Aristide’s overthrow.

A panel discussion on Haiti and the current crisis was co-sponsored by SPC and the Caribbean Latin America Coalition on March 19. For more information on Haiti, see cover and page 7.

Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON)

The first phase of the rejuvenation of NOON is self-education on the environmental issues concerning Onondaga Lake and its watershed. Ed Michalenko, editor of The State of Onondaga Lake, came to a recent meeting to make a presentation and answer questions. We hope to organize a more public event on those issues for the near future. The 22-page State of Onondaga Lake booklet is available free at the SPC office. Contact Carol.

Feb. 26: A Day of Solidarity with Muslims

On February 26, 2003, government agents aggressively interrogated 150 Muslim and Arab families in Central New York while investigating a local charity.

One year later, 222 people participated in the Pledge of Solidarity with the Muslim and Arab Community, sending a strong message that selective, insensitive and discriminatory treatment is not acceptable in our community. The Pledge was organized by the CNY Bill of Rights Defense Campaign, of which SPC is an active part.

SPC organized the noon vigil, which was followed by delivering letters to legislators in the Federal Building. This turned out to be unexpectedly challenging. A police presence was very concerned about what we “might” do there. Despite having made appointments in advance, initially we were told that we could not go up to the legislators’ offices but that representatives would come down. Eventually four people were allowed to go to Sen. Schumer’s office, and the rest met with someone from Rep. Walsh’s office downstairs (Sen. Clinton’s office was closed that day).

Thanks to everyone who participated, and to the organizing committee — Barrie Gewanter, Carol Baum, Chrissie Rizzo, Magda Bayoumi, Dan Sage and Doris Sage. See page 9 for a report.