Peace Council Pages

Educate, Agitate, Organize

Syracuse Peace Council
924 Burnet Ave., Syracuse, NY 13203
(315) 472-5478
OFFICE HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 10 am - 5 pm
Staff Email Addresses:
Andy Mager
Carol Baum
Jessica Maxwell

The Election – Don’t Mourn, Organize

compiled by Carol Baum

Many hundreds of Central New Yorkers participated in SPC’s Bush Must Go! campaign, working hard to oust Mr. Bush from the White House. The day after the election found most of us outraged, angry, disappointed, frustrated and despairing. But even before the day ended, many voices were calling for resistance and renewed energy, recognizing that there is much work to be done and that the world is worth it.

We wondered if anyone would come to SPC’s November volunteer orientation, held just one week after the election. A near-record number attended, ready to get to work.
SPC staff
Carol Baum, Andy Mager, Jessica Maxwell, Paul Pearce (SPC Press/TV)

SPC steering Committee
Carol Baum, Gary Bonaparte, Dik Cool, Roxanne Hill, Doug Igelsrud, Rae Kramer, Andy Mager, Jessica Maxwell, Emily Moeller, Beth Mosley, Tina Musa, Shirley Novak, Nick Poulos, Carole Resnick, Ann Tiffany

Peace Newsletter Committee
Andy Mager (coordinator), Ed Kinane, Rae Kramer, Donna Muhs-McCarten, Sara Smits. Calendar: Angela Manciocchi. Layout: Derek Currie, Andy Mager

The Syracuse Peace Council survived the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the McCarthy era, the Reagan years and more. We will continue because people are ready to stand up for the values that we hold dear, even in the most difficult of times.

Although Bush did not “go,” we did accomplish our other two primary campaign goals: we helped educate people locally on issues linked to the presidential election, and built a stronger grassroots movement for peace and social justice.

The Bush Must Go! Campaign: What SPC Did
Our campaign consisted of making Bush Must Go! visible locally; educating and agitating around five issue-oriented phases (including one just underway, see Building Real Democracy below); and other related activities.

Visibility. SPC distributed 2,300 Bush Must Go! lawn signs, and sold many buttons and bumperstickers. Hundreds of people stopped by the SPC office for the first time. Tens of thousands of people in cars must have seen our weekly peace outreach where we held signs focusing on that month’s theme.

Campaign themes
• Education, Not Occupation
• Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
• Protect the Earth
• Bye, Bye Big Brother

Each phase included educational and action components. We produced and distributed 40,000 brochures and 7,000 copies of the special election issue of the Peace Newsletter. We organized educational programs and actions (two examples: Drop Beats Not Bombs youth action festival, and leafletting by Plants and Animals Against Bush at the State Fair). Through every aspect of the campaign, SPC activists were interviewed by radio, television, and the newspapers.

Other activities. As election-related opportunities came up, we took action:

SPC demonstrated outside the NYS Republican Convention held in Syracuse in May. Billionaires for Bush debuted, carrying signs such as “Leave No Billionaire Behind.”

SPC’s birthday party this spring featured journalist Hart Seely and satirical musician Dave Lippman (a.k.a. George Shrub).

Over the summer we held two fundraisers featuring Fahrenheit 9/11. We tabled and handed out several thousand leaflets at other showings of the film.

We sent two busloads of people to the massive protest of the Republican National Convention in NYC in August. We sponsored (with the ACLU) a legal training to prepare Syracuse demonstrators for potential encounters with law enforcement at the convention.

In October, we organized a Bush Must Go! rally in downtown Syracuse.
We promoted other groups’ local voter registration efforts and trips to Pennsylvania (see page 7).

Throughout the election season, SPC-TV, the PNL, and our listservs helped keep people up-to-date on the issues and how to help. Democracy Now, which SPC shows on the local cable television station, provided news from a progressive perspective.

See below for our Election Day and “week after” activities.

The Campaign Continues: Building Real Democracy
From the beginning, we knew our work on the election had to extend beyond Election Day. So, the last phase of the Bush Must Go! campaign began on November 3 and will continue at least through the January 20 inauguration. We have organized two community meetings to begin this phase of our work. The first, held November 7, focused on peoples’ feelings and reactions to the election, as well as sharing ideas for how to move forward. The second meeting was November 18, and looked at “Building Real Democracy.”

The Day After
Weekly Peace Outreach

Our weekly visibility for peace continues through the election.
October 26: E. Genesee St. and Erie Blvd. (Dewitt), 4:45-5:30 pm
November 2: Multiple sites and times, see previous page

Shifts to Wednesdays, 7:30-8:15 am

November 10: Rt. 57 and Vine St, Village of Liverpool
November 17: Valley Dr. and Seneca Tnpk. (Valley)
November 24: Geddes St. and W. Genesee St. (Westside)

The day after the election, a mix of longtime SPC supporters, newcomers and other community folks gathered at Clinton Square from noon–1 pm to express outrage, frustration and sadness at the presidential election results. Activist and musician Jolie Christine Rickman shared a powerful song with the crowd of 30-40 people. Ed Kinane spoke, focusing on the ongoing occupation of Iraq. He began by noting that Bush Inc. will move quickly to try to consolidate its agenda. Read his statement on our website.

Post-Election Community Meeting
On Sunday, November 7, SPC hosted a community meeting that was attended by 35-40 people. After sharing reactions, thoughts, and feelings about the election outcome, participants brainstormed ideas for future organizing work. We also shared examples of particularly effective actions or events that we witnessed or participated in over the past year. These suggestions will be integrated with ideas generated by SPC’s Steering and Program Committees. SPC will use upcoming Steering and Program Committee meetings as well as our monthly program on November 18 to begin organizing and prioritizing the suggestions.

Plowshares is Almost Here
Our 34th annual Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival is a perfect opportunity to enjoy community, great food and entertainment, and support craftspeople and SPC at the same time. Remember, this year it’s at Nottingham High School (3100 E. Genesee St., Syracuse). It runs Saturday, December 4 from 10-5 pm; and Sunday, December 5 from 11-5 pm. The details of the craftsfair are listed here.

Study Group on the US Global Agenda
SPC’s study group recently finished reading Arundhati Roy’s An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire. We then watched the acclaimed documentary The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream. We’ll read articles to finish off the year, and in January begin Vandana Shiva’s Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit.

We welcome new members – please try to do the reading first. Contact Carol.

Youth Acts Out!
Youth Empowerment for Peace is hosting a student activist conference on Saturday, December 4th from 1-5 pm at Nottingham High School, 3100 E. Genesee St. in Syracuse. The whole point of this meeting is to rally local students together, and get them to explore the issues that they care about. There will be workshops on racism, animal rights, the draft, what your rights as youth really are, and how you can use them.

The event is free, no pre-registration is needed and refreshments will be provided.

The conference is only the first of many events Youth Empowerment for Peace hopes to have throughout the year. Contact Tina Musa <silvurrchair33 @hotmail. com>.

The Bill of Rights Defense Campaign (BORDC)
On the October anniversary of the signing of the Patriot Act, the BORDC sponsored a panel discussion on “Our Civil Liberties at Risk: The Patriot Act and American Freedoms.” Panelists from several of the BORDC participating organizations, including SPC, addressed questions such as, “Does the Patriot Act protect us from terrorist attacks?”

The BORDC continues to educate the community about threats to the Bill of Rights. Contact Carol if you would like the BORDC to make a presentation to your group, or if you’d like to get involved.

Organizational/ Strategic Planning
SPC would like to develop a clearer, long-range vision for our work and organizational structure. Over the next few months, we will be seeking input from many different people and groups through various formats. Issues to be addressed include finances, facilities, setting short and long-term organizing goals and democratic participation in SPC. We encourage anyone interested in the future of SPC and supports SPC’s statement of purpose to participate in this process.

Performance to Benefit SPC
We’re selling tickets to the Syracuse Stage performance of Culture Clash in AmeriCCa, an ensemble of pieces about urban America. Culture Clash is the most prominent Chicano-Latino performance troupe in the country. SPC has tickets for Saturday, January 29 at 3 pm, for $28 each, which includes a reception afterwards. Contact Carol, or PNL subscribers can see the accompanying insert.

Peace Outreach
With the coming of winter, we have decided to rethink the weekly peace outreach which SPC has conducted for the past three years. We have one more weekly outreach scheduled along with two special outreaches. Look for more details in January.

Wed., November 24, 7:45-8:30 am, Geddes St. and W. Genesee St.
Fri., November 26, 10-11 am, Hiawatha Blvd., outside Carousel Mall
Sat., December 18, 10-11 am, Hiawatha Blvd., outside Carousel Mall

Breaking the Fast
The Islamic Society of Central New York invited SPC to join them on October 28 in br eaking the Ramadan fast. This was our fourth year, and as usual, the hospitality was warm and gracious, the food and company excellent. SPC asked people attending under our auspices for donations to Christian Peacemaker Teams. We raised $135 for their courageous ongoing work in Iraq with detainees and on prison abuse issues there.

SPC’s Monthly Program
Building Real Democracy: Where From Here?

Thursday, November 18
7-8:30 pm

Westcott Community Center
(corner of Euclid and Westcott, Syracuse)
followed by refreshments & discussion

A conversation about continuing our work after the Presidential election.

Special thanks to Magda Bayoumi and Mohammed Khater for providing us with this opportunity.

Fund Appeal in the Mail:
Please Be Generous

The Peace Council’s annual fall fund appeal is in the mail. In addition to our crass request for funds, it includes a summary of the past six months of activity and a financial report.

Our refusal to compromise our principles means we aren’t going to receive corporate funding. So it’s people like you who enable the Peace Council to continue and expand our valuable work for peace and social justice.

Is the Election Over?

The internet has been abuzz with reports of miscounts, overcounts, voter intimidation/suppression, continued concern about the accuracy of electronic voting machines and more. It is clear that for everyone’s vote to be truly meaningful a great deal of investigation and electoral reform is required.

The Peace Council joins the call for thorough investigation into these important issues. We encourage supporters to contact your federal representatives in support of the call from John Conyers (D-MI), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Robert Wexler (D-FL) [all members of the House Judiciary Committee] for the Government Accountability Office to “immediately undertake an investigation of the efficacy of voting machines and new technologies used in the 2004 election, how election officials responded to difficulties they encountered and what we can do in the future to improve our election systems and administration.

Some activists are fully convinced that Bush stole the election again. Detailed information can be found on the internet at: <>, <> and <www.> among others.

An excellent overview article by Jessica Azulay is available on the NewStandard <>.

Taking action on this issue is a great way to kick off the Peace Council’s Building Real Democracy campaign.

Old Lawn Signs Don’t Die: Reuse, Recycle
Many people have chosen to continue displaying their Bush Must Go! lawn signs. Here’s a suggested adaptation: “War Must Go.” Overlay (pictured above) is available at the office and available for download at <>. Use your own creativity to develop other ideas (and send
us photos). If you’re ready to uproot your sign, you can drop it off at the office (924 Burnet Ave.) for potential future use.