Peace Council Pages
Educate, Agitate, Organize
SPC IN ACTION
compiled by Carol Baum
Syracuse Peace Council
Hydrofracking Primer Ready
NOON’s leadership in the fight to prevent hydrofracking in NY State continues. We’ve just revised our 8-page Hydrofracking Primer, which was originally published as a special section in the June 2010 PNL. Visit the SPC office for copies to distribute, for lawn signs, bumperstickers and buttons. Petitioner extraordinaire Tara Rush collected hundreds of signatures on an anti-fracking petition at the NY State Fair, and work is stepping up to push for a full ban on hydrofracking. The recent floods in Pennsylvania and the Southern Tier highlight the dangers posed by this risky method of gas drilling. contact Lindsay 475-2559.
|Weekly Peace Outreach|
Join our weekly presence to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan!
Tuesdays: 4:15-5 pm
Also Saturdays 8-9 am on Park St. across from the Regional Market.
On September 24, Syracuse joined a worldwide day of action on climate change. Sixty people participated in Critical Mass for a Sustainable Syracuse, a bike ride designed to spotlight policies needed to move away from fossil fuel dependence. The event kicked off with a rally where speakers called for a ban on hydrofracking, for renewable energy through public power and for transportation justice. The cyclists wove through the Southside and Westside of Syracuse to highlight the lack of car-free infrastructure in areas with high numbers of cyclists, ending at the Regional Market.
Moving Planet was a successful collaboration between ESF and SU student organizers and SPC activists. Thanks to organizers Ben Ballerstein, Andrew Greco, Matt Isles, Ursula Rozum, Yvonne Tasker and Lindsay Speer. We hope to see more actions to strengthen the climate justice movement in Syracuse. Contact Ursula.
Correcting “History” to Make Change
NOON’s historical markers committee has made significant progress in identifying and providing an accurate context for historical markers related to the Onondaga in Central New York (see peacecouncil.net/noon/markers). We’re delighted to be working with Onondaga Lake Park to replace a highly inaccurate marker currently situated along the east shore of the lake. Among other problems, the current marker incorrectly dates the founding of the confederacy (by hundreds of years), mixes up Hiawatha and the Peacemaker, and claims the Haudenosaunee were defeated in the American Revolution. We also expect that our long-awaited revision of the booklet Neighbor to Neighbor: Nation to Nation will be published this fall. Contact Andy.
Just Say Yes to 75 Years
Experience culture jamming at its finest! SPC’s 75th Birthday Dinner, being held Saturday, October 22 at Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church (5299 Jamesville Rd., Dewitt) will feature Igor Vamos, aka Mike Bonanno of the The Yes Men activist duo. Armed with nothing but thrift-store suits, the Yes Men fool their way into business conferences and parody their corporate targets through elaborate hoaxes that draw attention to the greed and inhumanity of capitalist institutions. Experts at using humor to get major media attention, their faux press releases have accidentally been picked up by outlets such as USA Today and the BBC, reaching millions of people. (See info on their latest film, The Yes Men Fix the World, at theyesmenfixtheworld.com).
Dinner will feature seasonal vegetarian cuisine (vegan options). Doors open at 6 pm, dinner is at 6:30 pm, and the program begins promptly at 8 pm. We ask for a sliding scale donation of $15-75 (suggested donation is $25) for both dinner and the program, or $5-15 for those only attending the program. Reservations are strongly encouraged and can be made online or by calling our office. Contact Carol or Jessica with questions or to volunteer.
SPC continues to participate in the new Solidarity Committee of CNY, which is organizing support for Ida Benderson Senior Center participants resisting the Mayor’s decision to close their center. The Solidarity Committee, inspired by Wisconsin resistance movements, formed to support organized labor and resist budget cuts and austerity measures that disproportionately hurt the working class, poor, and people of color. Contact Jessica..
SPC activists participated in the rally and march to save the Ida Benderson Senior Center in downtown Syracuse. Photo: Carol Baum.
Doubling Our Efforts for Peace in the Middle East
There is much to be done in Central New York to advocate for a just peace settlement in Palestine and Israel. To expand our efforts, CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel is now meeting twice monthly—first Thursdays of the month at 7 pm and third Mondays over lunch at noon—at the Center (2013 E. Genesee St., second floor). At press time we were preparing to show the film Budrus and organizing an educational concert with David Rovics and Colleen Kattau on Monday, October 3 at 7 pm at May Memorial, 3800 E. Genesee St. Colleen is a local singer-songwriter who often sings at SPC events. David (davidrovics.com) is a powerful singer-songwriter who tours the country singing for social justice and peace. Tickets are only $5-10 sliding scale. Contact Andy.
Help Youth Reject the Military
Help support youth who don’t want to be harassed by military recruiters! Every fall, the Syracuse City School District (and all other public high schools in the US, under No Child Left Behind) compiles a list of seniors and juniors and sends students’ contact information to the military for recruitment purposes. Students and parents have the right to “opt out,” but they have to send a letter to the district before the list is submitted (usually in December). Help staff tables at all four city high schools during lunch periods (10:40-12:40) where students can sign opt out forms that we deliver to the district. Contact Andy or Jessica.
Nurturing a New Generation of Activists
As another academic year begins, the Peace Council office is abuzz with interns from Le Moyne and SU. Katie Finnegan and Allison Clark are working on publicity for the October 22 Birthday Dinner. Lindsay Rexer will support SPC’s counter recruitment work and Christina Levin will make connections with students and student groups. Ryan Beech and Andrew Gleeson are working with the Caribbean/Latin America Coalition. Eunji Kim is working with the PNL.
As part of our work to encourage student activism, SPC activists also do classroom presentations. Contact SPC to invite someone from the Peace Council to meet with your class.
Syracuse Without War
What if the federal government had decided to invest in domestic infrastructure, healthcare and jobs instead of endless war? What would our city look like? SPC’s committee on the war economy is designing posters highlighting what could have been drastically improved if we had invested in peace. We’re looking for people to help with research, letters to the editor, and flyering. Contact Carol or Jessica.
Ground the Drones Activism
August was overflowing with activism to ground the drones. We met with Senator Gillibrand’s assistant. She listened attentively to our arguments against the drones, already being somewhat familiar with the information, having been at Hancock to observe the April 22 rally and action. We’re developing follow up ideas.
In the spirit of flash mobs, we held a “die-in” at Syracuse’s downtown Farmer’s Market. We carried in our model drone, announcing, “The drones are coming,” and “died.” We were quickly asked to leave, but not before giving out leaflets and getting video footage. Check out the video online: youtube.com/Krincaz7. Thanks to Keren and Ava Carmeli for creating it.
We performed a tableau in front of the Fair’s main entrance for four hours each on two days.We gave out close to 1000 leaflets and had many good conversations.
To join us, contact Carol.
SPCs Monthly Program
Legacies of Agent Orange in Viet Nam and the US
Monday, October 24, 7 pm
Activist/scholar Fred Wilcox will speak on the effects of Agent Orange from both the Vietnamese and US perspectives. His new book, Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam, and a new edition of Waiting for an Army to Die: The Tragedy of Agent Orange have just been released to recognize the 50th year since the US first sprayed Agent Orange on Vietnam.
Free and followed by refreshments. Contact Carol
Hospitality Needed for Hancock 38 Trial
The Hancock 38 Drone Resisters’ trial begins on Tuesday, November 1. Many activists were involved from outside the Syracuse area, and we expect that hospitality will be needed starting October 31 through the end of the trial (which may take several days). Might you be able to offer hospitality for out-of-town guests? Contact Carol.
ACTS Issues Convention
The Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse is a group of urban/suburban congregations/organizations (including SPC) united to influence decision-making on local issues. This year ACTS will focus on three issues, to be decided at the ACTS Issues Assembly on Sunday, October 23, at 3:30 pm at Hopps Memorial CME Church (1110 S. State). Contact Carol.
Ever Been to a Terrible Meeting?
Most of us would answer “Yes” to the above question. While all participants in a meeting bear responsibility for making things work, the facilitator has a special role. Join us on Wednesday, October 12, at 7 pm at SPC’s office, 2013 E. Genesee St., to learn how to facilitate effective meetings. SPC staffers Carol Baum and Andy Mager will draw on the wisdom of all who attend and share ideas for planning and facilitating meetings. This is a great opportunity for folks who’ve hesitated to try facilitation and for people who’d like to improve their skills. Contact Andy.
Activist Appreciation: Jerry Lotierzo
Outgoing, boisterous, and always willing to lend a hand, Jerry is on a host of committees and boards. In any given week you might find him helping to landscape the grounds at the Center for Peace and Social Justice (home to the SPC office), chairing a meeting of the Alliance for Retired Americans, standing with a sign at SPC’s peace outreach, volunteering with Citizen Action or recruiting new members for the We Are NY Coalition. His infectious energy, sarcastic optimism and generosity of spirit make him welcome on any project. Thanks, Jerry.
Last year Jerry arranged to bring Binghamton’s
“Local Cost of the War” sign to our space on
Parking Day. Photo: Peter Forbes.
October 6 in DC
October marks the start of the 11th year of the invasion of Afghanistan and the onset of the 2012 US federal budget, which provides seemingly unlimited funds for war and corporate welfare, yet withholds essential funds for services that meet human needs. On October 6, thousands of people will begin occupying Freedom Plaza in Washington DC. Several SPC activists are planning to go. Contact Carol for ride sharing; see october2011.org for details.
Join SPC’s Steering Committee
Every fall, SPC recruits passionate, dedicated activists to serve on our Steering Committee, the body that guides our program priorities and oversees financial and other organizational decisions. Anyone who has worked on an SPC committee or project and supports our statement of purpose (see page 2) may serve. We strive for the Steering Committee to embody, as much as possible, the wider SPC community and the range of issues we care about. We particularly encourage young people, people of color and LGBTQ identified individuals to consider joining. Terms begin in January 2012. Contact Jessica..
D.A. Backs Off Prosecuting SOA Watch 15
Last spring, 27 SOA Watch activists “died” outside the White House to protest the Pentagon’s School of the Americas based at Ft. Benning, Georgia. The SOA trains Latin American militaries in “anti-insurgency” tactics and has long been implicated in coups and human rights abuses throughout Latin America.
We 27 were telling Mr. Obama that he must close the SOA. But the DC Park Police—seemingly unfamiliar with the First Amendment right to assemble and petition the government—arrested us. We were bogusly charged with “failure to obey a lawful order” and “blocking and incommoding.”
At our September 12 DC Superior Court trial, the Assistant District Attorney told Judge Frederick Sullivan that he wasn’t prepared to proceed and agreed to have the charges dismissed. (See www.soaw.org.) Maybe the D.A. has heard of the First Amendment. Despite this victory we were disappointed to miss the opportunity to put the SOA itself “on trial.”
SPC’s 9-11 Statement
Anticipating that there would be much media hubbub this September 11, SPC released a statement, which was published in the Post Standard on 9-11. See peacecouncil.net/statements.
Help Us Save Energy
SPC’s home, the Center for Peace and Social Justice, needs volunteer help with energy-saving projects. If you have carpentry, electrical or masonry experience and want to help, contact Brent at 701-1580.