SPC in Action

From the November/December 2016 PNL #853

compiled by Carol Baum

Come Together at Plowshares! December 3-4

At this time of year when the night is lengthening, the Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival lights up our hearts and spirits. Plowshares is Central New York’s premier multicultural craftsfair, celebrating a world where people enjoy their work and have control over it. It is a marketplace both of ideas and beautiful handmade items, a community gathering of people who hope and work for a better world.

It features 110 local craftspeople and 20 community groups. You’ll find clothing, jewelry, ceramics, decorative objects, herbal medicines and more. When you need a break from shopping, enjoy the ongoing live entertainment, savor the tasty food from The Mission restaurant, or just hang out with old and new friends.

There’s also the fun of exploring the SPC Marketplace (featuring an array of peace and social justice books, calendars, T-shirts, stickers, buttons and more), buying raffle tickets and bidding on SPC silent auction items.

Plowshares is SPC’s biggest fundraiser. Volunteers and the staff collective are bustling to get ready, and the weekend itself needs many more volunteers. You can help even now by getting the word out—post flyers (PNL subscribers have one enclosed), tell your friends, post on social media or put a lawn sign in your yard. Contact Carol if you can help in any way.

So mark your calendars: SPC’s 46th annual Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival is at Nottingham High School (3100 E. Genesee St., Syracuse) from 10 am-5 pm on Saturday, December 3 and 11 am-5 pm on Sunday, December 4. Entry is sliding scale $2-5 (more if you can, less if you can’t), with under 16 and over 65 free. We look forward to seeing you there!


The 2015 Plowshares Craftsfair
The 2015 Plowshares Craftsfair. Photo: Mike Greenlar.



6 Ways to Get Active with SPC Right Now
Join a community of activists dedicated to peace and social justice! There are so many ways to connect-both through the issues we focus on and the “business” of running an organization. Here are but a few (visit SPC’s website for more):

  • Volunteer for a work shift at the Plowshares Craftsfair (December 3-4).
  • Adopt a Plowshares lawnsign for your front yard.
  • Come to the trial of the “Big Book” Drone Resisters November 29 (see this page).
  • Contact Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) to learn how to help with Standing Rock (the organizing changes quickly so it’s hard to be more specific, see page 9).
  • Come into the office once a week to do whatever needs doing that day.
  • Be on call for video and editing work.


This Thanksgiving, November 24, at 10 am, Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) invites you to a gathering on the Onondaga Lake Shoreline at Willow Bay Picnic Area. Join us for this Circle of Peace and Hope, to share in gratitude and friendship with the Onondaga people, as we work together for justice and Earth’s healing.

This month at the Syracuse Film Festival, NOON tabled at a showing of The Good Mind, a film featuring the Onondaga Nation people, history and culture. NOON then tabled at the Concert and Benefit Rally in support of Standing Rock Water Protectors, hosted by the Nation at their new Fieldhouse, Tsha’ Thoñ’nhes. We also collected money at SPC’s Birthday Dinner, which we have given to the Onondaga to bring to Standing Rock. (To read more, see cover article.)

We are also eager to soon start presenting a new experiential workshop: “Witness to Injustice: Unraveling Native and US Relations.” Contact Carol.

“Big Books” Drone Resisters Trial in November
Tuesday, November 29 is the trial for most of the Hancock drone resisters who had participated in the “Big Books” action at Hancock Air Base on March 19, 2015, the 12th year since the US invasion of Iraq. Please come in support! The trial is scheduled for 5 pm at the Town of Dewitt court (5400 Butternut Dr., East Syracuse)—call SPC first to make sure the time hasn’t changed.

The nonviolent action blockaded Hancock’s main gate with a giant copy of the UN Charter and three other giant books—Dirty Wars (Jeremy Scahill), Living Under Drones (NYU and Stanford Law Schools), and You Never Die Twice (Reprieve).


Large anti-war and anti-drone books standing in a parking lot foran anti-drone p
Bev Rick of NYC helping two of the big books blockade the main entrance of Hancock Air Base in Syracuse.



Street Heat’s New Schedule
As the days become shorter and the weather more chill, Street Heat goes from twice a week to the first Tuesday of the month.

At least monthly since 2010, we have been demonstrating outside Hancock Air Base to call for an end to the illegal and immoral killing of human beings by the weaponized Reaper drones. In calling for an end to the militarism dominating US foreign policy, we want Hancock base personnel to rethink their role in that killing machine and to remind the public of all the killing in our name.

Please join us.

Early winter Street Heats:
December 6 and January 10, 4:15-5pm.
Hancock Air Base main entrance (E. Molly Rd. between Thompson & Townline Rds.).
Contact Ann or Ed, (315) 478-4571.
(To learn more about street heat, see article on page 8.)




Birthday Dinner
The Birthday Dinner was a great success. Medea Benjamin’s talk urging boycott and divestment from the weapons industry and action against the alliance between US and Saudi Arabia was hard-hitting and thorough. Medea, a longtime anti-war disruptor and co-founder of Code Pink, is on tour promoting her new book, Kingdom of the Unjust.

Dozens of SPC members were crucial to the success of the dinner, from cooking the delicious food to setup to taking responsibility for table settings and washing dishes. The menu was chosen for accessibility, with vegan and gluten-free basic courses, and items that could be added for different dietary needs and preferences. The Birthday Dinner is one of the few times a year all of the Peace Council can come together.

Guest speaker Madea Benjamin answers questions at SPC's 80th Birthday Dinner.  P
Guest speaker Madea Benjamin answers questions at SPC's 80th Birthday Dinner. Photo: Aubrey Moore.
SPC interns Xochitl Santamaria and Marlon Calliste staff the door at SPC's birth
SPC interns Xochitl Santamaria and Marlon Calliste staff the door at SPC's birthday dinner. Photo: Aubrey Moore.



Activist Appreciation—Diane Swords
This writer’s biggest surprise in composing this was that Diane Swords had not been appreciated in these pages before! Diane is the complete activist/political analyst/organizer—in every aspect of her life she shows her passionate commitment to peace and social justice.

Diane has been a dedicated organizer for peace and nuclear disarmament since the early 1980s when she marched with over one million people in the streets of New York City as part of the Nuclear Freeze Campaign. For many years, Diane was a lead organizer with Peace Action CNY, having served as the organization’s staff person and Co-Chair, and she helped facilitate Peace Action’s merging with the Peace Council. Today, she is an active member of the Nuclear Free World Committee and the SPC Steering Committee. Recently, she was instrumental in organizing the Peace Picnic to commemorate the bombing of Hiroshima.

Among her countless activist superpowers, Diane is particularly attentive to helping new activists feel welcome at events and meetings. You may have seen Diane’s writing in the Peace Newsletter, sharing updates about US nuclear weapons policy. Far from a single issue activist, Diane is active organizing against Islamophobia on the Syracuse University campus, can be often be found performing with the Syracuse Community Choir, is dedicated to dialogue and is participating in the new local chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace. Thank you, Diane for sharing your skills and passions to help build a more compassionate community!


Diane Swords holds a peace sign aloft during a protest of Donald Trump's visit t
Diane Swords holds a peace sign aloft during a protest of Donald Trump's visit to Syracuse in April. Photo: Ray Trudell.



$ Fall Fund Appeal
If you didn’t receive the Fall Fund Appeal letter but feel strongly that the mission of the Peace Council is a necessary one, please consider donating. Call us at 472-5478 if you are considering donating or increasing your pledge.


Anti-Racism Solidarity Campaign
Peace Council members participated in ACTS’ Rally for Justice on October 30 at Tucker Missionary Baptist Church, demanding public officials support universal Pre-K, a ban on landlords denying potential tenants due to source of income (which is often used as a cover for discrimination against people with disabilities and people of color), an end to solitary confinement of youth in the county jail (almost exclusively children of color), and an end to imprisoning youth with adults.

The campaign will continue to find ways to resist structural racism, especially in CNY, and working with other resisting groups. To get involved, contact Brian.


Nuclear Free World
The world needs you! Here are five easy ways you can support a nuclear free world:

  • Urge President Obama to leave a legacy towards nuclear abolition. Sign the petition at: www.peace-action.org/issues/nuclear-disarmament.
  • Write your representatives to support the SANE Act (S.831/HR.1534) redirecting revenue from nuclear madness to human needs.
  • Promote youth peace making. Get your nomination or application form for the 2017 Youth Peace Award from margrit.diehl@gmail.com.
  • Join our film series kick-off with The Forgotten Bomb by Bud Ryan on January 17, 7pm at ArtRage Gallery.
  • Come to our next potluck meeting on Thursday, December 8. See Calendar for details.


Steering Committee
We are endeavoring to make the Peace Council more transparent and accessible. While the Peace Council is often associated with its staff organizers, its strength really comes from all of our members.

The Steering Committee, like a board of directors, is ultimately responsible for the strategic direction and finances of the Peace Council. Starting in December you will be able to email a rotating member of the Steering Committee directly with ideas and concerns at spcsteeringcomm@peacecouncil.net. Put faces and names to Steering Committee members by going to our website. There you can also find contact information for each of our committees.


If You Can’t Stop Them...Fight Harder!
Despite efforts by Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) that generated 15,000 public comments, over 100 organizations speaking out, dozens of elected officials raising concerns, op-eds and letters to the editor, in August the Public Service Commission approved a $7.6 billion subsidy plan for three aging Upstate nuclear reactors as part of NY’s Clean Energy Standard. But, we’re not done yet: over 100 organizations are calling on Cuomo to halt the bailout; learn more at stopthecuomotax.org.

Outrageously, FitzPatrick, one of the reactors to benefit from the subsidies, is trying to postpone required safety upgrades. AGREE and Beyond Nuclear are petitioning the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to enforce timely upgrades.

On a positive note, the next round of Solarize CNY (solarizecny.org) will explain new Community Solar options in NY!