SPC in Action

From the November/December 2018 PNL #863

Compiled by Carol Baum

Come Together at Plowshares! December 1-2

 

panaromic view of plowshares
Come for the joyous energy that is Plowshares. Photo: Mike Greenlar


Yes, yes, yes. Kwanzaa, Hanukah, the Winter Solstice and Christmas are fast approaching. The annual wait is over and the 48th annual SPC Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival is here. Join us Saturday, December 1st (10-5pm) and Sunday, December 2nd (11-5pm) at Nottingham High School (3100 E. Genesee St., Syracuse) for peace and justice-related holiday purchases and food, entertainment, the silent auction, raffle, solidarity, political schmoozing and good fellowship. The donation is sliding scale $2-5 (more if you can, less if you can’t), with under 16 and over 65 free.

 Plowshares is CNY’s premier multicultural craftsfair, celebrating a world where people enjoy their work and have control over it. Featuring 120 local craftspeople and 10 community groups, it is a marketplace of ideas and beautiful handmade items, a community gathering of people who hope and work for a better world.

It is also SPC’s biggest fundraiser of the year. You can help even now by getting the word out—post flyers, tell your friends (bring a newbie or two), post on social media or put a lawn sign in your yard. Consider donating an item to the raffle or silent auction, the more unusual the better. And the weekend itself needs many volunteers. Contact Carol to help in any way.

Parking is ALWAYS a challenge so consider carpooling or parking in the Jowonio School lot across the street (five free raffle tickets if you do park there). Sunday is usually somewhat less crowded.

 Hoping for good weather and looking forward to seeing you there.

Rae Kramer and Carol Baum


 

CNY Solidarity Coalition and the Election

With the mid-term election over, let’s reflect on our political work over the last few months.

 The CNY Solidarity Coalition represents a broad political spectrum, from Green Party, socialists, and militant independents to mainstream Democrats. The Coalition has a foundational principal to not align with any party. We have, however, reached an internal agreement that allows for sharing of information about candidates whose platforms are broadly consistent with the Coalition’s mission.

 Many Coalition members, and the Indivisible 24 group (formerly called the Federal Legislative Action Team) in particular, have been highly active in campaigns, spending thousands of hours calling, doorknocking, organizing and otherwise contributing. This has been especially true for the campaigns of Dana Balter and Rachel May. Much appreciation to them both.

Following the election, CNY Solidarity Coalition will focus on next steps: how to influence elected officials as well as continue our efforts to defend marginalized groups, protect the environment, and resist the war economy. To see our meeting schedule, visit cnysolidarity.org.

Peter McCarthy


 

SPC’s Fund Appeal

With the intensity of the US political scene and preparations for Plowshares, SPC’s Fall Fund Appeal will be sent out after Plowshares. Please be as generous as you can. And if you don’t receive an appeal in the mail or online, consider donating anyhow. We stretch each of your hard-earned dollars as far as we can.

 

 

Beyond War and Militarism Cranks It Up

 

Ann Wright
Ann Wright speaking about drones at a press conference in
Syracuse, 2011. Photo: Carol Baum


The Beyond War and Militarism Committee (BWaM) continued its monthly Alternative Education series with a presentation on Korea by Dr. Fred Carriere on October 9 (see page 13). The series continues to offer free programs by well-know activists, with Ann Wright speaking on November 27 at ArtRage Gallery (505 Hawley Ave., Syracuse) at 7pm. Ann is a retired army colonel turned diplomat, who resigned in protest of the US invasion of Iraq, for which she is highlighted in the Americans Who Tell the Truth series (see page 15). Recently having returned home from Pakistan, Turkey, Thailand, Spain, Ireland and Germany, Ann will share her international experiences in resisting war.

 Ron Van Norstrand, one of three Veterans for Peace (VFP) members in BWaM, recently asked downtown Syracuse churches to ring their bells at 11am, November 11, and for veterans and others to vigil. This is part of a VFP movement to reclaim November 11 as Armistice Day, a day that 100 years ago at WWI’s end had been designated as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated." After WWII, the US Congress rebranded it as Veterans Day, which quickly became a day for a glorification of the military.

Other BWaM updates: The Post-Standard published a letter by Ron explaining that our August 30 demonstration at the Lockheed Martin facility in Salina was not aimed at employees, but at Lockheed’s “manufacture and sale of weapons, especially the bomb that Saudi Arabia had…used to obliterate the busload of (mostly) children in Yemen.” BWaM also has become an affiliate of World Beyond War.

BWaM is a joint committee of the Syracuse Peace Council and the CNY Solidarity Coalition.

Barry Gordon and Carol Baum


 

Thanks to Our Fall Interns

This fall, we’ve been fortunate to have four phenomenal interns join us, all from Syracuse University.

 Andreea Stirescu, an international relations major, has lent her research and artistic skills and determination to anti-militarism organizing projects. Hayley Madigan, also majoring in international relations, has been especially helpful with the Plowshares Craftsfair’s written program and amplifying our social media promotion of the event. Georgina Wang, a political science major, has jumped into several projects, including soliciting donations for Plowshares’ Silent Auction and promoting Plowshares to SU students. Marni Libby, a linguistics major, has assisted with NOON’s Witness to Injustice project.

We appreciate all that our interns have been contributing to our work!

Michaela Czerkies


 

Continuing the Fight for a Nuclear-Free Future

On October 9, the Nuclear Free World (NFW) and Beyond War and Militarism committees presented a talk by Professor Frederick Carriere, political scientist and director of the Korean Peninsula Affairs Center at Syracuse University. He spoke on the latest developments with North Korea and how ordinary people can promote diplomacy and prevent nuclear disaster (see page 13).

NFW members continue to meet with aides to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand. Last spring we delivered over 1,000 petition signatures and this month submitted more supporting S.200, a bill for Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons, which Schumer still has not co-sponsored. The bill would restrict the President from using the Armed Forces to conduct a first-use nuclear strike without a congressional declaration of war authorizing such a strike.

We will follow up on National Peace Action’s response to Trump’s dangerous threat to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, the 1987 nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia. Mikhail Gorbachev, who signed the treaty, called the threat reckless and not the work of “a great mind.”

Margrit Diehl


 

Things We Could Use at the Office

‘Tis the season of giving! Do you have any of these items that you’d like to donate? The SPC office could always use some good-quality supplies:

Card table, small rectangular table

Folding chairs

Megaphone/bullhorn

Projector screen

2-line answering machine

iPad 5+ or Android 5.0+ tablet

Space heater

Pop-up tent

Bungee cords

Office coffee maker

Kitchen towels

Gift cards to Recess or Picasso’s

Sheets (to make banners)

Craft supplies (paints, brushes)

For a full list of items, see tinyurl.com/yddwmfws

SPC Staff

 

 

Activist Appreciation: Kanat Bolazar

I first organizine with Kanat right after 9-11-01. Later he joined the Board of the Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice, which he has been a member for much of its existence.

After Trump's election, Kanat came to the initial meetings of what became the CNY Solidarity Coalition, focusing on community outreach and defense. He joined the Peace Newsletter editorial committee for the special Coalition issue published in early 2017 (tinyurl.com/yboz49dc), working tirelessly on it. And he stayed.

 

Kanat pix
The PNL editorial committee from left: Carol Baum, Elaine Denton,
Kanat Bolazar and Julia Ganson. Not pictured:
Donna Mühs-McCarten. Photo: Michaela Czerkies

 

 Kanat brings his acute political and computer savvy to the PNL, along with his editing skills, sense of humor, salsa dancing ads (see page 12) and outside-the-box thinking. The PNL is a better publication for his part in it. He has facilitated most of the recent Workers' Center articles, co-compiled a popular article (with Julie Dragonetti) on “A Bystander’s Guide to Confronting Bigotry” (June/July 2017 issue), done a masterful job of finding diverse events for the calendar (along with designing and laying it out), shared his graphics knowledge and other computer geek skills, and so much more—all while making us laugh as we work, often late into the night.

Thank you, Kanat, we're so glad you're here.

Carol Baum


 

SPC Garage Sale – a BIG SUCCESS!

It's amazing how we keep managing to find and convert our stuff into "loot" for SPC. We made approximately $1,400 and even had a good time. Thanks to all who helped,

especially Ann, Ed, Laurie, Lanny, Shirley, Sue, Amy, MaryJane, Deborah and any others I have left out. The proceeds will be well used, and it always feels good to be a resource for some folks in need (our high volume and low prices do the trick). Start saving those gently used treasures for next year.

Rae Kramer


 

Street Heat: Persistent Activism

Since April, our on-the-streets presence has been twice a week in various locations in the Syracuse area. From November through March we'll be out only once a month, at the main entrance of Hancock Air Base (home of the 174th Attack Wing of reaper drones, 6000 E. Molloy Rd., DeWitt) on the first Tuesday of the month from 4:15-5pm.

 Please join us—bring a sign or use one of ours. Contact Ann Tiffany or Ed Kinane, 315-478-4571.

 

 

NOON’s Autumn Activities

 


From left: Arrow Booth and Awhenjiosta Myers at the Celebrate
Indigenous People's Day, Not Columbus Day event at Columbus
Circle in downtown Syracuse on October 8. Photo: Kristen Mosher


The Indigenous People’s Day Celebration at Columbus Circle on October 8 was a profound experience promoting truth and justice. Over 200 people attended to learn from native speakers and singers, local activists, and the Syracuse Community Children’s Choir. Thank you to all who made this possible! At the event, a representative of the mayor’s office announced a continued community discussion about celebrating (or not) Columbus, hosted by Interfaith Works. Several NOON members are participating.

During September, we promoted public letter-writing to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation regarding their plans to perform an insufficient clean-up of the Harbor Brook site at Onondaga Lake. We now wait to see what impact our comments have on this ecological and public health issue.

The Witness to Injustice KAIROS Blanket Exercise continues to be an extremely effective and important community education program. It is a 2-3 hour group teaching tool using participatory education to foster understanding and respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in what is now known as the US. To schedule a program for your organization contact cindysquillace@gmail.com.

NOON needs tabling volunteers to help with outreach events throughout the year. Please contact paul@pauleiholzer.com to assist with this essential role.

Hilary-Anne Coppola


 

Justice for Palestine Committee

 

palestine committee
The four travelers and a friend in Dheisheh Refugee Camp,
Bethlehem, West Bank. From left: Omar Hmeedat, Julia Fuleihan,
Ron Vanorstrand, Julia Ganson, Mary Kuhn.


The Justice for Palestine (JfP) Committee sponsored two presentations on Palestine this fall by committee member Julia Ganson and three others about their experiences living and traveling in Palestine and Israel in the past year. They shared a slide presentation and stories about Palestinians who helped them understand the Israeli military occupation and the second class citizenship of Israeli Palestinians. If you would like them to make a presentation to your group, contact juliag@whistleblower.org.

 JfP also sponsored two people’s participation in the annual conference in Minneapolis of US Campaign for Palestinian Rights in late September.

 To help support the Great March of Return by Palestinians in Gaza, now in its seventh month, JfP has held vigils every Thursday since June, having just concluded now.

Julia Ganson


 

Three More Ways to Get Active with SPC

  • Distribute the Peace Newsletter. We are looking for volunteers to distribute the PNL to local businesses, offices, libraries, etc., along our Westside, Marshall St. and Syracuse University routes. Give it a try, or be a temporary substitute. Contact Michaela.

  • Join the Peace Newsletter Editorial Committee. Love reading the PNL every other month? Our editorial team has room for new people to participate, from brainstorming topics to editing articles to finding or creating graphics—or, simply assisting as an editor. Contact Carol.

  • Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival is right around the corner (December 1-2); our largest event of the year, much help is needed to ensure the weekend runs smoothly. Volunteer a few hours to help with set-up beforehand, clean-up afterwards, or staffing a table during the event. Contact Michaela.

Michaela Czerkies


 

Join SPC's Steering Committee

SPC's Steering Committee is a dedicated group of SPC organizers and activists who are responsible for the financial and political health of the Peace Council. Every January we welcome new members and invite you to consider volunteering yourself or suggesting someone else. Steering Committee meetings are monthly and members are also active in other aspects of SPC. We ask for a 1-2 year commitment. For more details, please contact Carol or see peacecouncil.net/steering-comm.

Carol Baum

 

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