SPC in Action

From the February 2013 PNL #821

compiled by Jessica Azulay

Drone Resistance Only Grows


Get educated, take action

A regional group is in the beginning stages of organizing a major weekend of education and action about drone warfare here in Syracuse on April 26-28. We envision two and a half days of speakers, panels, music and festivities, all culminating in a major demonstration on April 28. Panels will include but not be limited to: stories of drone victims; the (il)legality of drone warfare; full spectrum dominance; surveillance and the role of local government; and veterans’ perspectives on drone warfare. Contact Amelia.


New Year's Vigil 2013
SPC’s New Years Eve Vigil in Clinton Square,
December 31, 2012. Photo: Ursula Rozum

Drones on trial

Activists visited DeWitt Town Court twice in January but unfortunately we are not able to announce the next trial dates as hoped. Arrestees from the October 5 and 25 attempts to deliver the Citizens’ Indictment for War Crimes to personnel at Hancock Airbase argued motions asking that all defendants be tried together and asking for information about the drone missions piloted from the base. We expect the trials for these two groups of defendants will be combined and will happen in March, but stay tuned to find out for sure.

Sentenced to 15 days jail time on December 13, three drone resisters reported to Jamesville Prison on January 11 after gaining publicity by walking from Hancock Airbase through Syracuse and then towards Jamesville. Titling their walk the “We-may-be-going-to-jail-but-we-still-will-not-be-complicit-in-our-government’s-war-crimes Walk,” Ellen and Clare Grady from Ithaca and Rae Kramer from Syracuse sent the message that you can jail the resisters but you can’t jail the resistance!

We Need YOU: Drone Resistance Gear-Up

Unmanned drones—whether it’s their high civilian casualty rate that foments anti-US sentiment or their ability to spy on US citizens—the SPC Anti-War committee is committed to educating and agitating to expose their crimes. Be part of the growing resistance to the Reaper Drones at Hancock Airbase. On March 6 at 6:30 pm the Peace Council will host a Ground the Drones Organizing Forum—come meet other anti-war activists, hear about the history of our local movement and the most recent news about drone war crimes. Be part of developing plans to escalate the resistance to Drones in Syracuse in preparation for a weekend of anti-war actions in April. Contact Ursula or Amelia.


Drones around town

Our local group continues education efforts between visits to Hancock and the DeWitt courthouse. We’re printing the excellent study Living Under Drones, released by Stanford & NYU Law Schools in September 2012, and distributing it to local politicians and media. Contact Amelia if you are interested in purchasing a copy for $7. It’s also available as a free download at www.livingunderdrones.org.

A dedicated committee continues to pursue the passage of an ordinance by the Syracuse Common Council prohibiting the use of surveillance drones. We’re slightly set back with recent personnel changes in the Common Council committees, but we’re looking forward to our ordinance being presented to the Public Safety Committee soon. Stay tuned for developments, and take a moment to let your Councilor know that you oppose surveillance drones in Syracuse.


Strike for Peace!

Save the date for this year’s fun-filled afternoon of bowling, costumes, prizes, and hanging out with a broad cross-section of the SPC community. The Bowlathon will be Sunday, March 24 at Flamingo Bowl in Liverpool. Just like previous years, we’ll have two afternoon sessions to strike for peace.

So start getting your team together now—teams are 4-6 people and are often themed—or let us know if you want to connect with a team that’s already formed. Proceeds from registration and team pledges support SPC’s organizing for peace and justice. Stay tuned for email announcements about how to register, or contact Amelia.


Resisting Hydrofracking!

On January 9, about 100 Central New Yorkers rallied outside Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address demanding a statewide ban on hydrofracking. SPC and Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) organized a bus and carpools in coordination with our allies in New Yorkers Against Fracking. On January 10, SPC/NOON staff organizer Ursula Rozum delivered testimony at the NYS Assembly Environmental Conservation hearing on the DEC’s hydrofracking regulations, focusing on the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous people and New York State DEC’s responsibility to consult with indigenous people on major projects that impact our shared environment. On January 11, the DEC received a record number of 204,000 public comments against hydrofracking, including a stack of about 80 written by Nottingham High School students. Resistance to this extreme form of fossil fuel extraction is spreading, with grassroots citizens groups organizing across Central New York, from Marcellus to Madison County. If you are ready to join in this vital movement, contact Ursula to get plugged in!


Sharing the River of Life

As hundreds of Haudenosaunee people and supporters peacefully defied the authorities at Destiny Mall by engaging in a flash mob round dance in support of the Idle No More Movement on December 29, the Haudenosaunee Grand Council met at Onondaga. The Council issued a strong statement of support for the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign, which should increase participation from all six nations. Inquiries and interest continue to come in from other native nations and allies throughout New York State and beyond.

The opening event of the campaign, Sharing the River of Life, is set for 7 pm on Monday, February 11 at Syracuse Stage (with a silent auction beginning at 6 pm). The deadline for submitting applications to join in the paddling trek down the Hudson River (July 28-August 9) has been extended to April 1 (no joke!). See page 9 for additional information and full details on the February 11 event. For more information, contact Andy at 701-1592 or tworow@peacecouncil.net.


Rachel Cary at Governor Cuomo’s
State of the State Address, Albany,
January 9. Photo: Unknown

Activist Appreciation – Rachel Cary


Rachel Cary is always ready and willing to take action and lend a hand. She lights up the Peace Council with her smile and brings creativity and humor to our work. Rachel first joined us as an intern last summer and has stayed active with us as she finishes her last semester at Syracuse University. Rachel is a sign-maker extraordinaire, and she was instrumental in two of our most creative activities in 2012—the Drone Country Tour (a wine-tour-like group jaunt through Syracuse’s drone industrial complex) and the Soda Stream Jingle Flash Mob (a holiday caroling extravaganza to expose that product’s true origins in Occupied Palestine, see page 22). Recently, Rachel hopped on the bus to Albany to the demonstration for a ban on hydrofracking, and she is a new member of the Peace Council Steering Committee. 


Reach Out to Youth

For many years now the Syracuse Peace Council has paid monthly visits to area high schools to talk to students about activism, war, and opposing military recruitment. After a successful fall series of counter-recruitment outreach during school lunch periods, we’re regrouping to focus on helping high-schoolers become more engaged in their community and the issues that affect their lives. Join us for an organizing meeting on February 11 at 5 pm at the Peace Council office.


No More Settlements

CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel held a second demonstration against Israel’s plans for settlement expansion in the West Bank. On January 19, about a dozen people took to the intersection of E. Genesee St. and Erie Blvd. with banners and signs calling for peace in the Middle East. Israel’s colonization of the West Bank violates international law and inhibits chances for peace.

CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel meets at 11:30 am on the first Thursday of every month at the Peace Council office. Contact Jessica.


Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation

(NOON) is a grassroots effort of Central New Yorkers supporting the sovereignty of the Onondaga Nation’s traditional government. We collaborate with the Ononodaga on environmental protection and restoration. Currently, NOON’s projects include correcting historical roadside markers and organizing for a hydrofracking ban, which we have been doing since 2009 when the Onondaga brought this issue to us. The NOON Steering Committee meetings are on second Tuesdays at 7 pm at the Peace Council office and are open to anyone interested in getting involved and learning more. We also welcome opportunities to share our work with other community groups. Contact Ursula or Carol.

Full Speed Ahead to Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free

The Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) campaign for a study that would look at how New York can go Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free has gained the support of over 1,000 individuals and is now moving to the New York State legislature for funding. The Alliance has gained an ally in the New York assembly who will ask for the study’s inclusion in the next New York State budget, and we are now working toward gathering more organizational and individual endorsements for the study. If you belong to an organization that would like to sign on, please contact Jessica. And if you’re an individual who hasn’t signed one of the Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free postcards, visit the AGREE website: www.agreenewyork.org to sign one.


Soda Stream Flash Mob

If you haven’t seen the footage yet, check out the Peace Council’s website (www.peacecouncil.net) for video of our holiday season protest urging a boycott of Soda Stream. Soda Stream is a product made in an illegal Israeli settlement in Occupied Palestine, and our theatrical protest was part of the international movement to boycott companies that profit from the illegal occupation.


Nina Wickett and Lynn Cahill-Hoy at a
January 18 rally to mark the 3rd Anniversary
of Citizens United. Photo: Steve Reiter

Grassroots Organizing to End Corporate Rule

Move to Amend is a national coalition of hundreds of organizations (including the Peace Council!) committed to social and economic justice, ending corporate rule, and building a vibrant democracy that is genuinely accountable to the people. We are calling for an amendment to the US Constitution to unequivocally state that inalienable rights belong to human beings only, and that money is not a form of protected free speech under the First Amendment and can be regulated in political campaigns.

Twenty Syracuse activists with Move to Amend (MTA) and Public Citizen’s Democracy is for People campaign braved the bitter cold on January 18 to mark the 3rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling with a rally followed by door-to-door petitioning. You can sign and share the petition online at www.movetoamend.org—the goal is 1000 signers by the end of February.

In the coming months, MTA of CNY will bring the petitions to the Common Council and ask that Syracuse join 174 other municipalities across the country with a resolution in support of the Constitutional amendment protecting Constitutional rights for people only, not corporations.

An  important action you can take to support this campaign is to call your City Councilor and ask her/him to support the resolution when it comes before the Syracuse Common Council. Also, you can be part of the campaign by circulating the petition among friends and family—send them a link to www.movetoamend.org or get a paper copy by contacting Ursula at SPC. The next meeting of Move to Amend CNY will be on February 21, 7 pm at the Center for Peace and Social Justice. For more information, contact Michael, 663-5640.


Welcome Interns!

SPC is again abuzz with interns offering their skills and energy to the Peace Council’s organizing work. James O’Hara (SU), a Daily Orange columnist with an interest in conflict resolution, and Garrett Boak (OCC) who brings a class-based political analysis, will support the Ground the Drones/End the Wars committee in the lead up to large-scale anti-war actions in April. Emily Bishop, Aya Yamamoto and Jason Smith will be working with the Two Row Wampum campaign. Stop by to say “Hi!”


Website Overhaul

SPC has a new state-of-the-art website! We are still in the process of migrating content from our old website, but we hope this new website will better serve our activist community. If you’re a techie type, you might be interested to know the site is powered by the Drupal Content Management System. For non-techies, suffice it to say that the new website is powerful, with many great features making it easier for us to update the site and manage our information. We expect to be launching new sections of the site throughout the year, including a blog and community calendar. If you can’t find something that used to be on the old site, contact us. Thanks to Jessica Azulay, Rich Vallejo, and Brian Dominick (site developers) and Carol Baum, Andy Mager, Andy Molloy and Mike Miller (website committee) for lots of hard work on this project. And also, thank you to everyone who donated to make the new website possible.


Stalwart Peace-Outreachers Ann Tiffany
and Ed Kinane with a provocative take on
Obama’s MLK-Day inauguration.
Photo James O'Hare

“Justice” at the County Jail

The United as One Coalition, of which SPC is a founding member, has launched a campaign to establish an independent oversight mechanism to protect inmates in the Onondaga County “Justice” Center. After many instances of brutality, neglect, death and murder at the jail, no process at any level of government seems able to ensure accountability for what happens or does not happen in the jail. United as One is organizing to impose oversight over the policies, practices and incidents in the jail. The next step in this campaign is to organize a speak-out at the first 2013 session of the County Legislature. Show up, sign in and speak out. Tuesday, Feb. 5, 1 pm. Onondaga County Legislature, 401 Montgomery St., Room 407. Contact Ursula, 472-5478.


International Women’s Day Solidarity Salsa Dance

¡Que Viva La Mujer! The CNY Colombia Support Network invites you to a very special ¡Solidarity Salsa Dance-Fiesta Hermandad! to celebrate International Women’s Day on Saturday March 9, 7-10:30 pm at ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Ave. The dance will be a shared fundraiser for the CNY-Cajibio, Colombia Sister Community Project and for the Peace Council. A survival salsa lesson at 7:30 sharp with dance sensation Kanat Bolazar will help you get through the night. $10 suggested donation (5-20 sliding scale admission). There will be a wine and beer cash bar—more details to come! Contact Ursula.