SPC in Action

From the May 2013 PNL #824

compiled by Jessica Azulay

Drone Resisters Get Jail Time

On April 18, in Dewitt Town Court, Judge Jokyl found five Reaper Drone resisters guilty of trespass at Hancock Air Base. The five were among ten who, last October 5, peacefully blocked the main entrance of the base as they attempted to deliver a citizens’ indictment to the base commander and personnel for ongoing war crimes being perpetrated with weaponized Reaper drones over Afghanistan.

The defendants argued that they were not disobeying the law, but rather seeking to enforce international law.

The five were told to return to court in six days for sentencing (when the PNL is at press).They  represented a number of  NYS communities: Jim Clune (Binghamton), Brian Hynes (NYC),  Ed Kinane (Syracuse), Julienne Oldfield (Syracuse) and MarkScibilia-Carver (Trumansburg).


April Days of Action Against Drones

This April has seen a nationwide, month-long campaign against both weaponized drones and domestic surveillance drones. The month started strong with a four-day National Anti-Drones Days of Action in San Diego, California. This was followed by many actions throughout the US and was closed out with the Resisting Drones, Global Warfare and Empire Convergence in Syracuse, NY. SPC hosted the Syracuse weekend of workshops, networking and action, which was organized by the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars. The PNL will have a longer report next month.


Bikes for peace clinic 2011.
Photo: Stasya Erikson

Bikes4Peace is back!

Syracuse’s only cooperative bicycle repair program is back! Bikes4Peace will hold our annual new volunteer orientation on Wednesday May 15 at 5:30pm at 2013 E. Genesee St. We welcome new volunteers who will join us to put on youth bicycle repair clinics, as well as individuals who’d like to support our beloved program in other ways (graphic design, fundraising, promotion). We also seek people with an interest in developing our summer program into a year-round community bike repair shop. If you are new to Bikes4Peace, please fill out our new volunteer application at www.peacecouncil.net/bikes4peace2013.

To get psyched for riding and fixing bikes, Bikes4Peace is cosponsoring Dinner and Bikes with feminist blogger and cycling enthusiast Elly Blue. Dinner and Bikes will take place on Tuesday May 14, 7pm at First Unitarian Universalist Society, 109 Waring Road, Syracuse. At this traveling road show of delightful vegan food and bicycle inspiration, Elly Blue will speak about transportation equity and show an excerpt from Aftermass, a forthcoming documentary about the history of bicycle activism in Portland, Oregon. The event will also include a book signing, discussion of local issues, and perusing the traveling bookstore. Contact Ursula.


Work for Peaceat Your Day Job

If you’re lucky enough to have gainful employment in today’s crappy economy, join our “Work for Peace at Your Day Job” campaign. Pledge an hour’s wage to the Peace Council each month, and for that hour, wherever you are, you’ll be working for an end to oil wars, an end to drone strikes, a ban on hydrofracking, justice for native people...you’ll be working for peace at your day job!

Peace Council pledgers are a lifeline for our organization—join over 70 people who already help out in this way. You can make a real difference in the educating and organizing the Peace Council does—and you can do this from your own place of work. Visit www.peacecouncil.net/dayjob. Or contact Ursula.


Books Not Bombs 2.0

Thanks to everyone who participated in our used book sale! We are excited to offer another opportunity to support the Peace Council by investing in thought-provoking political reading. Through May 31, you can purchase (new) books, such as Dirty Wars by Jeremy Scahill or Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco, from our website or by stopping by the office. To see the full list of available titles, please visit www.peacecouncilnet/booksale.


SPC Open House!

Want to get involved with the Peace Council, but don’t know how? Come to our Spring Open House on May 8 at 6:30pm! Chat with Peace Council activists and organizers about some of our current projects over tea and cookies and enjoy a screening of the short documentary Educate, Agitate, Organize, a 20-minute history of the Syracuse Peace Council. Contact Ursula.


Leahann Lynagh, worker and volunteer at
Syracuse Cultural Workers, models a new
shirt design outside the SCW store. Photo:
Allison Gates

Activist Appreciation: Leahann Lynagh


Not new to Syracuse but new to us, Leahann Lynagh became an “instant classic” around SPC last fall when she joined the PNL editorial committee. She very quickly became known for her thorough thinking, reliability and enthusiasm to boot! Leahann has not shirked any opportunity to help out with important SPC work, from writing and editing, to staffing at Plowshares to, most recently, joining the Bowlathon coordinating committee. Leahann tirelessly pursued public school contacts trying to round up some youth teams for this year’s fundraiser and was a key part of making the day run smoothly. We’re very grateful for your devoted work, Leahann, and we look forward to your continued contributions.


Mock Checkpoint at OCC

On April 8 activists staged a “mock checkpoint” on the OCC campus hoping to raise awareness about the US government’s support for Israeli apartheid in the Occupied West Bank. Though they could not actually stop, search, or detain students, the activists encouraged students to stop for a moment and consider what it would be like to be a college student living in Palestine. In addition to speaking with interested students, activists distributed literature and posted signs. Most students were surprised at the high percentage of Palestinian students missing classes and being abused at Israeli checkpoints or to hear that Hebron University had been invaded 17 times between 1980 and 2005. Many students who stopped at the mock checkpoint said they were in favor of using the annual $3 billion in US aid to Israel for alternatives like public jobs or clean energy.


Palestinian Refugee Camp, Damascus, Syria, 1948.
In 1948, an estimated 700,000 Palestinians were
forced or fled from their homes in what is today the
State of Israel. Millions of these refugees and their
descendants still live in camps throughout the
Middle East. Source: hanini.org

Nakba Commemoration

CNY Working for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel continues to offer opportunities for the community to learn more about the realities of the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. On March 30 Palestinian Land Day was commemorated with the showing of the award winning documentary film Five Broken Cameras. ArtRage was full beyond seating capacity, and the film was followed by an excellent sharing of responses. Land Day marks the events of March 30, 1976 when thousands of people belonging to the Palestinian minority living in Israel gathered to protest Israeli government plans to expropriate Arab-owned land in the Galilee, resulting in six Palestinian deaths and hundreds wounded and jailed.  We supported organizing efforts to bring Rabbi Brian Walt back to Syracuse on April 17, when he gave a talk at Le Moyne titled From Birmingham to Budrus to Cape Town: American Apartheid, South African Apartheid and the Palestinian Struggle for Justice.  

Join us at ArtRage Gallery at 4pm on Sunday, May 19 for our annual Nakba Commemoration. Nakba, which means “catastrophe,” refers to the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from what is now Israel in 1948.


SPC in the High Schools

A small but committed group is keeping our counter-recruitment program, the Military Alternatives Education Project (MAEP), alive and energized. Our tablers received a good reception this spring with new display materials proclaiming, “You Only Live Once! Think Twice Before You Enlist!” MAEP organizers are also developing new Alternatives materials and strengthening our follow-up process with students interested in advocating for peace and social justice. Contact Amelia if you’re interested in tabling or in developing counter-recruitment materials.


Flood of Interest in Two Row

A flood of interest is pouring in, responding to the Two Row Campaign’s call to renew the Two Row Wampum Treaty in this, it’s 400th year. We’ve received over 350 applications to participate in the paddling trek down the Hudson this summer (July 28-August 9). In early April, we had a dynamic meeting with the leadership of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues about collaboration on our landing in NYC on August 9. Scores of events are happening all over the state. We’re preparing for events at Le Moyne College, Cornell and SUNY Buffalo, all over a three-day span! In last month’s PNL update we left out our deep appreciation for Syracuse University’s major support for our NYC kickoff event and their leadership in supporting the Haudenosaunee. Our crew of dedicated volunteers—indigenous and allies—are working hard to prepare for an amazing summer of activity. More assistance is needed. See www.HonorTheTwoRow.org or call 701-1592 to lend a hand or learn more.


NOON on the Move

Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation continues to be involved in the effort to ban gas drilling by high volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in NYS. Some of that work involves ShaleshockCNY, a diverse coalition of CNY groups opposed to fracking. To date, many Onondaga County towns have enacted bans or moratoriums. These actions have been upheld in state courts and give strength to the concept of “home rule.” For questions or to get active against fracking, contact Jack Ramsden at 315-424-1454. 

Unfortunately, our neighbors, the Onondaga, have not fared so well in US courts, where their Land Rights Action has been rejected at every level to date. The determination of the Onondaga to pursue this action and the benefit a successful resolution would bring to all citizens of our area makes it even more important for NOON to support their appeal to higher courts. As winter fades to spring, NOON information tabling heats up. Join the tabling team – enjoy great events and spread the word about NOON at the same time. Contact Paul Eiholzer (315-243-4498) to help staff information tables or to suggest a venue.  To get involved in NOON’s general activities contact Ursula or Carol.


Justice in the Americas

The Caribbean Latin American Coalition will have its  biannual meeting on Sunday, May 5th from 3:30-6:30pm at 208 Slocum Avenue, Syracuse. The meeting will be a potluck. There will be reports from sister communities in Cajibio, Colombia and La Estancia, El Salvador; an update on SOA School of America Abolitionists; and a discussion of unmanned drones in Latin America. Contact Nancy, 422-4689.


No Nuclear Bailout

The nuclear industry in New York is suffering economically. Despite the promises of cheap abundant energy made by the nuclear industry, the reality is that nuclear companies just can’t compete, even with massive federal subsidies. Financial analysts are predicting that as many as two nuclear power plants in Central New York might go out of business in the coming couple of years unless the state steps in somehow to save them. You can help Alliance for a Green Economy (of which SPC is a member) make sure that the nuclear industry doesn’t get a helping hand from taxpayers or ratepayers. We say if anyone deserves a helping hand, it’s companies working to transform our energy system to renewables through weatherization, efficiency upgrades, wind and solar. Find out more at www.agreenewyork.org.


Fundraising is Fun!

The Peace Council’s budget is finally feeling the recession – but we won’t let the failings of corporate capitalism keep us down. We’re reaching out to you – our community of friends and activists, to participate in the Peace Council’s work by contributing financially however you can. Unlike the Pentagon, SPC operates on a shoe-string budget and we stretch each dollar for what it’s worth. If you received our Spring Fund Appeal, please respond as generously as you can. And, you can always donate online.


United as One

Members of the United as One coalition (UaO) continue to track the progress of important justice system cases in Onondaga County. As we anticipate a settlement announcement in the Chuniece Patterson suit, the coalition is working with friends and family members to plan a celebration of Chuniece’s life (details TBA). Chuniece died in the county jail due to medical neglect during a pregnancy complication. UaO is also planning a police brutality speakout in June or July. Details coming soon.
On April 16, UaO representatives met again with county legislators to discuss an oversight structure for the county jail, including what the body’s jurisdiction will be, what powers it will have, and who will comprise its members. Join UaO at the next public County Legislature meeting on May 7 at 1pm at 401 Montgomery St. Contact Amelia.