SPC in Action

From the November-December 2011 PNL #809

compiled by Carol Baum

Plowshares Craftsfair & Peace Festival

Crafts! Crafts! and more Crafts! Also, yummy food, diverse entertainment, consciousness-raising peace and justice info, and plenty of time to make new friends and hug those we haven’t seen in a while. Please join us for year 41! When? It’s the first weekend in December: Saturday December 3, from 10am-5pm and Sunday December 4, from 11am-5pm at Nottingham High School (3100 E. Genesee St., Syracuse).

Plowshares is Central New York’s premier multi-cultural craftsfair, celebrating a world where people enjoy their work and have control over it. This gathering of more than 120 craftspeople and artists, and those who support them, is a major fundraiser for the Peace Council.

Win a prize at the raffle, renowned for its large variety of unusual items. Be the high bidder on one of many desirable silent auction goods and services. Purchase that perfect holiday gift from the Peace Council crafts table, filled with items donated by participating craftspeople. Sign a petition, have a stimulating conversation, learn about ongoing community activism.
Looking for a chance to do a good deed? Bring a friend, neighbor or even your grouchy Auntie Petunia to Plowshares. We hope to see you soon.


Help Make Plowshares the Amazing Festival It Is

As always, people make Plowshares happen. The Plowshares committee (Barb Floch, Lanny Freshman, Karen Kerney, Rae Kramer, Andy Molloy, Beth Mosley, Marie Summerwood and Mardea Warner) meets all year to prepare; it’s up to the rest of us to help out that weekend!

We need: greeters, people to help with set-up and take-down, SPC Marketplace organizers, table staffers and more.


Donate to Plowshares Raffle

We will gladly help with your desperate attempts to “get rid of some of the “#^&*#$% stuff in my life” by accepting donations for the Plowshares Raffle. The “oh so interesting” lamp from Aunt Tilly, the beaded evening bag from your debutante days, the jade plant taking over the parlor, the pristine copies of 1950 Batman comics – these are treasures that we will rechannel to new homes via a winning raffle ticket. Items are needed by November 30. Call Rae 445-2840. Thanks!


Support Youth Outreach

We have just one month left to help juniors and seniors at our local high schools opt out of having their contact information sent to military recruiters. The district is required to compile and send their list during the fall semester. If you can help us staff a table at one of the Syracuse high schools during the lunch periods (10:40am-12:40pm), please contact Jessica. As we wrap up fall semester tabling in the city schools, we’ll turn our attention to promoting our “Social Movements as Participation in Government” presentation to local Participation in Government teachers. We also hope to schedule table dates at some of the rural schools in Onondaga County during the spring semester. We can provide training to anyone interested in learning how to staff our info tables or lead classroom presentations. Contact Andy or Jessica.


Circle of Peace

If you’re in town, please join NOON and friends from the Onondaga Nation for a Circle of Peace and Hope at 10 am on Thursday, November 24 (Thanksgiving Day) at Willow Bay on the north shore of Onondaga Lake. We’ll gather to express our thanks to the Onondaga Nation for their leadership on ecological preservation and social healing and rededicate ourselves to accomplishing the goals of the Onondaga Land Rights Action. Contact Andy.


Party for Peace!  

Wed., December 14, 6-8pm SPC Office  (2013 E. Genesee St., 2nd floor)

Gather with SPC staff, steering committee, activists and supporters to celebrate another year of peacemaking. We’ll set aside a few minutes to hear highlights of the year from SPC’s various projects. Soup, bread and dessert provided. Please join us! Contact Carol


Lifting up the Two Row Wampum Treaty

Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) has begun development of a major statewide educational campaign to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first treaty between the Haudenosaunee and European settlers. Known as the Two Row Wampum, the agreement outlines a mutual, three-part commitment to friendship, peace between peoples, and living in parallel in perpetuity. Throughout the years, the Haudenosaunee have sought to honor this mutual vision and have increasingly emphasized that ecological stewardship is a fundamental prerequisite for this continuing friendship.

In the spirit of the Two Row Wampum, and as concerned citizens of a Nation bound by it and scores of subsequent treaties signed on our behalf and subsequently betrayed in our names, we are committed to reinvigorating this powerful vision and renewing this mutual commitment beginning next year and continuing throughout 2013. We hope to polish this centuries-old covenant chain of friendship between our peoples, and draw more people into the work of extending Indigenous sovereignty over their lands, protecting our shared environmental inheritance and building support for a just resolution of the several Haudenosaunee Land Rights Actions. The recent Supreme Court refusal to hear the dismissal of the Oneida Land Claim case only reinforces the importance of building a grassroots movement for justice. Contact Andy.


Birthday Bash a Huge Success

Over 200 people celebrated SPC’s 75th birthday on
October 22. Photo: Ursula Rozum

Over 200 SPC supporters came out to celebrate at SPC’s 75th Birthday Dinner. After enjoying a hearty meal of chili, cornbread and roasted squash, followed by a delicious dessert of chocolate cake, bread pudding and ice cream, participants enjoyed an evening filled with laughs, thanks to Mike Bonanno of the Yes Men. Don’t despair if you missed his hilarious and inspiring presentation, you can watch it all on SPC’s YouTube channel, thanks to SPC videographer Nick Papatonis (follow the link on our homepage).

Many thanks to the over 50 activists who helped make the event happen by creating the displays, cooking the food, hosting tables, providing tech support and much more. Special thanks to the cooking crew of Marie Summerwood (menu coordination), Teresa Florack (birthday cake), Hamish Gibbs, Kim McCoy, Paul Melnikow, Mike Miller, Simon Morrin, Julienne Oldfield and Rose Viviano; John Fitzsimmons (ad wrangler for the written program); and Nancy Hallock (table host coordinator). The event raised over $6,000 to support SPC’s ongoing work and our four staff organizers.


75th Continues with Katrina and Amy

On October 4, Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel spoke to over 500 people in honor of SPC’s anniversary at Syracuse University. A month later, Democracy Now host Amy Goodman addressed a diverse mix of 700 plus students and community members, also at SU. In honor of SPC’s 75th anniversary, the following morning Amy hosted a broadcast of Democracy Now at the studios of WCNY in Liverpool. We’re hoping that Amy’s visit will revive organizing to get Democracy Now on the air in Central New York. Contact Andy.


Better Active Today than Radioactive Tomorrow

With public opinion turning against subsidies for new nuclear plants, and many people waking up to the dangers of our existing nuclear reactors, SPC and several other groups have joined together to form a regional coalition to seize this opportunity to push for a nuclear-free future. Already, downstate activists have convinced Gov. Cuomo and the Attorney General’s office to push for the closure of the Indian Point nuclear plant (just north of NYC). Their work may set key precedents related to state oversight of nuclear reactors, which are generally regulated by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Nationally, SPC has joined with over 8,000 organizations and individuals as co-petitioners to Beyond Nuclear’s petition to the NRC to suspend the operating licenses of all 23 Fukushima-style General Electric Mark 1 boiling water reactors in the US. Learn more at www.beyondnuclear.org or contact Jessica.


ACTS Decides on Task Forces

The Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse (ACTS) held its Issues Assembly on October 23 to determine what the organization would focus on in the next few years. The new task forces—on Criminal Justice, Food Access and Public Education—will be formed on Thursday, November 10 from 7-9 pm at University United Methodist Church (1085 E. Genesee St., Syracuse).

The decision was the result of a process beginning in August. First, member groups engaged in a Listening Campaign with their own members, to see what issues were important to people. These issues were refined into seven general topics, which were then voted on at the Issues Assembly.

To participate with SPC representatives, contact Carol.


Help Meet SPC’s 75th Anniversary Financial Goal

SPC has had an amazing 75th anniversary year thus far. Many of you have already heard Harry Belafonte, Noam Chomsky, Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Yes Men or Amy Goodman, or visited our office buzzing with organizing activity. It has been exactly the kind of celebration befitting our 75 years of persistent activism.

However, we’re still short of one important goal for the year: to increase the number of pledgers to 75.

We greatly appreciate your support of SPC and ask you to consider joining the 56 people who already give on a monthly or quarterly basis. You can now pledge via automatic credit card payments and bank transfers in addition to the traditional method of a pledge card and checks.

Pledgers are critical because they allow us to budget more accurately and sustain us between big events. Contact Andy.


Community Choir Honors SPC

The Syracuse Community Choir will honor SPC’s “loving commitment to peace and justice for 75 years” at their Winter Solstice concert on Saturday, December 10. SPC will receive the Peoples’ Peace Award at the concert which starts at 7:30 pm at St. Paul’s Cathedral (310 Montgomery St.. Syracuse). Special guest performer Charlie King (called “one of the finest singers and songwriters of our time” by Pete Seeger) will debut “Keep the Faith,” a song written to honor SPC’s work. Tickets cost $12-25 sliding scale. Contact Karen, 428-8151 or syracusecommunitychoir.org.


Activist Appreciation—Susan Adair

Ever stopped into a coffee shop or supermarket and been pleasantly surprised to see a pile of Peace Newsletters alongside other local papers?  You can thank Susan Adair!  For a number of years, Susan has been lovingly coordinating PNL distribution across Central New York. It’s a big job that involves communicating with our team of newsletter distributors, updating delivery routes, scoping out new places to distribute to and preparing carefully counted piles of  PNLs for pickup the day they are printed. She is always thinking creatively about how PNL distributors can own and enjoy their routes. Susan is the kind of person that takes on a job and runs with it.  SPC staff are very grateful for the thoughtfulness on all the projects she has coordinated over the years.  Thanks, Susan!



The PeaceSongsCNY committee was delighted to receive over 40 submissions in response to our call for music related to peace and social justice from Central New York musicians. The committee has selected 13 songs to include and is working with the Syracuse New Times to create a readers poll to select the final four songs to be included on the CD, which will be released next year. You won’t want to miss the CD-release party! For more, see peacecouncil.net/songs or contact Andy.


Education on Palestine & Israel

CNY Working for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine continued its educational work, with the late September showing of the award-winning film Budrus, about Palestinian nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation. The group also regularly provides information tables at local events related to Palestine and Israel held at Syracuse University and Le Moyne. Contact Andy.


PNL distribution

In the words of Susan Adair, PNL distribution coordinator, “Distributing the PNL is a small job with a huge impact.” PNL distributors help get our independent voice for peace and social justice into the hands of hundreds of Central New Yorkers. We are always looking for folks to take on distribution routes and willing to serve as substitutes for PNL distributors who need a month off. Contact Ursula.


Occupy Syracuse

Occupy Syracuse’s October 15 march through downtown Syracuse
drew 230 marchers including many SPC activists. Photo: Carol Baum

Inspired by Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Syracuse has been going for over a month. Since the start, people have been camping out in the plaza by Chase Bank (Salina St. in downtown Syracuse, between Fayette and Washington Sts.). There have been four rallies and marches, each well attended, as well as teach-ins, many conversations, and daily General Assembly (GA) meetings (the GA, which currently meets daily at 6:30 pm, is the decision-making body of Occupy Syracuse and is open to all).

One of the Occupy movement’s strengths is that people represent a wide range of political views and experiences. SPC folks have been active, especially with teach-ins, marches and bringing the war economy into the discussion.

Join your fellow 99 percenters! Come for a march , a GA or committee meeting, stay overnight, donate something or come just to talk. See occupysyracuse.org for up-to-the-minute information.


Activist orientation

SPC staff and organizers are hosting activist orientations every other month, alternating with activist skillbuilding trainings. Activist Orientation is a great place for new activists to learn about SPC’s history and about the issues we work on. For folks who have been involved in the past, it’s a place to get up to speed and plugged in again. The next activist orientation will be November 16 at 7 pm at the Center for Peace and Social Justice. RSVP to Ursula.


Occupy Washington, DC

For several days in early October, a carload of SPC activists (Ann Tiffany, Herm Bieling, Rae Kramer and I) joined Occupy Washington at Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue a couple of blocks from the White House. Highlights for me were Ralph Nader, Chris Hedges and Col. Ann Wright delivering their urgent and motivating messages to the hundreds assembled there. Among the ongoing activities were loud, lively, colorful marches past the White House and through the surrounding streets. We also took part in intense demos outside the National Chamber of Commerce (Where Are the Jobs!?); outside the DC lobbying headquarters of General Atomics, the manufacturer of the Reaper Drone; and at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum (where some—not us —were pepper-sprayed as they sought to enter the museum which now features drone technology). We were struck by how friendly and supportive Washingtonians were when they’d see us going back and forth to the occupation with our signs (US Out of Afghanistan). On those lovely, sunny days in DC, the 99% were certainly with us.

– Ed Kinane


Solidarity Thursdays

The Solidarity Committee of CNY has moved its meetings to the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month at 7:30pm at the Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice. The committee continues to monitor local and state budget cuts and to support the growing Occupy movement.


Leftist Lounge

In the spring of 2011, SPC activists and friends packed the Center’s ground flour common room once a month for the Leftist Lounge, a coffee-house style Friday night hang out.  Leftist Lounge will return in 2012.  If you’d like to help put the social in social movement, contact Ursula.



Weekly Peace Outreach

Snow and cold are coming...and the Peace Outreach will still be there! Contact Ed or Ann, 478-4571.

New Schedule!

First Tuesday of each month through March, 4:15-5 pm at the main entrance to Hancock Air Base (E. Molloy Rd. between Thompson and Townline Rds.)

Next Peace Outreach: Dec. 6