Minutes for MPJC Meeting of January 15, 2008


Present: Peter, Ellyn, Kathy, Bernie, Lois, Sarah, Pam

Old business
    1.  Approval of Minutes for November 27: The minutes were approved.

    2. Progress Reports
        a. Donnelly/Bayh Meetings: There have been no MPJC-related meetings with Donnelly or Bayh since the last meeting. We will ask for a meeting when we vigil outside his office on Monday, January 21.

        b. Vigils at Donnelly's office: No one at the meeting had attended our December 17 vigil at Donnelly's office, but we learned that his staffers did not come out to talk to the vigilers. We should make a point of sending folks into the office to express our views when we vigil in the future.

        c. War Tax Resistance Topic of the Month: Peter provided a draft for the participants to look at. He will send it to the list for comment and we will look at a revised statement at the February meeting. Peter will look at the consequences re non-profit status of endorsing the 2008 war tax boycott. We discussed the consequences of refusing some or all of your income tax and the importance of sending the refused tax to a good cause. The 2008 wartax boycott recommends sending the money to an Iraq refugee relief fund or to the New Orleans clinic where Peter and Ellyn volunteer. Several folks mentioned that they were not ready to do tax resistance, but it was pointed out that they could write letters to congress and the IRS about their opposition to using their tax money to pay for war, use the campaign to spread the word about where our tax money goes and what the military portion could do if spent in socially responsible ways, and help folks who do resist taxes by contributing to the War Tax Resisters Penalty Fund, which refunds penalties and interest to war tax resisters who are collected upon. For more information on war tax resistance see www.nwtrcc.org or www.codepink4peace.org

Clair from Goshen is preparing a letter to the editor about war funding and is looking for cosigners. Peter will try to compose a similar letter pointing out what the money South Bend spends on the Iraq war could provide if not spent for war.

        d. IPJN report: There was a conference call last week but Kathy was not able to participate. The topic was the spring conference. Kathy proposed that the group not have a conference this spring since there is so much activity surrounding the 5th anniversary of the war, but wait until next year. MPJC endorsed this position and Kathy will communicate our thoughts to IPJN.

        e. Code Pink Court Progress: Kathy has heard nothing more about how Lori's case is progressing.

    3. Treasurer's Report: Glenda Rae was not able to attend. We agreed to pay $35 for a table at the Century Center MLK celebration.

New Business

    1. Call to Action Week Jan19-26: MPJC day in this week to foster a Social Forum in Michiana is Monday, January 21. Lois will set up a table at Century Center with literature about counter-recruitment and Conscientious Objection for military personnel. Pam and Kathy will help out. Bernie will be staffing another table. Kathy will prepare two big signs with an image of MLK and the words ":The Iraq War- What Would Dr. King Do?" We will carry these as well as our banner in the walk from City County Building to Century Center, gathering at 11:30am. The signs will also be available at the table and in the vigil and march from Donnelly's office to Bayh's office to the federal building starting at 4:00pm. Ellyn will contact CPNV. Lois will contact the Catholic Peace fellowship. Kathy will contact the students at the colleges IUSB, ND, SMC, HC, and Ivy Tech. Peter will read MLK's speech about the Vietnam war outside Donnelly's office as part of the vigil there.

There are other events during the week that we need to support. There is a Jobs with Justice action on workers rights, Wednesday, 5-6pm at the South Bend Housing Authority. On Saturday there is a gathering from noon to 4:30pm at the downtown library where the Social Forum will be described and the organizations which participated during the week will describe their campaigns. MPJC will be one of these organizations. Since Peter is unable to attend the planning meeting at 7pm, January 16, in the Malloy room of the downtown public library, Kathy and Pam will attend in his place.

    2. Discernment re Iraq Peace Witness and Civil Disobedience: We were not able to contact Andre or Danille before the meeting, but we learned that Andre will be attending a March 7 action in DC where there will be services at churches surrounding the mall and everyone will then gather on the mall and a smaller group will engage in some kind of civil disobedience. We will keep the list posted on further developments including ways to support the action here in Michiana. For more information see www.christianpeacewitness.org 

    3. Review where we have been and where we are going re war refusal (Ellyn): We decided to really make a push to protest the war during the month of March. March 19 is the 5th anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq and massive demonstrations are planned for DC. We want to have a letter to the editor every day in March if possible so we have to begin writing them now. We will use the social forum presentation to try to drum up support for a stakeholders meeting soon to plan community-wide efforts against the war. We noted that there will be a vigil in front of the Morris Auditorium at 6pm the day after the 4,000th soldier dies in Iraq and that event is sadly imminent.

    4. Topic of the Month: We did not choose a new topic, so we will continue with War Tax Resistance.

    5. Other topics and issues: The annual Taste for Peace will be held at St. Adelbert's church on Olive between Western and Sample from 6:30 to 9pm on Saturday, January 19.

    6. Next meeting: Tuesday, February 5, 2008 at 7pm at KJ's Main Cafe across from the downtown public library. We met there for this meeting and it worked out very well.