Minutes for MPJC meeting for March 15

Present: Paul, Lois, Lee, Peter

Old Business

1. Approval of Minutes: The minutes for the February 16th meeting were approved. Paul will send Peter an electronic version of his statement about the importance of unions in his life. Peter will post it on the website.

2. Progress Reports

  1. February 22 anti-Bush rally: The rally was held at John Young School, 1801 N. Main, Mishawaka, from 6:30-8. There were some good messages from several of the speakers. A stronger anti-war message would have been desirable, but the mood of the audience was definitely anti-war. Lee had hoped for more people, perhaps 600. There were more protesters on Thursday morning than attendees at the rally. Lois had a good exchange with an anti-war American Legion person which was evidence of just how widespread is opposition to the war. We all agreed that Bob should not have let the Conspiracy theory DJ speak at the end and it would have been polite to introduce Steve as a candidate for 2nd District Congressman even though it was agreed that he would not speak. In the meantime, since the rally, Steve met with the Central Labor Council and they had a full and open exchange.

  2. February 23 Bush Demonstration: The turnout was amazing for a Michiana demonstration, perhaps 600 folks stretching from Target all the way down to the entrance to Bethel. It was fortunate that we were on the South Bend side of the boundary with Mishawaka, since the Mishawaka police might not have been so tolerant of the demonstrators. Our interactions with the South Bend police were very positive and they were happy to allow us to protest as long as we remained safe and did not get in the way of the motorcade. We have noticed a change in attitude on the part of police passing our Monday vigil since the 23rd. We noticed that there was not much participation from Goshen and Elkhart. Paul suggested that we try to have a meeting of anti-war folks from the three communities (South Bend, Elkhart, and Goshen) after the major demonstrations are over. Perhaps we could meet in the hall on Nash Rd.

  3. CLAP project report: There is a drive to urge ND workers to vote for a union. A prof from IUPUI who was active in the Yale strike may come to speak to gather community support for the workers. Paul will touch base with CLAP to see how to coordinate efforts. At this point MPJC will not be actively involved. Carol has drafted a letter to Fr. Jenkins urging him to abide by Catholic social teaching and pay ND workers a living wage. We noted that the Church since Leo XIII has supported the rights of workers to unionize in order to better their wages and working conditions. Carol was late for the meeting and we did not have time to discuss the letter which she wants to send to Fr. Jenkins with MPJC support. Peter will send it out to the list for comment until March 20. She will incorporate the comments and send the letter after that.

  4. Topic of the Month -- Withdrawal of troops from Iraq: Lee and Ed. J. had approved Peter's proposed position of immediate withdrawal. Everyone in attendance approved this position. Peter will reword the position and send it to the list for final approval at the next meeting

3. Treasurer's Report: The treasurer had class and could not attend. We agreed to pay the $25 dues to IPJN and also to send $25 to support the March 18th rally in Indianapolis. Peter will get checks from Glenda Rae.

New Business

  1. March 18th rally in Indianapolis at 1pm: Peter and Lee are thinking of going. Peter has room for 2 or 3 more people. Everyone Lee talked to was going to Chicago. Peter has become the Veterans for Peace coordinator for northwest Indiana and VFP is a cosponsor of the rally.

  2. March 18th events in Chicago: There is an ANSWER rally at noon at Federal Plaza, a march to Union Park (1501 W. Randolph at Ogden) for a huge rally at 3pm. At 6pm folks will gather at Walton and State for a march down Michigan Ave starting at 7pm. We noted that folks would have to drive or stay overnight in Chicago since the last South Shore train leaves before the march will be over.

  3. Town Hall Meeting to showcase alternatives to Bush ideas: The League of Women Voters and the Landlord Organization is sponsoring a "Meet the Candidate" evening at 6:30pm at the Elk's Lodge on McKinley on March 23. It was unclear whether candidates for federal office would be invited. This venue did not seem to qualify as a town hall meeting, so we talked about planning another event closer to the May 2nd primary. Because so few MPJC folks attended this meeting we decided to wait until the next meeting to plan this town hall event. We need to line up cosponsors such as the candidate organizations and Jobs with Justice.

  4. League of Women Voters grant to host an openness in government forum 2-5pm on March 18th in Wiekamp Rm 1001 at IUSB: We noted that this will take place. It conflicts with the 3rd anniversary events.

  5. April 15-17th Tax Day protest: It will be held on April 17th in the evening. Lois will coordinate this protest since Peter and Ellyn will be away. Peter will order the leaflets and fold them and make the initial calls. He will pass the lists to Lois for final calling.

  6. Other topics and issues: Peter announced that a draft resistance group asked if they could be a link on the website. Peter will check it out and decide.

    Lois asked us to consider walking in the West Side Memorial Day Parade. Paul suggested that we carry a enlarged version of the Constitution. We may be able to better gauge opposition to the war from folks reaction to us as we march. We will postpone the decision about marching until the next meeting.

    Lois announced an internet-based consensus-building anti-war forum on April 20-21. Folks can log in and be assigned a small group of internet users to formulate a policy statement. This will be refined over the internet until a consensus statement is reached.

  7. Next meeting: The next meeting will be on Tuesday, March 28th at 7:30pm at 1036 N. Niles Ave. Everyone will talk to folks who have attended in the past so we have a good representation for making decisions.