Paul, Lee, Ellyn, Peter, Kevin, Keith, Lois, and Katrina.
We discussed the importance of resolving the Support the Troops dilemma. We certainly don't support in any way what they are doing, and yet we hope they stay out of harms way and return quickly and safely to their families. Paul suggested a must-read book "The Spitting Image" which exposes the myth of mass rejection of returning Vietnam soldiers by the protesters.
I will relate our decisions at each point of the agenda:
We decided not to move. It is clear that they intend to intimidate us since they chose the exact time of out vigil to gather across the street. We emphasized our nonviolent discipline, a copy of which is available on our http://community.michiana.org/justice website as a link from the first paragraph. We will not respond to heckling by shouting. If we need to dialogue we will cross the stree and talk quietly with them as several of our number did last Monday. We will try to identify some peacekeepers to make sure that there is no violence in word or deed on our side. The group felt that it is important to get more people to come down on Mondays to reflect the lack of support for this war.
We have no plans for CD on the part of MPJC. We would certainly support
folks by maintaining a presence at the site and performing peacekeeping
duties to keep violent groups from attacking the police as happened at the
Indianapolis CD event. We would ask anyone interested in CD to keep us informed
and to gather an affinity group ready to supply bail money $250 per person
and other personal support (i.e. pet care). It is important that CDers have
gone through nonviolence training and we can help with that.
Paul will find a site at IUSB and invite representatives from groups we normally affiliate with (Ellyn will supply this list) on Tuesday, April 8. the purpose of this meeting is to see if we can engage in coordinated action and build a true coalition to stop this war.
Lee and Lois will work on this, perhaps using the email list of those who signed the cities for peace petition to begin with.
e.g. refusing to pay $10.40 or $104.00 of owed taxes in opposition to the war. This is happening on a national level and their efforts should have more clout with moveon than ours. People are encouraged to write to moveon in support of this effort. in the past, moveon has not been supportive of WTR.
Focus on first amendment issues; opposition to war is patriotic; support the troops by ending the war now, etc. You know that your letter to the editor will be published if Michelle from the tribune calls you. Only one letter per individual every 6 weeks will be published. The letters are running almost completely in support of the war recently so new folks neeed to write in opposition.
We decided to talk to folks at next week's vigil to guage support for this effort. Perhaps we can target it for getting the U.S. out of a postwar Iraq or some other milestone that would be limited to one 24 hour period when publicity would be tied to a national event.
There will be a debriefing by the march leadership team on Wednesday. Hopefully
someone from the coalition can attend. Peter sent the comments from the
members to the organizers of the demonstartion. Essentially, there was concern
that the speakers were faced the wrong way at the lot across from the federal
building. Folks had to choose between hearing the speakers and standing
along Main where the traffic could see their signs. Also, Paul mentioned
that some of his IUSB colleagues complained there is too much overt praying
at our events. He thought it was OK if the event is obviously sponsored
by church groups like the Music for Peace event, but as the main event in
the response to the war, the demonstration should have tried to welcome
people of all and no faiths.
Ellyn mentioned her efforts to get Steve Luecke to include in his message
we get with our water bills suggestions about what they can do if citizens
are hassled by government authorities (like the INS harassment of people
with muslim names at 5:30 am in South Bend last week). Everyone thought
that this was a great idea.
We ran out of time but the petition is on hold right now -- with the start
of the war it needs to be reworded but no council member will sponsor it
and there is no other way to get it on the agenda. the forum on Saturday
was successful in discussing the issues raised by the resolution.
We decided that the Coalition is not really an organization, has no money, and is not willing to give money to individuals even if we had any. we will publicize the event and cheer on the cosponsoring groups but will not cosponsor it ourselves.
The meeting closed about 8:45pm.
PJCM Home | Meeting Minutes | Other Activities | Join Us | Links