Minutes for 03/26/03

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:

  1. Site for Monday demonstrations. the pro war folks have taken up the corner across from the federal building. How should we respond?

    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.

  2. Is there interest in Civil Disobedience to oppose the 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.

  3. Can we pull in other anti-war groups so we have a larger presence?

    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.

  4. What about house meetings to get the antiwar message out to our neighbors?

    Lee and Lois will work on this, perhaps using the email list of those who signed the cities for peace petition to begin with.

  5. Trying to get a war tax resistance action sponsored by Move0n.org

    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.

  6. Keep up the letters to the editor and to congress.

    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.

  7. Discuss starting an around the clock vigil at the federal building

    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.

  8. Discuss the "day after" march and demonstration.

    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.

  9. Threat to civil liberties: brainstorm re responses.

    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.

  10. Cities for peace resolution update/plans

    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.

  11. Support the Fast for Peace 12-1 pm on weekdays on the corner of Michigan and Jefferson with prayer following at the Faith, Hope, Charity chapel on Wayne.

  12. Penance service in front of the Federal Building at noon on Wednesday, March 26.

  13. Coalition support for the John Dear event at Notre Dame. (See Kay's message for more details.)

    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.

Peter Smith

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