Minutes for MPJC Meeting of April 3, 2012

Present: Peter, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Rey, Pam, Carol, Wanda, Galen, Lois (by phone)

Old business

    1.  Approval of Minutes for February 8: The minutes were approved as corrected.

    2. Progress Reports

        a. Topic of the Month: MPJC position on Iran - Peter had updated a draft statement and put it out on the list serv for comments. A few came in and we adjusted the statement to reflect them. We changed the statement that "hopefully, Israel knows it would be counterproductive to attack Iran" to "Some leaders in Israel know that it would be counterproductive to attack Iran but others are pushing to attack in Spring or Summer 2012." We added a sentence to the first paragraph to read, "War with Iran would have a disastrous cost in lives and money, and would destabilize the Middle East and risk the danger of starting world war III." Peter will fix up the draft and put it on the web. He noted that the website is now accessible under michianapeacejustice.org. We are now sponsored without charge by Grassroots.org

        b. Tax Day Plans: We asked the Occupy folks if they wanted us to do a tax resistance workshop before Tax Day, which this year is April 17, but they have not responded, so we will not do one. Ellyn prepared a leaflet highlighting a graph showing how few jobs are created from military spending and asking folks to call or write the President and/or their senators and representatives to drastically reduce military spending. Lois was concerned that our message would be misunderstood and we agreed to include a big board (4' x 3') and/or sandwich boards (28" x 40") with messages such as our taxes should go for Health, Education, Infrastructure, Housing, etc. and not for War. Rey was worried that the big board would blow over, but Lois said she would sit and hold it. The leaflet should have few words so the message is easily grasped. Perhaps we could include the War Resister's League pie chart on the back. We talked about leafletting on the four corners of Michigan and Jefferson. We were concerned that Move-on would plan a demonstration at the same spot like they did last year. Ellyn had called Joe Carbone who said he would talk with Lori Silberman, but we had not heard back from him by the meeting time. The theme for Move-on seems to be the 1% who don't pay any tax. We pointed out that many folks don't pay taxes, particularly the poor. War tax resisters refuse to pay some or all of their federal income tax, but do so openly as an act of civil disobedience. We should emphasize that these folks redirect the tax money to socially beneficial causes and many volunteer their time as well. Lois will get permission from DTSB to leaflet once Ellyn has prepared the flyer. She needs to get it in pdf format. Ellyn noted that we can now send attachments with messages to the list serv.

        c. SOA Speaker: This person never made it to South Bend so it is a good thing that no one followed through in planning an event for her.

        d. Economics of Happiness film: This is still available for private showings. We tentatively planned a picnic and movie night this summer, but wondered if there are not better films than this to watch. Some suggestions were "Rethinking Afghanistan," and "In the land of blood and honey" directed by Angelina Jolie. We all need to think of films to watch. Ellyn was concerned that many of these documentary films are so depressing.

        e. Peacemakers of Michiana: Several folks from this group have been joining us for our Monday vigils. One has recently been to Israel and Palestine and may join us at the next meeting to describe her impressions. They are still interested in coordinating with us.

3. Treasurer's Report: Our bank total is $174.13 with $5.56 in petty cash. Glenda Rae spent $0.44 on a stamp to send a letter for the Nicaragua Fund, and mentioned that it should have come out of that fund. It was no big deal. She also told us that Wells Fargo, the bank we use for the Peace Ed Fund, is moving to One Michiana Square.

New Business

    1. What do we (can we) do next? We skipped over this as time was running out.

    2. Topic of the Month: There were two suggestions: develop a position on Syria, or a response to the war on women. Ellyn offered to develop an initial statement on the latter and we decided to pursue that option. We noted the April 28th rally in Indianapolis against the violence against women. NOW is supporting this project and picking up half the bus fare for its members to attend the rally. The cost is $33 round trip. Ellyn noted that some Peace and Justice groups have included reproductive choice as one of the issues they support although MPJC has not done so. Perhaps this topic of the month will help clarify our position.

    3. Jobs with Justice Training and Actions: Joe Carbone recently attended a training in Chicago and will hold a training in South Bend on Saturday, April 14, from 10am to 5pm. He hopes this training will lead to demonstrations and direct action, but nothing is planned right now.

    4. Memorial Day parade: Lois has received an invitation to participate in the West Side parade and wondered if we were interested. The theme is "Forever Remembered." After some discussion, Rey volunteered his truck and will contact David James about providing a sound system. The song, "Bring them home'" was very popular with the crowd two years ago. Pam and Peter offered to help. Lois still has the decorations for the truck. Lois will fill in the application and send it in after the tax day action. Memorial Day is May 28 this year. We wondered if the Occupy South Bend folks would want to walk with us.

    5. Other Topics and Issues: On May 4 at Kern Road Mennonite Church, there will be a program "Peace, Pies, and Prophets." They will be auctioning off pies with the proceeds going to Christian Peacemaker teams.

IUSB music and theater departments will perform the musical HMS Pinafore on April 12-15. The times are 8pm on April 12-14 and 2pm on April 15. Rey is in the chorus.

On Saturday, April 28, from 3-4:30 pm at IUSB, there will be a forum for Probate Judge candidates.

    6. Next meeting: Tuesday, May 22 at 7pm. Probably at Peter and Ellyn's.