1. October 29th-30th GOTV gatherings – The Friday vigil had more than 50 participants and we had good visibility with surprisingly steady traffic. There was an IUSB student newspaper reporter there, but no other news coverage. The story in the IUSB preface was supposed to have come out on Wednesday, November 3. Although we distributed a lot of flyers publicizing the event, we need in the future to activate a call list to get people out.
The Saturday rally drew over 150 folks and the speeches were very good. It was a good coalition building effort and was encouraging for the Black community organizers (the Elders) to see peace activists and union people supporting their GOTV efforts. They registered more than 5,000 new voters during the month before this election. The president of the AFL-CIO made an antiwar speech. The turnout could have been better if there had been time between the planning and the rally to prepare and distribute flyers. A lot of the organizing took place at Donnelly headquarters.
2. Cheney visit report – Again, there was very little time to organize a protest during Cheney’s visit on October 14th. It was mainly volunteers at Donnelly headquarters who went over across from the Marriott on St. Joseph St. and held signs as Cheney’s motorcade came the wrong way down St. Joseph around 7pm. There was incredible spirit. Several passers-by joined in and several protesters stayed until 10pm. There were 25-30 people at the height of the protest. It was noted that we could put these actions up on the UFPJ website and perhaps more people would see these announcements. It is also important to send an announcement via the list-serv.
3. Monday vigil plans – The consensus was that we need to continue the Monday vigils. It is more important than ever to oppose the war. The Democracy for America group put out a plea to their members to attend last Monday’s vigil and a couple of them came out. We can put an announcement in the paper once a month and also post it to the UFPJ website. We discussed some of the new signs – “Pro all life or not pro life at all,” Stopping the war in Iraq is a moral value,” “Health Care for all is a moral value,” Want to fight in Iraq? Go ahead. Bring my kid home,” End the U.S. military occupation of Iraq,” “Stop the attack on Fallujah.” Several folks suggested moving the Monday vigil to a different corner from time to time. We noted that people might not find us, but if we had a good number of people a good number might go to a different corner, i.e. in front of the Morris along St. Joseph, keeping a small crew at the Federal building. It was suggested that we publicize the vigil with the College Democrats at ND and the Elders.
4. Consequences for MPJC of the Nov 2 election results – Most folks had recovered from the election disaster through gatherings last Thursday evening, and also the First Sunday gathering at Caroline’s. Those who had worked hardest on the Donnelly campaign were very frustrated by the apparent weakness of the local Democratic party. There were very few Democratic greeters outside the polls on election day. If a voter was turned away (and no one inside was offering them a provisional ballot), there was no one outside to encourage them to go back in and ask to vote provisionally. Yet, volunteers were being turned away who called Democratic headquarters to vote. Also, there was a problem with absentee ballots. The instructions suggested that a person voting a straight Democratic ticket also mark the individual bubbles for the candidates. The city clerk’s office was instructing precincts to reject such ballots, though at least one inspector refused to call headquarters before invalidating such absentee ballots.
1. Where to go from here (Post-election response) – The next big national event is likely to be the inauguration in January. We discussed sending a contingent from South Bend to protest at the inauguration. There will be tons of security personnel lining the route. Also, it is not too early to be thinking of the mid-term elections. We need to mobilize lots more volunteers and find a candidate to support. It was noted that the folks in control of the local Democratic party may resist our efforts. The Rum village precinct captain threatened to call the police on canvassers for Donnelly before the election. Cooperation is a two-way street since at times the precinct captains were not notified before a major blitz in their area. We noted the similarities of the current situation in Iraq and the Vietnam War. The one big difference is that the overt draft is not in place. However, the Atlantic Monthly claims that Bush is getting set to invade Iran in 2005, and unless he is ready to use nukes, he will need lots more troops.
We decided to brainstorm directions we might pursue this meeting and to discuss them at the next. The following were suggested (if you have other ideas, please send them to me for inclusion):
a. Impact of the war on the local economy
b. Subversion of morality by right wing evangelicals
c. Impact of the war on the health care system
d. Impact on our safety
e. Probability of Indiana going bankrupt
f. Impact of property tax amendment on the state tax mix (income, sales, value-added)
g. We can’t stop money problems until we stop wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorism, drug, etc.)
h. Pledge of Resistance – Civil Disobedience – Escalating protest level
i. Preparation for renewal of the draft
j. Effects of depleted uranium of returning soldiers and families
k. Educate the public with a Speakers bureau for teach-ins, church groups, etc. to combat the Republican viewpoint.
2. Conversations on Race VIII – On Thursday, November 11, there will be a public lecture at 7:00pm in Northside Hall 158 by Clarence Page on “Election Analysis.” On Saturday at 10:45 there will be a showing of the Clarence Page video, followed by 12 break-out sessions on very interesting topics. If you want more information see the website http://www.iusb.edu/~cdiverse/conv8.shtml
3. Support for Indiana Peace and Justice network – The Indiana Peace and Justice Network (IPJN) has had to shut down its website due to lack of funds. This is a network of 58 groups statewide. We passed the hat and collected $64 to send them. They only needed $100 for a one-year website continuation. . The money will be deposited in the Peace Education Fund and a check to IPJN will be written and sent. We also mentioned the new Hoosier Peacemaker newspaper put out by Tom Healy and gave the two new persons a copy.
4. Announcements – The NIPSCO hearing is December 1 at 6pm in Century Center Bendix Theater. We need to pack the hall to speak out for utility deposit policy helpful to those facing poverty. Saint Mary’s College faculty will have an antiwar meeting on November 19th.
5. Other business – If Daniel’s van comes to South Bend we should consider greeting it. There was disagreement about our approach since Daniels constructed Bush’s economic policy and may well bankrupt the state. Since Kernan called for unity, perhaps we should not be too harsh, but rather hold signs like, “Protect Hoosier Families,” “Indiana First,” “Keep jobs in Indiana,” “Fair Taxation,” “Bring the National Guard Home.”
6. Next Meeting -- We decided to meet at 7pm on November 23rd at 1036 N. Niles Ave.