Minutes for MPJC Meeting of November 10, 2009


Present: Peter, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Pam, Ron, Rey, Bob, Carol, Lois

Old business
    1.  Approval of Minutes for October 6: The minutes were approved with some typos corrected, including changing the word "meeting" to "healing service" in the October 10th announcement. Glenda Rae showed us the plaque we had received for our participation in the gun buyback event. We realized that we had not done anything special for November 11, Veterans Day. We have signs - "Honor Veterans, End War" but did not use them on Monday. There is a Veterans memorial gathering at Howard Park on the 11th but no one wanted to attend an event that would probably glorify war.

    2. Progress Reports
        a. Topic of the Month: Afghanistan. Peter had drafted a statement on Withdrawal from Afghanistan and sent it to the list on October 7, the 8th anniversary of the start of the war. No one commented on the wording before this meeting. The folks at the meeting approved the draft with a few changes. We debated changing the word "immediately" regarding withdrawal with "as soon as possible," but most thought that this was current U.S. policy which is unacceptable. Perhaps we could preface withdrawal with "orderly" to imply that any civilians in imminent danger can be evacuated along with coalition troops. We decided to move the attribution of the NPP quote to before the quote and add the sentence "The legitimacy of the Afghan government per the October 09 elections is more open to question than ever before." We discussed the fact that the Taliban is unlikely to be receptive to any aid for rebuilding from the U.S., but agreed that continued presence of coalition troops is steadily drawing more support for the Taliban, making it more likely that the Afghanis will welcome the Taliban when the inevitable withdrawal occurs. Peter will post the modified statement to the list and collect other comments for the next month. The statement will be approved at the next meeting.

        b. Topic of the Month: Support for Conscientious Objectors: Rey talked to Aimee Shalide, director of the Catholic Peace Fellowship, on the St. Marcellus day walk. She said that the local CPF is working on the educational component of conscientious objection, geared to a Catholic audience. The GI Hotline is no longer hosted locally. We decided that working with the CPF is not a good venue for us to assist CO's. Some other suggestions are to look up and prepare a list of alternatives to military service projects which we can give to Donnelly and Bayh's offices, have available at our MLK day table, and make available to CPNV if they are thinking of reviving their efforts in the local schools. Bob will work on preparing this list and email it to Lois. We noted that Julie from Bayh's office has done some programs in the schools. We also noted that military recruiters have easy access to schools and their message is attractive to young people who cannot find jobs in the local economy. The good news is that a lot of soldiers are defecting from U.S. bases, especially Fort Hood. This base has the greatest suicide rate as well. We decided to lay this topic to rest until some new opportunities present themselves.

        c. Health Care Initiative: The October 10 rally was spirited although not too well attended. Ellyn gave a good talk. There were some counter protesters but they were very outnumbered. We had a big banner "Health Care for All" and held some signs along St. Joseph St. including one tying lack of health care to war spending. On the next Wednesday, rally organizers projected images of the demonstrators on the wall outside Donnelly's office in an effort to convince him to support health care reform.

        d. MLK Day 2010 Plans: We decided to include the bean poll and CO literature on the table. Lois is sponsoring a scholarship table which hopefully will be beside the MPJC table. CPNV will have a table staffed with a nonviolence trainer. They plan to have some guerrilla theater in front of the table where young people get into an altercation and are talked down by the trainer as an example for parents and others.

        e. Jobs with Justice dinner: Glenda Rae received an award for her community service. The event was a success and the keynote speaker, Joseph Ringo, was especially effective. He was an oil worker during Katrina and worked with the neighbors of his oil field, helping them cope with the disaster. He lost his job as a result. President Obama has selected him to represent the U.S. at the upcoming Copenhagen global warming conference.

        f. St. Marcellus Day Events: The walk was very rainy from Seitz park to Notre Dame, stopping for short prayers at A.M. General headquarters on the East Race, view of St. Joe Hospital from the East Race, Rose garden dedicated to victims of Domestic Violence at Leeper Park, St. Joe high school, Alex Coquillard's grave and the statue of Fr. Corby, the first army chaplain in the Civil War. The reenactment of St. Marcellus martyrdom at Holy Cross College was moving due to the inclusion of young black actors to play Marcellus and several others in the play, highlighting the fact that Marcellus was from North Africa. Three recent CO's gave their testimony after the play. Mary Jo Leddy gave a good talk Friday evening and conducted a very effective workshop on Saturday. About 50 people attended.

3. Treasurer's Report: Our bank total is $117.95 with $1.76 in petty cash.

New Business

    1. What do we (can we) do next? We decided to poll the list, asking if folks would come out to Saturday vigils the first three weeks in December from 1-2pm., so we can impact the Christmas shoppers. We will ask folks to respond if they are willing to participate. If four or more people can be there we will hold the vigils at the corner of Grape and Cleveland for these three Saturdays. Peter is to update the Cost of War brochure and print copies to keep with the signs so we can give it to folks like the young people who came from ND and New Carlisle for the November 2 vigil. He will also move the Monday vigil information to the top of the web page.

We realized that we had missed the 8pm IJPN conference call which fell on the same date as the meeting.

    2. Library Photo Contest: The deadline for this contest is Monday, December 18. The photo has to have been taken this year, which eliminated Bob's photos of the Arlington Midwest site. We talked about the bean poll photo from last MLK day and Ellyn will send it to Lois again along with other photos she thinks would help get our message across.

    3. NWTRCC meeting: Peter, Rey and Glenda Rae attended this National War Tax Resisters Coordination Committee meeting in Cleveland, Nov 6-9. There was some good discussion and, inspired by the discussion, Rey wrote a couple of new songs. Peter has scarfs to sell with the message "Boycott War, Invest in People." They are $15 each, $36 for three, and $100 for 10. NWTRCC is ready to release a 30 minute video on war tax resistance. We will schedule a meeting open to the public at which the video will be shown. We will submit an article advertising this meeting to the CPNV publication, "Olive Branch."

    4. Kathy Kelly talk: The talk has been moved from December 11 to December 4 at 7:45pm at Our Lady of the Road drop in center on left side of Main St, just south of the viaduct and a block north of Sample. Mass is at 6pm followed by a potluck dinner at 7pm.

    5. Topic of the Month: We will investigate MPJC response to war tax resistance.

    6. Other Topics and Issues: The Michiana Male Chorus will have a concert at 7pm on December 19 at the Everest Rohr Auditorium at Bethel College. The tickets are $10 for seniors. Rey has tickets.

Lois is going to DC on November 19 and will try to get an audience with Michelle Obama. Anyone can write a short letter for Lois to deliver. Send it to her as an attachment to an email to phoebe22_98@msn.com. We recommended that she get her points in order and state them succinctly as she will probably not have much time to talk.

Ellyn passed out a list of events for this week. The only one not past is the gathering in front of Senator Bayh's office, located at 130 S. Main St., South Bend, IN, this Thursday, November 12, at 12:30 PM, to convince him to support health care reform. She also passed out her comments on the Stupak amendment.

    7. Next meeting: The next meeting will be on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 7 pm. The place will be announced later.