Alternate sites for Monday Vigils – We decided that if we had enough people to mount a respectable presence at two sites, we would move half the group two blocks down Jefferson to the corner of St. Joseph and Jefferson. We also decided to schedule a vigil from 1-2:30 at the intersection of Grape Rd. and Cleveland Rd. on Saturday, December 4. Zae notified the new Saint Mary’s faculty group “Peace, Not War,” and suggested acceptable signs, such as “Peace on Earth Means Now” “No More Preemptive War” “Warfare Out, Health Care In” “U.S. Out, U.N. In.” We recommended that we inform anyone we invite that the vigils are intended to make people think, not antagonize them. We strongly discourage signs that mount personal attacks on people. Peter will scout out the corner and inform people as to the best corner for the vigil and where to park.
Prioritizing the brainstorming results from last meeting – We grouped the results and suggested ways to implement each group:
Group 1 We decided to encourage folks to write short 1-2 page pamphlets on the following: Impact of war on the local economy; on health care system; on safety; effects of depleted uranium on returning soldiers and families; also high suicide rates and levels of homelessness among soldiers returning from Iraq. The Saint Mary’s faculty group seemed a good source of these pamphlets, especially Joe Miller who has spearheaded a number of informational projects at the college, including a showing of the “Uncovered” video. We would use the pamphlets by handing them out at vigils or door-to-door.
Group 2 We decided to try to organize a
speaker’s bureau to provide speakers on anti-war topics with local
audiences (churches, schools, various organizations). Some of the topics from the brainstorm list are probability of Indiana going bankrupt; inability to stop money problems until we stop wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorism, drugs, etc.); combat the Republican Viewpoint, especially their moral values claims. We agreed that the presentation at Notre Dame by the Iraq veteran was a galvanizing event and should be repeated, especially since he is from Chicago. We encouraged Paul to investigate inviting him to IUSB for some events during the day for students and faculty and a evening presentation open to the public.
We decided that we would not spend energy on the impact of the property tax amendment on the state tax mix as it is not directly enough tied to our anti-war focus.
We decided to remain vigilant about the startup of the draft and be ready to organize around it in the event that it occurs.
We touched briefly on the need for escalating the protest level, perhaps into civil disobedience. Lee observed that the only way to stop the war may be to adapt some of the Vietnam protest strategies.
Overall, we decided to think of kinds of activities that would focus on these goals as we plan our future actions.
NIPSCO HEARING, December 1, 6pm, at Century Center – We reiterated how important it was to attend this hearing to support a just heating policy for poor folks.
Support for the inauguration protest in DC – There was not much enthusiasm about putting energy into this effort. We will publicize efforts by other groups. We did agree on the importance of local actions. We agreed to participate in the MLK day march at noon on January 17th. We also talked about organizing a local event to mark the second anniversary of the start of the Iraq war (March 20).
Increase pressure on Chocola and Bayh – Ellyn suggested that either individually or in groups that we visit the South Bend offices of Chocola and Bayh to let them know we are holding them accountable for the death and destruction in Iraq. Then just sit in the office for awhile to let them know we are not going away. There was no interest in staying after we were told to leave. If possible we should try to get media coverage. In response to a question about what MPJC advocates the U.S. do about Iraq, we observed that preemptive war is wrong to begin with and we don’t want another, say in Iran. We advocated that U.S. forces be replaced with a true multinational peacekeeping force completely under the command of the UN. The Saudi’s offered to organize a muslim force to do this but this offer was ignored. Full funding for rebuilding Iraq by Iraqi firms (not Halliburton) should be ensured.
Update the list of dead and wounded in Iraq each Monday – The Goshen peace group do this at their Wednesday noon vigils in Goshen. Someone compiles the list of U.S. troops killed the past week and also some count of the Iraqi civilians killed. The Goshen folks drop these lists off at their U.S. representative’s office. We decided to try this project. Peter offered to construct the lists. He will need help with this between December 27 and Jan 30 as he will be out of town.
Support for Women’s History Month – We ran out of time and will take up this topic at the next meeting.
Announcements – none
Other business – We need to brainstorm how to use the Hoosier Peacemaker newspaper most effectively. We also decided to send someone to the Indiana Peace Summit in Indianapolis for 2-3 days during the week of March 12-20. The Indiana Peace Network will set the exact dates soon. We will discuss who will go as soon as they do. We also recommended that the student peace groups at Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Goshen College and IUSB get together over breakfast at Notre Dame to get to know each other better and begin to plan activities. Ed will investigate whether the ND students are interested in such a gathering.
Next Meeting -- We decided to meet at 7pm on December 14th at 1036 N. Niles Ave.