Gandhi Peace Award to Jackson Browne

by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace Administrator

Promoting Enduring Peace is giving its Gandhi Peace Award this year to singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. He will receive the award on Friday, Sept. 14, at the John Lyman Center for the Performing Arts at Southern Connecticut State University, 501 Crescent St., New Haven. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Starting the program will be two speakers: Frida Berrigan, who has worked for years warning of the dangers of nuclear weapons, and Chris George, Executive Director of IRIS — Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services. Singers Ben Grosscup and Luci Murphy will provide entertainment. Tickets can be reserved online for a donation. The Eventbrite link is https://www.eventbrite.com/e/gandhi-peace-award-2018-tickets-48315261247.

Jackson Browne is the first artist ever to receive the Gandhi Peace Award. The award recognizes Browne’s extraordinary contributions of time and talent to the inseparable causes of world peace, environmental harmony, and social justice. The award comes with a cash prize and a medallion forged from “peace bronze” composed of metals salvaged from the control systems of U.S. nuclear missiles. Consistent with tradition, Browne has been invited “to present a message of challenge and hope” to those present. A reception will follow.

The Gandhi Peace Award, named after Indian anti-imperialist and nonviolence advocate Mohandas Gandhi, derives its international renown from those who have accepted it over the years. Among the 54 awardees are Martin Luther King, Jr., Benjamin Spock, Dorothy Day, Daniel Ellsberg, César Chávez, Amy Goodman, Bill McKibben, Medea Benjamin, Tom Goldtooth, Omar Barghouti and Ralph Nader.

Browne has organized or participated in thousands of benefit performances to support the environment, social justice, and human rights as well as causes such as music and arts education in public schools and has worked with two former Gandhi Peace Award recipients, Amnesty International (1978) and the Children’s Defense Fund (1990). Browne has composed and performed songs widely regarded as among the most literate and moving songs in popular music, defining a genre of songwriting charged with honesty, emotion, and personal politics. In 2004 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

 

Truth on Trial — Kings Bay Plowshares Court Report on Aug. 2 Hearing

by Bill Quigley, attorney

King’s Bay Plowshares Update

In the June newsletter, PAR informed our readers about the King’s Bay Plowshares action of April 4, on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. One of the seven, Mark Colville, is from the Amistad Catholic Worker House in New Haven. They were charged with four counts: Conspiracy, Destruction of Property on a Naval Station, Depredation of Govern-ment Property, and Trespass. On Aug. 2 they had a court hearing. The following was written by Bill Quigley, one of their attorneys, and published in The Nuclear Resister.

For four hours on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, the Kings Bay Plowshares appeared before U.S. Magistrate Stan Baker in federal court in Brunswick, GA, to argue that all charges against them be dropped. The peace activists set out six reasons why the charges of conspiracy, trespass, and two counts of felony damage to property should be dismissed. Detailed arguments are available at kingsbayplowshares7.org.

The theme of the hearing was clear: Thou shall not kill and these weapons will end life as we know it. Speaking to the court were Mark Colville, Stephen Kelly SJ, Anna Lellelid, Stephanie McDonald, Patrick O’Neill, Bill Quigley, and Carmen Trotta. Everyone who wanted to speak was given several opportunities to speak and truth was proclaimed.

The arguments were greatly assisted by sworn statements from Professor Francis Boyle, Physicians for Social Responsibility Director Jeff Carter, Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, and US Navy Captain Thomas Rogers.

What PAR Readers Can Do

We hope our readers will be able to help the Amistad Catholic Worker house while Mark is in prison. Luz Colville and others are continuing the work and have sent out the following list of supplies that are needed.

1) Donations of items for the community breakfast program: old-fashioned oats, grits, eggs, coffee, creamer, sugar, etc.

2) Gift cards for buying the above items

3) Checks made out to the Amistad Catholic Worker and mailed to 203 Rosette St., New Haven, CT 06519.

4) Volunteering: cook, serve meals, clean the yard, sort clothes, work in the garden, pick up donated furniture, etc.

Contact Luz at amistadcwh@yahoo.com about how you can help.

For more information about the Plowshares action and up-coming trial, see: facebook.com/Kingsbayplowshares.

Reflections on the Past Green Year

by Owen Charles, Shoreline Green Party

A little over a year ago, we obtained official chapter-hood for our Shoreline Green Party. It was a joyous thing, springing forth from a rather unjoyous series of disappointments. Many were dismayed by the weakening of democracy in America, the championing of corporate interests by both major parties, and the 2016 election with its home-grown election fraud.

So we came together to see if the grass was greener on the other side—and it was!—Fertile with ideas and fresh perspectives, and inquisitive minds;— Open to citizen participation, running for office, and a shared and self-determined people’s agenda.—Not your typical political party owned, operated, bought and sold by large corporate interests.

On Feb. 26, 2017, we launched with the aim to “start preparing to run candidates, get involved an important issue and legislation advocacy and upturn the status quo of a troubled political system as an official regional chapter of the Green Party!”

I’ll briefly reflect on what we have done in a year, with pride and congratulations to a smart, vibrant, friendly, hard-working, dedicated, growing Shoreline Green Party team! Many more details can be found on our Facebook @shorelinegreenparty and website shorelinegreenparty.org.

  1. Visibility and Activism: We organized gatherings and protests (net neutrality, immigrants rights, May Day and others), marched in the Guilford Parade. Website, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube videos (check it out at Shoreline Green Party on Youtube).
  2. Inspiration and Solidarity: Our first annual Songs of Solidarity in Oct. 2017 at the Guilford Library was standing room only (70+), amazing performances and sing-alongs with a line-up of incredible local artists (stay tuned for “Second Annual!”). We sponsored a showing of “Requiem for the American Dream” at Guilford Library.
  3. Local Democracy in Action: Organized public support to stop privatization and development of the Academy School in Madison, ban fracking waste in a number of towns, and stop the development of a waste dump in Clinton.

Our first four candidates in 2017, in Clinton and Madison, each had impressive showings with over 1,100 votes. We now have four local candidates for this Nov. 6! with key campaign support and volunteering from dozens of people.

Clinton members have led the way in getting appointed to Town commissions and boards.

If you are interested in these kinds of actions, please join with us in the Shoreline Green Party! We welcome participants from all surrounding areas including New Haven and environs and are working with other local groups and welcome doing that more.

Please reach out to us by joining our Facebook group @shorelinegreenparty or contacting me! Owen Charles owencharles2003@yahoo.com or shorelinegreenparty@gmail.com; phone (203) 421-1094.

Pushing the Envelope for Peace

by Nancy Eberg, Greater New Haven Peace Council

Our group has been involved in many diverse activities during the last year, some controversial. The Greater New Haven Peace Council opposes American intervention in the Middle and Far East, South America, and Africa; the rescission of many environmental protections and financial regulations; and the expansion of militarization.

We initiated the “Move the Money” governmental resolutions in New Haven which has spread across the country and was ratified by the US Conference of Mayors, resulting in public hearings showing how our taxes could be better spent on local issues than on war and weapons. Some of the Council attended international peace conferences in Cuba and Vietnam.

Our successful “No Foreign Bases” conference in Baltimore had representatives from around the US and the world. This was an attempt to form a more cohesive peace movement. Members of this group later engaged in an anti-war activity in NYC. Another anti-war conference at Middlesex College focused on American imperialism and the inherent violence in American society. Additionally, we held forums on the Cuban green energy initiative, Korea, and the opposition to the US military base on Jeju Island. The Board of Alders, at our request, held a public hearing with department heads specifying how decreased federal military spending could impact local government.

Our annual reading of MLK’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech was a success, despite the weather. We showed films high-lighting important issues, commemorated the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and met with our Congressional representatives. Also, we sponsored and engaged in other groups’ initiatives — activities on last year’s International Women’s Day, marches on women’s issues, gun violence, and immigration and the Greenwich anti-war demonstration, among others. Every Friday, pamphlets about the week’s current events are given out in front of City Hall.

Thus, it is evident that our group has, and will continue to, strive against this administration’s initiatives. We believe that diplomacy, not war, should be utilized to solve nations’ differences. Although right now our efforts seem to be exercises in futility, in the long run, we hope to prevail.

Grammar School Students Who Already Challenge and Change The World

by Frank Panzarella, community activist

The Green Wolves, fourth-grade students at Elm City College Preparatory Elementary School, came up with that name for their own wonderful and imaginative adventure in becoming young activists.

Their teacher, Kurt Zimmermann of their Expeditions class, saw the PAR newsletter on-line and invited us to do a training for young people on things to think about when becoming an activist.

While some were still shy, others were bursting with ideas and questions. They surprised us right off by quoting suggestions from our own notes before we even began.

These kids were very interested in environmental issues and showed us their current great campaign. They raised money to replace all the teachers’ disposable coffee cups with lovely ceramic mugs that had the teachers’ names printed on them, so the teachers would reduce their paper waste.

We were thrilled to meet this group of engaging and endearing students and thank Mr. Zimmermann for the opportunity. We thought PAR readers would be interested in the notes we left the students with.

An Activist Guide List – Questions to Ask Yourself

  • “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
  • “Doing something is better than doing nothing.”
  • “My way is not the only way.”

Passion

  • What are the issues you feel strongly about? What would you like to accomplish or change? What do you need to study and understand?
  • Are there other people you know concerned about these issues? Who can you talk with?

Organize

  • How can you educate people about why your issue is important?
  • What are your short term and long term goals? What would you like to see happen in relation to your cause?
  • Who is it you would like to reach on your cause?
  • Are there people or groups who might be allies in reaching your goals?

Action Plans

  • What kinds of actions are appropriate for your cause?

Educational events

  • Write letters, articles, and petitions.
  • Use social media.

Rallies and demonstrations

  • Picket lines
  • Speak at hearings or local government meetings.

Create a plan to advance your cause and build support

  • Call a meeting to plan your actions if necessary.
  • Figure out a group process.
  • Be aware of your members and their ideas.
  • Promote democracy in action – listen to all and learn to resolve differences.
  • Respect the rights of others to have different views.
  • Struggle for a programmatic unity on issues — in other words, something everyone in your group can agree on to take some action.
  • Have a summation meeting. Meet again after your action to figure out what worked and what didn’t. What do you think could have been better? Decide if you will do something next, and pick a date for another meeting to figure out what it will be.
  • Have fun doing good things for the benefit of everyone.

The Poor People’s Campaign: A Moral Agenda Based on Fundamental Rights

Over the past two years, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has reached out to communities in more than 30 states across this nation. We have met with tens of thousands of people, witnessing the strength of their moral courage in trying times. We have gathered testimonies from hundreds of poor people, and we have chronicled their demands for a better society. The following moral agenda is drawn from this deep engagement and commitment to these struggles of the poor and dispossessed. It is also grounded in an empirical assessment of how we have come to this point today. The Souls of Poor Folk: Auditing America report reveals how the evils of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and the war economy and militarism are persistent, pervasive, and perpetuated by a distorted moral narrative that must be challenged.

We must stop the attention [deficit] that refuses to see these injustices and acknowledge the human and economic costs of inequality. We believe that when decent people see the faces and facts that the Souls of Poor Folk Audit presents, they will be moved deeply in their conscience to change things. When confronted with the undeniable truth of unconscionable cruelty to our fellow human beings, we must join the ranks of those who are determined not to rest until justice and equality are a reality for all. www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Connecticut-Fact-Sheet.pdf.

How To Resist War Taxes | War Resisters League

Resisting war taxes is really very simple — don’t pay all the tax due on your annual Federal income tax form, or don’t pay the Federal excise tax on telephone bills, or both.

Summarized below are a few war tax resistance methods. Detailed descriptions can be found in WRL’s War Tax Resistance: A Guide to Withholding Your Support from the Military and through war tax counselors. Contact the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) for counselors in your area. The probability of collection or prosecution varies among the methods; all — except #4 — are illegal. Serious consideration must be given before embarking on these types of resistance.

1) File and refuse to pay your taxes. This involves filling out an IRS income tax return (e.g., Form 1040) and refusing to pay either a token amount of your taxes (e.g., $1, $9.11, $100), some “military” portion (approximately 1% for nuclear warheads, 4% for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, 30% for current military spending, 50% for current and past military spending combined — see WRL’s pie chart for the latest percentages), (or click on the image below to download the pie chart) or the total amount (since a portion of whatever is paid goes largely to the military). Include a letter of explanation with the return.
2) File a blank IRS 1040 income tax return with a note of explanation.
3) Don’t file any Federal income tax returns.
4) Earn less than the taxable income.
5) Resist telephone taxes.

Read more about refusing to support the war effort by not paying taxes here: How To Resist War Taxes | War Resisters League

VICTORY! Charges Dropped Against ANSWER Organizer Norman Clement!

by ANSWER CT

In a victory for protest and resistance, prosecutors were forced on Friday, March 9 to drop the most outrageous charges against ANSWER Coalition organizer Norman Clement stemming from his brutal and unjust arrest at the hands of the State Police at the Feb. 4, 2017 protest in New Haven against Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and planned wall on the Mexican border.

In the 13 months since the arrest, prosecutors and the entire court system dragged the case on to wear out organizers and supporters, knowing there was no evidence for the fabricated charges like “inciting a riot.” Prosecutors attempted to pressure Norm to plead out to charges without any evidence to substantiate their charges. Police lies about emergency vehicles being blocked during the protest were quickly exposed by local media. Police and their mouthpieces in the media tried to paint Norman Clement as a leader of the pro-test. While Norman is a leader in many movements, the march was a spontaneous response to the outrageous and racist policies of the Trump administration.

As we have said before, we consider it to be no coincidence that the two people arrested on February 4, 2017 were people of color. Norman is Indigenous and Nate Blair, who was pulled to the ground and arrested by the New Haven police, is Black. We also consider it no coincidence that Norman was targeted for being a well-known organizer against war, police terror and for the rights of Native peoples. In addition to his work in Connecticut, he traveled twice to Standing Rock as a Water Protector. The March 9 announcement shows that it is the power of the people coming together that will get justice and fight state oppression.

In the Spirit of Dr. King – Fight the War Machine!

by ANSWER CT

Saturday, April 14, noon-5 p.m. Rally and March – Gather at the White House. Followed by teach-in at George Washington University.

Fifty years after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., peace and social justice groups across the country are uniting to carry on his legacy of determined struggle against racism, war and poverty. Many of these activities are being coordinated by the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

In his final book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stated, “a final problem mankind must solve in order to survive … is finding an alternative to war and human destruction.” This comes just after his statement in the same text that “the time has come for an all-out world war on poverty.” Today, when there is no controversy in Congress about spending at least $700 billion on the war machine while horrendous cuts are being made to almost every program designed to help people survive, these words ring as true as ever.

In the richest country in the history of countries, this situation is unacceptable. Food stamps, Medicaid, programs to save the planet and funds for affordable housing cannot and should not be held hostage to a global war-making machine – a machine aimed not at freedom or democracy but domination and control, complicit in terrible crimes.

From facilitating the brutal war in Yemen to the extreme threats directed at North Korea, Venezuela and Iran, the U.S. government has placed itself completely at odds with Dr. King’s vision: A way of life where people’s needs rather than profits and imperial goals are the center of our society. This vision can be realized only if we seize the time and show that we won’t allow our future to be sacrificed at the altar of war and militarism.

Join us on Saturday, April 14 for a rally, march and teach-in against war, militarism and empire. These actions are timed to coincide with the anti-war Spring Actions 2018. As Dr. King said: “Science has provided us with adequate means for survival and transportation, which make it possible to enjoy the fullness of this great earth. The question now is, do we have the morality and courage required to live together … and not be afraid.”

Initial sponsors (list in formation): ANSWER Coalition; Justice First; Family and Friends of Incarcerated People; CODEPINK; Popular Resistance; Partnership for Civil Justice Fund; Imam Mahdi Bray, National Director of the American Muslim Alliance; Virginia Defenders for Free-dom, Justice & Equality; Internationalist Students Front at George Washington University www.answercoalition.org/ in_the_spirit_of_dr_king_fight_the_war_machine

Stop the Wars at Home and Abroad. Demonstration NYC April 15

by Henry Lowendorf, Greater New Haven Peace Council

There is no way to peace without dramatically cutting the $700 billion Pentagon budget and ending the many wars the US started and is engaged in. STOP THE WARS AT HOME AND ABROAD!

The Trump administration, however, is proposing more war spending and all CT members of Congress voted with their colleagues to increase the Pentagon budget by $80 billion, a third more than Trump asked for. This is a recipe for more killing, more refugees, more cultural devastation and indeed economic disaster for our own country. STOP THE WARS AT HOME AND ABROAD!

Cuts to the funding of education, environment, jobs, health-care, science, civil rights, infrastructure can only be reversed when we stop funding war. Ending the internal assault on minorities, immigrants, people of Muslim faith, women, our youth – ending the mass killings – requires strong opposi-tion to militarization and warmaking. STOP THE WARS AT HOME AND ABROAD!

The No US Foreign Bases Coalition, which brought together many peace organizations (noforeignbases.org) and held a successful conference in Baltimore in January, resolved to organize a national day of demonstrations on tax day 2018. There will be demonstrations in San Francisco, Minneapolis, Chicago and New York.

From Connecticut we want to send a large contingent to New York. We also want to subsidize transportation in particular to encourage youth to participate. Please help organize this effort. Let us know you will march and bring a crowd April 15, 2 p.m., Union Square, New York.
Greater New Haven Peace Council (203) 389-9547, grnhpeacecouncil@gmail.com

Conference on Drone Warfare to be Held In Hartford March 14

by Rev. Rich Killmer, Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare

The Connecticut Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 14 at Hartford Seminary, 77 Sherman St., Hartford, CT. The presenters include: Andrea Prasow, Associate Director of the Washington Office of Human Rights Watch; Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love, Politics Department, Catholic University, Washington, DC; Rev. Chris Antal, Unitarian Universalist Minister, who resigned as an army chaplain because of the U.S. lethal drone policy; Lt. Colonel Shareda Hosein (U.S. Army Reserves Retired), Muslim Chaplain. Two short films produced by the Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare for congregations will also be screened.

Registration is free, but a free-will offering will be taken. Lunch will be provided. Please register at www.bit.ly/DroneCTConference. For more information, visit www.interfaithdronenetwork.org or call (609) 924-5022 or (207) 450-7242. The conference is co-sponsored by Hartford Seminary and the Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare.

Resolution from the Conference on U.S. Military Bases Held Jan. 12-14

by Henry Lowendorf, GNH Peace Council

The Conference on U.S. Foreign Military Bases was held in Baltimore, Maryland, on January 12-14, organized by Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases—con-sisting of more than 250 peace, justice and environmental organ-izations from around the world. It heard from Okinawans and members of the Veterans For Peace from the U.S. who recently visited Okinawa to add their voices to the growing chorus opposed to the presence of U.S. military bases on the island.

We are aware of the terrible role that U.S. bases on Okinawa have played in the destruction of the environment and of the many criminal acts of U.S. military personnel, including rape and murder against the people of Okinawa.

We are also aware of the central role that the U.S. bases on Okinawa played during the criminal war waged by the U.S. against the people of Vietnam and the present-day role they play in the aggressive military presence of the U.S. in the entire region.

On the basis of these facts, the Coalition Against U.S. For-eign Military Bases and all of the Conference participants unanimously demand that all charges against Hiroji Yama-shiro, and his co-defendants Hiroshi Inaba and Atsuhiro Soeda, be dropped and all attempts to silence the people of Okinawa in their just quest to rid their homeland of the many U.S. military bases be stopped.

The Coalition further pledges to support the case of Hiroji Yamashiro, Hiroshi Inaba, Atsuhiro Soeda, and to publicize their cases in the U.S. and to raise the demand that all U.S. military bases be removed from Okinawa.

Issued by the Coordinating Committee of the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases, January 15, 2018.

Committee: Ajamu Baraka, Black Alliance for Peace; Ann Wright and Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK; Al Marder, U.S. Peace Council; Bruce Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power In Space; Nancy Price, WILPF, and others. The very successful conference built unity in the US peace movement. It can be viewed in streaming video on the noforeignbases.org website.

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