North Country Peace Builder
Vol. 53, No. 3, September 2002
For some years the national office of the FOR has discussed having regional offices across the United States, to help local branches do their work. Now, with national FOR under new leadership, the organization will try this idea out. Minnesota FOR member Maryrose Dolezal, after working on a contract basis for national for the past year, has now become a staff member and will continue her work on organizing peacemaker trainings out of this local office. Actually, the "office" is two desks at the Friends for a Non-Violent World office at 1050 Selby Ave, St. Paul. The second desk is for a new intern, a young person from Houston who will be arriving imminently.
We can give Maryrose much credit for making this regional office a reality. Her work on having local peacemaker trainings in the Midwest has given national FOR new outreach. And an emphasis on peacemaking is needed right now more than ever.
Please consider serving as an at-large member on the board of the Minnesota FOR. We meet monthly except in December. In January we hold a longer-than-usual planning meeting. Our discussions are always stimulating, our work is serious but also fun, and by serving we continue the work of promoting and teaching nonviolence in a world facing more violence than ever. Time commitment is one evening a month plus voluntary work outside the meetings.
The Minnesota FOR cannot function without the help of its members. We need you!
We have received a new membership list from National that lists 1,911 FOR
members in the state of Minnesota! The board will send every one of these
members an invitation to our November annual meeting, and see what happens!
From Member Raquel (and Frank) Wood: Even though I never turn up at FOR events, I am here! We do read the North Country Peace Builder! Thank you, thank you, for your work editing. It's an important way to help people feel in touch. The FOR has been a presence in my life--all 70 years! Gratefully, Raquel, and Frank too.
In addition to the new <www.mnfor.org/> website, we will soon be developing a moderated e-mail list for the purpose of letting FOR members know about events we are sponsoring or co-sponsoring that come up between newsletters, and about other Fellowship news. Please send an e-mail with FOR in the subject line to Katrina@cloudnet.com if you are interested in subscribing to the list when it is set up.
This newsletter will still be carried at website <www.osb.org/for/> thanks to the kindness of Brother Richard Oliver OSB, who offered us this place on his site long before we could think of having our own site.
DON'T FORGET TO ATTEND THE ANNUAL MEETING!
November 3, 2002. Everyone is welcome.
This newsletter is being produced while the drums of war are beating loudly from Washington and throughout the media. This administration will have its war, if we the people do not rise up and say we will not allow it, and state this strongly while there is still time. We must not stay on the sidelines hoping it will not happen, as many of us did before the Gulf War. These pages are devoted to Iraq and action plans. May we all do whatever we can to avert this tragedy for the Iraqi people, for the Middle East, and for ourselves.
FOR Among Peace Groups Promoting Pledge of Civil Disobedience
Pax Christi USA, American Friends Service Committee, Education for Peace in Iraq Center, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, FOR, Lutheran Peace Fellowship, National Network to End the War Against Iraq, and Voices in the Wilderness are promoting the Pledge of Resistance <www.peacepledge.org/> included as an insert in the hardcopy newsletter. They ask people to sign the pledge, send it to a sponsoring organization to be delivered to the Administration, and be prepared to follow through if the U.S. goes to war against Iraq.
The National Network to End the War Against Iraq also has suggestions for actions.
* Call or send faxes opposing the war every Tuesday until the election.
* Meet with elected leaders, following up with letters and updates.
* Be at all electioneering events and raise the issue.
* Ask your congressperson to sign on to a Dear Colleague letter opposing the war (this is being organized)
* Use the Peace Pledge and Pledge of Resistance to show opposition. Collect signatures on the pledges.
* Speak at local faith communities; encourage church leaders to meet with Congress members; encourage these communities to have letter-writing events.
* Rebut the Administration's propaganda through letters to the editor, press releases.
* Ask the local paper for a regular column for the peace perspective.
* Hold regular vigils, protests, demonstrations at congressional offices.
* Prepare for possible civil disobedience
So begins a 5-page call to action by a group that met at a statewide anti-war conference in Brainerd in July. Members of the group are the Alternatives to War Committee, St. Cloud; the Brainerd Area Coalition for Peace; Nukewatch; the Anti-War Committee, Minneapolis; Headwaters Green Party, Bemidji; and Vets for Peace, Chapters 27 and 80. They are promoting a statewide effort to oppose the Administration's war on terrorism and show commitment to use of nonviolent means to seek justice and proceed toward peace.
Their campaign consists of four parts: a day of independent group actions for peace, on Saturday Oct. 26; a coordinated call-in day to U.S. congress people on Monday Oct. 28; promotion of petitions for peace; and a statewide press release, containing the names of all groups that register their intent to participate by October 11.
Here are sample actions the group suggests:
* Distribute handbills door to door with pro-peace, anti-war messages and information.
* Hold a demonstration in front of a congressperson's local office.
* Hold a community forum to discuss the Patriot Act and other measures that imperil civil rights and liberties.
* Invite community to share in a day of creating peaceful alternatives to the War on Terrorism.
* Create a global flag, with the back containing information about the proposed war on Iraq and why it should not happen; include contact information for elected people. Distribute the flags to the public.
* Create a signature ad opposing a war against Iraq and the War on Terrorism. Place the ad on Oct. 26 in a prominent local newspaper. (Look at www.justpeaceinfo.org/ for suggestions.)
The coordinating committee asks that groups make a commitment to make a pledged number of calls on the October 28 call-in day. We encourage Minnesota FOR members to observe this day and make calls to their representatives and to both senators.
Sen. Paul Wellstone 651-645-0323 or 1-800-642-6041;
Washington office 202-224-5641, fax 202-224-8438
Sen. Mark Dayton 612-727-5220, or 1-888-224-9043;
Washington office 202-224-3244, fax 202-228-2186
District 1, Gil Gutknecht, 507-252-9841; Washington office 202-225-2472
District 2, Mark Kennedy, 763-684-1600; Washington office 202-225-2331
District 3, Jim Ramstad, 952-738-8200; Washington office 202-225-2871
District 4, Betty McCollum, 651-224-9191; Washington office 202-225-6631
District 5, Martin Olav Sabo, 612-664-8000; Washington office 202-225-4755
District 6, Bill Luther, 651-730-4949; Washington office 202-225-2271
District 7, Colin Peterson, 218-847-5056; Washington office 202-225-2165
District 8, James Oberstar, 218-727-7474; Washington office 202-225-6211
From an editorial in The Nation, September 2, 2002
"This past week confirmed that the American political establishment is not united in support of the Bush Administration's policy of forcible 'regime change' in Iraq. Odd as it may seem, the strongest expression of doubt came from a key member of the GOP's right wing, House majority leader Dick Armey. Expressing concern that an unprovoked attack on Iraq would violate international law, Armey said that such an attack 'would not be consistent with what we have been as a nation or what we should be as a nation.' ...
"Armey (and Levin) are just two of a number of important political actors ... who have recently expressed qualms about the proposed military invasion. These voices need to be amplified and reinforced by others if the United States is to avoid a potentially disastrous intervention in the Middle East. ... The concerns among the country's elite deserve widespread public attention. "
The Nation then compressed these concerns into nine questions, with the caveat that others might want to raise much more fundamental questions. These questions are, very briefly:
1. Why make war when the existing strategy of "containment" (sanctions, no-fly zones, technology restraints) seems to be succeeding in containing Iraq?
2. Why is there so little international support for invasion, and what are the consequences if the U.S. acts alone?
3. Is the U.S. prepared to accept significant losses of American lives?
4. Is the U.S. prepared to inflict heavy losses on Iraq's civilian population?
5. Might Saddam just go ahead and use any chemical and biological weapons he might have, if Iraq is invaded?
6. Are we prepared to cope with outbreaks of anti-American violence throughout the Muslim world?
7. Can our economy, and those of other countries, withstand a big rise in oil prices, a bulging federal deficit, and other negative economic effects of a major war?
8. Who will govern Iraq afterwards? Will we leave the country in chaos, or impose a government?
9. If the latter, are we willing to deploy thousands of American soldiers for many years to defend such a government and prevent the breakup of the country?
These are ideas for questions we must ask our elected leaders during this election season, and demand answers to from the White House.
John Braun (612-522-1861) and Mary Eoloff (651-698-1493) have available lawn signs which read "SAY NO TO WAR AGAINST IRAQ. CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE." The signs cost $10.
Wednesdays, 5-6 pm: Peace Vigil, Lake Street/ Marshall Ave. Peace Bridge; meet on St. Paul side at 5 pm; parking at Living Word Church at Otis and Marshall
Thursday Oct. 17, 7-9 pm: "Civil Liberties in the Aftermath of 9/11," Peter Brown, member of National Lawyers Guild; Henn. Ave. United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Ave., Minneapolis; free
Monday, Oct. 28: Call-in day for urging no war in Iraq
Sunday, Nov. 3, 2-5:30 pm: Minnesota FOR's annual meeting, First Universalist Unitarian Church, 3400 Dupont Ave. So., Minneapolis; light supper provided
Tuesday, Nov.12, 6:30-10 pm: "Nuclear Roulette in an Age of Terrorism," Arjun Makhijani, expert in nuclear issues and author of "From Global Capitalism to Justice," Minnesota Alliance of Peacemaker's Annual Celebration, Henn. Ave. United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Ave., Mpls.; 6:30 refreshments, 7 pm Gay Men's Chorus, jazz musician Larry McDonough, 7:30 speaker; $5 at door
Saturday, Nov. 9, 10 am-noon: "Women in Prison and a Culture of Violence," panel discussion led by Lois Herman, International Human Rights Consultant, Van Cleve Community Center, 90515th Ave. SE, Minneapolis; "Coffee With" program of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Minnesota Metro Branch
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North Country Peace Builder
Produced quarterly (September, December, March, and June) by the Executive Committee of the Minnesota Fellowship of Reconciliation.
Send article, letters, and comments to
Leslie Reindl, editor
1233 Ingerson Road
St. Paul, MN 55112
Or use the online form to send comments or contributions.
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