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Our 5th Annual Peace & Economic Justice ACTION Conference
This has become the largest skill-building, relationship weaving event of its kind in the Inland NW, bringing together 200 progressives from Montana to Seattle and beyond. There are 21 fantastic workshops to chose from! You can still register at pjals.org/2014conference, or you can come and register at the door!
Our Keynote Speaker is Kristin Stoneking, Executive Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). A vocal advocate for the Occupy/Decolonize movement, Kristin achieved national attention in November 2011 for her role in a situation with violent overtones. Police officers pepper-sprayed activists who had joined a large Occupy Davis protest. Kristin successfully mediated between the parties and, when video footage of the dramatic incident “went viral” via social media, promoted the disciplined, principled use of nonviolent action. Check out this interview with Kristin about her upcoming keynote! Read more »
PJALS leader Mike Nuess has this strong op-ed on Truth-Out:
While thinking about Syria it may be valuable to keep in mind something Chomsky regularly and wisely suggests: that the realization of a just and eventually peaceful world certainly requires our sustained commitment to the fundamental moral principle of universality, which simply means that we hold ourselves to the same set of standards that we expect of others. Then it would be complete hypocrisy to consider ourselves civilized were we to claim an act wrong for others but not for us.
On August 26, 2013 US Secretary of State Kerry said, referring to Syria, “The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children, and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity.”
Yet Kerry should know the U.S. has failed to renounce both its direct use of and complicity in the use of chemical weapons to indiscriminately kill thousands—possibly millions—in Vietnam, the Iran-Iraq war, the 2003 Iraq Invasion and 2008-9 in Gaza. The hypocrisy of our own government’s barbaric sale, tolerance and use of internationally outlawed weapons lends no credibility to its current claim that Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons is its real motive for attacking that nation.
Every act of state terrorism needs its pretext. … Read the full article here.
Time is Now to Say No War on Syria
and Yes to Practical Peace-Building Actions
With all three of our Congressional delegation saying they are “undecided” on authorization of military intervention in Syria, THIS IS THE WINDOW for us to act! All are hearing from constituents, and all need to hear from YOU!
The full Senate will vote this week; the House vote is not yet scheduled.
When you call, or when you talk to friends, here are the best resources I’ve seen about why we MUST say no to war with Syria and the practical peace-building actions we can take instead. Read more »
Talking to Electeds: No War on Syria
On Thursday a multi-generational delegation including PJALS members, Veterans for Peace, and clergy visited Rep. McMorris Rodgers’ office where we met with her District Director Louise Fendrich and Senator Cantwell’s office where we met with her Eastern Washington Representative Bryan Raines. Both said their offices had received many calls–keep ‘em coming! Here’s our quick debrief of our first meeting:
Each person shared his or her own story and most important reasons to vote NO on any authorization of military intervention in Syria: Read more »
Local protestors voice concern over possible U.S. attack in Syria
by JENICA VILLAMOR & KREM.com
SPOKANE, Wash. — A group of local protestors gathered Downtown to voice their concerns over President Obama’s plan to seek military action in Syria.
“We’ve just been through two wars that is killing this country and this is insane,” said Michael Beasley with Spokane Coalition Builders.
Beasley and dozens of other protestors from organizations around Spokane gathered Saturday to stand against any possible violence.
“The civilian population will suffer the heaviest toll, so we will just be adding to it,” added Veterans for Peace protestor Arthur Hathaway. Read more »
Vets for Peace: Stop $30 Billion to Israel
Spokane Veterans for Peace, Chapter 35, has contracted for the placement of a billboard on I-90 between Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls urging that we “Stop $30 Billion to Israel.” This was a joint collaboration with an anonymous matching grant funder who has helped placed dozens of such billboards across the country, many of them sponsored by local Veterans for Peace chapters.
Spokane Vets for Peace views our $30 billion funding for Israel as both unnecessary and counterproductive to the aims of 1) peace in the Middle East and 2) filling domestic needs. We note, too, that funding for Israel has substantially increased in the face of the sequester that has devastated social programs and infrastructure spending drastically.
Peace & Justice Action Committee: A new model to advance our work
by Shar Lichty
After a summer off, our Peace & Justice Action Committee (PJAC) will be resuming our meeting schedule on Sept. 19th with a new approach: leadership development and campaign-specific organizing. Read more »
Say NO to US War on Syria
War is not the answer! US military intervention in Syria will lead to more bloodshed and deaths. Come join members of the PJALS, Veterans for Peace, and people from all over Spokane as we make our “NO WAR” position visible. ALL WELCOME!
Say NO to US War on Syria
Saturday August 31, 2:00 pm
Riverfront Park Fountain at Howard & Spokane Falls Blvd
Here are 5 ways you can ACT NOW:
- Spread the word on Facebook about Saturday’s rally or download & post this flier
- Join us to make signs Friday at 2pm in the Community Building Lobby, 35 W. Main. Bring your own materials or use ours.
- Donate to support this rapid response at www.pjals.org/contribute –all gifts appreciated!
- Sign these three petitions–and share them!
- Educate yourself with these useful articles below.
Petitions to Sign and share:
- Prevent an Attack on Syria Now–call for alternatives – from Roots Action
- Demand that no military action be taken in Syria without prior Congressional authorization! – from Win Without War
- NO U.S. MILITARY INTERVENTION IN SYRIA! — from Credo
- NEW: Iraq Veterans Against The War’s statement Against Military Force in Syria:So long as non-military avenues exist, we demand their use before war. According to current opinion-polls, the majority of Americans share our deep opposition to military intervention. As veterans, we know all too well the limitations of military action to bring meaningful resolution, and this is why we now call upon the U.S. and international community to exhaust every available non-military option to ensure that a cease-fire is diplomatically secured in Syria. We firmly believe that the Syrian people have the right to self-determination and that international leaders should work tirelessly to secure a space within which the Syrian people can pursue a lasting reconciliation free of outside interference.
- 10 simple points to help you understand the Syria conflict
- Syria: Another Western War Crime In The Making
- Bob Dreyfuss, The Nation: No War With Syria
- IPA: An Illegal War Forced on Syria That Benefits Al-Qaeda?
- Mairead Maguire: Syria: No Armaments to Rebels
- Phyllis Bennis: There is No Military Solution to Syria
- More from the Institute for Policy Studies
The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. … If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, … want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. …. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.
Patriots Say NO to US Civil Liberties Violations
This next week we’re going to hear a lot about patriotism. What does patriotism mean to you?
To me, it’s most important to be loyal to humans and our planet as a whole, not to focus too much on nationality. I feel suspicious of so-called patriotism being used to silence critical thinking and dissent. I like Barbara Ehrenreich’s quote: “No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.” In fact, dissent, rebellion, and hell-raising have a strong track record of strengthening democracy & justice in our country and all over the world.
On that note–Will you join me and other PJALS folks to speak out against US violations of civil liberties–NSA spying, call-tracking, email surveillance; unlawful detentions, force-feeding, & rights violations at Guantanamo; and the persecution of whistleblowers Eric Snowden & Bradley Manning? Join us on Wednesday July 3 at 5pm on Division at North River Dr, near the Wendy’s. Read more »
Fretting about Fairchild …and other chronic ills
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War
Long ago, in a time of relative innocence and prosperity, the people of the Spokane area hitched themselves to the star of the U.S. Air Force. It didn’t take much reflection or study, just a simple faith that our country and it’s military establishment had always been noble and right and would never betray our confidence that Fairchild Air Force Base would make us all safer, prouder, and wealthier.
As the USAF celebrates 65 years, many of us have been cynical for a long time, especially we who have done horrible things under military orders and then watched as our safety, pride and wealth are stripped from people and bestowed upon corporations. In spite of hard numbers and unresolved superfund sites, we are expected to believe that Fairchild is the best thing that ever happened to our area’s economy. Read more »
Genocide in Guatemala: Another Consequence of U.S. Policy?
by Mike Nuess
The May 10, 2013 conviction of former Guatemalan dictator and School of the Americas attendee, Efraín Ríos Montt, for genocide and crimes against humanity sets a major milestone along the long path toward justice on this earth, marking the first time a head of state has been convicted of genocide by his or her own country, and clearly testifying to the extraordinary and courageous perseverance of thousands of persecuted Guatemalans who toiled to bring the truth to light.
But the path toward justice leads further, continuing both within Guatemala and beyond it, too—perhaps especially to the U.S. Read more »
Mossadegh Legacy Institute founder to speak June 6
The non-profit Mossadegh Legacy Institute (MLI), inspired by the legacy of the late Iranian Prime Minister, Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, seeks to “create a world that nurtures the nonviolent virtues and values of “The Gandhi of Iran” [Mossadegh], not only for his beloved Iran, but for the global community on our distressed Mother Earth.”
MLI has composed a petition to the Nobel Foundation for a joint Posthumous Nobel Peace Prize for Mossadegh and Mahatma Gandhi. MLI’s Board of Endorsers includes MIT Professor Noam Chomsky (Honorary Chair); Prof. Ervand Abrahamian; Tariq Ali; Cindy Sheehan; Professor Richard Falk; Prof. Stephen Kinzer and many other effective contemporary voices for truth and justice.
MLI is conducting a Mossadegh Awareness Speaking Tour across the U.S., seeking to build a deeper understanding of Mossadegh and beget Sanity in Foreign Policy, a condition urgently needed in today’s world. MLI founder Moji Agha will speak in Spokane on June 6:
6:00 to 8:00 PM, at Salem Lutheran Church, 1428 W 1428 W Broadway Ave, Spokane, WA 99201 Read more »
Our Community of Action Going Forward Together
by Liz Moore, PJALS Director
What I love most about PJALS is being part of a community of people who take action together based on the connections between human rights, economic justice, & peace.
Our Steering Committee asked you, PJALS members, to guide strategic planning for 2013-2014. We learned that you overwhelmingly support organizing to raise revenue & reject cuts as well as to counter the costs of militarism and to demand money for people, not for war. You’re also passionate about alternatives to incarceration & police accountability. You value that we create community together through our events & campaigns. You strongly support our Young Activist Leaders Program & our interns. You love our Action Conference. You want PJALS to continue to strengthen our connections with communities of color & with rural people.
Why prioritize those areas? Read more »
Pull the Pentagon Pork: Protect our Priorities, Protect Families
Update: Check out our photo petition on the National Day of Action to Pull the Pentagon Pork here!
By Lucy Vazquez
On Tuesday February 19th PJALS members met with John Culton, the Eastern Washington Director for Senator Patty Murray as our second mobilization, following up on our December action, where we delivered over 1,100 signatures of individuals and 18 different organizations that have signed on as part of PJALS’ Bring Our Billions Home Campaign. As the fight over the budget continues and more cuts to social programs are on the chopping block, PJALS decided to make a stance and urge Senator Murray to protect our communities and fight to reduce wasteful Pentagon spending.
Sitting in Senator Murray’s Eastern Washington Director John Culton’s office with seven PJALS members–veterans, students, farmers, mothers and fathers, and other everyday people–and listening to their stories made me realize this is not about numbers, it’s about impacting real people and communities. Read more »
pulling at the threads of our culture of violence
by Liz Moore, PJALS Director
I hope you will join us on Thursday February 7, in the Community Building Lobby, 35 W. Main from 5:30-8pm for our panel discussion of the culture of violence
Like you, my thoughts, heart, and sorrow have been with the families, children, teachers, and entire community of Newtown, CT, in the wake of the devastating tragedy of 28 people, including 20 children, shot and killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School. I have felt the need not to engage with much media coverage of this heartbreaking event, but I do feel the need to share some reflection and thoughts with you here.
This horrible atrocity is part of a pattern of violence in our country. A timeline of most deadly mass shootings from 1989 to the present is a shocking and saddening set of information, showing increasing frequency in more recent years. And at the same time, our federal budget puts 47% of our national budget into past and current Pentagon spending, Read more »
What I wanted to say…
“If corporate interests cared about ‘creating’ jobs in the U.S., NAFTA and subsequent greased skids for ‘Made in the USA’ would be dismantled, and Americans would be building solar and wind power components for global energy needs.”
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War
It’s exciting to watch PJALS cram meaningful meetings, public events, and activist opportunities into your monthly schedule. It reminds me that, halfway through our tenure at PJALS, Nancy and I realized Spokane had undergone drastic changes regarding things to do, places to be, and live and interactive education and information. These days, of course, I have options. Sometimes, I feel free to simply stay home or even be detached about significant issues. But there are times I miss the action, being in the trenches or on the street.
One week in December, there were two opportunities I couldn’t resist. Read more »
Spokane’s Pax Christi Engages the New National Strategic Narrative
By Mike Nuess
Capt. Wayne Porter, USN, proposes that a new world vision and strategies for strategic security and prosperity that he presents in Mr. Y: A National Strategic Narrative (NSN) should replace those presented in George Kennan’s 1946 document, Mr. X: The Sources of Soviet Conduct, which defined the U.S. government’s Cold War vision, strategies and tactics still in place today.
Last April Pax Christi-Spokane and Gonzaga University’s Departments of Political Science and Religion hosted Capt. Porter in a one-day conference. Porter explained the new vision in terms of the need to respond to new threats requiring new ways of thinking. For examples, we are confronted by a global resource crisis where shortages of food supplies, water and the impending demise of fossil fuels challenge us to think of sustainable solutions that bring security; we must understand and adapt to an extremely turbulent change in climate, which will likely affect large populations around the planet, further impacting strategic and economic security. Read more »
PJALS Tells Senators Murray and Cantwell, “Money for People, Not for War!”
by Josh Neil
The fight over the fiscal bluff continues to heat up. Members of PJALS, Veterans for Peace, the Progressive Democrats, the EWU chapter of MEChA, and leaders in the faith community came together to lift our collective voice in order to tell Senators Murray and Cantwell, “Money for People, Not for War!”
Our country has a choice to make: we can either work towards prosperity for our working families and the middle class (who make up the majority of our population); or we can continue to pour money down the drain, into the mouths of the millionaires and CEOs. I think the choice is crystal clear. Forty-seven percent of income taxes for 2013 will go towards Pentagon spending–spending that creates fewer jobs than spending on education, healthcare and other social services. Read more »
The Government and Your Guns
By David Swanson, originally posted at War Is A Crime
“There is no correlation between personal liberties in a nation and its gun ownership.”
We’re in the grip of twin madnesses, and those who have overcome one of them can still be completely controlled by the other.
The first madness is the idea that spending a trillion dollars a year on weaponry and war preparations makes us safer, that 1,000 military bases abroad protect rather than provoke, that nuclear arsenals discourage terrorism, that drones have civilized the act of blowing up somebody’s house, that the Pentagon’s business really is “defense.”
Why should our 4% of humanity need more weaponry than the rest of the world for protection? Read more »
We said: “Money for People, Not for War!”
With the support of 18 faith communities, businesses, and organizations, we delivered 1123 signatures to Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell, urging them to vote for “Money for People, Not for War!” Thank you for signing in support! You can still endorse this important campaign here: www.pjals.org/billions.
November is for SOAW
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War
Remember School of the Americas? School of Assassins? Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation? Some of us will never forget our experiences at Ft. Benning or the U.S.-sponsored atrocities that made us passionate about being there, but we might forget our country still maintains a facility to perpetuate terror against impoverished Latin Americans who dare to act, or even speak, against their own oppression.
Perhaps you get emails from SOA Watch and know that thousands of opponents of our anachronistic U.S. policy on Latin America gather each November to observe the grim anniversary of the massacre at the University of Central America and try to shame our military into eliminating our own haven for state terrorism.You may know our tax dollars pay for this institution of human misery which has few enemies in Congress and a ‘wall of honor’ for many of our hemisphere’s worst abusers of human rights. Read more »
Col. Ann Wright: Patriot for Peace
by Michelle Little, intern
I have often felt that many of the wars we are waging in foreign countries were wrong. I remember watching the initial bombing in our second war with Iraq played live on my television screen in a campaign we called “Shock and Awe.” I remember feeling scared, confused and borderline disgusted. I always feel a little disheartened when I watch crowds of Americans cheering about the death of “terrorists.” I never exactly understood why I was having those feelings or what it all meant, but after listening to Col. Ann Wright speak at the Unitarian Universalist Church on October 11, I no longer question whether those feelings are justifiable.
Col. Ann Wright told those who gathered at the church about her journey in the military. Read more »
Dreaming of Duvets
by David Smith-Ferri, traveling in Kabul with Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Haroon has recurring dreams. Haroon whose father was killed when he was a boy and who remembers a gnawing hunger during the long winter in every year of his childhood. At night, he dreams that someone drops him from a great height. He freefalls through the air, crashes to hard ground, and dies. During the day, he dreams of relief from the anger and confusion that pursue him, and of being a photographer, a traveler.
Faiz, who lost his parents when he was a boy, and whose brother was shot and killed in front of him, has nightmares, too. Each night at the Afghan Peace Volunteer (APV) House here in Kabul, as he sleeps against the wall a few feet away, his moans and cries wake me. By day, he dreams of being a journalist, of marrying and raising a family, of a world without borders and war.
In Afghanistan, with a child mortality rate of nearly twenty percent, many children never even have a chance to form dreams, yet alone to realize one. Life is especially hard on children whose families flee their homes, leaving behind not only their land and livelihoods, but their social networks. Across the country, four hundred people are displaced every day by violence and poverty, and many of them choose to come to Kabul, carrying their shattered dreams with them. Kabul, a city built to support 300,000 people, is now home to over five million.
Last winter, particularly fierce, dozens of very young children froze to death in squalid, “refugee” camps on the outskirts of the city. An estimated thirty-five thousand people live in these camps….
Read the full article at http://vcnv.org/dreaming-of-duvets-in-afghanistan
Rusty on Peace and War: Earning Stripes and PSE
By Rusty Nelson
How’s your patriotic self esteem (PSE)? I usually do pretty well with that, considering that some observers long ago decided I deserved an especially warm spot in their version of Dante’s Inferno for being (choose one, according to political trends in the Inland Northwest) a traitor, an America-hater, a liberal, a socialist, a godless communist.
One thing I’ve retained as I lost more and more enthusiasm for nationalistic murder and mayhem is a great fondness for the Olympic Games, and now that is interfering with my PSE. Nancy and I watched lots of track and field, gymnastics and swimming, tolerated parts of the infinite matches and promotions of beach volleyball while catching glimpses of other sports. We often root for American teams and individuals, but we have a problem with some announcers and athletes who seem to feel that silver or bronze is for losers. Read more »
Snapshots from the Ruins
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War
After weeks of gawking at genuine antiquities, I returned to my native state and spent a few hours looking at an archive of 20th Century Georgia history. I don’t know whether the contrast or the similarity is more striking.
A massive, new Richard Russell Building for special collections of the University of Georgia libraries holds papers and records from most of Georgia’s significant politicians and political characters from the past century. Far above files for serious researchers, political campaigns and policy struggles involving Georgians are in interactive venues down the hall from a museum of the Peabody Awards, presented for excellence in electronic media by the university since 1940.
As a nephew of the late Senator Russell, a former gopher and receptionist in his office, and a radio news reporter during the administrations of Governors Lester Maddox and Jimmy Carter, I find this library to be part candy store. Read more »
Good news: WA state Senate Committee calls for “Money for People, Not for War!”
URGENT ACTION NEEDED! Sign the petition here for a full Senate vote!
A Washington State Senate committee passed SJM 8014, calling upon Congress to stop the Afghanistan war, bring the troops home to their families, cut the military budget, and shift spending to job creation, education, healthcare, environmental protections, and lifeline programs for struggling families! Now we need your help to bring it to the Senate floor for a vote!
SJM 8014 is now in the Senate Rules Committee, where it will languish unless a member of the Senate Rules Committee pulls it by Tuesday Feb 15 at 5pm to send it to the floor for a vote by the entire Washington State Senate. Fortunately, Spokane 3rd LD State Senator Lisa Brown serves on the Rules Committee and is the powerful Senate Majority Leader. Please contact her IMMEDIATELY and ask her to send SJM 8014 to the floor. TIME IS SHORT, SO PLEASE ACT NOW.
Phone: 360-786-7604 or (509) 456-2760
(sample message below)
Read more »
By Liz Moore
“Save Lives, Save Jobs, Raise Revenue” is the rallying cry of Our Economic Future, a coalition of over 150 groups pushing the Washington state legislature to close wasteful corporate special interest tax loopholes. As you’ll see in these posts, PJALS members like you have been very busy raising our voices together to stop the devastating cuts to education and lifeline programs for struggling families. We co-sponsored the Spokane release of the important report “Facing Race: How Budget Cuts Are Increasing Racial Disparities” and a caravan of PJALS and WA CAN! activists traveled to Olympia to “Occupy the Capitol”, culminating in marches in Spokane and Olympia. Our joint march here (with Occupy Spokane, unions, and other groups) included the delightful experience of 300 of us caroling in the atrium of Riverpark Square with re-written tunes including “I’m Dreaming of a Fair Budget” and “It’s the Most Critical Time of the Year.” Read more »
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War: we can refuse to have people for our enemies
By Rusty Nelson
Here in our golden years, in our pastoral, rustic homestead, Nancy and I watch quite a few movies. It’s sometimes a good way to escape reality and, sometimes a way to confront and examine reality, depending upon perspectives. As movie-watchers, we found ourselves viewing the whoop-de-do around the presentation of the Golden Globe Awards, holding out the hope that a “Hollywood Liberal” or two might make an inspiring statement about Martin Luther King or the Occupy movement, or denounce militarism or capital punishment or money-driven elections in the temporary, bully pulpit.
My moment arrived when Iranian director Asghar Farwadi went to the stage to accept the award for his film, “A Separation.” Read more »
Work Not War: Bring Our Billion$ Home
by Shar Lichty, Organizer
On Saturday, October 8 PJALS held what has sadly become a yearly event, a march against US war and occupation to commemorate the 10th anniversary of US war in Afghanistan, now the longest war in US history. As part of our Bring Our Billion$ Home campaign this year’s theme was “Work Not War.”
We kicked off the event with a community speak-out, hearing from veterans and community members on the human and economic costs of war. Speakers included Rusty Nelson and Mike Edwards from Veterans for Peace, service providers David Brookbank and Reese McMullin-Holford and Pastor Liv Larson-Andrews from Salem Lutheran Church. The speak-out was followed by a march through the Garland District in a show of support for our local, small businesses. (Pictures after the jump!) Read more »
Community Speak-out and March for Work Not War
1:00 pm, Saturday, October 8, Clarke Park on the corner of Garland and Division
Join PJALS members like you to commemorate 10 years of US war and occupation in Afghanistan. Speakers will include veterans and community members on the many costs of war including out-of-control military spending and the resulting lack of funding for lifeline programs for struggling families in our communities.
And, two days prior, join us to Meet and Eat
Thursday, October 6, 5:30-7:00pm, Lobby of the Community Bldg, 35 W. Main