2011 U.S. WILPF Congress
Focused on the End War theme, the Triennial Congress offered a provocative list of workshops that responded to the Opening Plenary challenge that “ending war means ending everything that causes or results from war.” Workshop topics such as Gender Responsive Budgeting, End War against Workers, Water for Life, Not for Profit, The Audacity of Hope in the Middle East: Advancing Peace and Human Rights, Nuclear Free Future, Telling our Stories – Supporting our Mission, and Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan: Ending These Wars, among many others enabled participants to explore WILPF’s multi-issue agenda towards establishing sustainable peace. See articles below for NCC Workshop “Special Reports.”
Gender Sensitive Budgeting Workshop
Jane Addams, along with her work for peace and at Chicago’s Hull House, for decades worked with Eleanor Roosevelt, Frances Perkins, first woman Secretary of Labor, and others to tirelessly advocate for “mothers’ pensions, widows’ benefits, old-age security, workers’ compensation, and unemployment insurance” (Blanche Wiesen Cook, Eleanor Roosevelt, vol 2, p. 247). From FDR on, Congress passed legislation to meet these needs that now the right-wing is trying to dismantle.
At the 1995 UN Fourth Conference on Women in Beijing, China, Jane Midgley, former WILPF US Executive Director founded the Women’s Budget Project and held citizens’ hearings around the country on budget and economic policies and to develop alternatives. Work on women’s budgets has taken off around the world. Midgley’s Women and the U.S. Budget: Where the Money Goes and What You Can Do About It (2005) is a plan for action.
End War against Workers, Public Employees, and Labor Unions focused on the savage and well organized corporate assault against worker organizations and unions to assure the elimination of any countervailing power to growing corporate domination of our social and political lives. Our purpose was to put L for Labor back on the WILPF program agenda, and to counter the corporate threat by connecting to labor struggles in our local communities and sharing organizing stories, coalition strategies, and the outcomes of recent campaigns the WILPF Triangle Branch had been involved in.
One such effort was The Farm Labor Organizing Committee and its broad campaign against RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company. Narrated by Nick Wood, FLOC organizer and strategist, the story focuses on how broad coalitions built among faith, labor and social justice organizations resulted in boycotts and pressure on RJ’s major international stockholder. In addition, FLOC used stock purchases to build shareholder power to embarrass RJ and draw attention to the abusive work conditions tolerated in Reynolds’ tobacco fields. Other member stories were shared from around the country, as well as organizing strategies, such as:
A Labor Issue Committee has been proposed, and all workshop participants signed up! We welcome others to join by contacting workshop facilitator: Miriam Thompson, (917) 825-0884.
Save the Water: "Water for Life, Not for Profit"
“Expand WILPF’s Environmental Platform"
The ME workshop was very well attended with some 30+ people. In accord with the 2011 Congress theme, an “End Wars” lens was used to analyze important issues within the Middle East, understanding that such issues are common to all war. Under this rubric, we categorized our discussions under headings that are universal to all wars - Land, Water, Security, and Power and Privilege vs. Human Rights - and that need to be dealt to “End War”. On each topic we opened the floor to the wisdom of the participants who shared their knowledge freely. It was very lively.
The topics reviewed were:
Our future work will focus on;
Short Term goals
Long Term goals
Nearly all participants in attendance expressed excitement to challenging the big issues identified in the ME workshop. To learn more or join the ME Issue Committee contact Chairs, Odile or Barbara. A conference call to organize WILPF ME Committee work will be set up soon!
Dismantle the War Economy Issue Committee came out of the Triennial WILPF Congress ready to go!* Seven of the WILPF Leadership Team were present and decided to continue prioritizing a *Nuclear Free Future.* The two major emphases now will be
(i.) abolition of both nuclear weapons and the pursuance of nuclear power; and
We are forming two cluster working groups. The Committee also welcomes those working on other links in the nuclear chain: ending uranium mining (especially on Native American lands); exposing the dangers of MOX and of developing a plutonium based economy; threats to women's reproductive systems and to our children; threats to our rivers, ground water, air and soil; nuclear waste sites; depleted uranium, etc. Notify firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to join either major group, work on another link in the nuclear chain or have questions and need more information. In addition, DISARM will continue to support those working on the Mil-Corp ConneXion, on moving the money from weapons to human rights and human needs, space demilitarization, strengthening the Bioweaopns Convention and on other aspects of disarmament and the arms trade. The Committee works primarily with WILPF Reaching Critical Will at the United Nations, but also with the Progressive Caucus and our friends in Congress -- and seek to educate those who still act our of ignorance. To join in any of this work or subscribe to WILPF EYE on Congress also contact "nuclear free future" at email@example.com.
“What does telling our stories have to do with fundraising?” This was the first question asked after our presentation. The answer? Everything. The one most effective and efficient way to support WILPF is to ask for support up close and personal; telling our story, your own story and, most importantly, listening to the donor’s story. Our workshop began with Dr. Catia Confortini’s informative and insightful research into the dynamic women she interviewed who facilitated a change in direction for WILPF. Robin Lloyd then brought to life her own grandmother’s story, Lola Maverick Lloyd, who was on the 1915 peace boat to the Hague, giving the audience an avenue to tell their individual WILPF stories later on. The presentation turned to the pragmatic and valuable work of gathering oral histories, which Judy Adams discussed with enthusiasm and long experience. All attendees received a 2 pg. handout and a 40 page “Guidelines” document for planning a branch oral history project to be completed for WILPF’s 100th anniversary. Judy talked briefly about how her branch used the oral histories for membership events and fundraising, as well as for the historical record. The last segment was dedicated to “Lighting the Way – Your WILPF Legacy,” the JAPA Ann Chalmers Pendall Planned Giving campaign. The JAPA co-president, Sandy Silver (stepping in for Mary Hanson Harrison), showed the recent DVD of interviews of WILPF women who gave their reasons
Twenty two people participated in the workshop on Ending the Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Kathy Kelly, founder of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and frequent visitor of the countries at war, co-facilitated the workshop. The current situation in Afghanistan was discussed, with special attention given to how the war effects the Afghan people - their losses, despair, and continuing struggle for sovereignty and justice. They would like the US/NATO troops, advisors, and mercenaries to leave. Reflecting on Pakistan, we included maps and showed how the oil pipeline routes make Pakistan strategically important in the region. Participants wanted to understand how to take action here in the U.S. to “End these Wars”. It was proposed that we support all Congressional initiatives that call for removal of troops. As a group we committed to calling our Senators and Representatives continually, writing letters, and vigiling / demonstrating locally, as WILPF and with other anti war groups. To learn more about the work of the End Wars Issue Committee, contact Marge Van Cleef, co-chair End the Wars Issue Committee.
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