October 22 2006 Program Update

Women Challenge US Policy: Building Peace on Justice in the Middle East Campaign
Save the Water Campaign
DISARM Issue Committee
Building the Beloved Community Issue Committee
Advancing Human Rights Issue Committee

Women Challenge US Policy: Building Peace on Justice in the Middle East
Women Challenge U.S. Policy:  Building Peace on Justice in the Middle East (WCUSP) campaign has been preparing for a meeting the first weekend of November in Austin, TX, at which we will be working on our plans for the upcoming year.  We are focusing on how to get aid to the Palestinians back on the U.S. agenda. Hamas' election in a fair and democratic process led to the cut-off of U.S. aid and the refusal
of Israel to remit tax money collected from the Palestinians  while Hamas remains a part of the Palestinian government.  We are concerned about the humanitarian issue (high unemployment and other economic
issues have led to widespread malnutrition), the rise in animosity that occurs under these circumstances, and the right of one government to dictate to another who they can elect to leadership positions.
We are also publicizing our Feminist Study Guide on the Middle East  and we encourage branches to lead a study group and engage members in discussion on the included topics.  We are beginning to advertise to
other organizations.  We have heard  rave reviews of the guide and we are looking at publishing additional, smaller pamphlets on specific issues not included in the original, based on requests we have received for additional information for study.

Save the Water

Blue Water Campaign continued good part of October.  Many branches had house parties where videos such as “Theist, In the Light of Reverence” were shown.  There were discussions, and action plans materialized in the several branches. There were water related conferences in Cape Cod and other pars of MA, NY, and NH and Olivia Zink and Nancy Price led some of the workshops. Linda Park and Yoshiko Ikuta attended the Great Lakes Restoration Conference sponsored by coalition of environmental organizations around the Great Lakes including Canada and Wisconsin.  The attendees were members of various government environmental agencies and nonprofit NGOs such as Sierra Club.

 Yoshiko expressed some concerns about the news of the plans for the US Navy using Great Lakes for target practice.  We talked about organizing protest actions.  There are enough environmental, commercial and recreational groups expressing their opposition to such plans.  Unfortunately, Canada approved (begrudgingly) the US Navy proposal.

There will be a few Leadership team members attending in the US Social Forum to be held in Atlanta, GA from June 27 to July 1 in 2007.  See www.ussf2007.org for more details. Because it is more of the grassroots organizing by minority groups, we might learn something new and refreshing.  There will be a conference call about preparing for this forum and few Nancy Munger and Nancy Price will represent the Water Campaign for the conference call.

The new anti-bottled water brochure will be made available soon.  The branches should contact Kate Zaidan at the National Office if interested.

GATS Initiative Update: Negotiators for the WTO are drafting new rules that will allow corporations to challenge national, state and local regulations just because the regulations might be considered too “burdensome” for corporate business interests.    Under these “domestic regulation” rules---local and national laws protecting water and water services – could become violations of the GATS regulation.  One could foresee how the corporate policy such as WTO and GATS would supersede any regulations formulated by the democratically elected government entities, and people would lose much of protection for safe water access and thus promote further privatization of water.

DISARM Issue Committee
Participate in the WILPF post card campaign supporting H R 2420 and a ban on weapons in space. (http://www.wilpf.org/legislative/postcards.htm ) Read about Vandenberg Air Force Base demonstration with eleven Japanese anti-nuclear activists for Keep Space for Peace Week and brief reports on other KP4S events at http://disarm.wilpf.org/septoct06/WILPFKP4Sevents.htm . DISARM  also needs longer reports, including photos when possible, for submission to the United Nations World Space Week  (October 4 to 10) for printing in their annual publication.  (Send to caroldisarm@gmail.com) Details on the UN week, sponsored largely by aerospace corporations like Lockheed and Raytheon are at http://disarm.wilpf.org/July-August%2006/UNworldspaeweek.htm .

Minneapolis/St Paul Branch is now using the Mil-Corp Manual as a basis for their Challenging Corporate Power study of local war profiteering corporations.  Ellen Barfield, Carol Urner and MacGregor Eddy of the DISARM team met with the Branch during KS4P week and also participated in a demonstration at Alliant Tech (major missile defense and nuclear weapons contractor).  The three team members were there for the national Merchants of Death Networking Conference (facilitated by War Resisters League and co-sponsored by WILPF). Read a report at  http://disarm.wilpf.org/septoct06/merchantsofdeath.htm

Also read WILPF statements on the North Korean nuclear test, join the AHR/CEDAW reading group on Women and the U.S. Budget, and lots more on DISARM UPDATE at   www.disarm.wilpf.org .

Building the Beloved Community

Sha'an Mouliert will be facilitating Star Power at Illinois College's Women's Conference October 28th.  She'll also be part of panel discussing women being active participants in society.  November 4th Sha'an will be facilitating a conflict resolution workshop with WCUSP Leadership Team in Austin, TX.

Advancing Human Rights
The AHR “Virtual Book Read” featuring Jane Midgley’s Women and the U.S. Budget is up and running. The main page for the book read is http://wilpf.org/book_readings/  and it has a link at the bottom left corner to the sign in page for the book read. Jane Midgley’s comments have been posted. WILPF made announcements in the Branch Mailings and in the all members’ e-mailing on October 4. Scotty Michaelson, discussion moderator reports that although twenty-five people have contacted him about joining the group, only 12 have registered on-line. It’s not too late to participate. New topics are introduced each Tuesday. Copies of the book are available for purchase at a reduced price through the WILPF website.

Intergenerational Community Roundtable on Human Rights held at the America’s Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee on September 15 exceeded the organizing committee’s expectations with around 80 people in attendance. The committee agreed to write a local city statue for Human Rights, and formed a drafting subcommittee. There was good participation and discussion, following introductory remarks by AHR co-chair Laura Roskos. Watch for more details and Rose’s picture in the forthcoming issue of Peace and Freedom!

WILPF has formed a subcommittee to coordinate our presence at the US Social Forum planned for Atlanta, June 27-July 1, 2007. Pat Willis is representing WILPF on the National Women’s Caucus Working Group (WCWG), which meets monthly in conference calls facilitated by WCWG chair, Loretta Ross. Pat has proposed that the WCWG hold a World Court of Women as their high profile event; two other proposals have been made to the WCWG as well as a motion to form a subcommittee on Peace and Security. The WCWG has been established to monitor and ensure gender equity in the USSF program and to facilitate working relationships among women’s organizations planning to be part of this event. If you wish to be included in the WILPF subcommittee or want more information about how to get involved in the USSF, please contact Pat Willis at pwill06@coastalnet.com. Pat is also working with Nicci Simmons of 1000 Peace Women Around the Globe to organize a workshop on UN Resolution 1325 at the WSF 2007 in Nairobi.

Laura Roskos and Gillian Gilhool attended the inaugural meeting of working group established by the National Council of Women’s Organizations to further develop the Coordinated Strategy to Prevent War: A Women’s Agenda plan of action. Committee member Phyllis Yingling is renewing the relationships she built during her years as WILPF President in an effort to gauge the level of support for this proposal among some of the NCWO’s 200 member organizations. The working group has until Nov. 14 to complete its feasibility analysis. If you want to help with outreach, coordination or technology for this large scale effort, contact Laura Roskos at Roskos@masscedaw.org.

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