February 7 2006 Program Update!
Women Challenge US Policy: Building Peace on Justice in the Middle East Campaign
WILPF Save the Water Campaign
Haiti Issue Committee
Challenge Corporate Power, Assert the People's Rights Issue Committee
DISARM! Dismantle the War Economy Issue Committee
WILPF Program Committee
The WCUSP leadership team had a whirlwind meeting in Portland, Oregon February 3-5. The Portland and Washington County branches were delightful hosts, and we thoroughly enjoyed a potluck dinner with them on Saturday night. We are thrilled to announce Three Initiatives we will be focusing on this year:
Human Rights at Home and Abroad - The connection between the USA Patriot Act, discrimination against Arabs and Muslims in the US, and the de-humanizing and torture of Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East.
Dual Occupation - The connection between the US occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and the Israeli occupation of Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. We hope to work closely with our sister WILPFers who are already engaged in anti-Iraq War vigils and actions.
Stop CAT - As a member organization of the US Campaign to End the Occupation, we will increase our members' awareness and activity in the ongoing Stop Caterpillar Campaign, working to end the sale of Caterpillar bulldozers to Israel which are used to raze people, houses, and communities in Palestine.
http://www.endtheoccupation.org - US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
http://www.stopcat.org - The primary grassroots coalition website
http://catdestroyshomes.org - Created and maintained by Jewish Voice for Peace
STOP CAT Point Person: Marlene Santoyo firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-247-4385
The Save the Water Campaign is gearing up for two big events: World Water Day our campaign strategy retreat, both slated for the end of March. We are encouraging WILPF members to organize an action or educational event to call for "Water not War" on March 22, World Water Day. The Campaign is pleased to be sending Olivia Zink, leadership team member, to Mexico City for the Fourth World Water Forum. The Save the Water Campaign presented a workshop at this weekend's National Conference on Organized Resistance on the Bottled Water Boycott. The campaign is excited to announce that we have two water video's available from the national office, "In the Light of Reverence" and "Thirst". If you would like to rent these videos, email Kate Zaidan at email@example.com.
More deaths and police/MINUSTAH brutality have been reported over the past weeks as political instability worsens and the promised national elections have been postponed for a fourth time. The release of political prisoner Father Gerard Jean Juste for treatment in Miami of advanced leukemia complicated by pneumonia is the only "bright" spot in the picture since last August's WILPF Congress. The New York Times published an important expose on January 29th; in an unusual front-page story running to 4 pages, it detailed the players behind the scenes and the way in which the removal of President Aristide was accomplished by a cadre of political and corporate operatives. The story was made possible only by the revelations of former US Ambassador to Haiti Brian Curran. With 30-years of service to this country as a member of our diplomatic corps Curran was fired by the Bush administration in 2003 because it was felt he was not playing ball with their plans for a coup. The Haiti Issues Committee has published regular updates on the situation via our list serve, recommending actions that WILPFers can take in response to challenge and calling for a better US policy toward our Caribbean neighbor.
Members of the Des Moines branch will stage their second Challenge Corporate Power conference next Saturday, Feb. 4. They hope to take their show on the road when the Iowa winter has passed. The Des Moines branch, as a frequent user of our educational materials, has a particular interest in a recently begun project of the Corporations v. Democracy Issue Committee, a possible revision of the WILPF CCP/ APR study packet. We would like to hear suggestions about revision from any member who has gone through the 10-session program of study. The Bloomington (Indiana) branch used the county library for a free public showing of "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices." Attendance was excellent, the ensuing discussion lively. Also in Bloomington, a WILPFer's letter to the editor about corporate abuse of subsidies resulted in a productive meeting with the president of the city council and the city's redevelopment director about more stringent city standards in the awarding of subsidies.
Read details on WILPF DISARM’s new DISARM UPDATE website, accessible from the top right hand corner of www.wilpf.org. Submissions are welcome from all WILPF members.
• In January-February we feature the military budget versus a women’s peace budget. Val Mullen (Vermont) will issue DISARM EYE reports after Congress resumes January 31.
• DISARM serves as the major U.S. link to Reaching Critical Will. Jean Verthein (NY Metro) profiles staffer Jennifer Nordstrom in the January/ February DISARM UPDATE.
• Pat Birnie (Tucson) and Carol Urner (Portland OR & Los Angeles) \fly to Geneva with staff member Jody Dodd in early March for a WILPF International Women’s Day seminar on Depleted Uranium. They’ll also observe the UN Disarmament Committee. Look for reports in the March-April DISARM UPDATE featuring nuclear issues.
• Two DISARM leadership team members have had Federal Court trials in January. In the January 26 trial of co-chair Ellen Barfield (Baltimore Branch) the Judge dismissed the case for failure of the Federal Prosecuter to supply evidence. Ellen was arrested last July for attempting to deliver a letter to the National Security Agency re illegal spying.
• WILPF members from six Branches attended the January 19 trial of MacGregor Eddy (Monterey Branch) in Santa Barbara. The trial continues on March 16. The Judge may allow the lawyer to argue the case on “necessity,” citing the Nuremberg Principles.
• Ellen Barfield, Jean Verthein and Claire Gosselin (Boston) from our Leadership Team, and several other WILPFers active on DISARM concerns, will participate in the UN Commission on the Status of Women meetings beginning February 25. Reports in March.
• Our January- February DISARM UPDATE reports significant disarmament related activities from 16 Branches. Submit your own reports to firstname.lastname@example.org .
(Note: DISARM web mistress Carol Urner is new to the website process, and has been “learning by doing.” She is now taking a course. Expect improvement. Comment/suggestions welcome.)
The members of the Program Committee are very much involved in developing a work plan for the year that will enable us to look at "program as a whole" -- all activities in which WILPF members are engaged as WILPF members. With a better understanding of how we express our convictions in action, we hope then to reinforce what is and identify what else, if anything, we need to do. Developing a work plan doesn't sound too exciting, but we think the outcomes will be!