Peace Work in the 'Solid South'
|Rocket park in Huntsville, Alabama. Huntsville will be the site of the Global Network's 25th annual space organizing conference and protest on April 7-9, 2017.|
- I've been working for the last couple of days to wrap up our April 7-9, 2017 space conference promo brochure. Our layout person Nancy Randolph (who also does a fabulous job on our newsletter Space Alert!) did a quick turn-around on this one as I am anxious to get it done and to the printer before Mary Beth and I head to Taiwan for my son's wedding there next week.
- Even though we are still working to confirm all of the speakers and co-sponsors for the event I want to get the brochure (along with a cover letter) in the mail on Trump's inauguration day - January 20. I also set up a Facebook page for the event which you can see here
- Things are falling into place quite nicely as we now have the location of the meeting secured as well as a hotel for folks to stay in. Local activists in Huntsville have been super helpful to us suggesting the meeting site and one of the caterers we'll use. One local supporter has also offered to help set in motion our home hospitality requests. So all that takes a huge load off my back. Thanks Huntsville!
- Yesterday I had a call from an old friend in Florida who volunteered to help promote the conference among peace people in her state and across the southeast. There will be an annual Kings Bay, Georgia nuclear submarine base protest vigil on New Years Eve in St. Marys near the Georgia/Florida border. Folks gather from across the southeast and she is helping to organize that annual event which has been going on for more than 30 years. I can't think of a better way to bring in the new year than holding hands with other dear souls outside a nuclear submarine base. Always a spiritual experience. I might add that former President Jimmy Carter (who had been governor of Georgia) had the base built while he was president. I voted for Carter when he first ran because during the campaign he said, "The arms race is a disgrace to the human race." Fool me once......
- When my friend called from Florida one of the first things she said was that she felt the Global Network's Huntsville conference in April was important because not many national peace events are held in the 'solid south'. If one looks at the voting patterns of those in Congress it is generally the southern states that provide the bulwark of support for the military industrial complex. Having lived and organized in Florida for more than 25 years I fully agree that most peace groups pay little attention to the south - largely because many activists feel it would be a waste of time to hold events down yonder. But how will we ever change that power dynamic in the country unless we show support for those who live and do peace work in the south?
- So in the final analysis I am thrilled that we are getting such great support from people in the Huntsville area and I'm going to work hard to get folks to head south for the April 7-9 events. In the meantime I have a trip to Taiwan ahead of me which will be followed by one week in Okinawa where I will join with monks and nuns from the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist order who are planning to hold peace walks and vigils at the numerous US military bases on that beleaguered island.
- It's one thing to go protest at US bases overseas and demand they be closed. It is quite another thing to hold protests back home in our own communities (like Bath, Maine or Huntsville, Alabama) where the warships and missiles are built and then deployed at these overseas bases. I want to connect all these dots. If we are truly going to help shut down the US imperial war machine then we must consistently take on the tough job of calling for the conversion of the US military production system to sustainable technologies that would help us deal with the coming reality of global warming.
- A double thumps up and peace sign to all those across the country who protest at US bases and weapons factories - Creech, Beale and Hancock drone bases come to mind as well as those this weekend at Kings Bay nuclear sub base in Georgia.