Arizona – a hotbed of peace:
grassroots initiatives for ending war

December 15, 2004

this page is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/Strate/Salz/2004-12-15.htm

      People talking to people, at local levels, organizing for life with justice and dignity for everyone. It’s happening. Here are three efforts I happen to know about, and for sure there are plenty of others. Please redistribute this note widely.

1. Food not Bombs (FNB) is a grassroots organization with “hundreds of autonomous [local] chapters throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia”, according to its website, at http://www.foodnotbombs.net/. The chapter in Tucson, AZ, from which I got the e-mail that inpired this posting, is very active.

Walkouts planned on Inauguration Day (Jan 20) and on the Anniversary of the invasion of Iraq (Mar 18). In a Dec 13 e-mail, co-founder of FNB Keith McHenry <foodnotbombs@earthlink.net> proposes we all consider walking out on Jan 20 and Mar 18. Keith wrote in part:

“Today I have spoken with Not In Our Name in Seattle and The Student Environment Action Coalition and they are excited about the walkout. SEAC is also talking to Books Not Bombs about the two walkouts. They thought March 18th was also a great day to walkout and that would give us . . . time to get unions on board. We have talked with a national teachers union and the longshoremans union and they are asking their members to consider the walkout. The Walkout website, http://www.consensus.net/walkout.html.

“This weekend we handed out over 1,000 flyers at the 4th Avenue Street Fair in Tucson. Lots of people came to our table wanting to know how they can help. One man faxed our flyer to every number he had and I had a few emails as a result. Many people have emailed me to say they have been sending out the website to their email lists so it seems that the world is getting out. Please call and email as many people as possible. Organize a planning meeting in your community. We are planning a march from the University of Arizona to the Federal Building. We will also have a Critical Mass Bike ride and some people are interested in occupying a congressional office.”

Thanks
Keith McHenry
1-800-884-1136

See footnote1 for the text of the flyer and more contact info.


2. We Hold These Truths (WHTT) is based in Scottsdale, AZ. WHTT is a project of Charles E. Carlson’s Straight Gate Ministry, its goal: to speak (and listen) to people in churches of the Christian Right, trying to persuade them to turn away from war and killing. His approach is religious. The website, http://www.whtt.org/.

Peace Mongering at Church came in a Dec 13 e-mail from Charles E. Carlson . It begins,

“A feature story in "New Times" Magazine once dubbed Project Strait Gate, "Peace Monger." It earned its author an award for "religious story of the year." "Monger" means salesman, or perhaps even street vendor (for peace). We have come to rather appreciate the term, and you can read the story from the link in the footnotes. The "Monger" always shows you the merchandise he is selling, it is right there on his pushcart; the Warmakers, who peddle destruction in the name of safety, hide the product from you, else you would reject it.

“Why does Project Strait Gate go to the churches for our Vigils? It is New Testament history that Jesus and his companions always showed up at the Temple or the Synagogues...the church equivalent of their day. ...

. . .

“One cannot turn a page or flip the channel without being told that the Christian Right now controls America. Is there anyone who has not heard it? Yet no one explains how these millions who claim to believe on the "Prince of Peace" have been persuaded to vote for "Christian leaders" who promise anything but peace. There is no better way to find out what is wrong with professing Christians than to challenge them in mass where they worship. Project Strait Gate has now lost track of the number of churches where we have held Vigils, perhaps 55 or more, including Jerry Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church, and a conference of thousands of pastors held at his Liberty University last fall, as well as the Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix. We have sent articles like this one to hundreds of thousands.”

      You can get the complete text of the e-mail by writing Charles E. Carlson and requesting it.

See footnote2 for additional contact information, to participate,
and/or to subscribe to the approximately weekly e-mails.


3. The Nuclear Resister (TNR) and the U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu are based in Tucson, AZ. TNR is a more-or-less bi-monthly publication with “information about and support for imprisoned anti-nuclear and anti-war activists.” Jack and Felice Cohen-Joppa <nukeresister@igc.org> edit it, and also publish the Newsletter of the U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu.

      The August 1, 2004 issue of TNR reported, “Vanunu Released: Restrictions Limit Freedom.

    “After 18 years imprisonment in Ashkelon, Israel, the day of freedom finally arrived. Mordechai Vananu was released on April 21, 2004 ... The several hundred jubilant supporters gathered outside the prison were overcome with joy.

    “Earlier that morning, an international delegation comprised of over 80 people from 10 different countries joined with Israelis at the prison, holding banners, signs and flowers. Eighteen doves were set free, one for each year of Vanunu’s imprisonment.

    “A slightly larger crowd of right-wing Israeli extremists were also present, not to welcome Vanunu to freedom, but to rip up supporter’s signs reading “Thank You Mordechai Vanunu - Peace Hero, Nuclear Whistle-blower”, throw eggs and rocks, and shout, “Kill Vanunu” and “Death to the Traitor”.”

See footnote3 for additional contact info, to subscribe and/or to take
part in these efforts to support nuclear and war resisters.

      It’s only by chance that I know about these three grassroots efforts in Arizona. With Keith McHenry I’ve been friends for years, and I tried to help him with some contacts I have in Israel when he was there recently. But both Jack and Felice Cohen-Joppa and Charles E. Carlson introduced themselves to me via e-mail, in responses to some of my postings and/or my e-mail distributions that came to their attention.

      Keith’s proposal for walkouts needs imminent action to insure a wide response, which is why I emphasized it above, but the Carlson and Cohen-Joppa efforts, although long-term, are also very important in the struggle to eventually turn America in the direction of a true civilization.

NOTES
1 Global WALKOUT for Peace, Freedom & Justice for All
WALKOUT Thursday January 20 and Friday, March 18, 2005
http://www.consensus.net/walkout.html
1-800-884-1136

Walkout Inauguration Day and the Anniversary of the invasion of Iraq STOP THE WARS AND BRING THE TROOPS HOME

Now is the time for you the people to come together, and “stand up for your rights.”Today our constitutional rights, liberties, and freedoms are in jeopardy, along with the fate of mother earth and her children. Walkout the Friday before the inauguration and the Friday of the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and show that the people have power and who ever is elected will have to listen to our voice.

Over 100,000 civilians have been killed and over 1,000 young Americans have died since the illegal war on Iraq started on March 20, 2003. Everyday we learn of gruesome acts of torture and crimes against humanity.

The true outcome of the vote in the U.S. election is in question and the world is in crisis. Nuclear war, global warming, disease and ecological collapse threaten the world. We face cuts in access to healthcare, education and income. Consider walking out of your job or class on January 20 and March 18, 2005. Let the war profiteers know how we feel. Make the government and corporations pay a cost for their crimes.

Activists all over the world are planning two weekends of actions to stop the illegal war and Bush's agenda. One proposal is a walkout on Friday January 20th and March 18th where workers and students take the day off. The walkout can cause war profiteering corporations billions of dollars and shut down schools sending Bush a powerful message. Some people may occupy congressional offices and military facilities. There will be teach-ins, concerts, marches, rallys, blockades, banner hangings and all kinds of actions designed to show that the world wants an end to the war crimes in Iraq and that we reject the Bush agenda. Feel free to start planning the walkout and other actions in your community. The protests before the war were the largest actions for peace in world history. This could be even larger.

Join the people of the world on January 20th and March 18th...and make the dream for peace possible.

Come together: students, artists, musicians, teachers, actors, cooks, waitresses, longshoremen, truckers, lawyers, contractors, veterans, bus drivers, homemakers, cashiers, maids, janitors, grocery, office, sanitation, farm, factory and train workers. Walk the road to freedom and peace.

Consider organizing a community event or celebration. Email this to your lists. Make copies of this flyer and pass them out.

Call the Global Walkout Proposal - Uma 707-544-9229 or Keith McHenry 1-800-884-1136
http://www.consensus.net/walkout.html

2 I would have included the complete e-mail text from Charles E. Carlson <cecark@whtt.org>, but its length, added to that of the text for the Walkout flyers, would have made this e-mail too lengthy. One of the main targets for criticism by Carlson is Jerry Falwell, about whom he says,
    “Falwell is raising 25 million dollars to further condition evangelicals to his Judaized-Christian view of political power. We need to reach the same millions via e-mail, and call them back to Jesus' words of love and peace which demands an end to race hatred toward Muslims.
    “Ours is a 30 million adults target, and that is a big job, but the truth costs less than falsehood. Where else can we find such potential for change? Jesus provided the idea, love your brother, in the New Testament ...”
    “Examine the possibility of a Project Strait Gate for your city. Learn how to do a few literal Vigils and many virtual pickets in your own town. Befriend that estranged Christian remnant and start networking together with us. We want your help to remind them of their true heritage as Followers of Christ.

CNN interview of Jerry Falwell and Jesse Jackson http://www.whtt.org/whtt.shtml?rpr/041209CP.htm

PEACE MONGER by Tony Ortega http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/issues/2003-02-13/feature.html/1/index.html

We Hold These Truths (http://www.whtt.org/)
STRAIT GATE MINISTRIES
P.O. Box 14491
Scottsdale, AZ 85267
480 947 3329

3 You can send letters of support to Mordechai Vanunu <vanunumvjc@hotmail.com>, or by regular mail addressed to him
c/o Cathedral Church of St. George, 20 Nablus Rd.
PO Box 19018, Jerusalem 91190, Israel.
    The Nuclear Resister
POB 43383, Tucson, AZ 85733
520-323-8697
website http://www.nonviolence.org/nukeresister/
    U.S. Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu, same mail address. e-mail <freevanunu@mindspring.com>
websites http://www.nonviolence.org/vanunu/, http://www.vanunu.com/
    If you want to receive e-mail updates about Vanunu, send a blank email to <free_vanunu-subscribe@yahoogroups.com>

― G.S.

All comments and criticisms are welcome.    <george.salzman@umb.edu>

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