Archive for November, 2007

IMPORTANT PS FROM JACK

November 27, 2007

I’m only one hour outside of New Orleans in Baton Rouge and in the shower I’m singing, “Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?”

What has been painted on my heart.  This city has been brought to its knees by a hurrican and governmental indifference, incompetence, or plan, whichever you believe.

NO9W_4.jpg  NO9W_3.jpg

I walked on the graves, marked only by the slabs where their homes once were, of my drowned brothers and sisters.  They couldn’t control Mother Nature, but how could their elected leaders turn their collective backs? Ironically, I am about to leave for a journey through Texas, home of the Leader of the Pack.  I’ll not be near Crawford, but the devastation in the Ninth Ward and Bush will be on my mind.  You who know me know that I have just begun to think about my recent observations.  It has been over two years since Katrina.  We all must start thinking.  The indifference, incompetence, or plan reaches to each of us by asso

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THANKSGIVING AT CAMP CASEY 2007

November 26, 2007

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Patrice reports from Camp Casey:

Hi –

We had an incredible weekend in Crawford. Not unexpectedly, the
weather was a powerful factor … not snow like at Easter, nor extreme
heat like the August camps … but rain and cold. Still, it was a warm
gathering, and was well orchestrated by Ann.

The Crawford Peace House opened its doors and hosted some three
dozen people – a group which collectively suggest the image of a
people who will not be kept away, no matter the weather. The house was
just the right size for our peaceful assemblage, with each room
holding conversation groups.

Our Thanksgiving Dinner was wonderful,with turkey and dressing, lots of veggies, sweets, and more. The washer-dryer served as buffet for the desserts, which gives an idea of how we functioned in the space. It was just perfect. We circled our chairs in the rooms to break bread together. We also had breakfasts there. Thanks to the CPH for being so incredible, and especially to Hadi and Kay.

Over the weekend, several times we talked in a circle, intentionally to envision the future of the Peace House and of Camp Casey. Everyone had excellent input, and a compilation of notes will be sent to Bree, and used for further planning, as we move forward to preserve the history of the movement, and expand our work. Bree had live radio shows all weekend and was not able to come to Crawford this time, butgave reports about what was going on at camp, and called Ann for a live On Air Report.

Bree bought Camp Casey with the intention of making it continue to live, and from the talk this weekend, we know that it will.

Dates for the next camps are being discussed. I am happy to report that the grounds look beautiful. Texas had a lot of rain this past year and it is green, in spite of the cloudy skies we had this weekend. Lela and Carl cut the grass, and with the addition of people, camp can happen. During times this weekend when we were at camp, Friday and Sunday, just as when we are in residence, passing cars drive by slowly to see where the story lives.

That’s all for now. E pluribus unum.

Peace, Patrice

TRAVELS WITH JACK

November 26, 2007

Below is an account of Jack’s travels from New Jersey to New Orleans via Fort Benning where he participated in the protest against the infamous School of the Americas.  Many thanks to Jack for both his work and for telling us his story.  He says:

We have to input goodness into the equation to replace the evil. Somehow I believe the key involves teaching people to have the courage to seek and act on their passion. This requires overcoming Fear and following the advice of Edward Said, “Fear is not allowed.”  Bush and the like have convinced me that Fear is a much more awesome tool than I at first imagined. So too is an AK-47 for that matter.  More on this later.

I’m now at New Orleans, the Big Easy. Wow!

I ended the planned anti-war portion of my trip two weeks ago when I left N.J

I spent last weekend at the SOA [now called Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, at Fort Benning, where torture is taught to Latin Americans, http://www.soaw.org/]. It was extremely powerful and a story in and of itself. Suffice it to say that it acted to replace my intellectual commitment to a fire in my heart.

SOA.jpg   Protest at SOA

Next, I went to the FL Panhandle and swam in the Gulf of Mexico this
Tuesday. Between the water and my companion, I found the experience
both healing and pleasant.

I ate Thanksgiving dinner in the French Quarter. I had an individual march for Peace down the center Bourbon Street. My Thanksgiving dinner was Gumbo, Fresh Bread, Shrimp Creole, Jambalia, Red Beans and Rice concluded by Bread Pudding. You can keep your turkey and stuffing.

I got to Common Ground yesterday. It looks like a war zone. They are clearing the area and the work is mostly being done by young people. I did a little work and realized it is too hard for me. We were working 100 yards from where the levee broke. I spent the rest of my time looking around, talking to people who lived there before Katrina and taking pictures of slabs that had been homes. I plan to visit again today and then head West. Of course, all of my plans are subject to spontaneous change.

I really had to come here. No amount of words and pictures could have provided the insight that being here is providing. I don’t think I will get this place out of my mind. In addition, I don’t think I should. I don’t know what I will do but my congress people will be getting correspondence from me.

Not So General Strike Report

November 7, 2007

IMG_1464_small.jpg I had said I would and so I did set out to Union Square after voting early in the morning. You can see that I chose to wear a red shirt. The plan publicized was for people to wear red, white, or blue shirts.

We got to Union Square a little before noon and found no one else there. IMG_1467_small.jpg Since we had said we would be there, we set up our chairs. Though the photographs do not suggest it, the weather was most inclement; it had rained earlier in the morning and there was a cold wind. It is never convenient and often not comfortable to stand up for my country. This time it was neither, but I would not have missed this opportunity to prove to myself if to no one else that I am committed to the Constitution.

We planted our chairs and sat. The small white object visible in the empty chairs is a copy of the US Constitution. Each of us brought one and we did read it and the first ten amendments.

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The photograph below emphasizes the empty square. The red in the background is my shirt.

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After a number of hours there, George suggested we turn our sitin into a march, so we gathered up our things and walked to Grand Central where we got on the subway.

As we sat that cold day on Union Square, I reflected on a notable French literary figure who was the only person to attend an early meeting of the French Academy. He signed the book and thus the meeting was official and the fledgling academy did not die. I don’t know if our being present at Union Square means that our democracy will not die. I do know we were faithful to our commitment.

I bought two cups of coffee from a local vendor to help warm us up, the only money I spent all day. If others in the country curtailed their spending, I saw no evidence of it. In fact, I saw no evidence of anyone’s taking up the challenge but the two of us, though I know that another who had been in our discussion group participated in the strike in another way. I wonder what happened to the people who had put up the website. Not a one of them was there.

We who had met to discuss things some weeks before had committed to various ways of striking, from actually sitting on the square to staying home and not spending. George is not willing to come out again on December 6th as Noami Wolf and others suggested. Whether or not he will find some other way to make a statement I don’t know. I will certainly neither work nor spend on December 6th myself.

I have never done any organizing since the installation of the Bush regime. I have participated in things others organize and contributed in various ways to groups that do organize. I was willing to participate in this effort as I have been in many others. It disappoints me greatly that this potentially strong kind of protest came to what looks like nothing.

It is clear to me that the corporate media have worked with the regime to trivialize and marginalize dissent. Further, the regime has made many public statements that dissent is treason and official administrative procedures and even law passed by Congress make dissentors open to being called terrorists, who since the Military Commissions Act of 2006 have no rights. It is more and more dangerous to dissent.

A combination of fear and distractioin make it more and more difficult for the truth to be told and for citizens to stand up.

What I liked about this was that it was a weekday. If in fact millions of Americans had not shown up for work, even if they had just stayed home as some few of us did, that would have made a big impression.

If millions of us had not spent money, the country and the world would have noticed.

If more of us had planted ourselves in our red, white, or blue shirts in pubic places in addition, there would have been an impact.

Americans chose not to make that impact.

STRIKE!

November 4, 2007

We will be meeting on the South side of Union Square, that is on the 14th Street side, on Tuesday from noon to 5pm. 

I just got word from another group of people who plan to do likewise.  I have no idea how many of us will be there.  I for one will be in a red sweatshirt and with George, also in red.  We will have a guitar and plan to bring a chair each to sit on.

Gwen asked about cell phone contact.  Among the things I am striking is Verizon, which supplies information without warrants to the US governement.  I will not be using my cell phone, nor my land line, nor my computer all day.    Union Square is big, but I think not so big that we will not find one another.  George and I plan to plant ourselves in our chairs and sing and such, so please do hunt for us.

Looking forward to a glorious day.   We plan to take photographs and post some here.