By Nancy Price and Theta Pavis
The First People’s World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth recently took place in Bolivia. Yet this historic conference was also a reminder that the work for a healthy planet, and clean drinking water for everyone, is far from over.
During the gathering in Bolivia, activists also held a water conference, Feria Internacional del Aqua, which featured an outdoor fair where villagers showcased the work of local water councils. The fair included food, information about water-related organizations and a number of workshops.
Bringing the “Most Dangerous Women” to Life:
An Interview with author Jan Maher
Jan Maher, director, professor, author and workshop leader is the co-author of the play Most Dangerous Women and author of the book Most Dangerous Women: Bringing History to Life Through Readers’ Theater. The book is about “Reader’s Theater” as a teaching and organizing strategy. Maher is currently teaching writing, multicultural education, feminist theater, gender and women’s studies at Plattsburgh State University, NY. We caught up with her to talk about her work, past and present.
Tell us a little about your book.
Maher: The book puts the play in context … about how to work with the material that is in the play in a community, and in classrooms. It tells you about how to teach it and how to produce it.
Let’s talk about how this evolved. The idea for the work first grew out of a request [WILPF member] Sylvia Lunt made. She asked Nikki Nojima Louis, your co-author, to develop something for WILPF’s 75th anniversary and then Nikki asked you to help on that project?
Maher: Right. We ended up with the first version of it in 1991, and that was done as a benefit performance in Seattle with a professional cast. And Sylvia and others Seattle members said ‘this is too important to not have it keep going.’ We then went to the national [WILPF Congress] in Bryn Mawr.
Building the Movement for Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
How Do Companies Further the Palestinian Occupation?
Corporations further the Occupation either by operating in or supporting the Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law, or by supporting the apparatus of control and oppression which is the hallmark of the Occupation.
That apparatus includes the Separation Wall, the hundreds of checkpoints set up to impair Palestinian travel, the system of Administrative Detention (imprisonment without trial for periods of six months, renewable without review), night raids that frighten children and disrupt normal life, a permit system imposing restrictions upon travel and normal building for Palestinians, the confiscation of homes and lands, and the demolition of houses, among others.
The Citizens United decision has been called the "worst Supreme Court decision since Dred Scott."
Untold amounts of corporate and special interest dollars already make free elections difficult and keep otherwise good people from running campaigns that demand obscene amounts of money and media connections.
Corporate Power is an issue that undergirds and creates obstacles for all the issues important to WILPF branches and members. It will take a concerted and strategic approach from all of us towards a unified response in order to move each of our issues forward, through the walls of corporate personhood.
Many are saying that with this decision American citizens will see their civic engagement in the voting process as both unnecessary and irrelevant, since corporate CEOs will be able to hand select our candidates, our priorities and our policies. No further voting or political contributions from ordinary citizens will be required, since none will be
effective against the billions of dollars corporations will be unleashing on our so-called democracy.
Pundits on both the conservative and progressive sides are calling it a dangerous threat to democracy. Even Tea Party founders are recognizing the negative impact this decision will have.
A Monumental Journey
The World March for Peace and Nonviolence calls for the end of wars and the abolition of nuclear weapons. According to Chris Wells, the U.S. spokesperson for the march, “It aims to create a global consciousness, similar to what has already happened with climate change, that universally condemns all forms of violence.”
The international team of marchers reached New York in November, then moved on to Montreal, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco. They’ll continue to Mexico, with events planned on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, then head south through Central and South America. The World March will complete its monumental journey in the heights of the Andes on January 2, at Punta de Vacas, Argentina after traveling 99,000 miles.
You can see a full schedule of the March in North America here: http://www.worldmarchusa.net. There are also many great videos to view.
- Theta Pavis, WILPF e-News editor
By Odile Hugonot Haber
Middle East Issue Committee
Wikipedia tells us that The School of the Americas Watch is an advocacy organization founded by Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois and a small group of supporters in 1990 to protest the training of mainly Latin American military officers, by the U.S. Department of Defense, at the School of the Americas (SOA). SOA Watch conducts a vigil each November at the site of the academy, located on the grounds of Fort Benning, a U.S. Army military base near Columbus, Georgia, in protest over myriad alleged abuses committed by graduates of the academy, including murders, rapes, torture and contraventions of the Geneva Accord. Military officials deny the charges, stating that even if graduates commit war crimes after they return to their home country, the school itself should not be held accountable for their actions.
Responding to mounting protests spearheaded by SOA Watch, in 2000 the U.S Congress renamed the School of the Americas the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), rather than closing the academy.
Statement for the Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Jane Addams’s Birth and the Tenth Anniversary of the Adoption of United Nations Security Resolution 1325
By Harriet Alonso and Louise W. Knight
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt of the statement prepared by Alonso and Knight
Addams was particularly concerned about the violence women experienced in times of war and the need for women to participate fully in international peace-making efforts – the two main subjects 1325 addresses. As Addams stated in The Second Twenty Years of Hull-House about her thinking before World War I, “I believed that peace was not merely an absence of war, but the nurture of human life, and that in time this nurture would do away with war as a natural process.”1
The long road to SCR 1325 began soon after World War I erupted in Europe. In April 1915, Addams and other women from Europe and beyond (1,100 delegates in all), came together at an international congress of women at The Hague, The Netherlands. The meeting had been called by a small group of European suffragists to give women from the warring and neutral nations a way to express their horror at the fighting, set out their preferred peace terms, endorse suffrage, and seek a way to end the war quickly. Addams, widely respected as the American leader of the settlement house movement and a leading activist in progressive reforms, including women’s suffrage and peace, presided over the meeting, and was elected president of the resulting organization, the International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace.
By Barbara Taft, co-chair
WILPF Middle East Committee
WILPF’s Middle East Committee supports the Goldstone Report and also calls for a credible, independent investigation into Israel’s conduct in “Operation Cast Lead.” The truth must be exposed, and those who have committed war crimes must be punished. Let your political representatives in Washington, D.C. know how you feel.
When Odile Hugonot-Haber and I recently attended the J Street conference in D.C. we found many engaged Americans who wanted to talk about peace. J Street (http://www.jstreet.org/) is the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement. The organizers of the conference were expecting about 500 people to attend, and were happily surprised to find themselves hosting 1,500 people, all enthusiastic about a group that proclaims itself to be “Pro Israel/Pro Peace” and to speak for what they believe to be the majority of Jews in both the U.S. and Israel: people who believe that making peace is good for Israel, the Palestinians, the region, and the world, and that doing so is a moral imperative.
WILPF’s International Board Plans 2010 Meeting in India
(Information on individual registration will be circulated to U.S. Section members when it is available.)
Preparations are underway for the next International Board (IB) Meeting of WILPF, scheduled to take place from 4 – 10 January 2010, at the Gandhi University (Gujarat Vidyapith) in Ahemedabad, India.
The Gandhi University has kindly agreed to host us for this meeting. The main campus of Gujarat Vidyapith is located on the Ashram Road, Ahmedabad. Spread over 21 acres of land, the main campus is known as "The Mahatma Gandhi Parisar". More information about the university can be found at http://www.gujaratvidyapith.org
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), U.S. Section, calls upon the U.S. Senate to immediately ratify the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
This year marks the 31st anniversary of the CEDAW Convention, the historic international bill of rights for women’s human rights. As an international non-governmental organization with UN consultative status, WILPF was a vital part of the decades-long process culminating in the adoption of the CEDAW Convention. In 1974, WILPF formally instructed its sections in various countries to engage their governments in the crafting of an international human rights convention which would “bring together the various aspects of women’s rights to form international law,” because we understood that “only through the intensive participation of women can best possible development in each country . . . and world peace [be] achieved.”
The CEDAW Convention was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 18, 1979 and signed, on behalf of the United States, by President Jimmy Carter in 1980. Yet, thirty-one years later, this powerful treaty has yet to be ratified by the U.S. Senate. The US is the only country to sign but not ratify the Convention.
The WILPF blog is an interactive space for discussion of world events and how we're transforming the world to a culture of peace and justice.
May, 2009: Spotlight on Santa Cruz, CA.
Developing WILPF’s Legislative Priorities at the Local Level
By Jan Harwood
Rescue Democracy, Curb Corporations committee:
Six Santa Cruz WILPF members attended a Democracy School training conducted by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) in May, 2008 and formed the branch's Corporation vs Democracy Committee the next month. After study and discussion, the group focused on two activities.
The first was to work with the existing Light-Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) and Californians Against the Spray groups in Santa Cruz, to develop an ordinance that will prevent any government entity or corporation from spraying any toxic substance in Santa Cruz without the express permission of the people of Santa Cruz. The ordinance is in its final editing and will be presented to the Santa Cruz City Council after further community organizing for support.
The second activity was to develop a schedule of events to educate the public about the undue power of corporations over our lives, our health, our education and our government, with the goal of training people to take action to restore democracy. The series is called “Restore Democracy: Curb Corporate Power.” To date, there have been five events in this series: Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine, speaking about the bail-out of Wall Street; the CELDF trainers holding a public meeting on the spray ordinance; and David Dilworth of Helping Our Peninsula’s Environment (HOPE) explaining how to revoke the charters of corporations which do public harm. In December showed the film Are Corporations People? and Jim Mosher of Felton Flow described how their community fought and won back their water rights against a mega-corporation.
The series continued with a public talk and trainng earlier this month featuring David Cobb / Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap of Democracy Unlimited Humboldt County (DUHC). The goal of the training was the formation of issue coalitions to develop actions in the Bay Area to assert the peoples’ rights against corporate power. We expect to continue with educational events, skill training and community actions."
Advancing 1325 Implementation in the U.S.
The U.S. Social Forum is part of the vital World Social Forum movement started in Brazil 10 years ago. The Social Forum helps regular citizens explore ways to end wars, promote human rights, economic justice and environmental action. About 50 WILPFers participated actively in the first U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta in 2007. They joined over 17,000 women and men of many races and backgrounds working for peace and justice. WILPFers made important connections, contributed much, and learned even more.
Join us this year, when WILPF will be sponsoring several key workshops (and supporting many others). You can also choose from over 1,000 other workshops, participate in plenary sessions, the People’s Assemblies, cultural and artistic events, and a march of thousands through central Detroit. Members can also help with WILPF tabling or participate in (and help organize) WILPF workshops.
In, addition we are cooperating with workshops supported or organized by many of our WILPF issue committees, including the Cuba and Bolivarian Alliance, Save the Water, and the Middle East committee. We are also collaborating on workshops sponsored by our peace and justice allies.
Register now, online – it’s easy! Pay by credit card or check as instructed. To register as a WILPF member, write our complete name in the box provided: Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom U.S. Section. If you need help or are registering under another organization contact WILPF member Terry Futvoye-Micus, our Detroit WILPFer and registrar, at email@example.com.
Stay with WILPF members in shared hotel rooms at $22 to $36 a night.
New material posted at the Cuba and Bolivarian Issue Committee pages. Several women are touring the US with films and insights.