June 22, 2008

Report on the 06.22.08 NAWC Meeting

NORTHLAND ANTI-WAR COALITION June 22, 2008 Planning Meeting Notes

ATTENDANCE: Michelle N., Madeline S., Joel K., Suzanne G., Gary S. and Adam R.

1. BARRELS IN LAKE SUPERIOR: Recently the Red Cliff band of Ojibwe have gotten government funding to investigate the 1,449 barrels deposited in Lake Superior by the US Army between 1959 and 1962, and the 400 tons of crates deposited in Lake Superior by the US Army in 1945, to see if they pose a threat to human health or the aquatic ecosystem. On July 19 there will be a march organized by John LaForge from Duluth's Brighton Beach to Canal Park to draw attention to this situation. NAWC voted to endorse this protest, and to issue a statement of support. Joel K. will draft a statement for NAWC and submit to our email list. We will also offer John LaForge and the Red Cliff band to organize a press conference in Duluth at which we'd issue our statement and build the protest.

2. IRAQ SISTER CITY: Michelle is going to be holding a report back event for her recent trip to Iraq Kurdistan on Wednesday, July 2 at 7pm at the Duluth Peace Church. At this event Michelle will present a proposal that Duluth adopt the Iraqi city of Rania as a sister city. Members of Duluth's Sister City project have been approached, and invited to the report back.

3. RNC PROTEST: Gary reported that the main protest being organized during the upcoming Republican National Convention that NAWC has endorsed is in fact going to be a peaceful and legal demonstration. The illegal street blockades that will be held during the convention are being organized by a different group than the one organizing the protest NAWC endorsed [the group organizing the street blockades is called the "RNC Welcoming Committee", while the group doing the legal march is called the "Coalition to March".] It was also reported that there is a group that will be sending a bus from nearby Grand Rapids, MN that still has 20 empty seats. NAWC may still do a bus or van caravan of its own. It was also decided that late Aug./early Sept. NAWC will host a forum on the anti-RNC protests, at which we'll invite speakers from both the RNC Welcoming Committee and the Coalition to March, so as to familiarize Duluthians with the planned events that'll be held at the Republican convention.

4. IRAQ MORATORIUM: Adam reported that the last couple of 3rd Friday of the month/Iraq Moratorium protests in the Twin Ports have been very tiny - single digit turnouts. We decided to make a bigger push to promote our monthly pickets. Starting in July we'll be holding them from 4:30-5:30pm, instead of at noon. The July picket will be at the corner of London Road & 21st Ave. E., and the August one will be in Canal Park.

5. DULUTH AIRSHOW: Michelle & Madeline reported that Loaves & Fishes are planning a modest protest at the July 19-20 Duluth Airshow. We brainstormed some ideas for a protest. An additional planning meeting for this will be held on Sunday, June 29 at 7pm at the Olive Branch house [1614 Jefferson St.] in Duluth.

6. COST OF WAR FORUM: At NAWC's last meeting it was proposed that we hold a big forum towards the end of the summer on the cost of the Iraq war, and what the money could be better spent on. We also talked about holding some kind of dramatic, visual outdoor stunt that would take place right before the forum - like a balloon release to symbolize our money floating away. At this meeting we decided not to do the balloon release though, because of concerns animals would choke on the rubber. Several alternatives were suggested - like flying kites at different heights to represent the different level of defense spending of the U.S. versus other countries, or releasing paper boats to show our money getting away. We decided to wait until our next meeting to decide on the alternative to releasing balloons. We did decide to tenatively set the date for the forum as Tuesday, Aug. 19. We also brainstormed some possible speakers for the panel.

7. FUTURE MEETINGS: We held this meeting at a new location - the basement of the East Hillside Neighborhood Center. We've decided to make this our regular meeting space from now on, in place of the old Chester Creek Cafe meeting place. The address of the East Hillside Neighborhood Center is 1406 E. 2nd St. The next NAWC planning meeting will be on Sunday, July 13 at 2pm.


-This coming weekend is the National Assembly to End the Iraq War & Occupation in Cleveland. On June 20 NAWC held a potluck/fundraiser for the trip at Adam R.'s house. If you missed this potluck, but would still like to donate to help pay for the NAWC delegation's trip to Cleveland, call Adam at (715) 394-6660.

-Socialist Action, a NAWC coalition member, is holding a subscription drive for its monthly newspaper. Subscriptions are just $5 a year. If you'd like to buy a sub send an email to wainosunrise@yahoo.com

-The Canadian Parliment voted to not deport U.S. military deserters. However the Conservative Party, which the Canadian Prime Minister is a part of, has announced that it will deport them anyway. Joel K. will keep up posted on this struggle.

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