September 17, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
1. RNC REPORT: Scott B., Bob K. and Adam R. reported on the anti-Republican Party Convention protests that took place in St. Paul over Labor Day weekend. Several Twin Cities organizers, including a former NAWC activist from Northland College, were arrested prior to the protests and are being charged with felonies. The main, peacefull protest drew between 10-30,000 people. The bus that NAWC sent broke even financially, and was almost full (there were a few last minute cancellations). We marched as the Duluth contingent in the protest. Following the march, there was a separate protest in downtown St. Paul in which 299 folks were arrested.
Special thanks to Peter K. for organizing the NAWC bus, and thanks to the folks who donated extra money to make the bus possible and to sponsor riders who were short on funds.
2. OCT. 11 PLANS: Our next big protest will be on Saturday, Oct. 11. The plan is to gather at the Leif Erickson Park on London Road in Duluth before noon. From 11:30am to noon we'll have music for those assembling, then at noon we'll march to the MN Power Plaza for a rally with speakers. We voted to invite Frank Boyle, Mike Jaros, Kathy Heltzer, Chelsa Nelson and a laid off Duluth librarian as the speakers. Bob K. will be the rally MC. We also adopted a flier for the event. If you would like to help distribute fliers send an email to email@example.com
3. IRAQ MORATORIUM: This month's Iraq Moratorium picket will be on Friday, Sept. 19 from 4:30-5:30pm at the Memorial Park on Grand Ave. in West Duluth. Extra signs will be on hand, but feel free to bring your own.
4. FALL MAILING: Adam R. presented a draft text for a letter to sent out to the NAWC snail mail list. We generally do mailings once every six months, and we're due. The goal of the mailing would be to inform people about our fall events, ask for donations, and to encourage more folks to come to the NAWC meetings. The letter was approved, and sometime in the next two weeks a mailing party will be organized to do the work of sending it out. If you'd like to help with this send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
5. HEALTH CARE PROPOSAL: Bob K. presented a proposal for NAWC to take on a "Health Care Not Warfare" grassroots campaign. The goal would be to reach out to new people, and present the issue of the war in a different way that may reach people we're not currently reaching. At our next NAWC meeting we'll continue to discuss this proposal, and how it could be put together.
6. RADIO PROJECT: Scott B. reported that he would like to work on trying to get KUMD, and perhaps other radio stations, to carry Democracy Now. A committee is being put together to work on this. If you'd like to help Scott with this you can contact him at email@example.com
-On Tuesday, Sept. 16 there will be a public forum on health care at 7pm in the UMD Kirby Ballroom. The sponsor is the Twin Ports Health Care for All Coalition.
-On Sunday, Sept. 21 there will be a public forum on the history of Afghanistan. The forum will be at 7pm at the East Hillside Neighborhood Center, 1406 E. 2nd St. in Duluth. Adam Ritscher will be the speaker. It is sponsored by Socialist Action.
-Adam R. is circulating an Open Letter to the Anti-War Movement from the National Assembly that is calling on the big national anti-war groups to hold a joint mass protest against the war in the Spring. If you're interested in endorsing it email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. NETWORK OF SPIRITUAL PROGRESSIVES: As part of our new project to invite a different member group of our coalition to give a presentation about themselves at each of our meetings, the Network of Spiritual Progressives did a presentation at this meeting. Tom S. and Hal B. were the presenters. NSP is a national group that has a local chapter in the Twin Ports. Its goal is to change the culture in this country, and to approach progressive political issues using the language and tradition and spiritualism. NSP currently has two main projects: 1. promoting a "Spiritual Covenant With America" and 2. promoting a new "Global Marshall Plan". You can find out more about NSP and its work at these local websites:
You can also read more about NSP at its national website:
Attendance: Scott B., Tom S., Ellie C., Bob K., Adam R. and Hal B.
Notes taken by: Adam R.
September 16, 2008
This month's Moratorium falls on this coming Friday [September 19]. We'll be picketing from 4:30-5:30pm at the Memorial Park on Grand Ave. in West Duluth. Please join us, and bring a friend!
I'm sorry if this email comes to you more than once. I want to make sure everyone gets this news.
Today, Donna Howard, Brooks Anderson and I met with the executive director of the Duluth Sister City Project regarding the possibility of making the city of Rania in the Kurdish north of Iraq a sister city with Duluth.
Many of you were at the presentation I gave early this summer in which this proposal was made. Melissa and 2 members of the board were also present at that time. Since then, Melissa has been learning about other US-Iraq sister cities and she and some of the board members are still quite interested and excited about the possibility for us here in Duluth to pair up with Rania.
Melissa was pretty clear in saying that this is still in the exploratory stages. She wants to put out feelers in the wider Duluth community to see the level of support. She would like to see a working committee formed that would be willing to brainstorm and do the groundwork for developing some kind of exchange program between the two cities.
Donna, Brooks and I came up with a few ideas about how to feel out the level of support in various sectors of the Duluth community. We also proposed the idea of sending a small fact finding delegation to Rania in the near future.
Many of you have indicated a willingness to be part of a working group. Others offered other kinds of support. If you have any interest in this project, please email me and indicate the role you see yourself playing.
If you are interested in being part of a working group, please let me know.
You might be interested in sending a letter of support for this project to the Sister City board. If you email it to me, I can collect them and present them to Melissa and the board members.
If you think you might be interested in being part of a fact finding delegation and would be able to make a trip to Rania in early 2009, please let me know.
If you have other ideas about how to support this project please let me know.
If you would just like to be kept updated about the progress of this project, please let me know and I will send you emails periodically. So, the thing is if you want to be involved or just kept updated, send me an email so I can make a list and keep you in the loop.
We in Duluth have a great opportunity to reach out a hand of friendship, to be people to people diplomats and to steer the course of history in a way that could promote healing and goodwill across the globe. I hope you will choose to be a part of this.
Peace, Michele Naar-Obed
September 8, 2008
From Joel Sipress, former NAWC steering committee member:
So here is my report from St. Paul, based in part on personal observations and experiences and in part on reports I’ve read and seen since I returned home.
The big anti-war march was great. It started with a rally at the State Capital. We then marched through downtown St. Paul (Ceder and Wabasha Streets to 7th St, then down 7th St. to the Excel Center, and back to the State Capital). The crowd was big and diverse (my honest estimate is somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000), and there was a really positive vibe. There were ‘lots of people lining the streets, most of whom were sympathetic supporters. There were a few counterdemonstrators, most of whom were pretty mellow.
Because I was asked to speak on behalf of the Northland Anti-War Coalition at the pre-war rally, I got to march at the very front and help carry the big banner, which was very cool. The coolest part, though, was that the veterans contingent was right behind us, and they were very, very impressive.
There were no incidents that I am aware of directly connected with the big march itself. The “direct action” people had agreed to refrain from doing anything to interfere with the march, and they seem to have stuck to that agreement. Downtown St. Paul was crawling with cops, many in riot gear, but their main job during the march seemed to be to prevent groups from breaking away from the march and entering the heart of downtown. I didn’t pick up any tension at all between the cops and the main march. In fact, we got a few smiles and positive head nods from some of the cops. I must admit, though, that it was a big unnerving when we had to march through the cattle pens in front of the Excel Center.
From Carl Sack:
Yesterday, September 1, was the March on the RNC to End the War in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The crowds were very large—smaller than the "up to 50,000" expected by the protest's organizers, the Coalition to March on the RNC, but larger than I had anticipated. Final size estimates ranged from 10,000 (cops) to 40,000 (organizers). The reality was probably somewhere in the middle. The atmosphere was very energetic, with a fairly high proportion of young people. Many of the youth, but not all, seemed to be affiliated with various radical tendencies, the largest being anarchist in nature. All in all, it was a fairly diverse crowd. Predictably, there was a lot of Obama paraphernalia, but supporters of Cynthia McKinney, Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, Roger Calero, Gloria LaRiva, and many with no visible election materials were also present.
The march stepped off around 1 PM, led by a sizeable (50-100) contingent of Iraq Veterans Against the War and a similar number of Veterans for Peace. The march was energetic and under very heavy police presence. Several different law enforcement jurisdictions from around this "progressive" metropolitan area were represented, including Minneapolis cops on bicycles, St. Paul Police and Ramsey County deputies. There was nothing "Minnesota nice" about the cops' heavy black body armor, helmets, gas masks, pepper spray canisters and large wooden clubs they held menacingly feet from protesters—toys no doubt purchased with a special $50 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security. Fortunately, there were no major incidents during the legal march, with the possible exception of an early anarchist-led breakaway that I heard rumor of but did not witness.
As the march approached the Excel Energy Center, where the convention was to be held, a line of a hundred or so counter-protesters was lined up along the street median. The march ran westbound along 7th Street the length of the convention center, then doubled back and ran eastbound. I witnessed what seemed to be a brief confrontation with the front of the march encountering a line of cops blocking the route, but the cops soon yielded to marchers. On the eastbound side, closest to the convention, marchers were forced to walk through a high, heavy portable fence about two blocks long with open gates at either end. This was the freakiest part of the march; if the cops had decided to charge protesters from either end, we would have been sitting ducks.From Deb Taylor, member of the Minnesota Peace Team:
September 7, 2008
1. RNC PROTEST: NAWC is sending a bus to St. Paul for the anti-Republican Convention protest that'll be taking place on Labor Day. Peter Krause is the point person for this. Carl will make up a quarter sheet flier to give to folks who ride the bus with info about our upcoming Oct. 11 protest, NAWC meetings, etc.
2. OUTREACH: We talked about some outreach projects that NAWC can do for the fall. One outreach project we voted to do is to invite one of the organizations part of our coalition to give a brief presentation about themselves at the end of each NAWC meeting. Scot will arrange for the Network of Spiritual Progressives to give a presentation at our next meeting. Adam agreed to do a mailing to all of the organizations in NAWC to tell them about this new project, as well as to inform them about our upcoming Oct. 11 and Dec. 9-14 protests. We voted to re-organize our email lists, so that our mail list will be an announcement only list, and we'll set up a second list for those who want to be part of a discussion list. And finally, we voted to do a big fall mailing to the whole NAWC mailing list to plug the Oct. and Dec. protests. Adam will bring a draft letter and draft fliers for this fall meeting to the next meeting.
3. OCT. 11: NAWC is going to be hosting a protest against the war on Saturday, Oct. 11. We'll gather at noon at the Leif Erickson Park for a march to the MN Power Plaza. We discussed having some music at the Leif Erickson Park park for when folks arrive, and have 5 or so speakers at the MN Power Plaza. We set the goal of having all of our speakers be brand new folks who have never spoken before at a NAWC event. We also tentatively set as a theme something along the lines of "Missed Opportunites" and "Human Needs Not War".
4. NEXT MEETING: Sunday, Sept. 14, 2pm at the East Hillside Community Center [1406 E. 2nd St., Duluth].
*notes taken by Adam R.