MEETING NOTES FOR PEOPLE FOR PEACE, JUSTICE, AND HEALING
March 10, 2007
People for Peace, Justice and Healing held its regular Saturday meeting at 10:00 a.m. on Mar. 10, 2007, at Associated Ministries in Tacoma, WA. Present for check-in: Rob, Sallie S., Kathryn, Mark, and colleen.
1. STATEMENT (Mark)
PPJH adopted a statement (http://www.tacomapjh.org/AProtestintheBestAmericanTradition.htm) on the port militarization resistance movement. Text:
A PROTEST IN THE BEST AMERICAN TRADITION
People for Peace, Justice, and Healing (Tacoma, WA) March 10, 2007
** People for Peace, Justice, and Healing supports the nonviolent port resistance movement **
The protest against the shipment of Stryker vehicles organized in the Port of Tacoma is in the best American tradition. Just as the young Abraham Lincoln and Henry David Thoreau opposed the U.S. war of aggression against Mexico as a perversion of American values, so protestors at the Port of Tacoma are standing against a war so illegal, so immoral, and so disastrous that it endangers the very health of the American body politic. People for Peace, Justice, and Healing wholeheartedly supports those who, in the words of T.J. Johnson, the Olympia city councilman who is one of the leaders of the port resistance movement, are "seeking to take direct action to end their community's participation" in the illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq (Christian Hill, "Tacoma Protest Leads to Arrests," Olympian [Olympia, WA], Mar. 6, 2007).
We also categorically reject the view cynically purveyed by right-wing commentators like Michelle Malkin and comforted by editorial practices of papers like the News Tribune of Tacoma, according to which protestors are "against" the troops. The current revelations about the shameful neglect of wounded and disabled veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center that blossomed into a full-fledged national scandal this week is one more proof of the hypocrisy of a "support our troops" crowd that is all too willing to send our young men and women to repeated tours of doomed, dehumanizing, and illegal military service in an utterly alien culture and land where many of them are exposed to toxic chemicals and depleted uranium, and where their presence is ardently detested by the vast majority of the Iraqis they are supposedly being sent to protect. We would like to spare them that arduous experience, which for many will be permanently disabling or fatal.
The past week has been marked by lamentable behavior on the part of the Tacoma Police Department. Excessive force has been used against peaceful, nonviolent protesters presenting no threat whatever to public safety, as well as unjustified and, we believe, illegal arrests. These have been employed in what appears to be a campaign to frighten, discourage, intimidate, and harrass protesters who, we believe, are only exercising their legal and constitutional rights. Heretofore peace activists have enjoyed good relations with the Tacoma police, and we must work to understand why our local authorities chose the line of conduct that we were dismayed to witness this week.
We also lament the decision of the Tacoma City Council on Tues., Mar. 6, forcibly to eject Wally Cuddeford, a Navy veteran from Olympia protesting the war who came to describe to the Council his own abuse at the hands of Tacoma police, on the legalistic grounds that he had exceeded the two minutes allotted to him but persisted in finishing a brief statement about his experience of being arrested, beaten, Tasered three times, and held in jail on absurd charges of felony assault that were dropped at once by county prosecutors at his arraignment on Tuesday. The Tacoma City Council should have had the decency to suspend the rules and hear him out, as the council did for others earlier in the meeting.
We support the call by Tacoma City Councilman Bill Evans for an official investigation by the city into Wally Cuddeford's arrest and mistreatment, and also into other troubling incidents: the use of force against Caitlin Esworthy and Jeff Berryhill, who were arrested along with Cuddeford; the arrest of Legal Observer Karen Weill; the harrassment, intimidation, and illegal detention of Joe La Sac, a student at the University of Puget Sound, whose treatment at the hands of Tacoma police is being viewed around the world, thanks to his artful YouTube video, "Film is NOT a Crime"; and the arrest of Tom McCarthy at 11:30 p.m. on Mar. 9 at the Port of Tacoma for supposed crime of carrying a backpack full of food and first aid supplies. These incidents must come to an end now, before they constitute a pattern of outright repression.
We are committed to following the example of the late Martin Luther King Jr., who lost his life in the struggle to redeem the United States from the "giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism" that afflict this land. In his April 1967 speech "Beyond Vietnam," King quoted a Vietnamese Buddhist leader whose words ring true today: "It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism."
People for Peace, Justice, and Healing supports the nonviolent resistance at the Port of Tacoma and rededicates itself to the effort to reconnect the United States of America to its roots in revolution against oppression, freedom from injustice, and genuine democracy.
—People for Peace, Justice, and Healing was formed in Tacoma, WA, in September 2001 and has met weekly since. The group maintains an active listserv as a group on Yahoo.com. People for Peace, Justice, and Healing meets every Saturday at 10:00 a.m. at Associated Ministries, 1224 South "I" St., Tacoma, WA.
2. WORLD AFFAIRS SUMMIT (Colleen)
There will be be a spoken-word and musical component on peace themes at the World Affairs summit on Apr. 20-21, 2007, in Tacoma, in the context of 40-50 workshops. Colleen is working on the musical compenent, and Karen H. is working on the spoken-word component. All venues will be on the Link. There will be a musical evening on Fri., Apr. 20; reserve the date.
3. ETHNIC FEST (Sallie S.) Sallie si submitting papers for a table at Ethnic Fest 2007 in Wright Park, Jul. 28-29, 2007.