Campaign Nonviolence National Organizing Conference Call February 28, 2017, 5pm Pacific/ 8pm Eastern (60 minutes)
Facilitator: John Dear
Welcome – John thanked everyone for being on the call.
Centering (Veronica Pelicaric)
Our task, of course, is to transmute the anger that is affliction into the anger that is determination to bring about change. I think in fact, that one could give that as a definition of revolution. – Barbara Deming, Revolution and Equilibrium
Roll Call (Ryan Hall): 114 RSVP’d
John Dear spoke about how he would like to open the call up for discussion and conversation on the new era we living in under the Trump administration. John shared how CNV has been going now for four years. He spoke about the current challenges we are now facing including the President’s plan to build a wall, expel millions of immigrants, register Muslims, increase racism and Islamophobia, turn away refugees, cut regulations, give corporations free reign, shut down healthcare, cut education funding, deny climate change, abolish the Environmental Protection Agency, drill for oil in our parks, build up our military, start new wars, and possibly use nuclear weapons. John felt that the only antidote to this is nonviolence and action. He remembered James Lawsons comments at our 2015 conference in Santa Fe that nonviolence is power. Erica Chenoweth then explained how it works when it’s tried. We are trying to be people of active nonviolence in this moment. He hopes to increase the number of actions for our September Week of Actions. We’re up against an entire culture of violence and we have to use nonviolence to counteract it.
Ken said that Gandhi believed nonviolence is as old as the hills and we would not have survived as a species if everyday we had not been practicing nonviolence in some form. Ken said nonviolence is not only the moral path but also the most effective path. While we could not have anticipated this moment, he believes nonviolence will be the key to shifting it. He said what we’re seeing from the White House is violence in various forms. We need a culture of nonviolence because of the increasing violence around us. Ken encouraged people to get with some kind of affinity group, that you can feel support from and in order to make it through these times. He said he is looking for another great week of actions in September and seeking ways of supporting one another ahead. Ken said Dr. King said nonviolence is the Love that does Justice and that is what we are about as Campaign Nonviolence.
Large Group Discussion: This is a time to discuss how people of nonviolence can respond to Trump.
Alice Soto in California: She said nonviolence is needed now more than ever. She said that one of her concerns is whether new groups sprouting up that she gets involved with will remain nonviolent. She thought that training will be crucial going forward. She suggested that the Week of Actions expand from the Int’l Day of peace through Int’l day of nonviolence. She hopes that we can support each other through these challenges and suggested that people keep our goals of nonviolence out there in the public.
Michael Nagler in California: He suggested that fears are one of his concerns as well. He said Gandhi’s satyagraha is key to addressing this. He suggested checking out the Metta Center’s website and their escalation curve which can help people understand at what level of response is needed.
Myles Flaig in Alberta,Canada: He mentioned that he heard about CNV through Rivera Sun’s Love and Revolution Radio. He suggested that we listen more to the indigenous world view. His concern are the extremes of capitalism right now and is also about climate change and nuclear weapons.
Wally Inglis in Hawaii: He appreciated Ken’s advice to find affinity groups and said he was looking forward to John Dear’s visit who will be speaking about nonviolence there soon. They are doing various events already including around some of the local military basis and they had an incredible turn out from the women’s march. Recently they had a rally on health issues at the capital, soon theyll have one on prison issues. They have also had weekly vigils downtown to support Standing Rock. He appreciates being part of the CNV and feeling a part of the larger movement.
Sherri Maurin in California: Sherri spoke about the National Council of Elders and a project they are working on to encourage and promote the the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s Vietnam speech. She hopes to get CNV people involved during the week of actions to read the speech publically and take action through marches and teach-ins afterwards. Sherri said their group will provide all the materials needed and it will no doubt increase the number of actions during the CNV Week. She said school and public buildings are great places to read the speech. She thinks it’s a great way to connect the dots. If you’d like to learn more you can reach Sherri via email here.
Matt De Vlieger in New York: He is with United for Peace and Justice. He said many more groups are reaching out seeking nonviolent direct action. They don’t always know what they need, but feel the need for more knowledge in nonviolence. He also said many people he hears from are concerned about the rise of Islamophobia and are looking for bystander trainings or rapid response trainings. He is also looking to identify ways of finding local trainers.
Ryan Hall responded and said that we at Pace e Bene have had many more requests for trainings as well. He mentioned that we started the nonviolencetraininghub.org to help people find trainings and assist training groups to list their trainings in one place.
Grant Bakewell in California: Grant thought it would be a good idea to organize some kind of nationwide fast especially in light of Trump’s call in increase the military and nuclear weapons. He thought this might be a good option as well for September. John Dear responded and said that there will be many things we’ll need to do going forward and said this is definitely a time to do this kind of fast. He hoped people would do both fasting and doing public actions though during September as well. John said we at CNV would make a note of this idea for the future as well.
Ruth Benn in New York: Ruth is with National War Tax Resistance. She said with the mention of increasing the military budget this idea of tax resistance will be more important. Learn more here: http://nwtrcc.org/
Peter Bergel in Oregon: Peter felt we now have an opportunity to start working together with many different groups. He hopes we can see ourselves as part of on group. He said that two trends concern him, the need for resistance and a feeling that Trump is trying to pit groups against each other. Peter suggested instead of being just defensive we need to be proactive. He also mentioned that they have been working to replace city council members in Salem with more progressive individuals and hopes more people will focus on local politics.
Eleanore Voutseles in New Mexico: She mentioned that due to the large amount of undocumented in Santa Fe who are very scared, they are working on the immigration issue primarily. They are a sanctuary city and have worked to make it more supportive of those in need.
Janice Vanderhaar in Tennessee: Janice spoke about local high school students who raised their voices in unity and not be scared. She also said that they are working on the Vanderhaar Symposium on March 31 and the Gandhi King Conference following the symposium in Memphis. Their local college also decided to do a week of compassion and they are starting that week at the Vanderhaar Symposium. She mentioned that when the immigration ban was announced they had about 1500 people marching and they went to the Civil Rights Museum where Muslims prayed together.
Connie Jenkins in Maine: She has been encouraged by hearing from everyone on the call. She said that she has been part of groups going to town halls regionally. They put together a list of questions being sent to their Senator as well. She is encouraged by the new people getting involved as well and feels hopeful using the spirit of nonviolence.
Angela Parker in California: She agreed that protest is essential, but that as long as we are divided we won’t make progress. She said we have to reach out to many groups to work together. She said that locally they are working on immigration issues and also started a hope group with Metta Center. In March they are doing a DAPL event and an active peace and nonviolence training event as well.
Final Comments: John Dear
John thanked everyone for sharing and encouraging one another. John encouraged people to read his book The Nonviolent Life and teach people nonviolence. He encouraged people to schedule a nonviolence training as well. He thought that as we think about September we must be proactive for a new culture of peace and nonviolence. John mentioned that we now have 50 cities interested in our Nonviolent Cities Project. He suggested people form groups and start organizing for September’s week of actions.
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