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Posted by Erin Bechtol

On April 25th we held our monthly National Campaign Nonviolence Conference Call.  We heard from George Martin and discussed the events coming up during the Week of Actions Sept. 16-24, 2017.  If you missed the call, you can read the notes or listen to the audio below. The next call is scheduled for May 30th, mark you calendars today and RSVP here!

Campaign Nonviolence National Organizing Conference Call

April 25, 2017, 5pm Pacific/ 8pm Eastern (59 minutes)

Facilitator: John Dear


  • Welcome – John Dear
  • Centering – Veronica Pelicaric
    • When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Roll Call – Ryan Hall read the list of people on the call.


  • Ken Butigan discusses the need for CNV action through 2018.
    • CNV started with a vision to put creative nonviolence to work freeing us from war, poverty, climate crisis, and racism. This administration has made it especially important for us all to take action now. Next week Pace e Bene will launch a call to mobilize a culture of nonviolence from now until the 2018 week of nonviolent actions, immediately preceding the congressional elections. Pace e Bene will be training, organizing, and staging nonviolent actions during this time.
    • We are already starting to post actions that will be taking place this September on the Pace e Bene/CNV website. Please post your actions on our events page if you have not already.
  • John Dear introduces George Martin, who has been active in peace and nonviolent actions for his whole life. George works both nationally and locally around his home in Wisconsin.
  • George Martin:
    • Was 10 feet from Dr. King when he gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. Problem today is that too much of America is still dreaming. Racism did not end with Obama’s presidency. Black people still suffering as much violence as they were in the early days of the KKK.
    • What is dividing our country? Racism, classism, etc. Is it intentional? There is still a lot of work to do, but the hope is there, even in countries that have been experiencing the most turmoil. Tunisia was the only country in the Arab Spring that was completely nonviolent and the only country whose democracy has lasted.
    • “Our role as activists is to affect the public, to move the politicians–or to get rid of them and replace them. Our tools, in terms of activism, are education, lobbying, and public witness.” This action is applicable in unions, immigration, health care, police accountability, etc.
    • Now under the Trump era, racism and nationalism working together to divide and conquer. In WI, they have mobilized twice in major ways against the KKK since 2003, and the rest of the country is trying to do the same. Our job is to hold the Republican leadership responsible. Also especially important for people to take action during the midterm elections. “Get rid of the politicians that don’t represent us.” The resistance is growing–the women’s march, people coming out against the anti-immigration EO, the march for science. All of these movements are mobilizing people who haven’t been to demonstrations before.
    • Nuclear disarmament march coming up in June in New York. Climate march coming up will happen in every major city to educate the public, getting more people off the couch and involved in making change. Local democracy movement is key in going forward. Local movements “bring the discussion to the workplace, to Thanksgiving dinner.” Work locally–gain satisfaction and energy from that–and think globally.
    • Climate march: 3 years ago in NYC, 400,000+ people came out for the climate march, and 42 other cities around the world participated too. This year, Saturday April 29th, peace contingency will be assembling at 3rd and Madison Drive. Assembly begins at 11am. Faith, Labor, and Peace movements will have their own rallies. March will flow to the Washington Monument. Speakers will be real people who have been affected by climate change. Find more information about the march here:
    • Why participate in these demonstrations conferences?
      • We learn more about our movement and how these movements intersect. (Peace and fighting militarism intersects with climate, etc.)
      • Get connected to other people and other movements.
      • Leave with more energy to keep the movements going.

Q & A With George Martin:

    • Paula.ALO in California: Asking for support and prayers in Berkeley. Organizing an action to take back the community nonviolently in the face of Ann Coulter and her group bringing violence into the city. George says: peaceful, nonviolent counter-messaging and fair, balanced reporting allow us to stop negativism from taking over.
    • Christopher Zircher in CT: Who are a couple of your role models and people you’re listening to? George: “There are so many heroes… I listen to everyone.”
    • Veronica Pelicaric in Montreal: In this era, what is the most impactful way of educating and getting to the soul of a person, getting a person to move? George: “We have to go where [the young people] are.” Comic books, facebook, whatever it may be, we have to find the way to engage youth on their level. What is most impactful is what one does the best — we all have strengths, and we all must find our respective roles to play in this movement to engage young people with us.
    • Ryan Hall in Oregon: CNV is trying to connect the dots between war, poverty, racism, etc. Is that something happening elsewhere too? George: The connections are made naturally the more you work towards resolving any of these problems. It all becomes clear especially when you make connections to the dollar and where tax money goes — towards militarism, away from education and health care, among other things. People involved in separate movements are turning out for each other, too, and working towards the same goals.
    • Ken Butigan: Pace e Bene believes, as per Why Civil Reistance Works, nonviolent strategies are quantitatively more successful than violent strategies, and all it takes is 3.5% of the population to succeed. How can we reach the 3.5% or more? George: No easy answer for that. More success on the local level rather than on a national level. Keep educating and getting people involved
    • John Dear: What was it like to be so close to Martin Luther King Jr. giving his “I Have a Dream Speech?” George: He went to the march on Washington at 16 years old and saw all kinds of people–men and women, young and old, all races and religions–coming together and working in the same direction. It was transformative to feel so much a part of 200,000 people. He was amazed with humanity, observing the crowd. Dr. King was interrupted by Mahalia Jackson who urged him to “tell them about the dream,” and it filled the crowd with hope.


  • John Dear thanks everybody for being involved and participating in the call. Wishes best of luck to George and all who will be involved in the march this weekend.


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