Thursday, June 16, 2011

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom: a kind of overview

United States WILPF Principles

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom was founded in 1915 during World War I with Jane Addams as its first president. WILPF works to achieve through peaceful means world disarmament; full rights for women; racial and economic justice; an end to all forms of violence; and to establish those political, social, and psychological conditions which can assure peace, freedom, and justice for all.

Peace is more than the absence of war or the maintenance of order through force. Peace requires the dedication to nonviolent means for the resolution of conflict and the building of institutions for world development and world community. WILPF believes that to achieve freedom and justice in our own country and peaceful relations with other countries, we must build a non-exploitive society.

As our Third International Congress of 1921 stated, we must “transform the economic system in the direction of social justice.” Peace and freedom are indivisible. Freedom means equal rights and responsibilities for all under a system of law based on justice. It includes the right to a government responsive to the will and the needs of the people, and freedom from political or economic subjugation. Freedom requires safeguarding minority rights and the right of dissent.

For more on U.S. WILPF go to

International WILPF Aims and Principles

Bring together women of different political beliefs and philosophies who are united in their determination to study, make known and help abolish the causes and the legitimization of war

World peace with total and universal disarmament

Abolition of violence and coercion in the settlement of conflict and their substitution in every case of negotiation and conciliation

Strengthening of the United Nations system

Continuous development and implementation of international law

Political and social equality and economic equity

Co-operation among all people

Environmentally sustainable development

Believing that under systems of exploitation these aims cannot be attained and a real and lasting peace and true freedom cannot exist, WILPF makes it one of its missions to further by non- violent means the social and economic transformation of the international community.

This would enable the establishment of economic and social systems in which political equality and social justice for all can be attained, without discrimination on the basis of sex, race, religion, or any other grounds whatsoever.

WILPF sees as its ultimate goal the establishment of an international economic order founded on the principles of meeting the needs of all people and not on those of profit and privilege.

WILPF works on issues of peace, human rights and disarmament at the local, national and international levels, participating in the ongoing international debates on peace and security issues, conflict prevention and resolution, on the elimination of all forms of discrimination, and the promotion and protection of human rights.

(WILPF) contributes to analysis of these issues, and through its many activities, educates, informs and mobilizes women for action everywhere.

WILPF has consultative status (category B) with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and has special relations with the International Labour Office (ILO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other organisations and agencies.

WILPF holds a triennial Congress for members and in interim years an International Executive Board meeting is convened. The 2004 Congress was held in Gothenburg, Sweden. The 2007 Congress was held in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. In 2011, the Congress will be held in Costa Rica.

For more on International WILPF, go to

Linda's Hearth note: I have been hoping for years to become involved with WILPF, it is an organization I admire on so many levels and fronts. But so far there hasn't been a single month my budget has afforded me the small membership cost. Finally today it occurs to me I can be a more explicit supporter of WILPF anyway. So here's a page from their handsome local website and my first intentional step in this direction.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Judge's Extreme Sentence for Sleep ~ ~ 400 hours volunteer work plus three years' probation ~~ Turns Into Six Months In Jail

Santa Cruz Indymedia

Police State and Prisons

Homeless activist Gary Johnson and
lawyer Ed Frey jailed for six months for PeaceCamp2010's Sleep Protest
by Robert Norse ( rnorse3 [at] )
Friday Jun 10th, 2011 1:00 PM

Homeless activist Gary Johnson--repeatedly ticketed and arrested in the 3-month long PeaceCamp2010 protest against the Sleeping Ban at the County Courthouse--was sentenced to 6 months in jail and taken there in chains. Activist-attorney Ed Frey, who initiated, supported, and was arrested, during the protest was jailed at the same hearing today. Judge Gallagher refused to suspend sentencing pending appeal, denied a motion for a new trial after several jurors complained of juror misconduct, and declined to answer Johnson's question "how can I take probation to obey all laws, when you've defined "sleeping" as lodging to the jury, making it a misdemeanor crime? How can I not sleep for six months during probation?"
I got a phone call this morning from Becky Johnson who was at court for what Gary Johnson (no relation) and Ed Frey thought was a hearing on their motion for retrial in the case of four defendants (Frey, Johnson, Collette Connolly, and Art Bishof).

After denying the motion, Gallagher announced he was also holding a sentencing hearing, which may violate the rights of the defendants--since, I'm told, there has to be advance notice of a hearing. He initially sentenced Frey to 400 hours of Community Service and 3 years probation, which Frey refused. Gallagher then sentenced Frey to 6 months jail (the maximum sentence). Johnson was also given the same sentence. All this is a second-hand account from the eye-witness testimony of Becky Johnson who was in court.

Apparently the ante for those who peacefully protest the Sleeping Ban has been raised to half a year's jail time. Recent modifications in the City's Sleeping Ban law that provide for dismissal of tickets if one has signed up for a "Waiting List' at the Homeless Services Center. (See "Camping Ordinance Revisions Pass at City Council" at ).

Frey has been an outspoken and principled activist who provided nightly portapotty support for the homeless protest (a first in Santa Cruz), something even the City was unwilling to provide. He has been a regular pro bono defender of homeless victims of the Sleeping Ban like Robert "Blindbear" Facer (see "Mayor Mike Rotkin debates Ed Frey on Free Radio Santa Cruz at ).

Gary Johnson continued the principled protest against the Sleeping Ban as others tired, retired, or fell away. SCPD and Sheriff's Deputies adopted a variety of new repressive measures against him and those activists that continued the protest (see "Lights, Camera, Tickets! Klieg Lights at City Hall--Throwing Light on the Shelter Shortage" at

Frey's debate with former Mayor Rotkin can be found at .

Six months in jail (even four months for "good behavior") is likely to cost Ed Frey his law practice and his home.

Becky Johnson should be writing a more extensive account of the shocking court repression shortly.

Those interested in supporting Gary and Ed can contact HUFF at 831-423-4833 or e-mail me at rnorse3 [at] .


Linda's Hearth note: These two men are still in jail -- despite the state's determination to exit a huge percentage of incarcerated from California's overcrowded prison system. The problem came to a head when the federal government's lawsuit ordered our legislature and Governor Brown to obey a court order, because they had not been able to make health and safety changes to the prisons. Six months in jail because of one interrupted night's sleeping "crime". I hope I can join Crow on Monday morn?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Poet as Prophet, Art as Medicine

The artist must prophesy not in the sense that he foretells things to come, but in the sense that he tells his audience, at the risk of their displeasure, the secrets of their own hearts.

But what he has to utter is not, as the individualistic theory of art would have us think, his own secrets. As spokes(person) of the community, the secrets he must utter are theirs.

The reason why they need him is that no community altogether knows its own heart; and by falling in this knowledge a community deceives itself on the one subject concerning which ignorance means death. For the evils which come from that ignorance the poet as prophet suggests no remedy, because he has already given one. the remedy is the poem itself.

Art is the community's medicine for the worst disease of the mind, thie corruption of consciousness.

--from R. G. Collingwood

As noted by editors John Mc Cormick and Mairi Mac Innes,

Versions of Censorship ~~ An Anthology

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Robert Ellsberg's "Life with the Saints”

Son of the “Most Dangerous Man in America" Presentation:

“One Candle Lights Another"
The Pentagon Papers,
Gandhi, Dorothy Day, and
My Life with the Saints

Thursday June 9, 7:30 p.m., at Holy Cross Parish Hall, 126 High St., Santa Cruz

Robert Ellsberg will share his personal story “for the first time” about growing up within the U.S. peace movement, Thursday June 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Holy Cross Parish Hall in Santa Cruz.

As a 13-year-old, Robert helped his father Daniel Ellsberg photocopy thousand of pages of classified Pentagon Papers that disclosed the U.S. government's conscious pursuit of a losing War on Vietnam. A 2009 Academy Awards nominated film documentary about these disclosures features Daniel Ellsberg as “The Most Dangerous Man in America” and includes an interview with son Robert Ellsberg.

Ellsberg will speak on “One Candle Lights Another: The Pentagon Papers, Gandhi, DorothyDay, and My Life with the Saints.”Influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, Robert Ellsberg dropped out of college at age 19 to join the Catholic Worker, a pacifist movement that participates in nonviolent direct action and provides food and shelter to poor and homeless people. He became managing editor of The Catholic Worker newspaper and came to know, and work closely for five years with, Dorothy Day (1897-1980), co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. Day's cause for canonization or sainthood, as one of the most inspiring figures of recent history, remains open in the Catholic Church.

As official Editor of Day’s Personal Papers he has published The Duty of Delight: TheDiaries of Dorothy Day (2008) and All the Way to Heaven: Selected Letters of Dorothy Day. Ellsberg is Publisher of Orbis Books. He has also edited writings by Gandhi, Flannery O’Connor, Thich Nhat Hanh,Charles de Foucauld, Fritz Eichenberg, and Carlo Carretto.

The event is hosted by Pax Christi and The Social Justice Ministry of Holy Cross Parish and the Resource Center for Nonviolence (RCNV). There is no charge and a free will donation will benefit the St. Francisco Soup Kitchen and Holy Cross Food Pantry in Santa Cruz.

For more information: 831.423.1626 or

Friday, June 3, 2011

President Obama's flip-floping on Marriage Equity Is An Affront to Human Rights

The Time to Evolve is Now

by Tina Phillips Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 6:40pm

He was for it before he was against it. Back in 1996, when he was running for the Illinois State Senate, Barack Obama answered a 1996 Outlines newspaper question by saying, "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages."

In 2008, he said he was a "fierce advocate" for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Fast forward to 2011, and he says he is against it but that his opinion is "evolving." What is that supposed to mean?

Well, first off it sounds like he is trying to get re-elected. It appears he does what many politicians do; change their positions depending on the electorate's whims. But also it sounds like he is in the same place many of Americans seems to be in. Americans are "evolving" in their view and attitudes about same-sex marriage.

Several polls have now shown country wide support for it is above 50%. Although 28 states have constitutional amendments or initiatives that define marriage as "the union of a man and a woman" and the federal government will still not recognize it, same-sex marriage is still a hot topic of debate.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, is still on the books. However, recently the Obama Administration has come out publicly in opposition to it, calling it "unconstitutional." However, there is no current federal legislation being considered to overturn the law. Obama's position remains that DOMA should be overturned and the decision to allow same-sex marriage should be left to the states. He has come out in favor of civil unions, but not marriage equality.

Meanwhile this issue is being fought state by state. Here in California we saw the Supreme Court recognize same-sex couples’ constitutional right to marry under article 14, the equal protection clause of the constitution. Only to see it taken away again, when Prop 8 won by a small margin of only 3% of voters in 2008. Then in 2010 a decision by the U.S. District Court in Perry v. Schwarzenegger ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional and it has been tied up in court ever since on appeal. It was as if my right to marry got lost in a black hole.

I will not pretend I have no stake in the outcome. As a gay person who has been with my loving partner for five years, I am ready to get married. I could have a ceremony in front of all of my friends and family, say I "do" and hear the words "spouses for life," have a first dance, cut a cake, throw a bouquet, and go on a honeymoon, but I cannot get a piece of paper that gives me all the legal protections that come with marriage. I cannot get the title and status of being married in the eyes of the law.

I do not need the government to recognize my marriage in order to feel like I am married. However, as a gay person it feels like what I am being told is I am a second class citizen. In California there is a civil union for me and a marriage for heterosexual person. I may have to hire and pay a lawyer to draw up several contracts to give my wife and I the protections an opposite-sex couple can get after one night in Las Vegas.

Civil rights should never be put up for a popular vote. Courts are charged with protecting minority rights against majority tyranny. That is what courts have done in the past for many minortity groups, including for interracial couples who wanted to marry in 1967, even when the majority of Americans had not quite caught up in the social views yet. However, the court process has been slow and cumbersome in regard to this issue. Moreover, to date there have only been five states that recognize same-sex marriage: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

However, slowly Americans themselves are coming to realize that gay people are people too. As more and more LGBT come out, more people can now say they know someone who is LGBT. As we share our stories, folks are realizing we have partners, children, and families. Whether straight people support same-sex marriage or not, many are deciding it is not their decision to make. The decision should belong to same-sex couples.

It was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said, "the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice." As a gay person I can see it bending but waiting for it to reach justice is painfully slow. I can see that someday soon LGBT people will be able to get civilly married but why should we have to wait any longer? The time has come for the U.S. Supreme Court to put this issue to rest once and for all. The time has come for you, President Obama, to evolve. We should not have to wait any longer for our rights as citizens and fellow human beings to be recognized. I demand the freedom to marry, now.

Same-sex couple getting married. :-D