Peace Action Maine's Annual Meeting will be held sometime fall 2017!
Location, Date and Speaker TBD - keep an eye out for more details coming soon!
"The Relevance of Gandhi and Nonviolence in the Era of Trump"
Speaker Doug Allen, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Maine, has been active for many years in the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine in Bangor. He was honored as the first Distinguished Scholar Chair of Gandhian Studies at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in Mumbai in 2016. He was also awarded the “Hands of Peace Award” in Maine, and the “Scroll of Peace International Award for Peace Research” in India.
Doug's 15 books include the titles, The Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi for the Twenty-First Century (2008) and Mahatma Gandhi (2011).
Nonviolent Direct Action Training
Here is more information on the Nonviolent Direct Action Training held on Saturday, January 14, in the Maine Irish Heritage Center, 34 Gray St., Portland, from noon to 4 pm.
Agenda: goals for the day; the definition and historical examples of nonviolent action; how to organize an action; how to evaluate success; affinity groups (to be explained); legal issues; role-playing, for example, in an arrest situation; consideration of fears and feelings; and evaluation of the training and next steps.
Political Advocacy Group
PAM is collaborating with the Friends Committee on National Legislation to establish a political advocacy group to work with our Maine Representatives and Senators. The group's first meeting will be on January 19th. Please email email@example.com if you might be interested in attending.
Call Your Senators
The Peace Action Maine Board asks you to call your Senators to oppose the following Trump nominees: Jeff Sessions for Attorney General; Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State; Scott Pruitt for Environmental Protection Agency; and David Friedman for US Ambassador to Israel.
You can contact your senators by calling the US Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121, or you can find other ways to contact them by visiting: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?State=ME
For more information on the Cabinet nominees, link to the Guardian of London newspaper story:
For more information on Friedman, see:
Nonviolent Direct Action Training
Cancelled for December 13, Rescheduled for January 14
Alert! Our event with ROSC trainers on Nonviolent Direct Action Training has been postponed due to the weather and rescheduled for January 14 in the same place: the Maine Irish Heritage Center, from 12 noon to 4. We hope to have a snow date of January 15. Please share this information as widely as possible. Many thanks.
Organized by ROSC and co-sponsored by Peace Action Maine, 350 Maine, and Maine Students for Climate Justice
Originally scheduled for:
Saturday, December 17, 12 noon to 4 pm
Maine Irish Heritage Center
34 Gray Street, Portland
Corner of Gray and State
Free and open to the public, this preparation session on nonviolent direct action will cover the basics of planning strategic actions, legal issues, and the nonviolent tradition. As the War Resisters League puts it, "Nonviolent Direct Action is powerful. There are many dramatic images of nonviolent action; indeed, the ability to dramatize an issue is one of the strengths of nonviolence. However, this drama doesn't just happen. It gestates – in groups of activists, in discussions, in training sessions, in reflecting on previous experiences, in planning, in experimenting, in making contacts." Resources for Organizing and Social Change will organize the workshop; Peace Action Maine, 350 Maine, and Maine Students for Climate Justice are co-sponsors.
To tell us you are coming, please sign up on the event Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/670444303124200/ or just arrive on December 17!
Our mailing address is:
Peace Action Maine
P.O. Box 3842
Portland, Me 04104
Recent Events at PAM
PAM Annual meeting:
On Saturday, October 29 with a great crowd of 65 people we heard keynote speaker, Nermeen Shaikh, co-host of Democracy Now! speak in the T.D. Bank room, Wishcamper Center at USM, on the topic "What is the Measure of Progress?" Her talk was part of the series of events at PAM's annual meeting, including a traditional potluck supper, and annual business meeting, held the same evening. Please see our facebook event if you haven't already! For further information, please email us a firstname.lastname@example.org with the food you will bring as soon as you can.
If you would like to contact us to get involved or gather more information about our activities, public events, etc., please email us at email@example.com or give us a call at (207) 772-0680.
Remarks on accepting the Peacemaker Award from Peace Action Maine
at the University of Southern Maine, Portland, October 29, 2016
by Lisa Savage
Thank you, Michael Cutting, for that warm introduction. It’s been a pleasure to collaborate with you over the years on communicating about the pressing issues of our day.
I’m honored to receive this Peacemaker award from Peace Action Maine. When I make the effort to stand for peace and justice it's not usually as pleasant as a pot luck dinner among friends. There can even be a bit of physical suffering. How many times have I clutched a sign with icy fingers as the buffeting winds of Portland tried to snatch it away?
Probably fewer times than you think, actually. Something I’ve discovered about being present for peace is that people sometimes give me credit for being there even when I wasn’t! Witness the power of suggestion!
My husband and I have kept a weekly vigil for peace and justice in Skowhegan, the biggest town near where we live in Solon. It’s every Sunday from noon to one and a group of us began standing there every week when the Abu Graib torture scandal broke. I was in despair about the photo evidence of what my government was doing to people in Iraq, and communicating about the wrongness of that war to the thousand people who pass by our bridge in an hour was the only thing I could think of to do.
As a result my students often mention that they saw me on the bridge as they drove through town. My hope is that they see the ghostly images of our presence even on the other six days of the week.
The audience that gets me out to the bridge even when it’s uncomfortably hot or freezing cold is the child in the back seat of a passing car who is just opening her mouth to say, “Mom, what are those people doing there?” No matter what answer she receives I am content to know that we have sparked a necessary conversation.
My baby granddaughter joins us from time to time, too, as her mom also loves to stand for peace and justice. I think my granddaughter is convinced that we are there to celebrate the ABC’s -- since we all have signs with great big alphabet letters on them. She’s a fan, too. Sometimes she’ll grab one of our signs and toddle with it for a while.
Communication comes in many forms. I started my blog Went 2 the Bridge basically in order to keep my head from exploding. The news of the day was so grim and distressing. Even more distressing -- the silence of my peers.
The people I went to Bowdoin with became the banksters who crashed the economy in ‘08, or they became artists or entrepreneurs or psychiatrists. Most did not follow through on the idealism of our youth.
They have enjoyed affluence built on the backs of the invisible slaves of late stage capitalism, the children in sweatshops who make our clothes. They have ignored the mothers who are killed by Obama’s drones, the grieving elders who are bombed while attending yet another funeral.
They have not been willing to give up the “get out of racism free” card they believe they earned by supporting the first African American president.
Elevating a charismatic, eloquent person of color to the job of celebrity spokesman was a brilliant move on the part of our corporate overlords. It silenced dissent and let mass incarceration of black people, and mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, and the militarization of police, and extrajudicial execution of people of color roll on. It created space for fracking and pipelines enabled by the executive branch of government, a government that has never respected the territorial rights or the wise environmental leadership of the native peoples of this continent. It has allowed the Pentagon to become the enforcement arm of corporate control of the planet, establishing 1,000 military outposts outside the U.S.
It has allowed the Pentagon to continue burning the most fossil fuel of any organization on the planet in the quest for control of ever more fossil fuel. If we are talking about climate chaos and the threat of the collapse of life on Earth without talking about the Pentagon, there is an enormous elephant in the room.
Controlling the narrative is the thing that the violent patriarchy we live under has been most brilliant at. As another example, pretending that Israel is a democracy and not a violent apartheid state has dominated corporate media messaging for my entire life. Equating disapproval of the crimes of Zionism with anti-Semitism has been one of the most successful big lies of my lifetime. U.S. taxpayers fund the vicious occupation of Palestine and most people don’t dare to speak up about it. Indeed, most people don’t even know about it. The chair of the history department of one of Maine’s city high schools once told me he had never heard of the term al-Nakba. I was once lucky enough to hear Dr. Alice Rothchild speak right here at USM about her important work to bring forward these truths.
Corporate media continues pretending that our government represents we, the people, has become increasingly absurd in the 21st century, but it’s built on the foundation of teaching schoolchildren a lie about how a bill becomes a law. Corporate lobbyists write the law, then wine and dine and otherwise bribe lawmakers until it becomes one. But what textbook says that?
That’s why I think the work of citizen journalists like the stellar crew at Democracy Now! Is vitally important. Bringing the truth into the light is an uphill battle when corporations control the flow of information to the masses. General Electric built the reactor at Fukushima that is still spewing nuclear pollution into the Pacific Ocean for years and who is reporting on that? Certainly not the many corporate media channels owned by General Electric.
I think of the martyrs of information sharing in our day, and how they’ve suffered: Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange just to begin that list. I think of how journalists everywhere are under threat of violence or detention just for doing their jobs: Amy Goodman threatened with arrest for covering the water protectors in North Dakota opposing pipeline construction. Laura Poitras detained and searched at airports in the U.S. and the U.K. over and over again as she travels to do her valuable work as a non-corporate journalist.
I’m honored to be able to do my small part as an information worker in the 21st century. If my unpaid work as a blogger attracts nearly 8,000 views a month across the planet, I’m thrilled to be able to participate as a citizen journalist. There are days when I appear to have more readers in Russia and Europe than I do in the U.S. Of course in my fevered imagination, Edward Snowden is not only reading my posts but sharing them. Every once in awhile Brazil lights up in the map in my blog stats and I think, maybe Glenn Greenwald will tweet about me!
Then the sun comes up and I get ready for school.
Maybe it’s just because I’m getting old and was a history major, but I believe we are standing at a great turning point in history. When I was young the essential question for historians was, How could the German people let the Nazis seize control of their country? Now that I’ve lived for 60 years in the U.S. I’m sorry to say I know exactly how such a thing can happen.
I’ve watched corporate media elevate the demagogue with the bad hair to candidate status, and the outpouring of racism and hate that has resulted.
I’ve watched my peers defend their support for the warmonger from the other corporate party with the explanation that they are scared of the demagogue. They say they don’t dare to vote their conscience with Jill Stein of the Green Party -- even in a state like Maine with its whopping four electoral votes awarded by congressional district.
Much of what happens next hinges on access to real information.
Nermeen Shaikh of Democracy Now! was the keynote speaker on October 29 on "What is the measure of progress?"
I'm looking forward to hearing what the admirable media workers Meaghan La Salle and Nermeen Shaikh have to say tonight. Their work is so important, and I’m thrilled to be here with them.
We signed a petition telling LePage that we won't tolerate his racism any longer. Show your support. We stand with Central Maine Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and the myriad of other cosigning organizations around the state and urge you to do so, too.
Other recent PAM Events
Bill McKibben, of 350.org, spoke via satellite for a crowd of 75 on Thursday, March 3, 2016 at 7pm, in Talbot Hall, USM Portland.
A local panel spoke on "Creating a Climate for Peace," Bill spoke on the COP 21, the United Nations climate conference in Paris that took place in December of 2015.
Co-sponsored by the Environmental Science and Policy Department, USM, the local panel included:
- Meaghan LaSala, Divest UMaine and Southern Maine Workers Center
- Iris SanGiovanni, Maine Students for Climate Justice and Protect South Portland
- Chloe Maxmin, Divest Harvard, writing a book on climate for The Nation
- Lee Chisholm, 350maine.org/greater_portland
- Sherry Mitchell, Esq., Land Peace Foundation, Maine Students for Climate Justice, Indigenous Rights attorney
If you weren’t able to attend Tuesday’s PAM Annual Meeting with Keynote speaker Dr. Bennis about Syria and ISIS, here are links that include most of her talk.
Also included: the award acceptance speech delivered by 2015 Peacemaker Jessica Moore, wrapping up so much in just a few short sentences.