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Charges dropped against the Veterans Day 18!
Veterans for Peace, including Pat and Arthur, and three supporters,
were arrested at Boston's Veterans Day event. They and others stood
solemnly at City Hall Plaza.
See Pictures See
Rally and March in Boston. The Boston Globe said there were 10,000
The red material
represents lives lost. Casilio triplets Sara (left), Kelly, and
Alicia from the performance group Triiibe stood on crates in Boston
Common. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff)
But the globe put the report on page B6.
This Labor Day
again, MVPP was part of the annual Bread and Roses Festival in
Lawrence. Our tent was assigned to a great location at the main
walking area. Many visitors stopped to buy bumper stickers and buttons,
to pick up printed materials, and just to talk.
One of the performers
who appeared on the main stage at the Bread and Roses Festival had
come all the way from California: well-known musician and activist
Faith Petric, just turned 92. The evening before the festival,
a circle of music lovers sat around Faith in the UU Church at 6
Locke St. in Andover for an unforgettable sing-along.
The ANSWER coalition
had taken out a permit for 10,000 demonstrators for the Washington
D.C. Rally, September 15th - and about 100,000 showed up!
An overwhelming part of the demonstrators were people in their teens
and early twenties. Speakers included Cindy Sheehan, Melida Arredondo,
a large group of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Retired Col. Ann
Wright, Ralph Nader, National ANSWER coordinator Brian Becker and
others. A densely packed march stretched more than ten blocks on
Pennsylvania Avenue. At the capital steps, the protesters were met
by a police line. There, Iraq veterans conducted a solemn ceremony
in memory of the U.S. soldiers and Iraqis killed in the war. Over
5,000 people then laid down in a symbolic "die-in" - one
of the largest acts of civil disobedience in recent years. 197 people,
including veterans and activists, were arrested when they tried
to deliver to Congress the message to stop the war. This mass action
came on the heels of Gen. Petraeus report to Congress and the President's
wholehearted endorsement of that report.
end of the march. Carlos Arredondo, pulling his traveling
memorial for his son Alex, was attacked and seriously beaten
up by five counter-demonstrators, each one of them twice the weight
of Carlos. The police broke the beating up, but no arrest was made.
Friends of Carlos are seeking legal redress.
Land of Canaan
Brian attended a presentation by Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh at Brookline
High School, September 16. It was interesting to hear what he had
to say this time, having seen him shouted down at Andover High School
showed part of the 90 minute video, Occupation 101.
followed by a discussion.
people gathered at Andover's Old Town Hall to remember the victoms
of the Atomic Bomb in Hiroshima sixty two years ago. Speakers
and musicians kept the awful memory alive.
At least ten
of us joined the over 2000 marchers at Kennebunkport on August
25. Great speakers included Dennis Kucinich and Cindy Sheehan. The
president had changed his vacation plans, so didn't make it, but
Maine, On July 1, Well over 2000 protesters went to Kennebunkport
while Presidents Bush and Putin were meeting in the Bush family
compound. Peace activists called for an immediate withdrawal of
U.S. troops from Iraq and the removal of permanent bases. There
also was a loud call for impeachment and for holding Bush and Cheney
accountable for the illegal war in Iraq, mutilating the Constitution,
torture, war crimes, and much more.
The event was
organized by the Kennebunk PEACE Department, Maine Lawyers for Democracy
and The Maine Campaign to Impeach. Five from MVPP were in the throng.
On July 26,
Henry Misserville and Kay Painter hosted a house projection of the
film, War Made Easy (How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning
Us to Death) based on the book by Norman Solomon and narrated
by Sean Penn. They had a good turnout and were even talking of showing
the film another time. The film contains remarkable archival footage
of official distortion and exaggeration from LBJ to George W. Bush,
detailing how the American news media have uncritically and enthusiastically
dispersed the pro-war messages of several presidential administrations.
Cindy Sheehan's Journey for Humanity in Washington D/C, July
23, 2007. They
went to meet with the head of the House Judiciary Committee Rep.
John Conyers, and demand that he initiate impeachment proceedings.
Bill and Jonna
McDannell from San Diego, CA (Bill having walked), f with their
9-year old granddaughter Katelyn, were among the well known activists.
About 300 made
their way to the Capitol, and about 200 packed the halls outside
Rep. John Conyers office. Contrary to his pre-election promises
in 2006, Rep. Conyers told them that, impeachment isnt
going to happen because we dont have the votes and that
our only recourse was to work to get a Democrat in the White
House.(His judiciary committee staffers had previously produced
a report summarizing and documenting the crimes of Bush and Cheney.)
Cindy Sheehan briefly shared the outcome of the meeting and announced
that she is going to run against Rep. Nancy Pelosi in 2008. After
that, she and about 45 more people sat down in Rep. Conyers
office refusing to leave, and were arrested by the Capitol Police.
40 then visited the office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
At the Lowell
Folk Festival, on July 28, MVPP and the Greater Lowell for Peace
and Justice once again set up tables side by side. Our two canopies
adorned with rainbow PEACE flags attracted a steady flow of visitors
of all ages. We distributed pins, bumper stickers, peace, justice,
and counter-recruiting literature, the DVD Iraq Veterans Speak
Out, and Pat Scanlons CD Where Is the Rage.
Several people signed our mailing list and we received about $240
MVPP Annual Meeting click to see pictures.
After a potluck meal, we elected new MVPP officers. Our hardworking
President Bobbie Goldman, Vice President Becci Backman and Treasurer
Sue Imhoff stepped down for a well-deserved break. The new MVPP
officers are: Ralph Galen, Acting President; Jim Todd, Vice President;
Mary Todd, Clerk; and Arthur Brien, Treasurer.
was honored at the meeting, in recognition of the Award for
Excellence in Social Action he had received five days earlier
from the New England United Methodist Conference. Both Bobbie and
Arthur received fowers flowers, an avalanche of loving thoughts
and good wishes, and a special song put together for each of them
by the Curbside Singers (Mary, Jim and Boryana).
Alice Rothchild, Boston area activist, physician, and author discussed
her book: BROKEN PROMISES, BROKEN DREAMS, Stories of Jewish and
Palestinian Trauma and Resilience at Old Town Hall,Andover. She
calmy pointed out out significant ways people on both sides of the
Israel/Palestine border, the Green Line, suffer and work to make
peace. She put a very human face on the complicated situation. Her
responses to negative questions were an example of how to communicate.
Pat Scanlon led a "Peace Package Packing Party" of over
thirty people, where more than 2000 packets with a CD a DVD and
many fliers were assembled and mailed. The CD, titled "Where
is the Rage? " asks why more Americans don't question the war
in Iraq. Each "Peace Package contains up to 17 pieces of literature,
as well as two DVDs The materials are from most of the major peace
organizations in the country.They were sent to: peace groups, Unitarian
Universalist Congregations and College and Public Radio Stations.
MVPP had a table at Andovers Step It Up 2007 National Day
for Climate Action
in the Old Town Hall (see more on the event in Good News).
Thanks to Becci Backmans thoughtful stocking-up, we were able
to offer a large assortment of bumper-stickers and buttons carrying
environmental messages. Even more important than the sales was our
presence at the event, witnessing for the deep links between the
work for preserving the Earth and the work for global peace and
a spirited, funny and angry event took place in front of Faneuil
Hall in downtown Boston, right around the statue of Samuel Adams.
The Peoples Impeachment of George Bush was one
of about 130 grassroot pro-impeachment actions that took place around
the country on that day. The participants, several hundreds at their
peak, cheered the speakers and performers, stopped in front of the
flag-draped casket and memorial set up by Carlos Arredondo, displayed
homemade signs and left colorful messages on an enormous sheet spread
on the ground for We the People to sign. A town crier
in 18th-century costume read a proclamation calling up to the audience
to constitute a Citizens Council on the Impeachment of George
Bush and Dick Cheney, since the government had failed to act for
accountability. The crowd broke out in an enthusiastic Aye!
in favor of impeachment, counter-pointed by a sad Nay!
by the exquisite Billionaires for Bush. MVPP member Pat Scanlon
had the whole audience singing along with him (even when the sound
system broke down). The audience included several other MVPP members.
MVPP and the UU Congregation in Andover jointly hosted the 6th annual
Walk for a New Spring. About 50 people came to the potluck
supper to spend the evening with our dear friends from the Leverett
Peace Pagoda and their co-walkers and hear about their work on abolishing
war and nuclear weapons and about the progress of the Mayors for
Peace project. We also had a short presentation by members of the
group No More Victims, which is involved in helping
Iraqi children injured in the war to get medical treatment in the
U.S. The Walkers jointly with MVPP members held vigils at Textron
systems in Wilmington and Raytheon in Andover to protest the manufacturing
of weapons in both facilities.
MVPP sponsored a vigil to commemorate the fourth anniversary of
the U.S. invasion in Iraq. The vigil was called by Moveon.org and
was one of about 1400 events held countrywide. About 60 people gathered
in the very chilly evening to share each others presence,
their outrage with the war and their determination to work for peace.
The strong wind made it impossible for candlelight as planned, but
we had good speeches, good music and most importantly, a strong
presence of young people. Special thanks to Jim Todd, Masood Sheikh
and Ralph Galen for opening and closing the event with prayers,
to Don Abbott for his speech and for providing the sound system,
to MFSO mother Anne Chay and Veteran for Peace member Pat Scanlon
for their speeches, to Bill Kolbe, Brian Quirk, Mary Kate Small
and Pat Scanlon for the inspiring music, to Thea Shapiro for providing
the heartbreaking display of well over 3,000 fallen soldiers
names, and to everyone for coming.
over twenty MVPP members participated at the Greater Boston area
Stop the War! Troops Home Now! rally
and peace-and-justice fair attended by thousands at the Boston Common.
The event was organized by a coalition of groups to commemorate
the fourth anniversary of the war in Iraq. Speakers included Howard
Zinn, Cindy Sheehan, Melida Arredondo and others. MVPP member Pat
Scanlon sang, surrounded by fellow Veterans for Peace. The rally
was followed by a spirited march over Beacon Hill, through Government
Center, Faneuil Hall, Downtown Boston and back to the Common. The
event united peace, labor, community, environmental, immigrant right
traditions to name just a few bringing a strong message
that just as we have to end the war in Iraq, so do we have to meet
the challenges at home.
21 - Feb 11, four Sunday mornings Panel Discussion on the
Middle East: Getting Past the Blame Game. At St. James Episcopal
Church in Groveland, speakers representing Palestine, Israel and
Christians talked peacefully about their diffferent perspectives,
answered audience questions, and worshipped together.
Jan 3 MVPP sponsored
a candlelight vigil in Andover to commemorate the deaths of 3,000
American soldiers in Iraq and over 650,000 Iraqi civilians.
It was a part of the nationwide vigil coordinated by the AFSC. About
50 participants came, including a Military Families Speak Out mother
whose son is now in Baghdad. We read aloud the names of the 45 fallen
soldiers from Massachusetts along with the names of killed Iraqi
children. Together with the feeling of deep sadness, there was strong
determination to work for ending the war. The prayers led by Jim
Todd, Masood Sheikh and Ralph Galen as well as the music by Brian
Quirk and Pat Scanlon expanded the dimensions and the meaning of
Jan 5- Three members of the Wheels of Justice were finally invited
to speak at Andover High School. We cancelled our annual potluck
dinner in order to have a calming presence there. Many MVPP members
were present. We were prepared to take part in the discussion, but
the principal stopped the presentation after a few questions because
part of the audience was so rude and out of control. Becci Backman
attended a classroom session during the day as a League of Women
See the Globe and Tribune articles.
Jan 10 MVPP
went to Lawrence Tech for counter-recruitment activity. Jim
Todd, Mary Todd, Pat Scanlon, Henry Misserville, and Becci Backman
participated and all felt that the day was very successful.
Jan 10, The
David Project came to Andover High School during the day (Becci
Backman was again a League of Women Voters observer) and for an
evening forum. This very conservative group was selected to counterbalance
the Wheels of Justice with another view. Again, many MVPP members
MVPP sponsored two special vigils in response to a number
of national organizations calling for a vigil on this day:
one together with Amnesty International to commemorate the fifth
anniversary of the Guantanamo Bay detention center, to demand
its closing, and another to protest Bushs proposed surge
of troops. The two vigils were supposed to be held separately,
but actually merged into one 2-hours long presence in the street,
since all 30+ participants felt strongly about both issues. Several
MVPP members took part in the vigil.
MVPP all-day retreat was very successful, and looked at our
priorities for the next year, and possible strategies.
MVPP member Hattie Nestle six other "women shut down
Vermont Yankee for nearly an hour until Vernon, Brattleboro,
and Vermont state police cut them free with a bolt cutter. State
and local police then arrested the seven, who were charged by Brattleboro
police with trespass and disorderly conduct.
Jan 26, 27 -
An overnight bus left from Dascomb Road in Tewksbury bound for the
big protest in Washington. A number of MVPP folks attended
Saturdays historic march. Some members drove on their own
or flew down to Washington.
27 Over 100 activists, including three MVPP members, attended
a rally in front of Marty Meehans office in Lowell to
show solidarity with the protest in Washington. See picture of Jim
Todd holding his sign.
for highlights in 2002 - 2003, 2004,
, 2010, 2011,
People for Peace meets monthly, on the fourth Tuesday,
at 7:30 pm, at
North Parish Church, North Andover.
Merrimack Valley People for Peace (978) 685-1389
P.O. Box 573
North Andover, MA 01845
to post on the website to firstname.lastname@example.org