Action Alert:

2017 Annual Meeting Workshops


The following workshops will be offered at Pursuing Justice, Building Peace: Growing the Resistance, the 2017 Annual Meeting of Massachusetts Peace Action.

Intensified Initiatives toward Nuclear Disarmament

Chair: Prof. Jonathan King

Prof. Elaine Scarry – Taking the President’s finger off the nuclear trigger- legal strategies.

Cambridge City Councilor Dennis Carlone –  Don’t Bank on the Bomb pension divestment campaigns for municipalities, colleges and churches.

Christie Dennis – Organized outreach to communities of faith.

Joseph Gerson, American Friends Service Committee – International efforts focused on the United Nations this spring.

General discussion and recruitment for the various campaign initiatives.

Organizing on Palestine/Israel in the Age of Trump

Conveners: Eva Moseley and Noble Larson

Presentation and discussion of the challenges and opportunities of organizing on the P/I issue during the Trump administration. The extremism of Trump on this and other issues may actually help to drive political support in a constructive direction.

In this context we will report briefly on the campaigns we’ve been working on during the last year: free Junkets to Israel involving US and state reps/senators as well as others, e.g. Attorney General Healey; Settlements, including a resolution on this topic currently before the Democratic State Committee (DSC); combatting Anti-BDS legislation in its various guises. From this perspective we will discuss what has changed and what hasn’t – and how our campaigns reflect or can be made to reflect this

We will report on what we’ve learned regarding lobbying and the media, and, hopefully, use this for some training.

We hope to enlist more members into our state-wide New Day organization, to help with our efforts to lobby US and state reps and senators, and others. The latter includes police chiefs and law enforcement personnel, as well as (local) members of the DSC regarding the DSC settlement resolution.

Working for Peace in the Middle East in the Time of Trump

Further remarks and discussion with Vijay Prashad

MAPA working group’s objectives:

  • End US military intervention in the Middle East
  • Support HR.1473: Don’t send more troops to Syria
  • End the endless wars: Repeal open-ended authorizations for use of military force (AUMF)

Introduction of work of our subteams:

  • Writing group
  • Press and letter to editor group
  • Speaker series/ educational outreach
  • Legislative lobbying
  • Academic advisory committee

Break-outs into small groups on the above work areas

Peace and Climate: Making the Connections, Taking Action

Facilitator—John MacDougall.  Resource people: Rosalie Anders, Renee Kasinsky, Eileen Kurkoski, Paula Phipps

Members of the Mass. Peace Action Working Group on Peace and Climate will lead a discussion of some of the major actions around climate issues. In this time of crisis, when basic human rights and democracy are threatened, what positive agenda for action can we put forward?  We will look especially at the following areas: 1) reducing fossil fuel production and consumption; 2) promoting renewable energy;  3) ecosystem restoration; 4) strengthening communities in anticipation of difficult times ahead.

We will encourage all workshop participants to support specific legislation, attend events and join in local activities

MAPA’s Peace and Climate Working Group is planning an event in spring 2017 on Central America focusing on Honduras.  Topics for this region will be mainly connections between food, water, migration and conflict

Racial Justice & Peace at Home

Facilitated by Rosemary Kean, Linda Brion-Meisels, and Claire Gosselin, members of MAPA racial justice working group.

Presenter / Resource person: Ricardo Henry of MCAN (Massachusetts Community Action Network), who works with Jobs Not Jails.  

Recent experience in the Bernie campaign and in the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina suggests that addressing racism is key in movement building. This workshop will look at structural racism in our criminal “justice” system and present an historical view of slavery, white supremacy, and mass incarceration. We’ll also look at how values underpin social justice work and consider current criminal justice system reform campaigns in Massachusetts.  While not the main focus of this workshop, racism operating in US attitudes of exceptionalism and in our imperialist foreign policy will also be noted.

We will propose 

  • grassroots and legislative work on challenging Criminal Justice system as one important effort in our current historical context
  • forms to be completed and collected from participants will include a question on areas of interest; we will review and refer them to relevant activist groups or projects, based on their responses.

Skills training will include

  • focus on values-based aspects of organizing and political action
  • define structural racism and its relationship to white privilege    
  • provide historical context of the development of white supremacist ideology and racial injustice, and the racialized social control built into the US Criminal Justice system as it emerged in the post-slavery period.
  • see the use of fear of crime to call for more money for more law enforcement and more equipment to address social problems, and the same fear on the international stage used to call for more Pentagon spending on soldiers and weapons to address global issues militarily rather than by diplomacy.
  • information on current grassroots and legislative criminal justice system reform campaigns in Massachusetts.

the workshop will include a short video written and narrated by Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Institute, a presentation from Ricardo Henry of MCAN/Jobs Not Jails, and small group work on the question: What values underpin our work as peace activists and how do these values affect our sense of justice within our borders? How do these values influence our activism?

We will have a literature table with information on racial justice from different perspectives, including Black Lives Matter buttons and yard signs, information on SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice), information on Outreach to White Communities, a reading list on racial justice topics, and a list of key terms defined: structural racism, white privilege, white supremacy, race, racism, reverse racism, anti-racism.

For a Nuclear Free Carbon Free Future

Our workshop will begin with an update from Diane Turco of Cape Downwinders on the battle to shut down Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, rated third worst in the country, 35 air miles from Boston.  This will be followed by reports from group members on the overall dangers, environmental degradation and  health hazards of nuclear power, as well as the astonishing increases in installed capacity from renewables, especially wind.  Each presentation will be followed by a clarifying Q&A. Afterwards, we’ll open to a general discussion, including of further actions, both group and individual.

We believe that nuclear power and climate change are equal threats to earth’s survival and need to be addressed by a unified environmental movement.  Come join our discussion and help make this happen.

Electing Change Agents

Convener: Bonnie Gorman, Co-Chair MAPA Legislative/ Political Committee
Goal of workshop: 
Outlining the importance of getting peace advocates to run for office, how to fund campaigns and how to rally community support.    
Matt Miller, Our Revolution ORMA Somerville
Rep. Mike Connolly, new Mass. Legislator for Cambridge & Somerville
We will cover Election Cycles & Opportunities at Local, County, State and Federal levels.  All Local elections or Board Appointments are a great place to start your journey.  Reach out to progressive groups in your area.  Join a city/town political party advocacy group and network frequently.  Attend town/ city council meetings, school committees, town/ city boards (health, housing etc).  Make you positions public via media (Op-Eds, LTE), social media etc.  Reach out to Mass. Alliance for networking and training.
Familiarize yourself with public policy issues that are important to you.  Develop expertise in that subject matter.  Reach out to your public officials (at all levels) to advocate for your policy position, in a group or as an individual.   Develop a relationship with that public official and their staff.   Network, network, network.
A few upcoming outreach opportunities will be discussed: Impacting Democratic State Committee (DSC) and Policy Platform, DSC Convention 6/3/17 in Worcester.  2018 Governor’s race, progressive campaigns.  Congressional District 8 race: Rep. Steve Lynch vs Brianna Wu.  Bring your own issues to the workshop. 

No Economic Justice, No Peace

Denise Provost (D-Somerville): Revenue Information and Accountability Act.

Maria Termini: Single Payer Healthcare: The Why, the What, and the How.

John Ratliff: RaiseUp Massachusetts ($15/hour wage, Fair Share Amendment, and paid family medical leave)

InvestT Coalition against privatization of the MBTA

Michelle Cunha: Tax Day

Paul Shannon:  The People’s Budget