Building Sustainable Security: Workshop Descriptions


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The Building Sustainable Security conference will be held Saturday, November 21, at Harvard Law School.   Following are the descriptions of the workshops that will be offered.   More Information and to Register


MORNING SESSION  (11:45 am – 1:00 pm)


Storm in the Middle East: Iran Deal, ISIS War, Syria, Yemen, Palestine  (WCC 3016)

Shelagh Foreman, program director, Massachusetts Peace Action

Jeff Klein, author and speaker on Middle East issues; member of Massachusetts Peace Action Middle East working group

Angela Kelly, community organizer; co-clerk, AFSC Peace & Economic Security committee


Stop the Trans Pacific Partnership    (WCC 3013)

John Ratliff, Massachusetts Peace Action board of directors and Jobs with Justice executive committee

Liz King, coordinator, Boston Council

Cathy Ann Buckley, chair, Massachusetts Sierra Club

The Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement poses a threat to what remains of our democracy, our environment, our jobs and our economy. Learn about the agreement and the efforts in Massachusetts to defeat it.


New Initiatives toward Nuclear Disarmament  (WCC 3012)

Jonathan King, chair, Massachusetts Peace Action nuclear abolition working group – Subways not Submarines

Abel Corver, chair, Harvard Peace Action – Don’t Bank on the Bomb

Mary Popeo, chair, Global Zero Boston – Pull Back from Hair Trigger Alert

Guntram Mueller, Massachusetts Peace Action – reaching out to high school students

Lisbeth Gronlund, Union of Concerned Scientists

Gary Goldstein, Professor of Physics, Tufts University – reaching out to college faculty

This workshop will present a number of newly emergent campaigns focused on developing social pressure for reducing nuclear weapons arsenals.


Security vs. the National Security State–Technology, Privacy, and the NSA  (WCC 3011)

Jenny Horsburgh, Massachusetts Peace Action Peace Economy working group; student, Newton North High School

Kade Crockford, director, Technology for Liberty program, American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts

Suren Moodliar, coordinating committee, Massachusetts Global Action – Immigration and the globalization of the national security state

In the name of national security, the US government and surveillance agencies like the NSA have been continuously expanding their control over our personal data, but does this really make us safer? If not, what do we do about it? How do we reconcile these shadowy structures keeping us “safe” and uninformed with the ideas of privacy and real security? This workshop will address the trickle-down of the national security state to local and state police, and talk also about how the war on drugs relates to the mess of the war on terror. Another topic is the globalization of the national security state, specifically the ways in which US immigration policy has helped expand and develop the national security state; resistance to deportations and immigration controls, along with nationalist forces in the global south, provides a mass constituency of people interested in challenging and reversing this development.


Links Between US Foreign Policy, Inequality, and Climate Change   (WCC 3018)

Marilyn Levin, United for Justice with Peace, convener

Paul Shannon, American Friends Service Committee

You may or may not know how central inequality is to U.S. warmaking and climate change. This brief historical survey and discussion opens up perspectives on the underpinnings of U.S. foreign policy that brings greater clarity and greater urgency to our opposition to our wars. We will see how structural inequality in the U.S. has led to the development of an evolving economic model over the past 150 years, based on fossil fuels, that defines maintaining inequality and “protecting national security” as the same thing. It presents the fight against inequality as a fight against the underpinnings of war and climate change and the struggle against war as a struggle against inequality. The presentation leads participants to see the need for social justice, peace and climate movements to work together for a common vision, or to likely fail.


The U.S. & China: Dangers & Alternatives to Military & Economic Containment  (WCC 3009)

Joseph Gerson, director, Peace and Economic Security program, American Friends Service Committee

Duncan McFarland, United for Justice with Peace

Khury Petersen, graduate student, Clark University

Even as our attention is focused on Syria and Ukraine, the United States is “pivoting” to Asia and the Pacific. Sixty percent of the U.S. Air Force and Navy are being deployed to the region, and the U.S.-China rivalry is now driving a costly and dangerous arms race that includes spending more than $1 trillion to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal and its delivery systems, $1.5 trillion for the F-35 nuclear-capable fighter/bomber, cyber warfare capabilities, new aircraft carriers at $4.5 billion a piece. To reinforce the containment dimensions of its competitive interdependence with China, the U.S. is expanding and deepening its military alliances, encircling the Middle Kingdom from Japan to India with new and expanded bases from Jeju Island and Okinawa to Guam and Diego Garcia, and by its new the Trans-Pacific Partnership “free-trade” agreement that excludes China. This campaign to contain and manage China’s rise is increasing the dangers of war, traumatizing people in “host” nations, wasting limited national financial resources, and undermines workers’ rights and security, not to mention the environment. In this workshop Duncan McFarland and Khury Petersen-Smith will provide overviews of these policies and dynamics, describe China’s policies and interests, and point to shared and common security alternatives that our movement can advocate.


Climate Crisis: The Road Through Paris  (WCC 3008)

Rosalie Anders, Massachusetts Peace Action peace economy working group, convener

Emily Kirkland, communications coordinator, Better Future Project

James Rasza, director of campaigns, Better Future Project          

Agreements reached at the Paris climate talks will be important, yet we know that they will not be enough to stop runaway climate change.  Activists have succeeded in stopping the Keystone XL pipeline, and we are making progress in other arenas.   We will discuss what’s next in the struggle to save the planet. 


From despair to empowerment–an experiential workshop  (WCC 3007)

John MacDougall, convener

Aravinda Ananda, author and workshop facilitator

Joseph Rotella, business sustainability and relocalization organizer

Addressing war, climate change, social injustice and other big problems often evokes terror, anger and other difficult emotions. Using the Work that Reconnects (based largely on the work of Joanna Macy), this workshop introduces participatory tools that help us move from despair and burnout to empowered action.


AFTERNOON SESSION  (3:15 – 4:30 pm)                            


A Green Economy for Massachusetts  (WCC 3012)

Susan Redlich, 350 Massachusetts divestment core team, convener

Joel Wool, clean energy campaign organizer, Clean Water Action

Jonathan Rosenthal, executive director, New Economy Coalition

Allentza Michel, Powerful Pathways Consulting

What are the key components of a new economy for Massachusetts that is more peaceful, equitable and green?  What are the most hopeful developments? How can climate, peace and racial and economic justice advocates collaborate, and ensure a just transition to a green economy?


Black Lives Matter   (WCC 3018)

Michael McPhearson, executive director, Veterans For Peace; veteran of the Persian Gulf War, also known as the First Iraq War. His military career includes 6 years of reserve and 5 years active duty service. He separated from active duty in 1992 as a Captain. He is a member of Military Families Speak out and Co-Chair of the Saint Louis Don’t Shoot Coalition formed in the aftermath of the police killing of Michael Brown Jr. 

Rosemary Kean, board member of Massachusetts Peace Action and member of Dorchester People for Peace

Christine Maguire

Nandi Varris


Alternatives to Violence, At Home and Abroad   (WCC 3008)

Rosalie Anders, convener

Jim Tull, Managing Partner, CMPartners LLC, Cambridge, MA

Conflict is often considered a necessary prerequisite to change, but conflict can also escalate into a self-perpetuating goal in itself.  Throughout modern history most wars have ended with negotiation, and yet negotiation is broadly seen these days as a sign of weakness or of giving in.  Whether looking at wars, or at intense disagreements among individuals, the fundamental questions are the same:  How might we manage our differences more efficiently; and how might we make it more attractive for parties to move toward negotiation and reconciliation sooner?

This workshop will explore some of the core elements common to all negotiations, looking at how these elements could be applied more effectively by individuals in a conflict.  We will look not just at application to global conflicts, but also at negotiation as an alternative to protesting or to pushing the other party to give in. 


Jobs Not Jails    (WCC 3013)

Cassandra Bensahih, co-executive director, Ex-Prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement (EPOCA)

Josh Beardsley, research coordinator, Jobs Not Jails Coalition

A two part interactive workshop on the Jobs Not Jails Coalition: (1) Movement Building and (2) Legislative strategy. Cassandra will provide some exciting details on the direct action component.  Josh will make a presentation on the Justice Reinvestment Act and engage participants in discussing ideas to build movements and move the legislative agenda forward.  We will then brainstorm together.



Building Shared Prosperity in the Commonwealth with the Fair Share Amendment            (WCC 3015)

Paul Shannon, convener

Harris Gruman, Massachusetts political director, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Massachusetts is a state of great wealth and great inequality.  How we can rebuild shared prosperity in our state?  We need to move public opinion with strong messaging. This workshop will describe how we win from the grassroots.


Build Housing, Not Bombs   (WCC 3011)

Jonathan King, chair, Massachusetts Peace Action nuclear abolition working group; vice-chair, Cambridge Residents Alliance

Lee Farris, vice president, Cambridge Residents Alliance

Michael Kane, executive director, Massachusetts Alliance of HUD Tenants (MAHT)

Kathy Watkins, Cambridge tenant, Cambridge Residents Alliance

Andres del Castillo, City Life/Vida Urbana

One of the financial mechanisms permitting enormous tax expenditures for weapons development and procurement has been the cutting of major domestic social programs.  Affordable housing historically was driven by federal funds, which have systematically been cut over the past decades.  Congressional hawks have managed to separate military spending increases from domestic program cuts in public discourse. This workshop will take steps toward connecting the social movements for housing with those against nuclear weapons. We will focus on funding current housing needs by cutting, in particular, the $Trillion nuclear weapons modernization proposed by the Administration.


Governing Under the Influence: Bringing our issues into the 2016 election  (WCC 3007)

Will Hopkins, executive director, New Hampshire Peace Action

Arnie Alpert, American Friends Service Committee, Governing Under the Influence Project

Shelagh Foreman, program director, Massachusetts Peace Action


Let’s Talk about War   (WCC 3016)

Susan Hackley, managing director, Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School, an inter-disciplinary research program of Harvard, Tufts, and MIT, and author of a documentary film called “A Child’s Guide to War”, about the impact of war on America’s children and families. The film and outreach project are aimed at helping to bridge the civilian – military divide in the US.  Susan will show a film clip of her project.

John Ratliff, Vietnam era veteran, member of Veterans for Peace Smedley Butler Brigade, and board member of Massachusetts Peace Action

Bryan Belice, Iraq era veteran

War impacts all of us, and yet it is often a taboo subject. Understanding the many ways that war affects the whole community can lead to better discussions about going to war. The workshop aims to facilitate forwarding this discussion.


Building Movements with Lessons from Global Connections   (WCC 3012)

Chung-Wha Hong, executive director, Grassroots International; past executive director, New York Immigration Coalition

Hayat Imam, board member, Grassroots international; member of Dorchester People for Peace

A participatory group discussion to share and tackle the hard questions surrounding movement building. We will think together on ways to reinvigorate the organizing we are already doing, and enhance our ability to have long-term sustainable impacts. With the wealth of organizing going on globally, we will attempt to distill some applicable lessons.

Some key questions to address:

  • How do we transform issue-based organizing into strategic movements?
  • What are different means of practicing solidarity so it empowers and transforms both movements involved?
  • What is the role of political education in movement-building? 


BPT register Now

The Building Sustainable Security conference will be held Saturday, November 21, at Harvard Law School. More Information and to Register