News & Announcements



SAVE THE DATE
Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice
General Meeting December 3rd, 2017
4:00 PM at the Friends Meeting House, 1104 Forest St., Charlottesville

Hope that you will join us


Statement on the Need for Weapons-free Safety Zones for Events Like 8/12/17

posted Dec 5, 2017, 7:13 PM by David Swanson

Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice

After the KKK Rally of July 8th, members of the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice feared that violence would occur at the much larger white supremacist rally on August 12th.  Among our recommendations to Charlottesville City Council was the request that the city establish a safety zone surrounding and including Emancipation Park within which all weapons would be prohibited.  We were later told by a city councilor that the city could not legally establish the safety zone we recommended.  In consideration of the events of August 11th and 12th, our board and members see a great need for every municipality to have the legal authority to establish safety zones for events that pose a risk of violence.  These safety zones would be limited to the specific locations and times related to the events.  Within those safety zones all weapons would be prohibited.  Three compelling reasons argue for granting this authority to municipalities:

 

1.     Excluding weapons from potentially violent events will reduce the risk of bodily harm for every participant and for law enforcement officers.

2.     On the night of August 11th white supremacists and neo-Nazis marched with torches through the University of Virginia grounds, assaulted students trying to protect a statue of Thomas Jefferson, and threatened clergy and community members attending an interfaith worship service.  As those marchers mimicked the terrorism of Nazis in Germany during the 1930s, they were asserting the dominance of mob rule over civil authority.  On August 12th, confident in their numbers and armament, the white supremacists, fascists, neo-Nazis and others again asserted their hateful dominance of mob rule over civil authority.  Given the legal authority to establish weapons-free safety zones, municipalities like Charlottesville could clearly assert the dominance of civil authority over mob rule before, during, and after an event.  Enforcing a prohibition against weapons of any kind would maintain public order and safety without infringing on anyone’s right to peaceful assembly and free speech.  Weapons are not necessary for speech.  In fact, mob rule destroys free speech.

3.     Establishing safety zones for specific events, times, and locations, would give municipalities a basic operational structure for maintaining public order and safety.  Within that structure municipalities would be able to set and publish rules for the event well in advance.  They could develop strategies, standard procedures, training, and also prepare needed equipment to enforce the weapons prohibition and maintain control of the event from start to finish.

 

The board and members of the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice therefore urge the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia to enact legislation to empower municipalities to establish weapons-free safety zones for specific events, times, and locations.  The need for this authority is urgent.  The organizations that brought mayhem to Charlottesville in August have promised to return.  Those same organizations are planning events in other localities throughout Virginia.  Every municipality needs this authority.  We ask for your prompt attention to our request.

 

Sincerely,

Robert S. McAdams

President, Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice

A New Armistice Day

posted Nov 8, 2017, 9:09 AM by David Swanson

Exactly at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 99 years ago, people across Europe suddenly stopped shooting guns at each other. Up until that moment, they were killing and taking bullets, falling and screaming, moaning and dying. Then they stopped, on schedule. It wasn’t that they’d gotten tired or come to their senses. Both before and after 11 o’clock they were simply following orders. The Armistice agreement that ended World War I had set 11 o’clock as quitting time.


And then the world had a party, the likes of which we have not seen or dreamed of — a party now in bad need of a sequel.

Each year, for a lot of years, there was a remembrance on November 11th. The U.S. Congress called Armistice Day a holiday to “perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations,” a day “dedicated to the cause of world peace.” When churches rang their bells at 11:00, that’s what they meant. And they meant it right up until the war on Korea, the one the North Koreans all still remember with shudders of horror. And then Congress turned Armistice Day into Veterans Day, and veterans into props for marketing more wars and a permanent state of war preparations.

What we need now is a brand new armistice. Pick a day and a time, I don’t care when. Pick 11-11-11 again — why not? — and plan a party like it’s Armistice 99.

I’m serious. What would happen if, at that hour, the United States and Saudi Arabia ceased bombing Yemen? What if the ports opened and the food and the doctors and the journalists rushed into that hell to begin undoing the damage? What would be the harm in that?

What if, at that very hour, guns ceased to fire, drones ceased to buzz, bombs and white phosphorus ceased to fall across the world, in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Niger, Congo, Sudan, Mexico, Kenya, Turkey? What would be the harm? Who would miss the carnage? Who would object to the biggest force for death and disease and famine and environmental destruction taking a pause? Who would protest an end to the central justification for secretive and authoritarian government?

Armistice Day 99 would mean a miraculous transformation in the lives of many millions of people through the ending of wars we hardly hear about, plus the end of all the threats of new wars that we do hear about. New wars cannot be threatened in the Armistice Era. Instead, the bases and troops and weapons and provocations that risk the new wars have to be shut down, brought home, and converted into beneficial and sustainable enterprises.

Instead of Veterans For Peace groups hiring lawyers to argue for their right to participate in Veterans Day parades — part of the annual tradition for many years now — they could hire musicians for the celebration!

Kurt Vonnegut, a U.S. World War II veteran, wrote in 1973: “Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not. So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.”

Let’s create such things anew.

David Swanson TED Talk TEDx Charlottesville on Why End War

posted Nov 3, 2017, 1:17 PM by David Swanson

A Peace Treaty with North Korea — and you can sign it!

posted Oct 27, 2017, 5:21 AM by David Swanson

Alarmed by the threat of a nuclear war between the U.S. and North Korea, concerned U.S. peace groups have come together to send an open message to Washington and Pyongyang.

Click here to add your name to the People’s Peace Treaty.

The People’s Peace Treaty will be sent to the governments and peoples of Korea, as well as to the U.S. Government. It reads, in part:

Recalling that the United States currently possesses about 6,800 nuclear weapons, and has threatened the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea in the past, including the most recent threat made by the U.S. President in his terrifying speech to the United Nations (“totally destroy North Korea”);

Regretting that the U.S. Government has so far refused to negotiate a peace treaty to replace the temporary Korean War Armistice Agreement of 1953, although such a peace treaty has been proposed by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) many times from 1974 on;

Convinced that ending the Korean War officially is an urgent, essential step for the establishment of enduring peace and mutual respect between the U.S. and DPRK, as well as for the North Korean people’s full enjoyment of their basic human rights to life, peace and development – ending their long sufferings from the harsh economic sanctions imposed on them by the U.S. Government since 1950.

Add your name now.

The People’s Peace Treaty concludes:

NOW, THEREFORE, as a Concerned Person of the United States of America (or on behalf of a civil society organization), I hereby sign this People’s Peace Treaty with North Korea, dated November 11, 2017, Armistice Day (also Veterans Day in the U.S.), and
1) Declare to the world that the Korean War is over as far as I am concerned, and that I will live in “permanent peace and friendship” with the North Korean people (as promised in the 1882 U.S.-Korea Treaty of Peace, Amity, Commerce and Navigation that opened the diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Korea for the first time);
2) Express my deep apology to the North Korean people for the U.S. Government’s long, cruel and unjust hostility against them, including the near total destruction of North Korea due to the heavy U.S. bombings during the Korean War;
3) Urge Washington and Pyongyang to immediately stop their preemptive (or preventive) conventional/nuclear attack threats against each other and to sign the new UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons;
4) Call upon the U.S. Government to stop its large-scale, joint war drills with the armed forces of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Japan, and commence a gradual withdrawal of the U.S. troops and weapons from South Korea;
5) Call upon the U.S. Government to officially end the lingering and costly Korean War by concluding a peace treaty with the DPRK without further delay, to lift all sanctions against the country, and to join the 164 nations that have normal diplomatic relations with the DPRK;
6) Pledge that I will do my best to end the Korean War, and to reach out to the North Korean people – in order to foster greater understanding, reconciliation and friendship.

Sign your name by clicking here.

Some noted signers:
Christine Ahn, Women Cross DMZ
Medea Benjamin, Code Pink
Jackie Cabasso, Western States Legal Foundation, UFPJ
Gerry Condon, Veterans For Peace
Noam Chomsky, Emeritus Professor, M.I.T.
Blanch Weisen Cook, Professor of History and Women’s Studies, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
Joe Essertier, World Beyond War – Japan
Irene Gendzier, Emeritus Professor, Boston University
Joseph Gerson, Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security
Louis Kampf, Emeritus Professor, M.I.T.
Asaf Kfoury, Professor of Mathematics, Boston University
John Kim, Veterans For Peace
David Krieger, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
John Lamperti, Emeritus Professor, Dartmouth College
Kevin Martin, Peace Action
Sophie Quinn-Judge, Temple University (retired)
Steve Rabson, Emeritus Professor, Brown University
Alice Slater, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
David Swanson, World Beyond War, RootsAction
Ann Wright, Women Cross DMZ, Code Pink, VFP

After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.

Background:
> President Jimmy Carter, “What I’ve Learned from North Korea’s Leaders,” Washington Post, Oct. 4, 2017
> Col. Ann Wright (Ret.), “A Path Forward on North Korea, “ Consortiumnews, March 5, 2017
> Leon V. Sigal, “Bad History,” 38 North, Aug. 22, 2017
> Prof. Bruce Cumings, “A Murderous History of Korea,“ London Review of Books, May 18, 2017

Gainesville Bans Torches, Charlottesville Allows Guns

posted Oct 22, 2017, 7:44 PM by David Swanson

Here’s a list of items banned from an event in Gainesville, Florida, with hatemonger Richard Spencer. It includes all conceivable weapons, and even open flames of any kind.

Here’s an NBC 29 report on our petition to ban weapons from public rallies in Charlottesville. It seems to focus on this Virginia state law, which bans loaded guns from public places in a list of localities that does not include Charlottesville. The intent in citing this seems to be to claim that Virginia state laws allowing “concealed” and “open” carrying of guns cannot be overridden in any way except in the list of localities found in that law. Yet, Richmond, which is in that list, apparently decided it could ban every type of weapon except guns.

Still, here is a list of weapons banned in Gainesville that nobody in Charlottesville has yet proposed, as far as I know, any justification whatsoever for not banning from the fascist rally in August or any future rally:

simulated firearms, tasers, knives, sharp objects
Lighters, matches, torches or open flame
Any athletic equipment or other items which could be used as a weapon
Masks of any kind, goggles, bandanas/scarfs, neck gaitersFlag Poles, bats, clubs, sticks (including sticks on signs)
Aerosol/pressurized cans, mace
Chains, padlocks, bicycle locks
Shields
Fireworks
Backpacks, bags, purses, clutches
Signs made of anything other than cloth, paper, foam core, cardboard
Cans, metal or glass containers, premixed beverages or alcoholic beverages
water bottles of any kind

Perhaps some of the items above go overboard. Certainly the rest of the list not reproduced here does. And of course it seems crazy to ban non-gun weapons while allowing guns. But we are asking the City of Charlottesville to ban guns, knives, and sticks, and it has yet to produce any excuse for not banning knives and sticks. And the city will only be moved to pursue banning guns from public rallies if we keep up the pressure.

Please sign and share the petition: https://diy.rootsaction.org/p/cville

Petition asks Charlottesville to keep weapons out of rallies

posted Oct 19, 2017, 6:10 AM by David Swanson

A new petition, signed by over 8,000 people and just sent to Charlottesville’s City Council, asks Charlottesville to keep weapons out of rallies. The petition, found at https://diy.rootsaction.org/p/cville , reads:

“Make clear that in permits for any rallies in public spaces in Charlottesville, guns, knives, and sticks shall not be allowed.”

Tell Charlottesville: No Weapons at Rallies

Activists, including nonviolent peace activists, are often forbidden to carry posters on sticks, having to use hollow carboard tubes, at events around the United States. Yet in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017 a group threatening violence and having engaged in it the night before was allowed to assemble in a public space with guns, sticks, and other weaponry. The results were brutal.

There is no reason that Charlottesville cannot, under existing laws, do what many other localities do and set the terms of public rallies to forbid the possession of weapons. Here’s an expert legal opinion that forbidding weapons is legal.

Here is a report on Richmond, Virginia, forbidding weapons at a rally.

There is nothing to be gained by trying to ban rallies of particular political viewpoints, or by trying to ban all public rallies. Either would be in stark violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

There is no need for new laws.

Charlottesville can and must commit to forbidding weapons from rallies.

In addition, over 10,000 people have now signed a second petition in favor of creating a peace memorial in Charlottesville.

Put a Peace Pole in Charlottesville

This petition, found at http://bit.ly/cvillepeacepole , reads:

“Set aside 1 square foot of space in a prominent public place, on the Downtown Mall or in a park, where a peace pole can be erected.”

A peace pole is a popular means of expressing a desire for peace around the world, including in the United States, where peace poles are found in public plazas and parks in many locations.

A peace pole can be purchased for $200 with “May Peace Prevail on Earth” written on four sides in four chosen languages.

One idea would be to have 6 sides including English, Spanish, and the languages of Cville Sister Cities: Italian, French, Bulgarian, and one of the many languages from Ghana. Or 8 sides with some left blank to be filled in later.

Charlottesville’s monuments to wars, including World War I, the Native American genocide, the defense of slavery, and the slaughter of 3.8 million Vietnamese, dominate public space. Removing them would be ideal.

An easier method of quickly displaying our city’s support for peace would be to create a peace pole. Charlottesville’s city council has spoken up repeatedly over the years for peace, for reduced military spending, for transition to peaceful industries, and for a halt to particular wars. But a visitor to Charlottesville cannot observe any of that anywhere on the landscape.

Charlottesville has four sister cities, and signs indicating them are visible in Charlottesville. But the motto of Sister Cities International, “Peace Through People,” is nowhere to be found. There is no location set aside to celebrate these relationships, as there could be in combination with a peace pole.

There are peace poles in Warrenton, Va., and at the Pentagon (which is of course a travesty that injures the whole project). There is a peace pole at a church in Charlottesville and a small pole reading “Peace” at an elementary school. What we’re proposing is a public peace pole or some other public monument to peace.

The Peace Pole Petition is supported by
RootsAction.org
WorldBeyondWar.org
Pax Christi Charlottesville
Amnesty International Charlottesville
Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice.

I just won a TED Talks Open Mic -- here's my 4-minute talk

posted Oct 2, 2017, 7:49 PM by David Swanson

On Oct 2, 2017, 20 of us gave 4-minute TED talks in Charlottesville and I won, allowing me to give a TED talk at the upcoming November 3, 2017, event at Charlottesville's Paramount Theater. This was my 4-minute talk on "Why End War." #TedXCville

Video by Wes Swanson.

Thank you to everyone who voted for me.

I wish all the great speakers could have won.

The Conference to Save the Environment

posted Sep 10, 2017, 8:00 AM by David Swanson

To my knowledge, and I very, very much hope I am wrong, this upcoming conference will be the very first environmental conference in the United States to take on the single gravest threat to the world’s natural environment and to the natural environment right here within the United States. May many more conferences and actions follow!

With some drugs, we have learned that we must take on the demand as well as the supply, and that we must treat that demand as an illness when harmful. Not so with petroleum. Thus far we have been more than content to go after the pipelines, while the consumer is let off the hook entirely. I use the singular term “consumer” purposively.

There is one entity in the United States that alone consumes more petroleum than most entire countries. The same entity primarily demolishes the natural environment far from these shores and on an unimaginable (and carefully unimagined) scale, but it is also the producer of 69% of U.S. environmental disasters that have been named Superfund sites by the EPA. It is also the third greatest polluter of U.S. waterways, despite its concentration on polluting other waters. It is the greatest producer of nuclear waste and threat, and the only institution intentionally spreading nuclear waste far and wide in the open air. It is the greatest proliferator of tools for destroying the natural environment abroad as well. Unlike any other entity on earth, it has displaced entire populations and rendered entire islands and other territories uninhabitable for millennia to come. And yet, as a problem worth focusing on, it has thus far escaped the attention of big environmental organizations.

This is like taking on racist buffoon politicians except Donald Trump, or oil companies except ExxonMobil, or nasty media outlets except Fox News. Who does such things? How to make sense of them?

The conference I am referring to is #NoWar2017: War and the Environment, happening in Washington, D.C. on September 22-24, and preceded by a September 17th flotilla to the Pentagon.  You can sign up for either one at WorldBeyondWar.org. If you’re still waiting in suspense, the entity I am referring to is, of course, the United States military.

Speakers at #NoWar2017 will include, among many others:

Natalia Cardona is the North America Frontline Engagement Coordinator at 350.org. She is based in Philadelphia, Penn. She tweets at @natycar74.

Eric Teller is coordinator of Fossil Free GW at George Washington University. He is a sophomore majoring in International Affairs with a dual concentration in Comparative Social, Political, and Economic Systems and International Environmental Studies, along with a minor in Sustainability.

Anthony Karefa Rogers-Wright is US Coordinator with The Leap. He has presented the case for climate justice, environmental justice, and climate change action at universities nation- and world-wide and written on the subjects for various publications. Anthony was named one of Grist’s “50 People You’ll Be Talking About in 2016.”

Tim DeChristopher is Founder of the Climate Disobedience Center. Tim DeChristopher disrupted an illegitimate Bureau of Land Management oil and gas auction in December of 2008, by posing as Bidder 70 and outbidding oil companies for parcels around Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah.

Robin Taubenfeld is a national nuclear spokesperson with Friends of the Earth Australia, a mother, teacher, artist, media maker, community worker, and a recipient of a Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom’s Peacewomen Award 2016.

Mike Stagg is a writer, documentarian, podcast host, free lance journalist and activist based in Lafayette, LA. He’s been active in Louisiana environmental and social justice fights for four decades.

Emily Wurth is Food & Water Watch’s Co-Organizing Director. Emily conducts research and promotes policies at the local, state and federal level to help protect the nation’s water systems as public assets, and to safeguard the country’s water resources.

Nadine Bloch is currently Training Director for Beautiful Trouble and an innovative artist, nonviolent practitioner, political organizer, direct-action trainer, and puppetista.

Suzanne Cole is a senior at the George Washington University studying international affairs with a focus in international sustainability and development. She is a coordinator with GW Fossil Free, and has been heavily involved in divestment and environmental activism both on campus and within the larger DC community.

Dale Dewar  is retired from her position as Executive Director of Physicians for Global Survival, the Canadian affiliate of International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). Much of her clinical work was in Northern Saskatchewan, among the largest uranium mines in the world.  She and her husband, Bill Curry, received the Global Citizen’s Award for Saskatchewan in 2010 for environmental activism and international volunteer work.

Jonathan Alan King is Professor of Molecular Biology at MIT where he has long taught biochemistry and directed biomedical research on protein misfolding and human disease. Prof. King is a Past President of the national Biophysical Society, and former Councilor of the American Society of Virology and of the American Society for Microbiology. He is a recipient of MIT’s M.L. King Jr. Faculty Leadership Award.

Gar Smith has sailed on the Rainbow Warrior and the peace ship Fri. He is the founding editor of Earth Island Journal.  In 2003, he co-founded Environmentalists Against War and organized the “Carbon-Free” contingent in San Francisco’s massive peace march. He is the author of The War and Environment Reader.

Susi Snyder is the Nuclear Disarmament Programme Manager for PAX in the Netherlands. Mrs. Snyder is the primary author and coordinator of the Don’t Bank on the Bomb annual report on nuclear weapon producers and the institutions that finance them.

Richard Tucker is an environmental historian at the University of Michigan. He specializes on the world history of environmental impacts of war and militarism. He hosts the website environmentandwar.com.

Diane Wilson is a fourth generation shrimper, mother of five, author, and an environmental, peace, and social justice advocate. During the last 30 years, she has launched legislative campaigns, demonstrations, hunger strikes, sunk boats, and even climbed chemical towers in her fight to protect her Gulf Coast bay.

The purpose of #NoWar2017 is not just to hear from great speakers, but to bring together people who care about and want to take action to save the environment and to end war — to build alliances, to strategize more wisely together, and to act with greater strength as a unified movement wherever our interests overlap. Preventing nuclear apocalypse and climate apocalypse should not be segregated movements. Let’s bring them together and transform our world.

Charlottesville’s Past That Isn’t Even

posted Aug 30, 2017, 12:44 PM by David Swanson

Here in Charlottesville, Virginia, I like to point out that the rallies of racists are mostly imported from out of state. It’s tempting to relax comfortably on that assertion, and to reflect on how our great lord and master Thomas Jefferson owned people with more reluctance and inner turmoil than Barack Obama bombing a foreign country or Donald Trump mouthing kind or coherent phrases from a teleprompter.

Reality is a little more troubling. Jefferson was a vicious and heartless profiteer and racist who was into slavery for the money and the benefits. UVA had ties to the KKK in the 1920s when the racist war monuments were put up in segregated parks by a wealthy resident. Jim Crow ruled until the Civil Rights movement and has been dying hard. Most people, including the mayor, didn’t come around to favoring taking the statues down until after the deadly rally.

Now Charlottesville’s tragedy has helped many other places take down the sort of statues that still stand in Charlottesville, albeit now covered in black tarps. But Charlottesville and UVA have been leaders on these issues in other ways that one doesn’t hear much about. Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains is illuminating, and criticisms of parts of the book, which I am in no position to judge, do not touch on some central points.

The right-wing anti-government movement that has created things like unregulated “development” in Houston, the defunding of preparation for hurricanes, free rein to destroy the earth’s climate for war and profit, and the bizarre cultural understanding in which we simply accept that we must fund disaster relief ourselves as the government is too busy funding wars and billionaires — all of this has deep roots in an institute of economists now based at George Mason University but originally created at the University of Virginia in 1956 in response to school integration. And those economists’ teachings have deep roots in the thinking of leading advocates for slavery.

James McGill Buchanan created at UVA an economics department funded by Charles Koch and dedicated to expanding the power of the wealthy to hoard more wealth, and to reducing the power of the masses to influence government. John C. Calhoun, proponent of slavery extraordinaire, was the grandfather of the deceptive ideology advanced. In Calhoun’s thinking, taxing a slave owner was an abuse and exploitation, whereas owning someone as a slave was simply the exercising of liberty. Similarly, taxing an oil CEO is tyranny in today’s libertarian understanding, whereas letting people drown in a flood is just right and proper.

Making this twisted line of thought presentable as a quantifiable science overseen by experts has been the work of decades of deliberation and deception. Yet slavery has not been made presentable again, and opposition to public spending on human needs grew out of slavery — arose in fact only in areas that practiced slavery. Buchanan and others did not set out to win over the public, but to mislead the public into supporting policies that would have little backing if properly understood.

Massive resistance was not massive, de-funding is not reform, and the right to work is not a right.

Virginians did not rise up en masse and compel their representative government to shut down all the schools rather than integrate them. Rather, state politicians elected by a corrupt system imposed a shutdown in the face of significant popular resistance to it.

The economist schemers knew that shutting down schools was unpopular, so began the ongoing effort to sell the defunding of schools as school reform, innovation, experimentation, choice, and so forth. They would push the same lies about Social Security and healthcare.

In 1974, Charles Koch set up his own foundation and held its first event here in Charlottesville with Buchanan as featured speaker. Buchanan and his ilk went on pushing for more wealth consolidation and de-democratization, to “save capitalism from democracy.” Buchanan offered Augusto Pinochet guidance on how to entrench elite rule in Chilean institutions, and sought the same in the U.S., working toward the “removal of the sacrosanct status assigned to majority rule.”

Tyler Cowen, who would later succeed Buchanan and who now leads the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, says that in the future people will be “expected to fend for themselves much more than they do now.” The U.S. will be “some version of Texas — and then some.”

You’re welcome, world.

Save the Date

posted Aug 22, 2017, 8:27 AM by CCPJ News


Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice
Meeting: September 3, 2017
4:00 PM at the Friends Meeting House, 1104 Forest St., Charlottesville

Hope that you will join us

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