News & Announcements



SAVE THE DATE
Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice
Board Meeting: August 6th, 2017
4:00 PM at the Friends Meeting House, 1104 Forest St., Charlottesville

Hope that you will join us


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

City of Charlottesville Passes Resolution Asking Congress to Fund Human and Environmental Needs, Not Military Expansion

posted Mar 20, 2017, 8:11 PM by David Swanson

Charlottesville, Va., City Council Monday evening, March 20, 2017, passed a resolution opposing President Donald Trump's budget proposal, which shifts funding to the military from many other programs. The draft resolution brought up for consideration reads as follows. It was passed with a few alterations. The final version should soon be posted online by the City, as should video of the meeting in which it was read aloud and discussed.

Fund Human and Environmental Needs, Not Military Expansion 

Whereas President  Donald J. Trump has proposed to  divert $54 billion  from human and environmental spending at home and abroad in order to increase the military budget, bringing military spending to well over 60% of federal discretionary spending; and

Whereas the citizens of Charlottesville already pay  $112.62 million in federal taxes  for military expenditures, an amount that each year could fund locally: 210 elementary school teacher salaries;  127 new clean energy jobs; 169 infrastructure jobs;  94 supported employment opportunities for returning citizens; 1,073 preschool seats for children in Head Start; medical care for 953 military veterans; 231 college scholarships for CHS graduates; 409 Pell Grants for Charlottesville students; healthcare for 3,468 low-income children;  enough wind power to power 8,312 households; healthcare for 1,998 low-income adults;  AND solar panels to provide electricity for 5,134 households.

Whereas economists at the University of Massachusetts have documented that military spending is an economic drain rather than a jobs program;[1] and

Whereas our community’s human and environmental needs are critical, and our ability to respond to those needs depends on federal funding for education, welfare, public safety, and infrastructure maintenance, transit and environmental protection; and

Whereas the President’s proposal would reduce foreign aid and diplomacy, which help to prevent wars and the victimization of people who become refugees in our  community, and 121 retired U.S. generals have written a letter opposing these cuts;

Be it therefore resolved that the City Council of Charlottesville, Virginia, urges the United States Congress, and our representative in particular, to reject the proposal to cut funding for human and environmental needs in favor of military budget increases, and in fact to begin moving in the opposite direction, to increase funding  for human and environmental needs and reduce the military budget.  

1. "The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities: 2011 Update,"  Political Economy Research Institute,
https://www.peri.umass.edu/publication/item/449-the-u-s-employment-effects-of-military-and-domestic-spending-priorities-2011-update

*****

Passage of the resolution followed the proposal of a different version by a large coalition of local groups.

At Monday's meeting, the resolution passed by a vote of 4-0, with one abstention.

City Council Member Bob Fenwick, a veteran of the U.S. war in Vietnam with two sons veterans of that in Afghanistan, said that cutting back on military adventurism makes people better off. "We have had enough of war," he declared.

City Council Member Kristin Szakos drafted the resolution version above.

Also voting in favor were Council Members Wes Bellamy and Kathy Galvin.

In my view, this is an important statement to Congress, the country, and the world from our city council which has chosen to represent us. Charlottesville did not make a familiar and misleading statement exclusively against spending cuts, which would have fueled predictable and irrelevant demands for smaller government. Charlottesville addressed the reality of money being moved from everywhere else to the military, and urged the deeply moral action of moving money in the opposite direction.

It's worth noting that the assertion that military spending is an economic drain is a reflection of the fact that tax cuts produce more jobs than military spending. Military spending produces fewer jobs than does never taxing money in the first place. The study cited above does not, of course, assert that military jobs do not exist.

WEDNESDAY LENTEN SERIES AT TRINITY EPISCOPAL CHURCH

posted Feb 19, 2017, 7:07 PM by CCPJ News

Trinity Episcopal Church is hosting a series of Wednesday evening programs during Lent.

After a soup supper, we will watch a podcast, “Faith and Race”—an interview series designed to help churches of all colors host constructive dialogue about faith, race, and the church.

For 5 Wednesdays in Lent, starting March 8:

                        5:45pm  Soup Supper

                        6:45pm  Podcast and Discussion

.  The invitation is to all interested persons. 

Trinity is located at 1118 Preston Ave., with parking behind the church and on the street.

If you have questions or would like more info please contact Pastor Cass Bailey at 293-3157 or cass@pastorcass.com.

 

MEMORIAL TO BILL ANDERSON

posted Feb 19, 2017, 7:04 PM by CCPJ News

Last year Charlottesville lost another “drum major for justice.”  Bill was involved in peace, reconciliation, and justice work in Charlottesville and around the world.  He was the president of the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice for many years. 

Bill was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church and Trinity will be honoring Bill’s life with a memorial seating wall that will be a part of the renovation of the church’s backyard into a play area and outdoor worship space.  The church has received a gift toward this effort but needs an additional $10,000.  If you would like to help remember Bill Anderson in this way, you are invited to make a memorial contribution.  No contribution is too small.

Contributions may be sent to:

Trinity Episcopal Church

1118 Preston Avenue

Charlottesville, VA 22903

 

If you have questions or would like more info please contact Pastor Cass Bailey at 293-3157 or cass@pastorcass.com.

Good Riddance to Robert E. Lee

posted Feb 9, 2017, 9:41 AM by David Swanson

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, the city of Charlottesville, Va., city council has voted to remove an imposing statue of Robert E. Lee (and the horse he never rode in on) from Lee Park, and to rename and redesign the park.

The statue of this non-Charlottesvillian had been put up in a whites-only park during the 1920s at the whim of an extremely wealthy and racist individual. So, for a representative government to vote, following a very public deliberative process with voluminous and diverse input from city residents is -- if nothing else -- a step toward democracy.

I think it's much more as well. There are two issues at stake here, neither of them dead issues from the past. One is race. The other is war.

Following the vote of City Council, two Republican candidates for governor Corey Stewart and Denver Riggleman declared their outrage. "You cannot revise history. Only tyrants attempt to erase history. This is tantamount to denouncing your own heritage. I will do whatever I need to, both now and as governor, to stop this historical vandalism. We must fight to protect Virginia’s heritage," said Stewart. "This continued assault from Democrats on Virginia's history and heritage is unacceptable. As governor, I will protect the monuments of our heritage, but not just of the Civil War, mind you. . . . Not only are they standing in conflict with a number of Virginia's laws, but they are spitting in the face of veterans of every conflict — no reminder of any sacrifice by any veteran of any conflict should be torn down by the liberal thought police," said Riggleman.

Now, Charlottesville has been here for centuries. It has very few public monuments, virtually all of them to war makers. There's George Rogers Clark on horseback setting off to participate in genocide. There are Lewis and Clark exploring, with Sacagawea kneeling beside them like a dog. There are the giant equestrian statues of Robert E. Lee and also Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, plus the traditional generic Confederate soldier. There's the monument to murdering 6 million Southeast Asians in the Vietnam War. There are a couple of statues at UVA, one of Thomas Jefferson, one of a pilot who died in a war. And that's about it. So, virtually all of Charlottesville's history, good and bad and indifferent, is missing.

Where are all the great academics and artists and civil rights activists and environmentalists and performers and poets and suffragettes and abolitionists and athletes? Where, for that matter, is Queen Charlotte herself (long rumored, accurately or not, to have had African ancestry)? Where is the history of the native Americans who lived here without wrecking the earth's climate? Where is the history of education, of industry, of slavery, of segregation, of advocacy for peace, of sister-city relationships, of welcoming refugees? Where are women, children, doctors, nurses, business people, celebrities, the homeless? Where are either the police or the protesters? Where are fire fighters? Where are street musicians? Where's the Dave Matthews Band? Where's Julian Bond? Where's Edgar Allan Poe? Where's William Faulkner? Where's Georgia O'Keefe? One could go on forever.

Claims of "erasing history" are ludicrous. Choosing to glorify and memorialize some little bits of history is all that is ever done when monuments are added, removed, or swapped out for others -- or when they're left standing. Most of history will always remain unmemorialized in our public spaces. Adding new memorials while leaving Lee and Jackson in place would still amount to supporting what Lee and Jackson monuments communicate. And the decision to leave Jackson there does just that. It communicates primarily two things: racism and war. Apart from the artistry of the sculptures, apart from the personalities of the dead soldiers, these are statements of racism and war. And it matters.

A country that can make someone like Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III its attorney general has an ongoing struggle with racism. Symbols that have stood for racism for decades, symbols of a war fought for the right to expand slavery, must be set aside if we are to move forward.

A country that empowers people like Steve Bannon has a problem with the limitation of history to wars. Bannon claims that history goes through cycles, each one opened by a worse war than the one before, with a new one just around the corner. (And if history won't oblige, Bannon hopes to do his bit to facilitate the supposedly inevitable.)

Obligatory tangent for partisan readers: the leading expander of militarism during the past eight years, needless to say, has been a gentleman named Barack Obama.

Most of Charlottesville's history has not been war. There is nothing inevitable or natural or glorious about war. The vast majority of U.S. wars have no Charlottesville memorials. The entirety of local and U.S. efforts for peace have no public recognition in Charlottesville. Some are proposing that redesigned parks include some indication of aspirations and struggle for peace. That, I think, would be progress.

Workshop on whiteness and racial justice

posted Jan 11, 2017, 7:44 PM by CCPJ News

Thursday, Jan. 12, 7-9pm: Visiting Professor from VCU to lead Workshop
SURJ Charlottesville (Standing Up for Racial Justice) presents  Archana A. Pathak, Ph.D of VCU who will lead a workshop on whiteness and racial justice, approaching the question: "Why do we need to talk about whiteness when it comes to racial justice?"
Where: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church (717 Rugby Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903)
The discussion will be geared toward understanding white privilege in racial justice, where folks can learn about, understand and bridge the differences and connections between white and non-white experiences with and around racism.
Archana A. Pathak, Ph.D. (University of Oklahoma, 1998) is a post-colonialist feminist scholar activist who examines issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, and scientific imperialism from a social justice perspective. Academically trained in Intercultural Communication and qualitative research methodologies, she utilizes autoethnography to explore the ways in which we tell ourselves and each other who we are. She has also served as the President of the Board of The Conciliation Project, a not for profit social justice theater organization that addresses issues of racism and oppression.
For more information, email SURJCville@gmail.com .

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