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Lack of democracy in the PPJPC should not hide behind religiosity

Two PPJPC board members, Genie Durland and Dorothy Schlaeger, wrote to The Colorado Springs Independent trying to explain why the group’s officers locked some of its membership out of the PPJPC building where we had tried to hold a meeting.

To compound the insult of locking us out of the building, the new Board Director, Jo Ann Neiman, then called the police when she saw us still attending our meeting on the sidewalk in front of the PPJPC building! She explained to the police that she wanted us to be told that we were all trespassing!

So what did Genie and Dorothy have to say about all of this?

In short, they implied that we, the members of the PPJPC who wanted to meet inside the PPJPC rented building, were violence-prone, and they used a bunch of excessive religiosity about Gandhi to do so! They mixed their own liberal religious beliefs together with what they see as the teachings of the Hindu religious leader, Gandhi. Here is how they justified the current board director calling the police on us,

‘Many who consider themselves “peace activists” across the globe engage in tactics, which fail to engender peace. PPJPC is deeply committed to nonviolence and will neither engage nor support activism employing tactics inconsistent with Ghandian nonviolence.’

Genie and Dorothy, I might ask you both, what is ‘Gandhian’ nonviolent about suggesting we are violence-prone when we are not that in the least? You do the rather violence-prone Colorado Springs municipal police a big favor in labeling others amongst the PPJPC and general public in such a manner. You are actually encouraging police violence against us with this sort of rhetoric against us, who are all people that have in fact never engaged in any violent acts at all. In short, you are playing a game of Holier-Than-Thou and The Independent was absolutely correct in labeling and titling that as being ‘Malice in the Movement’.

What also is Gandhi-like in calling the police on us to tell us that we were supposedly trespassing by holding a nonviolent meeting, of all things? What is nonviolent in locking us out from the meeting we wanted to do inside of the PPJPC building, not out on the sidewalk? And most of all, what is nonviolent in a PPJPC organized to have a single membership meeting per year? That is undemocratic community organization, not nonviolence.

This is the real issue of concern, not whether to be tactically violent, as you falsely imply that it is. We tried to hold our meeting because we want some internal democracy within the PPJPC where now there isn’t any.

We want a group not controlled by paid office staff eating up tens of thousands of donated dollars in their salaries each year, just to run the group autocratically as they determine activities of their own making for non paid volunteers to carry out. This is non-sustainable situation in the long run, and it would be much better to help work out something, instead of locking members out of the PPJPC offices. Currently the group is headed towards a financial shipwreck and that is the Big Issue. The PPJPC has no real membership accountability at this time to check their deficit spending.

We also want a board picked by the activist , than have board members pick their own replacements beforehand and then present it as pre-determined fate to the rest of us who have no current voice in PPJPC policies. Most of all, we want a PPJPC that is not crippled by police interference into our own internal affairs. This has led to those who now hobnob at the police station with the cops in secret meetings then arranging affairs of the PPJPC where the cops are called out on other PPJPC members less religiously inclined than yourselves.

Most of all, this is about trying to make the PPJPC into something other than a religious-run clique, but into a true body of diverse people that for many different reasons are against the US government’s global militarism. You two are opposed to doing so, and hide behind the figure of Gandhi to oppose those who are. The religious and those not religious must be united in a Peace movement, not separated as you would have done.

Disagree with us if you will, but do not falsely label those who differ with you as being less non-nonviolent than yourselves. You are doing the work of the violence-eager police force and local government bodies when you do so. We respect your religious beliefs in nonviolence, but we ask you to not try to force these relgious beliefs that you have off on all others as you have currently justified doing so with your current letter to The Colorado Springs Independent.

We look forward to working with you together in the future as in the past inside the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission.

2 thoughts on “Lack of democracy in the PPJPC should not hide behind religiosity

  1. They claim Gandhi for their camp, and he can’t belong to others? How simply obscene! Gandhi didn’t free a nation by staying behind closed doors chastising others.

  2. Gandhi wasn’t a Quaker, ex nun, or ex monk, either. The PPJPC is full of it with these backgrounds of people who clog off antiwar activism in the name of their particular sectarian religious viewpoints of ‘nonviolence’. They simply want to make the Peace Movement a form of religious movement of their own, despite their often professions to the contrary.

    Have you noticed that these liberal American Christian religious types are always toying with Buddhism and Hinduistic New Age stuff, but never seem to find any common cause much with the other large monotheistic religion in the world today, that being Islam? It is not because the Islamic world doesn’t have pacifist types out there either. It has to do strictly with their own brand of nationalistic American form of pacifism which never really confronts the American military types that hard on all the while hiding behind their Quaker Oats religiosity of meekness.

    I may be being a little blunt here, but really, we should no more defer to the liberal Christian churches than to the Right Wing Christian churches in America today. To do so is to be led to passivity in front of the overwhelmingly authoritarian State Power. To do so is to help to build up the image of religious leaders like the Pope, leader of the Catholic Church, who hobnobs daily with the rich and infamous worldwide.

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