Should PPJPC be organized differently?

The PPJPC is not working out as it is presently organized. Currently it is organized as a non-profit corporation, has 3 paid staff members, and is run by a Board of Directors who are answerable to nobody other than themselves, because they the group as a whole simply has no membership meetings. That’s right. The group has no membership meetings and is run from top down.

Yes, there is one supposed membership meeting per year, but in reality the Board organizes itself beforehand and then presents its own decisions to the ‘membership meeting’, which is in fact a public event organized as a sort of pep rally with the office staff and Board in charge of arranging all of the show beforehand. All decisions are made prior to the membership meeting, and not during the year’s one ‘membership’ meeting itself.

During the rest of the year, the Board of Directors simply decides among themselves who is to replace any Board directors that might be necessary to add per vacancies. The group, as a whole, is completely absent from making these decisions, as it is absent from having any voice in choosing office staff. In fact, there is no group as a whole other than those who donate money, who are considered the membership, rather than those who might be doing the main volunteer work and active in protests against The War. In actual reality though, donors make no membership decisions and are not even consulted regarding them.

So what has been the result of this form of organization? In one word, the result has been total disorganization and chaos. The group simply does not have a membership at all beyond its ‘Board’ and paid staff. The group is not run democratically at all, but rather as a group of volunteers that do what the office staff arranges for them to do, supposedly with leadership direction given by the Board of Directors. In fact, even that is not usually the case, and decisions on what to do usually are principally made by the paid staff, and them pretty much alone.

How much does the paid staff take in salaries from the group? At $10/ hour for 3 people over one year, the amount is a whopping sum of over $50,000 a year! Yet, this same staff of 3 are most often missing from actions that are in protest of war in the city. That’s right. They are no shows, over and over and over again!

Well, do they do other things then? Not really. The PPJPC is a group that pays for a building, has three paid staff members, and then does not keep it open most hours of the week! How are these hours of business for you? The building is kept open from 10 to 2, Monday through Friday. And even that is not on a regular basis! Last years cost for this building not kept open? Way over $12,000 which is just rent alone being counted!

All this would be comical if it was not so sad. We have a group spending over $62,000 a year to pay three staff and keep a building open 20 hours a week. In addition, the 3 staff are largely absent from attending antiwar protest activities in this city! In addition, the group largely does not even organize most protests against war and in support of justice in this city. Oftentimes, the group merely seems largely to be taking credit for work that others are doing.

The PPJPC needs to be organized differently, or the people of Colorado Springs need to be informed that this is a group that is not the actual local organizing vehicle for protest against The War. It is a waste of dollars to donate to this group as presently disorganized as it is from top down. Your money is going to pay office people who are not real organizers or participants in much of anything happening in this city.

This is a group that did not organize itself to protest The War when Barack Obama recently came to town! Today, Barack Obama is advocating more US troops be sent to fight the War of US Occupation of Afghanistan. Where was the PPJPC? But it is not just this example that shows the inactivism of the PPJPC. Less than a year previous to the Obama visit to Colorado Springs, Dick Cheney came to town. The PPJPC only turned out 7 people in protest of Dick Cheney! Where were the ‘Board of Directors’ and paid office staff of the group? They were essentially not present at this protest.

Neither the ‘Board of Directors’ nor the paid office trio, participate in The Springs area’s only weekly vigil against the war. None of them! Despite the open use of torture being the main political issue in the country, none of the ‘Board of Directors’ or paid office staff, have challenged the Colorado Springs municipal government to pass a statement against federal use of torture. Why not? $62,000 plus a year paid in salaries and a building and where are they?

The time is now to demand a reorganization of this group, or failing that, we must organize another group that will do the necessary work of opposing War and standing for Justice. The group as presently disorganized is an actual impediment to doing antiwar work in this community. We sincerely hope that the PPJPC can turn itself around, but it will take much work before that that can be accomplished.

We propose now that the group immediately hold monthly membership meetings that are empowered to lead the group and not just respond to direction made by paid staff and a very few of the ‘Board of Directors’. The group must make itself democratic if it is going to effective in opposing the ‘Global War on Terrorism’, and regularly scheduled membership meetings are essential to making the group more democratic. At this time, it doesn’t even have a declared purpose in opposing ‘The Global War on Terror’. That must change, and the group must be made into a democratic community organization, or it will simply not function.

In making this analysis, no animosity is held towards anybody. However, for this group to move forward in changing itself for the better, the group must reorganize. Part of that reorganization must include a decrease in the costs of supporting 3 paid staff members, who think it their task to run the group, for the group. We issue the following challenge to these 3 paid staff members…

If you are in fact dedicated to opposing War effectively, then do so like the rest of us who give our time and energy for free. Stay active with the group, but give up your paid staff positions so that reorganization of the group can progress. We hope that you will work against The War, even if not paid to do so? Thank you most sincerely for what you have already done in fighting injustice and aggression. But the time has come, to stop receiving a salary from the PPJPC. We hope that you will make your personal transition to civilian life soon? There is no longer the money to spend in the manner that was done before with so little results. Your salaries are hemorrhaging major money from the community that wants to support Peace activities here, and your personal activities are largely not that productive for what is spent in paying you.

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