Tag Archives: PPJPC

Colo. Springs peaceniks, Unitarians and NAACP fall for latest Africom campaign

They fell for Darfur and Kony (and Obama!) and now the Colorado Springs social justice community confirms that the city’s national repution for dim-bulbedness doesn’t reflect just its conservatives. Even the dissenting voice in this belly of the US military-judeo-christian-racist beast, is pro-imperial, toe-the-line, neoliberal dumbass. They’re against war and injustice, they even understand illegal war, but cloak it in terms of “intervention” and they stand beside their warmonger neighbors cheerleading for US aggression in Sudan, Libya, Syria, and wherever Pax Americana dictates we bomb in Africa. Where the local armed-forces community might be slow on the uptake regarding a Democratic president’s pandering to transnational corporate needs, the Springs peacekeeping Left will lead the way. On Monday, the usual shepherds of non-confrontational conformity held a vigil for the Lost Girls of Sudan -pardon- Nigeria, echoing the White House call to #bringbackourgirls. Unlike authentic antiwar vigils, this action got press, quelle surprise, from the media war machine! Congratulations AFRICOM-dupes! Nevermind non-American girls lost to US collateral malfeasance, no official hashtag for them, ergo no Springs peacenik campaign that would give a conscience indigestion.
 
Would we care more if the 267 kidnapped schoolgirls were not black? (!) If they were white they wouldn’t be from a country we’re trying to destabilize.

Colo. Springs content to see Obama, skip chance to put a message TO him


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.– It’s so dispiriting to witness the perpetual truancy of the local social justice community. They can attend prayer meeting circle jerks apparently, but when President Obomber comes to town, on the anniversary of the targeted assassination of the City of Nagasaki via atom bomb no less, August 9, those finks are nowhere. We saw teabags, potheads and Paultards with more spirit. You might be satisfied to hear that none of the other sign-bearers divined the motorcade route, but with patience we were able to see and be seen by the president twice, as he left Cutler Hall for the Olympic Training Center and on his return to Peterson AFB via Uintah to I-25. We would have welcomed antiwar colleagues, but what are you going to do? I guess advocating for military intervention in Darfur, Libya and Syria occupies a pacifist dupe full time, not to mention cheerleading for the Army’s “sustainability” PR. And you can’t speak up for immigrants, prisoners, women, gays, the environment, the poor and oppressed, if you’re sucking on Obama supporters’ toes for the duration of the election season. Some of the democrats exiting the campaign stop thanked us for our message. One asked: “Are you with the Justice and Peace?” Sadly, no, we said. They don’t turn up in public anymore. You might ask them about that, I recommended. I write this after the next day’s anti-activist trial, also a no-show by the excuse-making louts.

You can lead a horse to water, but will it give a statement to the press?

From the horse’s mouth: Nope.
On advice of lawyer, don’t talk about arrest. On advice from retired lawyers: civil liberties issue iffy. Advice gleaned from the overworked ACLU: case not as good as others we’ve got. Advice from friends: hope for a plea deal. Request from PPJPC colleagues: pretend we don’t know you. Advice about the press: “Generally they don’t have much interest in this kind of thing.” FAIL.
 
I have to confess, my pretending yesterday about an intentional plan to fly under-the-radar was sarcasm. I had no idea the extent to which the sublimation of the “MEPP” Kulp/Nace arrests was premeditated. No mention of the court date in the PPJPC Active For Justice weekly email, the arrestees’ spirits driven down by the defeatism prescribed above. I raise this criticism not to victimize the defendants further, but to question this apparently endemic predilection for hemlock.

Protesters say arrests unjust

Exactly how valuable is it to have colleagues with legal experience enough to vacillate about your courtroom chances being between cross-your-fingers and dismal? What good a lawyer whose own sense of your pre-verdict innocence is ambivalent? What confidence is lifted being told it will all depend on the judge? I’ve always thought a lawyer who counsels activists to shut up while their prosecution is pending, lest innocence incriminate itself, is not suited to activists as clients.

Most troubling is the impression which the ACLU gives in its habitual reluctance to express enthusiasm for a case. The Denver ACLU in particular is famously overburdened, and they are inundated with solicitations for representation. Better in my opinion to decline with apologies than to leave inquirers doubting their trampled civil liberties may not have been sufficiently flattened. Free speech is either or. Restricted free speech is restricted speech. Or are we prepared to call it the 1.01 Amendment (revised for 2011)?

Behind the scenes, only hours after the fact, the ACLU can reveal that the November arrests and the policy which the city acted upon were patently unconstitutional. So how can we expedite that kind of reassurance to activists before the fact? Because of course such arrests are only serving to scare the public from even thinking about dissent. In fact this is the preemptive aim of these actions.

I count my own success at avoiding arrest, as I find myself defying authority sometimes nose to nose, with nonchalance because I know my rights. I KNOW MY RIGHTS. That argument appears to register with police officers when you say it as if you’re reassuring them, projecting a shrug and a smile, relieving them of having to rationalize acting against you. When you are confident of your rights there is nothing to compromise but practical considerations, lawful orders which the officer is able to show you are warranted.

You can retreat to a public sidewalk once a policeman has proven he had sufficient authority to make the request. A landlord who has contracted the use of his land to tenants does not have absolute say without their consultation. It’s not even reasonable of him to call in the police if no one is complaining and you are not creating a disturbance. To know these things empowers you to stand your ground when overzealous officers of the law think they can throw their weight around. How do we rekindle that essential confidence in our civil rights?

Pictured: Ted Nace with Rita, Pattie, Eric, Esther, Bill, and Loring

The other confidence-stealing factor at play in this case is an activist organization insisting that its members protest under a different name, to avoid offending members who didn’t agree. On its website, the PPJPC claims the MEPP as a subcommittee, but for the day of action and in subsequent news coverage, no affiliation.

If you consider that the Middle East Peace Project’s objective is to win over public awareness and sympathy, it seems horribly defeatist to think that you can’t even appeal to your own fellow members. Not to mention that you can’t trade on the reputation that sustains your mother organization, instead you have to emerge out of the blue, like any other holders of extremist views.

When protesters are having to excuse themselves and the unintended perhaps unwarranted commotion they’ve caused, and have to pretend to be acting autonomously because they can’t make their case to their own colleagues, it’s a recipe for what happened here. Activists kowtowed and self-censored.

And so, how to ally yourself with such impediments? Coloradans For Peace has to cut the PPJPC out of the loop so long as its decision makers are so dominated by naysayers, pretenders, NVC appeasers, and a staff which reports their every intention to the police. You can’t even discuss strategy in such a circle.

PPJPC pair returns from GFM. NBD?

GFM
The Colorado Springs peace envoys to the 2009 Gaza Freedom March in Palestine flew back to town last week with absolutely no fanfare, no media reception, no press releases, no coordination by organizers to make an event of their attempted peace mission. They will report on their adventure to the PPJPC at the end of January, but that’s the extent of what those who contributed funds to the project will get for their money.

It’s a furious criticism I maintain against the local Justice and Peace group. They have a paid staff, yet that staff won’t handle press releases nor promote actions. The best they can do is answer when the TV reporters call, to explain the little they know, and throw confusion into the actions of others. It’s despicable, and the sooner the donors and members figure out their best efforts are being sabotaged from within, the sooner that organization can get back on the ball.

Here they had a delegation to Egypt, part of a well planned action to bring attention to Gaza, and the staff can’t even promote it here. Elsewhere travelers coming and going gave interviews as part of events. When they raised funds to do it, I’m sure the benefactors had in mind that the money would go to more than providing a vacation, or pilgrimage, for two to the holy land.

Of course, the Gaza march didn’t build to critical mass, despite the convergence of 1,400 activists on Cairo. The anticipated climactic march through Gaza didn’t gel and thus the media spotlight couldn’t be drawn the way organizers had hoped, irresistible in spite of the blackout imposed by Israeli interests. Even the Viva Palestina aid convoy didn’t get media attention, even with the riveting confrontations and ultimate riot. That procession of predominantly European activists did ultimately reach the Gazans, but still the coverage was throttled.

Who knows what success the march might have found, if it had been permitted to leave Cairo. But the action’s only hope was to pressure the Egyptian government with the strength of all the internationals demonstrating in the streets. The many activists who struck out on their own didn’t help that effort a lick. They justified their decisions based on seeking out compromises to accomplish good, to pursue their own individual aid projects, instead of sticking to the GFM and no guarantee of success. The the goal of bringing public pressure was not helped by the PPJPC ambassadors who opted against team-playing.

Who am I to judge? It’s easy to see where the do-good in small steps can lead. For example, I’m certain that the same ethos would justify rescuing an inmate from Gaza, one by one, if circumstances permitted. No doubt it would be counted a miracle of one by one, all the Gazans were granted asylum somewhere far from the reaches of the IDF guns. In total, however, that would accomplish Israel’s goal, wouldn’t it? Pacifism goes hand in iron glove with tyranny. The Gazans needed unity from the freedom marchers, not peace tourists sneaking around doing quiet good deeds like sponging Christ’s wounds.