This is a space where one Green shares their one Voice. These writings are not reflective of any of our official positions I may hold. Any opinions shared here are my individual opinion and not any official party stance unless specifically stated. It is important that Greens begin to clearly identify our platform and positions to the greater public. We are worldwide growing party. ITS GOOD TO BE GREEN!
Friday, August 12, 2005
Keep Cindy's Voice in the Papers
Unfortunately, I will be diverted to Atlanta for the weekend at the last minute. I wish it was Crawford, but alas I head for peaches and peacans, instead of Cindy and the chickenhawk.
But I know that all over this country as I pack my bags for Georgia, more are packing bags for Crawford. And as Bush surrounds himself with men and women of high economy, Cindy surrounds herself with men and women of high integrity.
There are Greens coming in numbers to Crawford. The Green Party Peach Action Committee is working on petition and a fundraising campaign to send more. I will have more info when I return late Sunday.
Let's set a goal. Let's make Crawford look like Woodstock. Let the roads of Crawford full with hundreds of thousands. Let's double, then triple the population of Crawford. Let's send our Mothers and Fathers, Sisters and Brothers, Ministers, Peaceworkers, Children, and Friends.
This is the summer of Love '05 and it all is starting in Crawford.
I have been think of Cindy and hearing the song Woodstock in my mind.
I've included the lyrics from the song made popular by both Crosby, Stills, and Nash and by Joni Mitchell.
Woodstock Well I came across a child of God, he was walking along the road and I asked him tell where are you going, this he told me: Well, I’m going down to Yasgur's farm, going to join in a rock and roll band. Got to get back to the land, set my soul free. We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon, and we got to get ourselves back to the garden.
Well, then can I walk beside you? I have come to lose the smog. And I feel like I'm a cog in something turning. And maybe it's the time of year, yes, and maybe it's the time of man. And I don't know who I am but life is for learning. We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon, and we got to get ourselves back to the garden.
By the time we got to Woodstock, we were half a million strong, and everywhere there was song and celebration. And I dreamed I saw the bombers jet planes riding shotgun in the sky, turning into butterflies above our nation.
We are stardust, we are golden, we caught in the devil’s bargain, and we got to get ourselves back to the garden.
Then if and when Cindy is arrested, Call to set up "Camp Caseys" nationwide
Cindy Sheehan was informed that if she doesn't leave by Thursday, when Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld are coming to the ranch, she will be arrested because she is a risk to "national security." Right now, she is camped out on the side of the road with veterans, other Gold Star Mothers, and supporters at "Camp Casey," named after her son who was killed by George W. Bush.
If she is arrested, Troops Out Now is calling on local organizers to set up their own Camp Caseys across the country in solidarity with Cindy Sheehan and her supporters.
Bring tents, placards, posters, and banners to your local park, city square, or other public place and occupy it to support Cindy Sheehan and demand her release.
In New York City, supporters will set up Camp Casey in Union Square beginning at 5:00 pm if Cindy Sheehan is arrested.
President Bush's Crawford Texas Ranch Washington DC and NBC may have The West Wing, but Crawford has the PrairieChapel Ranch now being called alternately the "Texas White House" or the "Western ... austin.about.com/cs/bushbiographies/a/crawford_ranch.htm - 31k - Aug 9, 2005 - Cached
But today I was. Because today was the second day of our local Truth Out campaign. So today at 7 a.m. I was sharing information at my local high school on the opt out program. Opt out is an opportunity for students to have their names removed from the recruiters marketing list.
So we stood outside the gates of the School that holds the leading ROTC program in the country. A school that is in my home town, Lake Worth. Lake Worth is the most racial diverse city in my area. It is no coincidence that this school is also where the ROTC has found its greatest success.
I aim to change that. Luckily for me a lot of others do to.
These kids are pulled out of their classes and shown recruitment videos. They are confronted in their classes as well. This is a farming ground for the front lines. They come for book and are given the options of bombs or body bags. Lets make our schools a safe place to go again.
The Truth Project is a small band of local activists made of members of many groups. But a good number of those involved are Greens.
It never fails to amaze that even though the Corporate Parties outnumber the registered Greens in my state, if you go to a organizers meeting for the peace movement or antiglobalization movement, you will find a larger than proportion number of Greens.
It is because we are people of action. It is because we are a party of principle.
But another thing that strikes me, is because we are people who are so involved, we often don other caps. Recently there was a tricounty meeting to work on counter recruitment. I was unable to attend so some of my local Greens who went offered to go as representatives from the Greens.
They reported that when they started introductions, they said they were Greens. The next thing they knew most of the folks in the room began introducing themselves as Greens. Some of these people had worked together for quite sometime. They had no idea they were all Greens. Because they were all wearing so many hats.
I understand, because I too wear many hats. But we can't forget no matter the hat, there is always room for a green party button. Check out the merch page link on the right and get your button on.
As for tonight's activities our local ACLU has a mixer at the Gulfstream Hotel.
I'll let you all know what good things come from that.
Have a righteous day.
Heres todays article from the Palm Beach Post about the Actions. Featuring local Green Susan Mosley. GO SUSAN!
Activists push to shield student data at local school
LAKE WORTH â€” Susan Mosely, a local peace activist, squared off with 15-year-old Blake Dowling on whether the U.S. military has the right to recruit students using information supplied by high schools.
Dowling was unaware that the federal No Child Left Behind law requires public high schools to release the names, addresses and telephone numbers of juniors and seniors. Faced with activists at Lake Worth High School Wednesday challenging the use of information provided by schools, Dowling defended the the military's recruitment methods.
Mosely, meanwhile, opposed the law because it violates students' privacy and allows recruiters to call students at home unbeknownst to their parents.
"They're misinformed and their lives are in jeopardy," said Mosely, referring to students like Dowling who don't know they can ask the schools not to give out personal information.
The two debated outside the high school's entrance as hundreds of students headed home from the first day of school. Lake Worth High School has one of the state's largest Junior ROTC programs.
"I don't see it as a problem," Dowling, who may become an Air Force chaplain, said of the recruitment efforts. "It's my choice."
But peace activists do see problems with the way schools are implementing the law, said Rich Hersh, spokesman for The Truth Project, a nonprofit, counter-recruitment agency based in Delray Beach. The Wednesday rally comes after Hersh and other activists met with school district officials over the past six months about better informing parents about the law.
Specifically, Hersh said many parents don't know they can "opt out" of releasing their child's information. Under the federal law, parents can "opt out" by written consent to the school district.
"We're here to make sure they're educated about opting out," said Hersh, whose group will also protest at Lake High School today.
Nat Harrington, the school district spokesman, said officials have taken steps to better inform parents about the law. Guidance counselors will have copies of a form that can be used to opt out, and information also is included in the Student Handbook, he said.
Parents will have 10 days from the start of school to return the forms to their child's assigned school.
Hersh and his volunteers also passed out forms at the entrance of Lake Worth High School as part of their anti-war activities.
On Wednesday, the ACLU of Florida issued a letter to the state's school district superintendents urging them to improve methods of informing parents and students of the right to opt out.
"Parents and students have the right to control who gets the information and for what purpose," Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, said in a written statement.
I am goin' to Crawford to be with Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq who is outside Bush's ranch demanding an "audience" with him. (It's been all over the news, but for more background, see www.codepink4peace.org and/or www.meetwithcindy.org) She's reportedly has been threatened with arrest on Thursday, so maybe I will be too -- Guilt by Association.
I am "without means", and thanks to out-of-state family visiting, without responsibilities for much of August. Fortunately this gives me the freedom to make this trip, but unfortunately not much in the way of resources to undertake it, so if you would like to help me out, your donations will help with gas, food (unless I decide to join the hunger strike) and maybe even bail!
If you are supportive, and can afford it, please toss a few coins in my Paypal hat: go to http://www.gypsyresort.com/reand look for the "donations" link under "Welcome" near the top.
While in Crawford, I will report for www.okimc.org, and other alternative news sources, and will take pics and share what I get newswise when I have internet access.
Most of you getting this know me and know of my activism and community work. But for the rest of you, here is some of my contributions to local progressive causes, as way of bona fides for my appeal:
Somewhere a mother in Texas awaits. All across America women await. Some await those they love who will return. Some await those they love who will not return.
Cindy Sheehan awaits the man who sent them there. She awaits the man who could stop these mothers suffering. But he is on vacation right now.
While more sons are preparing to leave their loved ones. He bicycles.
There was a time when war was more personal. A time when due to the limits of the weaponry one had to see the whites of the enemies eyes to even have a chance of firing. There was a time when the Generals slept in a tent on the same field as the soldiers.
Then we got good at war. We created ways to kill someone from a distance that left impossible to tell if they were military or civilian, man or woman, democracy lover or rogue infidel and hater of all reasonable ideals. Where now the men who led the war sit in command an ocean away. They go home at night to their wives and children. They vacation in Crawford and while the tents are pitched in Bagdad.
So Cindy Sheehan waits. She used to wait for her son. She didn't wait long. Her son Casey Sheehan was killed in combat on 4/4/04 in Sadr City five days after arriving in Iraq.
Now she waits for the man who sent her son to Iraq to ride by while on vacation. She hopes he will notice her there. She hopes she can explain the reasons she came and she hopes she can speak with the voice of 100,000 mothers. She hopes that she can have a moment of his day to replace all the moments she will not have with Casey.
She hope and waits for all the mothers who can not be in Crawford today. And across the world women wait for her and hope for her. Today we are all Cindy Sheehan. I wish for her that she may find some peace and she may share it.
She stands on a front line close to home. A front line that was never meant to be more than a vacation spot for a man who knew only war. She brings the war to his feet. She brings our suffering to his street. She carries our hopes.
She has cried our tears. And we have cried for her in return.
Somewhere in Texas a women stands tied to the hearts of 100,000 mothers.
Tomorrow I will stand at a school in my town. Tomorrow I will speak to students about the realities of the military. I will offer them choices. I will ask them to take a stand. I will tell them about Cindy and ask them what their mothers would do in her shoes. I will ask them if they think he would stop for their mother.
But I know it's more than one man that needs to stop and hear Cindy. It is mankind she waits for. It's you and I she waits for.
When will we hear the womens cries and bring their children home?
Are we ready to end the war?
Will we be in the streets on September 24th or will we be on vacation?
I just got back from a wonderful road trip to Atlanta that Steve Showen, Co-Chair, Green Party of Florida also joined me on. We took 20 Greens, Election Reform, Civil Liberties, and Peace Activists to Atlanta from South Florida. We marched and attended a rally on commemorating the anniversary of the signing of the voting rights act of 1965 and remembering the horror that took place the same date in Hiroshima in 1945. We had workshops on Single Payer Health Care, Green Party, and IRV.
We met with Georgia, DC, and Alabama Greens. Keep your ears open for a variety of opportunities to outreach with the southern Greens. Alabama will host a Sept 24th weekend event with Elaine Brown who is running for Mayor of Brunswick Georgia. And the southern Greens are also discussing on their list serve ways we can get together for fun and for party building.
After the rally, we met a stranded woman looking for a ride to Lake Worth and Miami. I had just been given a box lunch that was left over from the rally. I presented it to our newest rider and we grew in size and a hungry stomach was filled. She joined the rest of us in attending Asa Gordon's lecture last night at the Auburn Library. Asa was happy to see a bunch of folks come all the way from Florida to see him speak and he shone brilliantly. Those who hadnt been exposed to Green Politics before, got a great lesson from Asa.
We even got the bus passenger to bypass voting, and move from a near 50/50 split on a decision on our agenda to complete consensus, in a quick few minute process that left everyone happy. Quite a few folks on the bus declared they were going Green, and by the end of the trip the drivers were wearing Green Party buttons and asking when we were going to do it again.
Other Greens around the state and national were also hard at work. Creating a resource bank of information to be shared with states and locals. Planning how we are going to begin to be an effective and visible leader in the peace movement. Meeting to create more merchandise. Planning how to effectively create more recognition for our candidates and elected.
And work we must, we do not have luxury of having extra time and resources to spend on these pursuits of intellectual theorizing. Every day more are dying! We must end these wars. We must fill the streets! We must build a independent and strong Green Party!
Start organizing for Sept 24th. Get your local Greens out in the streets. Let's get every Green local in the state and Nation in their local Media. Lets get every Green localin the Nation participating whether locally or by sending folks to Alabama or DC. There will be a large Green Contingency in DC and events there for the entire weekend. I plan to speak at a local rally then go to DC for the Green events that will follow for the rest of the weekend and on Monday. Let's us now unite as Green and do what must be done, let's put 9/24 on the map and let the Greens be visible in doing so.
I also want to share that I still consider myself a supporter of GDI and it's mission. My personal agreement in their principles does not in anyway mean I do not see all members of our party as my faction. I will continue to encourage all to come to the same table with a spirit of consensus seeking and peace making. My political leanings don't determine who I am, Who I am determines my political leanings. My identifying with a group's ideals does not define me, my actions and words do.
I also intend to volunteer to go to Maine in October to help work in the Campaigns in Portland. I attended a candidate workshop presented by John Eder and Stephen Spring in Tulsa. I am inspired to grow this party by running candidates, and they have many candidates running in the same city, where I can get an abundance of hands on. I realize they may be controversial to some as may my friendship and affiliation with the GDI crowd is with others. I am sorry if this distresses some, but I think there is much I can learn there, and I personally enjoyed getting to know them and hear the stories of the Maine Successes in Tulsa.
In fact, I happen to enjoy the company of many Greens in the many factions.
If others would be interested in volunteering in campaigns to gain experience in working on green campaigns,I would suggest you get in touch with the Coordinated Campaign Committee. Going on vacation? Volunteer a day in another area's campaign, meet new Greens, and grow the party.
I see there has been discussion at home and at National about Ashley's article in the ISO. And am I upset that the ISO is writing about us? No. It is a Green writing about us, that happens to also write for the ISO. Am I upset that the ISO are interested in us? No. There are Greens who lean Dem, Greens who lean Socialist, Anarchist, Libertarian. I did not think the article was grossly misaligned to the truth as I saw it. I too can not wait for the day that the articles that appear there are glowing reviews of the work we are doing. The fact is in Tulsa we were dealing with those proposals and that was what was reported on. The best way to avoid being portrayed as divided, is to unite. Furthermore, I hope that there will come a day when the Dems and Socialist talk about us as much as we talk about them. Then will we know we are doing something right. I have friends who would fall under all those labels and will continue to do so. In fact I have been called many of those label and even consider myself to lean in many of the direction.
Who is Greenest folks? The Socialist leaning Green who believes in our ten keys? The Democrat leaning Green who believes in our ten keys? The Anarchist Green who believes in our ten keys?
Let us not be political elitist.
Let's lift each other up and celebrate that we can stand here in one arena with so many different views. Celebrate, that we stand together to create a better world. Let us not be weary in the struggle. Let us be energized by our successes and the vision of the future we can create.
Will you commit to building this party and ending this war? Will you commit to celebrating the diversity in who we are? Will I see you in the streets on 9/24?
Speaking of being in the Streets. I will be out at the high schools as kids return to school in support of the local counter recruitment programs this week. See info below on an amazing project that some of our local Greens are working on with other groups. My local school is Lake Worth High. It is said to be the largest ROTC program in the Country. I aim to help offer another choice.
Public Awareness Rallies for
Student Privacy Rights & Counter recruiting
The Department of Defense (DoD) plans to gather private student information to use to recruit public high school students. As part of an ongoing counter recruiting effort, a grassroots organization, The Truth Project, Inc. (a Florida not for profit corporation) in association with groups in other counties including Broward Anti War Coalition, Miami for Peace, Veterans for Peace, Palm Beach and Dade County Green Parties, Democracy for America, American Friends Service Committee, and Naples for Peace will hold Public Awareness Rallies in Palm Beach, Broward, Collier and Miami-Dade counties at the beginning of the 2005-06 school year.
Members of these organizations and other volunteers will be standing up for truth in military recruiting and preservation of privacy rights by distributing fliers and forms that students and parents can use to opt out of having the district share their private information. In addition, the groups will distribute forms that can be used to suppress students’ private information from the private marketing database purchased by the DoD to get around federal laws protecting student privacy.
The groups will be distributing fliers and forms at the following times and locations:
The coalition of groups intends to bring public awareness to the following facts:
-By law (No Child Left Behind Act, P.L. #107-110 Section 9528), student contact information including name, address, and phone number of all juniors and seniors must be released to the military upon request.
-By law (No Child Left Behind Act), parents and students have the right to OPT OUT by notifying their principals that they want their child’s private information to be given to colleges and higher educational institutions, BUT NOT to the military.
-By law, no student is required to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test administered in the districts’ high schools. The test is nothing more than a recruiting tool and has little application to civilian jobs or trades.
-By law, the military is allowed access to students during school hours for recruitment purposes.
-By law (the First Amendment to the Constitution) and by the decisions several federal courts ,students, parents and community members have a legal right of access equal to that of military recruiters during school hours to offer an opposing point of view.
-Government intrusion into the private lives of US citizens is increasing at unprecedented rates endangering rights and fundamental freedoms and rather than protecting people threatens their individual liberties.
-The DoD is working with a private marketing firm, BeNow Inc. of Wakefield, MA (using computers to analyze large amounts of data to target potential customers based on their personal profiles and habits). The DoD is using BeNow to create a database of all U.S. college students and high school students between 16 and 18 years old, collecting their personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade point averages, ethnicity and subjects of study.. Military recruiters will use the database to target potential recruits and tailor their appeals and inducements to individual students. Many privacy advocates, including The Truth Project, Inc., believe this is an effort to circumvent legal restrictions on government’s power to invade citizen privacy by using private corporations to do that work.
- Parents and students can keep the DoD from prying through private firms and prevent recruiters from targeting or harassing them by opting out of the private database until privacy advocates can secure legal relief from government invasion of privacy.
The Truth Project, Inc., is a local, grassroots organization which formed in response to the increased funding for military recruiting in our local schools.The governor recommends spending $1.75 billion for school year 2004-05 on educating our children to think for themselves. The Department of Defense spends an estimated $3 to $4 billion of our tax dollars to recruit them into the front lines. The DoD knows more about our students than either the state of federal education departments. We think there is something drastically wrong with the way tax dollars are spent and which government agencies attend to students and students’ private information.