Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom
East Bay and San Francisco Branches
Contact us at: East Bay WILPF, PO Box 13266, Oakland, CA 94661
WILPF US Face book page http://www.facebook.com/wilpf
**********Join us for this WILPF sponsored public event! *********
A Just Transition to Peace. A Hope for Earth’s Climate
with Susan Schacher of New Priorities Campaign
Saturday, November 7 2:30-4pm
Rockridge Library (wheel chair accessible)
5366 College Ave, Oakland
5 blocks south of Rockridge BART
The New Priorities Campaign (http://newprioritiescampaign.org/) brings together organizations and individuals from diverse constituencies, communities and movements to demand of our public officials a change of direction for the U.S. – one that prioritizes putting people back to work, restoring and fully funding essential public services, rebuilding and repairing infrastructure, funding the development of new alternative energy technologies, cleaning up and protecting the environment, developing a sustainable peace economy, reducing poverty and inequality, and generally meeting important social and other human needs.
Susan Schacher was a community college teacher for more than two decades, working with low-income students on basic skills. As a university student In the 1960’s, Susan became involved in the civil rights and anti-VietNam war movements. She has participated in community and labor campaigns for education, jobs, health care, housing, and other social justice concerns. In recent years, in light of austerity cuts to social programs, increasing spending for war, and global warming, Susan has joined with others to seek a de-militarized and environmentally healthy society.
Gwyn Kirk reports back
Women Peace Makers and the Walk Across the DMZ
Gwyn Kirk presented an excellent report on the Women Peace Makers and their Walk Across the Korean DMZ at a WILPF sponsored event recently in San Francisco. She is co-founder of Women and Genuine Security, They work toward the creation of a society free of militarism, violence, and all forms of sexual exploitation, and for long-term sustainability of our communities. She is on the coordinating committee of Militarism Watch and on the organizing committee for Women Walk for Peace in Korea. The march was joined by many international peace women including Americans Gloria Steinem, Medea Benjamin and Ann Wright, and and two Nobel Peace laureates, Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia. Gwyn reminded us that Korea was colonized by the Japanese government from 1910-45.
- The U.S. Military presence in Korea began at the close of the Pacific War in 1945.
- In 1948, the United States, in agreement with the USSR, divided Korea into two separate countries: the Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (South Korea). The U.S. retains influence over South Korea’s military.
- The Status of Forces Agreement was signed in 1966, diminishing the power of the Republic of Korea to enforce its own laws in cases where the U.S. did not waive its jurisdiction.
- The Korea-US Free Trade Agreement was signed in June 30, 2007. If ratified, it will be the second largest agreement since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
- Military service is mandatory in Korea. Many young men serve as soldiers. They are ostracized if they are not in service. Many believe that joining the military will provide access to jobs.
- Korean women were taken as “comfort women” during Japanese occupation in World War II.
- Today, many women who work in bars around U.S. bases are from the Philippines, Central Asia and Russia.
- 4 million people died in the Korean War of 1950-53, most of them Korean civilians.
- 10 million families are still separated by the DMZ.
- 70 million Koreans live in a state of war due to unresolved conflict.
- 60+ YRS after the war ended with a temporary cease-fire agreement, we’re still waiting for a peace treaty.
- $1Trillion is spent by USA, China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea on militarization of the region, fueled by unresolved conflicts.
- For more information Link to
REPORT on WILPF Northern CA Cluster Meeting 9/19/15 in Santa Clara
Eastbay and San Francisco WILPF and six other Northern CA branches (Peninsula, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Jose, Sacramento-Sierra Foothills, Fresno) met about issues and concerns to our branches and ways to work together to build a stronger WILPF. Here are some of the highlights of the meeting:
– CALIFORNIA WILPF:
- WILPF CA – Legislative Watch: Presented by Sandy T. who asked if we want to continue working together on legislative and ballot measures important to California from the environment to education, healthcare, and/or the Disclose Act. Sandy asked for branch liaisons who would educate their branches on the issues and get branch input on legislation to work on. She got enough interest at the meeting to continue this effort. If you are interested in WILPF California respond to this newsletter .
- Golden Rule Ship: Helen Jaccard, crew member (& WILPF member) told us of this peace vessel that sails to promote a nuclear-free world. In 1958 it went to the Marshall Islands to halt atmospheric nuclear testing; the original ship was restored by Veterans for Peace and is in No. CA waters now. They will be at the Berkeley Marina from September 26-October 1. Visit this amazing sailing ship.
– NATIONAL WILPF:
- National Candidates for WILPF US board: WILPFus Board members brought us up to date on the six National Board positions up for election in 2016: President, Treasurer, Program Committee Chair (1 of 2), Development Committee Chair, Nominating Committee Chair, and At-Large Board Member (1 of 2). They pointed out that the terms are for three years, but staggered, so 1/3 are elected each year. All paid up members should expect a ballot in the mail in early 2016. Later in the day an idea was presented to create Board member “support groups” that Board members could rely on for research, advice, etc. to reduce the time these women have to spend on board work. One way to know if you are a paid member is if you received the Spring “Peace and Freedom” magazine from WILPF US
- Action Plan for building a stronger national organization: Our new WILPF managing director Lamia Sadek was introduced. See https://www.facebook.com/wilpf She has a background in finance and development and is finishing up her PhD dissertation on leadership style among refugee women in the Middle East. She will be working remotely from San Diego with some trips to the Boston office and other locations to support Board activities. She was asked about WILPF finances and she cautioned that we cannot continue to rely on a few big donors, and need to do some serious fund raising. A fund raising letter is going out soon. She got a good amount of feedback from members present on their concerns, including dues re-structuring and keeping up with membership renewals, updating the database and other IT recommendations.
- Regional Structure: We discussed continuing the WILPF West gatherings (CA, OR, WA, AZ, MT…), like one held in Ashland, OR in July of 2010. About half of the group wanted to focus on a Western regional meeting.
- Hamas Booklet: The Middle East Issues Committee whose members wrote the booklet entitled, “Hamas at the Middle East Peace Table: Why?” which calls for all relevant parties to be at the Palestine-Israel peace table. You can order the booklet at the national wilpf office at Tel: 617-266-0999 $5 or down load at link: http://wilpfus.org/documents/Hamas/WILPF_Hamas_Booklet.pdf
– WILPF Congress (every 3 yrs) and Conference (to celebrate our 100 years) in The Hague: About 10 members at the meeting attended the 2015 Congress and Conference in The Hague and told us briefly about their experiences. The Congress is a “business meeting” where decisions are made and one thing that was approved was the several page WILPF Manifesto, the official declaration of the organization’s intentions, views and work for the coming century, available at http://wilpf.org/?s=Manifesto Those who attended said the centennial Conference was an incredible experience where they met WILPF members from around the world, exchanged information, heard stories of woman’s experiences in working for peace and freedom in their countries.
NEW BRANCH in the Mother Lode: There are 15 members in this area, they are applying for branch membership.
– CURRENT ISSUES:
– Racial Justice and Black Lives Matter: It was presented a report on Professor John A. Powell’s (UCB) conference on Othering and Belonging at www.otheringandbelonging.org We were introduced to the the book No Peace without Freedom: Race and the Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom 1915-1975 by Joyce Blackwell that she has made available to the branches. It was recommended we take this issue back to our branches for action that will lead to more inclusiveness in WILPF.
– TPP/TIPP: We agreed this is not a trade agreement but a corporate coup. A member will send out a statement that branches can discuss.
– Anti-Nuclear: The National Disarm Committee works on this as well as local branch actions.
- World Beyond War: WILPF-US, International and other Sections are members of this global movement to end all wars,
http://worldbeyondwar.org/ or to down load a copy go to:
– Human Trafficking: Especially a topic with Super Bowl coming to Bay Area
– Membership Dues/Renewals: Meeting participants expressed concern that National is not mailing out annual membership renewal notices and/or encouraging people to renew online. Many members do not know if they are active, and it was suggested that mailing labels for Peace and Freedom newsletter should have our renewal dates posted (or if you are not receiving P&F, probably not on the membership list—not the best way to find out). Better transparency on where the renewal dues go, and $15 really not enough, only pays for P&F, should have various levels as other groups do.
– Recruitment: Need a plan for getting new members. How can we attract new people– better communication and actions at the branch level. Fun events like the Raging Grannies singers with original songs, speaker presentations, (see Branch reports for ideas).
– Regional Meeting in 2016?: To be discussed at branch meetings . The next WILPF-US Congress in 2017 (every 3 years) will most likely be on the west coast, possibly in Portland.
– (SF branch) submitted some ideas to consider for WILPF at the national to branch levels that included creating a new treaty to end war by sponsoring a contest in law schools with a prize for best essay or law article on the topic; story telling by our elders to learn from the past and preserve their knowledge, similar to StoryCorps, and engage youth in these projects, and women of color.
Sept 21- 26 International Days of Peace: Abolish Nuclear weapons
Action: Join the push to abolish nuclear weapons during
International Peace Week
“Nuclear weapon abolition was the subject of the General Assembly’s first resolution in 1946.It has been on the General Assembly’s agenda along with general and complete disarmament ever since 1959. It has been a prominent theme of review conferences held at the UN since 1975 of States parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
“Yet today, some 16,000 nuclear weapons remain. Countries possessing such weapons have well-funded, long-range plans to modernize their nuclear arsenals. More than half of the world’s population still lives in countries that either have such weapons or are members of nuclear alliances. As of 2015, not one nuclear weapon has been physically destroyed pursuant to a treaty, bilateral or multilateral, and no nuclear disarmament negotiations are underway.”
The Color of Empire: At Home & Abroad
Ecumenical Peace Institute
Sunday, October 4, 2015 Dinner and Program 5:30 – 8:45 p.m.
St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave., in Berkeley
Dr. King challenges us to conquer “the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism.” Presenters will speak on their work to end racism in this country and to oppose U.S. foreign policy founded on racism.
For details and to RSVP, go to http://www.epicalc.org/
Week of Mobilization Against Abuses by Transnational Companies
from the International WILPF Web Site
WILPF is part of the Treaty Alliance, an alliance of a large number of organizations and networks working to end abuses committed by transnational companies, WILPF calls on governments to support the Treaty. Getting a treaty in place is a long process, but the sooner we can get states on board, the sooner we can hold transnational corporations accountable for the crimes they commit. Land grabbing, suppression of protests, environmental degradation, collapsing factories, inhumane working conditions, and poisonous chemicals entering the food chain need to be a thing of the past, and a clear and effective justice mechanism needs to be established for the people whose rights have been violated. How you can be part of the action
Sign our petition! Many countries, in particular within the EU, have diametrically opposed being part of this process and have threatened not to attend the meetings. In light of the upcoming week, we have therefore created petitions take positive action. Read our last blog on this topic to learn more.
The need to address the abuses committed by transnational corporations has been a growing concern within WILPF. At our Congress in April, we adopted a resolution expressing our deep concerns with corporations like Monsanto violating the human right to health and safe food through their use of dangerous chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
We are also worried about the role that practices such as land-grabbing have in creating and maintaining conflicts. We must ask ourselves who benefits from the displacement of the original land owners, and who benefits from the militarization of the region in question.
In the WILPF 2015 Manifesto, which was also adopted at Congress in April, we further state:
“In this global, neoliberal phase of capitalism, the power of corporations and financiers has far outstripped the ability of elected governments to moderate or control them. Slavery and forced labor are widespread and many of the victims are women and children. Identifying the capitalist system as one of the root causes of war, WILPF has always had the goal of revolutionary change by non-violent means for purposes of social and economic justice.