Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
East Bay and San Francisco Branches
July 2014 Issue
Contact us at: East Bay WILPF, PO Box 13266, Oakland, CA 94661 firstname.lastname@example.org
There will be no meeting of WILPF East Bay/San Francisco in August
On Saturday, Sept 13th, 1:00-2:30, there will be a report back from the WILPF Congress in Detroit followed by a planning meeting at the
San Francisco main library
join WILPF SF Weekly anti-war leafleting Main Library San Francisco Wed. 11:30-12, lunch after
WILPF YARD SALE BIG SUCCESS
Thanks to our many members’ and friends’ donations, We earned $950
Action: Stop Fracking in California
Fracking has been in the news a lot recently. In a water-fragile and earthquake state, the risks of fracking are magnified. Yet there is hope: just last week Santa Cruz became the first county to officially ban fracking. As local movements grow across the state, our legislators in Sacramento are also feeling the pressure from the oil and gas industry
You Can Still Attend the WILPF-US Triennial Congress
Wayne State University, Detroit MI July 31-August 3, 2014
The congress will be the time and place for us to reconnect, gather ideas, inspire each other, strategize, and recommit to building a better WILPF, a better movement. The Detroit Branch issues a challenge to all our branches: to increase membership and activism, to engage in building movements that challenge corporate power and further democracy in every area of our work. To read about the congress or register Call WILPF US National Office: 617-266-0999 or go to www.wilpfus.org.
How to Lobby Your Congressperson
by Ying Lee WILPF member
- Communicate with your representative.
- Do not sign on to Working Assets lobbying efforts. Rep. Dellums and Lee received thousands of WA letters in support of issues that they had supported on the record for years. This took many hours and much stationery and first class postage to respond to each letter. Political effect: Zilch (except for great irritation toward WA).
- Constituents and activists love petitions. I believe they are useless. I was conscientious and while I served as Legislative Director for Congresswoman Barbara Lee in her Washington office, I worked with Ann Ginger on several Meiklejohn projects. She found the collaboration fruitful and asked that I share my thoughts with you on how constituents may better use their Congressional representatives’ offices.
- Although my 16 years of work with Congressman Dellums and then with Barbara Lee dealt with our Oakland, Berkeley, and Albany, California districts I believe that my experience reflects that of most congressional assistants and aides.
- Each member of the House has at least two offices. One in D.C., which is known as the “personal” office, and one or more “district” offices. Staff in D.C. are generally “legislative” assistants, while district staff are “administrative” assistants. D.C. staff deal with legislation; district staff deal primarily with constituent advocacy, both in terms of problems with federal agencies (Medicare, Social Security, Veterans, IRS, etc.) and inquiries and opinion regarding current events and legislation. District staff are also assigned issue areas: housing, banking, foreign affairs, taxes, etc., and serve as liaison between constituents and the D.C. office.
- To make your opinion known:
A simple call to the district office is as effective as calling the D.C. office and saves you a long-distance call. If you want a response, ask for it and follow up. E-mail and “snail” mail also work but remember that staff are always overworked and e-mail and snail mail take greater resources to respond to appropriately.
- If you want more activity on an issue
Call the local office to get the name of the legislative aid who works on that issue. Call him/her and give a brief description of your issue and need (very brief) and say that you will follow it up with e-mail or snail mail.
- If you have a long-standing issue (as Palestinians/Israel, Nuclear Ignition Facility, or the U.N
- Find out from activists what has been done on the issue and then ask to talk to the district aid who liaison on that issue. A personal visit is an option. On complex matters I would recommend this procedure: an introductory phone call to be followed up by mail or by a personal visit with efficient documentation.
- If you have a constituency
You can either ask for a courtesy visit with a staff member or with the Congresswoman. It is important to be clear and up front as to the purpose of your visit.
- Representatives need to know the strength of your troops and your organization.
- On conventional lobbying:
There are 435 members of the House. Each representative is technically, and realistically, only responsible for the constituents in her district. Writing, calling, etc., to other members is wasteful of your efforts and the staff of that office. Each personal office mail-phone handler has strict instructions to refer an out-of-district request or opinion to her/his representative. Sometimes such mail is just put into the circular file as are phone messages. There is too much work and an out of district person has no vote for the boss.
WOMEN’S INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM UNITED STATES SECTION STATEMENT ON US MILITARY AID TO ISRAEL
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section (WILPF-US), joins with Amnesty International, the U. S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and Peace Action to call upon Congress “to suspend transfers of munitions, weapons, crowd control devices and military training to Israel.” The U.S. is Israel’s largest foreign supplier and as such is morally responsible for Israel’s lack of accountability for human rights violations.
The U.S. provides $8.5 million in military aid to Israel per day (according to www.ifamericansknew.org), an unconscionable amount given the unmet human needs of our own people. To add insult to injury, the U.S. has never held Israel accountable for human rights violations carried out with and made possible by our military aid.
The level of government-sanctioned revenge and collective punishment of Palestinian youth and other civilians following the kidnapping and deaths of three Israeli teenagers shocks us. Violence has always been the currency of the occupation, and as international and U.S. support for boycott, divestment and sanctions to end the Israeli occupation grows, so does Israeli violence in order to maintain the occupation.
We, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – United States Section (WILPF US), have signed the Declaration of Peace organized by World Beyond War, a new international coalition which represents “a global non-violent movement to end war and establish a just and sustainable peace.” By adding WILPF US to the list of organizations supporting this coalition and its efforts, we hope to inspire others, including other national WILPF Sections, as well as our International body in Geneva, to do likewise.
It has been the mission of WILPF, since our inception almost 100 years ago, to work locally, nationally and internationally for a world without war. Building on the power of women together, we work to strengthen the institutions and the cooperation needed for sustainable peace.
We believe that the vast majority of the people on this earth share this goal, and that it will take all of us working together non-violently, each with our unique talents, to transform our visions for peace, freedom and social justice into reality. WILPFus believes that joining with the international coalition of World Beyond War will provide opportunities for such cooperation.
We, the members of WILPF US, which is about to enter its own second century, remain committed to using our power as women in working with World Beyond War and others across the globe, in order to achieve our common goal “to end war and establish a just and sustainable peace.
WILPF US Board Report
. The minutes of the last national board meeting in May are not on the WILPF US web site yet. There was a lack of trust of the old board by a number of WILPF US members, the result of which was a recall election. There was also a feeling that to restore trust, WILPF US needs to get its financial house in order.
It was discussed :
- The unelected past president should not have a vote on the board. Since there are now staggered elections, it was felt that there was perhaps no longer a need for the past president to continue on the board for a year.
- We felt that decision by consensus on the national board poses a number of potential problems. It can give a single member of the board virtual veto power. There needs to be training in consensus and perhaps a change in the bylaws to majority rule.
- We need a professional audit past and present of the treasury.
- It is now July and the minutes of the May meeting are still not on the WILPF US web site. There needs to more transparency.
We were honored to be joined by WILPF member Ann Fagan Ginger, a lawyer, teacher, writer, and political activist. She is the founding and the Executive Director Emerita of the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute in Berkeley. CA. She has been a visiting professor of law at Hastings, U. of Santa Clara, Puget Sound Law Schools and San Francisco State. She is the author of 22 books and many articles, and lectures widely. She is an expert in human rights law and peace law under the statutes and treaties of the United States and the United Nations, and has argued and won before the U.S. Supreme Court. She was the Chair of the City of Berkeley Commission on Peace and Justice
Her books include the Cold War Against Labor  Nuclear Weapons Are Illegal: The Historic Opinion of the World Court and How It Will Be Enforced  Human Rights and Peace Law in the U.S.  Challenging U.S. Human Rights Violations since 9/11 
There was a discussion that the US Supreme Court is not expected to issue rulings that progressive citizens would embrace for many years to come. Ann Fagan Ginger recommended WILPF use international human rights law to fight issues affecting environment, women, race, equal rights, peace and corporate oppression. There was a discussion on planning a human rights workshop in the Fall. NGOs like WILPF could prepare reports on the injustice locally that is affecting human rights. Reports could be submitted on status of women and minorities locally incarcerated, homeless, experiencing violence, hiring and bank practices like foreclosure and student debt impact on women. To continue to draw attention to how money is available for endless war and military spending and prisons and funds for employment, education, housing, environment is local government is sacrificed.
Membership: There was a discussion on how to become a more diverse organization including women of color and youth. It was suggested to apply for interns who need a project , support other projects like the student debt crisis