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ACTION ALERT: March against the National Defense Authorization Act

Saturday, December 17th 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Director's Park at SW Yamhill and Park Ave.

This year's National Defense Authorization Act, which is a bill passed every year for the past 48 years to fund the United States Department of Defense, has some particularly disturbing aspects to it.  While this bill is always objectionable because of its hand outs to political cronies and wasteful spending on the bloated war machine, this year it has provisions attached that would allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens without charge by the military.  All the government would have to do is label someone a terrorist to strip them of all their constitutional rights to due process.  Today, December 14th, the bill passed the House of Representatives and President Obama has withdrawn his veto threat and said he will sign the bill.  We must register our outrage of this blatant attack on by our government on basic rights and the constitution.  See you in the streets!

For more information and to sign a petition, please click here.

Veterans For Peace chapter 72 to remember Armistice Day

Where: Pioneer Courthouse Square

When: Friday, November 11, 2011 11:11 AM

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, it became “All quiet on the western front.” An armistice signed at six o’clock that morning took effect and brought a cease-fire to the “War to end all wars.” Since that fateful hour, most nations, which fought in that conflict, observe Armistice Day. The United States in 1938 made it official with a proclamation that states in part: “…it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and…inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.” 

Unfortunately the horrors of World War One were to be outdone by those of World War Two and to honor the sacrifices of the veterans who fought in it, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day in 1954. While it is fitting and proper to honor all veterans for their service, it is a shame that the original intent of November eleventh has become lost to the militarization and commercialization of this important date. 

Veterans For Peace chapter 72 will be gathering at the Pioneer Courthouse Square for our seventh annual commemoration of this solemn day. We invite the public to join us “with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations;…”.

Portland School Board Unanimously Passes Equal Access Resolution

The Portland public school board passed an Equal Access resolution tonight (10/24/2011) with a unanimous vote.  The resolution will allow counter miltary recruiters to be present at school sponsored events any time miltary recruiters are present.   This is a significant victory for the War Resisters League and other Portland activists who have worked towards this goal for many years.  There was a solid show of support in the room with many people holding small signs reading "Equal Access" throughout the meeting.  While there was some testimony opposing the resolution, the school board members ultimately proved supportive of providing students with a balanced perspective on the realities of the military.  

Now that the resolution has passed and counter-recruitment groups have equal access to students, the real work of organizing people to be present at recruiting events begins.  We will be in need of volunteers to , so if you would like to be involved, please contact us.  We are especially interested in having veterans talk to students as their perspective on the realities of the miltary provides a powerful balance to the message of military recruiters. Thank you.

 

ACTION ALERT - Monday October 24th- Portland School Board To Vote On Equal Access Resolution

Military recruiter talking to kids

The Portland School Board is scheduled to vote this coming Monday (Oct. 24th) on a resolution to grant "equal access" to counter-recruitment groups.  The full text of the resolution is at the end of this post.  Currently all counter recruitment activities are banned from Portland public schools and this resolution would guarantee that counter-recruitment groups would have access to students on an equal footing with miltary recruiters.  The War Resisters League and other local activists have been pressing the school board on this matter for some time, and this resolution has a good chance of passing. There are no guarantees, of course. 

The passage of this resolution would go a long ways toward allowing groups such as the War Resisters League to present students with information about the realities of the military and alternatives to military enlistment.  As such, we would really like to pack the auditorium on Monday night to show that the community is behind equal access for counter-recruiters in our schools. We are encouraging a low key but solid show of support. We are planning to have lots of supporters holding small "equal access" signs throughout the auditorium.

So please do your best to show up, and bring a friend or two. The school board meeting begins at 5pm at the PPS administration building, 501 N. Dixon St. (2 blocks north of NE Broadway at the east end of the Broadway Bridge). The business agenda is scheduled to come up at about 6:30pm. We suggest you get there at least by 6pm.

ACTION 1:00PM, Saturday, October 15th - 10 Years in Afghanistan: End the Wars-Bring Our $$ Home!

On Saturday, October 15, 2011, there will be an action protesting the 10th anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan and the effects of wars and occupations on the economy. The event begins with a rally at 1 PM in Shemanski Park (South Park Blocks at Salmon St), and a march at 1:30 PM will bring participants to the First Unitarian Church for a 2:30 PM forum. The theme of the event will be "10 Years in Afghanistan: End the Wars-Bring Our $$ Home." Speakers at the rally and forum will also address these topics:

Volunteers for student outreach

The Military & Draft Counseling Project needs volunteers to help with student outreach at Portland-area high schools.  For the next 10 weeks or so, we will be meeting one morning a week (usually Tuesdays, 7:30 to about 8:15 am) to distribute fliers to students entering their school building.  We stay on public sidewalks in front of the school, keeping it safe and legal.  The bookmark-size fliers contain a brief counter-recruitment or anti-war message plus contact info for seeking information and advocacy. 

OCCUPY PORTLAND

Occupy Portland is a nonviolent movement for accountability in the United States government. At 12PM on October 6th, 2011 we will assemble at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 1020 Southwest Naito Parkway in Portland, OR. We will gather in solidarity with the ongoing protest in New York City, Occupy Wall Street, and the growing number of cities whose people will no longer sit back watching corporate and special interests run their government. We are citizens of the United States, and this country is ours. We will take it back.

Veterans For Peace National Convention, August 3-7

Veterans For Peace will be holding their national convention this year in Portland. The convention runs from August 3rd to August 7th at Portland State University.  There are a number of events open to the public.  You can see a full list of public events here, or view a live feed over the internet here.  For more information please visit the Veterans for Peace website at www.vfpnationalconvention.org.  Below is an article from the Oregonian covering the convention.

Free Bradley Manning! Protest Planned for August 1st and 2nd

Bradley Manning is a 23 year old soldier who is accused of leaking classified military information to WikiLeaks including a video showing an Apache helicopter killing civilians and two Reuter's journalists in Iraq as well as "embarassing" diplomatic cables.  His heroic actions have shed light on the true nature of U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.  For his efforts he has been kept in solitary confinement since May 2010 while he awaits trial.  In protest of the deplorable treatment of this heroic young man by the U.S. military, WRL will be holding a protest on August 1st and 2nd leading up to the Veterans for Peace National convention at Portland Statue University August 4-7.  For more information on the August 1st event click here, and for the August 2nd event click here.  For more information and ways to get involved, please visit the Bradley Manning Support Network and sign one of their petitions, or write letters to your congressman demanding his release.  Below is an article from the Bradley Manning Support Network with more information about Bradley and his plight.

Bradley Manning

“If you had free reign over classified networks… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC… what would you do?”

“God knows what happens now.  Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms… I want people to see the truth… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.

-Quotes from an online chat attributed to Bradley Manning

Bradley Manning, a 23-year-old Army intelligence analyst, is accused of leaking a video showing the killing of civilians, including two Reuters journalists, by a US Apache helicopter crew in Iraq. He is also charged with sharing the documents known as the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs, and embarrassing US diplomatic cables, with the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.  The video and documents have illuminated such issues as the true number and cause of civilian casualties in Iraq, human rights abuses by U.S.-funded contractors and foreign militaries, and the role that spying and bribes play in international diplomacy.

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