December New People

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Occupy Pittsburgh

Prison Abuse Page 7

Our War Dollars

– Pages 8, 9, 10


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PITTSBURGH‘S PEACE AND JUSTICE NEWSPAPER Published by the Thomas Merton Center

VOL. 41 No. 10 December, 2011


lege of Allegheny County.

On Thursday, November 3, the Thomas Merton Center board, cornerstone sustainers, staff, members, and friends honored ecofeminist and environmental advocate, Dr. Vandana Shiva, with the 2011 Thomas Merton Award at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel. The award was given to Dr. Shiva at the 39th Thomas Merton Awards Dinner, an annual event that that recognizes a nationally or internationally acclaimed activist for their lifelong transformative efforts which have led toward the creation of a more peaceful and just world. In all, about 500 people attended the dinner this year. Old friends and new friends came together to hear the important message that Dr. Shiva had to share about environmental health, the rights of mother earth, and justice for all. In particular, Dr. Shiva focused on the damaging impacts of genetically modified seeds on indigenous cultures, farmers, and the health and well-being of all of us. She also spoke about the deleterious effects that industrialization and capitalism have had on farming. Her message was powerful and well received.

Additionally, with the help of M. Shernell Smith, another dinner planning committee member and Diversity Coordinator at Carnegie Mellon University, this year's dinner guests were entertained by an all male Indian a capella group known as Deewane. In Hindi, Deewane means "madly in love," and is reflective of the Carnegie Mellon University students‘ passion for music. The Raging Grannies ended the evening with the song "Give Me a Home Where the Rivers Don't Foam." The Raging Grannies are long time supporters of the Thomas Merton Center. Together they work to promote global peace, justice, and social and economic quality by raising public awareness through the medium of song and humor. Their participation in the dinner for the past three years has been greatly appreciated by attendees. Photo by Jibran Mushtaq Dr. Shiva with her Merton Center Award

The dinner had an Indian focus this year, with recipes provided by Sumana Misra-Zets, member committee, and Director of College and Commuof the Thomas Merton Center dinner planning nity Diversity Initiatives at the Community Col-

Prior to the start of the dinner this year, local environmental groups and Thomas Merton Center projects and affiliates displayed information and engaged guests in their important peace and justice work. Continued on page 3


of old and young, workers, students and jobless, black and white, and religious and labor leaders A study by Transportation for America found that who came together for a spirited and determined Pittsburgh has the highest percentage of structur- action. ally deficient bridges in the nation. Nearly one in three, or 30.4 percent, of bridges in the Pittsburgh Among the protesters were teachers, Port Authorregion are rated as structurally deficient. The total ity employees, and health workers recently made number of structurally deficient bridges in the jobless due to budget cuts. One speaker, Ryan region is 1,133. Dunmire, a furloughed teacher in the Steel Valley school district, told Essential Public Radio, ―I On November 17th over 700 protesters jammed know that in Allegheny County alone we have the Greenfield Bridge to demand jobs and funding over 300 teachers furloughed to date, which for infrastructure repair and other critical needs. means that they are out of work. In the state of Chanting ―We are the 99%‖ was a cross section Pennsylvania alone we have over 5,500 teachers

that are out of work.‖ The action was one of hundreds held on bridges across the nation to reclaim the rights of the 99% of Americans whose voices are ignored in Washington. They are demanding an economy and a country that works for everyone, not just the 1%. More Occupy starting on page 7 Molly Rush is a Thomas Merton Center Board Member.

TMC works to build a consciousness of values and to raise the moral questions involved in the issues of war, poverty, racism, classism, economic justice, oppression and environmental justice. TMC engages people of diverse philosophies and faiths who find common ground in the nonviolent December, 2011peaceful NEWPEOPLE struggle to bring about a more and just - 1 world.




TMC HOURS of OPERATION 10 am — 3 pm Monday-Friday 10 am-1 pm Saturday

IS PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY THE THOMAS MERTON CENTER 5129 PENN AVE., PITTSBURGH, PA 15224 Phone: 412-361-3022 — Fax: 412-361-0540 — Web: Editorial Collective Frank Carr, Nicole Coast, Rob Conroy, Deyja Donohue, Michael Drohan, Russ Fedorka, Corey Carrington, Charles McCollester, Kenneth Miller, Francine Porter, Jordana Rosenfeld, Molly Rush TMC Staff, Volunteers and Interns Viv Shaffer, Thomas Merton Center Coordinator Roslyn Maholland, Bookkeeper / Mig Cole, Assistant Bookkeeper Shirley Gleditsch, Manager, East End Community Thrift Store Shawna Hammond, Manager, East End Community Thrift Store Dolly Mason, Furniture Manager, East End Community Thrift Store Corey Carrington, Public Ally Jordana Rosenfeld, NewPeople Intern TMC Board of Directors Casey Capitolo, Rob Conroy, Kathy Cunningham, Michael Drohan, Mary Jo Guercio, Wanda Guthrie, Edward Kinley, Shawna Hammond, Jonah McAllister-Erickson, Charles McCollester, Diane McMahon, Jibran Mushtaq, Francine Porter, Dominique Reed, Chadwick Rink, Molly Rush, Courtney Smith, Carole Wiedmann STANDING COMMITTEES Board Development Committee (Recruits board members, conducts board elections) Building Committee Oversees maintenance of 5123-5129 Penn Ave. Membership Committee Coordinates membership goals, activities, appeals, and communications Editorial Collective Plans, produces and distributes The NewPeople Finance Committee Ensures financial stability and accountability of TMC Personnel Committee Oversees staff needs, evaluation, and policies Technology Team Provides technical advice and assistance to TMC Special Event Committees Plan and oversee TMC fundraising events with board and staff PROJECTS Anti-War Committee

In Sisterhood: The Women’s Movement in Pgh 412-621-3252, Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance 412-867-9213

Book‘Em (books to prisoners)

Pittsburgh Campaign for Democracy NOW! 412-422-5377,

CodePink (Women for Peace), 412-389-3216

Pittsburgh Works! (labor history documentaries)

Conscience 412-231-1581

Roots of Promise 724-327-2767, 412-596-0066 (Network of Spiritual Progressives)

Demilitarize Pittsburgh: War-Profiteering Education & Action Network 412-361-3022, Diversity Footprint (art, justice, community) East End Community Thrift Shop 412-361-6010,

Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition; Three Rivers Area Medics (TRAM) 412-6419191 or Urban Arts Project

Economic Justice Committee

Pittsburgh Progressive Notebook Call 412-301-3022 for more info

Fight for Lifers West 412-361-3022 to leave a message Food Not Bombs Human Rights Coalition / Fed Up (prisoner support and advocacy) 412-802-8575,


The Palestine Film Festival Call 412-301-3022 for more info Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens Group Wanda Guthrie 724-327-2767

December, 2011

The Pittsburgh Totebag Project Sue Kerr, 412-228-0216 P.O. Box 99204 Pittsburgh, Pa 15233

CONTACT INFORMATION General information ..................... Or Submissions .................................. Events & Calendar Items .............

In this Issue Page 4

Charlie McCollester Exits the Board

Page 6

Bringing the War Dollars Home

Page 7

Anti-Genocide Conference

Page 8

The Occupy Movement

Page 12

Haiti Update

Page 13

The School of the Americas

TMC AFFILIATES and FRIENDS The Africa Project 412-657-8513, Allegheny Defense Project, Pgh Office 412-559-1364 Amnesty International Association of Pittsburgh Priests Molly 412-343-3027 The Big Idea Bookstore 412-OUR-HEAD, Black Voices for Peace Gail Austin 412-606-1408 Citizens for Global Solutions 412-471-7852 Citizens for Social Responsibility of Greater Johnstown Larry Blalock, Haiti Solidarity Committee, 412-271-8414

412-563-1519 Pgh Independent Media Center Pgh North Anti-Racism Coalition 412-367-0383 Pgh North People for Peace 412-367-1049 Pgh Palestine Solidarity Committee Raging Grannies 412-963-7163, Religion and Labor Coalition 412-361-4793 School of the Americas Watch of W. PA 412-371-9722, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) 412-471-8919 Urban Bikers

PA United for a Single-Payer Health Care (PUSH) Molly Rush

Veterans for Peace

Pittsburgh Area Pax Christi 412-761-4319

Voices for Animals 1-877-321-4VFA

Pittsburgh Committee to Free Mumia 412-361-3022,

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Eva 412-963-7163

Pittsburgh Cuba Coalition

TMC MEMBERSHIPS These are organizations or coalitions in which TMC has formal membership, including payment of dues to and fulfillment of other agreed-upon responsibilities as an organizational member Abolition 2000: W. Pa. Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons 724-339-2242 / Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty 412-384-4310,

Dr. Vandana Shiva, continued from page 1 We are especially grateful to our sponsors who helped make the dinner possible. They include the Heinz Endowments, Carnegie Mellon University, Bonnie V. Dicarlo Financial Planning, Three River's Community Foundation, and the Service Employees International Union.

Special thanks to the following dinner planning committee members for their dedicated volunteer efforts: Edith Bell, Joe and Wanda Guthrie, Molly Rush, Michael Drohan, Joyce Rothermel, Bette McDevitt, Shawna We also thank our auction donors - Edison Hotel Hammond, Casey Capitolo, Marty New York, Community College of Allegheny O‘Malley, Viv Shaffer, Corey CarCounty, Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz History rington, Jibran Mushtaq, Carole WiedCenter, Pittsburgh Musical Theater, Andy Warhol mann, M. Shernell Smith, Sumana Museum, Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh Misra-Zets, Francine Porter, Bonnie Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Gateway Clipper Fleet, DiCarlo, Anne Kuhn, and Tony KuPittsburgh Public Theater, Free Ride, Cultural har! Trust District, The Sheraton Hotel, Tony Kuhar for Graphic Art support, Anne Kuhn for creating Diane McMahon is the President of the beautiful award, and the Mattress Factory. the Thomas Merton Center Board of Directors This year's dinner committee, along with Thomas Merton Center board members, worked above and beyond human efforts to ensure a successful evening for all of our members and friends.

Photo by Jibran Mushtaq

Dining with Dr. Shiva By Frank Carr

is no lack.‖ By contrast, when farmers become commodity exporters, local communities eat last, as the food is grown for shipment, not eating.

For very good reasons it is considered rude to take notes at the dinner table, unless one is dining alone. At the Merton Awards I certainly wanted Dr. Shiva also spoke about her family, her fame, to scribble on napkins as I found my self seated with Dr. Vandana Shiva wishing I could jot down her warmth and humility.

―Cotton was used by (Mohandas) Gandhi as a symbol of self-reliance. Now the seeds are used as a means to make corporate profits and the farmers are reduced to poverty.‖ Dr. Shiva brought simple warmth to every conversation. Whether signing books before the dinner or meeting those who came by her table, she listened and conversed with an unmistakable interest in each person. The smile so familiar in her photos greeted every well-wisher. While her subjects are serious, even critical to the future of our species, her comfort with humanity is another great lesson for us. There was a genuine look of delight and surprise when she learned that Rachel Carson was from Greater Pittsburgh, as if she had found another great reason to be here.

I carried home the impression that for all of her intellect and accomplishment, this is a woman quite at home in the real world, quite connected to her family, and quite unconcerned with taking on airs. The conversation at the table was broad and funny and quite illuminating, and all I can really do is recount a few memorable moments, hoping to give the reader a better sense of this remarkable awardee. ―I wasn‘t sure about accepting this award,‖ she said, ―But then I read the list of past winners and said, ‗Wow, these are people I want to be affiliated with!‘‖

She was quite interested to learn of our local role in the modern environmental movement, about groups like GASP and the legacy of the lethal Donora smog, about how grassroots people here began the organizing efforts that led to the Clean Photo by Jibran Mushtaq Air and Clean Water acts, about our problems with water runoff, flooding, and over and the way they intertwined. ―My son is thirty,‖ development. she said, ―When he was younger, he would travel with me. As he grew he was less interested. But She laughed heartily at Marty O‘Malley‘s hilarinow I find myself getting invited to music festivals around the world. I was just invited to a reg- ous opening remarks and dismissed her ongoing bout with a treatment resistant form of malaria. In gae festival in Spain,‖ She laughed, ―And he is short, she proved herself more than just a person thinking he might like to travel with me again.‖ She went on, ―A lot of politics is starting to hap- deserving of the Merton Award; she proved herpen at music festivals again. At first I was surself a really fine dinner companion. Congratulaprised, but now I think it is great. Music is betions once again, Dr. Shiva. coming an important organizing forum again.‖

Dr. Shiva was raised on her mother‘s farm in a valley below the Himalayas. ―When the calves had finished, my mother would get the rest of the milk for us. I am a vegetarian not a vegan. It was very different than modern agriculture, where the calves are separated from their mothers. So much of modern agriculture is based on cruelty,‖ she said, subtly touching on one of her themes. As she told the audience in her speech, ―Everyone says organic farming is for the rich first. No. In an organic system the local community eats first, there

―I visited Occupy Pittsburgh today,‖ she said at one point, ―I think it‘s wonderful. This is a very important time and this movement can be very powerful. What I see in India is the same as here, corporations have too much power over democracy.‖ In her acceptance speech she spoke of the plight of India‘s cotton farmers; it is now illegal for them to save their own seeds for next year‘s planting. The seeds are genetically modified and patented. Each year the farmers must buy new seeds and that cost has reduced them to poverty.

Frank Carr is the editor of The NewPeople

―In nature's economy the currency is not money, it is life.‖ ― Vandana Shiva, Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace December, 2011


Charlie McCollester Wraps up His Tenure on The TMC Board By Bette McDevitt When Charlie McCollester retired two years ago from his position as Director of the Center for the Study of Labor Relations at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the Merton Center was savvy enough to scoop him up to serve on the board. It was a logical step.

Corporation, the developers of the site, and in cooperation with the Steel Industry Heritage Corporation and local government officials, preserved the Pumphouse, the very site of the battle between the workers and the Pinkertons. They have organized educational programs at the site for more than 15 years.

board, Charlie reflected on the experience. ―As a board member at the Center, I was glad to be a part of pulling the Center back from the brink. The Thomas Merton Center provides a bridge between social activists with a religious orientation and other progressive forces struggling for a world without war, exploitation and oppression.‖

Charlie found his inspiration in others within the movement for peace and justice. ―First of all, my mother who had a keen sense of social justice and Through his teaching career, the a love of people, second, Dr. Martin Luther King, administration of a statewide labor who provided an example of courage and noneducation program, and his ongoviolent activism, and finally, Staughton and Alice ing work with the Battle of HomeLynd who have been inspirations on how to Photo by Bette McDevitt stead Foundation, the connection ‗accompany‘ the struggles of workers and the of social justice with labor has poor without attempting to lead or control anybeen his main focus. Just a one.‖ Charlie McCollester, beloved TMC Board member word about the Battle of HomeIf retirement is a Once we are part of the movement, we count on stead Foundation: Charlie was a founding mem- time to sit back in the lazy boy and crack open an hope to keep us going, and find it, as does Charber of this group, informally called the PumIron City, Charlie hasn‘t heard about it. Instead, lie, in each other. ―I draw hope and inspiration phouse Gang, which formed in the 1980s to plan he wrote a book, The Point of Pittsburgh, the de- from friends and comrades in struggle, from bethe centennial observance of the Homestead finitive history of the working people in the area. ing a part of a community of activists who care Strike of 1892. If you don‘t own it, you need to put down this about the state of the earth and the lives that denewspaper and go right out and buy it; it‘s avail- pend on it. I draw strength from the love of my As the mills were dismantled in the Mon Valley, able at the Heinz History Center, the East End Co wife and family, children, grandchildren, sister, the group took on the agenda of preserving what -op, the Big Idea Bookstore, Awesome Books, at and brother.‖ Charlie and his wife, Linda, have they could of the rich history of the mills and the the Merton Center, or from Charlie directly. raised five children and live on Mt. Washington. stories and memories of the people who worked Bette McDevitt, past TMC board member and in them. The group, in negotiations with Park Currently finishing up his two year term on the member of The Raging Grannies

Left: The Raging Grannies perform "Give Me a Home Where the Rivers Don't Foam" at the 2011 Merton Award Dinner.

Photo by Jibran Mushtaq

Marty B. O'Malley‘s 2011 Fundraising Pitch Ladies and Gentlemen,

IS PATRIOTIC. Another thing they accomplished is to change the way that Americans think about who is a One of the great benefits of attending the Merton Cen- legitimate political candidate for president. It's a fact ter dinner is that YOU get to see and meet some of the in 2012 there is a good chance that one political old decrepit people who started the Merton Center four party will nominate for President a man whose mother decades ago. For some of them, being a curmudgeon is was white and whose father was black. And the conan art form. Those old people survived the Pittsburgh servative political party might nominate a black pizza that looked like hell with its lid off. They saw soot, man for President. smog, and smoke so thick that the street lights came on at noontime. They lived with the fear of children getThat those things are even being discussed is a tribute ting polio, they saw rivers choked with filth, and they to the way these old people changed the thinking in endured universal military conscription. With all that, America. Back then, conventional wisdom said that they did some good things. these people could never be mainstream because they were idealistic and impractical. But now, even the corBut, let me start off with some to the things these old porate-owned media covers current protest events with people did NOT accomplish: some tacit acknowledgement that the protests have We still have American nuclear weapons wide spread appeal to the average person. And it might We still have American poverty & injustice be because the protests are in hundreds of American We still have pollution, and we still have wars and cities and a thousand around the world. more wars in spite of all their protests and demonstra- There is a good reason why, so far, the Pittsburgh potions. litical establishment did not try to crush dissent in OCCUPY PITTSBURGH. So, what does all that mean to you? For years, the Merton Center incubated peaceful politiWell now these old people are ripe to be overthrown. cal dissent and taught lessons to the Establishment. All you have to do is pay your Merton dues of a dollar And the Pittsburgh Establishment people learned an a week, get involved, and you can OCCUPY THE expensive lesson about the Merton involvement in anti MERTON CENTER. -war and G-20 activities. GOOD NEWS: once you are in charge, your progress will be easy because those old geezers' protests have conditioned some people to recognize that DISSENT 4 - NEWPEOPLE

December, 2011

That lesson is: Illegal use of force has financial and political consequences. Our legal friends taught them that lesson. Today Oakland California dissenters are

teaching the political establishment of California that same lesson. Things were never easy for these old activists. Over their four decades of involvement, these old people have suffered setbacks and losses that would crush the average person's spirit. But they kept going: accomplishing big and small gains and they did it with only 50 cents a week in dues. Today those dues are now a dollar a week. And if you get started now and keep at it like they did, some day you, too, can be as crabby as they are. Please join the Thomas Merton Center

Marty B. O‘Malley is the mayor of Forest Hills, PA and former TMC board member.

Thomas Merton Center Wish List Can you help us with any of the following? --copy paper – white and color --mailing labels --business envelopes --office stapler and staples --scotch tape --poster board (any color) --DVD Player and Monitor --Paper Products, Cleaning Supplies, Garbage Bags Items can be dropped off at the Center: Mon. – Fri. from 10 AM to 3 PM or on Sat. between 10 AM and 1 PM.


To the Editor of The NewPeople: I am a regular reader of The NewPeople, and I am quite perturbed by the fact that you rarely, if ever, publish letters to the editor! Do you have something against freedom of expression? How ironic that would be, given that you are a social justice paper. In the future, I hope to see this lack of reader input remedied. Sincerely, Angry Young Man Dear Angry Young Man, I would gladly publish ANY letter to the editor were I to ever receive one! There is no letter too angry, critical, or tersely worded for me to print. Grammatically inaccurate letters, on the other hand, are another story. If you or any friends would like to write to The NewPeople, have them send their letters to: or The NewPeople c/o The Thomas Merton Center 5129 Penn Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15224

PUSH/HealthCare4AllPA Readies New W. PA Website By Molly Rush Julie Sokolow, another Outreach member, is a PA United for Single-payer Healthcare (PUSH) is videographer. She‘s organized healthyartists who a Western PA affiliate of Health Care for All PA. post videos on Single-payer on YouTube. Check At their November 9th meeting they voted to esout a 10-minute video ―Health Care 4 All PA tablish their own local website, http://pushworks to secure a comprehensive single payer which will link to the health care system for every citizen of PA‖ with state organization state board members Dave Steil, Mary Pat Donegan, Chuck Pennacchio, and Theresa Chalich. It PUSH blogger Paul Ricci is working with Ben was taped at a July 17th meeting in Indiana PA. Rickles on website design. Both are members of the PUSH Outreach Committee. If you are inter- Her interview with PUSH office manager Becky ested in becoming a blogger on single payer Temple was accepted in Carnegie Museum‘s health care issues, contact the office at 412-421- event that featured two-minute videos. Check out the healthyartists YouTube videos, including in4242 or email Paul at

terviews at the October 15 Occupy Pittsburgh rally Downtown. PUSH needs more people to volunteer two or more hours a week at the office to keep the office open evenings and weekends to welcome dropins. Call the office at 412-421-4242 to learn more. Molly Rush is a member of the PUSH steering committee and a co-founder of the TMC.

December, 2011


Pittsburgh City Council Passes Resolution to ―Bring U.S. Troops and War Dollars Home‖ By Jo Schlesinger and Michael Pastorkovic

the main sponsor with all other Council members as co-sponsors.

Similar resolutions have been passed throughout the country including the Seattle City Council, On October 18, with a backdrop of anti-war signs Northhampton (Mass) City Council¸ Radnor Dein front of the City Council Building, a rally with mocratic Committee in eastern PA, and the U.S. speakers started the event. There were approxiConference of Mayors. We appreciate Pittsburgh mately 25 people, including the media. A small City Council for contributing to and building mogroup of Occupy Pittsburgh protesters came to mentum towards this important national discusjoin the rally. Speakers included Paul LeBlanc sion. from AWC, Ken Regal, co-director of Just Harvest, Edith Bell from WILPF, and veteran Helen See the text of the resolution below. Gerhardt. This was followed by a press conference at 9:30am outside of Council Chambers. Jo Schlesinger is the Western PA Coordinator Councilperson Doug Shields, Pete Shell, and Mi- of the Coalition for Peace Action. She works chael Drohan from AWC, Jo Schlesinger from on nuclear disarmament and peace and justice CFPA, and Scilla Wahrhaftig from AFSC- PA issues. Program spoke to the need for this resolution. If you live outside of the City of Pittsburgh and Other participating organizations included ProIn Council Chambers, Bill Peduto read the resolu- would like your community to pass a resolugressive Democrats of America, Coalition for tion/will of Council. It was passed unanimously. tion, contact Jo Schlesinger, Peace Action - PA Smart Security Campaign, Doug Shields gave an impassioned speech on the Military Families Speak Out, ANSWER Pittshistorical warnings of the military-industrial comburgh, American Friends Service Committee-PA plex and the necessity for reprioritizing our valProgram, Women‘s International League of Peace ues. Afterwards, Pete Shell, Edith Bell, and Miand Freedom, Veterans for Peace, and CodePink chael Drohan eloquently spoke to the impact of Pittsburgh. ending the wars and funding human needs. Once the resolution was passed and after the pictureOn August 18, Paul LeBlanc, Edith Bell, Pete taking ceremony, Councilman Bruce Kraus made Shell, Jo Schlesinger, and Francine Porter met the personal gesture of adding his signature to the with Councilperson Doug Shields about sponsor- petition. "This is a tremendous victory," said Pete ing the resolution. He offered to co-sponsor it Shell of the AWC, "especially since the anti-war with Bill Peduto and was encouraging that Coun- movement hasn't won many victories lately." cil would support it. In the end, Bill Peduto was The Anti-War Committee (AWC) brought together peace organizations and individuals who were concerned about how military spending and the wars are draining our local economies. The ―Bring the U.S. Troops and War Dollars Home‖ resolution was conceived as a way of expressing to local and national leaders the grassroots discontent with the waste of both blood and treasure in these seemingly endless wars. For several months, committee members collected signatures at numerous community events. Eventually over 1,000 signatures were gathered. "Collecting the signatures was nearly effortless," according to AWC‘s Paul LeBlanc, "as almost everybody we approached was happy to sign."

Resolution to Bring the Troops and War Dollars Home Passed Unanimously by Pittsburgh City Council on Oct. 18, 2011 WHEREAS, October 7th 2011 marks the 10th Anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the longest war in U.S. history; and WHEREAS, the ostensible goals of the invasion – the toppling of the then ruling Taliban regime, and the capturing or killing of Osama bin Laden – have both been since accomplished; and WHEREAS, more than 5,000 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq with tens of thousands more wounded – many of them with permanent disabilities, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis and others have been killed with untold numbers wounded and permanently disabled; and WHEREAS, on May 30, 2010, according to the Cost of War Project, the combined cost of both these wars exceeded $1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion dollars); and WHEREAS, local, county, and state governments are being starved for cash due in part to a ballooning national debt caused by a combination of war spending, the economic crisis which began in 2007, and tax cuts granted to multinational corporations and the country’s wealthiest individuals; and WHEREAS, proposals are being advanced which propose paying down the national debt upon the backs of the most vulnerable members of our society – the young, the sick, the unemployed, the marginally employed, the working poor, and the elderly, among others, by reducing or eliminating social programs upon which the vulnerable depend for life and well-being rather than reducing military spending. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of Pittsburgh petitions President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress to end both combat and occupation operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and remove U.S. troops and private security forces from those countries immediately; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council of Pittsburgh petitions the U.S. Congress, especially Senators Casey and Toomey, and Congressmen Doyle and Murphy, that all monies saved by ending these conflicts will be used first and foremost to support and expand those social programs which serve the most vulnerable members of our society, and to invest in infrastructure, job creation, social services, and the meeting of human needs.

Sponsored by Councilman William Peduto Co-Sponsored by Council President Darlene M. Harris and Council members Rev. Ricky V. Burgess, Patrick Dowd, Bruce A. Kraus, R. Daniel Lavelle, Natalia Rudiak, Douglas Shields, and Theresa Kail-Smith Darlene M. Harris President of Council

Attest: Linda Johnson-Wasler Clerk of Council

In Council, October 18, 2011 6 - NEWPEOPLE

December, 2011

Human Rights

It‘s Not Over: Sudan Activists Attend Anti-Genocide Conference By Mary Dawn Edwards and Pitts-

PDEC members returned to Pittsburgh energized to continue their advocacy for peace and justice for the peoPittsburgh Darfur Emergency ple of Darfur and all of SuCoalition (PDEC) members atdan. They are co-sponsoring tended the End Genocide Action a visit to Pittsburgh by Summit on October 22 and 23 in Daniel Solomon, National Washington, DC. The conferStudent Director of STAND ence was sponsored by United to and a junior at Georgetown End Genocide, formed from the University from December 8 recent merger of the Save Darfur -10, 2011. He will speak to Coalition and the Genocide InSTAND members and the tervention Network, the parent student body at Allderdice organization of Students Taking High School in Squirrel Hill, Action Now for Darfur STAND members at Pitt, (STAND). Co-sponsors and exand youth and adults at Beth hibitors included Amnesty InterShalom Congregation. national, The Enough Project, PDEC is also participating in The Truman National Security the Stop Bashir post card Project, The US Campaign for campaign, sponsored by Burma, STAND, and Act for Demonstration in Washington, D.C. United to End Genocide, in which tangible and Sudan. Photo courtesy of STAND online post cards are being sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to stop speaking Over 400 people attended the conference, mostly sion leaders emphasized that the conflict is not about the possible normalization of relations with students, but also older American human rights over. Many people are still displaced in large Bashir‘s government of northern Sudan and to activists and members of Diaspora communities refugee camps, where access to food and medical extend sanctions. Further information about this from affected regions. Speakers at the welcoming care and independent reporting on conditions is campaign can be found at session were Bob Edgar, president of Common still frequently obstructed by the government of PDEC meets at the Carnegie Library at Forbes Cause and former congressman from eastern Sudan, and peace negotiations between the gov- and Murray Avenues in Squirrel Hill on the first Pennsylvania, Joe Eldridge, a policy expert on ernment and rebel groups are fragmented. Also, and third Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. Latin America at American University, and Tom the northern Sudanese government is now using For more information, please visit PDEC‘s web Andrews, president of United to End Genocide the same tactics – bombing villages and killing site at and former congressman from Maine. They spoke and displacing civilians - used in Darfur to quell of their experiences and inspiration to activism unrest in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, areas and gave advice on building human rights advo- that border the newly independent state of South cacy movements. Sudan. burgh Darfur Emergency Coalition Coordinator David Rosenberg

In addition to attending large sessions, conferees chose among numerous smaller concurrent sessions on the situations in conflict torn countries (Sudan, Congo, Libya, and Syria) and on advocacy strategies. In the session on Darfur, discus-

In one of the last sessions, activist leaders told their stories; David Rosenberg spoke of how his study of history and reaction to news reports of the atrocities in Darfur led to his co-founding of PDEC in 2004.

Addressing Issues of Abusive Conditions in PA Prisons By Helen Gearhart

with the guards, leaving them little or no recourse to protest abuse. Their exercise spaces are more The PA Network Against Torture (PANAT) held like dog kennel runs with concrete a successful conference in Harrisburg on October on all sides. Often, the only light is ―Prison violence, it turns out, is not sim28-29, with people attending from across PA in from the sky above. There are no ply an issue of a few belligerents. In the spite of seven inches of snow. While sessions limits on how long people can be past thirty years, the United States has were held on U.S. sponsored torture and on kept in solitary, and many have sufquadrupled its incarceration rate but not trauma care for survivors of abuse, there was spe- fered isolation for decades. cial attention focused on too-known abuses in our its prison space. Work and education domestic prisons. Over two years of horrendous Participants in the PA Network programs have been canceled, out of a sexual and physical abuses have been exposed by Against Torture conference, includbelief that the pursuit of rehabilitation is a grand jury investigation at the State Correcing the American Friends Service pointless. The result has been unprecetional Institute in Pittsburgh, with as many as Committee PA Program, the PA eleven guards and four officers expected to be Council of Churches, and the Hudented overcrowding, along with unarrested in all. According to the Human Rights man Rights Coalition chapters in precedented idleness—a nice formula Coalition, these incidents are just the tip of the both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, iceberg, with thousands of abuses documented will work with the ACLU and other for violence...The United States now has across the state. As more and more of the stories Network organizations to create ac- five per cent of the world‘s population, come to light, it harkens back to the pictures and tion plans to end prison abuse, intwenty-five per cent of its prisoners, and description of torture at Abu Grahib. cluding legislation to restrict proprobably the vast majority of prisoners longed isolation. It is vital to build who are in long-term solitary confineIn California, prisoners have undertaken two ma- strong grassroots public support for jor hunger strikes as a way to protest harsh condi- this work in order to get such legisment.‖ tions in prisons. They feel this is the only tool lation passed, and your ideas and ~ Atul Gawande, a US surgeon and jourthey have to bring attention to the conditions they engagement is welcomed. nalist, for the New Yorker March 30, are experiencing. 2009 Scilla Wahrhaftig, AFSC PA ProPrisoners kept in solitary confinement experience gram Director , can be reached by unbelievable conditions: often living in cells no phone at: 412-371-3607 and by email at: bigger than a bathroom with no windows, a con- crete bed, and a table. They are held in these cells for 23 hours a day with no human contact except Helen Gearhart is on the staff of PANAT

December, 2011


The Occupy Movement

Opinion: Why Occupy? of the culture of their big cities or small towns, I was amazed to see such a powerful movement Since September 17, the ever growing Occupy with no leader, no foreseeable plan of action, and movement has won the hearts and minds of mil- no concrete political backing , affiliation, or struclions of people around the world, bringing recog- ture. And then I got lost. While the movement is nition and attention to an ever present problem of serving as a vehicle for social awareness, I bedomestic and worldwide corporate greed and lieve it can easily lose its steam if it doesn‘t proclass warfare. This movement was birthed just as ject a concrete idea of how to take action against I was beginning my work at the Thomas Merton the societal ills the Occupiers protest. With an Center, and has been a source of insight for me invisible boogeyman such as ―Corporate Greed‖, into new worlds of social change since its incep- there is no one person, organization, or entity to tion. It has been very exciting to see people from point to and say, ―there is the problem,‖ and there all walks of life come together to demonstrate doesn‘t seem to be any solutions coming from the against human injustices. movement either. I fear that the movement might lack focus and if the general public begins to feel As ―Occupancies‖ developed all over America, each with their own individual identity indicative By Corey Carrington

this way, it might alienate potential supporters, weakening the impact of the movement. However, I believe that the Occupy movement and its supporters will stick firmly to their ideals and won‘t stop until they see their ideas come to fruition. Corey Carrington is the TMC Volunteer Coordinator.

Wealth, Income, and Occupy Wall Street/Pittsburgh By Molly Rush Back in the 1990s, the Citizens Budget Campaign, a project of the Thomas Merton Center, did a lot of work on inequality, including workshops on The Ten Chairs with United for a Fair Economy.

mainly in low-wage industries, which accounted for nearly half of what growth there was. Manufacturing continued to contract, while the labor market lost 6.1% of payroll employment. New investment, when it occurred at all, was more likely to be in machinery than in new workers, so unemployment levels remain alarmingly high....[and] the increase in income of the top 1% over the past three decades about equals the losses of the bottom 80%.

Imagine my surprise when I checked out their website and found a video clip of an Occupy Boston workshop on – guess what – The Ten Chairs. 10 people representing 10% of the population sit on 10 chairs. Then one person representing the According to CBO, the poorest 20% with 7% of top 10% ,takes over 7 chairs, leaving just three for after tax income in 1979, was down to 5% in the rest. 2007. The middle 60% lost between 2-3%. The richest 20% had 53% of all income in 2007, a The 99% have plenty of reasons to be angry. gain of 10%. The richest1% more than doubled their share, from 8% to 17%. The richest 10% actually control 73% of the wealth while the richest 1% own 34% of all At last the media is paying attention to our growwealth in the U.S. ing inequality, thanks largely to Occupy Wall Street. What‘s wrong with this picture, other than simple justice? Many studies indicate that growing ineThanks again to Piven: quality leads to slower overall growth in a nation‘s economy. Poverty expert Frances Fox [The] official poverty line is calculated as Piven states that "By making Wall Street its symsimply three times the minimal food bolic target, and branding itself as a movement of budget first introduced in 1959, and then the 99%, OWS has redirected adjusted for inflation in food costs. In public attention to the issue of extreme inequality, other words, the American poverty which it has recast as, essentially, a moral probthreshold takes no account of the cost of lem." housing or fuel or transportation or health -care costs, all of which are rising more A new report on household income 1979 to 2007 rapidly than the cost of basic foods. So by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office the poverty measure grossly understates (CB) documents that the income of the top 1% the real cost of subsistence. actually grew by 275% in that period, compared Moreover, in 2006, interest payments on to less than 40% for the six in ten middle income consumer debt had already put more than Americans. The bottom 20% gained only 18% in four million people, not officially in pov after-tax household income. erty, below the line, making them ―debt poor.‖ Similarly, if childcare costs, esti As Piven points out in a November 7 article at mated at $5,750 a year in 2006, were de (Thanks, Ed Cloonan, for ducted from gross income, many more this): people would be counted as officially poor… The Economic Policy Institute reports that the typical working-age household, The Economic Policy Institute reports which had already seen a decline of that the typical working-age household, roughly $2,300 in income between 2000 which had already seen a decline of and 2006, lost another $2,700 between roughly $2,300 in income between 2000 2007 and 2009. And when ―recovery‖ and 2006, lost another $2,700 between arrived, however uncertainly, it was 8 - NEWPEOPLE

December, 2011

2007 and 2009. And when ―recovery‖ arrived, however uncertainly, it was mainly in low-wage industries, which accounted for nearly half of what growth there was. Manufacturing continued to contract, while the labor market lost 6.1% of payroll employment. New investment, when it occurred at all, was more likely to be in machinery than in new workers, so unemployment levels remain alarmingly high. The Bush tax cuts and the lowering of the capital gains tax to 15%, which mostly benefits big investors, have played a major role in our growing inequality. Conservatives point to the fact that many poor working people pay no income tax, but they neglect to mention the payroll taxes paid by workers, plus state and local taxes, Social Security, and Medicare, all of which are regressive. Workers only pay up to $106,000 of income for Social Security, so high-paid workers pay a smaller percentage than the poorest worker. First term PA Senator Pat Toomey somehow was named by Republicans to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. Past president of the ultra-conservative Club for Growth, the probusiness, anti-tax organization, his first public move on the Committee was to call for a millionaires‘ tax cut. Much remains to be done to build the movement for economic justice that was jump-started by Occupy Wall Street. Many have been actively involved in Occupy Pgh, which is determined to stay. Others have taken part in protests and supported their efforts. It‘s time that the many movements for peace and justice, student and faculty groups, advocates for programs that are being slashed, and religious organizations begin to initiate a broad-based coalition to take back our government and challenge an economic system that is broken for all but the few. Molly Rush is a Thomas Merton Center Board member.

The Occupy Movement

Humanist Psychology, Progressive Politics, and the ―Occupations‖ By Elliot Benjamin, Ph.D What do humanistic psychology, progressive politics, and the current peaceful ―occupations‖ all over the country protesting the unlimited greed of banks, large corporations, and Wall Street have in common? Utilizing the original formulation of humanistic psychology‘s focus upon caring, empathy, personal growth, and authenticity of relationships, the following two humanistic principles can be selected from the various descriptions of what is motivating the occupations, as described in the General Assembly Declaration of the Occupation of New York City: 1) The future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members. 2) A democratic government derives its just power from the people and places people over profits. In his later books, Carl Rogers, one of the key founders of humanistic psychology, realized that his precious ideas about the primacy of empathy, caring, and authentic relationships between therapists and clients, and between teachers and students, needed to be extended into the worldwide political arena. To his credit, Rogers traveled to various violent conflict-ridden places in the world and immersed himself in putting into practice his person-centered group process approach. Rogers was able to make significant headway in healing the hatred and animosity between various rival political and religious groups. In his later life,

Rogers certainly believed that humanistic psyonstrations and ―occupations‖ all over the counchology needed to enter the political arena, and he try, forward moving progress in progressive podedicated his last years to making this happen. litical movements, and exerted continuous and unrelenting pressures put on President Obama to The basic principles of humanistic psychology move him away from the center and right-ofcan also be seen in some of the core features of center agendas in which he has been engaged durprogressive politics, in particular from the proing the past three years, and more in the direction gressive platform of the Rebuilding the American of a progressive left-of-center agenda (i.e. proDream organization. The platform of the Rebuild- moting jobs and fighting against cuts to human ing the American Dream movement includes ten service programs, ending the war in Afghanistan, generic areas, many of which has overlap with the taxing the rich, and preserving the environment). political/humanistic anti-corporation and/or anti- Effective human service programs go hand-inwar focus of the occupations. The Rebuild the hand with respecting people‘s feelings, enhancing American Dream platform was painstakingly built people‘s creativity, and promoting people‘s perup from the grass roots meetings of over fifteen sonal growth and development, which are the eshundred ―house parties‖ all over the country in sential building blocks of humanistic psychology. July 2011, and was preceded by millions of online ratings of thousands of ideas. I facilitated one of Elliot Benjamin, Ph.D. is a philosopher, mathethese house parties in my own rural Maine com- matician, instructor in psychology and mathemunity, and it was very moving to me to hear the matics , musician, and writer. various emotional personal sharing's of lives that took place that afternoon. Thus the Rebuilding the American Dream progressive platform is intrinsically humanistic by the local democratic group process in which the ten core areas of the platform were found. Is our country heading toward a ―revolution,‖ as many comments on the occupations are suggesting? Time will tell, but the conservative status quo forces combating humanistic/political changes are enormously powerful. I believe that the battle needs to be fought on a number of fronts, inclusive of continued peaceful street dem-

Photo by Ike Gittlen

Above and left: Protesters at the Greenfield Bridge Action on November 17, 2011

Photo by Ike Gittlen Occupy Wall Street by Lalo Alcaraz December, 2011


The Occupy Movement

Occupy Society By Frank Carr On November 15th, I called my friend in New York. I had heard the news of the police invasion of Liberty Plaza in the hours after midnight. Try as I might, I couldn‘t avoid the images of cops collapsing tents on sleeping people, of ―protesters‖ being dragged away by limbs and hair, of the library, all 5000 donated volumes, being trashed. I remembered similar images from the end of the Critical Mass ride during the 2004 Republican National Convention. Then, I watched the police stomp bikes into scrap metal on the backs of flatbed trucks. Now I watched videos of similar treatment to computers, tents, everything that had sprouted into existence at Liberty Plaza. ―Where are you?‖ I asked. ―At Zuccotti, waiting for the cops to get their stuff together and leave.‖ He sounded buoyant. Huh? ―How many people?‖ ―About six of us.‖ I was incredulous. ―About six of us silk screeners. Once we get in we can start screening T-shirts again. And there are about a thousand other people. We have the cops surrounded; it‘s a donut occupation! And there are a thousand more coming down Broadway...a bunch more had a civil disobedience near the Holland Tunnel. They are on the way now, too.‖ When New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg emptied the park, using the world‘s largest police force, he said the protesters could return but not camp. When I called my friend, a court had sided with the Occupiers about that specific detail. A second court sided with the city.

bought the offending police ―actors‖ leave time Avenue Bridge Occupation. ―When we first got while the school investigates them. This could not there, the police were all saying, ‗We heard you be a coincidence. were gonna use Molotov cocktails and rocks.‘‖ He went on, ―We said, ‗We‘re not here for that. We‘re here for jobs. Then they got friendly and Occupy Wall Street (OWS) had called for a naclosed the bridge for us for twenty minutes. As tional day of action on November 17th. Across the country activists planned to occupy bridges to we were leaving we saw a lot of paper from our symbolize the decaying infrastructure of our na- stickers flying around. So some of us picked it tions and the opportunity there for good jobs. The up.‖ 99% backed it. Labor backed it. Indeed, the call was answered (see Greenfield Bridge Coverage in There were some arrests; pre-planned by a group this issue--ED). of civil disobedience practitioners who want this in court. It went gently. Rumors abound that the police actions were coordinated through a conference call with the Depart- Across the country our police have been militament of Homeland Security. That ominous idea rized almost beyond recognition. Mayor should have us all grasping copies of the Consti- Bloomberg‘s actions defy the civic duties of the tution as we head to the barricades, even if it, people to speak against injustice. The squashing somehow, is an exaggeration. of dissent reminds us that the police exist to protect property first, power second, and 99% of us down the line. We are left with the glaring truth But nothing has ended or been silenced. As Octhat this nascent new society is already deemed a cupy Wall Street proclaimed on their website, threat to the ―powerful.‖ It is rapidly becoming ―You Can‘t Evict an Idea!‖ In NYC, more than the new goblin to frighten pathetic voters into 30,000 people gathered on the 17th for a 5pm march. They gathered in Foley Square at the end throwing away their rights and futures. And those of a raucous day where hundreds of arrests were efforts are failing. made, mostly for blocking access to the New York Stock Exchange. They had made it to Wall Occupiers have begun moving inside, liberating Street after all. They rallied and they marched on vacant buildings like closed inner city schools in the Brooklyn Bridge, where they were met by a Washington D.C., and the support and contribudazzling Festival of Lights on the side of a giant tions continue to grow. From each eviction office building. It praised the 99% and ―the cry of springs a new root. Each ham-handed response the people that a better world is possible.‖ It teaches profound respect for non-violent dissent. wished Happy Birthday to the Occupy MoveThis society will not be crushed. Society will be ment. That‘s why the clever 99%ers marched in Occupied. the dark! UPDATE: Occupy Oakland has called for a Around the globe, similar events took place in complete shutdown of the West Coast Ports on England, Italy, Australia. In Tahrir Square, Egypt, December 12, 2011 to protest the ―coordinated iconic symbol to OWS, tensions flared to vioattacks on the Occupy Movement across the lence as citizens moved to stop the military from country.‖ More details can be found at Occuconsolidating its hold on the next government. The scenes of police mayhem were too much like NYC or California to escape comparison. Why And yes, they mean the entire West Coast of has our President said nothing? the U.S.A.

Across the nation, similar scenes played out, with far too many eyes saturated by tear gas and pepper spray. At the University of CaliforniaBerkeley, students commemorating the Free Speech Movement of 1964 and Mario Savio‘s epic speech on personal empowerment found themselves victims of old school police-state power. Same at UC-Davis, where the blatant pep- We have been lucky in Pittsburgh. I called a friend here who had videotaped the Greenfield per spraying of seated, unarmed protesters has

Frank Carr is the Editor of The NewPeople

Occupy Dame Street, Dublin, Ireland By Michael Drohan

is now in excess of 14 percent, one of the highest rates in Europe.

The Occupy Movement reached Ireland on October 8, 2011 establishing itself outside the Bank of Ireland on Dame St, Dublin. I visited it on November 17. The movement has also spread to other cities in Ireland such as Waterford and Galway. To date, there has been no interference by the police or the bank on whose grounds it is situated. Perhaps the most famous of the occupiers is Aubrey Robinson, the son of the former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson. The choice of location for the Occupy encampment is not coincidental in that the banks of Ireland are responsible for much of the economic distress that has befallen the country. The banks lent recklessly to people with no collateral or firm employment with the consequence that many of them defaulted on their payments and were foreclosed. The banks also indulged in various high-risk financial instruments such as credit default swaps, hedging, and derivatives. When the banks were in danger of going under, the government bailed them out but left the struggling home-owners and developers in the lurch. The result is that unemployment in Ireland


December, 2011

pension of $206,000 per annum for life. The rest of his outgoing cabinet was rewarded with similar golden parachutes for the mess they created. In The Occupiers of Dame St. have no set of clear the meantime, a great swath of the youth of Iredemands, something that has been used to dismiss land with high qualifications and expertise are them as irrelevant and/or confused. Behind their forced to scurry to the boats and airplanes to emipolicy of reluctance to formulate a set of demands grate. None of this is lost on the Occupy folks as is their desire to not be co-opted by any particular they size up the situation and take action. group or cause and to allow time for the formulation of a certain number of overarching demands. Michael Drohan is a political economist speThere are certain things that they agree on: the cializing in analysis of Third World economies current global capitalist system is not working and a member of The Thomas Merton Cenand a new way forward needs to be found. Adorn- ter‘s Board of Directors. ing one of the Occupiers is a Jack Kerouac quotation which states ―the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.‖ In Ireland, it seems the politicians, banks, corporations, and ruling class are not feeling any heat from the Occupy movement. The politicians are just continuing on their merry ways by rewarding themselves with obscene benefits and salaries. One example of this is Brian Cowan, the outgoing disgraced Prime Minister who was awarded a

Opinion: Challenging Obama in the Primaries by Elliot Benjamin, Ph.D I have been quite taken up with the whole issue of There is a controversial movement afloat to chal- a progressive primary challenge to Obama for lenge President Obama in the 2012 Democratic quite some time now, and I can appreciate both National Primary. One of the key proponents of sides of the concerns and criticisms of this prothis movement is, surprisingly, Ralph Nader, our posal. From my perspective, ideally we would country‘s perpetual third party candidate. Anhave Bernie Sanders as a ―serious‖ Democratic other key proponent of the movement is Black progressive challenger to Obama, fusing the progressive and political activist Cornel West growing revolutionary ―occupations‖ happening who works closely with Rabbi Michael Lerner in all over the country: New York, Washington DC, the progressive political organizations Tikkun and Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc., along with the Network of Spiritual Progressives. This prothe Rebuilding the American Dream movement, gressive primary proposal idea has been criticized MoveOn.Org, and numerous other liberal/ from all sides. Moderate progressives are conprogressive political organizations. But this is not cerned that a primary challenge to Obama could going to happen. Any potential ―serious‖ profracture the Democratic party, wither his base of gressive primary challenger to Obama, inclusive support, and consequently increase the chances of of Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich, and Russ a Perry, Romney, or Bachmann being our next Feingold, have in no uncertain terms declined the president. Radical progressives are outraged that role. Even Ralph Nader has stated that he has no this primary challenge is not designed to ―win‖, intention of running for president this time they see no reason why Obama would take this around. kind of primary challenge seriously and agree to debate the candidates, and they do not think there So where does this leave matters? We are back to would be any significant media attention drawn to square one—it looks like there will be no this kind of ―facade‖ progressive primary chal―serious‖ Democratic primary challenger to lenge; this was the response of my local Rebuild- Obama in 2012. But what is the next best possiing the American Dream group upon my present- bility? I believe that this Democratic progressive ing this proposal to them. primary proposal spearheaded by Nader and West

is the next best possibility. I understand and agree that this proposal lacks power and impact on being taken seriously by Obama and the media. But it is not ―nothing.‖ At best we would have some kind of public arena for debating the crucial issues that so many progressives are deeply disturbed about in Obama‘s presidency. I believe there is a potential to fuse the revolutionary forces that are finally taking shape across the country in the growing ―occupations‖ of young people and I advocate for this progressive primary proposal to at least promote some kind of central focus for a progressive agenda, and an opportunity for public debate on the monumental issues that have alienated and enraged many former Obama supporters, including myself. Elliot Benjamin, Ph.D. is a philosopher, mathematician, instructor in psychology and mathematics , musician, and writer. Readers are invited to submit their comments to

What You May Find at The East End Community Thrift Shop ANYTHING Shirley Gleditsch will let in the door, which is everything: A Coach Bag for $15.00, Laughter, Children‘s clothes under 50 cents, someone who will listen, A Liz Claiborne suit for $10.00.How about a childhood friend, a 3year old shopper, a 9 year old cashier in training? That saucer you broke as a child from Grandma‘s good china? An ideal dresser for a college dorm room. The matching pants to the jacket you bought there last week. Customers amazed at the prices. Over 40 volunteers happy to lend a helping hand, and an opportunity to volunteer ! Also: THRIFTY NEEDS TOYS FOR THE HOLIDAYS! Please Donate! And Don‘t miss the Thrifty Open House SATURDAY DECEMBER 10 from 10am-4pm

Norway is the Best Way By Bette McDevitt

care costs are free. There is also no cost to attend university. ―When you consider that you don‘t have those costs, you can get by very well here, " he said.

walked there, alone, at midnight, without being hassled. People on the flight had assured me that I Not all of Europe is imploding. Norway, a very would be safe, regardless of the hour. In the wealthy country, and not a member of the Euromorning, I walked to a public square across from pean Union, is being looked at, along with China, the railroad station and stared in amazement at a as a possible investor in the bailout. The country, When they have a child, Norwegian parents may digital display board, maybe 12 by 12 feet, that which places its oil revenues, from fairly new choose to take a total of 46 weeks of leave at 100 listed the arrival time and destination of every offshore wells into a $530 billion sovereignper cent pay or 56 weeks at 80 per cent pay Ten train, every tram, and every bus passing through wealth fund for investment so far hasn‘t been percent of the leave is reserved for fathers, and 90 the area. This, I thought, is how it is when public contacted by anyone in the euro area on the sub- percent of them take advantage of it. transit providers respect their passengers. ject, but people are speculating. It‘s a country with not only wealth, but a fine quality of life, ―We are a rich country,‖ I was told by every Nor- Norway is an associate member of the European where people are treated with equanimity. wegian I met. The wealth comes from the oil and Union but does not participate fully in their finannatural gas reserves along the continental shelf cial matters and does not use the Euro. They are On a recent flight within Norway, I met an close to Norway in the North and Barents Sea. not involved, then, in the bailout issues of full American, Chris Cowan, who lived in New York StatoilHydro, the government owned oil company members. until 13 years ago, when he moved to Norway who owns 80 percent of the oil fields is internawith his wife and children. His wife is Dutch, so tionally recognized as a competitive commercial Harald Hansen, who works for Innovation Norit was not hard to immigrate. They moved, he player and one of the most environmentally and way, a project of the tourist board, grew up in said, because he didn‘t want to live in the Bush socially conscious ones to boot. Since 1996, Sta- Norway. ―Norway had a social structure in place political climate. Chris worked ―pounding nails,‖ toil‘s revenue goes into a pension fund for Norbefore the wealth came to them. We have had free until he learned the language. Even at that, he wegian citizens, now valued at $110,000 per per- education and health care for all since the earned $65,000 a year and was comfortable. son. It is a given that this will never be a cam1920‘s.‖ Now the combination of wealth and soWhen he learned the language, he got a job as a paign issue; the money will remain where it is. cial welfare has given them a high quality of life; salesman for a wholesale plumbing company and Norway has proceeded slowly and avoided the they are ranked number one on the Human Develnow travels throughout the country. mistakes made by other oil rich countries. opment Index of the United Nations, a standard measure of well being. When I arrived at the Oslo Airport, I boarded a He has no regrets. There is a minimal charge for a silver train that zipped silently into the city. My Bette Mc Devitt is a longtime activist and fordoctor visit, but hospitalization and other health hotel was near the central railroad station, and I mer TMC board member December, 2011


The State of Post-Earthquake Haiti By Peter Yehl

needs of the inhabitants. A dire lack of adequate housing remains one of the greatest challenges in One month ago, the Interim Haiti Recovery Com- the post-earthquake relief effort. mission‘s (IHRC) mandate came to an end with little hope of an extension. As per the IHRC Cholera agreement, Haiti will now assume the bulk of the This past October, a cholera epidemic broke out responsibility for the post-earthquake reconstruc- in the central Artibonite region of Haiti, infecting tion effort, a move that Port-au-Prince and Wash- close to half a million Haitians and killing close ington are trying to postpone. However, the IHRC to 7,000. After comparing the particular strain of panel has so far appeared reluctant to extend the original 18-month mandate, a move which will only slow the relief effort. For example, the largest contributor of aid to Haiti, the United States, has in its relief effort eschewed the Haitian government, instead coordinating its relief assistance solely through the IHRC. As we approach the end of the IHRC mandate, we should take this opportunity to review a few key aspects of the situation in which Haiti currently finds itself close to two years after a devastating 7.0 earthquake crippled the tiny Caribbean nation. Housing In addition to claiming the lives of a quarter of a million Haitians, the January 12, 2010 earthquake left homeless around one million Haitians, a full tenth of the population. Almost two years later, over six thousand remain without adequate living quarters, living instead in tent cities and shanty towns, many of which are overcrowded, vulnerable to flooding, and lacking adequate resources. Now, the Haitian government has recently made moves to forcibly evict 30,000 inhabitants from six settlements without providing sufficient resources to find alternative housing and without prior consultation to determine the

Aid Although the international community pledged a full $5.5 billion in relief funds last year, Haiti has to date received a mere fraction of the promised aid, with only a tiny percentage going to the Haitian government itself. For example, out of the $379 million the US has contributed to the Haiti relief effort, only about one percent was allotted to the Haitian government. Of course, this reluctance to giving money directly to the Haitian government is due to a perception by the international community that the Haitian government is too corrupt and unstable to properly manage and disburse the funds. This mistrust was intensified during a recent presidential election which was plagued by delays and widespread accusations of voter fraud.

Sadly, this perception of an impotent Haitian government remains largely true. Despite the infinite setbacks and excruciatingly slow pace of the relief effort thus far, it is clear that the Haitian government continues to lack the resources and infrastructure necessary to assume the greatest share of the burden for rebuilding their nation. The IHRC must therefore temporarily extend the timeframe of its lead role in the relief effort, and the international community must deliver the aid cholera responsible for the recent outbreak with it has promised, not just to get Haiti back to the those found in South Asia, epidemiologists later way it was prior to the earthquake, but to help determined that the cholera was most likely intro- build it stronger. There is no reason why Haiti duced by troops from Nepal serving as part of the should suffer a disaster of this magnitude again. United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Recently, five thousand cholera Peter Yehl is a recent graduate of Duquesne victims filed a petition to UN Secretary-General University and a member of the Pittsburgh Ban Ki-moon for relief and reparations, citing UN Regional Haiti Solidarity Committee. responsibility for endangering the lives of thousands of Haitians as a result of ―gross negligence, recklessness and deliberate indifference‖ on the part of UN troops.

Working in The TMC Is an Amazing Experience: A New Intern in a New Land dren‘s School. From conversing with the staff, I know that due to lack of money, the school canI am a graduate student of social work at the Uni- not employ good teachers. Therefore, the quality versity of Pittsburgh doing my internship at The of education is poor. The dorm has no central Thomas Merton Center. The field placements are heating, so children hardly sleep at night in the very competitive and after thorough research I winter. The media advocates more kind people chose the TMC. Fortunately, I got an interview joining the team of volunteers serving these chilopportunity and this internship. dren. However, the large quantity of volunteers is like a group of ants, and they can't solve the key I come from a small city in China, whereas the problem. What the Foundation really needs are best education and medical practitioners gather in more money and modern management. big cities. Take Beijing for an example. The best doctors and teachers from the whole country But in China, the money allocated to social sermove there because of the high salaries available vices is never enough. What astonishes me most to them. People from other regions have to travel is the cause of the children‘s blindness - poverty. there and wait for a long time to see famous doc- Some of the blindness results from malnutrition tors. In schools, several Ph.Ds compete for each during their mothers' pregnancies; some children position as an elementary school English teacher, were born in poor hospitals, and their blindness and Beijing residents can be admitted to the best was caused by central heating devices exploding. universities with lower test scores than people in There are even some children who were tortured smaller cities. by wicked teachers in rural schools, and their loss of sight is irrevocable. By contrast, until recently, some small cities had no English teachers with Bachelor‘s degrees. After one year's volunteer experience I didn't go Later experience during my undergraduate period on, because I suffered from a feeling of powerstrengthened my belief that Beijing is favored. lessness. I knew that no matter how hard I worked, I would be like a little ant for I have no At that time, I was a volunteer for the Dalian money and no knowledge of management. At the Charity Federation, and my main duty was teach- same time, I felt that my fate and the children's ing children in Dalian‘s Blind and Deaf Chilfate were combined and united. The injustice I By Jianyu Hou


December, 2011

had encountered is the same as theirs. The only difference is the degree of severity. To combat that injustice, I decided to travel to America. After arriving here, I knew that Thomas Merton was a student of religion and shared my concerns and desire for social justice. I knew that in the Thomas Merton Center I had found the right place to gain experience! Although I came from a different country, I discovered that universal values do exist. I hope that there are more and more people from other cultural backgrounds who work for social justice and help the Thomas Merton Center.

Ft. Benning Protests of School of the Americas - November 18-20 By Michael Drohan

as it were, on our way to the base and getting derful puppet group from North Carolina called much honking of horns from the local population. the ―Puppetistas‖ provided a pageant to end the In December of this year, the 30th anniversary of day. The pageant illustrated the victory over the the massacre of the entire village of 900 people of The weekend at Ft. Benning was a power-packed evils of racism, inequality, drugs and war by the El Mozote, El Salvador will take place. These experience of activism, education, drama, civil peacemakers and the workers for justice. villagers were massacred by a crack battalion of the El SalvaThe movement to close the School of the doran Army, many of whom were Assassins (otherwise called the School of trained at the School of the Amerithe Americas) is supported by many cas in Ft. Benning, Columbus, prominent activists, progressive politiGeorgia. Only one person escaped cians, movie celebrities, academics, and the massacre: Rufina Amaya, who religious leaders. This year the protest hid under bushes and witnessed the was graced by Brian Wilson who lost atrocity including the murder of both of his legs in his efforts to stop a her three children and her husband. train carrying weapons for the Contras in Rufina, who passed away two Nicaragua. The actor Martin Sheen both years ago, came to Ft. Benning spoke at the protest and attended its fuseveral years ago to share her story neral march. with the thousands who come annually to demand that the School The culmination of the weekend consists be shut down. It is outrage at of a type of Funeral March during which atrocities such as that of El Mozote the names of the thousands of victims of that brings thousands of us to the the graduates of the School of the Ameriplace where the killers were cas are chanted and remembered. The Photo By Michael Drohan trained. There we learn about all mourners carry crosses which are later the other El Mozotes in Central affixed to the gates of the School. and South America and reaffirm each Participants in a Die-In to close the School of the Americas other in our resolve to end the atrociClosing the School is a high priority for those ties. disobedience and worship. Joyce Rothermel and who struggle for peace and social justice. The Diane Dougherty, two TMC members, attended legislative arm of the School of the Americas This year, the 22nd year for the protest, only four for the first time and were inspired by speakers Watch (SOAW) has brought an Act before Conpeople I could identify attended from the Pittsand other attendees, especially those who gave gress called HR 3368. At present it has 23 coburgh area. From around the country it is estipersonal testimonies of the evil that is perpetrated sponsors. Ask your Congressperson to be a comated that 5,000 took part. Columbus, Georgia, by those trained at the Ft. Benning School. Most sponsor of this bill and consider joining this where the School is located, is essentially a mili- activities on Saturday consisted of testimonies of group as they join again in Ft. Benning in Notary town with most of its economy depending on people from different countries in the Americas vember 2012. We need a bus full from Pittsburgh servicing the military and its personnel. Conseinterspersed with contributions from a large vari- to participate in 2012. quently, when we stopped at Veterans for Foreign ety of artists: singers, rappers and poets. All of Michael Drohan is a member of The Thomas Wars Hall for directions to the entry gate to the these gave of their time and talent pro bono for Merton Center‗s Board of Directors. base, the lady giving directions spoke of the pro- the cause. We heard testimonies of people from testers as ―that crowd of kooks.‖ There was also a Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Columbia, and the tosmall group of pro-military protesters greeting us, mato fields of Immokalee, Florida. A most won-

Russ Fedorka

Wishing you a peaceful and joyous holiday season!

~ The NewPeople staff, contributors, and Editorial Collective December, 2011


Gender Differences in the Rates of Uninsured for Pennsylvania in 2009 By Paul Ricci

in the northwest part of the state, has the 10th highest overall rate. The other counties with the highest rates are found in the eastern and central parts of the state.

Since 2005, the Census Bureau has produced an annual report on those without health insurance in each county in the United States called the Small Area Health Insurance Estimates or SAHIE for short. Recently, they came out with estimates for 2008 and 2009 to show the impact of the recession on the uninsured at the local level. The impacts of the new healthcare law which was passed in March 2010 cannot be seen in these estimates. One of the new features of the new estimates is that they can be broken down by demographic variables like gender and race. This article looks at gender. For Pennsylvania in 2009 the estimated rate was 13.3% in males (+/- 0.3% margin of error) and 10.0% in females (+/- 0.2%). Because the margins of error in the rates do not overlap, we can be confident that the rates are significantly different. The graph above shows the rates for males and females on the x and y axis, respectively, for all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. The counties denoted with a triangle are the ones where male rates are significantly higher than the female rates. This is the case for 31 of the 67 counties in the state. For the remaining counties, the esti-

The reasons for the differences in male and female rates could be due to the well established fact that women have less income than men and may be more likely to be eligible for Medicaid. A separate issue that the new healthcare law does not adequately address is the under-insured. The under-insured are often likely to be found in the middle income range. This is harder to measure in surveys because it is harder to define. mates (although the raw estimates are higher for Paul Ricci is a statistician and graduate stumales in each county) are denoted with a zero and dent in Pittsburgh who blogs at the rates cannot be determined to be different. For Allegheny County, the male rate in 2009 was 12.2% (+/- 1.5%) and 8.6% (+/- 1.4%) for females and 10.4% (+/- 0.6%) overall. These rates differ significantly. In the western part of the state, Forest County has the highest overall rate with a big difference between males and females (see table below), and Crawford County, found

Top 10 County Uninsured Rates in Pennsylvania Overall, for Males & Females, where Gender Rates Differ



% Uninsured 2009

% Male Uninsured 09

% Female Uninsured 09

Male Rate > Female Rate






Male > Female






Male > Female






Male > Female






Male > Female






Male = Female






Male > Female






Male = Female






Male = Female






Male > Female






Male > Female

December, 2011

SUBMIT! your stories, letters, poems, essays, cartoon, photos to the NEWPEOPLE or they may never find an audience! Please limit submissions to 600 words. Photos or art should be sent as JPEG or TIFF. Postage or articles may be mailed to The Thomas Merton Center, 5129 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224. Manuscripts will not be returned. All submissions become property of NEWPEOPLE, a publication of the Thomas Merton Center of Pittsburgh, and may be edited. ADVERTISING IS AVAILABLE. CONTACT NEWPEOPLE@THOMASMERTONCENTER.ORG DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION IS DECEMBER 15TH THROUGH

East End Community Thrift Store 5123 Penn Avenue, Garfield (a few doors down from TMC)

Come in today Tuesday — Friday: 10 AM - 4 PM Saturday: Noon - 4 PM

What you donate, what you buy supports Garfield,

Thomas Merton Center T-Shirt Design Contest In order to commemorate the 40 years of service that the Thomas Merton Center has provided in the avenues of social activism, awareness, and justice for all people, we are sponsoring a contest for the design of the newest TMC t-shirt, which will be made available just in time for the New Person Award in May 2012. The design is to embody the spirit and mission of the Thomas Merton Center while being

visually pleasing. The shirt may clude designs on the front and/or back of the t-shirt but isn’t mandatory. We will only be accepting submissions in file formats such as, PNG, GIF, JPEG, or TIF sent to the email address There is a prize of for the winner of the contest. For more information you can contact the Thomas Merton Center at 412-301-3062 or at

Your Guide to Progressive News ~ TELEVISION ~ PCTV21 (COMCAST Channel 21/ VERIZON FIOS Channel 47) PROGRESSIVE PGH NOTEBOOK (check for schedule) Internet=( ) DEMOCRACY NOW= 8 AM: AJ STREAM=9 AM ; FAULTLINES=9:30 AM(W/Thom Hartmann, both are on Free Speech TV) CITY COUNCIL (COMCAST Channel 13 / Verizon FIOS Channel 44) Tuesdays Council Meetings; Wednesdays Standing Committees 10 AM Repeated at 7 PM / Repeated Sat & Sundays 10 AM and 7 PM ( Legislative Info Center

~ INTERNET RADIO ~ ITUNES click ―Radio‖, Double Click ―News/ Talk‖ , and Click ―KPTK 1090 PROGRESSIVE TALK= THOM HARTMANN NOON – 3 PM (Check other programs on KPTK and ITUNES) LYNN CULLEN MON-FRI= 10 AM




KDKA 1020 AM “CHRIS MOORE” = SUN, 4 – 9 PM. CALL IN NUMBER 412-353-1254

WMMY 1360 AM ‖Dr Scott Shalaway, Birds & Nature‖ = SUN, NOON – 2 PM

BBC = 11PM—5AM





December, 2011




SUNDAYS ___________________________ Anti-War Committee meeting Every other Sunday 2:00pm - 3:30pm Merton Center, 5129 Penn Ave., Garfield Book 'Em Packing Day Meets every Sunday 4:00pm - 7:00pm Thomas Merton Center, 5129 Penn Avenue Join others sending requested books to prisoners. Bring a group. For more info call the Thomas Merton Center, 412.361.3022 Human Rights Letter-writing Salon Meets every Sunday 4:00pm - 6:00pm Kiva Han, 420 S Craig St Write letters to combat human rights abuses! Meet local Amnesty International activists and other human rights enthusiasts, change the world, and have a grand old time. MONDAYS ________________________ Weekly North Hills Weekly Peace Vigil 4:30pm-5:00pm In front of the Divine Providence Motherhouse, 9000 Babcock Blvd., Allison Park Sponsored by the Pittsburgh North People for Peace & the Srs. of Divine Providence WEDNESDAYS _______________________ Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition Meets the 1st Wednesday of every month

5:30pm - 7:00pm Squirrel Hill Carnegie Library 5801 Forbes Avenue Meeting Room B Write On! Letters for Prisoner's rights Meets every Wednesday 6:30pm – 9:00pm Merton Center, 5129 Penn Avenue, Garfield We need help answering our 60 letters a month from people in prison dealing with abuse and neglect. Come and learn about people in prison while advocating for their rights! Info 412-361-3022 PUSH [Pennsylvanian United for Single Payer Healthcare]/Health Care for All PA Meets monthly on the second Wednesday 6:15 pm office, 2101 Murray Avenue, Squirrel Hill All welcome Info: 412-421-4242 Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (PADP) meeting Monthly on the first Wednesday 7:00pm - 8pm First Unitarian Church (Ellsworth/Morewood, Shadyside) For more information, call 412-384-4310. THURSDAYS _________________________ Green Party meeting First Thursday of the month 7:00pm - 9pm Citizen Power's offices, 2121 Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill, second floor

~ December ~ Thursday, December 1st____________________ David Zirin speaks on Power, Politics and American Sports 7:30 pm-9:30 pm Friends Meeting House, 4836 Ellsworth Avenue Pittsburgh, PA Friday, December 2nd____________________ Pax Christi Commemorates 31st Anniversary of Martyrdom of Four Church Women in El Salvador 7:00 PM-10:00 PM St. Mary of the Mount School, Sullivan Hall 115 Bigham Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15211 Saturday, December 3rd ____________________ Meeting with Leigh Carter, Executive Director of Fonkoze USA 2:00 PM-4:00 PM Duquesne University, Student Union, 6th Floor, Seifert Suite 612 Pittsburgh, PA 15219 Saturday, December 3rd ____________________ Pittsburgh Regional Haiti Solidarity Committee 10:00 AM-12:00 PM Thomas Merton Center 5129 Penn Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15224 Tuesday, December 6th ____________________ Take Back the Capitol -Bus to DC 6 am 841 California Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15212 Friday, December 9th ____________________ No Life In Prison Free Mumia Now 7:30-10:30 PM

CALENDAR SATURDAYS ________________________ Project to End Human Trafficking Volunteer signup 2nd Saturday of each month 10:00am - 12:00pm Campus of Carlow University Project to End Human Trafficking (PEHT) offers FREE public volunteer/information. Please pre-register by the Wednesday before via For more information check out our website PEHT Information and Training Seminars Second Saturday of every month 12:00pm - 1:00pm Carlow University, Antonian Room #502, RSVP by the Wednesday before to Open to the public. Peace Vigils to End the War Every Saturday, following locations & times Regent Square Peace Vigil Corner of Forbes and Braddock 12:00pm - 1pm *Black Voices for Peace Anti-War Protest Corner of Penn & Highland in East Liberty 1:00pm - 2:00 pm Beaver County Peace Links Peace Vigil Beaver County Courthouse, 3rd Street (Beaver) 1:00pm - 2pm

Philadelphia Constitution Center 525 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19610 Saturday, December 10th ____________________ International Human Rights Day/ Occupy Pittsburgh 12:00 -3:30 PM Kingsley Community Center 6435 Frankstown Avenue, Pittsburgh,PA Saturday, December 10th ____________________ Thomas Merton Center and ―Thrifty‖ Open House 10:00 AM-4:00 PM Thomas Merton Center 5129 Penn Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15224 Monday, December 12th ____________________ Amnesty International's 25th Annual Write-a-thon, Pittsburgh 5:30 pm-8:30 pm Calvary Episcopal Church 315 Shady Avenue @ Walnut, Pittsburgh Wednesday, December 14th ____________________ Thomas Merton Center Membership Committee 12:00 PM Thomas Merton Center 5129 Penn Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15224 Saturday, December 31st ____________________ The Benedictine Sisters New Years Eve 5:00 PM-Dinner 6:30 PM-Peace Vigil Benedictine Sisters Monastery 4530 Perrysville Avenue Pittsburgh, PA

The Thomas Merton Center Invites YOU to Become a Member! Become a MEMBER today, and together, we can create a peaceful and just world. Already a member? Now through December is the time to renew your membership! 2012 Marks the Center’s 40th Anniversary! With you, we will carry on our mission: to instill a consciousness of values and to raise the moral questions involved with war, racism, poverty and oppression. Our members are people from diverse philosophies and faiths who find common ground in the nonviolent struggle to bring about a more peaceful and just world. Since the Center's beginning thousands of people have joined with us to work together on this important mission and goal. Through protests, as well as ongoing projects, the active involvement of our members has been the backbone of our success. Over twenty organizing campaigns and projects are supported by the Center. Our monthly newspaper, The New People, is a key source of information for peace and justice activists interested in participating in social actions, campaigns, and justice-oriented awareness and advocacy events. Our website provides an up-to-date action calendar, and we send out a weekly electronic newsletter with up and coming events to let our members know about what's going on in the area and how they can get involved.

Visit or call 412-301-3022 to become a member today! 16 - NEWPEOPLE

December, 2011