March for Economic Fairness – Page 6, 13
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PITTSBURGH’S PEACE AND JUSTICE NEWSPAPER Published by the Thomas Merton Center
VOL. 41, No. 5 July, 2011
NO FREE PASS FOR OIL AND GAS, SAY LOCAL CITIZENS IN FAIR ECONOMY ACTION ~ Rob Conroy
list that includes, but is not limited to, such disparate groups On June 10, more than 300 angry as Service Employees Pittsburghers stormed an Exxon International Union (SEIU) station on Pittsburgh‘s South Healthcare, SEIU 32BJ, United Side at a rally in which they Food and Commercial Workers demanded—via both call-andInternational Union (UFCW), response chants and handmade Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact signs--that Exxon pay its ―fair Network (PIIN), Just Harvest, share‖ of taxes to rescue the Mon Valley Unemployed community programs like public Committee, Clean Water Action, transportation, public education and the Blue-Green Alliance— and healthcare from budget wanted to fight the marked cuts. The rally and march, which decline in both the finances and began downtown in Market political clout of average Square, extended across the Americans. ―A lot of people and Smithfield Street Bridge to the a lot of community groups have Exxon station on was the first recognized that over the last 30 scheduled action by a new or 40 years, ordinary people have coalition of community groups been slipping backwards,‖ Frank bound together under the banner says, citing increasing school of ―One Pittsburgh.‖ class sizes and decreasing public According to Lisa Frank, a services like transportation and lifelong activist who is now One community swimming pools as a Pittsburgh‘s coordinator, One couple of indicators. ―Income Pittsburgh came together inequality has been growing at a because all of the organizations dramatic pace while the power of involved—a steadily expanding ordinary people over their
elected officials has been decreasing, and it‘s not an accident that this has been happening as corporate power has increased. One Pittsburgh is and remains open to all of the folks in Pittsburgh who share that point of view and want to come together to figure out how the heck we turn that around.‖ The Market Square speakers at the June 10 rally reflected the disparity of individuals and Photo by Liyan Qi programs crippled by Paul LeBlanc marches for a fair economy. Governor Corbett‘s funding for food stamp budget cuts--Tara Marks of Just programs; Ben Kessler, a Clean Harvest spoke about the rapidly increasing number of food stamp Water Action volunteer, addressed the difficulties that he applications and Governor Corbett‘s proposed cuts to Continued on Page 6
JULY 18 MASS MOBILIZATION FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE IN PITTSBURGH ~ Paul LeBlanc Decent Jobs for All! Make Big Business Corporations Accountable to the People! Tax the Rich! These demands are being raised more and more throughout the United States in reaction to our declining economy and assaults on the quality of life of the working class majority. Supporters of the peace and social justice goals of the Thomas Merton Center will have an opportunity to join with hundreds of
others to give voice to these concerns. On Tuesday, July 18, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. there will be massive community speak-out at East Liberty‘s Kingsley Association auditorium (6435 Frankstown Avenue). The occasion for the mobilization is a town meeting being organized by representatives of the Progressive Caucus in the U.S. Congress, at which Representative John Conyers (D-MI) and Representative Raul
Grihalva (D-AZ), and also Representative Michael Doyle (DPA), will be on hand to hear the thinking of Pittsburgh area residents. This is part of a national tour that the 77 Congressional members of the Progressive Caucus are organizing in cities throughout the country. ―We need to get outside the Washington Beltway and break through the news bubble,‖ according to Progressive Caucus cochair Keith Ellison. ―Good jobs
have to be the point of conversation and the priority. As Washington is contemplating cuts, we‘ve got to be talking about growing the economy and putting people back to work.‖ Playing a central role in mobilizing for this town meeting is the Pittsburgh ―We Are One‖ coalition. It includes such unions as the United Steel Workers, the Service Employees International, the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, the United Food and Continued on Page 7
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 struggle to bring about a more peaceful and just world. July, 2011 NEWPEOPLE - 1
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Vandana Shiva Land Grab
Merton Center History
Amnesty International Forum
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All is Grace, A Biography of Dorothy Day All is Grace, A Biography of Dorothy Day by Jim Forest Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2011. pp. 344. $27.00 pb ISBN 978-1-57075-921-5 ~ Francis Berna, La Salle University, Philadelphia, PA 19141 for Catholic Books Review On the day after the hundredth anniversary of Dorothy Day‘s birth, Cardinal O‘Connor of New York included in his homily a quotation from the final paragraphs of her book on St. Therese of Lisieux. ―So many books have been written about Saint Therese, books of all kinds, too, so why, I ask myself again, have I written one more?‖ (308). Amazon.com lists fifteen texts along with this newest book on Dorothy Day. Does anyone really need one more? Forest‘s revised text Love is the Measure had its sixth printing in 2000. Why, one more? Scanning chapter titles the reader should avoid jumping to the conclusion that some identical chapter titles shared by the two books mean identical content. All Is Grace offers some fresh material. Beyond the new material on the cause for canonization, Forest weaves together material from all of the classic texts and incorporates rich insight from the more recently released writings from Day‘s diaries, The Duty of Delight. The reader gains fresh insight into the complexity of character exhibited by this revolutionary woman. While noting the more sensational story of her ongoing love for Forster Batterham, the author helps the reader appreciate some of the profound questions with which Dorothy lived as
well as some of the ―difficult‖ aspects of her personality. He includes material from a letter to a friend in which Day expresses remorse ―for having pushed him (Forster) away in the course of her conversion‖ (288). Forest writes of Peter Maurin‘s disappointment because of Day‘s dominant voice and control over The Catholic Worker. Dorothy struggled during the 1960‘s as many in the movement set aside Catholic identity. Forest writes how she had a ―sense of inadequacy both as a mother and leader of a movement… She found herself too impatient, too judgmental, too distant, too severe‖ (171). Along these same lines the author accurately portrays a revolutionary woman with a sometimes very traditional faith. Daily Mass, the Rosary, reading the lives of the Saints and contemplative prayer shaped her spirituality. The conviction of her conversion kept her within the Catholic Church though she was often misunderstood by that church. The reader can get a real sense of this as Forest details Day‘s criticism of Cardinal Spellman during the gravediggers strike in the Archdiocese of New York. The author observes that Day ―would put obedience to her bishop above continuation of her newspaper‖ (190). However, when challenged by the Archdiocese, she did not offer immediate compliance. She pondered changing the name of the newspaper, and then sought to persuade the Archdiocese, by way of a letter, and
appealed for dialogue. The matter seemed to be quietly dropped by the Archdiocese, and one finds no change in the content of the paper. The same commitment to dialogue and nonviolent resistance causes Day to be troubled by the destruction of Draft Board property, a point others found puzzling given the violence of war and the movement‘s protest against United States involvement in Vietnam. Forest gives us the complexity of the woman. When one thinks of important influences of Dorothy Day, one immediately calls to mind Maurin, Maritain, Chavez, and Dostoyevsky. Forest adds to the list the important role of Pope John XXIII and the Cuban Missile Crisis. He likewise highlights Day‘s appreciation of the Jewish author Chaim Potok whom she notes was ―filled with a sense of the sacramentality of life‖ (284). While the author does not make an explicit connection, the sacramentality expressed in Potok‘s works was known to Day in her lifelong appreciation of beauty. The same sacramentality found expression in her relationship with Forster as she later writes, ―It was because through a whole love, both physical and spiritual, I came to know God‖ (73). Finally, this text provides another rich addition to the others. The words of the text come alive with the photographs and drawings that grace most every page. To this the author adds in the
Anti-War Committee To Press City Council The Anti-War Committee of the Thomas Merton Center formulated the Resolution below entitled City Council Anti-War Resolution. This is the first step of a campaign led by the AWC to end the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and elsewhere in the Middle East. The Committee is seeking sponsorships and endorsements by supporting peace and justice movements for this Resolution. The hope is that in the early Fall, the AWC will get the City Council to pass this proclamation or resolution. To endorse or sponsor the resolution contact the Ant-War Committee of the Thomas Merton Center at 412361-3022 WHEREAS October 7, 2011 marks the 10th Anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the longest war in U.S. history; and WHEREAS the ostensible purposes of the said 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 5000 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq, tens of thousands more wounded – many of
them with permanent disabilities, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Afghanis, Pakistanis and others killed and untold number of others wounded and permanently disabled; and
to end both combat and occupation operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and surrounding nations, and remove U.S. troops and private security forces from those
WHEREAS on May 30, 2010, according to the ―Cost of War‖ Project, the combined cost of both these wars being fought reached $1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion dollars); and
areas immediately. Additionally, they should vote no funds to be used in these areas of conflict except as will be used to safely remove our troops. We also ask that, prior to such withdrawal, Pennsylvania Senators Robert Casey and Patrick Toomey and Pittsburgh area Congressmen Michael Doyle and Tom Murphy vote that no funds be used in these areas of conflict except as will be used to safely remove our troops.
WHEREAS local, county, and state governments are being starved for cash due in part to a ballooning Federal Debt caused by a combination of war spending, the economic crisis which begun in 2007, and tax cuts granted to multinational corporations and super-wealthy individuals; and WHEREAS shameful proposals are being advanced which propose paying down the Federal debt upon the backs of the most vulnerable members of our society – the young, the sick, the physically and emotionally disabled, 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;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City Council of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania petitions the U.S. Congress (and 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 creating jobs, social services, and the meeting of human needs.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania petitions President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress
columns longer quotations of excerpts or additional material related to the topic at hand. So, is there need for this, one more, text on Dorothy Day? Yes! At Dorothy Day‘s funeral reporters asked Dan Berrigan what had impressed him most about her. He replied, ―She lived as thought the truth were actually true‖ (302). This text presents the truth of her life with some real fresh air. Though one might be tempted to think this is just one more, the text actually mirrors some of Dorothy‘s words about her beloved Saint Therese – ―What was there about her to make such an appeal?... In her lifetime there are no miracles recounted, she was just good…‖ (309). All Is Grace is ―just good‖ and therefore needed.
Jim Forest in Pittsburgh OCTOBER 14th & 15th
Jim Forest is the author of a new, comprehensive biography of Dorothy Day just published by Orbis Books: All is Grace. Jim is a writer, theologian, educator, & peace activist who worked closely with Dorothy Day, serving for a time as managing editor of The Catholic Worker. He helped start the Catholic Peace Fellowship in response to the Vietnam War, and was Sec. General for the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, which brought him to the Netherlands, where he currently lives in Amsterdam. He received the Peacemaker Award from Notre Dame University‘s Institute for International Peace Studies. Jim had a long-term friendship with Thomas Merton, who dedicated a book to him. A journalist and writer, Jim‘s books include Praying with Icons, Ladder of the Beatitudes, The Road to Emmaus: Pilgrimage as a Way of Life, & biographies of Merton and Day, to name a few. Dorothy Day's life, her work, her struggles and her faith, and those who worked with her in community at the Worker, offer us graced inspiration and courage to continue the work for peace and social justice in our own time.
Correction: In the previous issue of NEWPEOPLE the name of contributing photographer Philomena O'Dea was misspelled. We apologize for the error.
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Rolling the Stone Back Up the Hill: The Unimaginable is Happening New Nuclear Weapons Are Being Secretly Made ~ Vincent Scotti Eirene‘, On behalf of the Pittsburgh Catholic Workers In Greek mythology, Sisyphus (play /ˈsɪsəfəs/; Greek: Σίσυφος Sísyphos) was a king punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this throughout eternity. In terms of peaceful protest against nuclear weapons, I empathize with Sisyphus. I was asked by a friend to write an article concerning new nuclear weapons in the US. Even though I have heard rumblings about this subject since the Berlin wall came down in 1989, nothing had been confirmed. Ironically, I was asked to write this article the very day that I was informed by Pittsburgh‘s own urban guerrilla, Dylan Rook, that over fifty Catholic workers and friends undertook civil disobedience in Kansis City, Missouri. The Kansas City Plant is responsible for the production and assembly of approximately 85 percent of the non-nuclear components for the US nuclear arsenal. The plant is due to be relocated, starting in 2012. When the Berlin wall came down, many sensed it was the beginning of the end of the nuclear arms race, the conclusion of a cold war in which no shot was fired but many died, and immense resources were wasted. At the time of this story, the winter of 1995, I had spent over two and a half years in various jails and prisons, the longest being ten months for civil disobedience for creative acts against a run-away nuclear train. An
article had been written in the New York Times that the Los Alamos Labs were beginning to make nuclear buttons, or triggers. I climbed a mile and a half through the clouds to reach Los Alamos, the birth place of the Nuclear Era. Here, Oppenheimer and his lab partners unleashed hell. To me, a boy from Pittsburgh, I had never witnessed such untold beauty. Every sunset stopped the locals and demanded their attention; the trees and vegetation were that of the desert, yet the weather was severe in the winter time. As I approached area T-55, the nuclear pit where nuclear triggers were manufactured, my heart raced. No one had ever crossed the line here before. Security marched around with their loaded M-16s. I approached the drive through the security gate. The first gate opened, the car was checked, and mirrors were employed to sneak a peek at the underside of the car. Then, the second gate opened, allowing access to "the labs". Walking now, crunching snow underfoot, I quickened my pace and made it under the first gate; I knelt down to pray. It was January 6th, 1995. A guard screamed through the snow storm, "What are you doing here!?‖ I replied, loud enough to be heard through the wind and snow, "I have come here to pray for peace....that Hell‘s kitchen be closed". The guard, in her professionally trained manner, said, ―Oh shit!‖ The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a division of
the US Department of Energy, has said the new facility will cost an estimated price of $673 million for construction. The city government has subsidized the facility‘s construction with $815 million in municipal bonds. Once completed, it is believed that the new Kansas City Plant will be the first nuclear weapons complex in the world to be owned by a city government. The new Kansas City facility is one of several where new nuclear weapons projects are underway. The new Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Project at Los Alamos, NM, is also under construction, and a new uranium processing facility in Oak Ridge, TN, is in the final stages before approval. I have been compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down. It is time to roll the boulder back up the hill – to stop the production of new nuclear weapons. For people of peace, we have no choice; this issue has picked us. And I do it with joy. The lab guards finally made it to T-55, and the group of thirty-six surrounded me with M-16 rifles. Puzzled, they called in the local police to do their dirty work. The local police were told that I was a foreign terrorist and that I might be wired with explosives. A local police woman stepped forward and formally asked if I understood English. She then asked if my stomach was dynamite. The wind and snow screamed past my face. Kneeling down, I could not let this moment pass. I looked up, and, with a
chuckle, said, ―You better believe it, sister‖. She let out a nervous laugh and moved in quickly to arrest me. Four months later, a circus of a trial was held, complete with Martin Sheen flying in on Clint Eastwood‘s Lear jet. Martin had come for moral support and to lend his star status to draw in the media. When the trial was over, I was given time served and a year‘s probation. The feds, Lab security, and the FBI took me into a room when everything was over and asked me an odd question, ―What do you want?‖ Not skipping a beat, I said, ―Only a train ride home.‖ The room was quiet, and we all laughed for a long time, because for now, it was over. As the entourage of agents put me on the train, I threw open the compartment window, waved, and yelled at the silent group, ―Until next time, gentlemen‖.
everyone. Helen is the founder of Beyond Nuclear and in addition to many other books has written, ―If You Love This Planet: A Plan to Save the Earth‖ revised in 2009.
plants will not pose a threat to our welfare?
Just A Little Bit Nuclear ~ Ann Follette I have been reading and listening to stories of legislation designed to facilitate the development of the first mini nuclear reactors by Westinghouse Electric. The exact legislation is HR1808 The Nuclear Power 2021 Act which is sponsored by Jason Altmire and Tim Murphy. You might want to get active on this. Of course I wondered could a little bit nuclear be similar to a little bit pregnant?
Could it be that at last we will no longer use uranium and discard uranium 238 in thousands of leaking barrels as we have in Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio? Perhaps we will no longer discard material on indigenous lands? Perhaps now it will really be clean? Somehow I never saw mention of this in the announcement. I am reading the book, ―Nuclear Power is not the Answer‖ 2007 by Dr. Helen Caldicott. I would recommend it to
Will these mini plants proposed for our back yards also need to store radioactive material for 30-60 years heavily shielded and continually cooled by air or water in the event of a shutdown? Shut downs do not have to come from natural disasters, they also come from human error.
Will mini nuclear waste need to be supervised in storage for 240,000 years as does the current waste? Please go to NIRS (Nuclear Information Resource Service), click on Nuclear Waste, and read the press release dated June 25, 2010 regarding Nuclear Waste. This release briefs the Commission on Radioactive Waste Policy.
Perhaps nuclear waste from the mini
Protest At Site Of New Nuclear Weapons Plant One Of Dozens Of Acts Of Resistance To N-Power And Weapons ~ Molly Rush On May 2nd 53 Catholic Workers and friends were arrested in Kansas City for a protest at the construction site of a new nuclear weapons plant. It is part of President Obama's program to build a new generation of nuclear weapons at a cost of $100 billion. Among upcoming worldwide
Hiroshima/Nagasaki Days nonviolent protests against nuclear weapons, actions will be held from England, Finland and Sweden to the Nevada Test Site, STRATCOM in Nebraska, Livermore Lab in California, The White House and Pentagon, Bangor submarine base in Washington, and Lockheed-Martin in King of Prussia PA.
The latest issue of the NUCLEAR RESISTERS carries twelve pages of reports on resistance to nuclear weapons and power in the U.S. and around the world. Since 1980 coeditors Felice and Jack Cohen-Joppa have faithfully published this essential paper on a shoestring. SUBSCRIPTIONS are $25/!5 lowincome. Send to The Nuclear Resister,
P.O. Box 43383, Tucson AZ 85733. Tax-deductible contributions of $50 or more should be made payable to The Progressive Foundation. click on Nuclear Waste, and read the press release dated June 25, 2010 regarding Nuclear Waste. This release briefs the Commission on Radioactive Waste Policy.
From the statement by Bishop W. Finn, Kansas City MO on the Groundbreaking of the Nuclear Weapons Plant, 2 September 2010 ―…the accumulation of weapons of mass destruction – which this nuclear plant proposes to construct – constitutes a grave moral danger. Nuclear weapons are by their very nature weapons of 4 - NEWPEOPLE
mass destruction: their force and impact cannot be contained, and their use affects combatants ad non-combatants alike. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, ‗Every act of war
directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and humanity, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation…Since
the use of such weapons is morally questionable, it follows that the production of such weapons is also morally questionable…‖
Health Care for All Sets Indiana Meeting HEALTH CARE FOR ALL PA will hold a Community Meeting at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Indiana, PA on Saturday, July 9, 2011 from 10 to 11:30 AM Presidents Dave Steil and Scott Tyson, MD and Executive Directors Chuck Pennacchio and Rev. Mary Pat
Donegan will report on the current status of the grassroots campaign to enact The Family and Business Health Security Act, SB 400/ HB 1660. Area legislators are also invited to attend and speak. Health Care for All PA, a grassroots, all volunteer statewide nonprofit
organization is dedicated to the enactment of legislation that will provide quality, affordable, comprehensive health care for all legal residents of the Commonwealth through publicly financed, privately delivered services.
For information contact Bob Mason, Vice President of Health Care for All PA at 412646-1472 or email@example.com. Directions: www.firstuuindianapa.org.
Building Change: A Convergence for Social Justice October 13-15, 2011 Building Change: A Convergence for Social Justice is a three-day, openattendance conference for social change for Southwestern Pennsylvania. It will run October 13-15, 2011, at the Sen. John Heinz Regional History Center, in Pittsburgh (1212 Smallman St., Strip District). It‘s being planned by a broad spectrum of people and organizations, who have come together to create a conference unlike any you‘ve ever attended! It will host a mix of skill-building workshops, panel discussions, community dialogues on key issues, speakers, art, roundtable talks, networking, entertainment, a film festival (running October 12-15), and
Moshe Sherman, 2011
more. Admission is low, on a sliding scale from $5-$10 per day. It will also be fully accessible to people with disabilities. The Convergence kicks off Thursday evening, from 6-9 PM. On Friday, October 14, the event will open at 9 AM for registration, with sessions beginning at 10 AM. A panel of speakers will open the morning, discussing key issue areas and then workshops will run throughout the day until 4:30 PM. There will be a break until 6:30 PM, leaving time for dining and more conversations with new friends. At 6:30 PM the event resumes for a performance and presentation of social
change awards. On Saturday, the event opens at 9 AM with sessions at 10 AM, with a panel of speakers and time for audience participation. Workshops will follow and the Convergence will wrap-up with a discussion of the 5-year Regional Social Justice Action Plan, ending at 4 PM. During the day of October 13th, from 8 AM-2 PM, Youth Leading Change will occur, connecting high school youth with social change organizations to build a class project. Youth will participate in skill-building workshops, discuss relevant social change issues, and wrap-up the day with a scavenger hunt through the History Center. The goals of the Convergence are: To provide a forum for identifying and discussing urgent social, economic, and environmental issues in the rural and urban communities comprising the 10-county region of Southwestern Pennsylvania. To convene hundreds of grassroots organizations, groups, and individuals in this region to engage in productive debate and dialogue on problems of inequity and injustice and to seek unified, strategic, and non-duplicative solutions to these problems. To develop a 5-year Regional Social Justice Action Plan that will be shaped by Convergence participants. A continuations committee will be drawn from participants to guide implementation of this first-
ever plan, to build the capacity of the social change movement in the region. To foster greater collaboration and partnerships between and among grantmakers and progressive organizations throughout the region. To draw media attention to issues of social justice in the region. Building Change is looking for people to help organize the event. There are nine planning subcommittees, and there‘s a place for anyone to plug in! Please contact the TRCF office to find out more. Key to Building Change is true participation from all counties in Southwestern PA (Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland). To that end, the planning team is searching for County Captains – at least one person in each county who is committed to promoting the event in their county, getting people to come to the event, coordinating transportation to the Convergence from their county, and more. Please join the planning of this innovative Convergence! Contact Willa Paterson at the Three Rivers Community Foundation office at 412-2439250 or firstname.lastname@example.org. TRCF, a long-time funder of all things social change in the region, is spearheading this event, and welcomes everyone to the planning table. July, 2011
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Scenes from a march for a fair economy, June 10 Photo top left & top center by Chris Neverman, all other by Lindy Hazel LaDue
Income Equality Action, cont. from Page 1 will face attempting to obtain student loans to finish his college education; Billy Hileman of the Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers (PFT) raged about crippling teacher furloughs and cuts to kindergarten programs; San Dalachandran, an employee at a local restaurant chain, vented about being too old to be covered by his parents‘ health insurance, too poor to afford his employer‘s health coverage, and too late to receive the benefits provided by the recently-cut Adult Basic program; and Monica Johnson, a community member who worked with developmentally disabled children, talked about losing her job when the program that funded her position was cut--while corporations like Exxon reap the benefits of tax incentives and their CEOs net lucrative salaries and bonuses. ―Exxon is the real welfare queen,” said Marks, referencing former President Reagan’s infamous epithet in which he chastised a controversial “class” of American citizens whom he alleged reaped excessive benefits without “giving back” to the community. 6 - NEWPEOPLE
As the marchers traversed the Boulevard of the Allies and the entire length of the Smithfield Street Bridge, pedestrian and motorized passersby clapped and honked in what appeared to be a strong outpouring of support. After all of the angry citizens arrived at the Exxon station, the Reverend David Thornton, who serves as both VicePresident of PIIN and pastor of Grace Memorial Presbyterian Church in the Hill District, addressed the crowd. ―We are speaking truth and power,‖ Thornton said, ―and God is empowering us.‖ Although several members of the Pittsburgh police were on-site visibly securing the perimeter of the Exxon station, they and the protesters behaved without any open antagonism or incident. Exxon proved to be a prescient topic for One Pittsburgh‘s inaugural action due to the public‘s frustration regarding rising gasoline costs, its CEO Rex Tillerson‘s $29 million salary, and its recent acquisition of several of the gas and oil companies performing taxfree Marcellus Shale drilling across Pennsylvania.
Yet Exxon is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg on One Pittsburgh‘s ever-flexible agenda. ―We‘re challenging ourselves to work in ways and partnerships that we‘ve not worked in before,‖ Frank said. ―I want people to come and invent One Pittsburgh with us. Our shared problem is the vast imbalance of wealth and power in this country and we‘re not going to fix this problem unless people come together in new and creative ways.‖ Laneka Blanchard, a local food services worker and SEIU 32BJ member who attended the rally, agrees. “It’s affecting everyone,” she says. “Not one person is unaffected by these cuts and by big corporations refusing to pay their taxes.” Learn more about One Pittsburgh by calling (877) 793-4238 or visiting onepittsburgh.org. Rob Conroy is a Pittsburgh lawyer, advocate, journalist, musician and activist.
Mass Mobilization, cont. from Page 1 Commercial Workers, the Iron Workers, the United Electrical workers, and others. It also includes a rich array of community groups, including Pittsburgh United, the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network, and the Economic Justice Committee of the Thomas Merton Center. The coalition is planning to organize a 5:00 p.m. protest rally – focusing on decent jobs for all and corporate accountability – in the East Liberty area before bringing its forces into the Kingsley auditorium town meeting. The Economic Justice Committee has set participation in We Are One actions as one of its central priorities. At the same time, it will be
connecting to this effort other issues on which it has focused – such as the struggle to save public transit in Pittsburgh, and support for the AntiWar Committee‘s campaign to end U.S. wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and neighboring countries, bringing U.S. troops safely home and redirecting the massive war spending into meeting human needs here at home. This relates to the recently passed resolution of the U.S. Conference of Mayors calling for an end to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, saying that the money could be put to better use at home. The Anti-War Committee campaign, supported by the Economic Justice Committee and others, will seek to win
Pittsburgh City Council and an array of labor and community groups to the same demand. The spreading dialogue and mobilization for economic justice will naturally and necessarily raise a variety of interrelated issues having to do with the future of the United States and the world. In this process, July 18 promises to be an important moment for the Pittsburgh community. For more information on the July 18 mobilization for economic justice, check the websites of Pittsburgh United (www.pittsburghunited.org) and the Thomas Merton Center (www.thomasmertoncenter.org).
Economic Justice Committee Supports National Contract Struggle of GE Workers ~ by Alan Hard, Managing Editor, UE News Members of the Thomas Merton Center‘s Economic Justice Committee participated in a massive union rally on June 4 in Erie, hosted by Local 506 of the United Electrical Workers (UE), which represents workers at the big General Electric plant there. An enthusiastic crowd of 3,500 filled Gannon University‘s Hammermill Center, including members of 50 local unions. Most were from the 10 unions that jointly bargain with GE through the Coordinated Bargaining Committee (CBC). Besides thousands of Erie GE workers, the rally included
four busloads – 300 union members of Local 761, International Union of Electronic WorkersCommunication Workers of America (IUECWA) – who traveled from Louisville, Kentucky. Another busload of workers came from Lynn, Massachusetts, members of IUECWA Local 201 at the GE plant there. Workers from many other GE plants were present, and each local was greeted with loud cheers as they were announced and marched into the auditorium. Between May 24 and June 19, CBC unions negotiated with GE in New York City for contracts covering more than 15,000 GE workers in the U.S. Major issues were wages and
healthcare, as well as wages and other benefits. A tentative agreement was reached on June 19, and as the New People went to press, ratification votes by union members were scheduled for the week of June 27. GE union workers in Allegheny County include 70 members of IUE-CWA Local 623 at the GE Apparatus Service Center in West Mifflin, and about 100 workers at a GE lighting glass plant in Bridgeville, members of IUECWA Local 640. UE‘s national office is also located in Downtown Pittsburgh. UE‘s national website has a section devoted to the GE negotiations, at www.ueunion.org/ unity2011.html. The CBC‘s website is www.geworkersunited.org/.
Workers rally in Erie, PA for a fair contract from GE Photos by Alan Hart (top row) and by Jibran Mushtaq (all others). July, 2011
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The Great Land Grab: India's War on Farmers Land is a powerful commodity that should be used for the betterment of humanity through farming and ecology. ~ by Vandana Shiva Land is life. It is the basis of livelihoods for peasants and indigenous people across the Third World and is also becoming the most vital asset in the global economy. As the resource demands of globalisation increase, land has emerged as a key site of conflict. In India, 65 per cent of people are dependent on land. At the same time a global economy, driven by speculative finance and limitless consumerism, wants the land for mining and for industry, for towns, highways, and biofuel plantations. The speculative economy of global finance is hundreds of times larger than the value of real goods and services produced in the world. Financial capital is hungry for investments and returns on investments. It must commodify everything on the planet - land and water, plants and genes, microbes and mammals. The commodification of land is fuelling the corporate land grab in India, both through the creation of Special Economic Zones and through foreign direct investment in real estate. Land, for most people in the world, is Terra Madre, Mother Earth, Bhoomi,Dharti Ma. The land is people's identity; it is the ground of culture and economy. The bond with the land is a bond with Bhoomi, our Earth; 75 per cent of the people in the Third World live on the land and are supported by the land. The Earth is the biggest employer on the planet: 75 per cent of the wealth of the people of the global south is in land. Colonisation was based on the violent takeover of land. And now, globalisation as recolonisation is leading to a massive land grab in India, in Africa, in Latin America. Land is being grabbed for speculative investment, for speculative urban sprawl, for mines and factories, for highways and expressways. Land is being grabbed from farmers after trapping them in debt and pushing them to suicide. India's land issues In India, the land grab is facilitated by the toxic mixture of the colonial Land Acquisition Act of 1894, the deregulation of investments and commerce through neo-liberal policies - and with it the emergence of the rule of uncontrolled greed and exploitation. It is facilitated by the creation of a police state and the use of colonial sedition laws which define defence of the public interest and national interest as anti-national. The World Bank has worked for many years to commodify land. The 1991 World Bank structural adjustment programme reversed land reform, deregulated mining, roads and ports. While the laws of independent India to keep land in the hands of the tiller were reversed, the 1894 Land Acquisition Act was untouched. Thus the state could forcibly acquire the land from the peasants and tribal peoples and hand it over to private speculators, real estate corporations, mining companies and industry. Across the length and breadth of India, from Bhatta in Uttar Pradesh (UP) to Jagatsinghpur in Orissa to Jaitapur in Maharashtra, the government has declared war on our farmers, ourannadatas, in order to grab their fertile farmland. Their instrument is the colonial Land Acquisition Act - used by foreign rulers against Indian citizens. The government is behaving as the foreign rulers did when the Act was first enforced in 1894, appropriating land through violence for the profit of corporations - JayPee Infratech in Uttar Pradesh for the Yamuna expressway, POSCO in Orissa and AREVA in Jaitapur - grabbing land for private profit and not, by any stretch of the imagination, for any public purpose. This is rampant in the country today. These land wars have serious consequences for our nation's democracy, our peace and our ecology, our food security and rural livelihoods. The land wars must stop if India is to survive ecologically and democratically. 8 - NEWPEOPLE
While the Orissa government prepares to take the land of people in Jagatsinghpur, people who have been involved in a democratic struggle against land acquisition since 2005, Rahul Gandhi makes it known that he stands against forceful land acquisition in a similar case in Bhatta in Uttar Pradesh. The Minister for the Environment, Mr Jairam Ramesh, admitted that he gave the green signal to pass the POSCO project - reportedly under great pressure. One may ask: "Pressure from whom?" This visible double standard when it comes to the question of land in the country must stop. Violation of the land In Bhatta Parsual, Greater Noida (UP), about 6000 acres of land is being acquired by infrastructure company Jaiprakash Associates to build luxury townships and sports facilities - including a Formula 1 racetrack - in the guise of building the Yamuna Expressway. In total, the land of 1225 villages is to be acquired for the 165km Expressway. The farmers have been protesting this unjust land acquisition, and last week, four people died - while many were injured during a clash between protesters and the police on May 7, 2011. If the government continues its land wars in the heart of India's bread basket, there will be no chance for peace. In any case, money cannot compensate for the alienation of land. As 80-year-old Parshuram, who lost his land to the Yamuna Expressway, said: "You will never understand how it feels to become landless." While land has been taken from farmers at Rs 300 ($6) per square metre by the government - using the Land Acquistion Act - it is sold by developers at Rs 600,000 ($13,450) per square metre - a 200,000 per cent increase in price - and hence profits. This land grab and the profits contribute to poverty, dispossession and conflict. Similarly, on April 18, in Jaitapur, Maharashtra, police opened fire on peaceful protesters demonstrating against the Nuclear Power Park proposed for a village adjacent to the small port town. One person died and at least eight were seriously injured. The Jaitapur nuclear plant will be the biggest in the world and is being built by French company AREVA. After the Fukushima disaster, the protest has intensified - as has the government's stubbornness. Today, a similar situation is brewing in Jagatsinghpur, Orissa, where 20 battalions have been deployed to assist in the anti-constitutional land acquisition to protect the stake of India's largest foreign direct investment - the POSCO Steel project. The government has set the target of destroying 40 betel farms a day to facilitate the land grab. The betel brings the farmers an annual earning of Rs 400,000 ($9,000) an acre. The AntiPOSCO movement, in its five years of peaceful protest, has faced state violence numerous time and is now gearing up for another - perhaps final - nonviolent and democratic resistance against a state using violence to facilitate its undemocratic land grab for corporate profits, overlooking due process and the constitutional rights of the people. The largest democracy of the world is destroying its democratic fabric through its land wars. While the constitution recognises the rights of the people
and the panchayats [village councils] to democratically decide the issues of land and development, the government is disregarding these democratic decisions - as is evident from the POSCO project where three panchayats have refused to give up their land. The use of violence and destruction of livelihoods that the current trend is reflecting is not only dangerous for the future of Indian democracy, but for the survival of the Indian nation state itself. Considering that today India may claim to be a growing or booming economy - but yet is unable feed more than 40 per cent of its children is a matter of national shame. Land is not about building concrete jungles as proof of growth and development; it is the progenitor of food and water, a basic for human survival. It is thus clear: what India needs today is not a land grab policy through an amended colonial land acquisition act but a land conservation policy, which conserves our vital eco-systems, such as the fertile Gangetic plain and coastal regions, for their ecological functions and contribution to food security.
Photo by Dr. Shiva staff
Handing over fertile land to private corporations, who are becoming the newzamindars [heriditary aristocrats], cannot be defined as having a public purpose. Creating multiple privatised super highways and expressways does not qualify as necessary infrastructure. The real infrastructure India needs is the ecological infrastructure for food security and water security. Burying our fertile food-producing soils under concrete and factories is burying the country's future. Dr Vandana Shiva is a physicist, ecofeminist, philosopher, activist, and author of more than 20 books and 500 papers. She is the founder of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, and has campaigned for biodiversity, conservation and farmers' rights, winning the Right Livelihood Award [Alternative Nobel Prize] in 1993. The views expressed in this article are the author's own. First Published on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 by Al Jazeera English. Reprinted with permission.
Vandana Shiva—Gifted Scientist, Global Activist ~ From Dr. Shiva’s Staff--ED
more than 2,00,000 men and women farmers. Navdanya‘s efforts have resulted Dr. Vandana Shiva is trained as a in conservation of more than 2000 rice Physicist and did her Ph.D. on the subject varieties from all over the country and ―Hidden Variables and Non-locality in have established 34 seed banks in 13 Quantum Theory‖ from the University of states across the country. More than Western Ontario in Canada. She later 70,000 farmers are primary members of shifted to inter-disciplinary research in Navdanya. In 2004 she started Bija Vidyapeeth, an international college for science, technology and environmental policy, which she carried out at the Indian sustainable living in Doon Valley in collaboration with Schumacher College, Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, U.K. India. Dr. Shiva combines the sharp intellectual Dr. Shiva has received honorary enquiry with courageous activism. She is equally at ease working with peasants in Doctorates from University of Paris, University of Western Ontario, University rural India and teaching in Universities worldwide. of Oslo and Connecticut College. Dr. Shiva has contributed in fundamental ways to changing the practice and paradigms of agriculture and food. Her books, ―The Violence of Green Revolution‖ and ―Monocultures of the Mind‖ have become basic challenges to the dominant paradigm of nonsustainable, reductionist Green Revolution In 1982, she founded an independent institute, the Research Foundation for Agriculture. Through her books Science, Technology and Ecology in Biopiracy, Stolen Harvest, Water Wars, Dehra Dun dedicated to high quality and Dr. Shiva has made visible the social, independent research to address the most economic and ecological costs of significant ecological and social issues of corporate led globalization. Dr. Shiva our times, in close partnership with local chairs the Commission on the Future of Food set up by the Region of Tuscany in communities and social movements. In 1991, she founded Navdanya, a national Italy. She is a Board Member of the movement to protect the diversity and International Forum on Globalization and a member of the Steering Committee of integrity of living resources, especially native seed, the promotion of organic the Indian People‘s Campaign against WTO. She also serves on Government of farming and fair trade. For last two decades Navdanya has worked with local India Committees on Organic Farming. communities and organizations serving Dr. Shiva is one of the world‘s most renowned environmentalists. Time Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as an environmental ―hero‖ in 2003 and Asia Week has called her one of the five most powerful communicators of Asia.
Dr. Shiva‘s contributions to gender issues are nationally and internationally recognized. Her book, ―Staying Alive‖ dramatically shifted the perception of Third World women. In 1990 she wrote a report for the FAO on Women and Agriculture entitled, ―Most Farmers in India are Women‖. She founded the gender unit at the International Centre for Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu and was a founding Board Member of the Women Environment and Development Organization (WEDO). She has initiated an international movement of women working of food, agriculture, patents and biotechnology called, Diverse Women for Diversity. The movement was launched formally in Bratislava, Slovakia on 1-2 May 1998. Diverse Women for Diversity has carried out studies for the National Commission of Women and the Department of Science and Technology. Dr. Shiva has been a visiting professor and lectured at the Universities of Oslo, Norway, Schumacher College, U.K. Mt. Holyoke College, U.S., York University, Canada, University of Lulea, Sweden, University of Victoria, Canada, and Universite libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. Among her many awards are the Alternative Nobel Prize (Right Livelihood Award, 1993), Order of the Golden Ark, Global 500 Award of UN and Earth Day International Award. Lennon ONO grant for peace award by Yoko Ono and Sydney Peace Prize in November 2010.
2011 Thomas Merton Award Dinner November 3, 2011 Sheraton Station Square Register at www.thomasmertoncenter.org Merton Raffle Can Lead To A Manhattan Getaway ~ by Bette McDevitt The praise pours down on us every year from the winners of the first prize in the raffle, offered in conjunction with the annual Thomas Merton Award. This past year, Dorothy Gold won the two nights at the Hotel Edison, located in Midtown Manhattan. The Hotel Edison was August Wilson‘s ―home‖ in New York, and if you go there you‘ll see why. When you step inside, after the doorman greets you, you find yourself in a hotel built in
1931 in the same grand Art Deco style as Radio City Music Hall, is situated in one of the most dynamic sections of New York City. The lights literally shine on Broadway! Just steps from Times Square, walking distance to theatres, Rockefeller Center, and Radio City Music Hall. there is a restaurant and bar on site, and you are close to plenty of others. Here‘s what Dorothy Gold said: ―It was one of the best experiences in my life.The Edison is very gracious, with beautiful marble and wonderful old rugs. There is a doorman, and someone to check people going up in the
elevators. When the tickets come to your house –if you are a member- or are available at the Center, be sure to buy them all; support the Merton Center, and win a getaway to the Big Apple. And don‘t forget that this year‘s dinner, honoring Dr. Vandana Shiva, will be held at the Sheraton Station Square on Thursday November 3rd, 2011. For more information visit the center online at www.thomasmertoncenter.org.
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Interview with Nina Marie Barbuto ~ by Michael Drohan When the Thomas Merton Center sold its former home at 5125 Penn Ave on March 15, 2011, its new owner Ben Saks farmed out, so to speak, the first floor to an organization called Assemble, its website is www.assemblepgh.org. The founder of this exciting organization is Nina Marie Barbuto. Ben Saks is also on the board of advisors to Assemble. Its mission states that Assemble is ―a place where one can engage one‘s intrigue through hands-on activities about art and technology while making physical and nonphysical community connections‖. It is one of the most exciting initiatives taking place in the Penn Ave corridor. On June 16 I sat down with Nina to talk about Assemble and her work in general Michael: Tell us about yourself and how you came to found Assemble and be located at 5125 Penn Ave? Nina: I grew up in Aliquippa, PA but from teenager years I had discovered Garfield through attendance at concerts at the Quiet Storm. I was fascinated with the new initiatives taking place in the neighborhood. I did my undergraduate work at CMU in architecture, art and creative writing. During that time I regularly attended the first Friday of month event called ―Unblurred‖. This initiative is still in existence and promotes art, music, performances of various types and much more. Garfield endeared itself to me and I found it a very ―cool‖
neighborhood. In 2007 I moved to Los Angeles to do graduate work and degree in Mediascapes which embraces Architecture and Media. While there I did a research project for the Los Angeles Unified School District on how to create sustainable learners. This project‘s aim was how to restore creativity to the numbing educational process that bedevil‘s the education system. I returned to Pittsburgh in February 2010 and costarted an organization called ―I Made it Market‖ with Carrie Nardini in 2007 before going to Los Angeleswhere people sell the things they make. To put food on the table I work at Front Studio Architects in Oakland and loves her work as an architect. I also teach at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Michael : Tell us something about ―Assemble‖ Nina: Assemble is a space where people can make things, either an art or technology production and showcase it. It is geared to developing artists and technologists. It opened officially on April 1, 2011 during the ―Geek Art and Green Innovators Festival‖ April 1-2. It is a ―not for profit‖ organization acting under the Bloomfield Garfield Corporation‘s 501(c)3 status. In conjunction with Unblurred it holds workshops for kids and adults and performing artists on these occasions. Their latest event was on June 15 when Rachel Mason from New York visited to perform her music and art. Coming events are: July 1 an event called ―Colorize the Urban Landscape‖ and on
July 9 ―The Good, Bad and Ugly of your Neighborhood Illustrated‖ Michael: How do you envision your relationship with the neighborhood of Garfield? Nina: Assemble is a community space for art and technology. The idea is to jumble up people from the Universities and from the neighborhoods and cross-fertilize each other with ideas and programs. It wants to give people a chance to learn in social situations. Insertion in the neighborhood is critical to Assemble. On First Friday in December Assemble hopes to have an event called ―Hyper-Local Show‖ where people in neighborhood within 5 blocks are invited to bring one piece of something they made and display or even sell it. Kids in the neighborhood just love to come to Assembly is my observation. Michael: How is your relationship with the Thomas Merton Center and how do you see it going forward? Nina: We have a great relationship with the Thomas Merton Center. We hope down the road to do a project with Book‘Em. Thrifty and its Managers run a magnificent organization and it has become a favorite place to get resources and clothe and much else to run Assemble. While peace and justice activism is not part of Assemble‘s philosophy, its activities and those of the TMC converge in many ways coming at the social issues from different angles.
Photo by Heather McGrath 10 - NEWPEOPLE
FAITH Housing: An East End Cooperative Ministry Program “Take the first step in faith, you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just the first step.” Martin Luther King, Jr. ~ by Theresa Chalich Board President Diane McMahon and I were talking over lunch about the poor state of the economy, the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, and about the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our moods were steadily going down. Then our conversation took us to our jobs and I explained how satisfying it was to be able to provide a safe and livable home for a mother and her young child who had been living in deplorable housing conditions. Diane responded with much enthusiasm -- ―Finally something good is happening. You have to write about this for the New People.‖ Hence the genesis for this article about East End Cooperative Ministry‘s FAITH Housing program. FAITH Housing is a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funded Supportive Housing Program for single or married parents who are homeless and have a physical or mental health disability. In the FAITH Housing program, participants work to
maintain housing stability with their children and to achieve greater self-sufficiency. In our FAITH Housing Program provides the steps program FAITH is interpreted as Families for families as they move up the staircase to Achieving Independence Through Housing. maintain housing stability. Beyond the basic provision of housing, the additional steps are The need for safe and affordable housing is to: ever prevalent in these dire economic times. Develop individualized service Officially, it is estimated that 30% of a plans with goals and timelines for family‘s income is allocated for housing, but the parents and their children. the reality is that many families are spending Connect with and utilize 50% and more. For some, this is mainstream health and social compounded by physical and mental illnesses services. and disabilities that make it difficult to work, Participate actively in the child‘s/ low wages, or bankruptcy due to medical children‘s education. bills. Families find themselves homeless: Work on educational, vocational, whether staying in an emergency shelter, and work-related activities. living in a car or on the streets, or staying in a home that is not owned or rented. These are The FAITH Housing program case manager the issues that are being addressed by the works mutually along with the parents to FAITH Housing program as it works to obtain suitable housing. The location provide financial assistance for housing, as preference is in the eastern neighborhoods in well as case management services. The aim Allegheny County. The leases are based on the 2010 Allegheny County Fair Market is to transcend a housing structure into a Rents and the program fee is based on 30% of home of caring and opportunity for the adjusted family income. parents and their children.
Joyce Rothermel, Food Bank Founder Retires ~ by Bette McDevitt
the homeless men were going to eat lunch. We pulled in some people from the Pittsburgh Joyce Rothermel, retiring as Chief Executive Sisters' Council, and from Norm's vision, we Officer of the Greater Pittsburgh Community created Jubilee Kitchen in the Hill District in Food Bank, found her life's work at the 1978." From the second floor of the soup Merton Center. As a member of the Sisters of kitchen on the hill, Pittsburgh Community the Humility of Mary, she came to Pittsburgh Food Bank took shape. in the early 1970s to teach at Our Lady of Grace Catholic School, and found the Merton "The whole direction of my ministry in Center. By 1977, Joyce had asked permission fighting hunger grew out of my work at the of her order to leave teaching and work as a Center," says Rothermel. "I learned all about staff person at the Center. media, writing press releases, advocacy, and organizing. The tools were absolutely "When we worked on the newsletter, I transferable." remember sitting around every week with the staff, mulling over what the current issues in And she has used those tools to the advantage the world were then." She gravitated toward of those in need. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette issues of funding human needs. "One of our put it well in an editorial, June 6. board members, Norm Connors, was living ―It's hard to imagine that the Pittsburgh food with Vince Eirene, with homeless men on the bank would have attained this reach had it not North Side, at the Duncan Porter House of been for its CEO and co-founder, Joyce Hospitality. They were concerned with where Rothermel. For three decades, Ms. Rothermel has been at the forefront of efforts that try to meet the nutritional needs of the region's most vulnerable people. In short, she never passed up a food fight. As she prepares for retirement this summer, Ms. Rothermel is not one to slip out quietly. Last Thursday, she was present at the inaugural meeting of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Food Security Partnership, which she envisioned and created last year to develop a comprehensive strategy to combat hunger in the region. The partnership includes representatives from food banks, human services, religious groups, education, health care, business and government. The fact that the Pittsburgh food bank has seen phenomenal growth under her is a testament both to her success and, unfortunately, to the community's economic need. Although the food bank handed out 1
million pounds of food in 1981, last year it distributed 23.5 million pounds. That's a lot of mouths fed… It's hard to imagine this key humanitarian organization reaching such a plateau without this key humanitarian. Pittsburgh is a more livable place because of both.‖ When Joyce completes here current position at the Food Bank, she hopes to diversity and balance her daily schedule to include activities with the Merton Center, Pittsburgh Haiti Solidarity Committee, exercise, and time with her husband, Michael Drohan. ―I also plan to volunteer with the Food Bank‘s latest initiative, the SW PA Food Security Partnership that has been formed to implement a five year comprehensive plan to cut hunger in half in our 12 county region,‖ Joyce adds. It may take awhile for Joyce to create what retirement will look like for her.
East End Community Thrift Store 5123 Penn Avenue (a few doors down from TMC) Garfield
Come in today Tuesday — Friday 10 AM - 4 PM Saturday Noon - 4 PM ~ ~ ~ ~
what you donate, what you buy supports Garfield, supports the Merton Center.
Photo by Jason Cohen
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Merton Center Ministry for Peace & Justice - 40 years of Struggle ~ by Molly Rush, co-founder, Thomas Merton Center In 1970 a small group led by CIC President Larry Kessler felt the need to confront the local Catholic diocese about the Vietnam War. Some nuns, priests and laypersons, got together and formed CEASE, Catholics for an End to Asian Slaughter and Exploitation. Our aim was to move the Diocese to speak out clearly about the immorality of the war. Jesus‘ words ―Blessed are the peacemakers‖ and the recent Papal and Bishops‘ statements had challenged many Catholics to work for peace. Members of CEASE put out a mimeographed flyer: “This war in Southeast Asia goes on. It becomes more evident by the day that this war is not only a political or military problem. No longer can we pretend that people aren’t being burned alive or permanently scarred by napalm. No longer can we pretend that defenseless civilians as well as military personnel aren’t being killed or deformed by fragmentation shells. Nor can we pretend that families here and abroad are not being torn apart. No longer can we close our eyes to the fact that an already poor nation’s environment has been crippled by defoliation. We commemorate this year the 10th anniversary of our country’s entry into the Vietnam War. During that time: 40,000 U.S. servicemen have died. 121,000 U.S. servicemen have been wounded. 81,000 South Vietnamese soldiers have died. 501,178 Viet Minh and Viet Cong have died. 1,000,000 civilians have been estimated to have died. 240,000 acres have been defoliated. 5,000,000 civilians have been driven from their homes. We as Catholics can no longer be silent.. “LET THE AMERICAN CHURCH BE A LEADER IN
THIS PROCESS”. Larry Kessler, lawyer Paul Bogdon and Molly Rush signed the statement. CEASE published a newsletter in June 1971. It carried news about our activities: a New Priorities Peace Walk, a Mass of Peace & Justice, a peace study day, and leafleting at parish churches. A conscientious objection lesson plan had been developed and Fr. Neil McCaulley offered to meet with individual students seeking CO status. We also met with representatives of Clergy and Laymen Concerned about the National Organizing Conference planned for August. That summer CEASE members met with Bishops Vincent Leonard and Anthony Bosco to urge that they form a Peace & Justice commission with an adequate budget, personnel, status and authority. We suggested there be draft counseling programs for Catholic high school students. We also asked them to sign a statement calling for a date for withdrawal from Vietnam and for procedures for reconciliation and reparation. They were polite but said that programs already in existence were doing an adequate job of promoting justice. Now that the war was ‗winding down‘ there was no need for a peace commission. The situation was too urgent to wait for the Diocese to act; we‘d have to take the initiative. We began to plan our own peace and justice center. Catholic Interracial Council chair Larry Kessler was a brilliant organizer and plans for a new center were soon in place. The Association of Pittsburgh Priest] gave the project a big boost by endorsing and providing individual support. Of 68 priests contacted; an amazing 44 pledged $20, $15, $10 or $5 a month. ―This overwhelming personal response makes it clear that a full-time peace and justice center is both needed and wanted.‖ Another 22 CEASE members pledged $10 a month. 30 more and we‘d reach our goal of $1000 a
month to pay rent and staff stipends. Twelve women and nine men formed a board of directors and 29 prominent local civil rights, justice and religious leaders served on the advisory committee. We were on our way. Cofounder Larry Kessler was Executive Director, Sister Helene Del Signore secretary and soon three nuns, Stella Smetanka, Betty Sundry and Janet Brink joined the staff. The first issue of The New People, Volume 1, No. 1, was published on February 3, 1972. From the beginning Center members were “people from diverse philosophies who find common ground in the nonviolent struggle to bring about a more just and peaceful world community.” We‘d planned for a grand opening of an office in downtown Pittsburgh in January, 1972. On our third attempt to rent space we signed a lease but soon ―the picture was clouded by all types of mysterious changes in the conditions.‖ We finally found a very cooperative landlord, Eugene Gottesman, who remodeled the building to our specifications. It was located at 1213 East Carson St. in Southside, a working class neighborhood. Church spires overlooked modest homes, Ukrainian, Polish and Croatian, Greek, Serbian and Russian Orthodox. These had been built with small donations from hardworking immigrants, many of whom worked at the nearby J&L steel plant. This was a real neighborhood. Also nearby was an Army recruiting station, two high schools, the Catholic Youth Ministry, the American Federation of Teachers and some U.S. Steel offices. Two other peace groups were located near the colleges in the East End, but we found this new setting quite appropriate. Thus the Thomas Merton Center was born. On Sunday, March 12, 1972 we held an open house in our new offices. Everyone was given a green button with a seed just beginning to sprout. It said, “LET PEACE GROW WITH YOU”.
People Calling For Fair Oil Tax Made Themselves Heard ~ by Liyan Qi About 250 people marched in downtown Pittsburgh on June 10, 2011, chanting slogans such as ―Exxon should pay more‖ to protest against big oil corporations‘ evasion of tax and to promote a ―Fair Economy.‖
big corporations that aren‘t paying taxes, while the rest of us are paying taxes,‖ said Dr. Paul LeBlanc, professor of history at La Roche College.
―Because they‘re not paying taxes, our economy has been hurt. There‘re all kinds of cutbacks in education and social services and other things that we need,‖ added Dr. During the March for Corporate Accountability, LeBlanc, who was holding a sign saying ―Pay people from all walks of life voiced Your Fair Share‖ at Market Square. their discontents with profitable oil and gas companies that received millions of tax North Point Breeze resident Jonathan rebates, such as Exxon Mobile, when the Leibowitz, 33, agreed. federal and state governments are cutting jobs in education and other public services. One ―Right now, a lot of politicians are looking out way to challenge prevalent money for big corporations and the people control of politics is building people power. who write them big campaign checks and not looking out for the people who vote for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders announced a list of them,‖ said Leibowitz while holding his baby top-ten corporate income tax avoiders girl who fell asleep after the rally. in March 2011. The first company on the list was Exxon Mobil. Its Securities and More than loopholes, legislators wrote the laws Exchange Commission (SEC) filling shows to allow the biggest to take tax money that, with a profit of $19 billion in 2009, and not pay any taxes, said Barney Oursler, it not only paid no federal income taxes but executive director of Pittsburgh United, a received a $156 million rebate from the social and economic justice organization. IRS, according to a news release on the ―That‘s why we are out here today. We‘re senator‘s website. trying to build people powers so we can challenge them and the legislators and get them ―I‘m here to protest against Exxon and other to pay their fair share,‖ said Oursler
when he was marching on the Smithfield Bridge. The government could be building infrastructure to create those jobs for millions of unemployed people in this country, said Dave Ninehouser, from the Pennsylvania Wants to Work, a community organization to provide services for the employed and under employed in Pennsylvania. ―What we are doing instead is wasting our resources by giving these massive tax breaks and subsidies to big corporations,‖ said Ninehouser, sitting outside of a Exxon gas station in station square. ―It‘s insane, because it‘s prevent us from what we need to do to get the economy moving again.‖ When asked what she wanted to say to Exxon, a big producer at Marcellus Shale, and other big corporations, Lynnie Pryor of New Kensington said the people have paid them enormous amount of money and it is their turn to pay back. ―Americans carried you with our tax money for years. Now that we need you, it‘s time for you to step up,‖ said Pryor.
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Angry Ghost Towns In Our Midst ~ by Frank Carr, Editor, the NewPeople
scary silhouettes on the steep shoulders of the They have an argument. city. I‘ve spent the last five weeks roaming our Our proud neighborhoods are moving beyond forgotten neighborhoods, from ridge to river, I tell you the strong are growing angry. They blight toward despair. Even after thirty years speaking to those who still call them home. struggle to get off ―welfare‖ only to find jobs of collapse they get worse. Yet good The images are stark, streets where baby that pay them less. Their daily commutes eat neighbors live there, a few to a block in stead boomers played with abundance are nearly up almost an hour‘s pay. The summer jobs of dozens. They live where there are vacant, houses rotting from abandonment. On that keep so many teenagers out of trouble are breathtaking views of downtown or the one vines have begun to overgrow the etched almost gone. In one East Hills community valleys, between outposts of prosperity where glass of the carved hardwood door. Another, center only 10 applications for summer jobs too many live with blinders on and very across the city, housed feral cats who burst were made available this year, the number of rarely see what they have driven by. They forth on each step over a collapsing summer jobs, county-wide, has been cut to only see the shootings on the news, the bad porch. Entire streets in many former mill 900, leaving almost fifteen hundred kids out. press and the fear that surrounds sadness. towns and city neighborhoods are simply gone. Those lucky enough to have had their When you knock on their doors they don‘t But the anger is real. And restive. Reports say houses removed even show the healing work want to speak. at first, then they open up. we could close the ―Delaware loophole‖ and of nature reclaiming and softening the ―It‘s terrible out here,‖ they say. Or, ―There‘s restore the state budget to Rendell-level slopes.. Even many of city‘s famous named nothing for the kids.‖ funding and still cut the taxes on the stairways are impassable and hidden by The old playgrounds are gone. The businesses that do pay their taxes. Only brush. But there is no one to to walk them schoolyards barren except for a few football greed and the blinders of apathy prevent it. anyway. (of course) fields. The abandoned sites of We must listen to the anger, respect its roots planned pools are left with cinder-block bath- and grasp its intelligence. We must stand for And the people still there? Many are stoic old houses moldering. fairness, for the real ―American Way,‖ the timers, some clinging to the illusions and Yet kids laugh. They play. They hope. And one that has driven us to be great neighbors biases that have long challenged our region. they wonder why they are the enemy. and citizens. The anger is righteous, the needs Other are committed to their personal faith so profound and time short or another generation much that community and fellowship have In Pennsylvania, In Pittsburgh, corporations will be stunted by the waste of ignorance, taken on meanings without material avoid state taxes by establishing phantom, poverty and alienation. connection to those around. post-office box ―headquarters‖ in Delaware, a Heed the anger. It is not aimed at you. It state with no corporate income taxes. PA is seeks you to warn you, to move you, even to And there are the strong, who while short of one of 24 states that allow this ―Delaware inspire you to act. It is no longer time for hope are long on work and commitment. In loophole,‖ costing at least a half-billion n debate. Another election cycle looms and our the most ―blighted‖ streets gardens bloom, dollars in revenue a year. The Pirates and urban areas will be further decimated if we do houses shine and children still play. They Nemacolin Woodlands are also not not act. Go back and visit the old have borne the brunt of years of neglect, or ―headquartered‖ in PA. Imagine. neighborhood, granny‘s house or that closed school cuts and abandonment, of transit The statistics are from One Pittsburgh, a labor elementary school. I dare you to come away reductions, or ever rising property taxes that -eco-community coalition fighting for an end unfazed. turned charming working class houses into to the loophole and other corporate welfare. “…I am sure that God did not intend that there be so many poor. The class struggle is of our making and by our consent, not His, and we must do what we can to change it. This is why we at the [Catholic] Worker urge such measures as credit unions and cooperatives, leagues for mutual aid, voluntary land reforms and farming communes.” “So many sins against the poor cry out to high heaven! One of the most deadly sins is to deprive the laborer of his hire.” Dorothy Day, “Loaves and Fishes” Founder of the Catholic Worker Hospitality House, NYC, 1933 to present.
Celebrating 78 Years: 1933--2011 On May 1, 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression, The Catholic Worker newspaper made its debut with a first issue of twenty-five hundred copies. Dorothy Day and a few others hawked the paper in Union Square for a penny a copy (still the price) to passersby. The Catholic Worker Movement is grounded in a firm belief in the God-given dignity of every human person. Today 213 Catholic Worker communities remain committed to nonviolence, voluntary poverty, prayer, and hospitality for the homeless, exiled, hungry, and foresaken. Catholic Workers continue to protest injustice, war, racism, and violence of all forms. 14 - NEWPEOPLE
Social Justice Organizer Training offered by Unite HERE On Saturday July 23rd, Unite HERE, Local 57, will present Social Justice Organizer training focusing on the organizing skills needed to build power in your community, campus, and workplace. The training will be held from 9 am until 5pm. at the U.S. Steel Tower and will provide and opportunity for attendees to meet and strengthen solidarity with other progressive activists in our region. A similar training , held in June, was facilitated by people from Local 57‘s staff, following an agenda and format that Unite Here provided. The focus of the training was to role play conversations where the goal is to recruit people to get involved in the cause that participants are advocating.. For example one of the non Union members is a volunteer at Landslide Farm and she is trying to build a bigger volunteer staff by going door to door in the community and talking to people about the goals of the farm. She focused on practicing these scenarios and found it very helpful. A larger group is expected for the July class. Space is limited; to attend RSVP to: email@example.com or phone: 412-212-1142
River City Resistance Memoir Sought Liane Norman is trying to reconstruct and write an account of the River City Nonviolent Resistance Campaign, which began in 1982 and ended around 1990. A revolving group of folks targeted Rockwell International, Westinghouse and eventually the Software Engineering Institute of CMU because each corporation made parts of first-strike nuclear weapons systems, whose internal logic made nuclear war more likely. For that near-decade we leafleted weekly at these corporations' headquarters and met weekly to learn and think about what nonviolence required and to plan the next week's leaflet or, from time-to-time, an act of civil disobedience designed to up the ante. (We also had a lot of fun.) Westinghouse eventually invited us to meet with some mid-level employees to discuss our concerns: at least one of them came to see things our way. Many individuals and groups from Pittsburgh and beyond joined us to hand out their particular leaflets and to lend their presence to the effort. IF YOU PARTICIPATED (OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO DID) WOULD YOU PLEASE E-MAIL YOUR MEMORIES OF IT TO LIANE at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Be as specific as you can, since Liane's memory isn't what it once was. Thanks so much.
Amnesty Hosts ―Workers of the World‖ Forum ―Workers of the World,‖ a public panel discussion of the international labor movement, will be hosted by the Pittsburgh chapter of Amnesty International, Group 39, at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 20 at the Teamster Temple, 4701 Butler Street. The forum will call public attention to a current Amnesty Group 39 case of three Vietnamese organizers imprisoned for non-violent labor activity. Speaking will be US Congressman Mike Doyle; Kenneth Smith, Industrial Workers of the World anti-sweatshop organizer; Pittsburgh City Councilman William Peduto; and Fred Redmond, USW International Vice-President. They will discuss how governments inhibit workers‘ rights and how the plight of overseas workers affect labor conditions in the U.S. and what the public can do in response.
According to Edwin Everhart, coordinator for Amnesty Group 39, ―For decades American jobs have been sent to places like Vietnam where workers get low pay and no benefits. This panel is about what happens when these workers start to stand up for their rights. ―Labor rights overseas is important to us here at home. In a global labor market If workers at a Vietnamese shoe factory are cheated out of their wages it hurts American workers. ―We‘re honored to have our panelists, important leaders in the fight for workers‘ rights.‖ Several local human rights organizations will co-sponsor the forum. For the past year the local Amnesty group has worked to free three imprisoned
Vietnamese labor organizers Tran Quoc Hien, Doan Van Dien and Doan Huy Chuong, arrested for starting an independent union. In Vietnam all labor unions are coordinated by the Communist Party which renders them ineffective. The Amnesty chapter has been sending letters and petitions to Vietnamese officials on behalf of the workers. For more information call Edwin Everhart at 919 260 9535. The Pittsburgh chapter of Amnesty International, Group 39, is active on many human rights topics and meets at 7 p.m. on the second Monday each month at the First Unitarian Church, Ellsworth Ave in Shadyside. Photos by Jibran Mushtaq
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Recurring Meetings and Meet Ups SUNDAYS __________________________ Anti-War Committee meeting Every other Sunday 2:00pm - 3:30 Merton Center, 5129 Penn Ave., Garfield Book 'Em Packing Day Meets every Sunday 4:00pm - 7pm 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 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 Monthly Meeting 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 weekly on Wednesday 6:30pm – 9:00pm Merton Center, 5129 Penn Avenue, Garfield Write On! Letters for Prisoner's rights We need help answering our 60 letters a month from people in prison dealing with abuse and ne-
glect. Come and meet new people, learn about people in prison while advocating for their rights from the outside! Please bring food to share! Info 412-361-3022 PUSH [Pennsylvanian United for SinglePayer Healthcare] Meets monthly on the second Wednesday 6:15 pm Health Care 4 All PA office, 2101 Murray Avenue, Squirrel Hill All welcome Info: email@example.com 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 FRIDAYS ____________________________ Peaceburgh Drumming Circle 7pm-8:00pm, Weekly Grandview Park in Mt. Washington Raise the Vibration for peace every Friday.... Consciously raise the vibration for peace!! FREE-Family friendly event Bring a drum,flutes,rattles, didge( we REALLY need a didge) singing voices -dancing feet- happy hearts!! Bring some food to share at the potluck!!( we need plates, ice, forks, cups,
~ July ~ Saturday, July 18 We Are One Action & Progressive Congressional Caucus Town Hall Meeting 5pm Kingsley Center On Tuesday, July 18, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. there will be massive community speak-out at East Liberty‘s Kingsley Association auditorium (6435 Frankstown Avenue). The occasion for the mobilization is a town meeting being organized by representatives of the Progressive Caucus in the U.S. Congress, at which Representative John Conyers (D-MI) and Representative Raul Grihalva (D-AZ), and also Representative Michael Doyle (D-PA), will be on hand to hear the thinking of Pittsburgh area residents. This is part of a national tour that the 77 Congressional members of the Progressive Caucus are organizing in cities throughout the country. July 22, 23, 24 Pittsburgh Blues Festival – Benefit for Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank Pittsburgh Blues 6:00 to 10:00 PM Hartwood Acres Presented by First Commonwealth. Proceeds benefit Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Featuring the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Johnny Win-ter, Tommy Castro, Savoy Brown, Janiva Magness, John Németh, Lionel Young Band, Kelly Richey, Girls With Guitars Tour, plus great local bands. KidZone (with arts, crafts, healthy snacks), raffles, merchandise vendors, and plenty of food! FREE FRIDAY (only) admission with bag of groceries to donate to the Food Bank! Kids 12 and under always free – free parking too! Personal cooler donation fee. More info & tickets: www.pghblues.com or 412-460-BLUE
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napkins and drinks too..) BRING A CAMERA — THE VIEW IS AWESOME!! 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information check out our website www.endhumantrafficking.org 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 email@example.com 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
Saturday, July 24 Steel City Presents: The Tree River Circus 10am to 5pm Allegheny Commons, North Side Corner of East Ohio Street and Cedar Avenue The Tree River Circus is a festival bringing together Artists, Musicians, writers, scientists and activists together to celebrate Pittsburgh's unique history, culture and environmental struggle. Please join us for a day of fun and learning, as we create a community voice for Pittsburgh's environment. For more information, visit our website: www.treerivercircus.blogspot.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The NewPeople is the peace and justice newspaper of Pittsburgh and the Tri-State area and fills the voids left by the mainstream by providin...