Published by the Thomas Merton Center
PITTSBURGH’S PEACE & JUSTICE NEWSPAPER VOL. 42 No. 8, September, 2012
OCCUPY PITTSBURGH INSERT
Published by Occupy Pittsburgh
Issue No. 7, September 2012
Trans-Pacific Partnership Protest
WAR ON LABOR Featured Stories
Labor History in Pittsburgh Unite Here! Adjuncts Organize Save Our Schools (Continued on page 6)
Trans-Pacific Partnership Signals Global Corporate Governance by Jo Tavener I’ve been following the Yes Men for years as they use humor to uncover the lies and crimes of global corporations. The Yes Men are two guys who, in their own words, “impersonate big-time criminals in order to publicly humiliate them.” I remember the dinner for oil producers where they provided human candles for the tables, promoting the new biofuel made from the remains of an Exxon janitor who died from toxic exposure at one of its clean-up sites...or Goldie, the golden skeleton with the catch line, “If you must have skeletons in your corporate closets, make sure they are golden ones.” To remind the conference attendees of the promotion, Exxon Mobile key chains were passed out accompanied by gilded skeleton heads, the perfect Exxon Mobile icon. So, given such pranks, I thought the leaked exposure of the latest trade talks, the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), was just another prank to highlight the ultimately mad plans of multinationals to create an iron-cast global corporate governance structure that
would undermine the political and economic power of the nation state, the possibility of democracy anywhere on earth, and the destruction of the health and welfare of over 7 billion people worldwide. I thought that they’d found a female recruit to impersonate Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, who identified the so-called trade negotiations as nothing less than a cover for “a one-percenter’s power tool that could rip up our basic needs and rights [since] countries would be obliged to conform all their domestic laws and regulations to TPP’s rules -- in effect, a corporate coup d’etat.” I was wrong! While the Obama administration was passing Dodd-Frank to provide some oversight of Wall Street and fighting for the Consumer Protection Agency to protect ordinary citizens from corporate malfeasance, its trade representatives to the TPP negotiations were championing corporate hubris, making an end run around government regulation, not only of corporate and financial practices but also federal policy dealing with labor, environment and national health care. Continued on page 3
Thomas Merton Center 40th Anniversary Celebration Dinner This coming November 8, at the Sheraton Station Square, TMC will be celebrating 40 years of passion and commitment to creating a more peaceful and just world. This year Medea Benjamin will be receiving the TMC Peace and Justice Award at the Anniversary Dinner. Medea Benjamin, is a cofounder of both CODEPINK/Women for Peace, and the international human rights organization Global Exchange. Medea has recently written a book on Drone Warfare and is a well known advocate working to end the wars. Celebrate with us! To attend, register online at www.thomasmertoncenter.org.
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. September 2012
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TMC Board of Directors Rob Conroy, Kathy Cunningham, Michael Drohan, Patrick Fenton, Carol Gonzalez, Wanda Guthrie, Shawna Hammond, Edward Kinley, Jonah McAllister-Erickson, Francine Porter, Molly Rush
TMC Standing Committees Board Development Committee Recruits board members, conducts board elections Building Committee Oversees maintenance of 5123-5129 Penn Ave. sites Membership Committee Coordinates membership goals, activities, appeals, and communications 40th Anniversary Committee Plans and oversees activities to celebrate TMC’s 40th year of service Editorial Collective Plans, produces and distributes the NewPeople newspaper Finance Committee Ensures financial stability and accountability of TMC Personnel Committee Oversees staff needs, evaluation, and policies Project Committee Oversees project applications, guidelines, and policies Special Event Committees Plans and oversee TMC fundraising events with members and friends
TMC COMMITTEES & PROJECTS Anti-War Committee email@example.com www.pittsburghendthewar.org
Pittsburgh Campaign for Democracy NOW! 412-422-5377, firstname.lastname@example.org www.pcdn.org
Association of US Catholic Priests Fr.Survil@EmbraceAllOflife.us Book‘Em (Books to Prisoners) email@example.com www.thomasmertoncenter.org/bookem CodePink (Women for Peace) firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-389-3216 www.codepink4peace.org East End Community Thrift Shop 412-361-6010, email@example.com
Pittsburgh Works! (labor history documentaries) firstname.lastname@example.org Roots of Promise 724-327-2767, 412-596-0066 email@example.com (Network of Spiritual Progressives) firstname.lastname@example.org Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition email@example.com; www.pittsburghdarfur.org Urban Arts Project firstname.lastname@example.org
Economic Justice Committee email@example.com
Photo by Kenneth Miller (Linda Loar, Dolly Mason, Wanda Tarrant, Shirley Gleditsch, Colleen Dougherty)
Thrifty is primarily volunteer run and could use your help! For more information please call 412.361.6010.
TMC AFFILIATES Allegheny Defense Project, Pgh Office 412-559-1364 www.alleghenydefense.org Association of Pittsburgh Priests Sr. Barbara Finch 412-716-9750 B.firstname.lastname@example.org Amnesty International email@example.com www.amnestypgh.org The Big Idea Bookstore 412-OUR-HEAD www.thebigideapgh.org Black Voices for Peace Gail Austin 412-606-1408 CeaseFirePA
Global Solutions Pittsburgh 412-471-7852 firstname.lastname@example.org www.globalsolutionspgh.org
Pittsburgh Committee to Free Mumia 412-361-3022, email@example.com Pittsburgh Cuba Coalition 412-563-1519 firstname.lastname@example.org Pittsburgh Independent Media Center email@example.com www.indypgh.org North Hills Anti-Racism Coalition 412-369-3961 www.northhillscoalition.com Pittsburgh North People for Peace 412-367-0383 firstname.lastname@example.org Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee
Raging Grannies 412-963-7163, email@example.com
Religion and Labor Coalition 412-361-4793 firstname.lastname@example.org
Citizens for Social Responsibility of Greater Johnstown Larry Blalock, email@example.com
School of the Americas Watch of W. PA 412-371-9722, firstname.lastname@example.org
Haiti Solidarity Committee email@example.com 412-271-8414 www.thomasmertoncenter.org/hs
United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) 412-471-8919 www.ueunion.org
PA United for a Single-Payer Health Care www.healthcare4allPA.org www.PUSH-HC4allPa.blogspot.com 2102 Murray Avenue Pgh, Pa 15217 412-421-4242
Urban Bikers firstname.lastname@example.org
Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty Martha Connelly (412) 361-7872 email@example.com
Voices for Animals firstname.lastname@example.org 1-877-321-4VFA
Fight for Lifers West 412-361-3022 to leave a message email@example.com http://fightforliferswest.mysite.com
Progressive Pittsburgh Notebook Call 412-363-7472 firstname.lastname@example.org www.progressivepghnotebook.blip.tv
Human Rights Coalition / Fed Up (prisoner support and advocacy) 412-802-8575, email@example.com www.thomasmertoncenter.org/fedup
Westmoreland Marcellus Citizens Group/ Roots of Promise 724-327-2767 firstname.lastname@example.org
Marcellus Shale Protest Group email@example.com (412) 243-4545
The Pittsburgh Totebag Project P.O. Box 99204, Pittsburgh, PA 15233 www.tote4pgh.org
Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network firstname.lastname@example.org
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Eva 412-963-7163 email@example.com
Whose Your Brother? 412-928-3947 www.whosyourbrother.com
Pittsburgh Area Pax Christi 412-761-4319
Interested in getting more involved? Contact the emails / phone numbers above.
marcellusprotest.org Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance 412-867-9213
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Veterans for Peace Icwheaties@aol.com
Trans-Pacific Pact Continued continued from page one “Buy America or Buy Local procurement preferences would be banned and ‘sweat-free,’ human rights or environmental conditions on government contract could be challenged” by a legal system expanded from NAFTA called the Investor-State Dispute Resolution. “Literally a parallel system of justice, corporate complaints would be brought before a three person tribunal of private sector lawyers who would serve as judges. They had the authority to order governments to pay corporations for actual or projected losses from toxic bans, land-use policies, etc. -- and then turn around to represent the very corporations who were bringing suit, in effect “raiding government treasuries” for the corporate coffers. Surely, this has to be a joke -- a play on everyday corporate behavior -- like sending its intellectual capital offshore to evade U.S. taxes while using the money saved to buy elections thanks to Citizens United. As noted by British journalist, Nicholas Shaxson, this turns the American revolution on its head by enabling representation without taxation, or in TPP parlance, insuring that the resources of the planet and its millions of species, including us, be put to the use of fewer than the 100,000 people who own 10 trillion of offshore wealth. Not that I want to make light of TPP by turning to the problem of offshore finance and Citizens United because, as you might have guessed, they are one and the same. The banksters are at the core of this projected global corporate governance structure. This is how it works. According to Nicholas Shaxson, author of Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damages of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens, there is $10 to $20 trillion in offshore banks. James Henry, former chief economist for McKinsey and Co. and the author of the report, “The Price of Offshore Revisited,” commissioned by the Tax Justice Network, puts the figure at $20 to $32 trillion. That amounts to more than half of all world trade processed through tax havens, situating them at the heart of the global economy! The connection between global corporations and the very few banks that handle the hidden assets -- including UBS, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs -- becomes more than obvious. Not only would there be no offshore finance without the banks but Wall Street and the City of London could not have grown so fast into the global power centers that they are today without the existence of offshore. What offshore offers is not just the evasion of taxes, but also secrecy and “escape routes from criminal laws... [and] from government regulation,” in other words, the constraints put in place by democratic rules and codes at home. Though this might not be surprising, given our
enforced quick study of corporate criminality over the past four years, what is shocking is the name of such offshore havens. Most folks think of the Caribbean and Switzerland as central to offshore dealings, but now even the UK and the U.S. are offshore sites. Though our corporations are taxed - or not, given the ability of corporate lawyers to capitalize on legislative loopholes, foreign corporations are not. So the U.S. serves as a tax haven, with secrecy and escape from home regulations for corporations and wealthy individuals from Latin America, Africa, even the Middle East. London does the same for Europe. It’s not difficult to connect the dots between TPP and offshore finance now that we see the two hats that every administration since Reagan has worn. James Henry notes that offshore financing deprives the U.S. government of over $100 billion in tax revenues and “drives a big hole through the nation state system that was designed to raise tax revenue.” It’s no surprise, then, that TPP includes “all of the NAFTA-style privileges that promote offshoring.” It is offshore that global corporations and financial companies can grow their power to undermine the power of individual nation states -- with the added help of both the Bush and Obama administrations. In effect, Obama undermines his own health reform when his negotiators press to permit “medicine and seed monopolies to jack up medicine prices, [and enable big pharma] the right to challenge medical prescription group buying plans.” Similarly, the administration assisted Wall Street in killing Dodd-Frank (see Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone article, “How Wall Street Killed Financial Reform”) while U.S. trade representatives demanded that TPP signatories “accept without regulation risky financial products and services.” Nor, says Lori Wallach, will nations be able to “use capital controls, taxes or other measures to limit the power of financial speculators.” American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was just an opening gambit to bring Congress in line with the sugar plum fairies of corporate dreams. We may take pleasure in how the light of day has forced some companies to leave that association. However, TPP is much more powerful and much more secretive. 600 corporate representatives, as US trade advisors, have access to the text of the negotiations while the public and Congress is locked out. If not for the leak to Public Citizen of the TPP chapter on the rights and privileges of foreign investors, we wouldn’t know how our government is selling us out behind our backs. Couple this with the latest disclosure that numerous corporate leaders like Aetna’s Mark Bertolini and JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon are meeting with Senators Mark Warner (D) and Saxby Chamblis (R) to create a deficit reduction budget along the lines of a Simpson-Bowles 3.0 to include some tax reform along with big cuts in Medicare and Social Security.
Breaking News: TPP Text Leaked A leaked draft of one of the most controversial chapters of the TPP (found at tinyurl.com/8kn9l5j) reveals extreme rights granted to foreign investors. This leaked trade pact text shows dangers of secret negotiations going on behind the scenes. One of the most controversial chapters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership reveals that extreme provisions have been agreed to by U.S. officials, providing a stark warning about the dangers of “trade” negotiations occurring under conditions of extreme secrecy without press, public or policymaker oversight. Source: information found at www.citizen.org June 13, 2012—Press Release
For details, please read “The CEO Plan to Steal Your Social Security and Medicare” by Dean Baker as well as the pro-business article by Steven Pearlstein that broke the news, published July 21 in The Washington Post. The point to be made here is that corporate America, now calling itself Fix The Debt, is trying an another end run around the electorate by raising $50 to $100 million from corporate allies to build support for the proposal. Furthermore, we’ll be paying for this corporate PR effort since such contributions, designated as charitable, can be made with pre-tax dollars. That this effort may be able to sell itself as being the adult and equitable way to break Washington gridlock is just one more sign of corporate capture not only of our political system but of our entire culture. What to do? Perhaps we need to make our voices heard and our presence felt at the next negotiating session of TPP in Leesburg, Virginia on Sunday, September 9 at 3:00 pm.(1) to demand that the entire text of the 26 chapters be made available over the internet. When asked the reason for TPP secrecy, the U.S. trade representative implied that the knowledge of the negotiations so far could derail the treaty. What he said was, “Well, in the past, for instance, the Free Trade Area of the Americas, when the text was revealed, we couldn’t finish it.” Let’s hope we can bring about the same fate for the TransPacific Partnership by demanding transparency now before negotiations have concluded. Jo Tavener is a member of the editorial collective. (1) Go to http://www.citizenstrade.org/ctc/ blog/2012/08/08/register-to-help-drag/ for demonstration details.
Voter Registration, Voter ID - Taking It to the Streets of Pittsburgh! by Celeste Taylor Ongoing coverage of local grassroots, nonpartisan voter registration and voter ID outreach, get out the vote and election protection to the Allegheny County minority and low income communities. On August 15, non-partisan voter registration and voter ID outreach was conducted in the Hill District. Thank you to: NAACP Pittsburgh Branch, Freedom Unlimited, B-PEP, Black and White Reunion, Monumental Baptist Church, PA Voter ID Coalition and to all the volunteers, shop owners, organizations, citizens who welcomed us and to the New Pittsburgh Courier for covering this important happening! We still need more
volunteers. Join US! Trainings at which tool-kits and materials will be distributed, phone banks, and deployments to neighborhoods and businesses, will happen every Saturday in September and October from 2pm-5pm at Freedom Unlimited, 2201 Wylie Ave., Hill District, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. Volunteers have been trained to train others and to speak and table at events. Upcoming Highlight Event: In 2008, 6 million Americans didn't vote because they missed a registration deadline or didn’t know how to register. In 2012, we want to make sure no one is left out. On September 25, 2012, volunteers, civic groups, and organizations from all over the
country will "hit the streets" for National Voter Registration Day. This single day of coordinated ﬁeld, technology and media efforts will create pervasive awareness of voter registration opportunities, allowing us to reach tens of thousands of voters we could not reach otherwise. If you need more information call our Voter Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE. Celeste Taylor is the local civic engagement coordinator for the NAACP.
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Activist Transformations Peace Activists Penetrate Y12 Nuclear Sanctum by Molly Rush
Shadow on the Rock by Daniel Berrigan, S.J. [one of the Plowshares 8] At Hiroshima there’s a museum and outside that museum there’s a rock, and on that rock there’s a shadow. That shadow is all that remains of the human being who stood there on August 6, 1945 when the nuclear age began. In the most real sense of the word, that is the choice before us. We shall either end war and the nuclear arms race now in this generation, or we will become Shadows On the rock.
Sister Megan Rice Early on July 28, three peace activists walked into one of the country’s “most militarily secure” sites — the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn, a $549 million fortress which contains the nation's primary supply of bomb-grade uranium, and conducted a bold protest against the government’s plans to spend $80 billion to upgrade the nuclear weapons production complex. Nuclear experts call it the biggest security breach in the history of the nation’s atomic complex. Megan Rice, an 82-year-old nun; Greg Boertje-Obed, 57, a house painter and veteran; and Michael Walli, 63, a gardener and Roman Catholic layman, used wire-cutters to cut through multiple fences to reach the Protected Area, where work on nuclear warheads takes place. The risk was extraordinary. Wackenhut Services, Y-12's private security contractor for the past decade, has often bragged about its security capabilities and the massive firepower available, if necessary, to overtake an adversary force. Responding to an alarm, Security found the three activists hanging banners in the dark, splashing blood, and painting messages on the plant's storage facility. They offered to break bread with the guards and displayed their possessions — a Bible, candles and white roses. They also sang. Sixty-seven years to the day after the U.S.
Photo Courtesy of disarmnowplowshares.wordpress.com
bombed Nagasaki, Japan killing 39,000 of its 195,000 residents and injuring 25,000, a federal grand jury arraigned the three activists, known as "Transform Now Plowshares." Commenting on the indictment, U.S. Attorney Killian stated, "This is a matter of national security." The threecount indictment was as follows: 1. aiding and abetting in the depredation of federal property at the Y12 National Security Complex and causing damage in excess of $1,000 (maximum penalty 10 years imprisonment and $250K fine); 2. aiding and abetting each other in the damage or injury or planned damage or injury to real or personal property at the Y12 National Security Complex (maximum penalty 5 years imprisonment and $250K fine. 3. trespass on the Y12 National Security Complex (maximum penalty 1 year imprisonment; $100K fine). The Judge set a trial date of October 10, 2012 in the federal courthouse in Knoxville, Tennessee. The defendants, in defense of their action, cite U.S. Constitutional and Humanitarian Treaty Law, as well as the Nuremberg Principles saying: “The ongoing building and maintenance at Y-12 constitutes war crimes that can and should be investigated and prosecuted by judicial authorities. We are required by International Law to denounce and resist known crimes. There have been over 100 nonviolent Plowshares actions around the world since 1980, when the Plowshares 8 hammered two Mark 12-
Before dawn, on the morning of July 28, 2012 three Plowshare activists succeeded in completing a disarmament action at the Oak Ridge Y-12 Nuclear facility. Pictured at left: Michael R. Walli (63), Sr. Megan Rice, (82), and Greg Boertje-Obed, (57). They have received a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine by a federal grand jury .
A missile nose cones at a GE plant in King of Prussia. www.nytimes 8/11/12 “The Nun Who Broke into the U.S. the Nuclear Sanctum.”
Resistance Continues A few weeks prior to the Y-12 protest, one of the Plowshares 8, Fr. Carl Kabat, continued his life’s work of doing “nonviolent public resistance to evil,” by embodying Isaiah’s prophecy of beating swords into plowshares. He had spent over 18 years in prison for Plowshares actions. “I, Fr. Carl Kabat, OMI, have decided to celebrate Independence Day July 4th, 2012 (better named Interdependence Day) at the New Nuclear Bomb Factory in Kansas City, Missouri. Eighty-Five percent (85%) of the nuclear bombs we (the US Citizens) own were made in Kansas City and 85% of all our future bombs will be made at this new factory in Kansas City.” On August 6th, Hiroshima Day, anti-nuclear weapons protesters were arrested at the Pentagon, Lockheed Martin in King of Prussia, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Trident Submarine Base in Bangor, Washington, and Vandenberg Air Force Base. As part of the Nevada Desert Experience’s August Desert Witness, six were arrested at the Nevada Test Site on Nagasaki Day, August 9th. www.nukeresister.org/2012/ Molly Rush is one of the Plowshares Eight, a board member at TMC and a member of the editorial collective.
Move To Amend Organizing Locally by Edith Bell
where the Supreme Court confirmed that corporations are persons and that money is speech. The relationship between individual citizens and corporations has become inverted. We no longer have a government by and for the People, but by and for the We have the best government money can corporations. buy. Corporations, big business, the 1% are An avalanche of money flows into politics, pouring millions of dollars into political influencing legislation to the point where campaigns, and the corporate media decides that lobbyists write the law and hand it to “our only those candidates, who can raise enough representatives”. money, are viable candidates worth giving To save our constitutional republic all exposure. Consequently our country is governed corporate constitutional rights must be abolished. to benefit the wealthy. How did we get here, and Corporations must solely serve the purpose of what can we do about it? legal and administrative constructs to serve As early as 1886 in the case of Santa Clara society. County vs. Southern Pacific Rail Road the The organization Move To Amend was formed Supreme Court declared that the provisions in the to end corporate rule and legalize democracy. 14th Amendment of the Constitution, that forbids After hearing presentations by Move To Amend a State to deny to any person in its jurisdiction speakers here in Pittsburgh in July, several the equal protection of the laws, applies to people expressed interest in organizing locally. corporations, hence corporate “personhood”. Members of the Women’s International It began the accumulation of human rights for League for Peace and Freedom, American corporations climaxing in “Citizens United”, Friends Serve Committee PA, Pittsburgh local 4 - NEWPEOPLE
MoveOn council, the Coffee Party and unaffiliated individuals met for local planning. The following ideas were discussed: -Concentrate on state legislators, collecting stacks of petitions demanding an amendment) to the Constitution that will declare once and for all that corporations are not people and money is not speech. -Take advantage of people’s disgust with the avalanche of mud-slinging political ads and collect signatures on our petitions at the polls as voters leave. As long as we keep 10 ft from the polling place we will be legal. For this we will need lots of volunteers. -Use websites for resources and info: wilpf.org/ Corporations versus Democracy, MovetoAmend.org For more information contact or to find out when our next meeting is 412-661-7149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Edith Bell is the Coordinator of the local Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Community Foundation
Activist Happenings Religious Freedom under the Affordable Care Act by Kitoko Chargois
requiring their insurance policies to provide free contraceptive care, religiously affiliated Independence Day: a day to celebrate the organizations such as hospitals and freedoms of America. This July 4, rather than universities will only have a yearlong munching on hotdogs or soaking up some exemption. rays at the pool, members of the Association Members of the APP ( nuns, priests and of Pittsburgh Priests (APP) gathered at St. laypeople are among their numbers) hold a Mary of Mercy Catholic Church armed with different view. They believe that while signs and leaflets about the Afordable Care religious institutions should be required to Act and religious freedom. Their comply with the mandate under the target:audience: the religious officials and Affordable Care Act, no one will actually be congregants of St. Mary’s who were forced to use services that go against their attending the July 4 mass. religious beliefs. They believe that Catholic Two days earlier, in a 5 to 4 vote, the couples have their conscience to decide Supreme Court decided to uphold the whether or not to use contraceptive care. Affordable Care Act. Reactions ranged from These two opposing viewpoints went head jubilation to dismay. For much of the to head when the Fourth of July mass came Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese, the passing of to an end and the doors of St. Mary’s were the Affordable Care Act with some of its opened. As people began streaming out, they mandates was a blatant infringement of their were met with signs that said things like, religious freedoms. “It’s not about freedom or religion, it’s about Under the Affordable Care Act, women will power” and “It’s ok to think like an adult.” get free access to preventative healthcare Members of the APP held out leaflets that such as mammograms, screenings for were sometimes taken and sometimes cervical cancer, and prenatal care. Employer ignored. insurance providers will also be mandated to Many of the leafletters found themselves provide free contraceptive care for women. engaged in conversation with those that For the Catholic Diocese, that mandate is the disagreed on their views. In one corner, sticking point. Father Jack O’Malley was fielding comments Artificial birth control of any sort such as from a man who was opposed to the fee that contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion would result from failing to obtain health inducing drugs go against Catholic teaching. care insurance. “I don't understand how It is believed that blocking the process of people like you think it’s ok for me to pay for procreation with such methods violates something I don’t believe in,” he said. natural law. The Catholic Diocese argues that “You believe in supporting a war, but you to use or offer these services would force don't support paying for affordable health them to act against conscience. care?” asked Father O’Malley. Though there is a provision in the At her end of the sidewalk, Becky Newlin Affordable Care Act that gives Churches and was having limited luck when it came to other places of worship an exemption from sharing her views and leaflets. “Some people
were open, but a couple of people handed them back like this,” she said, holding out a leaflet that had been crumpled up into a ball. “One man kicked my sign half a yard away and one person spit at me.” Despite the negative backlash, Newlin was undeterred. “It’s all about talking to people. I’m in an arena where not everybody thinks like I do, so I have to be prepared,” she said. Marie Northland, who had stopped to speak to the leafletters, felt that the mandate was forcing Catholics to choose between the law and their religion. “The mandate is that religious organizations and other organizations who may or don’t hold that as a tenant of their faith are held in compliance,” she said. “They have to provide something that goes against their religious beliefs.” Despite his opposing stance on the mandate, Bishop Zubik approached members of the APP to say hello and shake their hands. While the Bishop did not get involved in the various debates he said, “236 years ago our country began with a constitution that gave us freedom of religion and I think we came to thank God for both and also to see the ways in which our freedoms came in place so that we can continue to defend our freedoms.” After many intense conversations, the last of the congregants had left and the leaf letters packed up their signs and handouts. It is hard to know if anyone had changed their opinions, but both sides had gotten a chance to present their positions.
Valuing Social Justice at TRCF
Fantastic Production of Gem of the Ocean Continues
by Anne E. Lynch The Thomas Merton Center and its projects are supported by its members and eased along with grants, some of which have come from the Three Rivers Community Foundation that funds social justice work. The Three Rivers Community Foundation (TRCF) has given out over $1,000,000 in grants since its founding in 1989. While most foundations start with a single large gift (think family foundations, or corporate ones), community foundations rely on their communities for donations to cover both grant-making and operations. TRCF was founded to fund the groups that were too small, too new, or too controversial to get traditional streams of funding. One of the unique qualities of the Foundation is its refusal to be risk adverse. It supported the needle exchange program in Pittsburgh before it was legally sanctioned. And it encourages groups seeking grants to reach beyond their issue-bubble to work with other social justice causes. While TRCF has funded larger groups over many years, the Foundation’s core grant-making continues to focus on smaller organizations that are working on cutting-edge issues. While many of the Foundation’s donors have their particular interest areas, they also see the broader social justice picture. Gifts to TRCF ensure that all groups working for social justice in our region
have a shot at getting the funds they need to survive. It’s working collectively – as a community – that is key to promoting and creating progressive social change. By giving to a community foundation like TRCF, donors can rest easy knowing that their gifts are going to be used for many causes! The economic downturn of the past 18 months has hit the Pittsburgh region hard. Due to this, it is possible that for the first time in TRCF’s history it may not be able to make any grants in 2012-2013. Trying to avert this situation, TRCF is running an IndieGoGo campaign, the proceeds of which will go toward 2013 grantmaking. How much one gives is dependent on both one’s resources and one’s commitment to the larger social justice movement. Though any donation is welcomed, the Foundation needs donations of $25 or $50 or more from a substantial portion of the progressive community to ensure its continuing social justice grantmaking. Please consider giving this year especially to the Three Rivers Community Foundation. Check out TRCF’s campaign at tinyurl.com/8ttuyua. Anne Lynch is Manager of Administrative Operations & Special Projects at Three Rivers Community Foundation. You can find out more about TRCF at trcfwpa.org.
Kitoko Chargois served as a New People intern at the Thomas Merton Center this past summer.
by Ken Miller “Gem of the Ocean” is free at the August Wilson Center Tuesdays only from Sept 11 - October 9. Call for times and to make reservations at 412.258.2700. This is the time for students and workers to all see an August Wilson play... nothing makes a shift at work more pleasant than the opportunity to reflect on the theater with your co-workers! Education in Pittsburgh is not complete without this play by August Wilson. People will be hungry to see all nine of his plays after this performance.
Above, Wali Jamal plays the brutal cop Caesar in “Gem of the Ocean,” a performance that will rattle your spine. For folks who remember his portrayal of the kind thoughtful journalist Martin Delany from the recent production of Martin Delany Lives!, you will find that this is a very different character! Kenneth Miller is a member of the Thomas Merton Center editorial collective. September 2012
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Activist Visions of Peace and Justice Creating A New Economy That Works for All, Continued by Sarah Byrnes “Just beneath the surface of traditional media attention, something vital has been gathering force and is about to explode into public consciousness. The ‘New Economy Movement’ is a far-ranging coming together of organizations, projects, activists, theorists, and citizens.” -- Gar Alperovitz Gar Alperovitz is the founder of the Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland, and a member of the movement to build a new economy in place of our broken old one. It’s a movement that’s dreaming of a system that will work for everyone (not just the rich) in harmony with the planet. (See Gar’s full article in Alternet here: http://bit.ly/JJPN5Q.) Continued on page 6 And we’re not just dreaming; we’re building. “The name of the game is hands-on activity,” and we’re building worker co-ops, state -owned banks, collaborative forms of consumption, renewable energy co-ops, community land trusts, farmers’ markets, urban agriculture, peer-to-peer learning networks, alternative currencies, time banks, and locally-owned businesses. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This is a movement that also dreams of happy, vibrant communities where people know their neighbors and can rely on each other in tough times. People are rebuilding community through “Transition Towns,” “Resilience Circles,” and dozens of other models. Similar to the “affinity group” in social movements, Resilience Circles provide a space for 8 – 15 people to gather to support each other, engage in mutual aid, vent frustrations, laugh, and have fun. Lots of times, they gather around a potluck. The goal is sustenance in all its forms. The best part of a Resilience Circle is exchanging “gifts and needs,” when people name things they can offer each other and things they need help with. At my Circle, for example, one person offered to give bike tune-ups, and mentioned she’d like to be able to hem her own pants. A few moments later, after two others also said they’d like to learn to sew, one woman offered to run a sewing class for the group. And moments after that, I was somehow scheduling a time for one of the members to cut my hair. A dog-sitting/child-care exchange began to bud. People began brainstorming about how to find and share a 20-foot ladder. All of a sudden, we all felt a lot more wealthy. We were amazed at how many skills, talents, and things we held in common. It was all the same people and all the same stuff, just linked together in a new way. That’s the new economy. Old Economy, Old Solutions By now, the problems with the “old” economy are well understood. We know that the system is set up to siphon money from the “real economy” and middle class into Wall Street’s “phantom economy” to enrich the wealthy. We feel the brokenness of the old economy as we and our families face joblessness, low
wages, foreclosure, and debt. Our communities face budget cuts, extreme weather disasters, and deteriorating infrastructure. Nationally, we spend more on health care than any other developed nation, and yet our health outcomes are among the worst. We continue to subsidize the military, fossil fuel, and big agriculture industries (among others), despite the ways they destroy the planet and undermine our health. Poverty is rising, and economic inequality is as high as it’s been since the Great Depression. Politically, the system seems less and less able to respond to even regular-size problems, let alone chronically high unemployment, climate change, and energy shortages. Corporate stranglehold of our democracy blocks even the modest reforms. To top it all off, we’re more isolated and less happy than ever. Despite all this, the dominant debate in much of the world remains stuck between two old poles: the “free market” approach now centered on austerity, versus the Keynesian growth model. Neither addresses the ecological crisis, and neither is creating sufficient jobs or livelihoods. The new economy movement presents a third option rooted in ecological balance, shared prosperity, and deepening democracy. Though we may not always name it as such, it’s blooming everywhere in thousands of places like solar-powered businesses, local food movements, the movement to overturn Citizens United, and so much more. At the moment, the movement is clarifying the connections among these seemingly disparate activities. People are coming to understand themselves as part of a larger whole. As this understanding expands, momentum will grow, and that moment will come when the new economy “explodes into public consciousness.” A “New Economy” campaign is about to begin in Pittsburgh. Stay tuned to get involved. New Economy Resources: New Economy Working Group – neweconomyworkinggroup.org Resilience Circles – localcircles.org Transition US – transitionus.org YES! Magazine – yesmagazine.org New Economics Institute – neweconomicsinstitute.org Business Alliance for Local Living Economies – livingeconomies.org Shareable.net Post-Carbon Institute – postcarbon.org Sarah Byrnes is the Economic Justice Organizer at the Institute for Policy Studies, where she coordinates the Resilience Circle Network. She has worked with Americans for Fairness in Lending, Americans for Financial Reform, the Center of Concern, and the Thomas Merton Center.
International Day of Peace Local Events—Get Involved! The local planning committee for the International Day of Peace invites all of us to the following events to be held this year at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church (ELPC), 116 South Highland Avenue and other local venues. - A Prayer Vigil at 12:01 am, September 21st that will continue through midnight. (ELPC) - A Rally against Violence at the Allegheny County Courthouse Courtyard, 436 Grant Street, featuring readings of victims’ names and messages from anti-violence activists, Noon to 12:45 pm. - Evening program at ELPC from 7:00 to 8:15 pm 6 - NEWPEOPLE
to include: - International Flag Ceremony at ELPC involving 195 flags. Flags will be provided. - Blessing of the Peace Pole at ELPC. - Rev Heather Schoenewolf’s homily on Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future. - Interfaith Peace Service Ceremony. Activities will continue on Saturday, September 22 with films from 6 – 10 pm at Calvary Episcopal Church, 315 Shady Avenue in Shadyside. The festival will also include two Pittsburgh filmmakers and a panel discussion. Films include Corner Voices, In Service – From Baghdad to Pittsburgh and portions of The People Speak, which is made up of dramatic readings inspired by Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.” A panel moderated by Tom Slater will include filmmakers Barbra Labia and Ralph
Vespucci, along with local veterans. For more information and directions, call 412-661-0120. The American Friends Service Committee, in Pittsburgh and in Philadelphia, are partnering with the Philadelphia Envision Peace Museum to present a program “Peace, Education and Justice” on September 21st the International Day of Peace. In Pittsburgh the event will be held at the Pittsburgh Friends Meeting House, 4836 Ellsworth Ave in Oakland from 6:15 to 9:00 pm. Light refreshments will be served. Each city will show a video developed by the America Friends Service Committee and the movie The Inconvenient Truth about Waiting for Superman. Following this there will be a joint teleconference with a panel of youth and educators. Submitted by Joyce Rothermel a TMC volunteer and former TMC Staff member.
Special War on Labor Insert Walking on Two Legs, Understanding the Union Movement in Pittsburgh by Charlie McCollester The Pittsburgh Photo Source: Pointofpittsburgh.com labor movement has deep roots. Both AFL (1881) and CIO (1937) were founded here. Local corporate leaders speak of a “mature labor relations climate.” In 200 years of labor-management relations in Charlie McCollester southwest Pennsylvania, few variations on this central economic relationship have been experienced. From gun battles and crippling strikes on one hand to close partnerships and collaborations today, the full spectrum of possibilities exist in the present situation facing organized labor in Pittsburgh.. Deep and long term partnerships illustrate the positive possibilities of collaboration; but there are ongoing struggles that threaten life and death outcomes. However, if a new relationship, a truly mature relationship, between capital and labor is possible anywhere in the face of global ecological and economic crisis, it will happen in Pittsburgh. On the positive side, the union building trades enjoy generally symbiotic relations with union contractors. Their power in any large-scale building project is rooted in their superb training programs and the broad allegiance of the skilled craftsmen essential to complete large complex projects on time and under budget. With a decentralized industry and constantly changing work locations, skill training constitutes the trades’ lifeblood. Political action is key in terms of infrastructure projects and governmental financing. Long-range problems for the unionized trades include the possible implosion of governmental investment in roads, sewers and other infrastructure, combined with right wing attacks on prevailing wage standards. Regionally, largescale private construction and a significant slice of Marcellus Shale development have kept regional construction employment relatively high.
Extending unionism to lower level construction projects and the recruitment of young motivated workers including minorities and women are ongoing issues. Public sector unions are under concerted attack from well-financed right wing forces. The UFCW has beaten back privatization of the state stores for the moment. State employees in AFSCME have enjoyed a certain truce with Governor Corbett, but an all-out attack on state pensions and medical benefits is almost certainly coming before the governor is retired by the voters. Postal workers and letter carriers suffer from the Republican calculated strangulation of the postal service. The transit union, blamed by the Governor for mass transit’s woes, suffers, along with the general public, from lack of a vision for regional mass transit and a dedicated funding stream. Teachers’ unions are the focus of national attack. Charter schools peel away resources. Cyber schools reap large profits from schools that are free of buildings, most after-school programs, and serious oversight. Attacks on seniority protections undermine the attraction of teaching as a career and threaten the critical role of experienced school teachers. Despite the difficult climate for unions and attacks on labor protections, some important unions are expanding and growing stronger. The Hotel Restaurant union (HERE) has had important organizing victories at the Fairmont, Renaissance and Wyndham hotels, and the Meadows and Erie Presque Isle casinos. While they conducted successful contract negotiations at the Sheraton, Westin, and Omni, they still lack contracts at the Renaissance and Wyndham. AFTRA, representing union television employees, is locked in bitter contract negotiations with WTAE Channel 4. The ability of management to ignore the desire of large majorities of their workers for unionization and to drag out negotiations for years demonstrates the fatal weakness of American labor law. Perhaps the most important local struggle will be SEIU’s effort to organize Pittsburgh’s 800pound gorilla, UPMC. The region’s largest employer is fiercely anti-union and renowned as a
tough, mean employer. UPMC’s weakness is its negative public image as an extremely wealthy non-contributing pseudo non-profit. Its closing of Braddock Hospital and the threat that its new Monroeville facility poses to its unionized McKeesport Hospital makes it a prime target for activist anger. A victory at UPMC would shift the entire unionization dynamic in the region. The United Steelworkers embodies the twosided situation faced by unions in a world of implacable enemies and less than certain allies. This month they face important negotiations of their two largest steel contracts: United States Steel and Arcelor Mittal. After 75 years, the relationship with US Steel is nothing if not mature. But with a global market for steel contracting, the situation is dramatically different with multinational steel producer Arcelor Mittal, which is demanding huge cuts in wages and benefits. The USW is also supporting a strong organizing effort targeting adjunct faculty at Duquesne University. Adjunct faculty, often deep in debt and earning under $25,000 a year with few rights or privileges, are the most exploited workers in higher education. Shamefully, given the long history of Catholic social teaching supporting unionization, Duquesne has invoked a “religious exemption” to block a counting of the adjuncts’ votes. Finally, a unique effort at promoting labormanagement dialogue has been inaugurated at the Community College of Allegheny County. A series of forums on critical issues facing the region have featured Leo Gerard, USW president; John Surma, US Steel president; Rich Trumka, AFL-CIO president; Nick DiIulius of Consol Energy; and Hilda Solis, U.S. Secretary of Labor. Future Forums will include Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood and representatives of the Mondragon Cooperatives in Spain. The union movement in Pittsburgh walks on two legs. For employers willing to meet their workers halfway, unions offer a working relationship of mutual benefit. For those who deny their employees a voice and protections in the workplace, the struggle continues. Charlie McCollester is a member of the Thomas Merton Center editorial collective.
The Transit Twelve Condemned to Continue Serving Their Community by Paul Le Blanc
same as maintaining roads and bridges.” Denouncing “many millions in tax The movement for economic justice has cuts to wealthy corporations,” they called on just been blessed by “martyrs” who have been condemned to continue the struggle for the state government “to establish dedicated funding for bus routes crucial to our economic justice. The “Transit Twelve” neighbors ability to get to work, to food, to were activists arrested on June 8, for medical care, to schools, to the polls.” The committing non-violent civil disobedience, proposed “transit cuts will result in far more at the conclusion of a Pittsburghers for seriously blocked traffic every day in our Public Transit demonstration in downtown communities ... raising the costs of Pittsburgh. The mobilization 400 – trade unionists, community activists, students, and commuting, overloading our roads, and filling our air with far more dangerous levels others – were pushing back against of already high pollution.” threatened cuts in the Pittsburgh area mass The Twelve included: Marcia Bandes, transit system. Robin Clarke, Russ Fedorka, Helen The “Transit Twelve” blocked traffic, Gerhardt, Paul Le Blanc Jonah McAllisterprotesting “the assault on our community” Erickson, Marc Mancini, Molly represented by the threat “to cut public Nichols, Paul O'Hanlon, Mel Packer, Molly transit through the withholding of Rush, and Joshua Zelesnick. Several of funding.” Asserting “transportation is a these sisters and brothers are active in the human right,” they said “a public transit system is an essential part of maintaining the Economic Justice Committee of the Thomas Merton Center. Some are also veterans of basic infrastructure of any urban area -- the Occupy Pittsburgh. These and others are
Pittsburghers for Public Transit. On August 8, a decision was handed down by the Allegheny County court which dismissed three misdemeanor charges, instructing the Twelve to complete 40 hours of community service (with organizations such as the Community Food Bank, the Mon Valley Unemployed Committee, or the Thomas Merton Center). It is possible that there might also be a modest fine. The Twelve are to return to court on November 14, with letters indicating that they have completed the community service. Pittsburghers for Public Transit, including the Transit Twelve, will be continuing efforts to defend and expand public transit for well beyond November – as long as it takes. To see how you can join, visit www.pittsburghersforpublictransit.org. Paul LeBlanc is one of the Transit Twelve and member of the Thomas Merton Center.
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Special War on Labor Insert Leo Gerard Delivers the Bernie Kleinman Annual Lecture by Michael Drohan, Bette McDevitt and Molly Rush Leo Gerard Speaking At the Pump House
On July 14, Leo Gerard delivered the Bernie Kleinman lecture Photos by Jim Hohman at the Pump House, sponsored by the Battle of Homestead Foundation. Leo traced in broad strokes the economic and political track of the U.S. from the time of the Great Depression to the present day. Essentially it is the story of the rise and fall of inequality in the US and the role unions have played in the process. At the onset of the Great Depression inequality was at its highest level ever and unionization of workers was very low. The New Deal of FDR introduced several changes, the result of which was the creation of a solid Middle Class. Among measures introduced by Roosevelt were the Glass-Steagall Act which put a firewall between Commercial and Investment Banks, the Social Security Act which provided stability to widows and the elderly, the Fair Labor Standards Act which established the minimum wage and the 40 hour workweek, and the Wagner Act which facilitated unionization. The net effect of the New Deal measures was to reduce inequality drastically over the following two to three decades to reach its
lowest level in the mid 1950s, at which time the top 10 percent of the population owned 33 percent of the wealth. It is not coincidental that over this same period unionization grew to 35 percent of the workforce, its highest level ever in the history of the U.S. Collective bargaining of workers secured prosperity, higher wages, better benefits, and security for union members like they never enjoyed before. The growth of the Middle Class created a virtuous economic cycle since these workers provided a more robust demand for the products that manufacturing and industry produced. Since the end of World War II , U.S. economic and political elite have worked to roll back the democratization of wealth achieved by the New Deal. In 1947 the passage of the TaftHartley Act limited workers’ strikes and reduced workers’ bargaining power. In the 1980s under Ronald Reagan, the war on workers and the Middle Class began in earnest, best symbolized by his busting the Air Traffic Controllers Union. All the progress of the 1950s and 1960s, including civil rights and environmental legislation as well as workers safety measures under OSHA, were aggressively attacked. Regulations on businesses and banks were targeted by the Reagan administration and its successors. The closing of factories and de-unionization resulted in the disappearance of much of the solid working class.
The net effect on poor and minority populations was a dramatic rise in inequality, which today equals that of the 1920s, prior to the Great Depression. By 2007 the top 10 percent of Americans took home half the national income as union membership declined to 12 percent. Over the last 30 years the share of income held by the top one percent has doubled. From 2008 to the present, the top one tenth of one percent, received 93 percent of the total gains in income. During the George W. Bush years, the U.S. lost 60,000 factories, resulting in massive layoffs. US manufacturing has been gutted and the tax base greatly depleted. So what is to be done in this dismal economic climate? Gerard maintains that what is essential is the rebuilding of U.S. manufacturing, proposing tax breaks to companies who bring jobs back to the U.S. rather those who export jobs. He strongly urged that we must get out the vote and make sure that Obama is reelected. In the question and answer period, this was one of the most contentious issues. To those who maintained that our choices are between tweedledum and tweedledee, Gerard responded that we have no other realistic option given the frightening prospects of what a Romney presidency might bring. TMC member, Paul LeBlanc, speaking at the Pump House event. All three authors are members of the Editorial Collective and regular contributors to The New People .
UNITE HERE Local 57 Members Organize for Strength by Rose Lynd, Lead Organizer for UNITE HERE, Local 57 In UNITE HERE Local 57, we remain focused on building family and communitysustaining jobs in the hospitality industry. We’re fighting for families and our community in our negotiations with our unionized employers, and through our outreach to non-union hospitality workers. In the last year Local 57 won favorable contracts with 8 of our 13 Pittsburgh area employers, including Omni William Penn Hotel and Westin Convention Center Hotel. Our members wore buttons and leafleted customers, picketed their workplaces and delegated management in bigger numbers than ever, and even took action at Aramark world headquarters in Philadelphia to fight for good raises and benefits. Thomas Merton Center activists and other community supporters helped us bring these victories home. The Wyndham Grand and Renaissance Hotels continue to negotiate while worker committees determine how best to escalate actions to protect the good jobs standard that Local 57 members have fought for generations to build. What we’ve learned through these contract negotiations is that we must organize the growing number of non-union properties in our industry if 8 - NEWPEOPLE
we want to maintain our standard in upcoming years. In this round of contract negotiations, one union employer opened their proposals with a power-point presentation of non-union hotels that have opened in recent years to make the point that the hotel’s new, non-union competitors were not paying the wages or benefits for which our
Chris Ward, Meadows Racetrack /Casino Community Organizer, leads picket line at Wyndham Grand Hotel while on leave of absence to organize with Local 57. Wyndham workers continue to mobilize for a fair contract victory.
make all hospitality jobs family-sustaining jobs. Local 57 members recognize the importance of building union density among hospitality workers in our region. Three of our rank and file leaders are currently on leave of absence to work fulltime organizing non-union workers. Here’s why they are taking time out from their regular routines to organize: “After organizing and winning the union at my hotel this summer, I recognized that we can’t just stop because we made one workplace better. We’ve got to keep fighting to make all service jobs better, for the city and the nation.” – Bob Cook, Fairmont Pittsburgh “I want to help make a difference for the future of hospitality jobs in Pittsburgh. Each worker should be entitled to earn a living to take care of their families and decent healthcare. When I talk to non-union workers and they see the concern that I show – they become aware of the concern they should have for themselves and their own workplace. It’s great to see the Union growing.” – Reginald Wallace, Local 57 Executive Board, Westin Hotel It will take all of the resources of our Union, the dedication of all our members, and the support of all our labor and community allies to organize the unorganized hospitality workers of our city. We thank the Thomas Merton Center for your support, past, present and future, in all our struggles.
membership continues to fight. Because we believe that all workers deserve to have familysustaining jobs, we brought together our union committee leaders from across the city this summer to hear a similar presentation of our own and to strategize about how we can stand with our Rose Lynd is a lead organizer for UNITE brothers and sisters in non-union workplaces to HERE.
Special War on Labor Insert The Intersection of Religion, Education and Labor by Father Jack O’Malley
40,000 people, organized by unions, came together to call for a new Bill of Rights that can On August 15, help working families maintain a middle class life at a conference in style. The bill called for: Pittsburgh Full employment for all sponsored by the Quality education for all International Health care for all Brotherhood of A voice at the work place; i.e., collective Electrical bargaining Workers (IBEW), we were reminded that the voter ID law that state We all know from our history that working in Senate Majority Leader Mike Turzai said can mills, mines, and factories can be dangerous and suppress votes so Romney can win was upheld. deadly. These were not good jobs until they were This legislation has moral implications and is a organized by unions to pay a living wage and reason why people of faith should be involved. have regulations for safety, health care, and One and a half million citizens of Pennsylvania pensions. One political party is on record vowing could be ineligible to vote. These are mostly to get rid of unions, to outsource jobs, and to elderly, those without drivers’ licenses, people deregulate whatever they can. financially in trouble, and people of color. This People ask why unions are involved in law will be appealed in addition to other efforts to politics. I think they want to be good citizens and overturn this unjust attempt to destroy our basic also to protect what their parents sacrificed to human right to cast a vote. build, a collective voice, a union, to help them On August 11 in Philadelphia, more than live the American dream and also to make real
their church’s teaching on social justice, as outlined in the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops’ “Economic Justice for All,” which reminds us: 1. The economy exists for the person, not the person for the economy. 2. All economic life should be shaped by moral principles. 3. The fundamental moral measure of any economy is how the poor and vulnerable are faring. 4. All people have the right to economic initiative, to productive work, to just wages and benefits, to decent working conditions, as well as to organize and join unions or other associations. Father Jack O’Malley is a member of the Thomas Merton Center and the Association of Pittsburgh Priests. He is a long-time activist in the labor community of Pittsburgh.
Duquesne Adjunct Profs Unionize by John Haer The votes have been cast in a union election for adjunct faculty members (adjuncts) at Duquesne University’s McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts, but they remain uncounted. Locked away in the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) office downtown, they wait for Board authorities in Washington to order their tally or their destruction. News could come in a day, or it could take much longer. Hopeful, the Adjuncts Association of the United Steelworkers is moving forward with their campaign. The relationship between Duquesne University and the Adjuncts Association was positive and productive until it pivoted in a new direction on June 15. Three weeks earlier, the adjuncts asked the university to voluntarily recognize the union based on a strong showing of support or to agree to an election run by a neutral, non-governmental third-party, suggesting Labor Council Chaplain Father Jack O’Malley. The university declined and insisted on using the NLRB election process for union recognition because of its fair and democratic design. Then, one week before the NLRB office in Pittsburgh was due to mail ballots out, Duquesne filed a motion claiming religious exemption from the NLRB’s jurisdiction and seeking to halt the election. The NLRB in Pittsburgh denied the request and ruled that the election would move forward as planned. Mail ballots were posted on June 21, starting the two-week election process, and Duquesne appealed the regional NLRB decision
to the agency’s federal office in Washington D.C. As the fall 2012 semester nears without an NLRB ruling, the adjuncts are planning a series of community events to continue developing relationships between contingent academic workers, who rarely get a chance to interact with their colleagues. They’re also reaching out to members of the Pittsburgh community for support. Working with the Battle of Homestead Foundation, the Adjuncts Association hosted an open conversation on August 22 about low wages, job security, and other issues faced by non-tenure track academic labor. Adjunct faculty members in the McAnulty College at Duquesne earn an official maximum salary that is just barely more than $10,000 a year. They receive no health care benefits, no funding for professional development, no paid holidays or sick leave, and, hired semester to semester, they have no job security. The parttime Duquesne faculty who approached the Steelworkers to organize, all hold advanced degrees, and many get by financially from teaching at two, three, or more universities with the preparation, and grading of papers and tests entailed. Hard working and dedicated, they nevertheless lack the resources necessary to provide their students with the best possible education or the time for meetings with students outside of class. This exploitation of an academic workforce presents a strain on the teaching mission of a university and also harms its capacity for generating research. The academic freedom
provided by the traditional tenure track allows for the innovation associated with universities that claim the prestige of a true research institution. With the rate of contingency in the academic workforce on the rise (from thirty percent in the 1970’s to seventy percent today) much research is either going undone or left for adjuncts to do on their own time without pay. Ultimately, the education that students are paying more than ever for is being devalued, and the innovative thinking that blossoms out of the academy is withering. By organizing as a union, the adjunct faculty at Duquesne hopes to work toward reversing these effects. When the votes are counted, the Duquesne Adjuncts anticipate victory. If that’s the case, members of the Association will elect officers to lead their bargaining unit, and they’ll begin bargaining a union contract with the university. That is, unless Duquesne appeals the presumed ruling (a union victory) to the Federal Circuit Court. Then the process could be met with further delays. In the meantime, the Adjuncts Associations of the United Steelworkers is broadening its campaign for equity among the higher education workforce, and is looking to help non-tenure track faculty members at various institutions in the Pittsburgh area organize. For other information about the Adjunct Association and organizing, email email@example.com. John Haer is a member of the TMC editorial collective.
Thomas Merton’s Reflections on Organizing While exploring the social implications of the Gospel, Merton offers a view of labor:
responsibility, work which is his contribution to the balance and order of a society in which a reasonable happiness is not impossible…Such a “What do you mean ‘Christian principles’? society is… one in which work is for production and not for profit, and production is not for its Certainly Mater et Magistra and Pacem in Terris own sake, not merely for the sake of those who are clear enough statements of them. A society own the means of production, but for all who built on Christian principles is one in which contribute in a constructive way to the process every man [person] has the right and opportunity of production. A Christian society is one in to live in peace, to support himself [themselves] which men [persons] give their share of labor by meaningful, decent, and productive work, and intelligence and receive their share of the work in which he has a considerable share of
fruits of the labor of all, and in which all this is seen in relation to a transcendental purpose…” ---Thomas Merton, “Truth & Violence: An Interesting Era,” Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander Submitted by Carol Gonzalez, editorial collective member and a TMC board member. September 2012
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Special War on Labor Insert Interview with William Hileman, PFT Vice President by Jo Tavener Many people don't support public education because they believe that it is broken and can't be fixed. They hope that privatization might be the Pittsburgh Federation answer. Could you speak to the of Teachers importance of public education and its place in a democracy? A free public school system is the foundation of our democracy. John Adams affirmed it and called on the people to pay for it. Adlai Stevenson, in 1939, while democracy was threatened by tyranny in Europe wrote, " ... For democracy can only survive if the people want it, and to want it badly enough to defend it they must understand it. ... Democracy is ill adapted to illiteracy, but in the hands of the wise it affords the best insurance for the realization of man's immemorial aspirations." Frederick Douglass, in 1883, wrote, “[T]he fact remains that the whole country is directly interested in the education of every child that lives within its borders. The ignorance of any part of the American people so deeply concerns all the rest that there can be no doubt of the right to pass laws compelling the attendance of every child at school.” Democracy cannot exist without an educated citizenry. Free and appropriate public education is the best assurance that we will have an educated citizenry. Some citizens can afford very good private education, but recent attempts to address low performing schools through privatization and charter schools are not producing results better than public schools. These attempts at so-called school choice are supported by public funds, live off of the infrastructure of public school systems, are not held to the same standards, do not provide the same level of special education services, and selectively return students to the public schools. When some public schools are in trouble, it is time to help the schools, not abandon an American mission to educate every child. Abandoning our public school system threatens our democracy by ignoring the obstacles to learning. Public schools are not broken. Many are highly successful. The most blatant problem is the persistent and pernicious racial achievement gap. The inequities in student success have to be addressed. Pittsburgh Public Schools is not shying away from the issue and is committed to ensuring a quality education for every child. The responsibility to educate the people, and to preserve this foundational element of American democracy should not be handed to private companies. Public education promotes diversity of thought, and social justice. Privatization promotes a system of "haves" and "have-nots." Public institutions are obligated to serve all citizens. Private institutions are not. Companies are invested in their profits. Citizens are invested in their nation, their culture and the education of every child. Some pundits and politicians like to blame the United Federation of Teachers for the problems with public education. What is the relationship like here in Pennsylvania between the union and the State, the Department of Education and the School Board? The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) implements Tom Corbett's vision for public education and his relationship to teacher unions. Gov. Corbett supports the mechanisms that undermine public education and union jobs in Pennsylvania, including cuts in education funding, tax credits for corporations, shuttling tax dollars to private schools, curtailment of collective bargaining rights and the right to strike. 10 - NEWPEOPLE
The Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) school board and the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers (PFT) have a very good relationship compared to typical labor-management relationships. The district and the union have disagreements and struggles in a number of areas, but overall, the common goal of providing quality education for students is well aligned. The areas of friction are primarily a result of budget cuts.
Gov. Corbett added $75 million to the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) which gives corporations tax credits for donations to private schools. The EITC shuttles public dollars to private schools. At the same time the education budget is cut or held level. The Education Improvement Scholarship Credit (EISC) will divert public dollars to private and religious schools through a voucher program. The EISC appears to help students in boundary areas of low performing schools by Speaking of budget cuts, what is the state of giving them a way out, but what it really does is education in this year’s upcoming state austerity help to starve public education while only budget? temporarily moving a small number students. Over Gov. Corbett cut $860 million ($860,000,000) from time, students living in poverty will be in the defunded public schools while wealthier families-the state education budget in 2011-12 and did not restore the cuts in the 2012-13 budget that passed in who already send their children to private and June 2012. The two Corbett budgets have hit high public schools will get financial assistance. Low performing charter schools are exempt. poverty districts harder. For example, Pittsburgh Public Schools with a 70.5% poverty concentration What is the pushback by parents, by teachers, by has been cut $930 per pupil while Upper Saint Clair the union, by other groups? with a 4.1% poverty concentration has been cut $79 per pupil. In Pittsburgh, the effect has been the loss Yinzercation is a leading grassroots organization of parents and students fighting against Gov. Corbett's policies. They have held demonstrations in SAVE OUR SCHOOLS! Pittsburgh and traveled to Harrisburg during the Join TMC members as we MARCH with PFT on recent budget battle. American Federation of September 3, Labor Day. Meet at 9:30 am on Teachers-PA, the Pennsylvania State Education Center Avenue by the Consol Center. Wear your Association, and locally, the Pittsburgh Federation TMC T-Shirt, or purchase one on-site for $10. of Teachers (and many others) have been lobbying for less handouts to corporations and more public LABOR DAY PARADE funds for education. Other labor organizations have joined around education issues too. What can ordinary folks in Pittsburgh do to help? Support your local public school system by letting legislators and the governor know that they need to be supported. Learn about the legislation that is giving huge policy and financial advantages to private, religious, and charter schools. Let your Source: Bob Donaldson/Post-Gazette legislators know that we can't fix public schools by starving them. Public schools cannot provide art, of 300 teacher and paraprofessional jobs. Last year music, athletics, career and technical programs the district was forced to close 15 early childhood without proper funding. The pathological fixation classrooms--eliminating early education services to on test scores needs to end. Measuring student learning should be done in a way that is diagnostic, 300 three and four-year-old children. promotes learning, and good teaching practices, Isn’t the push for privatization augmenting the and not in a way that punishes schools and drives difficulties created by Corbett’s selectively austere good educators away from the profession. austerity budget? Jo Tavener is a member of the Thomas Merton Center editorial collective. Diverting public funds to private schools--with selective enrollment--is a process that A Former Coal Miner Said institutionalizes disadvantage on a societal level. The children with the greatest obstacles in their This About Teachers Today lives are the least likely to benefit from You know, there is a strong parallel between privatization. these two “lives” (i.e. a teacher and a coal Also important is the loss of union jobs through miner) these days. Underground we all were privatization. Union jobs have better pay, benefits, one another’s life savers; literally, of course. and working conditions than non-union jobs. We watched out for danger and warned one Students in states that have strong teacher unions another, and when one of us got hurt, all of us out-perform students in right-to-work states that rescued. It was a fact of life, and it bound us have weak or no collective bargaining rights. all together despite whatever differences there How is state policy connected to the larger war on were among us (race, gender, politics, etc.). It labor that we see spreading throughout the was the only way we could survive. And we country? knew things about “the life” that no one else could understand. Pennsylvania is learning from the struggles in other states such as Wisconsin and Ohio. Gov. Corbett is I'll bet you know where I'm going with this. Today, under such scurrilous, vicious attack, doing much of what the political right in other teachers (and other school workers) have to be states have tried and sometimes achieved. For example, Gov. Corbett and the Republican much like my coal mining buddies and I were. legislature have put in place a system to take over Unless we look out for and support one economically distressed school districts, implement another -- and perhaps even more importantly privatization, charter conversion, and involvement build alliances among all who care about kids in collective bargaining. At the same time, Gov. and public education and our public sector Corbett has a lot of power in forcing districts into workers -- we're doomed. And I don't think an economically distressed state. It's not as blatant we're doomed! I feel a new period approaching as what happened in Wisconsin, but it can have the where teachers are going to take back our same effect. profession, for the sake of our children. Source: tinyurl.com/9438926.
Activist Work to End the Wars Statement on Crisis in Syria and Iran by Michael Drohan The statement below is from Veterans for Peace on the crisis in Iran and Syria. The Board of the Thomas Merton Center endorsed this statement, thus, it represents the Center’s position on this crisis. As we go to press the situation in Syria, and more especially in Iran, is extremely dangerous. The situation is being inflamed by jingoistic statements from political candidates in the US and by attempts of the Israeli government to move the US towards attacking Iran.
Statement of Veterans for Peace
The Solution to the Nuclear “Crisis” with Iran is not Sanctions and War. It is a Middle East Free of All Nuclear Weapons. We are once again on the verge of another disastrous war in the Middle East. The United States and its allies in Europe and the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are consciously pushing Syria toward a destructive civil war. The objective is to bring down the Assad regime, an ally of the Iranian government, as a stepping-stone toward further isolation of Iran and preparation of the ground for a military attack on that country. At the same time, the United States, European Union, and Israel, are using Iran’s civilian nuclear program as an excuse to impose devastating economic sanctions against the people of Iran. According to various sources, the sanctions have already wreaked havoc on the Iranian economy, leading to inflation rates of 50 to 100 percent, a youth unemployment rate of over 22 percent, drastic reductions of Iran’s domestic production to 40 percent of its
capacity, massive closures of economic enterprises and widespread layoffs, and a 40 percent drop in Iranian oil exports during 2012, resulting in a loss of $32 billion in oil income since last year alone. It is expected that the new round of expanded sanctions, which started on July 1st of this year, will further reduce the Iranian oil exports to a mere 1.5 million barrels a day, thus pushing Iran into a fatal economic crisis. This is nothing but a clear declaration of economic war on Iran. These devastating sanctions are not an “alternative” to war; they are part and parcel of a war aimed at forcing a regime change in Iran as an integral part of the United States plan for a “Greater Middle East.” Let us not forget the case of Iraq. There, too, a decade of devastating sanctions were strategically used as a “softening period” to weaken Iraq’s economic infrastructure, make the population desperate enough to welcome any foreign intervention, and reduce Iraq’s military capability to resist an invasion — i.e., making Iraq an easy military target. Now the same scenario is being repeated with Iran. All this is being done in the name of removing the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation in the Middle East. But this is just a cover. Iran is already surrounded by United States and Israeli nuclear weapons. The very forces that are threatening Iran over its civil nuclear program are themselves responsible for nuclear weapon proliferation in the Middle East. A United States and Israeli military attack on Iran will have disastrous, unpredictable, consequences for peoples of the Middle East region and the world, and this will also be a serious threat to peace and security of all nations. The real solution lies not in selective targeting of Iran with sanctions and threats of war, but in complete removal of all nuclear weapons from the Middle East region. The Middle East, like Latin America and Africa, must be declared a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. The Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) calls for both the
liquidation of nuclear weapons by states and the discouragement of non-nuclear states from obtaining or developing nuclear weapons. The United Nations General Assembly has repeatedly called for the establishment of a Nuclear-Free Zone in the Middle East. As an urgent response to the nuclear crisis in the Middle East, the 2010 NPT Conference has called for the convening of a Conference in December 2012, in Helsinki, Finland, to establish a WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East. This initiative must be supported and its success must be guaranteed. Recognizing the critical nature of the present situation in the Middle East and the threat of an imminent war, Veterans For Peace: — Calls for immediate lifting of all economic sanctions against Iran; — Demands immediate cessation of United States and Israeli military threats against Iran; — Declares its solidarity with the Iranian people in their struggle for freedom, justice and peace; — Demands immediate cessation of all foreign intervention in the internal affairs of Syria, including an immediate end to the illegal arming of surrogate forces fighting the government; —Establishment of an immediate ceasefire on all sides; and allowing the peaceful people of Syria to decide their destiny democratically and independently; — Demands establishment of the Middle East as a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone by all parties involved, including the United States, Israel and Iran, and the removal of all nuclear weapons from the Middle East region; — Urges all Veterans for Peace Chapters and the broader peace movement to press the United States government to support the Helsinki Conference and the establishment of a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East as a concrete and logical solution to the present crisis in the region. Michael Drohan is a Board Member and member of Anti-War Committee of Thomas Merton Center.
Upcoming Forum to Score Impact of United States Wars on Pittsburgh Region by Mike Pastorkovich Although it has been averted by the ratification of a new contract by Local 85 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, calling for union givebacks of $60 million over four years, the Port Authority of Allegheny County had threatened to eliminate 46 of its 102 bus routes, or 45%--and not "35%" as commonly stated-this September 2 unless a way could be found to erase a $64 million shortfall in its budget. And unless the state legislature, at long last, devises a means of permanent, dedicated funding for public transportation, Pittsburghers will likely find themselves facing a similar crisis one year from now. Thus far, Allegheny County has contributed, through taxation, $2.144 billion to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. That $64 million shortfall is about 3% of the more that $2 billion that Allegheny County residents have spent on those unnecessary wars. Had that money been kept in Allegheny County, the Port Authority budget could have been easily balanced with 97% leftover to spend on other essential items, such as human services, crumbling roads, bridges and dams. Or consider this. Pittsburgh Public Schools is laying off 271 employees, including 178 teachers, as part of a plan intended to save $42.2
million over the upcoming year. The financial contribution of the City of Pittsburgh to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has been $1.05 billion to date, of which $42.2 million comprises about 4% of that total. In other words, if the Pittsburgh money which has been frittered away in those two wars had been kept here, those teachers and other employees would still have their jobs, and Pittsburgh would still have 96% of that over $1 billion to spend on other necessities. Then, there is the human cost of the wars. As of April, 2012, 25 young people from Allegheny County have been killed in those two devastating conflicts since their beginnings. Given that 276 Pennsylvanians have died in Afghanistan and Iraq, Allegheny County's numbers equal 9% of that total, and that is without including the other nine counties surrounding Allegheny that comprise southwestern Pennsylvania. This number includes only the dead and not the wounded, the number of which is bound to be much higher. Add to that the horrendous amount of psychological problems that many returning vets experience, and the human cost of suffering, this adds up to an enormous impact on our society. On Saturday, October 6, 2012 from 1 to 4 pm, Black Voices for Peace/Pittsburgh, in conjunction with the Anti-War Committee of the
Thomas Merton Center, will hold a forum on the "Impact of the Wars on Pittsburgh" at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church, which will "bring the wars home" in the sense of bringing to light the overwhelming loss, both in human and monetary terms, that we Pittsburghers have experienced as a result of senseless imperial adventures over the past 11 years by the United States. It is time to bring this madness, and this obscene waste, to an end. The monetary figures cited regarding war expenses were obtained from cost of war.com. The number of casualties from Pennsylvania was obtained from icasualties.org, and Allegheny County troop fatalities from The Morning Call newspaper of Lehigh Valley for April 24, 2012. Budget figures for the Port Authority of Allegheny County and Pittsburgh Public Schools were gleaned from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and other local Pittsburgh media. For more information please visit http:// www.pittsburghendthewar.org/ on the web. Mike Pastorkovich is a a member of the Thomas Merton Center Anti-War Committee.
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Environmental Justice for All Reflection on Environmental Justice: The Great Story by Wanda Guthrie
sorrow and anger. I found a poem by Denise Levertov called To Speak.
August 14, 2012: Genesis Farm, Blairstown, New Jersey What does the Earth want of us now? What does she call us to? We are the story of ourselves. The story of ourselves is that we are a communion of subjects. Earth is primary-- humans derivative. Nothing is itself without everything else. I have had a week of learning, practicing and honoring, breathing and drinking the earth of this place. My greatest understanding of this is yet to come and I know it will be in the communion of all those who are seeking the wisdom of Earth, our Mother. I recall Alan Watts telling us long ago that we didn’t come into this world. We came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. We really aren’t strangers here. But I think we have built an estrangement around us that causes us daily
To speak of sorrow works upon it moves it from its crouched place barring the way to and from to soul’s hall .... The hard news comes from the sorrow of knowing that about two hundred years ago, a fairly recent piece of time, our ancestors made a choice of identity, a bad one, and it continues. People used to live in a mutually enhancing relationship with the Earth. Knowing what we know and keeping our old bad world view of constant industrial growth, polluting our ecosystem, killing our plants and wildlife, is a form of schizophrenia. The water I drink each day in this place is so pure. It is from the same spring that feeds the Delaware River. It has been purified by ancient limestone, a gift, a grace from Earth. This same
water is coursing through my blood and the blood of thousands of Earth’s creations, giving life and creativity to all she touches. We can see it, taste it, give love and gratitude as we speak and act. Earth has given us the gift of speech and action. She has shared her genes so that we can speak, sing, act from gratitude, compassion and love. We can move through the sorrow and anger together. We can move and speak in communion. We can, as humans, working in institutions, professions, and programs, ask that we be judged by the extent to which they inhibit, ignore, or foster a mutually enhancing human-Earth relationship. To practice this we must learn to experience the universe as our Great Self, the individual self experiencing the energy that the universe has been creating through the centuries. We have much to do and there is no time to waste. Wanda Guthrie is Chair of the Environmental Justice Committee and a TMC Board Member.
What On Earth? submitted by Thomas Merton Center's Environmental Justice Committee What on Earth have you been thinking about, dreaming about, working on? What on this awesome earth does this mean to your community, your family, your culture? The Thomas Merton Center’s new Environmental Justice Committee would love to know. We believe it is possible to shift from an industrial growth society to one that is life sustaining. And we invite you to join us on this journey as we reorganize ourselves, both cognitively and spiritually, to bring about what Joanna Macy calls the Great Turning.
Please come to What On Earth?, an afternoon of fun, creativity and sharing on Sunday, September 23, from 2 to 5 p.m., at the Friends Meeting House, 4836 Ellsworth Avenue in Oakland. We hope you will bring: • your vision, energy, creativity and enthusiasm for environmental justice • an idea and/or brief story about something you are personally doing to reconnect with nature and shift our direction • a musical instrument, maybe a drum, or words to your favorite songs about the natural world
September 20, Shale Outrage 2 On Sept. 20 another Shale Gas Outrage (SGO2) will be held in Philadelphia. Last year, about 2000 people took to the streets in Philadelphia to challenge the colonization of Pennsylvania by the natural gas drilling industry. Now, a year later, we need to take to the streets in even greater numbers and we hope to motivate many people from western PA to be there. Several people Western Pa Fractivists will be there, and we are encouraging Merton Center Members to join us.
September 23: What on Earth? (See Above) November 3, 10, and 17, Saturday Potluck Book Study Wild Law: A Manifesto for Earth Justice by Cormac Cullinan. Thomas Berry, the leading environmental philosopher, says 'This book of Cormac Cullinan explains with great clarity how we can change our entire approach to governance so that we can continue life on a liveable planet. In its basic outlines this book is one of the finest contributions to the entire field of jurisprudence in recent times.' We will be preparing for a 2 day Democracy School with Ben Price of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.
Healing Our Violence
(Submission received from Kim Winbush)
I think that the great disappointment with so much political activism, even many of the non-violent movements of the 60s and 70s, and why many people were not longlasting in these movements, is because these movements did not proceed from transformed people. They were coming from righteous ideology of either Left or Right, from mere intellect and will, and not from people who had put head, heart, body, and soul together. We need to find inside ourselves the positive place of communion, of holiness, where there’s nothing to react against. Pure action is when you are acting from a place which is good, true, and beautiful. The energy at that point is entirely positive. Until you can find that, don’t act. I’m trying to keep you in there for the long haul. I’m trying to call forth an instrument that can really make a difference in the world. These people are the lightning rods of God’s energy into the world. They can be quite adamant, clear, and long-suffering. They can even allow themselves to suffer violence, like Jesus, instead of inflicting it on others. Adapted from Healing Our Violence: Through the Journey of Centering Prayer 12 - NEWPEOPLE
• handouts about what your environmental group is doing • a favorite finger food to share, if you wish But with or without these things, come! Children are most welcome. Please RSVP to patBuddemeyer@gmail.com or 412-441-6593. And check for updates at environmentaljusticetmc.blogspot.com This is a collaborative submission from the Thomas Merton Center's Environmental Justice Committee.
Activist Focus on Peace and Justice Proposed State Gun Laws Will Cripple Communities by Rob Conroy
owners when the guns are ultimately returned to writing, this Bill grants automatic damages to those groups or individuals that file the lawsuits There is absolutely no question that our country them, as PA state law currently requires--have been reported missing prior to their confiscation. that can be implemented before any court makes is buckling under the weight of gun violence. In To address this problem, 30 cities and towns a decision and there are no provisions in the Bill the wake of Aurora, Wisconsin, and Texas A & across Pennsylvania have passed laws requiring that limit the amount of lawsuits that the NRA M, not to mention the horrifying wave of gun owners to report the theft or loss of their and its members can file against any homicides throughout Pittsburgh and the firearms to local police. These “lost or stolen” municipality. This Bill and its predecessors have surrounding areas, one could certainly be been on the calendar in the state House nearly forgiven for believing that a meaningful every day since May and could very well be discussion about the widespread availability considered on the first day that the legislature reof firearms was happening at the local, state convenes. and national level. Unfortunately, there has To make matters worse, as an offshoot of been no such discussion. Governor Corbett’s maniacal quest for “fiscal At press time, neither Presidential responsibility”, members of the state House have candidate has taken a defined stand to reduce proposed a Bill (HB 2127) that will eliminate the gun violence. Neither have Governor Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS), our Corbett, Mayor Ravenstahl or most of the state background check system, forcing the state mayors in Allegheny County or the to rely exclusively on the national surrounding counties. Most offensively of system. Unfortunately, PICS contains 600,000 all, we Pennsylvanians have elected a state mental health records that are not available in the legislature that is not only unwilling to Reuters national system. This simply cannot stand. propose or endorse common-sense laws that Many of our state legislators, including would almost certainly help to stem the Candlelight vigil held in Aurora Colorado after recent shooting spree at cinema. several local Democrats, are hoping that they tide of gun violence, but upon its return laws are not only grounded in common sense, but will not have to vote on these issues and are this month is actually proposing two laws that are absolutely essential to public safety, since terrified of the NRA and its supporters. A few of will eliminate or dramatically impede law they allow law enforcement officials to both them have even co-sponsored HB 1523, the enforcement’s ability to enforce existing gun search for the gun before it shows up at a crime original version of SB 273. It’s up to us as laws. scene and to have an additional tool to determine concerned community members and The first, SB 273 (or two concurrently proposed bills, HB 1523 and SB 1438), will grant who in the community is disseminating firearms Pennsylvania voters to let our legislators know illegally (working under the assumption that that we’re watching them and that they cannot special status to the National Rifle Association folks who actually lose their guns or have them support these unconscionable laws without being (NRA), allowing (for the first time ever) a stolen will report them as such). Thus far, despite held accountable. It’s time to break the apathy membership organization to directly sue repeated legal challenges from the NRA and its surrounding this issue and take a strong stand municipalities solely because it disagrees with a members, state courts have upheld these “lost or against SB 273 and HB 2127. law passed by the municipality. In the City of stolen” laws. Pittsburgh, more than 90% of guns confiscated SB 273 will impose financial penalties on and Rob Conroy is a member of the Thomas Merton were once lawfully purchased by someone else potentially bankrupt these towns, essentially Center Board of Directors and is Western PA within a 20-mile radius; unfortunately, fewer bullying towns that have passed these commonCoordinator of CeaseFirePA. than half of these guns—nearly all of which were “lost” or “stolen” according to their once-lawful sense reforms into submission. At the time of
Remembering Hiroshima: Imagining Peace 2012 by Scilla Wahrhaftig This 5th year of remembering Hiroshima: Imagining Peace we once again brought the horror of Photo by Philomena O’Dea nuclear weapons to the attention of the Pittsburgh community around the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki August 6th 1945. In 2008, a diverse group of organizations and individuals came together and created a series of events in Pittsburgh under the banner Remembering Hiroshima: Imagining Peace. Since then every year we have organized events that raise awareness of the danger of nuclear weapons, and additionally, in the past two years, of nuclear power. A Week of Remembrance This year Councilman Robert Lavelle guided a proclamation through Pittsburgh City Council which included clauses on the dangers of nuclear power as well as of nuclear weapons It referred to the proximity, 34 miles, of Pittsburgh to the Beaver Valley Nuclear Generating Station and for the need for the city to provide efficient evacuation plans in case of a failure of the plant. In preparation for August 6, students at the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) made origami peace cranes to distribute around the city. August 5th, the day before the anniversary of the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima, began a
series of events. The Children’s Museum, which has partnered with us for the past few years, offered origami peace crane-making and shared the story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Over 30 children and parents participated. In the evening around 35 people gathered at the Melwood Theatre to see “Nuclear Savage”. The movie is a very powerful and heart wrenching exposé of our use since the cold war of the Marshall Islands as a nuclear testing site, and the deliberate exposure of the people of the islands to radiation. Since the cold war we have exposed the islanders to the fallout of 67 nuclear blasts. There is clear evidence that part of this was deliberate. Our country has been using the Marshall Islanders as human guinea pigs in order to study the effects of radiation. This is still going on with the continued use of the area as a testing ground. Following the movie we were able to skype with a group of peace activists in Japan. Both groups are using the Shadow Project to raise awareness of the impact of the dropping of the bomb on the people on the ground. The shadows were all that were left of the people after the bomb was dropped, and by drawing shadows on the ground we remind people of the devastating power of nuclear weapons. We were interested in the deep concern expressed by many of the Japanese group about nuclear power and the Japanese Government’s desire to reopen some of the power plants. There have been huge anti-nuclear power demonstrations in Japan. On the actual anniversary of the dropping of “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, groups gathered at the Union Project, CMU and Squirrel Hill to draw shadows and distribute literature. At the Union Project, an intergenerational group engaged passersby. At CMU many pre-college and college
students participated along the walkways around the Walking to the Sky sculpture. One young Japanese student left a message for her grandmother who was interned during the war in the camps here in the US. Another peace message was made in Hebrew. Some held hands, one young man included his teddy bear in the tracing. Upon reminder of the threat of nuclear war, there was an outpouring of expression and concern. Shadows were left by the parklet at Murray and Darlington Avenues in Squirrel Hill. On a lighter note, police were called near the Union Project and at the CMU Bus Stop claiming people were “on the ground”. After an explanation, we were able to educate the police officers, too! Our final event was at the Shadow Lounge in East Liberty where more shadows were drawn, followed by music, spoken word and poetry about Hiroshima, and nuclear power and peace. In addition to the performances, another room showed Hiroshima and Nagasaki war images as well as pictures from the day’s events (see slide show at www.rememberinghiroshima.wordpress.com)
Christopher Rosselot, Senator Casey‘s Pittsburgh Regional Representative, reported on the Senator’s work on nuclear weapons, energy, and regional nuclear waste concerns. We were deeply grateful to the poets and musicians who shared their talents in the event at the Shadow lounge sharing poetry and song about Hiroshima, war and peace. Through the hard work of many we were able to reach a wide variety of people to create awareness of the need for nuclear abolition. Scilla Wahrhaftig is a member of Remembering Hiroshima: Imagining Peace. September 2012
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Activist Opportunities to Make a Difference Transform Lives Through Books for Prisoners by Suzanne Powell These words. written by Richard, an inmate, in a thank-you letter to the volunteers at Book ʻEm, ring true to anyone whose life has been enriched by books. To sit imprisoned in a cell month after month, year after year without the pleasure and stimulus of the written word would seem hellish to those of us who have access to libraries and bookstores. In his essay “The Caging of America” (The New Yorker, January 30, 2012), Adam Gopnik writes “It isnʼt the horror of the time at hand but the unimaginable sameness of the time ahead that makes prisons unendurable for their inmates.” This “unimaginable sameness” is experienced by more than two million prisoners in this country. The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world at 731 per hundred thousand, triple of what it was in 1980; Russia has the second highest at 584, while Western Europe averages 100. Gopnik states that “...mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today--perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850.” He goes on to note that over half of black men without high school diplomas spend some time in prison during their lives, with mass imprisonment “a way of reimposing Jim Crow.” In addition to having the highest incarceration rate, the U.S. has the most prisoners in solitary conﬁnement -from 50,000 to 80,000 at any given time - and is unique among nations in its use as an integral component of its treatment of prisoners. Except in the most extreme cases, preventing a man from having human contact for twenty-three hours a day and releasing him only for an hour of exercise, would seem to be excessively cruel. In Gopnikʼs words: “Lock yourself in your bathroom and then imagine you have to stay there for the next ten years, and you will have some sense of the experience.” Prisoners in ʻthe holeʼ are also often
prevented from using the prison library, such as it might be. Though currently limited by low funds to serving only inmates in Pennsylvania, the volunteers at Book ʻEm are still assured that their efforts are both effective and appreciated. Jim, a state inmate, wrote: “After seven years in
“Were it not for books I am pretty sure I would be hopelessly insane or dead.” - Richard prison I hardly ever get mail anymore. It seems people forget about you after awhile--about five years. Then . . . I not only get mail but books! . .. great books. . . . thereʼs just no words to thank you. Keep up the compassionate and noble work.” Few if any of the nationʼs prisons allow books to be sent by friends or family members, consequently, only approved volunteer organizations like Book ʻEm can provide what Jesse, an inmate, called “a mental vacation” from the long years of incarceration. Gopnik, along with other scholars, attributes the American zeal for punishment to two directions taken in the 19th century: the Northern, which viewed incarceration as a means for criminals to ﬁnd penitence in “longterm, profoundly depersonalized punishment”, and the Southern, which saw the prison system as “essentially a slave plantation continued by other means.” He also refers to the work of William J. Stuntz, who in his recent analysis, “The Collapse of American Criminal Justice”, writes of how mandatory sentencing laws prevent judges from exercising judgment, and adds that the procedure-based legal system in the U.S. prevents “common sense and compassion” in sentencing. “Once the procedure ends”, he
writes, “the penalty begins, and, as long as the cruelty is routine, our civil responsibility toward the punished is over. We lock men up and forget about their existence.” By ﬁlling dozens of book requests every month, Book ʻEm volunteers let men and women know that their existence hasn't been forgotten, that people still care. It is a constant worry and struggle to come up with sufficient funds to mail packages, and sometimes discouragement reigns. But then a letter arrives like the one from Thomas: “I received my ﬁrst ﬁve books about six months ago. I read them all cover to cover. They were like a miracle to me.” And the volunteers do, for a brief moment, feel like miracle workers. - YOU CAN DONATE TO BOOK’EM AT – www.thomasmertoncenter.org/join-donate Suzanne Powell is a lead organizer of Book’em, a Thomas Merton Center project that sends donated books to prisoners.
How Does Book ‘Em Work? Suzanne Powell, a retired university professor, and Scott Kennedy, a graduate student in neurobiology at Pitt University, are a part of the Book ‘Em Advisory Committee that was formed in 2011. Serving on the committee with them are Lara Hauer, Stefani Pastor, Amanda Johnson, and Dan Warren. The purpose of the committee is to provide a cohesive vision for the project, which is completely run by volunteers. The Advisory Committee meets monthly for problem solving and to discuss strategies to keep the project alive. Book‘Em collects donated books from friends and supporters of the Thomas Merton Center and friends in Pittsburgh. Prisoners from across Pennsylvania send in request for these books. The Book‘Em project is volunteer based and meets every Sunday starting in October between the hours of 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. at TMC. All are welcome to come and read and ﬁll request letters, and get them packaged and ready for mailing.
Highlights From Peace Camp Photos Courtesy of Pilar Brown
by Marcia Snowden Nearly 100 campers between the ages of 6 and 12 participated in a fun, week-long (July 30 - August 3, 2012; 9 am - 4 pm) day camp that explored the themes of respect for self, others and nature; communication, forgiveness and courage, through artistic activities including dance, visual arts, music, drama, creative play and a daily, healthy lunch provided by the Culinary Artist Chef Charles Smith. The children learn and recite the Pledge of Nonviolence daily and discuss and role play its meaning in their various sessions in addition to their creative arts projects focusing on the daily themes. Peace Camp has been sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph for over ten years in 14 - NEWPEOPLE
various places, but this is the fourth year it has have them as part of the Peace Camp been held at the Father Ryan Arts Center, 420 experience and wished them a pleasant stay in Chartiers Avenue, McKees Rocks PA 15136. Pittsburgh and a safe journey home. The sisters are hoping it has found a home in The sponsors of Peace Camp 2012 include a this beautiful and welcoming community arts center. Two The Kids of Peace Camp at Focus on Renewal! Merton Center staff participated as volunteer staff for the camp. Marcia Snowden, Thomas Merton Center office coordinator, was the counselor coordinator and Yiwei Zhang, a Merton Center intern from Pitt, was a college counselor. This year the camp enjoyed a special visit from youth leaders between the ages of 13 and 17 from Northern Ireland who were visiting Pittsburgh for the week and made a stop at the Father Ryan Arts Center to observe and learn from collaborative effort of Sisters of St. Joseph, what our Peace Campers were doing. To the Baden, Pennsylvania; Father Ryan Arts Center delight of all, between 30-35 Irish teenagers of Focus On Renewal; MGR Foundation and toured the arts center and participated in a few ACE Pay It Forward Foundation. arts classes with the campers! It was a Marcia Snowden is an organizer of Peace wonderful cross cultural meeting between the Camp, a long time activist, and a Thomas camp participants and the young Irish leaders. Merton Center staff person. The camp and arts center staff were happy to
Valuing Our Community of Activists It's being offered free to TMC members, so that more good can be done! Diane McMahon, who participated, said “Staff and Increase Your Power to Do volunteers at TMC participated in a Good! Helper’s Helper session and had the by Tim Cimino opportunity to increase their effectiveness, time and relationships as a team and People can usually do more good if they individuals. I found it to be valuable and have more spare time, money and energy. enjoyed the experience!” Helper's Helper is not your typical time We will meet three times: September management program. Its goal is to help 20th, 27th and November 15th, from 7:00 participants identify and remove the greatest pm to 8:15 at the Thomas Merton Center. obstacles to their effectiveness -- for their Please register in advance by Sept 19th. For own personal fulfillment and so they can have a greater impact on the world. Some of questions, or more information contact me at 412-390-4675 or firstname.lastname@example.org the power of the program comes from helping participants re-gather all needed Tim Cimino is director of Group Genie, a ingredients of empowerment, especially nonprofit creativity team and action ongoing personal support and an expectation network and a member of the Thomas to change and learn. Merton Center.
Remembering Our Loved Ones In Memory of Jerry Starr A resident of Mt. Lebanon, Starr was a champion of educational broadcasting and the founder of the WQED Accountability Project, which attempted to stave off the sale of WQEX, WQED’s sister station, to commercial interests. He helped produce “Homefront,” a documentary series that examined the Iraq War, media monopoly, the war on drugs, nuclear weapons, hate crimes, and security vs. freedom in the war on terrorism. Filmed at the Andy Warhol Museum before a live audience, “Homefront” reached Free Speech TV’s 9 million subscribers and was broadcast by about 50 PBS and public access TV stations across the country.
Remembering Jim Zigler Fight for Lifers West, a Thomas Merton Center project, wants to express our condolences to the family and friends of Jim Zigler who passed away on August 12. Jim was a long time friend and supporter of Fight for Lifers West and sergeant of arms for the organization. We will miss him greatly! If you would like to find out more about Fight for Lifers West please contact email@example.com. Members of the Black and White Reunion (BWR) hosted a Barbecue and Organize To Stop Police Courtesy of —Ken Miller Brutality get together on July 28 - to discern issues related to the Jordan Miles Civil Case and focus on our voter registration activities at CCAC. It was great that Chris Carter, one of last year's winners of the Jonny Gammage Scholarship joined us. The next BWR meeting is Tuesday September 11, at 6 pm at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church. Plans are underway for the 17th Annual October 22 National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality and the Criminalization of a Generation and the 15th Annual Summit Against Racism on the Saturday after MLK Day. www.BlackandWhiteReunion.org
Thomas Merton Center Potluck September 11, Tuesday, from 6:30-8:30 pm Focusing on the organizing efforts of adjuncts at Duquesne University. Facilitated by John Haer. Join us and bring food to share! Join friends and advocates at Mad Mex in Shadyside on Oct. 2 at 7:00 pm and support the Thomas Merton Center and our work to create a more peaceful and just world. Cost for admission is $50 and includes a meal and drink. Limited seating – call 412-361-3022 and reserve now.
How are we doing? by Bette McDevitt We, being a group who come together several times a month to put together The New People, think about you, who read this, a lot. We know you have too many things to read. We wonder if you like short pieces, long ones as well; are we repeating things you’ve read elsewhere; do you line the litter box with the paper, or pass it on to someone else; did something you read elicit a response; would you like more of a certain type of story, such as interviews; do you like the photos; or did anything you read spur you to action? In a recent issue, we suggested that we might begin to list services, jobs, bartering, that could be provided by members, or are needed by members and readers. The response was minimal, but we still think it’s a good idea. We see that some people at Carnegie Mellon have started a similar website, offering the services of the “underemployed,” graduate students and those who have not found work, at a website called smartpeoplepgh.com We can do the same thing, and give those we know and trust a boost. So let us know what you think about the paper, by sending us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. It matters a lot to us. Bette McDevitt is a member of the Thomas Merton Center editorial collective.
Members in the News Michael Drohan Michael Drohan, TMC Board Member, is the recipient of a 2012 Jefferson Award which is given to individuals in honor of their community and public service. On Monday, August 6, Michael was recognized in the Post Gazette for his work at the Thomas Merton Center. At his first board meeting, Michael was asked to assume the position of board president at a time when the center was facing the prospect of closing its doors due to financial and leadership challenges. He accepted the position and in the last five years has helped transform the Center into a healthy, thriving organization. Michael initiated several measures to stabilize the center's finances, including moving to a more cost-efficient location, recruiting volunteers to fill staff roles, finding major donors to support ongoing programs, and the selling of the Center's older building.—Pittsburgh Post Gazette
David Hughes The Sustainable Energy Fund honored David Hughes, founder and president of Pittsburghbased Citizen Power, with the Epstein Award, a lifetime achievement award. The award is names after Eric Epstein, a Harrisburg-area community advocate who has worked to promote the use of safe-energy sources since the Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident in 1979. –Pgh. Post-Gazette
Our Woods (or why I like Johnny Depp) by Liz Hughes Those who go in and those who come out some in pain, the other a killer. Original ones lived within the trees, the other with their guns, ripped the coal, gold, oil from the soil, the indigenous from their homes, marched them away to the west, turning brother upon brother, leaving their "talking leaves" to crumble, in their empty Cherokee school and library. (Womyn's work!) So then the guilty rich created national parks for us to wander and praise. Where are the beautiful, high cheek, dark eyed ones now?? All over the world! As we tramp Appalachia, we mourn. ("talking leaves" Cherokee for white man's letters.)
(Johnny Depp is part Cherokee) So is James Garner, another beauty before he was destroyed by Lucky Strikes, met him on a raft in Hawaii, carried them in his left hand, offered us all one, a good union man..now in a wheelchair. Liz Hughes is a member of the Green Party living and thinking in Squirrel Hill. From Interfaith Worker Justice: www.iwj.org The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and doesn’t support working families in America. All faith traditions affirm the dignity of work—jobs providing the means to live safely and comfortably. It’s time we raise the federal minimum wage. Go to tinyurl.com/98j8mzl and urge Congress to raise the federal minimum wage and support working families. Putting money back into the pockets of America’s workers is the right thing to do for the economy and workers. If the federal minimum wage kept up with inflation during the last 40 years, it would be $10.55. You can join advocates and people of faith across the country telling elected officials and candidates seeking office to stand with us in raising the federal minimum wage and making it an election-year issue. Tell your representatives raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do. September 2012
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SEPTEMBER ACTIVIST EVENTS 1 Black Voices for Peace Vigil to End the War Corner of Penn and Highland in East Liberty 1:00 pm
Westmoreland Merton Book Study Begins Sunday Sept. 9 Westmoreland County residents who are supporters of TMC are invited to read and discuss the book "Living with Wisdom" by Jim Forest over the course of the next three months at the home of Bobbie Hineline. Bobbie lives at 308 Foster St. in Greensburg. Meeting on the second Sunday of the month --Sept. 9th, Oct 14, and Nov. 11 --from 7-8:30 PM. Please call Bobbie at 724-850-9342.
2 TMC Anti-War Committee Meeting Thomas Merton Center 2:00 pm
(Pgh Federation of Teachers)
Meet at 9:30 am -on Center Avenue by Consol Center and TMC Banner
308 Foster Street Greensburg, PA 15601 Contact Bobbi at 724-850-9342.
International Socialist Organization Meeting Thomas Merton Center
7:30 pm -W.O.M.I.N. Meeting St. Peter’s Church 18 Schubert Street Northside, 15212
Slippery Rock Ginger Hill UU Church 10 am
18 International Socialist Organization Meeting Thomas Merton Center
“What’s on Faith?” TMC Environmental Justice Committee Thomas Merton Center 2-5 pm
30 TMC Anti-War Committee Meeting Thomas Merton Center 2:00 pm
24 Peace is not only the absence of war, it’s the presence of justice. MLK.
La Roche College 9000 Babcock Blvd. 15237
BECOME a TMC MEMBER
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TMC Membership Rates $45—Individual Membership $100– Family Membership $75—Organization (below 25 members) $125—Organization (above 25 members)
TMC membership benefits include monthly mailings of the New People to your home or email account, weekly eblasts focusing on peace and justice events, and special invitations to membership activities. Join at thomasmertoncenter.org/join-donate.
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25 International Socialist Org. Meeting Thomas Merton Center
-In God’s Womb: A Spiritual Journey Continues -Women’s Walk for Peace 2801 N. Charles St. 15212 www.womenswalk.org -10 am -Project to End Human Trafficking—Carlow U. 10-Noon contact: email@example.com.
15 Black Voices for Peace Vigil to End the War Corner of Penn and Highland in East Liberty 1:00 pm
Fight for Lifers West Crossroads United Methodist Church 325 N. Highland Ave. (East Liberty) 10 am—Noon
Voter ID Update Speaker-Vic Walczak Mt. Lebanon Library 7:30 pm
20 Helper’s Helper: Increase Your Power to do Good Thomas Merton Center 7-8:15 pm Free to TMC Members Sneak Preview “Blood Brothers” Byham Theater 101 6th St. (Downtown) 7:30 pm
26 Write On! Letters for Prisoner Rights Thomas Merton Center 7 pm Darfur Coalition Meeting Room C, Carnegie Library, Squirrel Hill 5:30-7:30 pm
27 -Helper’s Helper: Increase Your Power to do Good TMC—7-8:15 pm
-Split Estate (Bullfrog Films)
PUMP House— 7:30 pm
Amy Goodman is coming to Pittsburgh this month as part of a tour for her new book (coauthored with Denis Moynihan) "The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance, and Hope.” Amy is the creator and host of the radio and TV program "Democracy Now!," which airs each weekday at 8 am on WRCT 88.3FM and also on cable channel 21, PCTV. Amy will be giving a lecture, and signing books. Time: Thursday, September 13th, 7-9pm. Where: McConomy Auditorium, Carnegie Mellon University in the University Center. Parking is available in the garage near the intersection of Forbes and Beeler. The lecture is free and open to the public. Donations will support PCTV21 and the Pittsburgh Campaign for Democracy Now.
Amy Goodman Speaks McConomy Hall, CMU Student Union -7:00 pm 5000 Forbes Ave. 15213 For more information:
19 Write On! Letters for Prisoner Rights Thomas Merton Center 7 pm Assoc. of Pittsburgh Priests Speakers Series The Contested Legacy of Vatican II Kearns Spirituality Ctr.
Courtesy of Ken Miller
The Future We Want -Peace Point Grove on Lakeshore Road in North Park 3-6 pm
(Single Payer Healthcare) 2101 Murray Ave. 6:15 pm
8 -Black Voices for Peace Vigil to End the War Corner of Penn and Highland in East Liberty 1:00 pm
East Liberty Pres. Church
organizing for work place safety is not only a local issue it’s a global human rights concern.
Mon Valley Unemployed Committee Grant and 7th Ave Downtown 1:30-3:00 pm Discussion of latest unemployment statistics released today.
Reunion Mtg.—6 pm
Thomas Merton Center Board Meeting 7 pm
12 -Write On! Letters for Prisoner Rights TMC 7 pm -Darfur Coalition Mtg Room C, Carnegie Library, Squirrel Hill 5:30-7:30 pm -PUSH Meeting
-Black and White
Bangladesh Safe Work Place Campaign
International Day of Peace Festival
Green Party Meeting Citizen Power's Offices, 2nd Floor 2121 Murray Ave. Squirrel Hill 7 pm
7 First Friday Action
In God’s Womb: A Spiritual Journey Villa Maria Education and Spiritual Center 7:30 pm
11 -TMC Potluck Focusing on Adjunct Union Organizing 6:30-8:30 pm -International Socialist Organization Meeting Thomas Merton Center
Thomas Merton Center Project Committee Meeting 2:00 pm
-Women in Black Monthly Peace Vigil
TMC Anti-War Committee Meeting Thomas Merton Center 2:00 pm
5 Write On! Letters for Prisoner Rights Thomas Merton Center 7 pm
Progressive Democrats of America Summit Charlotte, NC Call 413-320-2015
Thomas Merton Center Members Please Join With Us and March in the Labor Day Parade in support of Save Our Schools
-Thomas Merton Book Study for Westmoreland County beginning:
LABOR DAY 3
International Day of Peace
Black Voices for Peace
12:01 am—Prayer Vigil
Vigil to End the War Corner of Penn and Highland in East Liberty 1:00 pm
East Liberty Presby Church
12:45 pm —Rally County Court House Courtyard. 7:00 pm—Peace Service East Liberty Presby Church
6-10 pm Film Series Calvary Episcopal Church 6:15 pm—Friends Meeting House Peace Film Series American Service Committee
Woody Guthrie Concert Pump House 800 East Waterfront Street Homestead, PA Featuring Mike Stout and other local musicians 1:30 pm
29 -Pgh. Haiti Solidarity Committee Students from Haiti giving first report.