Join the Peace & Justice Center at the 2nd Annual 100 Thousand Poets for Change March!

Endless War?

People's Climate March Hopes To Be This Generation's March on Washington

On August 28, 1963, 200,000 people swarmed into the nation’s capital for one of the most iconic moments in the civil rights movement: the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. More often remembered today simply as the March on Washington, it was seen by many as a turning point for the civil rights movement, which helped spur passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Today, with hundreds of thousands of people preparing to descend on one of the country’s largest cities for the September 21 People’s Climate March, some are hoping for a similarly transformative moment in the climate movement. But whether the People’s Climate March succeeds in generating the kind of results achieved by the 1963 March on Washington — and whether that is, in fact, a desirable outcome — remains to be seen.

Read more here:

No More War!

Student Labor Activists Renew Spirit of 1964's Freedom Summer

In 1964, the Freedom Summer campaign for voting rights in Mississippi appealed to college students to confront one of the great social justice issues of the age. Fifty years later, labor activists challenging the corporate power of Walmart called on the same spirit to lead a small group of students off campuses and into the fight for economic justice on behalf of the giant company’s low-paid workers. Organizers of the effort, dubbed the “Summer for Respect” hope the program will help inspire a new generation of student labor activism and deepen the links between labor unions and academia.

Adam Reich, the Columbia University professor who led this summer’s student-labor initiative, says the Summer for Respect differed from the historic 1964 effort in a number of ways. The program took 20 undergraduate students from several different colleges and inserted them into active OUR Walmart campaigns in different parts of the country. Student participated in daily organizing efforts, but one of the program’s primary goals was to combine students’ campaign work with the academic goal of documenting the lives of the Walmart workers, and spreading that information to a wider audience. The  students compiled an oral history archive and related materials for use by other workers, activists, students, and historians, explains Reich.

Read further at:

James Foley on the Dehumanization of War

"For the President to use Jim's name and other journalists as reason to pursue the stated military policy to 'degrade and destroy the Islamic State so that it is no longer a threat' is an insult to the memory of James Foley and to the intelligence of the American people." - Haskell Wexler

Job Opening at the Peace & Justice Center

The Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County is seeking a part time Center Coordinator.

This job starts on November 3, 2014 for one year with a potential for extension. Hourly wage is $17/hr. and the position includes benefits. Please send a cover letter, resume and two personal character references to Deadline is September 29.

The Coordinator will staff the Center from 1-4pm Monday through Friday, and is required to attend two board meetings per month on the 2nd and 4th Monday from 6-8 pm. The Coordinator manages the Center in a professional and ethical manner and represents the Center and the ideals of peace and social justice. An expectation of knowledge of current events that affect the peace and justice community is desirable. Tasks are undertaken in a way that demonstrates attention to detail, honor for each individual, and commitment to non-violence.

 Job duties:

*          Respond to phone calls, greet visitors, answer emails and correspondence, oversee scheduling of room use, keep Center organized, renew supplies, update Center materials, maintain files, provide monthly Coordinator report for Board meeting (4th Monday), write Getting Centered for the Peace Press.

*          Process donations and bank deposits, transmit credit card deposits, pay bills and give information to bookkeeper, send member renewal and donor thank you letters, arrange printing of appeal letters.

*          Update the website, Facebook and maintain social media presence.

*         Create weekly calendar of peace, justice and environmentally related events.

*          Oversee Center volunteers, assist with periodic Center-sponsored events.

*          Provide support to the Board and Project Coordinator as needed.

*          Communicate with other organizers and activists, the media, and police and city officials, as needed.

I Have a Dream - 51 Years

August 28, 1963
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of half a million gathered on the Mall in Washington, D.C. They gathered there for jobs and freedom.

1983: Three hundred thousand marched in Washington on the 20th anniversary of MLK's "I Have A Dream" speech for the second "March on Washington for Jobs, Peace and Freedom."

94th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage - So Much More to Work For!

August 26 marks the 94th anniversary of U.S. women gaining the right to vote. Today, we celebrate our audacious foremothers of many colors who waged a courageous struggle to improve the lives of women.   

As the most militant suffragists knew, winning the power of the ballot was a huge advance, but could not solve inequality especially for women who were of color, immigrants or working class. And so the fight for women’s liberation continues. 
A burning issue affecting women are today's unending wars for profit, resources and territory. Militarism at home and abroad has boomed under the Democratic Party administration of Barack Obama with the full complicity of both capitalist parties.

March to United Nations headquarters in New York City protesting bombings in Gaza, Aug. 2014. 

Israel's murderous assault on Palestinians in Gaza proceeds with U.S. armaments, purchased with $3.1 billion in annual U.S. aid. More than 2,000 Gazans have been killed since the beginning of Israeli bombing, including 553 children and 253 women. Working-class women and men around the world have hit the streets to protest the onslaught in Gaza. The source of the conflict is here in the U.S., which upholds Israel as a bulwark of U.S. foreign policy. U.S. funds to Israel must be stopped!
In Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, U.S. bombs, drones and troops are often justified as defense of women or democracy. But women's status throughout the region has been drastically lowered by an oft-repeated U.S. policy cycle: first, arm far-right fundamentalists to stop working-class revolt; then disavow these allies when they begin to challenge U.S. dictates; finally, attack them militarily to preserve U.S. interests at enormous cost to human life and the environment. 
The problem is not only in the Middle East. The U.S. gives hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid to Mexico supposedly for fighting narco-traffickers. In reality, the money is being used to stifle protest by impoverished workers and to seize indigenous lands and resources for the benefit of giant corporations and drug cartels.
Community self-defense forces have formed to protect towns and villages, with considerable success. The Mexican government has responded by jailing scores of these defenders, including Nestora Salgado, a U.S. citizen, feminist and elected leader of the indigenous police force in her home village of Olinalá. A growing international campaign to free Salgado and other political prisoners is demanding an end to government repression against all self-defense forces and indigenous communities and a stop to U.S. military aid.

Rally in Portland, Ore. in solidarity
with protests in Ferguson, Aug. 2014. 

And here at home Ferguson, Missouri. Brave protesters in the predominantly poor and African American community faced down tanks, tear-gas and rubber bullets to demonstrate against the murder of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black 18-year-old, by a white cop. Who gave the robo-police their tanks and state of the art military armaments? The Department of Homeland Security the same bureau whose ICE agents are furiously deporting immigrant children back across a super-militarized border.
What should feminists do? We can honor the militant suffragists by expanding our vision beyond the ballot box. To gain equality and justice for the world's oppressed majority means eliminating the capitalist system that fuels militarism, war, poverty, sexism and scapegoating of all kinds. The alternative is socialism: a democratic, planned sharing of the world's resources for the benefit of all people rather than just a powerful few. Socialism promotes peace and equality, rather than war and bigotry, because it relies on cooperation, unlike capitalism's insatiable competition for profit. This massive restructuring will take a united movement of working people, led by women, people of color, first nations, immigrants and queers. We must lead the change we want to see.
To build the fight for a better future, let's come together with these demands:

  • Defund the U.S. military, Homeland Security and ICE!
  • End all U.S. wars. Stop U.S. funds to Israel. Support the global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Drop the prosecution of Rasmea Odeh, a gutsy Palestinian-American feminist arrested by Homeland Security on trumped-up charges as harassment for 40 years of community organizing to empower Arab women and win justice for Palestinians.
  • End military aid to Mexico. Free Nestora Salgado and all political prisoners. Open U.S. borders.
  • Put police under community control through independent elected civilian review boards empowered to investigate, punish and fire abusive cops. Organize community self-defense in the tradition of the Black Panthers and today's indigenous Mexican communities.
  • Redirect military dollars into schools, social services, housing and jobs. End the poverty-to-prison pipeline and a justice system skewed against people of color. Free Marissa Alexander  an African American domestic violence survivor threatened with a 60-year sentence for an act of self-defense that harmed no one.

Get involved the world needs you! 
In solidarity,
Helen Gilbert
National Executive Committee
Radical Women


Students protest in front of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow - Don't Shoot!