Veterans for Peace, Chapter 001
Meeting Minutes
22 February 2007
Lewiston, Maine

Meeting began at 7:02 pm. Ended 9:00 pm.

Doug passed out a hand out about the “teach in” occurring on 22 March at University of Maine Farmington. He encouraged everyone to attend. There’s a strong possibility that Cindy Sheehan will be the evening speaker. Dud, Kristina, Peggy, Rita, and Rob will all be offering workshops during the day.

Secretary’s report— moved to accept by Jim, seconded by Dan. All agree.

Treasurer’s report—we have $8000 in the bank. Recent bills paid—Chewonki $1,256, Portland Public Library $500 (down payment for symposium space), $775 for tee shirts, pens, hats from National. Paid dues $639 for MaineShare.

Jim spoke briefly about 9/11 and the conspiracy theory and he said he would like to get the information out into communities as a representative of VFP. It was voted that it is not OK for him to say he’s representing VFP but it’s ok to say he’s a member of VFP. Doug said he would send out word to the membership so others can make up their minds.

Occupation project on 21 Feb. Thirteen people were arrested at Tom Allen’s office and four were jailed. They will be arraigned tomorrow at 1:00 at the Cumberland courthouse. Channel 13 provided good coverage including interviews. Occupations of our senators’ and legislators’ offices will continue across the state and occupation will occur in Sen. Snowe’s Bangor office on 7 or 8 March (note: it did. 12 were arrested, including Dud, Doug, and Rob. Lousy press coverage except for WERU).

Stan stated that protests against going to war in Iran are occurring in Brunswick and Freeport from 12 noon to 1 pm. in front of the post offices. He also noted that Zignev Bryznev??? (Carter’s old Sec’y. Help with spelling!!) says an attack will occur, and it will be blamed on Iran. A false flag operation. Stan also noted there is a “vet gulf build” a program sponsored by VFP to help aid the families impacted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Donations of time and money appreciated. Go to National VFP website for details. We should support.

Jack inquired as to who our archivist is. Smitty stated he is the archivist. Jack gave Smitty some materials. If you have anything of historical value pertaining to VFP, please give it to Smitty.

Jim stated that we should send letters to high schools about recruiters.

Jack reported that he participated in a panel at USM on 25 Jan. in commemoration of Martin Luther King Day. Jack did an excellent job. Bob Lezer & Smitty staffed the VFP table in the lobby.

The city of San Francisco has abolished the junior ROTC.

Jack and Tom spoke about the National Guard adventure program that involves 32 schools in Maine. This program falls under the drug demand adventure program. It is taught by uniformed National Guardsman in schools with the grand finale with students getting a National Guard pin.

On 18 March Richard and Rita will participate in a forum at the Porter Town Hall.

March 2—reading of names at First Parish Church in Saco from 9 till 9. First time reading of names will have occurred in church.

Bill Slavic noted that Lenten vigils are occurring on Saturdays from 11:30 to 12:30 at BIW during lent. VFP members are urged to attend.

Peace Action Maine dinner 24 February—VFP getting an award as is Bruce Gagnon, a member of VFP. The more VFPers there the better.

March 17th Village Green-Ringing of church bells at noon. Gathering at 12 noon in Monument Square and a candle light march thru the Old Port. A number of VFP members will be participating in their towns’ events.

Stan said “The Ground Truth” was shown in Brunswick at Evening Star Cinema last week.

March 3—table at the Azerela dinner—5:30 pm. Jack has 8 tickets.

Calendar progress report—Dan and Kristina have done a great job putting together a 17 month calendar utilizing 17 portraits painted by Rob Shetterly. A proof of the calendar was passed around. Doug has applied for grants of $1500 from the A.J. Muste foundation and $2000 from the Resist foundation. Initially we will print 500 with the idea of giving away 250 and selling 250. Fully expect this will be a huge success and we’ll be doing more printings. A cover still needs to be designed. VFP may need to put up front money for this project. Dan will check out printing costs.

VFP is listed in the Citizens Guide to the 123rd Maine State Legislature at a cost of $25.

National Convention—It was suggested that in 2010 that Maine might like to host the VFP convention as that will be the 25th anniversary of the founding of VFP. Everyone needs to think about this as it’s a long term commitment and requires lots and lots of work.

Symposium: Jack has reserved 3 rooms at the Portland Public Library for 2 June. Potential speakers are: Dr. Edward Tick, a PTSD expert and a veteran, as well as the author of War and Soul, Robert J. Lifton, (Michael is in touch with him and he has shown interest.) Representative Mike McDermott, MD from Washington State is interested —not committed. It was suggested that Lifton and McDermott speak in the morning with Tick in the afternoon. We will finance thru the state and ticket sales. CEU’s will be available. Stan said that Robert J. Lifton is an international expert on PTSD. It was suggested we show the film “The Ground Truth” as part of the symposium.

GI Rights hotline comes from the sanctuary movement. Becoming involved requires a 3 day training session. Manuals cost $50 a piece plus $6 for a packet of information. Trainers can come to Maine or folks could go to Cambridge, Mass. Following the 3 day initial training there is a 17 week training period. Their central office is in San Francisco. Doug said we’d probably need 4 or 5 volunteers for the project. Tom is interested and Seth Berner has been told about the project. Jack & Bob said we need to find out more….let’s proceed. Doug will contact the trainer in Cambridge, Mass to see what’s involved and will contact the National Office to see if there’s a large enough demand in Maine to warrant the work.

Nomination of officers: Doug said we need new blood in positions and appointed a nominating committed of Stan, Tom & Art. Doug will call for nominations for president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. The Board positions will be decided later. The committee is charged to have a potential slate of officers for the March meeting. The committee will decide by consensus. Secret balloting with simple majority prevailing will determine the election of officers.

Impeachment petitions: 10,000 signatures needed by May to present to legislature. If ten active members each get 80 signatures we would have gotten 800 names. If anyone wants to donate to the Impeach Now project, checks can be made out to VFP with Impeach Now written on the comment line.

March 17—action and rally in Augusta. Village green day rally and march. Are we interested?? Unable to do due to other commitments. We decided to stay with our local communities.

Portland has asked us to participate in their Memorial Day parade. We have walked in the Brunswick parade for the last 3 years. The group decided to return to Brunswick. Jack will write to Portland, declining to participate in their parade and ask if we can provide a speaker in 2010 as it will be our 25th anniversary.

Stan said the American Legion in Brunswick is looking for members. It was suggested that Mr. McMullin, the leader of that post, be invited to come speak to us.

How do we respond to Democrat and Republican candidates? We may NOT support ANY political candidates as an organization. To do so would endanger our 4013C status.

Perry O’Brien’s mother is setting up a website and has requested funds to assist in this effort. It would be a single comprehensive website about non-violence geared to 10-18 year olds. It was decided we would refer this to National.

Stan moved that we contribute $50 in memory of Molly Ivins to the Texas Observer. Seconded by Jack. Discussion ensued about the suitability of donating memorial funds. It was pointed out that we have done so in the past, and it was agreed that we should continue considering such donations but only after discussion at the business meeting. . .

MaineShare—let’s see if we can find another organization or business with 25 or more employees who would join MaineShare. Towns and schools are eligible.

Tom Whitney is urging people to subscribe to the People’s Weekly World newspaper—$30 for 50 issues. Victor Skorapa asked about paying $100 dues to the Maine Fair Trade Campaign. Moved by Stan, seconded by Jack, approved. Matt Sobel does fine work on US trade policies.

Next meeting Thursday, 29 March at 7 pm. In Brunswick.