Veterans for Peace
Tom Sturtevant Chapter 1
February 27, 2014
At the home of Herschel and Selma Sternlieb
Brunswick, Maine

Present: Rita Clement, Bud Buzzell, Clarence Smith, Richard Clement, Bruce Gagnon, Doug Rawlings, Robin Spencer, Dan Ellis, Peter Woodruff, Regis Tremblay, Peggy Akers, Dovey Balsam, Nicole Moreau, Bob Lezer, Dud Hendrick, Joe de Rivera

Reading: Dan began the meeting with a reading from a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (born in Portland) poem called “The Arsenal at Springfield”.

Secretary Report: Minutes from last meeting are on our VFP website and were approved.

Treasurer Report: Dovey circulated the February report.

MaineShare: Richard told us that all our necessary annual reports have been given to MaineShare except for the IRS Form 990. Dovey is working to complete that now. MaineShare will hold its annual meeting in Augusta on May 14. Please let Richard know if you would like to attend along with him. We get points for having additional people show up.

Membership: Dan recently sent 56 reminder letters to long-time delinquent dues paying members and heard back from 20 of them. We currently have 123 members and 102 of them are paid up.

Media/Outreach Committee: The combined project for the April 12 “double-header for peace” is well underway. Dud recently sent out a news release about the “christening” protest planned by VFP and other groups at BIW on Saturday, April 12 from 10:00 am to noon. On that day the new $4 billion Zumwalt stealth destroyer will be cheered by thousands and we will gather on the corner of Washington & Hinckley Streets in Bath. We will play the C-SPAN audio from the 1994 Labor Day rally at BIW that featured Bill Clinton, George Mitchell, Tom Andrews, and two leaders of the Machinists Union all calling for the conversion and diversification of the shipyard. Then at 6:00 pm on April 12 we’ll gather at the newly built Unitarian Church in Brunswick for a pot luck supper and “International Panel on US ‘Pivot’ To Asia-Pacific” that will feature four speakers on a panel that begins at 7:00 pm. The event will include peace activists from the US, Japan, Korea, and India.

The chapter has approved a $750 expenditure for this and it will be used to give each speaker $100 honorarium and travel reimbursement as needed. Most of them are coming from Boston.

Doug will join Bruce on the next taping of This Issue public access TV show to promote the April 12 events. Strong chapter turnout for the April 12 double-header is requested.

Ghosts of Jeju: Regis reported that the recent donation from the chapter to help him do more travel with his new documentary The Ghosts of Jeju was already paying off. Next week he leaves for Chicago where the film will be screened at the Peace on Earth Film Festival. Korean musician Joyak Gol from Jeju Island will join Regis in Chicago and then tour with him to Fresno, Santa Rosa, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Diego, Tucson, Albuquerque, and Taos. From there it appears they will be hosted in Boston and New York City by Korean activists. He thanked the chapter again for the good support.

By-Laws: Changes made at last month’s meeting were posted online prior to this meeting. The final By-laws were approved and will be given to MaineShare who needs a copy. We added three new members to our Board of Directors which presently included only our President Richard Clements, V-P Doug Rawlings, Secretary Bruce Gagnon and Treasurer Dovey Balsam. The three new members will be Peggy Akers (for one year), Bud Buzzell (two years) and Clarence Smith (three years).

Draft Counseling: Larry Dansinger will come talk with us about this at our next meeting in Augusta.

Jones Cancelled: Ann Jones speaking event cancelled by CodePink.

Chapter 003: Our donation of $500 to VFP Chapter 003 in Bangor area was appreciated.

March 16 St Patrick’s Parade: VFP groups in the Boston area are requesting we send members down for their peace parade that follows directly after the traditional parade in South Boston. Peggy, Bud, Doug are going for sure and hopefully more can come along.

April 5 Peace Meeting: Joe de Rivera from Peace Action Maine invited us to attend a statewide meeting of peace groups on April 5 in Brunswick from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Common House on 2 Echo Road. The purpose of the meeting is to create a more coordinated peace movement focus in Maine. Nicole will try to attend part of the meeting.

Hope Fest: The annual Hope Festival will be held at UMO on April 26. Chapter 003 always has a table there. It’s a fun day.

Adolph Reed: CodePink is organizing a May 10 talk by African-American educator Reed at the library in Brunswick. The chapter agreed to give $100 as co-sponsor. He was recently interviewed on Bill Moyers show.

Jimmy Freeman: Agreed to send $150 to Jimmy Freeman who loaned VFP his mini-bus during our October drone peace walk thru the state. His sleeping bag in the bus was lost so we wanted to reimburse him for that loss.

Richard Wolff: On Wednesday, March 12 the Marxist economist Richard Wolff will speak at USM Hannaford Hall in Portland at 5:30 pm. He is a great speaker.

June 27 Bath: The local committee in Bath that organized the successful campaign to oppose another tax break (was able to get the city to cut $3 million from the BIW request) will now work on conversion/diversification of BIW. On Friday, June 27 the group is organizing a public forum on the subject and bringing Miriam Pemberton (IPS) to speak. Last year Connecticut passed a law to set up a statewide conversion planning commission and now many other states are working on this same legislation. The plan is for Maine to have a similar campaign after we get a new governor. The June 27 event will begin with a potluck supper at 6:00 pm in Bath.

Palestine: Dud is going to Palestine with several artists from April 15-28. We urge our folks to learn more about the growing Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israeli apartheid.

April 26-27 NYC: Doug reported on the national VFP ‘Full Disclosure’ campaign that kicks off with events in NYC on April 26-27. Doug also reported that he had left the national board due to feeling worn out from the work load. He hopes to be replaced by a younger vet.

Peace Fair: It was agreed that the chapter would participate again in the annual Peace Fair on August 2 in Brunswick.

Oren Lyons: Native American Oren Lyons will speak at Bates College on March 3 at 7pm. His talk will be “Peace, Power, Righteousness, and Environmental Stewardship from a Native Perspective”.

Pete Seeger: Peggy went to a Peter Seeger memorial concert at Longfellow Square in Portland and reported that it was a beautiful and moving event.

Ukraine: Bruce talked about the destabilizing coup the US and Germany have pulled off in Ukraine. The deep concern is that NATO will move military bases there, and in Georgia, both along the Russian border. It appears the US is pushing Russia into a corner. Very dangerous situation. Many of the “street agitators” that the US has been supporting are linked to historic Nazi forces inside Ukraine that supported Hitler’s WW II invasion of the former Soviet Union.

Next Meeting: We will meet next in Augusta on March 27 at 7:00 pm.