Relief not war

As part of the Bring Them Home Now Tour, which is cris-crossing the country on the way to the huge September 24 march for peace in Washington, DC, there will be a show at the ArtsCenter on Friday:

Relief Not War Fundraiser with Medea Benjamin, “The Lids”, and Cakalak Thunder Drum corps.
Friday, September 16, 8:00 pm, Carrboro Arts Center

The NC Peace & Justice Coalition is Holding a “Relief Not War” Fundraiser, on Friday September 16 at 8:00 pm. The event features performers, speakers, and musicians. Headlined by Medea Benjamin, Co-Founder of Code Pink, performers include spoken word phenomenon Dasan Ahanu, Carrboro cover band “The Lids”, Greensboro's “Cakalak Thunder Drum Corps”, and Emerson Waldorf Middle School's Flag Corps and Fire Twirlers. We will show excerpts from the Empowerment Project's newly released film, “Soldiers Speak Out”, show in Fayetteville during the March 19 demonstration.

“Relief Not War” is at the Carrboro Arts Center on 300-G East Main Street, on Friday September 16, 8:00 pm. Tickets are $12, $5 for students, On Sale Now at

There are also tons of other events with Cindy Sheehan and other activists in the Triangle and Fayetteville all week, including an anti-war march in Durham on Saturday starting at noon at Brightleaf Square. For more info, visit



By the way if you are going to DC on September 24, Internationalist is organizing buses:

Bus tickets to the Sept 24 protest in Washington DC are selling quickly though we still have quite a few left. If you are planning to buy a ticket but have not done so, please come by the store at your earliest convenience. Tickets are $30 to $35 (sliding scale) and we request that you pay with cash or check please. If you don't think you'll be able to make it by the store in the next few days we suggest that you give us a call at 942-1740 to reserve your tickets now, although we will only keep unpaid reservations for a limited time.

We are also offering a limited number of scholarship tickets. Please contact Michal Osterweil at or Sarah Mosbacher at .

As we address this illegal & obscene war, I think it is important to keep three things in mind:

1) The majority of Americans wants the troops out of Iraq.

2) The Democratic Party solidly supports the war.

3) It is a self-fulfilling prophecy that there is no alternative to trying to change the Democratic Party from within, if massive activist energy is absorbed by efforts to change the Democratic Party from within.

Medea Benjamin is one of the real heroes and stalwarts of the left of recent years. It's a great opportunity Friday night to hear her and to support local peace activism as well.

BTW, it's great to see the Emerson Waldorf students involved in this. Their high-school students didn't get much attention last spring for the semester-long fundraising drive they held to support Architects for Humanity's tsunami relief efforts.

I'm tired of being told that I must choose the lesser of two evils. It's bad logic (false dilemma; "Between two evils, choose neither; between two goods, choose both" --Tryon Edwards).

Is anyone interested in starting a Progressive Party here in NC? Has this been attempted before?

These questions, I think, are related to this post.

It's been done before. Is this the time to do it? Or as my daughter likes to ask on long road trips: Are we there yet?

More good stuff on Saturday:

What: discussion of Iraq war and media focusing on the documentary
"Occupation: Dreamland"
Where: 116 Murphey Hall
When: 10:30 - 12:30 Soldiers' View
2:00-4:00 Scholar's Panel
Saturday, September 17th, 2005
Details: See below. Local prereview of movie

> Media War:
> During times of military conflict, interactions between the public and government--including the military specifically--are both critical and complicated. Since most of this interaction occurs through the 'media,' it is important to examine perceptions of how the media works and how this interaction shifts over time. Two panels will discuss this interaction and the media's performance in relation to the current Iraq conflict. The first panel will present a military viewpoint including panelists currently serving, veterans, and military families. A second panel will present views of academics specializing in media and politics.
> Location: UNC Campus, 116 Murphy Hall
> Purpose: The purpose of this event will be to use the film
> "Occupation: Dreamland" as a springboard for raising the level of public discussion concerning issues related to the war in Iraq. As the film creates a very human portrayal of the soldiers in this conflict, it can be used to inspire a broad discussion about media, history, and politics in relation to the current conflict and those that have come before it. By bringing together soldiers, veterans, and their families - as well as experts on media, politics, and history - the conference facilitators hope to create an environment in which the Iraq War can be viewed in its historical context. As such, this conference will explore the challenges American citizens and soldiers must address as we consider the influence of media on our understanding of the war and the consequences of that understanding."
> Info: The film is being distributed by Rumur Releasing ( Rumur and the filmmakers are working together with Working Films to get the film seen and discussed.
> Structure:
> Morning Session- 10:30 - 12:30
> Soldiers' View:
> 10 minute clip from "Occupation: Dreamland"
> A panel with soldiers and veterans as well as family members of both groups will discuss soldiers' rights and needs. How are they affected by media representations of the current conflict. Would they rather see more information? Does what they see on the news ring true with what they hear from others? Some of the discussion during this panel will make useful parallels between the Vietnam War and the current conflict.
> This panel will also delve into the idea of how media representations of the conflict affect soldiers while serving and upon returning. This issue is especially touchy right now as anger is building up on both sides due to the actions of peace activists like Cindy Sheehan. Some say that calls of "Bring the Troops Home" damages morale. How do these soldiers feel?
> Panelists
> Captain Brit Erslev United States Army
> James Massey- Former Career Marine/ Recruiter
> Garrett Reppenhagen Cavalry Scout/ Sniper
> Others to be announced
> 12:30- 2:00 lunch break
> Afternoon Session: 2:00-4:00
> "What we know, how we know it, and what it means".
> 10 minute clip from "Occupation: Dreamland"
> In this panel, experts in media and politics will examine media coverage of the war and how that influences and is influenced by political and public life. "Occupation: Dreamland" provides a starting point for the discussion, which is given additional impetus by issues relating to media coverage of events in Iraq and Afghanistan, the impact on the military and their families, the controversy of Cindy Sheehan's protest, and television series such as "Over There."
> Panelists:
> Cori Dauber (UNC) Communication Studies
> David Paletz (Duke) Political Science
> Napoleon Bryars (UNC) School of Journalism and Mass Communication
> Garret Scott Filmmaker "Occupation Dreamland"
> Ian Olds Filmmaker "Occupation Dreamland"
> This program is sponsored by the Department of Communication Studies and the Curriculum in Peace, War and Defense.
> For additional information about the film, "Occupation: Dreamland," please visit

As if by way of reply to David Marshall's comment, this just came in from the Common Sense Foundation:


If you've voted in any state other than North Carolina, you might wonder on Election Day why there are so few candidates on N.C. ballots.

It turns out that North Carolina's election laws, designed and maintained by and for the benefit of the two major parties, are some of the most restrictive and exclusive in the nation. Current law requires third parties to gather more than 100,000 signatures every four years to get on the statewide ballot (and receive at least 10% of the vote for governor or president to stay on the ballot).

Most states require far fewer signatures to get on the ballot, and far fewer votes to stay on it.

Last year a federal judge ruled that the burden on unaffiliated political candidates in North Carolina is unconstitutional. Yet the General Assembly to date has done nothing to change these conditions.

This past session, several groups tried to get the state House to pass a bill designed to increase ballot access to other parties and candidates. That effort was stymied at the last minute by nefarious amendments designed to kill the bill.

The Libertarians may sue. The Greens are complaining as well.

Of course some minimal standard must exist to keep the ballot manageable. But we're far away from that standard now.

Isn't it time to throw out antiquated ballot-access laws that merely serve to keep major parties in power?

Well, that answers my question pretty clearly. Is anyone other than me outraged?

I've heard the argument against Democratic Party secession already too many times: that the Republicans dominate because there's little division among their ranks, while Democrats find it hard to keep a core unity; therefore, divided we fall.

Welcome to the politics of default. What perfect rationalizing for avoiding our rights as citizens in determining our future! Doesn't there come a time when a shake-up of politics as usual results in some positive outcome.

I won't speak on this anymore on this blog because it's off-subject and because my disgust for party politics has reached a saturation point.

We get what we deserve when we fail to act.

Is anyone other than me outraged?

Duh! Where have you been, David? :-) Some of us have been outraged so long we can't remember what contentment feels like. Why do you think we're investing our energy in LOCAL change?

Seriously, if you want to get involved in these issues is a great place to start.

Yep, I'm new to the game, but I'm catching up fast.

Mark--What evidence do you have that most Americans want to leave Iraq? Most polls I've seen are like this one, from ABC in June:

"As President Bush prepares to address the nation about Iraq tonight, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that most Americans do not believe the administration's claims that impressive gains are being made against the insurgency, but a clear majority is willing to keep U.S. forces there for an extended time to stabilize the country.

The survey found that only one in eight Americans currently favors an immediate pullout of U.S. forces, while a solid majority continues to agree with Bush that the United States must remain in Iraq until civil order is restored -- a goal that most of those surveyed acknowledge is, at best, several years away."

Perhaps the numbers have improved a little since Cindy Sheehan's protest, but surely not by the 35% or so necessary to constitute a majority.

Two points need to be made--the anti-war movement has a lot of work to do to convince the American public of the need to get out of Iraq.

Secondly, the American political system makes it virtually impossible to have a functioning third party at the national level. Dissent is likely to be channeled through the Democrats or Republicans, neither of which is a political party in the European sense--they are more just channels into the government broadly associated with the right or left. Both Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich held anti-war positions of one sort or another (the latter much tougher than the former) and neither managed to get much traction in the primaries, among potentially sympathetic Democratic voters. Had they broke with the Democrats, they probably would have done even worse than Nader's dismal 2.7% in 2000.


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