Dismantling the War at Home and Abroad

Dismantling the War at Home and Abroad:
As we work to advance our progressive vision of rural Oregon founded in true democracy, human dignity, and justice, we see the war at home and abroad as our barrier. We are working to dismantle this war and the common systems and inequalities in power that have created the global war on “terror”, the war in Iraq, and subsequent erosion of civil liberties, breakdown of the safety net, and targeting of immigrant communities. Our overarching strategy is to build a growing movement of rural people committed global justice, peace, and real democracy that will be the undoing of all these wars. Read more about the War at Home and Abroad

On April 26, join your peers from around the state for a day of strategizing to Dismantle the War at Home and Abroad in 2008 at the Rural Caucus & Strategy Session. Together we will be developing next steps for building our movement in 2008, getting the cost of war back into the headlines, inserting a Cost of War message into the election cycle and more. Read more and register here.

Tools for your local Co$t of War Campaign
* Read Naomi Wolf’s Letter to a Young Patriot and start a study circle in your community
* Expand your local Cost of War movement by building relationships with those most impacted by the Cost of War through social service agencies
* Ask your community’s elected officials to sign onto a letter calling for the defunding of the war in Iraq. Letter available in Word or PDF
* Starting a Student Opt Out campaign
* Oregon Eyes Wide Open exhibit

Local Organizing Highlights
Over 60 Oregon elected officials have signed onto a letter calling for a defunding of the war in Iraq Read more

Rural Women Arrested while demanding Congressman Walden vote against war funding Read more

The Co$t of War campaign in 2006 & 2007: Constituents from across their district came together for People’s Town Halls on the Cost of War. Testimonials from Iraq veterans, military families in mourning, teachers, nurses, immigrants, youth, County Commissioners, and City Councilors held up the personal experiences and the community impact of lives destroyed by a war that has cost billions while social services and programs go unfunded here at home. Read more about the history of the Co$t of War campaign.

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Report from the Caucus and Strategy Session 2008

We were reminded that in this election year beyond every mountain is a mountain, but whether we are heading uphill, as we have over the last 8 years, or rounding a summit, or able to catch our breaths a little on the backside, we are in this for the long haul and we are needed for the long haul.

There was a genuine sense that people were coming together around the need to refocus and educate voters on the basic tenets that make us truly free, rather than operating in some sort of reactionary mode. They seemed to grasp that such an approach is the only real way to have any durable and sustaining impact on turning things around. The thing I enjoyed the most was being in the midst of such truly positive and healing energy. – Jeff Rogers, Columbia County Citizens for Human Dignity

We then shared (amongst friends) what we hate about elections – the focus on the trivial, the money wasted, the lack of good media coverage of issues we care about – and what we love – for once people are talking politics and what an opportunity this year with record highs of new voters and enthusiasm for the possibility of politics! From there, we dove into ROP’s electoral machine with heart based on repeat contacts with voters that build relationships with voters to get out the vote for justice, but grow our base of human dignity activists who are connected to our groups beyond election day. The guests of ROP’s own “Days of the Lives of Human Dignity Group Activists” walked us through the basics tools and tactics and then we broke into Congressional District groups to talk about how we would apply this in our local human dignity groups and our collective power and goals as a district. See below for more details!

One highlight for me was the “ah-ha” moment of understanding our civic engagement project as an opportunity to build and energize SOD (our local human dignity group). I finally got that door-knocking doesn’t have to be about changing minds, confronting nay-sayers, or getting votes for an issue or candidate. I got that, using the ROP tools, door knocking can be a litmus test for potential members and first step in connecting with new people to build our membership, our mission and community awareness. I don’t dread it anymore. – Ann Kneeland, Seeking Out Democracy, Junction City

Our keynote speakers opened the afternoon with a talk that outlined the way that racism and wedge politics of fear and division have been used over time to diminish democracy and give way to more authoritarian government – and how these same tactics are being put into place in this election year through ballot measures that would target immigrants and expand prisons through mandatory minimum sentences.

Re-hearing the history of racism in our Oregon history is a sobering reminder I was VERY pleased to have a great rebuttal to lies about immigration. Now I need to memorize them. People are hearing distortions and lies and think that is the truth. – Martin Mijal, Portland Ally and Grant County Supporter

Afternoon sessions gave folks a chance to delve deeper into conversations and strategy about the key issues of the day: Organizing to Stop Immigration Backlash, Wrapping Ourselves in the Bill of Rights, and Those Wars Abroad: Peace Track.

The Peace Track focused on establishment of a Media Center that could be a long term tool for progressive messaging on why the wars at home and abroad reflect failed policy and what concrete, pro-democracy policies look like. A new idea that ROP is exploring in advance of the big election cycle that folks endorsed was exposing and documenting whether the numerous new small town military recruitment centers were, in fact, in compliance with legal mandates to actively offer every person they have contact with a chance to resister to vote. Stay tuned for more details!

I attended the Peace Track. I liked the way Mike motivated us to get the war back on the front page and connecting it to every other issue! This is so important and the establishment of the media center should be a great way to make this happen. I also got lots of tips to work with media. Excellent. – Kathy Paterno, Human Dignity Advocates, Crook County

Organizing to Stop Immigration Backlash allowed local leaders to share stories of how critical and difficult responding to this human dignity crisis is – and to discuss tools and strategies that have been successful. The group affirmed the different roles and significant relationship between the Latino community and non-immigrant and white allies in rural Oregon. Tools for inoculating our membership, our extended base, and our community at large against anti-immigrant arguments and myths was especially valued in this election year. Everyone agreed a Rapid Response structure was needed that was integrated into ongoing human dignity organizing but that would respond to anti-immigrant sentiment whether a local ordinance, letter to the editor, or immigration raid. ROP’s Immigration Fairness Network email list (https://lists.riseup.net/www/info/ropifn) will be used as a site for resource sharing and discussion.

It was a good reminder for me to update our Rapid Response info and … better collaborate on responding to the kind of one-at-a-time harassment, incarceration and deportation that Brad Porterfield (from Latino Community Association) was reporting. That is so scary-sounding… to have a loved one singled out and picked up and sent someplace in the middle of the night but you don’t know where or what you can do. There has to be some way within local areas to monitor and track that so that individual families can have support (and ICE will be forced to be more transparent). – Betsy Lamb, Code Pink Bend and Interfaith in Action for Justice

The Bill of Rights Session focused on affirming the framework of the Bill of Rights as a tool to 1) identify how our democracy is doing, 2) engage our communities in the state of our democracy (and how close it has moved to authoritarianism), 3) use this framework to talk through tough issues (a backdoor to immigration issues) and 4) practice using the Freedom Voters kit as the tool to engage our communities in this conversation through the election cycle.

I attended the Bill of Rights session and found out that this might be a good way to unite with other groups that do not necessarily think the same way on other topics. – Denise Steffenhagan, Human Dignity Advocates, Crook County

At the close of the day, we literally sang our way at the door and in the words of Woody Guthrie encouraged our movement, just like the might Columbia, to roll on!

Being involved with ROP is like a shot in the arm. I can take back all the collective knowledge & experience I absorbed while I was there. It was wonderful. – Dian Courtwright, Concerned Citizens of Coquille, Coos County

To access the tools and plans to help your human dignity group roll on this election year, go to www.FreedomVoters.com, check out this month’s Kitchen Table Activism contact ROP at amy@rop.org or 503-543-8417.

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Dismantling the War at Home and Abroad

During WWII, African American soldiers would wave a Double V for victory abroad over the Nazis and victory at home over racism. Similarly today, while we are working to stop the war in Iraq, there is a domestic front to that war being waged here at home on the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community. All of this in the name of "security." And all of this to the benefit of the same private corporate contractor few that claim to do security well, never mind civil liberties or human rights or economic justice.

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Rebuild America

‘Make Levees Not War’ was one poignant and powerful sign at the peace vigils across the nation September 24th – connecting the dots eloquently between empire building abroad and de-funding of communities at home. In the neo-conservative age, our mantras have shifted. We find ourselves pleading for levees not love. As the consequences of de-funding our communities reveal themselves, it is radical indeed to look at shoring up the most basic forms of government – those that exist to make sure our water is potable, our children have schools, and we have communication systems that function in good times and in bad. Our nation had a staggering moment of consensus during the early days of Katrina. We all knew that we did not want to find ourselves or any other member of our community relegated to the superdome. Let’s build from that consensus.

Rebuild America:

The Country, Our Communities, The Gulf Coast

Hurricane Katrina revealed a national disaster in leadership and priorities. A change of course is needed now! The role of government is to protect the rights and promote the health, safety and well being of all people living in this country. We, the undersigned, call upon our elected leaders to take action to Rebuild America: The Country, Our Communities, The Gulf Coast.

1. Create Real Security: The gap between the super-rich and everyone else has never been greater. It threatens our ability to Rebuild America. We want: a. Fair tax contributions from corporations & the wealthy. b. A livable minimum wage. c. A real safety net to protect people’s basic needs of healthcare, food, shelter & education. d. Public employment projects that put people to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.

2. Withdraw from Iraq: The US occupation of Iraq is now directly endangering US security and inflaming civil war in Iraq. We demand an orderly withdrawal of all US forces in Iraq, and the creation of a true international relief effort to rebuild that country. We want Oregon’s Governor to call for the return of the state’s National Guard from Iraq.

3. Protect the Rights of All: Since 9/11, the federal government has militarized society in the name of ‘National Security’. True safety means protecting the rights of all people and creating a society that offers everyone a decent standard of living. These basic rights are outlined in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Geneva Conventions. We therefore demand: a. Respect our Bill of Rights! Abolish the USA PATRIOT ACT and the REAL ID ACT. b. A realistic, fair, and humane immigration policy. c. Close down all secret prisons. Stop torture. Due process for all prisoners at home and abroad.

4. Build Sustainable Communities: Promote Energy Conservation as National Security. The energy crisis damages our security, our economy, and our environment. We say: Rebuild America with public investments in energy efficiency and conservation- to create jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign sources – using the Apollo Alliance as a model.

Rebuilding America starts with accounting for the Co$t of War. Click HERE to learn more.

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Get Involved

Here are just a few ways you can get involved in the work for social justice and a stronger democracy:




Act Locally

The heart of ROP’s work is done in local communities through human dignity groups. There are over 60 Member Groups of the ROP. Contact us at cara@rop.org or 503-543-8417 to find out what kind of local organizing is happening in your area.

Stay Connected Across the Region

ROPNET is the official listserve of the Rural Organizing Project. It is a secure list to the extent that all names added are involved with the work of the ROP. Our email listserve was one of the first to use email to organize when it was launched in the early 1990s. ROPNET is intended first and foremost to break the isolation that rural human rights activists can experience. Subscribe to ROPnet.

Become a Member of the Rural Organizing Project

Are you or your group committed to social justice and human dignity?  Do you care about making rural Oregon’s communities exciting and vibrant centers for democracy?  Do you want to connect with others who feel similarly and get support for your organizing?  Join ROP today!


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Stay Tuned In!

Mobilizing our communities for Freedom and Democracy on November 4th and beyond! Join ROP’s Freedom Voters Campaign Visit www.FreedomVoters.com Download these materials and begin engaging your community members today: Freedom Voters Guide Freedom Survey Freedom Pledge Cards Freedom Petition VolunteerPledge Thank You Cards Study Circles for Freedom & Democracy: ROP member groups are kicking off the 2008 Election Year with study circles to ground us in the challenges and opportunities in 2008. Check out Naomi Wolf’s Letter to a Young Patriot. Start a study group in your community or share your reflections with the ROP. Stay tuned for the Freedom Voter Guide, a tool to engage our community members to vote and act for justice in 2008! Jumpstart Your Civic Engagement by Registering Voters Early & Often Your Ballot Snapshot: ROP’s Preview of Initiatives Heading Your Way (as of January 2008) As we kick off the 2008 election year, it is not just candidates who are making the rounds. Here in Oregon, more than 60 initiatives are vying for a spot on the ballot. It may very well be the longest ballot ever. Unfortunately, nearly every one of these initiatives would take us a step further away from real democracy. True democracy and freedom requires an educated population whose basic needs are cared for, not an incarcerated one, protection of workers rights through strong unions and respect for the civil rights of all, not scapegoating of immigrant workers and targeting LGBTQ members of our community. Our government of, by, and for the people demands the resources to realize this vision of democracy, not tax loopholes and restrictions that hamstring government from doing its job. Dismantling the war at home and abroad means that it is not enough to bring the troops home and stop draining our resources for an unjust war in Iraq, though these are certainly a start! This election year, the frontlines on the home front will be waged through many of these ballot measures. Unions, immigrants, teachers, working people, women, queer folks, people of color, and all of us who believe in a fair and just world are targets this election. Every time we fill out our ballots we have a chance to vote to expand democracy. It is up to us to use our grassroots power to demand accountability and turn out the vote for justice. Check out ROP’s 2008 Initiatives Overview in WORD or PDF.

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Annual Rural Caucus & Strategy Session

Saturday, April 26th, Hood River, OR On April 26th, ROPers from every corner of the state gathered along the banks of the Columbia River for a day together at the Rural Caucus and Strategy Session focused on "Dismantling the War at Home and Abroad".

"I looked around the room and thought, ‘These people understand me. The issues I care about are their issues, too. We don’t have to pretend to be someone else or to explain what we are thinking. We are so much alike, and I am happy here.’" – Alice McCain, Coastal Progressives, Lincoln County

We kicked off our time together by affirming our role as movement minded human dignity activists. Read more

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Dismantling the War at Home and Abroad

During WWII, African American soldiers would wave a Double V for victory abroad over the Nazis and victory at home over racism. Similarly today, while we are working to stop the war in Iraq, there is a domestic front to that war being waged here at home on the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community. All of this in the name of "security." And all of this to the benefit of the same private corporate contractor few that claim to do security well, never mind civil liberties or human rights or economic justice.

Read More on Dismantling the War at Home and Abroad.

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