The Band of Rebels meeting at Brighton Library Learning Center on Monday, Oct. 28, 2013 was filled with lively discussion, a number of ideas, but no final conclusions. Here is my summary. I know I’ve altered your words and in some cases put words into you mouth. Please correct me if I have misrepresented your views.
- Bill suggested that we join in with existing Metro Justice campaigns and the items listed in the “Fight for Economic Justice” program.
- Doug pointed out that the Band of Rebels is primarily an elderly group that mostly focused on national and international issues, but that we should be ready to take up any local issues where victory seems possible and that are relevant to the elderly.
- Grania, via Gail, suggested that we focus on Social Security, Medicare, & Medicaid, educational activities, support for Metro Justice campaigns, and that we consider direct action civil disobedience on some issue of importance.
- Sylvia noted that banks are local and later Tim emphasized that asking people to move money from big banks to credit unions is a local response to a national issue.
- Elaine suggested supporting Children’s Agenda and advocating for increased county funds for day care. Grand children are very much our concern and all children are our grand children.
- Sally suggested that we all take a look at the Popular Resistance and an item by Chris Hedges that is optimistic about the resistance movement in the US. Our Invisible Revolution http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/10/28
- Mike reflected on our experience in front of banks and out in the community and hopes that all our actions will be connected to our community.
- Colin urged Band of Rebels to think beyond tactics. He argues that we should join in building a mass movement. Everything we do should focus on organizing and increasing our numbers. Metro Justice has a number of options available: 1. Speakers Bureau, 2, building membership by going door to door and making phone calls (MJ has trouble getting people to take on these tasks.), 3. Housing as a Human Right has little or no outreach. The Band of Rebels could make a difference by joining these campaigns.
- Gail asked if Band of Rebels could be a taskforce of Metro Justice. (Probably, if we want to.)
- Rich brought up the shooting last Sunday near Thurston Road and Chili Ave. where the Band of Rebels demonstrated the past two weeks. http://roc.democratandchronicle.com/article/20131027/NEWS01/310270048/11-year-old-boy-among-2-hurt-city-shooting
- Bill is on the Metro Justice Social Action Committee, which considers what actions seem appropriate for Metro Justice.
- Jo reported that the Metro Justice Retirement with Dignity committee met with Sen., Schumer’s representative to lobby about Schumer’s lack of vocal support supporting Social Security and opposing cuts. More of us should write or call Schumer about this issue.
- Elaine wished there were a way that we could be better at informing the public about budgets, particularly the federal budget, and the allocation of funds and priorities set there, especially the military budget.
- Gail liked Elaine’s idea and suggests we try to get at least one letter a week in the D&C.
- Mike suggests that a number of us, he volunteers, would be willing to write letters.
- Pat says, “Don’t forget City Newspaper,” and suggests we all add comments online when someone gets a letter published.
- Peter says these are all good ideas that have been tried before, what’s missing is that we don’t have enough people.
- Sylvia said, “let us not pass over what Elaine has said about Militarism, which needs to be addressed.
- Colin thinks we are focusing on tactics and mission. We need to bring in more people and plan strategy.
- Doug says that the Band of Rebels show up. We can be counted on. How can we teach or help others to show up?
- Colin replies that Band of Rebels does not show up for outreach or organization that make the mobilization possible. We are ready to mobilize, but leave the real work of organization to mobilize undone. We asked Colin to prepare a list of the specific organizational ways we might help TBTL, MJ Housing Ctte, and other existing organizations, beyond just “showing up.”
- Jim expressed personal concerns about having too many issues and too many requests for help. He wants to work on a few things he is good at and interested in doing.
- Peter all the issues should be approached in an organized way.
- Jim asked the group to come to some conclusion about Band of Rebels Issues
- Pat suggested four issues 1. Social security, 2. Day care, 3. Military budget, & 4. Housing.
- Mike said he was not in favor of voting. It is very difficult to name the issue that has genuine leverage.
- Liz described feeling clutched about what to do and recalled Jim Schmidt’s call out at a meeting. He asked, “What do we leave behind?” He wanted us to act to create a legacy for our grandchildren.
- Gail mentioned Grania’s belief that eventually we need to take direction action and civil disobedience.
- Doug responding to the depression and low spirits we sometimes face, recommended a book by Rebecca Solnit “Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities” https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/rebecca-solnit/hope-in-the-dark/
- Jo said the web site Popular Resistance gives news of lots of people doing good work and can help lift the gloom.
- Tim gave three points in reverse order. 3. I need the Band of Rebels, 2. Local issue with traction with results? Work on moving money from bank to credit union, and 1. A riff in the dark – I made contact with couple of black leaders when we were on the street and I’m intrigued by the notion of working with them. I went to a meeting at a downtown church and I think there is a way forward with neighborhood groups.
- Denise in my mind I thought of origins of Band of Rebels. Jim’s (Schmidt) thinking about “bearing witness” to what is happening around us is most important. What is our legacy and what are we in danger of losing? Who is paying for capitalist crisis that expresses itself is so many ways. We need to build a mass organization. I support our continued identity as the Band of Rebels and we can be a source of support for other organizations, but our strategy has to be clear, confronting power in ways that we can and begin a discussion of direct action.
- Pat suggests that we ask Colin to make his presentation to the Band of Rebels.
- June asked if Jim Schmidt had it in mind that Band of Rebels be part of Metro Justice. (Yes, perhaps, though it was not a plan.)
- Mike expressed a willingness to do phone calling and canvassing for Metro Justice campaigns, but he does not want to do it alone. He wants two or three other Band of Rebels folk joining with him.
- Doug asked what do we do next, can Colin speak to us?
- Colin described the development of the 7 major issues of Fight for Economic Justice. If Rochester has 15% progressives (the national figure) then about 90 thousand progressives live here. If we could mobilize them we could hire many more organizers and really have a mass organization. He suggested that Band of Rebels come in for Metro Justice Monday’s to work on various campaigns to make that a reality.
- Peter sees danger for our democracy as a prime issue.
- We could not agree on a date for the meeting for Colin’s presentation. Pat and Colin will work on finding a date (two alternatives). Watch for news of that.
- Since several of us will be unavailable next Monday on Nov. 4, 2013, there will be no meeting that day.
- Nov. 11th is Armistice Day. We discussed doing something that day. Rich and Mike will look into what Veterans for Peace are doing and help us plan something for that day. Watch for the email.
Popular Resistance: Daily News and Resources
With the corporate takeover of federal and state governments, more people are becoming politically active in new and creative ways. A growing culture of resistance is utilizing nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience as a primary tactic, and is forming real democratic organizations to empower local communities—as opposed to working within the corrupt, two-party system. PopularResistance.org is a resource and information clearinghouse for this movement. From Veterans for Peace to Occupy Wall Street to the Tar Sands Blockade, here you will find links, tools and other resources to help you connect with groups and organizations in the movement. We also provide a daily stream of relevant news articles from around the web, and perhaps the most comprehensive national events calendar anywhere online. (Feel free to submit your own events.)
PopularResistance.org seeks to aid in bringing movements for peace, justice, economic fairness and environmental protection together into an independent, nonviolent and diverse movement that can end the power of concentrated wealth, shift power to the people and put human needs before corporate greed.