The following is a transcript of the agenda of a pair of meetings that were held September 26, 1990, one month into the PeaceWorks Park vigil at Gas Works Park in Seattle, and notes from one of the two meetings.
Wednesday, Sept 26 at PeaceWorks Park (Gas Works Park)
noon and 7pm WORKSHOP:
- "The future of the vigil"
- Where we stand and where we're going
Advance publicity: posters, press release, inclusion in our calendar, announcement at concert. Tied into the vigil being one month old.
Attendance: Hard to say: 2 meetings and a lot of drift-through. At least 40 people were involved altogeher.
Facilitator: noon Vivian McPeak, 7pm Joe Mabel
Follow-up: Each of the follwoing deserves a meeting and/or work group of its own; Plan for winter in the park; work on camp on private land; possibly form affinity groups; Multi-culturalism.
7pm notes: Joe Mabel
Wednesday, Sept 26
The PeaceWorks Park vigil at Gas Works Park is one month old.
|Wednesday, Sept 26 at PeaceWorks Park (Gas Works Park)|
noon & 7pm
Agenda (for both the noon and 7pm workshops)
The progress of events in the Persian Gulf
We have been here a month partly because the vigil is strong, but also because the Persian Gulf crisis lingers on at the same level which inspired the vigil in the first place.
In the following list, strikethrough is items on the pre-meeting list but not on the post-meeting notes; boldface is items added during the meeting.
- Help end the Gulf Crisis peaceably
- Free-speech zone
- Steward the park
- Spiritual center
- Democracy/"people power"
- information distribution
- Start running external events, etc.
Who is the vigil?
- Should a distinction be drawn between vigilists and hangers on?
- Should a distinction be drawn between people who abide by a sobriety standard and those who refuse to do so?
- Possibility of sign-up, buttons, armbands.
- Have we been "forming a culture" that excludes people we need to include?
- multi-cultural events
What can each of us do to move toward our goals?
- making the vigil run better and stronger
- dealing with drug problems in our midst
- organizing events
- outreach and liaison
- outside the vigil proper
What should we as a group do differently?
- Is there too much of a party and too little of a political or spiritual event?
- Clarifying views on amplified music
What isn't happening that ought to?
The future of the vigil
- near-term changes
- facing winter
- can we keep going in the park?
- what alternatives do we have?
- beyond the Gulf crisis to a lasting group
- Do we need an office?
The pre-meeting announcement concluded:
Come to speak and listen! Write down thoughts & ideas, circulate them.
The 7pm notes resume:
There are no detailed notes of the noon meeting at this time. They'd be welcome. No doubt the focus differed.
Notes from 7pm meeting
For the most part, this is chronological. I've taken the liberty of moving the more digressive remarks under the headings to which they would be more appropriate. I've tried to avoid redundancy when possible. -J.M.
The progress of events in the Persian Gulf
Some discussion of the Setzkrieg ("sitting war") currently underway in the Gulf. Rival displays of poser in the Gulf. Acknowledgment that Iraq has some historical claim to Kuwait but (Bruce:) "this does not justify the invasion."
Loose consensus: oppose U.S. aggression first, but not exclusively. (Bruce:) "Bourgeois analysts say U.S. may attack mid-October."
Saddam Hussein feeding on anti-Westernism, Bush on anti-Arabism.
(Baker Bob) public awareness ==> political force ==> U.S. backs out.
(Bam Bam) "Get the troops out." "Come together as a tribe." Emphasize refugees.
(Sierra, Sara, Harry) Information
(Robert Betesh) alluded to Lafayette Park vigil in DC. "Sit there until systematic reconstruction of our gov't to end the war machine our gov't has become."
(Randy Thompson) active, smooth-running coalition, many issues, community purpose: peace, equality, justice. Inclusiveness. Spiritual and political.
(Ron) "Get people thinking."
(Joe) "Build America's democracy movement. Move on from the formal structure of a democracy to the living content." Stop the war before it starts.
(Bruce) newsletter, affect UW campus. "There's a difference between waiting for people to come to us and going out to them." "'Peaceable resolution' is too unfocused.'" Oppose US Aggression.
(Kunga Gyaltsin [sic; should be Gyaltsen]) Expand vigil to long term, universal, "real peace, real love, real harmony, real life, real light, real love. Bring back the planet to a semblance of sanity." Green politics.
(John) The vigil as such focused on the Gulf but the park "is a good forum and there are a lot of causes afterwards."
(Kelly) Pointing to Kunga: "What he said." "A battle against apathy and ignorance" "stop interventionism everywhere, not just in the Gulf." "the downfall of every war machine" "This action is still a baby. Maybe this is still a fœtus." "I want people in Iraq & Saudi Arabia & China & Yugoslavia to know about [what happens here] an hour later." "Vigils all over the country" Keep workshops etc. going after this issue is settled.
(Bruce) Content of any newsletter should be as broad as possible, multiple points of view.
(Ron) a publication would nail things down (this phrase intended positively), expand the agenda.
(Lee) Promote lessened dependency on fossil fuel. "I always use my bicycle" I work on "more of a personal, individual contact basis" "some people respond to a larger group, some don't"
(Martin Wilkins, not present at meeting remarks that there seems to be some discrepancy between our mission statement of ending a military intervention and our actualized goal of a free speech zone. Says we must be careful to explain how these relate, so this will not appear to be a discrepancy.)
Who is the vigil?
(Kelly) "Buttons and armbands create negative elitist distinctions." On the other hand, affinity groups sound "nice, maybe necessary." Opposed to "who is the vigil" distinction.
(Joe) We can positively identify active vigilists and affinity groups without excluding anyone from the vigil.
(Robert Betesh) We may want to better identify who have actual jobs in the vigil.
(Randy Thompson) Positively against vigilist/non-vigilist distincton. For affinity groups.
(Bruce) plusses & minuses to affinity groups: important decisions are for everybody.
(Baker Bob) what if we get an affinity group of people who mean to camp in the park? Expressed police desire for knowing who is and is not the vigil.
(Bruce) "Don't rely on the continued goodwill fo the police" ID may make it easier for them to hassle us. "We can't let them pressure us into doing something which hurts us politically." Remain skeptical.
(Joe) "We certainly shouldn't define the boundaries of the group because the police say so!" Vagueness may be an asset. Nonetheless, supports positively identified affinity groups within the vigil.
(John) "I'm looking forward to the time when we have to declare we're taking over part of the park for a cause."
Have we beeb "forming a culture" which excludes people we need to include?
(Baker Bob) "A very closed group of people are hanging out here." Drums interfering with conversation. Sexism.
(Randy Thompson) we need to make it broader without excluding the cliques. We need to be a visible presence in the city.
(Joe) Need for multi-culturalism.
What can each of us do to move towards our goals?
(Baker Bob) Improved scheduling, maintain clipboards, hand out calendars of events at every opportunity. Emphasize good appearance. "A serious-minded political statement, not a party."
Loose consensus to keep working hard, bring on more people. Building the vigil & building the anti-war movement complementary.
Loose consensus that we need to reduce the sleeping in the park which is occurring despite efforts by most of the hard core. Loose consensus that the most effective way to achieve this would be to make our offsite camp more habitable. Those who would like to camp there should work on this!
The group at the 7pm meeting had clear consensus for continuing the vigil into winter in the park if the situation in the Gulf remains warlike. Some felt that we should, nevertheless, have other fallbacks (church basements, etc.) in case this becomes untenable. Beaver Chief was the only one who felt we would have to move on with the seasons "as my ancestors had to move on."
Joules and Kelly both emphasized that staying through the winter would be "a statement" and failure to do so would be "a letdown".
Several participants felt we'd need more people (typically 100) to take on winter in the park. Robert Betesh (I believe) pointed out that Lafayette Park vigil has only two of the originaly people after 7 years & no one else has lasted a year.
Harry emphasized the importance of scheduling shifts for a small group in cold weather. Joe pointed out that our health will probably not be as good in winter. "If someone has pneumonia, I want them home, resting." There seemed a general concurrence that we would have to move deeper into the shed structure, especially using the cookfire area.
(Joe) "I'd rather move the vigil than lose it, if it comes to that."
(Kelly) "Two or three at a time is a vigil."
(Baker Bob) "Our original statement says 'we are gathered in the center of Seattle's Gas Works Park'."
(Baker Bob) We must conserve wood carefully.
Beyond the Gulf Crisis to a lasting group
(Robert Betesh) want to be able to go away and come back
(John) Vigil focuses on the Gulf Crisis. Forum should last beyond.
(Kelly) "This is a free speech forum whether we're here or not, whether Parks says so or not." This is the "commons". "Without workshops & teach-ins the vigil would be just a bunch of people hanging out in the park," although that might be different for a more spiritually-oriented group.
(Randy) Continue vigil as such past the end of this crisis. This crisis is "just a symptom."
(Joules) Maintain the PeaceWorks Park address. We should discuss just what resolution of the Gulf crisis would lead to an end of the vigil.
(Milber) "I expect to be part of it as long as I'm in Seattle." "Peace is needed everywhere, not just in the Middle East."
(Brigithe) "I just want to get past the Gulf crisis!" "Peace in ourselves"
(Julie) "There are a lot of things we can stand for."
(Bam Bam) "If even one person wants to stay together they should stay together." "There are so many things besides what's happening in the Gulf that deserve attention."
(Jeff) A lot more to peace than the Persian Gulf. "We must become able to take care of ourselves."
(Clyde) "Lots of you are speaking in terms of personal growth." Social change: a different statement. "Become a moral thorn in the side of society." Show that there isn't uniform support for Bush's actions in the Middle East. Social change more important than personal growth. Focus ==> impact. "One more group is just kind of depressing, but a one-time action has potential for incredible power." "I don't want to get mail from it." Much of our power derives from being a spontaneous reaction to a specific crisis."
(Baker Bob) "We are an action not a group." Affinity groups might start here and continue wherever they are going. "'Free speech' means respecting the right of anyone to say anything, whether you agree with them or not." "As individuals, we're all going to have our own ideologies and beliefs." Individuals working together on projects. An office woudl be nice, for paperwork, storage, communications.
Loose consensus that "an action not a group" means vigil cannot make endorsements, although individuals and affinity groups can.