Women's International League for Peace and Freedom St. Louis Branch

War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict

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Event at the Friends Meeting House Wednesday 7 December 20227pm

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Successful Golden Rule Peace Boat event

St. Louis, MO: Morning of 10/29 – morning of 10/31.
Docking at Sioux Harbor, near 1320 Second Street, Portage des Sioux
– Boat tours 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on October 29, 30
– October 30, 3:00 pm, Film, Presentations, Ethical Society – Becker Room, 9001 Clayton Road, St. Louis, MO 63105

Read more about the Golden Rule project here

About the historical Golden Rule Peace Ship

Celebrate the Arrival of the “Golden Rule” Peace Boat in St Louis

Photo by Melissa Thurod, Republican Eagle, Red Wing, MN

Celebrate the Arrival of the
“Golden Rule” Peace Boat

Veterans for Peace is sailing in its campaign for a Nuclear-Free World!

October 30, 2022, 3:00 to 5:00 pm

Ethical Society of St. Louis, Becker Room

9001 Clayton Road, St. Louis, MO 63105

Watch a film about the ship’s mission and its advocacy for a world without nuclear weapons. There will be a pop-up Nuclear Abolition Folk Art exhibit and a panel discussion.

Sponsored by Veterans for Peace & Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Admission is free, but donations will be appreciated!

Come see the Golden Rule! Tours available Oct 29, 30, 31 from 11 am to 2 pm at Sioux Harbor, near 1320 Second Street in Portage de Sioux, MO.

Gerry Condon, President of the Golden Rule Committee of Veterans for Peace writes:

I am happy to be sailing for a Nuclear-Free World at a time when people are waking up to the dangers posed by these weapons of mass destruction.

By taking action today to support a negotiated end to the war in Ukraine and the reduction and ultimate elimination of nuclear weapons, we can stop the possibility of nuclear annihilation.

The commitment of Veterans for Peace and others to the success of the Golden Rule’s mission is enormous. Hundreds of supporters have planned events, hosted the crew and donated on the upper Mississippi River. We are thankful for these efforts!

For more information, contact Helen Jaccard, 206-992-6364, vfpgoldenruleproject@gmail.com
or Lynn Sableman, 314-609-6918, lynnsableman@att.net

vfpgolenrule.org facebook.com/goldenrulepeaceboat

Picket line nuclear abolition action

60 years after the Cuban missile crisis. We have more work to do.

photos courtesy of Lynn Sableman

Speech at PeaceWorks KC’s remembrance of Hiroshima – Nagasaki

grayscale photo of explosion on the beach

from NucNews

Progress on treaty to prohibit nukes; focus on universities

Note: Ann Suellentrop prepared these remarks for the annual program, Remembering Hiroshima & Nagasaki: Never Again! That program will be given Aug. 7 in Kansas City, MO. It will be cosponsored by both PeaceWorks KC and Veterans for Peace. Ann, representing PeaceWorks and Physicians for Social Responsibility, begins with a reference to some 66 flags at the gathering.

Why do we fly these colorful flags today? Because they are a sign of great hope! They are the flags of the 66 countries that have ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the first treaty to call for the complete destruction of all nuclear weapons and for compensation for the victims of nuclear production, use and testing, as well as for environmental remediation.

There is a lot happening around this Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty. The first Meeting of the States Parties was held in June of this year, and many committees and working groups were formed. Scientists, legislators and activists from all over the world are working on details of the treaty, to make it concrete and workable. They will be reporting back on their progress in November and December of 2023 at the UN in New York City.

Good news is steadily being reported, such as a bank in Italy deciding to totally divest from nuclear weapons. The treaty has stigmatized nuclear weapons, making them controversial investments. One committee I’m involved in is the Schools of Mass Destruction Working Group. Our group has made a flier for students, faculty and alumni with a QR code on it that immediately lets you sign a pledge against your university’s involvement with nuclear weapons. For example, many of the major universities in this entire region have relationships with Honeywell and encourage students to pursue careers there. To use the QR code is quick and easy. Open your camera app and focus on the QR code as if to take a picture of it, but don’t. Just hold your cell phone over it and touch the tiny yellow tab that pops up. This will take you to the page to sign the pledge.

Alumni, students, faculty–take action 

Will you take the pledge to save the world?

Seriously. Nuclear weapons are an existential threat—if they are ever used, it will essentially be the end of life on the planet. The nuclear powers have 13,000 nuclear weapons now and are spending billions of dollars building more—we are in a new global nuclear arms race.

Tom Scott and Patty Wernel hold a sign at a January 2022 rally for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons–calling on countries to repurpose nuclear weapon facilities for peaceful pursuits.

Stopping the nuclear arms race is not up to someone else. It’s up to us. So we are asking you to take the pledge. Since universities and colleges play a key role in US nuclear weapons production, we need to break that connection and separate our schools from the nuclear weapons complex.

Your school may be on the Schools of Mass Destruction list—directly involved in weapons production—or it may be investing in companies and financial institutions that are paying for nuclear weapons through its endowment. Either way, you can say, “No!”

The first step is easy. You can sign the pledge at https://universities.icanw.org/university_pledge.

You can also stay informed about what others are doing to end the nuclear threat.

The University PLEDGE for Universities, Colleges, and Schools 

We, the undersigned, 

Recognizing the entry into force of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) on 22 January 2021 as a significant step toward the realization of a nuclear-weapon-free world, 

Sharing the deep concern expressed in the TPNW about the catastrophic humanitarian and environmental consequences that would result from any use of nuclear weapons, and 

Recognizing the consequent need to eliminate these inhumane and abhorrent weapons, 

Hereby declare our deep concern about the links between our universities, colleges or schools and the U.S. nuclear weapons production complex, which contradict our personal values as well as the mission of our institutions, and 

Hereby pledge to abstain from research, development, and investments, as applicable, that contribute to the production, maintenance or financing of nuclear weapons, and 

Hereby urge our universities, colleges or schools to cut all ties with the U.S. nuclear weapons production complex, and to pursue the abolition of nuclear weapons as a global public good of the highest order and as an essential to the security and well-being of all peoples.

Lynn’s Corner — Summer Issue

   Hi StLouis WILPF, I had the pleasure of spending a week at the picturesque utopian village, 100 year old Chautauqua Institute in upper New York State. I highly recommend it. The speaker I want to tell you about during the week is the one who emphasized the importance of civil society activism in the defense of human rights and democracy.  Dr Kori Schake is an historian.  She is a senior fellow and the Director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Today’s subject is America’s role in the world order. Her research areas include foreign and defense policy studies, where her research areas include national security, civil military relations, and NATO. Previously she had a distinguished career in government with the state department, Department of Defense and the National Security Council at the White House. Dr Schake taught at King’s College, Stanford,West Point, Johns Hopkins University. She has written five books , the most recent: America vs the West: Can the liberal world order be preserved? 

   Sharkey’s lecture  focused on three main aspects, the international order including how the United States became so prominent, the contemporary challenges to the international order and how President Joe Biden has handled these challenges.

   Schake defined the international world order as the interaction of states as they attempt to preserve and advance their interests.  Historically the tools that states use for that are the strengths of their economy, the use of military force, but also, increasingly over the last several hundred years ideology. In the last 150 years The United States has been an incredibly disruptive force to the international order. In 1812 we demanded that the British rules apply to us. No taxation without representation. Britannia rules the waves and waves the rules, Dr. Schake says.

  USA has been a force for democratizing the world order. She gives an example of the British policy decisions during the American civil war, which include not recognizing the seceded states as a new nation. The two reasons were: in Britain there was a pro democracy movement aground, this contact with the US was anathema to the Royals, and secondly, the sheer numbers of Scottish and Irish  immigrants in the US north could have started a rebellion in Britain if The Crown recognized the confederacy. This led  to the first ever peaceful transfer of global dominance.  1923 the Washington Naval Cherry order set limits on the size of all naval ships globally.

   After WW2 the US was the only great power not destroyed and could dictate rules for the post war era.  FDR had the novel influence of using Woodrow Wilson’s ideas, every country gets a say, all were helped to rebuild in the post war era, the global institutions were created UN, IMF, World Bank and Washington Consensus created the new international world order. The broken part is the countries saddled with debt from corruption or unreasonable expectations. The important part is the Free World working together. Agreed upon rules included recognize the sovereignty and boundaries of countries, unless discussed thoroughly, these made the world safer for everyone. In 1980, 42% of the world was impoverished, today just 9% of the world’s population is impoverished, a huge accomplishment. 

   What we are seeing now is Russia defying the world order. Putin is using the old colonial “might makes right” . He says Ukraine has no rights to sovereignty, that Ukrainians have no rights to decide for themselves what their culture is, what language they speak, where their borders lie. She says this is what President Biden has gotten right. The principle of state sovereignty, that people have rights and loan them in limited ways by consent such as voting. 

  The rapid declassification of intelligence and sharing it broadly with the public has undermined the lies Putin spreads in propaganda to his people.

  Putin plans to terrorize the Ukrainians by assassinating civilians, he says. Biden and NATO countries are sending weapons to Ukraine, careful to avoid a US vs Russia open conflict that could lead to Russia’s physical destruction of the U.S.. A face off between two nuclear powers is omnicidal.

  The lesson Russia and China are learning if we hesitate to supply weapons is the US won’t risk war with another nuclear power. This emboldens China. Putin is threatened by Ukrainians being free and Democratic. Happy and creative people on Russia’s increasingly repressive life looks bad and create internal unrest. Putin has XI of China as best friend believing that the U.S. started this war to cause starvation and misery in the global south by cutting off wheat supplies and raising oil prices.

Martin Luther King and President Obama were fond of saying that the arc of history bends towards justice, that’s actually not true Dr.Schake says it only turns toward justice when people of  good faith grab a hold of it and wrench  it in that direction. Civil society activism is essential today as attacks on our democracy by one political party, not just the twice impeached guy who struggled to wrest the steering wheel toward congress deciding to keep him safe and away from the heavily armed mob. Trump knew that mob was his armed posy to turn over the free and fair election of Biden.

 The electors are being changed in every state to Big Lie believers. The UN is sending official observers in because our democracy is at risk of toppling. 

Dr Schake, a republican who voted for Biden, says activism of civil society is the superpower of free societies.

   Let’s remember that the vibrancy of civil society means show up and vote, do everything possible to encourage support for the rule of law and protecting  minorities. Don’t put up with lies,  say something and the guns, support peace. Your vote is your consent- watch who you are voting for. To learn more about effective activism read our May Members Meeting selection, From Changing Diapers to Changing the World.

News from our Allies – June 2022

wood writing luxury business

Highlights from our Allies – news or actions that have come across our plate and we think you may like them too:

Repeal the U.S. Military Selective Service Act – World beyond War

The Supreme Court ruling: Q+A – Planned Parenthood

We fight for bodily autonomy until all of us are free – Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

Women of Ukraine call for peace with justice, accountability and freedom – Nobel Women’s Initiative

NNEDV Is Gravely Concerned with the SCOTUS Decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – National Network to End Domestic Violence

The Hunger in the Heartland Report Offers an In-Depth Look at Food Insecurity in Missouri — Empower Missouri

What Juneteenth means to Moms – Moms Clean Air Force

Collective Care is a Way of Life – NDN Collective

WPC call for anti-NATO actions around the NATO summit of 29-30 June 2022 worldwide

Anti-Carceral Feminism in Ecuador: Black Internationalism web series is back

Addressing the Crisis of Homelessness in Missouri – Empower Missouri

Ally Spotlight: Sustainability Seekers

image via https://parkwayucc.org/

What is Sustainability Seekers all about?

I was not a member of PUCC when Sustainability Seekers was formed, but Polly Winkleman, who is our SS co chairman, helped set a Mission Statement which reads: “Recognizing the link between Christian faith and Environmental Stewardship, The Parkway Sustainability Seekers’ purpose is to explore and promote sustainability in our church facilities, our homes and the wider community.”   At the time Sustainability Seekers was formed I was at St. John’s UCC and had founded a similar program, which we called “Environmental Stewardship”. Our Mission Statement was shorter but pretty much says the same thing: “EARTH DAY/EVERY DAY” –“YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE – FROM CHURCH – TO HOME – TO COMMUNITY”.

How did you first become interested in sustainability?   

I have been a vegetarian (lacto-ovo) for 45 years.  Along with that comes an awareness and appreciation on a larger scale of taking care of the animals, caring for the earth, including our water/air/land.  I have found this to be true of almost all vegetarians that I know.  I am on the Missouri Interfaith Power and Light Steering Committee and of the 8 members, 3 of us are vegetarian.  I think when you have a love and respect for animals and the conditions (not speaking of pets) they are forced to live under, it gives you an appreciation and awareness also of the way we treat the land/earth we live on and take a deeper look at the pollution we’ve caused of that land, our water and the air we ALL breathe.

What, if any, childhood experiences opened your eyes to the need for activism?

I always had pets growing up and I remember in 6th grade starting a “Be Kind to Animals Club”.  We called it the BKTA.  I don’t know why it took me so long to become a vegetarian after that, but maybe that was the beginning of thinking in that direction.  Not a child, but as a flight attendant living in Salt Lake City, on my days off I would head to the mountains and just walk in the forest and be in awe of that sacred place.  I’m sure my appreciation for the enviornment grew on those nature walks.

 What in particular are your concerns for the world? 

Pollution, pollution, pollution.  That includes the water we drink – which is not clean – the air we breathe, which, along with the water, have toxins and chemicals in it that we should not be drinking and breathing.  It includes forests being chopped down and clear cut, mountain top removal, companies causing industrial pollution and waste and not caring about the destruction they are causing, just the dollar that they can make.  Even just seeing all the litter being thrown out the car windows and laying in the streets and on the land and the highways REALLY BOTHER ME.  It doesn’t have to be this way. The list as you can imagine, just goes on forever.  Each and every person CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE, so let’s start at home, at church, in the community, whenever and wherever we can.

What do you hope to accomplish? 

Really, the joint mission statements say it all.  The Mission Statement for MOIPL (MO Interfaith Power and Light) is: “Missouri Interfaith Power and Light” seeks to be faithful stewards of God’s Creation by responding to global warming through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. This ministry intends to protect the earth’s ecosystems, safeguard public health, and ensure sufficient, sustainable energy for all.

WILPF Think & Resist: Conversations about Feminism and Peace

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Join WILPF conversations today!

If you are new to the Think & Resist: Conversations about Feminism and Peace podcast or are like us and can’t wait to replay every episode, wait no further!

All episodes of our new podcast are now available for listening. What a wonderful journey it has been to discuss such pressing topics, to interact with such inspiring guests, and share the fruits of this beautiful collaboration with you. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
Listen to our last episode

Topics discussed by our thought-provoking guests range from militarised masculinities to digital violence against women. If that wasn’t enough, after each episode you can find related content in the show notes for you to explore the issues even further.

The Peace That is Not: Understanding Why Peacebuilding Has Failed in Bosnia and Herzegovina

woman sitting on wooden planks
image via WILPF.org

by WILPF

Worldwide militarisation, ever more visible with the invasion of Ukraine, is putting the importance of effective peacebuilding squarely at the top of the global agenda. However, current international peacebuilding efforts are a product of the uncontested spread of neoliberal capitalism, in which the rise and development of an international peacebuilding industry has played a significant role.

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is an egregious example of how flawed this approach is. To bring to light the shortcomings of peacebuilding efforts in BiH, we decided to join forces with two Bosnian and Herzegovinian feminist researchers on a wide-ranging analysis and discourse project, culminating in the publication of nine essays.
What Is The Peace That Is Not?

Authored by feminist researchers Nela Porobić and Gorana Mlinarević, this collection of essays challenges the misconception that BiH is destined for dysfunction and internal tensions and highlights that the problems facing BiH today are global and systemic in nature, easily repeated on sites of other conflicts. The authors argue that the failures of peacebuilding efforts in BiH are reflective of the wider problems inherent to the way international multilateral organisations understand peace.

Starting today, the nine essays will be accessible through a new microsite where activists and practitioners, local and international communities, academics and interested parties can read about peacebuilding efforts in BiH and use it as a platform for discussions about peacebuilding in general.

Come take a look!