A general meeting for USC4P&J was held at Café della Pace September 16, 2009. Attending were Anna, Elizabeth, Gene, Greg, Ilona, Maria Chiara, Patrick, Shmuel, Shakeeb and Stephanie.
Anna chaired the meeting and Elizabeth took the minutes.
1) Update on the 2009 Fall Season of our Eyes Wide Open documentary film series. Ilona presented the program (six fortnightly films). It was agreed that one of the films selected – Greenwald's ‘Rethink Afghanistan' – would be the first in the series to coincide with the 8th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan (see also below). This change was made after Stephanie confirmed that she would be able to download the film in time to show on October 1. Anna briefly expressed some concern about the relationship and co-ordination between the Film Committee and the Coordinating Committee (CCom), as there were instances – such as this one – where discussion could lead to a more successful linking of film screenings with planned events/actions. The Film Committee's members were congratulated for their dedication and efficiency in preparing and finalizing the Fall 2009 Film Program.
2) Organize action on (or around) October 7, the date marking the beginning of the 9th year of occupation and war in Afghanistan. We agreed that we would organize a demonstration in front of the American Embassy. Stephanie suggested involving Italian peace groups. A number of angles/approaches were discussed. Gene suggested a comparison of cost between that of Health Care reform and the cost of the war. Greg also suggested linking the protest to continued pressure on the current administration to hold the Bush administration accountable for war crimes committed. Anna mentioned that the number of demonstrators in Rome is pitifully small – how to address this? Patrick suggested that USP&J members in Italy, who can't make it to meetings, might become more involved if asked by email, for their opinion on proposed activities. It was agreed that a working group would be formed to prepare for the demo. The CCom will send out an announcement to members, informing them of the decision to take action, asking for a preferred date (Oct. 7, 8 or 10), and for volunteers to join the working group. The film night on Oct 1 would serve as an excellent opportunity to publicize the demo and encourage filmgoers to join in.
3) We then discussed and agreed to endorse the Gaza Freedom March. Stephanie plans to work on this initiative, especially by encouraging Italian groups/individuals involved both to travel to Gaza and/or organize support initiatives here. We decided to have her act on this as part of our group, and also try to promote the March among our members. A number of discussions regarding the situation in Gaza and the issue of a two-state versus one-state solution ensued.
4) Discussion of our involvement in StopRazzismo's national anti-racism demonstration to be held in Rome on October 17. Anna handed out a flyer giving full details of this event to all present. It was decided that the group will endorse the demonstration and that members will be encouraged to participate in the march. The CCom will also ask for volunteers to form a working group to prepare aspects of our participation. Shmuel mentioned that there will be a meeting the following week of a number of groups planning to coordinate their plans/efforts for the demo. Anna asked if he could please send us details. Anna also pointed out that, as was the case in last year's demo, we can march behind/beside the Garbatella anti-racist group (Luoghi Comuni) with whom we have ties.
5) Brief discussion about a call to action by Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space led to the decision to discard the idea.
6) Miscellaneous business: Stephanie asked whether USC4P&J would be willing to contribute to expenses being covered by Action for Peace, a network of groups of which we are a part , in its presentation of ‘ Voices from Israel: Jeff and Shoshana Halper', scheduled Sept. 22. It was agreed that we would contribute 50 euro towards these expenses.