A general meeting for USC4P&J was held at the Café della Pace near Piazza Navona on May 19, 2010. Attendees: Gretchen, Patrick, Greg, Anna, Gene, Maria Chiara, Becky, Stephanie. Anna chaired and Becky took the minutes.
1) June 2nd antiwar protest:
Update given by Anna and Patrick on the preparations for the June 2nd anti-war demonstration/street fair, to coincide with the Festa della Repubblica military parade. The association of groups planning the demonstration includes USC4P&J and is called 'Retecontrolaguerra Roma'. The demonstration will feature Roman popular music, antiwar poetry and readings from the Italian constitutional passages and will be held at Ponte S. Angelo from 10 to 1.30pm on June 2nd. Stephanie indicated that military spending is approximately 26 billion euros annually. Anna suggested targeting people by phone to get more individuals to participate in the demonstration. Patrick volunteered to make some phone calls in order to boost attendance. Anna volunteered to translate the flyer into English and send around in order to attract more attention from English-speakers.
2) Future of USC4P&J:
A call for nominations to the USC4P&J CCom was sent out several weeks ago. As none of those eligible expressed interest in running for 'office', it was decided that a more informal structure be set in place. Steph pointed out that there are few groups that have such a formal structure as ours and that many other groups are experiencing a decline in participation. It was agreed that the lack of interest in the CCom, however, should not sound the death knell for the group overall. All members present at the general meeting want the group to continue, but in a more informal way. Towards this end, it was determined that a smaller mailing list of interested individuals be established to serve in more of a coordinating capacity. Anna volunteered to continue to monitor the email account and to serve as communicator rather than coordinator. Questions remain as to how precisely this informal structure will function. Those requesting endorsements will be required to obtain a majority of positive responses from the coordinating email list. An announcement to members would be sent out explaining the change and asking who else, other than those present at the meeting, would like to take part in the new “core coordinating group”. Once underway, any problems or concerns arising from the functioning of the new system will be resolved if and when they come up.
3) Film committee:
Again, the theme was deformalization and spreading responsibilities amongst film committee members so that one individual is not pinned with the responsibility of choosing, obtaining the films and then having to select individuals to present each film. New blood volunteered to be on the film com: Gretchen and Becky will join David, and possibly Gene and Ilona. There was also a suggestion to deformalize the group to the point of having smaller cine sessions at private homes. It was decided that this was a very good idea, but that it would be in addition to the usual series, rather than a substitution for it. The series would continue, but in a less formal way (i.e., not always requiring presenters), and one that ensured that no one person would become over-burdened by the tasks its running entails. The series were seen as too important to reduce from their current form as they often serve as a good medium for attracting new members, can further causes taken up by the group through its activities, and help finance those activities.
4) Miscellaneous business:
Once more, the theme of 'how to increase participation' was raised. Patrick suggested we try and increase the numbers of younger participants. It was also suggested that the universities, in particular the English-speaking universities, be targeted with film flyers. It was also decided that the film committee should target other English-speaking organizations and use them in spreading the word about the film series. Steph suggested that the group advertise in Roma C'è rather than canvassing with flyers as Roma C'è proved to me more successful in the past. Another theme that was discussed was the imminent arrival of a lecturer at John Cabot University who is one of the authors of the infamous torture memos. The course will be taught over the summertime. As a citizens arrest is not possible, there is an idea to write an open letter to the school asking that they rethink hiring him. Steph can get signatures from some of the whistle blowers who identified him. There are also plans to organize a protest.