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Back row, left to right;

Notes from the 2016 Gathering - August 27-31

Notes from our final session facilitated by Nancy Ramsden

Is our democracy going to survive? Are we at the tipping point? These were questions that were sparked at dinner the night before when the question 'Is Hillary as bad as Trump?' was heatedly debated.

Joan: We're facing fascism and it is terrifying. Many groups in this country, previously of low profile, are susceptible to this bullying way of thinking. They are now encouraged by Donald Trump's ersatz populism. We have to understand the power elite.

Char: Trump couldn't have gotten where he is without the Mob. If Hillary is elected, how will she handle this fascist uprising?

Paki: Fascism has already arrived. "They're wearing everyone down. I'm concerned about the day after elections."

Joan: People being arrested and jailed for immigration reasons: its open fascism: terror imposed on an entire underclass in this country.

Char: We're not there yet, or we would have been rounded up. The militarization of the police with the excesses of war, the fact that globalization is not working, and robotization taking over the workplace, are all factors leading us into an oppressive future. How are we all going to deal with fascism? There are some factions of the power elite - the Rockefellers, for example - who do not want to go there. What is to be done? Mindless activism is not the answer.

Nancy: I am scared to death. How many voters may look at the situation and simply decide not to vote. How can we save ourselves before we fall off the cliff? How can we stop it? How can we protect the human race?

Joan: We have each other. Relationships is the most important thing we have. Talking together as we are doing here is basic.

Marlena: Each and every day there is a new crisis...

Barbara: We're in a fascist transition. We must think of ourselves as a resistance force. Become more focused.

Joan: The Reichstag fire in Germany was blamed on the Communists and led to a rule of terror against workers. That is the definition of fascism. Black people have been terrorized during and after slavery. Trotsky asked "what is fascism?" A middle class that is angry and willing to attack...

Nancy: It is important to get our questions to the candidates (the first debate is September 16). How can we reach the campaign aides?

Virginia: What are our questions? We don't want to use loaded phrases such as 'what is fascism?'.

Robin: We could join up with others, equally concerned... and perhaps at the Washington World Beyond War Conference on the weekend of September 23?

We decided to write up this discussion and disseminate it for further discussio.

Women expressed an appreciation of the deep wells of knowledge that participants brought to this discussion.

Saturday, August 27

3:00 pm: Arrival & Registration

6:00 pm: DINNER & Welcome

Sunday, August 28

9:00 am: Introduction to Weaving project in the Bone and Rag Shop, small barn. Gatherers are invited to bring fabrics to add to the communal weaving that will be made this weekend.  Also, the Bone and Rag Shop will be an Art Gallery this weekend so if you have art work that you would like to show, please bring it.

10:00 am: Animal tracking with So Sinopoulos (Robin’s niece) and So’s partner Pinar Ates Sinopoulos-Lloyd

12:30 pm:  LUNCH -or- Optional: Potluck in town (8/28 is the 5th anniversary of  the onslaught of hurricane Irene in the Rochester Valley. A day long series of events, commemorating the volunteerism that arose from the hurricane, will take place).

3:00 pm:  trees: Robin and Beth Adams: As the Gathering is taking place, a river restoration project will be going on in the lower field, funded by the federal government. Trees with ‘root-wads’ are being uprooted from the farm property to stem erosion on the West branch of the White River. Robin will speak about Ebenezer Sparhawk, the settler of Wing Farm in 1790 and the first cutter of trees on the property.  Beth will talk about protecting and restoring the temperate forests.

6:00 pm: DINNER

7:30 pm: Barbara Soros, our Paris correspondent, will discuss what’s happening in Europe especially the significance of the Brexit vote.  Mary HH will add information on how our European sections are responding to these changes.

Monday, August 29

9:30 am // Joan Ecklein and Sandy Baird:  Socialisms past and present (and future?) comparisons and reminiscences between the GDR (Joan will speak about her experiences in the German Democratic Republic: i.e. East Germany), and Cuba (Sandy has travelled frequently to Cuba). The efforts of the WILPF issue committee Cuba and the Bolivarian Revolution will be discussed.

11:00 am // Nancy Wrenn will share her vision of a new "military" force, focused on preparation and response to climate change, not security. WILPF president Mary Hansen Harrison will connect this idea to the goals of WILPF issue committee Earth Democracy.

12:30 // LUNCH

2:00 pm // Hattie Nestel:  How we defeated the Kinder-Morgan pipeline from behind bars.

4:30 pm // Cyndy Bittinger:  history of the women who have dared to run for the US presidency

5:30 pm // EARLY DINNER

6:30 // Burlington Quaker and friend Ruah Swennerfelt has just published a book: Rising to the Challenge: the Transition Movement and people of faith. She will read from parts of it and describe her journey meeting people whose faith has led them into this grassroots environmental movement. THIS MEETING WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE FEDERATED CHURCH IN ROCHESTER.

Tuesday, August 30

10:00 am // Paki Weiland will speak on El Salvador & Gaza; and (tentative) Alice Slater, New York director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and serving on the Coordinating Committee of Abolition 2000, will speak about new initiatives towards nuclear disarmament.

12:30 pm // LUNCH

2:00 pm // Sha’an Mouliert, long time racial justice activist and participant in WILPF’s delegation to the UN’s Durban Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerances (8/31 – 9/7. 2001) will talk about the history of truth and reconciliation as techniques to bring about racial justice, both within WILPF and in the greater world. We will view the 18 min WiLPF video on that subject. 

4:30 pm // Marge Van Cleef: The latest on drone warfare, and what WILPF’s DISARM Issue Committee is doing.

6:00 pm //  DINNER

7:30  Secrecy, Privacy and the Security State: Charlotte Dennett and Kristina Borgesson: two investigative reporters tell their stories and connect them to current events.

Wednesday, August 31

10:00 // Closing: where is WILPF and the movement headed? Mary HH and others.

12:00 pm //  LUNCH of leftovers.  

Goodbye everyone!!

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