February 12, 2008

Midwest Peace & Justice Caucus Minutes

The Midwest Peace & Justice Winter Meeting was held at the NEA Midwest Regional Conference in Minneapolis, MN January 19-21, 2008.

CLICK HERE to access a Word version Midwest Caucus Minutes, 08.doc



Introductions were made, and the following were in attendance for the Saturday afternoon meeting:

Tom Wolfe, Midwest regional director,
Nancy Porter, secretary
Members & Guests: Corey Mattson, Jodi Tupper, Chris Bern, Tom McLaughlin, Kim Mata, Marsha Williksen,, guest (ESP).

NEA Peace and Justice Membership Form.doc


Midwest P&J Blogspot First Annual Report Handout.doc

Tom McLaughlin reported on BLOG issuing a report saying there have been 400 articles and 3400 hits so far this year. The report covers monthly hits.

Please note that in May, October, and November Tom must direct musicals and fall plays and is pressed for time, so please send Tom articles to post or post your own.

Return visitors, 266 (loyal reader base)…googlable so we have readers from Thailand and all over. First timers: 1,911; unique visitors, 2,177; and page loads 3,670.

People thought that his sending a report out once a month was too often and quarterly was not quite enough. He’s trying to hit a happy medium.

Newsletters sent … so pick your own news, but be encouraged and people in every Midwestern state should be in charge of sending in articles to the Midwest blog. A discussion about readability and content followed.

McLaughlin finally coaxed three people to participate in his chat box for an online meeting. He thinks it’s a great medium for people to communicate, but not many appear interested now.

During the months of April, May, Oct, Nov, and Dec, it would be nice for McLaughlin to have help in original or any kind of help with articles. burning issues, or whatever, send to Tom and he can post also.


Tom Wolfe said that the major issues from the P&J Executive Board meeting in November were to end the Iraqi war and get rid of NCLB. He also wrote items for resolutions and NBIs for Iowa Caucuses which were passed by several caucuses and will be looked at by the county platform committee. The three proposed in the various caucuses were:

We oppose the use of torture by the U.S. Government as an instrument of persuasion.

We oppose the war in Iraq and urge the U.S. Government to remove its troops as soon as possible.

We support the repeal of the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

The following was the explanation given for the Military Commissions Act.: The Military Commissions Act allows the government to detain and imprison people without charge, a violation of the right of habeas corpus, and it allows the use of torture because it gives the president the right to define torture his or her own way, a violation of international law.

These same items were written as new business items for last year’s Iowa Delegate Assembly but were shot down in a big way. The torture resolution was debated and beaten badly while the other two were defeated through the fascistic object to consideration.

After last year’s Executive Board meeting, Tom Wolfe crafted a new business item on NCLB that called for the NEA to lobby Congress for the removal of all NCLB language from the ESEA law. It passed Iowa’s Delegate Assembly but ran into trouble in Philadelphia. The P&J leadership was not unified in supporting it, but it appeared very early in the RA. A few minutes before the motion was to be presented on the floor, leadership of NEA approached Tom and asked to have language changed slightly or it would be ruled out of order. Members were confused about what the language said, and it was defeated. Now Joel Packer from NEA has presented the NEA viewpoint that has a good direction, but there is a fear that doing anything during an election year could be dangerous. Even Senator Kennedy, a major force behind the original bill, has said this is a failed bill that needs to be addressed!


The former Chiapas initiative of contributing to certain schools in that oppressed Mexican province has been replaced this year by contributions to a teaching center being built that will be named the Paul Mann Teacher Training Center, in honor of a former national P&J chair and treasurer as well as being a close friend of some of us. The construction will be watched and possibly directed by P&J member on the scene, Peter Brown. The January newsletter contains information about this.

The newsletter also mentions The NEA Peace and Justice Paul Mann Youth Activist Award, an honor our caucus wishes to bestow annually on a deserving young person. If you belong to a philanthropic organization, please encourage money toward this recognition of youth, and the building of the Teacher Training Center.

Newsletters: Let us know if you don’t get newsletter. It will be posted on the Blog

A discussion of various speakers P&J has had at the summer RAs followed. Some said that Dr. Neal was, but Jonathan Kozol was the greatest. We are always looking for a good speakers and draws for the NEA RA.


The agenda was the same as the previous day’s meeting, but the attendance was greater. Candidate Donna Nelson from Indiana, who is running for ESP at large to the NEA Board if and when a spot opens, spoke to us first. She welcomed us with concerns of the ESP’s income and materials needed for the classroom by listening.


Those present were the following:

Tom McLaughlin
Shirley Moore
Cindy Wiese
Jan Holta, MN
John Barker, IA
Eva Barker
Oscar Ortiz, (happy birthday)
Kevin Ericson
Jean Seeland
Jean Agbese
WI..Sue Fulkerson
WI Kathy Peterson
WI, Charlie Clark
Kim Muta


Candidates: Becky Pringle, NEA Exec. PA congratulated us as a caucus and the important focus we give to the NEA of the importance of Human and Civil Rights


We have about 147 members and the hits show that double that amount hit our site on a regular basis. Please consider submitting information to the Web site that Tom will be happy to post…or you can post it yourself.

Goals: Iraq war and NCLB issues….end the war fast, NCLB…eliminate but work through the ESEA….

3 resolutions for last spring‘s DA…

Use of torture

We oppose the war
We oppose NCLB
Military Commissions;

Mission statement read.

Continued intro for the potential officers for ISEA: Jean Seeland and Tom McLaughlin both complimented the questions and the thoughts that had to go into the answers…..

The rest of the meeting proceeded the same as the Saturday gathering except that more people braved the early morning hour to attend.


Nancy Porter

Nancy Porter
NEA P&J Secretary

1 comment:

libhom said...

It's great to read about the anti-torture and anti-war resolutions. Humane voices are welcome in this often inhumane world.