This has been published in the book PEACE OR BUST. For ordering information, please click here.
San Francisco, Thursday April 23, 1987 10 a.m.
My first stop on the tour was at the Peace Resource Center in Santa Barbara where I talked briefly with the Director Michael Lindemann and Greg Cross about the Peace by 2000 Campaign. The Director wants to talk with me after the tour, and PRC may sponsor me to speak in late November 1987. All their events are now planned at least 3 months ahead.
In San Luis Obispo I made a phone contact with June von Ruden of Mothers for Peace. I left petition materials for her at the Democratic Headquarters.
Monday night I had dinner and stayed with Betty St. George in Paso Robles. She gave me the royal treatment and told me about Joel Goldsmith and the infinite way. As a hard-core Republican, she would not sign the petitions. I have got about one hundred people to sign, and so far she is the only one who refused.
I arrived in San Francisco at the office for the Mobilization for Peace, Jobs, and Justice about noon on Tuesday. Robbie asked me to be on the radio that night on the Electronic Townhall Forum with Russ Coughlin. As he was very busy, I offered to call people to come and speak into the open microphones. I called the main organizations he gave me plus many on my list. Then I worked on the monitor arm bands and signs where I met Paul Colvin, a Trotskyist socialist. He said I could stay with him, and he drove me to Pier 39 where the radio show was to be at the Experience Theatre.
We went to a seafood restaurant where we could see ships in the harbor and the setting sun just above the hills of Marin. Paul has no confidence in the Democratic Party and wants to see a labor party arise in this country. I explained that I believe there is a better chance for a third party to develop by running candidates in democratic primaries so that some could get elected in a Rainbow Coalition. Then eventually as the Republican Party waned, the Democrats might split between the traditional ones and what I see as Green Democrats. He told me a lot about Trotskyism. At the radio show from 8 to 10 I got a chance to talk for about five minutes to a listening audience of about 22,000. Coughlin loves to play devil's advocate and pretty much represents the establishment's positions and skepticism of anything different. He has been in radio for 45 years. He lets people air their views but challenges their credibility and fails to acknowledge the lessons of Vietnam, the atrocities in Central America, or how the arms race is damaging the economy. At the end a lovely young woman from South Africa who co-founded the mine workers union spoke. When he finally asked her what they wanted us to do there, she replied succinctly, "Pull out." He could not understand how that could help black South Africans. I checked with her if it was true and then told him that it is because they are willing to sacrifice for a while in order to gain their freedom.
I also met Carl Finamore, the Executive Director of the Mobilization. Carl, who is 40, said he grew up in a working-class Catholic family in Chicago. Street influences were violent though his father never hit him. When he got thrown in jail like his older brother, his parents were devastated. He decided to leave that environment so that he wouldn't hurt his parents. He wanted to end poverty, not just for himself by becoming a doctor or lawyer, but for everyone. He traveled and was influenced by the civil rights movement and Europe. He became a socialist. He is very intelligent and began to read, especially history.
On Wednesday a photographer from USA Today took shots at the office for a color picture for the front page. I met Dolores Huerta, whom Robbie called one of the six greatest women in history. She is Vice President of the United Farm Workers. I told her I roomed for a year with Venustiano Olguin who worked closely with Cesar Chavez in the 60s. She said he lives in Berkeley. She was very open and interested in the Peace by 2000 campaign. Also another Dolores offered to send my materials to her friends in Milwaukee. I spent most of the day with Paul printing MONITOR on the arms bands with a stencil. I've promised Carl I will sleep in a van the night before the rally to help watch over the equipment.
San Francisco, Sunday April 26 4 p.m.
Thursday I met a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln brigade during the Spanish Civil War, also a young man from Sao Paulo named Joe who likes my writings and helped me with my table at the rally on Saturday. He is traveling around the world to see if it is going to survive. Thursday night Paul and I had Hakkha Chinese food.
On Friday I managed to wholesale one copy of THE WAY TO PEACE to Roberta at the Communist bookstore. A woman's bookstore only would have taken it on consignment after reading it. I don't think I could sell enough books directly to bookstores to make it worth my while to try them---unless they are specifically dedicated to peace.
I helped load the 4,000 signs for the rally and then slept in my car at the civic center where the building of a large stage was completed about 1 a.m. I was there to watch over the equipment. I can barely stretch out from corner to corner in my Toyota stationwagon, but I did manage to get some sleep.
I was hoping to sell many books on Saturday, but I only sold 5 copies of the THE WAY TO PEACE and 3 of IRENE. I got about twenty or so signatures on each of the petitions and a couple of people took them with addresses of the Presidential candidates to circulate them. News reports estimated the crowd at 30,000, quite a bit less than the 100,000 we were hoping for, although there were 150,000 in the rain in Washington. It was a glorious day with a little wind, and I got rather sunburned. I met Bob Cooney, who co-authored POWER OF THE PEOPLE: Nonviolence in America. He said it sold 13,000 and has been just updated and reprinted.
Last night and today I am resting staying home in Paul's apartment in solitude. Although a few people encouraged me in my tour, I cannot help but feel disappointed and frustrated. Like the Great Peace March, efforts like this seem to be reduced to a struggle to survive. I suppose there is poetic significance in that since we are trying to help our civilization to survive. Yet is ironic and pathetic when most of our society operating out of selfishness and greed with superficial values seems to be rather prosperous. Even the head of the AFL-CIO, Lane Kirkland, condemned the Mobilization with red-baiting. If our society does not respond better to bring about the needed changes, I'm afraid things are going to get much worse before they really improve. I've seen quite a few homeless people. Part of the problem in selling my books is that most people who are for peace don't have much money.
I am reading Trotsky's autobiography MY LIFE, which is very well written. There are many people in this Bay area who feel that economic revolution is the best solution.
Berkeley, Saturday May 2 11 a.m.
Monday I began my rounds to peace groups and developed a little "sales pitch" about the Peace by 2000 campaign. Most people I talked with were receptive and encouraging. I went to 3 or 4 key buildings in San Francisco where there are more than one organization. I stopped by the Mobilization office. Carl said he thought there had been between 75,000 and 100,000 in San Francisco at the rally. I also went to the Zen Center and meditated with them, though I didn't conform to their ritual way of walking with the hands folded in front. In the evening I attended a little meeting of people working for a nuclear test ban, where I met David Martinez of the Golden Gate Alliance. They are planning a civil disobedience action at Senator Pete Wilson's office in June.
Tuesday I sold some books to the AFSC bookstore and then went to a demonstration at the federal building for the Palestinians who are being threatened with deportation from Los Angeles. There I ran into Michael Poulin who said I could stay with him in Oakland. I had stayed with him in 1983 once after a Vandenberg meeting. He and Marianne Torres are working hard on the Palestinian issues. Michael said he likes to help the underdog. I went to two of their classes on the Berkeley campus on the Palestinians; it is part of the Dept. of Peace and Conflict Studies, which is allowed to offer classes but has no University money to pay teachers. Nevertheless top people have come from all over for the opportunity to address the issue which is so repressed in this country because of Jewish pressures. I heard Sadowsky, a very popular lecturer, and then a highly educated Palestinian woman. The typical American image of Palestinians as nothing but fanatical terrorists is a very distorted caricature. They are generally hard-working, well-educated people who are trying every democratic means available to secure their rights and some territory that was stolen from them, occasionally fighting back against the violence perpetrated against their efforts for self-determination.
I visited a peace center in Walnut Creek that has been operating since 1969 next to the Unitarian Church. I talked with Cynthia Kopp at John F. Kennedy University in the Liberal Arts School and am now considering very seriously applying to teach there. It has been growing steadily. The Woman's Peace Center in Berkeley has been working since 1961 and is connected to Women Strike for Peace.
On Friday I heard and saw a lecture and slide show on Vietnam by a Trotskyist Spartacus speaker who had just been in Vietnam. He supports enthusiastically Vietnamese success with a workers' revolution and unlike other Trotskyists supports the Soviet Union while calling for reforms. He considers China's attacks on Vietnam "the cat's paw" of American imperialism in Asia. He contrasted the authenticity of Vietnam's government (They earn less than workers.) to the corruption (They make twelve times as much as workers.) and xenophobia of the Chinese. Most western literature is banned in China, while Vietnamese are well educated and read many western authors in translation. The country is still relatively poor and suffers the effects from agent orange and drug use in the south, but the people are generally happy. There are few police, and he traveled completely freely. He complained that the U.S. is still trying to strangle them economically and bragged about their victory over U.S. imperialism in the war. He wants revolution in the industrial nations to help workers throughout the world. I asked about the elections he said he witnessed. Opposition candidates are allowed, but the Communists picked from above tend to dominate the parliament.
I also stopped by the Graduate Theological Union, where I also may be able to teach part-time. This weekend I am staying with Leonard and Rauha Cole who are Theosophists. Usually they do not even eat dairy products or eggs. They are very hospitable. Last week I found out that Augusto Sandino was a theosophist.
San Francisco, Monday May 11 5 p.m.
Last Sunday I went to the large Unitarian Church in Berkeley with a beautiful choir and an unusual program on "Laughter;" the closing hymn was about "coffee, coffee, coffee" to the tune of "Holy, holy, holy," and the young preacher talked about Norman Cousins' healing techniques using humor. With the Coles I went to a small gathering of Theosophists in Oakland where a man talked about the characteristics of cosmic consciousness and enlightenment and how Krishnamurti gave up organized spiritual endeavor for the "pathless land" of truth independently experienced. I shared my concepts of the divine principles.
That evening about ten people were invited to dinner at Michael and Marianne's. I talked at length with Johanna that night and visited her the next day. It turns out that we went to the same grammar school. She is studying at J.F.K. University to be a counselor. I also was introduced to Joseph Mutti from San Jose and his "wards" Hideki, a Japanese exchange student, and Selvine, a refugee from El Salvador who is alcoholic. While leaving, Nada Rakovich, a young Yugoslavian woman, gave me her card and said I could stay with her in San Francisco if I ever needed to.
On Monday I went to the San Jose Peace Center, met "Shorty" Collins, a 95-year-old activist, who told me that during the entire Vietnam War they held a one-hour vigil once a week, and it never rained at all during that hour. The young man at the Peace Center had disdained the petition campaign in favor of more "empowering" direct action, but Shorty said, "Why not do both?" and signed them all with the help of a machine that magnified the paper onto a TV screen. I stayed that evening with an elder couple of Friends, Steve and Elizabeth Jones. They played a tape from the Christic Institute about their investigation of the Iran-contra scandal that revealed a secret team for covert action in foreign policy commanded by Theodore Shackly and going all the way back to 1959 when V.P. Richard Nixon set it up to assassinate Fidel and Raul Castro and Che Gueverra. They were responsible for killing 60,000 civilians in Vietnam and supplying the contra's war against Nicaragua for many years. The next morning Steve and I went to an interfaith meeting where he played the tape again, and I gave out my petitions for Peace by 2000.
I went to Santa Cruz and met Frances Wright of Witness for Peace, Shelley at the Resource Center for Nonviolence, and Terry Teitlebaum at the Freeze. Frances was the first to respond to my mailing and gave me dinner and a gathering of about six people. We had an interesting discussion. Ron Swenson suggested that the peace movement needs to be economically self-sustaining. Buryl Payne shared his research on the correlation between high solar activity and wars and between group meditations and a lessening of solar activity. He suggests people meditate at the same time at the beginning of each season. He pointed out a startling alignment of the sun, Mercury, Venus, the Earth, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune with the galactic center near the end of Sagittarius from June 13 to 21, 1988.
I attended a vigil on Wednesday afternoon for nuclear disarmament with Robert Hahn. He put gas in my car and took me to dinner where seniors gather each week. Most of those there signed the Peace by 2000 petitions. That night I stayed with Joseph Mutti and his friend Trevor in the Santa Cruz mountains. In Palo Alto I went to the Beyond War office and told them what I was doing. Richard Rathbun was away in Central America. An intern told me he was answering letters explaining why Beyond War is not a "peace group," something about it dealing with "larger" issues. Two women researchers seemed interested in my ideas and bought my books. At the Mid-Peninsula Peace Center I met with Joan Bazar. I went to the Stanford campus and caught most of a Peace Studies class where Bart Bernstein was lecturing on the Cuban missile crisis and deterrence. He was equal to Sadowsky in his spontaneous flow of ideas. I drove to San Francisco not knowing where I was going to stay. I tried to call Adam Wood about San Francisco State's peace group meeting that night.
Eugene, OR, Thursday May 21 9 a.m.
It's been ten days since I've taken the chance to write. To continue, in San Francisco I called Nada, and we went to a movie with a gay friend of hers. The extra week I had in the Bay area was spent with her learning about Yugoslavia, each other, and discussing higher consciousness. On Saturday we went to a concert pot-luck sponsored by the Greens, and I traded my book for Mark Levy's latest tape. He had handed me a flyer about his concert, and I said, "I know him. I went to one of his concerts." He said, "I'm Mark Levy." He had cut his hair short.
Nada played Yugoslavian rock music and translated the words for me, beautifully expressing their patriotism for having fought the Nazis and becoming independent with Tito's socialist self-management. I read a little book by Tito about the Communist movement from World War I through World War II. I was so enchanted with her that I almost skipped Stockton and Sacramento to have three more days with her. But at 6 a.m. on Thursday I suddenly decided to go to Stockton.
In two hours I talked with about four people in peace work in Stockton, including the Chaplain at the University of the Pacific. Then I went to Sacramento where I also made excellent contacts in a short time. Particularly interesting was Barbara Wiedner who started Grandmothers for Peace and had just got back from being arrested at the Nevada nuclear test site on Mother's Day. She has an offer to make a TV movie of her story. She is going to Moscow for a women's conference in June sponsored by the Women's International Democratic Federation on the theme of achieving disarmament of all nuclear weapons by the year 2000. I also had a long phone conversation with Dr. Matania Ginosar who is a scientist who quit defense work in 1981 to start the Nuclear Disarmament Task Force. They hire people to go into about 140 congressional districts that are swing votes to educate at least one thousand people and organize letter-writing campaigns. He wanted me to know that they are looking for people to hire to do this work. I also went to a potluck meeting of a Central America group and met a man who had his camera damaged and rolls of film ruined from the point where he took a picture of a ritual in which photographing was forbidden.
The next day I went back to Berkeley to contact some bookstores and hoping to visit Nada. However, she was in emotional turmoil and busy with all the work she had put off the previous week. I went to Santa Rosa for a potluck birthday party for my musician friend Brock Travis. There I met several people from Ojai and was especially attracted to Annelle and Kathleen Cochrane. I spent three days with Kathleen and her 3-year-old son Aaron.
On Sunday Marge Cerletti took me to the Unitarian Church, champagne breakfast at the Good Earth, to hear a children's choir at Friends House, and to the potluck gathering to hear me talk. Her organizing made Santa Rosa the highlight of my trip so far. We had an excellent discussion, and I sold several books. She was the "grandmother of the Great Peace March" last year and walked a thousand miles at age 74. On Monday I had an excellent conversation with Andy at the Freeze who told me about Seymour Melman's National Peace Platform and Ted Weiss's bill on conversion. We talked about massive civil disobedience as a strategy. I was interviewed by a friend of Kathleen's (Ann) for Macrobiotics Today.
Tuesday I stopped in Ukiah and heard about a Nurse named Sunshine who spilled her blood at Remco where they make MX parts. She had been sentenced to 90 days and was fasting in jail; it was two weeks so far. I left copies of my books for her, then visited the Plowshares Center where they were feeding about a hundred poor people.
I arrived in Arcata about 3 and met several peace activists. Matt Nicodemus remembered me from the Nonviolence Conference in Santa Cruz a year ago. At Humboldt State he started a pledge idea where senior students agree to consider the social responsibilities of any job offers they receive. They are hoping this idea will spread to all universities.
Seattle, Friday May 29 10 a.m.
The long drive from Arcata to Eugene through the forests of redwood and Douglas fir was a beautiful experience. I thought about the wonderful people I've met and got the idea to start a peace community east of Berkeley perhaps near the Concord Naval Weapons Station where nuclear weapons are stored and six box-cars full of weapons and military equipment go out every day to El Salvador. I also thought about having the peace movement gather in a national or regional conventions to work on influencing the 1988 elections. In Eugene I was talking to Gary Kutcher, and he said that many small peace groups in Oregon are planning to dissolve and form Oregon Peaceworks. He suggested statewide conventions so that more activists could attend. I liked the idea and recommended that each state could meet one month before its primary elections. We set aside Friday to work on this idea.
On Thursday I went to Corvallis to Westminster House and also talked with Stan Shively who teaches Peace Studies at Oregon State University. He liked the idea of the peace conventions and when I mentioned the possibility of massive and continuous civil disobedience if the elections fail, he looked right at me and said, "I'm ready." From Corvallis I went to Salem to their peace center and talked with Petra who was very friendly and receptive. She gave me a black flag with a mushroom cloud on it to display whenever a nuclear test is scheduled. Then I drove back to Eugene and gave the flag to Gary. Friday morning I wrote a draft calling for statewide peace conventions, and Gary suggested adding some broader issues such as respect for the environment to our suggested policy goals. He wrote a letter which he is going to send to national peace organizations. I am taking around a sign-up sheet for each state for activists who would like to help organize a peace convention, and I am giving out copies of the Call when I meet with people. During my three nights in Eugene I slept in a tree house in Gary's backyard.
In Portland I stayed with Lou Stagnitto whom I knew from Ventura; he moved to Portland to be director of the SANE office. On Sunday I went to Tom Kinzie's Peace Church of the Brethren and got many petitions signed. Then I had a long talk (95% listening to her) with Betsy Dana about her Federalist Caucus Registry. She registered me for life in exchange for my book. She liked the fact that I am working for ways to "institute" peace and justice through world law.
On Monday I talked with John Schwiebert who is a minister and formed a peace house to avoid paying the taxes he has withheld from the U.S. Government because of military spending. Three families are sharing a beautiful house and their incomes. Then I went to see Paulette Wittwer of the AFSC. She told me about the Palau issue. She works with many Palauans, and they are again being forced by the U.S. to vote on changing their nuclear-free constitution in June. She also told me about the coup in Fiji after the election of a leftist coalition of Fijians and Indians, in which she suspects the CIA played a role. That night I stayed with Lance Scott who was putting out a 16-page newspaper with three different editions called the Alliance for Social Change. His work was very conscientiously done.
Tuesday morning I was interviewed for 15 minutes by Ross Reynolds live on KBOO, an independent non-commercial FM station in Portland. In Olympia I stayed with Trace Dreyer at the Evergreen State College, a beautiful campus with innovative educational programs and active students. He taped an interview with me to play on the college radio station KAOS.
Before I left Olympia I met with Bonnie Jacobs of Beyond War and Glen Anderson of FOR. Bonnie told me that Beyond War is focusing on spreading the concept that war is not working anymore. They are planning major efforts in New Hampshire and Iowa to influence the early primaries. Massachusetts people are going to finance New Hampshire and people in the Los Angeles area Iowa. Glen Anderson puts out the best newsletter in Olympia and is very active.
In Tacoma I had a long talk with Frank Seal of Sixth Sense about nonviolent alternatives to military security as important for the peace movement to offer. He suggested I write a one-page article for their newsletter about my tour that I could give out to groups along the way. He showed me how to use their computer, and I also was able to type it up nicely. I also met with a minister, Milt Andrews, and the co-chair of the local WILPF group. Both said they would get their members to sign petitions.
Wednesday night I attended the weekly meeting at the Ground Zero community in Poulsbo right next to the Trident submarine base. A woman named Linda spoke of her experiences working with the dying in their homes as hospice. She described how the dying's wishes are granted---to die with or without certain people present. On more than one occasion she received accurate messages from the "dead" in her dreams. As the community center was deserted the next day except for a Buddhist woman working on a pagoda, I drove to the ferry and was the last car on the boat to Seattle.
After a couple of stops downtown I found my way to "peace alley" near the University of Washington. There I ran into Rich Wood who remembered me from the Lompoc gym we were in while arrested at Vandenberg AFB in 1983 to protest MX missiles. Rich works with the Conscience and Military Tax Campaign. He said I could stay at his house full of activists. I talked with Carol Goldenberg of the UNA, Jane Cadwell of the Freeze (She was going to give my information to her husband who is going to a SANE-Freeze merger meeting in June.), Abe Keller of ESR, Sonia of PSR, and Vernon who has worked for SANE. I'm finding that Seattle is highly activated.
Vernon took me over to the Church Council offices where I met with Beth Brunton of the Central American Task Force, Paul Reilly who invited me to a potluck on Advocacy led by Tina Clarke of the Coalition for a New Foreign Policy whom I had met at a workshop in Los Angeles. I also met with the National War Tax Resistance group that just moved to Seattle. After the evening meeting Paul guided me to Rich's house where several people were making signs and a banner saying "Stop your silence" for a Guatemala demonstration on Monday.
Salt Lake City, Sunday June 7 2 p.m.
In Seattle I met with SANE which has some 26,000 members in the area. I also had a good talk with Nan MacMurray and John Bartlett who are working on Central America. Friday night I heard a lecture on the campus at the University of Washington on the Latin American debt crisis. The high-interest loans are unpayable by the devastated economies which are suffering what a labor leader in Brazil called a third world war that destroys children, health care, and schools instead of soldiers. Unemployment is 50% and inflation 100% in Latin America. Attempts to pay the interest rob the people and even hurt the U.S. economy, because imports are severely reduced. According to the lecturer repudiation of the debt is the best practical solution, and a new economic order, as recommended by Castro, is needed.
On Saturday I went to a meeting to plan the citizens train from Seattle to Washington D.C. in March 1988 for people to lobby for a better federal budget. I visited El Centro, a community center which took over an old school and offers various services. Wendy told me about their work with the Rainbow Coalition. I had been talking about Jesse Jackson leading people toward peace and justice. Although it is unlikely for him to be elected President in 1988, I said he would be a good Vice President. The next day I discovered that he said he would accept nomination as V.P.
I went with Rich, John, Vivian, and Suzanne to see the movie "Amazing Grace and Chuck" about athletes who give up sports until there is nuclear disarmament---a powerful message if unrealistically presented. I recalled Gary Kutcher telling me he dreamed that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar quit basketball until nuclear disarmament was achieved. I'm sure if he had known about the upcoming movie, he would have mentioned it.
On Sunday I went to a discussion led by Rob Leavitt from the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies on alternate defense systems. Unfortunately the discussion was not very focused, and we did not get into substantive issues. A man called Fire told me how I could hook up with the computer network called Peacenet.
In Spokane I talked with Diane Jhueck and Barbara Cowan. Then I stayed with a Mennonite group, Gary, Nancy and Rusty Nelson and two children. I am constantly amazed at how we can become good friends in such a short time when our ideals and aspirations are so harmonious.
Thanks to the organizing work of Esther Belgum in Great Falls and coordinators she found in Missoula (Robin Wall) and Helena (Frank Kromkowski), Montana was well prepared for my visit. In Missoula I talked to about 25 people and met Alice Wiser of Vermont and Gertrude Kauderer from West Germany who are on a peace caravan talking to groups and schools. Connie Skowson told me of efforts to name their new peace resource center after Jeannette Rankin, the first woman in the U.S. Congress who voted against both World War I and II. I also met Butch Turk and Jim Ranney who teaches peace courses at the University of Montana.
In Great Falls I was interviewed by the local ABC affiliate and was on the 5:30 news talking about how military spending creates fewer jobs than other expenditures. Before my talk I went around and talked with the people at the 22 tables for the local peace groups. A woman sang St. Francis' famous prayer and then Rev. Joe Belgum gave me a spirited introduction. I talked and answered questions for an hour and a half, and it was all videotaped. Esther, Joe, their friend Paul, and I discussed many peace issues including the efforts of Beyond War.
Frank Kromkowski gave me a guided tour of Helena as he told me what they've been working on there. I spoke to a small group which was most interested in suggestions for better effectiveness. I discussed the power of personal example and direct communication, altenative media, and creativity.
I drove to Idaho Falls where I talked with Joan Tomsic and her mother who share a similar spiritual philosophy to mine. Joan said she felt the need to work on herself for a while but now feels more ready to move out into social action. I went to Salt Lake City the same day to stay the weekend with the son of a very good friend.
Boulder, Saturday June 13 4 p.m.
In Salt Lake City I mostly rested after such a busy week and a drive of 500 miles on Friday. Sunday morning I attended a Friends meeting where we sat in silence for 45 minutes. Sunday night I babysat for two little girls where I was staying. The next day I met with Grady Walker, personally visited three other peace activists and got my car fixed by Tom Stokes who also happened to be staying in the same house on his way to Chicago.
Although there was only one peace group on my list for Grand Junction, Colorado, they responded to my mailing and scheduled their monthly meeting for the night I was there. Lance Oswald and his family offered me hospitality. That day they had taken a poll asking 50 people on Main Street questions about nuclear testing and found that 90% were in favor of a comprehensive test ban. Lance invited the news media to the evening meeting which was held outdoors at a park. As a result I was on the evening news briefly and also got to talk to their group of about fifteen enthusiastic people.
After having fresh mulberries with breakfast, the drive across the Rocky Mountains and along the Arkansas River to Colorado Springs was very beautiful. At the Pike's Peak Justice and Peace Commission office I met Geoff who described the military activities in the area which include the Air Force Academy, NORAD, and the main research for "star wars." He showed me their excellent little newspaper. I was invited to stay at the peace house where their co-director, Joan Brown, operates a community for women.
I went to Denver and was informed about activities there by AFSC staffer Tom Rauch. They had done some educational programs on the Soviet Union. At the World Constitution and Parliament Association I talked with Ken Almand who told me about their upcoming Provisional World Parliament in Florida.
Before meeting with the Colorado Coalition for the Prevention of Nuclear War, I drove to Boulder to pick up a shipment of books. Coming back the sky was diversely beautiful from gray pastels and dark rain clouds over Denver to glowing white clouds over the western snow-capped mountains. I thought of how we are going to change the corporate warfare state to a community welfare state. I was also excited about Rep. Patricia Schroeder running for President. At the Coalition meeting I explained my hopes and suggested strategies for bringing about major changes in the '88 elections. Several people representing different organizations signed up to work on a statewide peace convention. Then John Chanin spoke about the Shut Down Rocky Flats actions planned for August 3-9. Joe Tempel and Deb Angulski invited me to stay with them. In the morning I visited the Denver Justice and Peace Center which is working to make Denver officially a sanctuary city for Central American refugees.
Most of the peace activists in Boulder were either in Washington D.C. or San Francisco for meetings. I did talk with Bianca, Dan, Kacie Cavanaugh, and Steve Perry who all work on Freeze Voter and other things. Kacie told me about the statewide Colorado Peace Mission which lobbies Congress personally on a regular basis. Steve and I discussed long-term strategies, and he expressed that my trip would make me a valuable resource as to what is going on in the peace movement and asked me to make this knowledge available. I was also interviewed for 20 minutes on Boulder's public radio station KGNU by Laura Marshall on Saturday.
Little Rock, Monday June 22 10 a.m.
Before leaving the Denver-Boulder area, I attended the weekly prayer vigil at Rocky Flats, which makes all the plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons. When I arrived at the gate, it was raining a little and windy. Alex was watering the peace flower garden when the wind blew his hat across the highway and past the gate. The guard who was closing the gate because of the vigil would not let either of us retrieve it. Alex was ready to get arrested, but the guard finally went and got it. About a dozen of us prayed there, where I felt the intense energies of spiritual light and dark meeting.
In Fort Collins I went to the Foothills Peace Center and met David Lipp. Mary and Paul Bates took me to a park for a picnic lunch. Mary ran for Congress in 1984, and Paul is working on peace education. Then I visited Joe Stern who tried to arrange interviews and an evening gathering without much success. He is a lawyer from New York who uses wit and satire in his activism. I typed a long letter for him to Warren Air Force Base where he and a hundred others had been banned and barred recently. I stayed the night at the home of John Kefalas and Beth who are both very active at the Peace Center. The next morning I talked with Vietnam veteran Steve Slaton who is thinking of running for Congress.
I drove to Laramie and talked with Willis Ludlow and Lorna Johnson of the AFSC and then John Hill who writes a witty newsletter. I didn't stay in Laramie but went right on to Cheyenne where Peter and Lorraine Holcomb told me their group was meeting the next night to hear me speak, thanks to the Unitarians and the response of Al and Annette Aldridge. I spoke to their group of about fifteen and at length with Peter, Lorraine, and Ed Warsaw. They are actively working against the MX missile, because Wyoming is the only state which accepts it. They were going to a statewide meeting in Caspar that weekend and were taking along my suggestion for a statewide peace convention.
Driving past Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills, I noticed there is more room on the mountain for the heads of those who would lead this nation and the world toward peace and justice. I wasn't able to reach anyone in Rapid City but met with a dozen people who had arrived early for the National Nonviolence Conference. I helped Clark Hanjiar and others set up the encampment on the land of Marvin Kammerer, who is in Ranchers for Peace. I stayed in a tent with Tom from the Catskills during a thunderstorm. The sun rose at 4:30, and I got an early start and drove across South Dakota to Sioux Falls. There I received hospitality from Rev. Duane Addison and his family. His son Richard helped me to connect with PeaceNet and put my July schedule on the calendar.
Before reaching Omaha I knew that a statewide meeting was being held that day in Carney. However, I discovered a conference on "Following the Nonviolent Jesus" at Creighton University and was invited to attend. I heard talks by Gerry Vanderhaas from Memphis and Mary Evelyn Jegen of Pax Christi. I stayed at a peace community of Tom Cordarro, Bridget, and a Salvadoran refugee.
I left early to drive 580 miles through Kansas City and Springfield, Missouri, and the beautiful Ozarks of northern Arkansas to Little Rock. I called on Maggie Fisher of the Arkansas Peace Center. She was very upset and felt she had been pushed out of the work for two weeks. Yet she did put me in contact with some people. First Father Joe Biltz offered me a room at the seminary. He told me about his experience working for civil rights for thirty years from Little Rock to the United Farm Workers in Oregon to Kent State in 1970. When I called Chris Kupper and Tim Coe, I found I could stay at Chris's house for the week of the Unitarian Conference which was to begin the next day.
Oklahoma City, Wednesday July 1 8 a.m.
I had to wait several hours on Monday and again on Tuesday to get the table I had reserved as part of the Peace Network, because Steve Schick and Karen Boucek said my materials had arrived too late (on the day of the deadline March 16) for them to evaluate them. If I had known there was a problem I would have stayed at the Nonviolence Conference in South Dakota. However, since I had heard nothing and insisted on a table, they finally put one up for me. I talked with Charlie Clements and heard him speak twice. I was surprised to learn that the contra-aid vote is still likely to be close in the fall. Politicians can be slow learners. Sue Nichols of the U. U. United Nations Office gave a workshop and said I could attend the special U. N. conference on the relationship between disarmament and development when I am in New York in September.
I got about 60 names on each Presidential candidate's petitions and heard very favorable comments about Michael Dukakis and Paul Simon from the people in Massachusetts and Illinois. I heard Bill Davis of the Christic Institute speak about their case against the secret team and the "Contragate" scandal. Matthew Fox gave a great talk on creation-based spirituality and creative mysticism. I hope to teach at his college in Oakland next year. The special Ware lecture by Anthony Lewis about civil rights, problems of race relations, and the rule of law in regard to the scandal was good, but its intellectual liberalism without much action did not especially move me. On the next day the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly passed a resolution of immediate witness calling for impeachment proceedings against the President and Vice President. I was glad to see that efforts to remove the word "impeachment" were defeated.
On the last night in Little Rock I went to a small informal universal worship with Chris Kupper and his friend Linda. The service included the Hindu, Judeo-Christian, Buddhist, native American, Islamic, pagan, and Sufi traditions.
Monday I went to Tulsa and stayed with the family of Pam and Herb Neumann, who are very active working on a piece of land opposite Pantex in Amarillo. I also talked with Jean and Harold Dunlap who work on political influence. At Leslie Chestnut's I met some people who were preparing a newsletter for mailing. The next morning Pam and I went to Osage Monastery and talked with Carol Potter who is writing a book, GLOBAL PRO BONO, to encourage lawyers to help on civil disobedience trials.
In Oklahoma City I met Sister Leona and Nathaniel Batchelder and was put to work for the rest of the day getting the "Oklahoma Peace Strategy" newspapers ready to be mailed.
Kansas City, Sunday July 5 noon.
I stayed two nights with "Batch" at the Benedictine Peace House. Wednesday morning we met with two members of Physicians for Social Responsibility to preview four short videos and plan a public meeting for Hiroshima day. At noon I went with Sister Leona to a one-hour silent vigil of concern and sorrow about what is happening in Central America. A young man in a suit came by saying, "No exchange of views?" I said, "I'll talk to you," but he replied, "There's no time; I'm in a hurry;" and he quickly walked away. I just laughed. The standing prayer was a powerful experience. In the afternoon I helped Batch get out forty press releases about a press conference by some Oklahoma City lawyers on the Christic Institute's legal case against the "secret team" and challenging Sen. Boran to widen the investigations. Then we went to a busy intersection and held up signs for an hour to the rush-hour traffic. After a nice dinner with the Benedictine sisters, someone called to tell us of the TV debate between the Democratic candidates, which we watched.
In Wichita I met with Annabelle Haupt and later talked with Dick Williams, but I spent most of my time with Mary Harren, whose daughter I had met in Omaha. Mary helped to organize the first major civil disobedience action at a military base in Kansas where 69 people were arrested.
I got to Kansas City on the first day of the 3-day fourth of July weekend, but I managed to talk with Father Dick Wempe at the Shalom Catholic Worker and to Susan Rieger at the KC Freeze Coalition office. She told me they had tried to circulate petitions at the Kansas City Spirit Festival last 4th of July but were restricted to doing it outside. After finding hospitality at the Holy Family House Catholic Worker and a long conversation with Charles Bebb and Linda McNichols of the Freeze, I went to the Spirit Fesitival and managed to pass out some brochures inside. I helped the Catholic Worker people serve about a hundred people dinner. It was their slowest night in months, because of the holiday and because early in the month people have more money.
Dubuque, Sunday July 12 9 a.m.
On Sunday in Kansas City I read Eugene McCarthy's book THE YEAR OF THE PEOPLE about his run for the Presidency in 1968. I see many analogies to this year in his challenge to the Vietnam War policies. Even though that year was tragic with the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy and the nomination of Hubert Humphrey without his winning a single primary. I hope that the democratic reforms that McCarthy's efforts stimulated will help us this year. So far Jesse Jackson is the only one showing definite leadership on peace and justice issues, and I believe that the candidate who takes strong leadership on nuclear disarmament and peace in Central America among the others will have the best chance of winning the nomination. When I left Holy Family House, they gave me the generous contribution of $50.
I had a very good day in Columbia where Missouri University is located. I talked with Mark Haim of the Freeze, Robbie Lieberman who teaches Peace Studies at the University, Jennifer Wax of WAND, Susie Morse of Parenting for Peace and Justice, Marc Drye of the Shantytown Activists who showed me their anti-apartheid shanties in the campus quad and described for me their nonviolent actions, and finally I stayed at St. Francis house and had a long discussion with long-time activists Lana and Steve Jacobs.
In St. Louis I also met with several organizers including Anna Ginsberg of the Freeze, Bill Ramsey of AFSC, and Florence Johnson of WILPF. For two days I enjoyed the generous hospitality of Unitarian Roy Bohn, but one day I was accidentally locked in the apartment by two wall plasterers and spent the day watching Col. Oliver North testifying and the videotape of the Christic Institute's Dan Sheehan. In the evening Roy and I went to a WILPF planning meeting for a Hiroshima event that was well facilitated by Eldora Spiegelberg.
After crossing to the east of the Mississippi River for the first time in my life, I drove to Springfield, Illinois. There I had good discussions with Suzanne Brown of Citizens for Peace in Central America and Diane Hughes of the Springfield Peace Action Network.
I stayed at the Catholic Worker house in Rock Island where I talked for several hours with Chuck Trapkus who told me about their actions concerning the arsenal which manufactures so many weapons and explained to me his Christian anarchism and reluctance to participate in politics. In the evening we met some other folks and saw two films about Hiroshima and Nagasaki—very painful to watch. I did not succeed in making other contacts in Davenport and was frustrated to discover that evening that candidate Paul Simon had spoken there that afternoon on arms control; yet the article in the local paper the next day said practically nothing about his views.
Thus I was pleased to discover when I arrived in Dubuque and talked with Francine and Jim Banwarth that Mike Dukakis was speaking there in the afternoon. Francine is very active on a campaign to get some fifty Iowa city councils to pass a test-ban resolution. Francine gave me her negative impressions of Joseph Biden whom she met and talked with. She said he supported all 20 Trident submarines as necessary for security and foresaw nothing but the defense budget leveling off at $300 billion. Later someone told me that Biden said he would not accept Jackson for Vice President. He sounds worse and worse.
I got a chance to talk with Mike Dukakis for a while, because even he went around to meet everyone there; he spoke to the crowd for only ten minutes about how he is for full employment, and there were only about a hundred people there. I gave him the petitions that were signed for him in Little Rock with a copy of my article, schedule, press release, peace conventions idea, and IRENE. When I expressed my views about the need for a candidate to lead on peace and disarmament, he replied that I was talking to the converted. He said he opposed SDI funding and favored a test-ban. I showed him my ten-year plan for complete nuclear disarmament by the year 2000 and asked him to write me if he supported it or to give his views and that I would tell peace activists all across this country what his position is. I told him that if the next President does not work for disarmament, there would be massive civil disobedience, because we cannot wait any longer. I said that to balance the budget, defense has to be cut, and for defense to be cut we need a disarmament treaty. Peter Whitis of PSR and Beyond War and I both asked him about Central America and Contadora. He replied that he recently had read a draft of the treaty and was impressed. Finally I asked him if he would seriously consider Jackson for Vice President. He replied that he would consider everyone but that he had to get the nomination first. As he left, I said, "Many blessings to you."
I am staying at the Catholic Worker House here and last night with Marcia Davis and Paul Fuerst saw Kubrick's movie "Full Metal Jacket"---a very strong statement against military training and the Vietnam War. I thought it was unrealistic that a disgruntled grunt murdered the drill instructor until Marcia told me that her brother stepped out of the way when someone tried to kill the DI with a bayonet.
St. Paul, Sunday July 19 5 p.m.
On Sunday in Dubuque I went to a church popular with the Catholic Workers where we discussed the parable of the sower and I compared it to peacemaking, many falling away or frightened by anti-Communist propaganda and even more distracted by money and material pleasures. Marcia took me to meet two nuns active for peace, including a Hennessey whose sister I met in Des Moines.
I stopped in Cedar Rapids on Monday at the Catholic Worker and then had to get the alternator in my car replaced. In Iowa City I talked with networker Jay Robinson and a Pananamian woman who is working for Jackson.
Discovering from Jay that Joseph Biden was to speak in Des Moines that evening, I drove the 115 miles and arrived just in time for the Stop the Arms Race (STARPAC) forum. Biden ridiculed several Reagan myths about foreign policy but then presented his own modified positions based on similar anti-Communist attitudes. He stayed around after his talk to meet people, and I had a chance to ask him several questions to clarify that he is not for all the Trident submarines, that he was against flight testing of the D-5, and that his vote for "humanitarian" aid to the contras was a compromise. I told him also that if the next President does not make major progress on disarmament, there will be massive civil disobedience. When I asked him if it was true that he would not accept Jackson as V.P., he said yes, that he would be honest with me, because he didn't think he has the experience. I said I would be honest and admitted that the best I could hope for is a Dukakis-Jackson ticket. He replied, "When I am elected, you'll be in trouble." Then realizing what he said, he quickly reassured me, "No, you'll be fine." I said to those standing around, "I think I'll be in jail."
That night I stayed in the firehouse apartment of Chet Guinn and the next morning talked with STARPAC Director Chuck Day and saw their video. Then I met with Ed Fallon of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, had lunch with Kari Fisher at the Catholic Worker, met Gwen Hennessey, then Mikel Johnson and Gene Jones of AFSC and finally Kim Hill Smith of the Iowa Peace Network.
The next two nights I stayed with Jeff and Amy Couch. At the Art Center I saw Edward Hicks' paintings of "The Peaceable Kingdom" and "Penn signs a Treaty with the Indians." I also attended a breakfast meeting of STARPAC's committee planning the September forum for all the Presidential candidates. I urged Chuck Day to send the lessons of their experience to Gary Kutcher in Eugene, Oregon so that peace organizers in other states could benefit from their experience and leadership.
Arriving in Minneapolis on Thursday afternoon I met Tom Houts of the Central American Resource Center and Jim Fournier at the Newman Center and then several groups at the new location of the Twin Cities Peace and Justice Coalition. Richard Seymour told me about their numerous actions at Honeywell, their generally light sentences but recent punishments of forty days. I sat in a Freeze meeting where an idea to honk horns once a week was mixed, but a brochure on the holocaust theme was accepted. Mel Duncan of Jobs with Peace said I could stay with him. He told me of their state-funded conversion program and how their only client, Phillips, which was ready to convert from land mines to three-ring binders and increase their jobs, was bought off by a more lucrative offer from Honeywell. This was after the commissioner of the state department was taken out to lunch by the Honeywell V.P. and decided to cancel the program. However, the program was shifted to another department.
Friday I went to Women Against Military Madness, Friends for a Nonviolent World, and also talked with Deborah Nankivell of Common Cause and Jonathan Specktor of Ground Zero. The latter is planning a fall forum for the candidates as it did in 1984 and 1986 but needs to coordinate with the Freeze which jumped in early and set a date. That sweltering evening I saw the 3-hour film on the CIA called "On Company Business" at the radical May Day bookstore and then slept at the Catholic Worker.
Saturday morning I walked around Lake Harriet with people who are supportive of Nicaragua. Then I went to a WILPF picnic to hear a report about the European peace movement and the INF talks. The rest of the weekend I stayed with Phyllis Carlson and went with her to a Self Realization Fellowship meditation.
Chicago, Sunday July 26 9 p.m.
In La Crosse, Wisconsin I was led to Sister Cecilia Corcoran and then to Peg Nolan at the co-op. Peggy Baumgaertner told me all about the International Peace Lantern Exchange Project. In the evening I went with Peg's roommates to the Earth First film where co-producer John Seed talked about the councils of all living things, rituals and song. They are involved in direct action to prevent destruction of rain forests.
I met with various groups in Madison and stayed at Link House and attended a "contra-buster" meeting with Marc Zoilo. They are showing the Christic Institute video of Dan Sheehan every week, and each week more people come. Steve Kokette showed me some videos he is distributing on "Star Wars" and the "Contra War." I was also interviewed on the breakfast show of community radio WORT.
I sold so few books in the twin cities and Madison that I was feeling like quitting my tour. The stifling heat wasn't helping. However, in Milwaukee I sold eight copies of THE WAY TO PEACE in one day and got help for my car at the Catholic Worker. I went with Don Timmerman to a benefit for the Pledge of Resistance. I also met with Jobs with Peace, John Gilman, Mobilization for Survival, Bettie Eisendrath, and Jackie Haessly.
In Chicago I ran into the cold war attitudes of Bob Woito at the World Without War Council and then briefly visited Jo Patton of PSR, ESR, Maureen Barry of the Chicago Peace Council, and Oswaldo Alfaro at the AFSC offices. I stayed with Ron and Karla Chew's family. Saturday I went to a meeting of People United Serving Humanity (PUSH) which was 98% black. Mayor Harold Washington spoke about the housing crisis and challenged the federal HUD. From there I went to an excellent conference on Namibia and heard from the Secretary-General of the South West Africa Peoples Organization (SWAPO) and Rep. John Conyers. I met several women from Namibia and a man from Cameroon. Namibians are suffering apartheid and military domination by South Africa.
On Sunday morning I spoke to the people at the First Unitarian Church and then went to the Chicago Peace Museum with Ron Chew.
Fort Wayne, Sunday August 2 1 p.m.
While getting my car serviced on Monday I took the el train into downtown Chicago to meet with the Freeze and CALC, where Ron Chew works. In the evening we went to a local peace group meeting in Oak Park.
In Grand Rapids I had enthusiastic conversations with Ed Prong at the Institute for Global Education, long-time activists Walter and Betsy Bergman, Tim Pieri, and Phil Jung of ESR. Sister Mary Pat Beatty invited me for dinner and to stay at their House of Prayer, and she introduced me to Jackie Hudson. At Lansing I spent most of my time talking with Bruce Roth at the Peace Education Center.
I discussed civilian-based defense and other topics at length with John Mecartney in Detroit. Mary Hollens and others at the Freeze office were generous in buying my books and gave me a T-shirt and a book. I also visited the Peace Studies Center at Wayne State and WILPF. I decided to go to Ann Arbor instead of spending a second day in Detroit. When I arrived my car was behaving very badly, but I managed to find a place that specializes in Japanese cars to do the repairs and correct the errors made in the tune-up done before my trip. Jim Ringold, the canvas director at SANE, was enthusiastic about my visit and had me speak to the dozen canvasers at their afternoon briefing. Some of them mentioned that I helped to inspire them and alleviate their discouragement. I also talked with Jeff, an environmentalist, and Rich Ahern, an architect who admires Thomas Jefferson.
I'm staying in Fort Wayne with Jim and Marian Goetsch who head up the Friends of the Third World stores. Visiting intern and social-work student, Andrew Paris, has told me much about his country Switzerland and how their politics works by direct democracy. I met Bahai Judi Russell who took me to speak to a spiritual peace group on Sunday morning.
I am now half way on my 30-week journey. I feel the most important aspect of my work is the personal communication I am establishing with key peace activists in each city. It is very difficult to report these conversations, because I do not have the time nor energy to spend writing detailed accounts. I am getting along very well with almost everyone who takes the time to talk with me. Their various interests help me to round out my understanding of the whole situation. People are glad to know that I will be mailing to them next year.
I often get tired and have to rest, but energy is always there when I need it. Thus far I have stayed in 58 different places and never have had a serious problem in finding somewhere for the night. I have had a shower or bath every day except once or twice. The sale of books is covering my expenses for gas, food, and car repairs. My car is now in good shape, and my new book LIFE AS A WHOLE should finally be sent to me next week. Even though I rarely speak to more than two or three people at a time, many people have impressed me with the importance of my networking effort and have encouraged me to keep going. By completing my nationwide tour, this personal peace network will at least be geographically widespread in the U.S. if not comprehensive and complete.
Cincinnati, Sunday August 9 9 p.m.
In Indianapolis I met with Jimmy Ilachild at the Peace Center, Judy Dunson at the Indiana Council of Churches, Garnett Day of the Disciples Peace Fellowship, Debbie Wyeth at the Freeze, and Bahai Hamilton Niss. I stayed two days with Ernie Hodel and met Central American activist Willie Ney, his mother, and others at a meeting planning a reception for the Nicaraguan baseball team at the Pan American Games.
I went to the Quaker-sponsored Earlham College in Richmond and met Peace Studies Director Pat Washburn. Phil Park-Thomas took me around to meet Wayne Copenhaver of the Neighbors East and West Project, which is establishing Richmond with a sister city in the Soviet Union, and to talk with key activist and tax resister Cathy Flick.
I found that several people were on vacation in Dayton but talked with Julie Ramsey and Victor Coleman at the AFSC. Then I went to a Hiroshima Day vigil at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. There I met several people from Wilmington and decided to go talk with Helen Redding at their Peace Resource Center and to attend the Friends Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting. I met the people at the Volunteer House and led a discussion for the teenagers at the yearly meeting.
When I arrived at the Freeze office in Columbus, Barbara Fitzgerald greeted me warmly, and we went together to staff the Freeze booth at the Ohio State Fair Peace Pavilion, a result of the peace interests of Gov. Dick Celeste and his wife. There I talked with Jim Ross about encouraging Celeste to run as a peace candidate.
On Saturday I drove to Cincinnati and met with Steve Schumacher at the Center for Peace Education. I also talked with Joel Rosenblit of New Jewish Agenda and then went to the Friends Meeting House where I received the kind hospitality of activists Polly and Amos Brokaw. I also talked with Deborah Jordan of the Freeze and Bob Moore. After the Sunday Friends meeting I went to the Nagasaki commemoration downtown where I was allowed to speak for five munites after long-time activist Rev. McCrackin. Then we went to a vigil at Fernald where uranium is enriched to make bombs. Polly had people wearing vulture outfits and carrying a sign that read "FERNALD MEANS DEATH." The silent vigil ended; the black costumes and sign were put aside; and we sang songs until it began to pour down rain. I got a ride with David Little who is going to work for Dukakis. The local news covered both the rally and the vigil even though our numbers were rather few---maybe a hundred.
Cleveland Sunday August 16 4 p.m.
My first stop in Louisville was the Mercy Convent where Sister Mary Schmuck invited me for lunch. Then I met with Judy Schroeder of the Peace Education Program, Patricia McCullough at the Council of Peacemaking and Religion, and Eileen Blanton at the Catholic Archdiocese Peace and Justice Center.
After talking with John Bush, Betsy Neale, and Ellen Frost in Lexington I spent most of my time with Quaker Doris Ferm; we went to a meeting to plan the Central America lobbying campaign and discussed the new Arias agreement signed in Guatemala City.
I drove through the lovely hills of West Virginia to Charleston and met Freeze and Common Cause workers Sharon Mayes and Bob Hall. I stayed with Peggy Burkhardt, a friend of Betsy Neale's, and we went to a T'ai Chi class where the black instructors enthusiastically let me describe my "mission."
I went directly to the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh and was glad to meet and talk with Molly Rush of the Plowshares 8 fame; Molly has been working on a campaign to get Westinghouse to consider the ethical consequences of their nuclear weapons programs. I met Gail Britanik who introduced me to John Kromkow who is in the Arizona legislature; he does not have much respect for Bruce Babbit. If Babbit gets any delegates, it would be unlikely for him to throw them to a progressive candidate. At the Pittsburgh Peace Institute I talked with Liane Norman. Then I went to a potluck sponsored by World Federalist Tim Barner. A man name Tom Hudgens sat next to me, and I said, "You're the man who wrote LET'S ABOLISH WAR, and he knew me from my mailing and regretted that he had been out of town when I was in Colorado. We listened to two representatives of the Soviet Peace Committee who spoke good English. They gave examples of how their peace activities have influenced Soviet policies, such as the "delinking" of star wars from intermediate nuclear missiles. Afterwards Tim, Tom, and I talked. Tom said how he is trying to reach more moderate and conservative people. As we were discussing the Arias plan, I was concerned about the U.S. military aid to the governments of El Salvador and Guatemala. Tom put his hand on my shoulder and asked me if I was so naive to think that the rebels in El Salvador could overcome an unaided government without Cuban or Nicaraguan arms. However, Tim put him straight that they have not been getting such arms and that U.S. military aid is needed to prevent their takeover.
Having had a good day in Pittsburgh, I went to Cleveland a day early and met with Monica Green, Mick, and Chris Ball at the Freeze as well as Bob Begin, Jane Pank, George Hrbek, and Harold Barton at four other offices. In the evening I went with Chris and Mick to a great concert by Collective Vision, a rock group that formed on the Great Peace March and had just been on the Leningrad to Moscow march and played at the unprecedented rock concert in Moscow at a large stadium.
During the Harmonic Convergence weekend I stayed with peace marcher Chris Ball at his grandfather's large estate on Lake Erie. We went to the sunrise celebration at Edgewood Park on the beach. I read where a World Peace Congress is being called by the Dalai Lama and others for the summer of 1989 to implement a peace plan. This is amazingly in line with the plan I suggest in the article I am giving out all around the country.
Concord, N.H. Sunday August 23 8 a.m.
When I arrived in Buffalo, the staff of the Western New York Peace Center was all on vacation. I talked with Sister Maureen O'Leary at the Center for Justice, and then stayed with Marek Parker, a young peace marcher.
In Rochester I met Pat Mannix at the Peace and Justice Education Center, Robert Sandgrund, Maria Scipione, and Sally McCoy at Metro-Act, Ken Mahar at the Catholic Diocese, Bill Anderson at the Zen Center, and Dennis Lehmann of the Disarmament Task Force. At St. Joseph's Catholic Worker House I talked with Mike Affleck of the Nevada Desert Experience about nonviolence guidelines and political strategies. He told me how they worked hard to elect a liberal woman to replace a Reaganite in the Congress, showing the effectiveness of grassroots politics; now they don't have to worry about how she votes.
I discovered that the Syracuse Peace Council is the oldest local peace group, having been going for fifty years. Key people I met in Syracuse are Andy Major, Alan Pike, Kathleen Rumpf, Peter Wirth, and Mary and Dick Keough. At an evening class we discussed the relationships between militarism, poverty, and racism and also the uses of prayer. In the morning I went to a vigil for peace in Nicaragua.
After buying a new battery for my car, I drove to Albany where I hoped Susan Hesse would meet me; however, she had moved. I talked with David Easter about Korea, Carolyn Mow of the Knolls Action Project, Laura Letendre at the Diocese, Pearl Campbell, Steve Segore at the Freeze, and Patricia Beetle who is active on many issues.
In Burlington, Vermont I went to the Peace and Justice Center and talked with Bob Fisher and Deborah. I also visited Howard Stearns, national chair of United Church of Christ FOR, and Arnold Golodetz who is active in Beyond War. Robin Lloyd let me stay at her house even though she was going out of town overnight.
When I arrived in Concord, New Hampshire, I was not able to find anyone at first. I spent a couple hours in the Gephardt for President office talking with the campaign workers there. I was waiting for Patricia Bass who was very apologetic and helpful. She told me about their project to have people ask the Presidential candidates questions and then report their answers. I gave her some specific questions I had written in Columbus which she liked very much. She put me in touch with the director of the project, Marjorie Percival, for a place to stay. Marjorie and I had excellent talks on the relation between inner peace and effective social action. She is a medical researcher and feels that the solving of the AIDS virus will greatly help cancer research.
Farmingdale, NY, Thursday September 3 5 p.m.
I stayed in Concord, New Hampshire on Sunday instead of going to Portland, Maine. Marjorie and I attended the Friends meeting where I met Tom Wall of the Nashua Peace Center. On Monday I drove to Portland and could only find Bob Stein of the Freeze. Then I went to Cambridge and met with some groups before going to Concord, Massachusetts where a family related to a Unitarian associate from Ojai, the Reisners, gave me excellent hospitality and dinners for four nights. I had a difficult time in Cambridge also and for four days I didn't sell a book. I did talk with Lester Arond at the Freeze, Kevin O'Connell of the SANE canvass, and Calien Lewis, the new director of WAND, among others. Wednesday I walked up Beacon Hill past the Statehouse and met with two different Lawyers groups. At the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies I talked with Rob Leavitt about peace activists' efforts to influence the Dukakis campaign. They had withdrawn a vague foreign policy statement to revise it hoping to get more peace-group support. Since they were working on a third draft I decided to submit something they might want to use, based on "American" values of freedom and justice for all, showing that prosperity here and abroad depends on demilitarization. I took it in the rain and gave a copy to Rob for their group of peace activists and mailed it to the Dukakis campaign.
Friday I drove in the rain to Providence and met with Women for a Non-nuclear Future, since Carol Bragg of AFSC did not have time to talk with me---not even two minutes in an entire day, I decided to go on to Hartford, and after using a men's room in what looked like a bar, a man threatened to "put a bullet through my head" if I ever came back there. After receiving numerous intense threats, I got in my car and drove until I saw a sign for the World Affairs Council. After this harrowing experience I was greeted coldly by their director, Marjorie Anderson, and she would not let me use their telephone. Apparently the group is associated with the U.S. State Department. Finally I found the offices I was looking for in Hartford and talked with people at the Freeze and Bruce Martin of the AFSC. I stayed the weekend with wonderful people at the house of John Bach, a man who spent 35 months in prison during the Vietnam War for refusing to be drafted. On Sunday I went to a march and rally for some Puerto Ricans who have been imprisoned (Some are out on bail.) for two years awaiting trial, persecuted because they work for independence. In the evening I went to a potluck for the New England peace walk and learned more about Puerto Rico's history as a U.S. colony since 1898.
In New Haven, Alan Wright of the Leon/New Haven Sister Cities Project was my guide and host. He is teaching a philosophy class at Yale on freedom and justice in Nicaragua. As Sandino was a theosophist, I explained to him various esoteric concepts that were new to him. I met prime mover, Paul Hodel, and attended a Bible class at the Isaiah Peace Ministry with Art Laffin, Elmer Maas, and John Schuchardt who have done Plowshares actions.
On my way to New York City I stopped at Nyack where the Fellowship of Reconciliation has its U.S. headquarters. Jo Becker told me about the working group on the Disarmament 2000 campaign, and director Doug Hostetter let me speak briefly to their staff.
When I got to Manhattan Island, parking near the United Nations was expensive; so I stayed at the Unitarian UN office less than an hour. Then I visited James Goodwill at the Freeze, Cora Weiss of the Riveside Church Disarmament Program, and had an informative conversation with Christopher Candland of the Task Force on Militarization of Asia and the Pacific. Chris filled me in on Palau's recent vote to change their nuclear-free constitution and on Afghanistan where in 1987 the CIA funneled 630 million dollars in weapons.
On Wednesday I walked about five miles to the UN for the conference on the relationship between disarmament and development, but the working groups were closed. I learned that this is because of lack of security people, which is why the meditation room was not open. I walked around the UN building and then across the street I visited the World Policy Institute and Methodist Peace and World Order director Robert McClean who said that all of U.S. debt together is $20 trillion. Then I attended an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) conference on women and disarmament, hearing the Secretary-General of WILPF, a Chilean woman, and Anne Montgomery of the Plowshares 8. I took the subway and met Jack Marth of Plowshares NY and other groups on Lafayette Street. Today I'm staying at Coleman Publishing in Farmingdale on Long Island to pick up my new book tomorrow, LIFE AS A WHOLE.
Washington, Wednesday September 16 8 p.m.
Friday I packed six boxes of my new book in my car and gave Gail Presby a ride from the Bronx to the Atlantic Life Community retreat near Bangor, Pennsylvania. The ALC has grown around people who have done plowshares actions of hammering on weapons. Over a hundred people attended the three-day retreat in a beautiful wooded setting. Excellent presentations were made by Phillip Berrigan and his wife Liz McAlister and others. The talent show on Sunday night was a riot. Much sadness and sympathy was felt over the Brian Willson train incident at Concord, California. I heard that land has already been bought there for peace work.
On Labor Day I decided to skip Newark, because of the holiday, the rain, and the traffic. I drove to Philadelphia and stayed with the Los Angeles Catholic Worker people who were just moving in to begin a CW house there. My car was helpful for Mark White, Angie, and Patty Burns. We went to a vigil at General Electric. I visited the Movement for a New Society, American Friends Service Committee headquarters to talk with Chris Wing about Disarmament 2000, and briefly the WILPF headquarters. I went to the sentencing of two priests who, after two hung juries on a plowshares action, pleaded guilty to a reduced trespass charge. They got 100 days in jail but no restitution even though the damage was estimated at $70,000 each. At a dinner party I got to talk at length with the priest Dexter Lanctot; both had been dismissed from their priesthood after the action. He hoped to be reinstated and was taking it well. He wants to adopt a child.
Friday I stopped in Wilmington and met with some groups in Baltimore. I stayed one night at Jonah House and attended their liturgy on Sunday. Saturday I went to a peace fair in Frederick where I met Arthur Kanegis and John Darnell who are working on the FUTURE WAVE project for a major motion picture giving a vision of a peaceful world in the year 2020. I offered to help with the writing and spent Monday telling them my ideas for a new plot.
On September 15 I attended the demonstration at the capitol in Washington opposing aid to the contras. Half of us carried two thousand letters from the people of Maine to Senator Cohen's office. I talked with Steve Gray of the Maine Peace Action Committee. I visited a few peace groups and then stayed with Marcia Timmel, Paul Magno, and Kay of the Olive Branch community. Today I met with Freeze Voter and the Jesse Jackson campaign. I delivered Peace by 2000 petitions to the offices of Senators Simon, Gore, and Biden, and Rep. Gephardt. In the Senate elevator I reminded Sen. Jesse Helms of the Nuremberg Principles and their application to those who vote for contra aid. I walked around a celebration of the Constitutional bicentennial and then watched from the gallery the U.S. Senate debating the amendment to restrict star wars spending within the limits of the ABM treaty.
Statesville, NC, Sunday September 27 9 a.m.
I went with Patrick O'Neill, who came up from North Carolina, to a trial in Arlington of Phillip Berrigan, John Heid, Lynn Romano, Kay, Homer, and five others for an action on August 6 when they blocked the escalators going into the Penatagon. They were found guilty, but I think the judge was moved by their motives and the refusal of every one of them to pay a fine. He continued the sentencing for one year, and it will be suspended if they are not convicted of something else in Virginia.
Friday I visited Nuclear Times and a couple other groups in Washington and then drove back to Jefferson, Maryland to work on a treatment for the movie about the year 2020. My story has some astronauts traveling in space for 30 Earth years and returning with a secret military mission to further U.S. interests. The world has disarmed all nuclear weapons earlier and has just voted to disarm the nations' conventional forces. A group of militarists tries to take over but fails against massive nonviolent methods of conflict resolution.
Monday I drove to Charlottesville and stayed with Rain Zohav of the Peace Center. I also met Bill Anderson of FOR, a black, and visited nearby Monticello. In Richmond I talked with activists Wendy Northup, Jack Payden-Travers, and John Gallini. I went with Marii Hasegawa to a local meeting of the Rainbow Coalition.
In Raleigh I talked with Robin Davis of NOW, Bob Cain of SANE, Clyde Smith of Peace Artists Network, and stayed with Jane and Jim Hunt; Jim has written two books on Gandhi. Thursday I met with the founder of Witness for Peace, Gail Phares. We attended a talk on the Persian Gulf at North Carolina State by a conservative professor. His knowledge was helpful, but we both disagreed with his opinions. He saw U.S. intervention as the way to force a settlement in the Iraq-Iran war. I suggested that the fanatical psychology of 45 million Iranians might resist U.S. imposition to the death. In Durham I had a good talk with War Resisters League staff person Mandy Carter and also with Betsy Crites of Witness for Peace.
I stayed near Chapel Hill with Ingrid Swenson who had recently been to Vietnam. She told me of their struggles and efforts in education and health care in spite of trade sanctions from the U.S. and other countries the U.S. blackmails. Peter Nemenyi invited me over for breakfast and expressed his concern about the 3 1/2 million dollars of "humanitarian aid" for the contras that the rules committee attached to an emergency spending bill. At the Center for Peace Education in Chapel Hill I talked with Tiffany Davis and also Gerry Drake of PSR. That evening I spoke to about fifty Unitarians who had come there for a regional leadership conference. I emphasized the strategy of influencing the next elections and the likely need for massive civil disobedience and to not pay federal income tax. I was followed by the excellent musical group of four women, Pomegranate Rose.
Saturday morning from 9 to 12 I attended a meeting of the Orange County Greens. I managed to meet with Dale Davidson of the Religious Coalition to Reverse the Arms Race in Greensboro, but was not able to reach anyone in Winston-Salem. I'm resting today with friends in Statesville.
St. Petersburg Wednesday October 7 9 p.m.
In Charlotte I talked with Rev. Arthur Kortheuer of Veterans for Peace and Kimberly Reynolds of SANE. I then drove on the same day to Columbia, South Carolina where I met up with Kevin Gray who works with the peace groups as well as the Rainbow Coalition and the NAACP. Kevin introduced me to long-time civil rights advocate Miss Modjeska Simkins, Peter Sederberg, and also Bret Bursey of the Grassroots Organizing Workshop.
On Tuesday I drove to Charleston but was unable to reach anyone there. I continued on to Savannah and finally found psychologist Debbie Kearney who works on environmental issues. She directed me to the Catholic Worker House, and from Helen O'Brien and Rosanne Kiely I found out about the Southern Life Community (SLC) gathering.
At St. Marys near Kings Bay I visited Martina and John X. Linnehan where a house is being built for Metanoia Community next to the railroad tracks into the newly enlarging Trident base. On Thursday I visited Chris and Daniel Weiss and others in Jacksonville. From Friday to Sunday I attended the SLC gathering which featured excellent talks by Liz McAlister. There I met activists from all over the Southeast. Sunday night Sharon Beinert and I stayed with Peg McIntire in St. Augustine. We went out and heard the ex-mayor of Gainesville sing.
In Orlando I stayed at the Florida Peace Coalition office and talked with coordinator Bruce Gagnon and Brett White of the Friends. Brett told me about his experiences living in villages between Jordan and Israel; he thinks of himself as a Palestinian.
Chap Morrison told me what is going on in Miami with so many active Cubans and how some ex-contra Nicaraguans are trying to encourage peace. Tuesday evening I went to a meeting at Fran Schmidt's about a youth peace festival on May 1, 1988 involving students from Miami's schools in the arts and communication skills. Fran has been developing peace curricula for years.
Here in St. Petersburg I visited the AFSC office, talked extensively to Ruth Uphaus at Amity House and went to a potluck at the homeless advocacy group ASAP.
New Orleans Saturday October 24 10 p.m.
In Gainesville I stayed where Sharon Beinert is house-sitting. We went walking out on the plains and saw several alligators, herons, and egrets. We also talked with Linda Aguirre about the Central American Refugee Bond Fund.
At the Tallahassee Peace Coalition I met Elaine Roberts and met up with Roger Peace who organized a small group at his house for a discussion. I also talked with some student activists at Florida State University. On Sunday night we attended a classical music concert by FSU faculty to raise money for the peace coalition.
On Monday I drove to Americus, Georgia and talked with Tom Hall at Habitat for Humanity about how they build houses for the poor. I stayed the night at the Koinonia farm community. I talked with Steve Clemens about his civil disobedience experiences and spent several hours responding to questions about spiritual things from a 20-year-old woman named Joyce.
In Alabama I visited the Carver Museum at Tuskegee University. I spoke to a few students at Auburn University and at a potluck organized by Judy and Jack Cumbee. I stopped in Birmingham but was only able to speak to Scot Douglas and Steve Guesman on the phone.
I headed for Atlanta and stayed three nights at the Community of Hospitality. I had an intriguing meeting with Fred Taylor and E. Randall Osburn at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) discussing strategies for civil disobedience. At the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Social Change I talked with Hilda Tompkins who invited me to the Atlanta premiere of the musical "I Have a Dream" where I met Mrs. King. Saturday I stayed at the Quaker Meeting House and read the book SWORDS INTO PLOWSHARES. After the Friends meeting I spent the day with Glen Mahoney and Marcia Montenegro discussing astrology, and I mentioned that I was curious what would happen to the stock market on Monday because I thought it might go down even more than it had on Friday.
In Chattanooga I tried to reach Anne Redivine, while my car was being repaired. I drove on to Knoxville and went with Nickie Meeks, who I had met talking to Unitarians in Durham, to a Peace Links meeting. I heard about the Highlander Center but was only able to talk to Paul Deleon on the phone. This was the Monday the stock market dropped over five hundred points.
I met Irene Boyd at the Diocese office in Nashville. I went to dinner and talked at length with Ruth Lindahl at the Freeze office. We both share a love of classical literature. I stayed at the home of Steve Applebaum of PSR. My chief contact in Memphis was Bill Akin at the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center. I went with him to make a presentation to a group of Jewish women. Sister Sharon Sullivan welcomed me in Jackson, Mississippi and took me and Woody, who had just arrived to work on the hunger issue for Results, to a prayer meeting in her neighborhood.
In Mobile I stayed with the L'Arche Community which lives with mentally handicapped people. I talked with Andy Rector who has gone on long peace walks in the U.S. and Europe.
Today in New Orleans I met Sister Catherine Martin of Pax Christi and Dan Fitzgerald who moved here recently from Los Angeles to help Central American refugees. Catherine drew the poster of Gandhi, King, and Dorothy Day, and a second one of the four church women who were murdered in El Salvador.
Ojai Tuesday November 10 7 a.m.
Sunday I went to the New Orleans Friends meeting and also heard a refugee from El Salvador speak. He had been to a national conference of Latino people in the U.S. I stayed with John Golding and that evening played the board game Diplomacy with several of his friends.
In Franklin, Louisiana, I was shown around by Bernard Broussard of Agape who has lived there among the sugar plantations for fifty years or more. He told me of their struggles for civil rights, labor unions, community organizing, and for peace. I spoke to a small group. His wife could not read his writing and publicized my book as LIFE AS A WHALE.
I drove to Houston and met with the elderly Ann Wharton of the Nuclear Safety League who told me of their efforts to stop Texas from becoming a nuclear waste site and transport area. At the Houston Wellness Center I spent the afternoon with its director, an Indonesian woman named Elsha; they offer progressive wholistic health care. My main contact in Houston, Peggy Wilgis, introduced me to people who were putting out the monthly Houston Peace News.
On my way to San Antonio, I stopped in Austin and talked with Jere Locke, staff person for the Austin Peace and Justice Coalition, as well as Roxanne Elder of SANE/Freeze, and on Saturday with James Heine of the AFSC.
Dr Ann Semel welcomed me at St. Mary's University in San Antonio. I spoke three times at their conference on "Conflict and Conflict Resolution" for about an hour each time, twice to students and once to the general public. I was also on the panel on Central America. To represent the other side, they invited a man from the Salvadoran consulate who seemed a caricature of anti-Communist attitudes. He called Ortega a "Russian dictator." The other members of the panel had so many facts and perceptive observations that the issue was rather obvious to most people. I was particularly impressed by Phyllis McKenzie of Latin American Assistance. I also heard Mere Dith Norwood of Psychologists for Social Responsibility speak.
I decided to speed up the rest of my tour so that I could arrive in Las Vegas one week earlier for the action at the test site on Dorothy Day's 90th birthday. Stopping in Dallas I met with an ex-lawyer Edgar Patterson who works for world federation and Larry Egbert who is active in PSR; I talked with him in the emergency room of a hospital. Then I made the long drive to Amarillo where I stayed with Sharon Sullivan's brother Joe. That day I drove 570 miles.
Karolyn Shaw, whom I had met at the Unitarian General Assembly, was my gracious guide in Amarillo. We went to a Unitarian service on Sunday and then visited Cindy and Les Breeding, Karen, and Ron at the Peace Farm next to Pantex where all the nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal are assembled. They believe that they may be shipping some of them by airplane, but they primarily watch for trains and trucks. Ron gave me a videotape of Bob Bowman's speech on star wars from their August event. We all went to a potluck at Becky Livingston's of CALC.
In Santa Fe I talked with Bruce Berlin of Trinity Forum and Alan Hutner who has two radio programs. Alan asked me to call in reports on the peace movement in the future. I went on to Albuquerque where I stayed two nights at the home of Dorie Bunting. At the Center for Peace and Justice I had a good talk with staff person Connie Adler. I talked with Deb Preusch at the Resource Center; I was very impressed with the detailed literature they are publishing on Central America. Also Mary Wommack is involved in the New Mexico Construction Brigade to Nicaragua.
I decided to skip El Paso and made the long drive to Tucson. I stayed with Nancy Carroll of Catholics for Peace and Justice. I went with her to a meeting about getting draft counseling into the public schools with the same access as military recruiters. Bill Brooks explained how the precedent of a case in Chicago gives them strong legal ground to demand this right. I met at length with Barbara Elfbrandt who runs the AFSC office. I also talked with Wini Hall of the Tucson Peace Action Coalition. I spent the second night at Joe and Jean Gullo's home; they direct the Theosophical Order of Service. I talked with Connie Rogers on the phone, and in Las Vegas I met up with Jack and Felice Cohen-Joppa who put out the Nuclear Resister newspaper in Tucson.
In Phoenix I visited with Annette Marcus, staff person for the Arizona Center to Reverse the Arms Race. Also in Las Vegas I met several people from the Phoenix Catholic Worker Andre House.
I arrived in Las Vegas just in time to hear Cesar Chavez, Shelley Douglass, and Brazilian Archbishop Domhelder Camara. The next day about five hundred people went to the test site, and 225 of us were arrested and released. I went with Patty Burns' group, and we were arrested for blocking the road. Sunday night those who were still in Las Vegas had a party at Ann Welch's home. I ended up without a ride back to the Catholic Worker house and stayed there with Frank Cordaro from Iowa, John Williams of Seattle, and Jeff Dietrich of LACW who suggested we watch a Rambo movie. The next morning I said goodby to Julia Occhiogrosso and others at the Catholic Worker and drove back to my parents in Somis and then to Ojai.
This has been published in the book PEACE OR BUST. For ordering information, please click here.