Kathy Kelly, Renowned Peace Activist to speak in Elgin, Sept., 18th

Kathy Kelly color photo

Kathy Kelly

Kathy Kelly, coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence and world renowned peace activist, will speak

on Sunday,

September 18th

at 2:00 PM

 

at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren,

783 W. Highland Avenue,

Elgin, IL 60123. 

 

Kathy has been nominated three times for a Nobel Peace Prize.  She and her colleagues have travelled into active war zones to live among civilians in the line of fire, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Gaza.  She has brought back to Americans compassionate stories of the lives of those civilians.  More recently, she has travelled to Russia.

 

Her topic for this talk will be Confronting State Violence. 

 

The event is sponsored by Fox Valley Citizens for Peace & Justice, the Witness Committee of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren, First Congregational  United Church of Christ in Elgin, and by The Social Justice Team of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva.

 

Admission is free and all are welcome.

 

Light Refreshments will be served.

 

More Background about Kathy Kelly

 

 

 

Kathy Kelly, co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence, (www.vcnv.org) a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare.

During each of several recent trips to Afghanistan, Kathy Kelly, as an invited guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, has lived alongside ordinary Afghan people in a working class neighborhood in Kabul. She and her companions in Voices for Creative Nonviolence believe that “where you stand determines what you see.”

They are resolved not to let war sever the bonds of friendship between them and Afghan people whom they’ve grown to know through successive delegations. Kelly and her companions insist that the U.S. is not waging a “humanitarian war” in Afghanistan.

Kelly has also joined with activists in various regions of the country to protest drone warfare by holding demonstrations outside of U.S. military bases in Nevada, upstate New York, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

During late June and early July of 2011, Kelly was a passenger on the “Audacity to Hope” as part of the US Boat to Gaza project. She also attempted to reach Gaza by flying from Athens to Tel Aviv, as part of the Welcome to Palestine effort, but the Israeli government deported her back to Greece.

In 2009, she lived in Gaza during the final days of the Operation Cast Lead bombing; later that year, Voices formed another small delegation to visit Pakistan, aiming to learn more about the effects of U.S. drone warfare on the civilian population and to better understand consequences of U.S. foreign policy in Pakistan. She returned again to Gaza in November 2012 to meet with the survivors of Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense and to hear their stories.

From 1996 – 2003, Voices activists formed 70 delegations that openly defied economic sanctions by bringing medicines to children and families in Iraq. Kathy and her companions lived in Baghdad throughout the 2003 “Shock and Awe” bombing.

She was sentenced to one year in federal prison for planting corn on nuclear missile silo sites (1988-89) and spent three months in prison, in 2004, for crossing the line at Fort Benning’s military training school. As a war tax refuser, she has refused payment of all forms of federal income tax since 1980.

She and her companions at the Voices home/office in Chicago believe that non-violence necessarily involves simplicity, service, sharing of resources and non-violent direct action in resistance to war and oppression.

 

 

Stop Military Strikes on Libya!

Below is the text of a flyer we will distribute at Occupy Elgin on Saturday, August 13th, 2016 from 1 PM till 2 PM.

 

There is no military response to terrorism. “ President Obama has said that several times himself. And yet he has recently launched military strikes in Libya in an effort to crush ISIS there.

ISIS is indeed an evil force, terrorizing and abusing the people in the territories it controls in the Middle East. More recently it has organized or inspired evil acts of terrorism within the US and Europe. But some of our allies, especially Saudi Arabia do equally barbaric things. For example, they behead people regularly. Yet we support them wholeheartedly. Our policy is hypocritical. Our own drone wars have killed at least two thousand people including hundreds of innocent civilians and many children over the past ten years.

ISIS grew directly out of our ill-conceived War in Iraq. Al-Qaida in Iraq developed as resistance to US occupation. It then gradually morphed into ISIS as a result of the Sunni /Shia divide, which the US had exploited during that occupation and which the new Iraqi government continued to exacerbate.

Before we bombed Libya in 2011, ISIS did not exist in Libya. Our military interventions, by killing civilians and causing massive destruction to their homes and villages, make us new enemies who are strongly motivated to attack the US and our allies throughout the world.

Our War on Terrorism has not worked. With every drone strike or bomb dropped, we create new terrorists faster than we can kill the existing ones.

The NY Times labeled plans for the new bombing campaign “deeply troubling,” explaining: “A new military intervention in Libya would represent a significant progression of a war that could easily spread to other countries on the continent.”

Our War on Terrorism now takes the form of our war against ISIS, and it serves the purpose of keeping our massive Defense Industries quite profitable. We taxpayers keep paying for that.

It does not make the United States, or anyplace else on earth safer.

Politicians use our fear of terrorism to manipulate us, strut their “toughness,” and distract us from the economic exploitation and insecurities that we face in our daily lives.

Meanwhile, the justification for Obama’s new air strikes is based on the outdated and overused Authorization for the Use of Military Force that Congress passed a few days after 9/11.

Both the Bush administrations and the Obama administration have perpetrated military actions in six or more countries without any Congressional authorization. Our Congress has failed to fulfill its responsibility, under the War Powers Act, to decide when and whether the US should make war. President Obama was the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, but he continues to perpetrate unnecessary and counter-productive wars.

Call President Obama at 202-456-1111
Call Senator Durbin at 202-224-2152 and
Senator Kirk at 202-224-2854

Tell them to stop this endless war on terrorism and use the taxpayers’ money for peaceful and constructive purposes.

Distributed by Occupy Elgin
& Fox Valley Citizens for Peace & Justice

Further background here.

 

Handout for Parades and Festivals in 2016: The One Percent & Climate Change.

Below is the text of the flyer we will hand out at parades and festivals during 2016.  Click on the highlighted links to get documentation or background information.

 

Should the 1% Run America as we face the Climate Crisis?

Economic inequality has been growing since 1980. The richest 80 Americans now control more wealth than 150,000,000 of us.  

Inequality in wealth creates inequality in power. The richest, the plutocracy,  control the major corporations and banks.  They spend 100$ of million$ in ‘campaign contributions’ to get “access” to politicians.    They control our mainstream media, our elections and many elected officials.  They call the shots.

 

We know how that power inequity hurts us  in our pocketbooks. But today please think about how economic inequality impacts the way America deals with  the biggest threat that humanity now faces:  Climate Change. 

 

Fossil Fuels; oil, coal, and gas have been the major drivers of modernization and industrialization. They heat, cool, & light our homes & workplaces,  refrigerate & cook our food.   They have brought us skyscrapers, cities, highways, air flight, entertainment, comfort, speed, and modern medicine.

 

But by 2016, the burning of fossil fuels, along with industrialized agriculture,  has caused a climate crisis that threatens to destroy the very civilization that it created.  Are we ready to make the changes necessary to preserve a livable planet for ourselves and our grandchildren?

 

Human-caused climate change is not only real, it is happening already around the globe and  across  the United States.  It is causing droughts, famines,  floods, heat waves and forest fires,  which will increase in frequency and severity.  It is costing human lives and billions of dollars.  It contributes to wars  and to the displacement and migrations of people.  

If we, the people, are ready to make the necessary changes, what about the fossil fuel industry?   Can those companies stop extracting oil and gas and coal from the earth when they are still earning billions by doing so, and being paid subsidies from our taxes too?  Will our own government act in time to force industry to change?  Right now, 182 members of Congress are Climate Change Deniers, even in the face of overwhelming scientific consensus and overwhelming evidence.  That’s because they take huge campaign donations from the industry or its allies.  If we leave it to industry, bankers and Congress, we are doomed. Only widespread and powerful action by many citizens  has a chance to force the change we need to stop this runaway disaster.

 

Renewable energy;   solar, wind, and geothermal,  COULD  supply most of our energy needs soon, but only IF there were a massive investment in those technologies along with massive conservation efforts, and massive research into energy storage (batteries.)    Neither government nor industry is making those investments yet.  In fact,  the oil industry is investing billions in NEW fossil fuel infrastructure, like pipelines,* which will lock them (and us) into an oil-based economy for decades to come.  The natural gas industry is promoting gas as a “bridge fuel” even though we now know that the methane that leaks from their wells is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

 

The mainstream media carried and inflated the false “debate” about the reality of human-caused climate change, because that narrative pleased their major advertisers which included, not just oil, gas, and coal companies, but major banks and financial institutions that are heavily invested in those industries.  Even now, the  mainstream media is doing a terrible job of informing the American people about the climate crisis, its urgency, and its implications.

 

In fact, most multinational corporations are continuing business as usual, as if nothing is happening.  That’s because they know that the climate crisis will require an end to their business model which requires constant growth, ever increasing profits, and a de-regulated economy.  We need to re-think capitalism itself because it is not sustainable, at least not in its current form.

 

We need a World War II size mobilization to meet the challenge of the climate crisis.  We need to re-design our cities, retrofit our homes and buildings, change our energy sources and systems and our modes of transportation, and find new, sustainable ways of meeting human needs.  Neither government nor industry will initiate these changes without an enormous outpouring of citizen demand for action.  It is up to us, the ordinary citizens, the 99%, to turn our nation around and demand that we prepare ourselves for the Climate Crisis in time to avert the worst of Climate Catastrophe.

Please help make this happen.

More background about pipelines in the American Midwest.

Maps of Enbridge pipelines in Illinois.

More information.

Resistance.

 

Walk with FVC4PNJ in Elgin’s July 4th parade

We need people to walk with us in Elgin’s parade, on Monday, July 4th.  The more people who walk with us the stronger our message.   

Our line-up spot is Grove Street B, on Grove Street, between Lincoln and Lovell. There is free parking in downtown Elgin,  and in the library lot. There is a shuttle bus to carry you from near the library to our line-up spot.  Be there no later than 8:30 AM.  

Our message will be a challenge to the one-percent who are waging class warfare on the poor and the middle class of America.  They work to manipulate our elections,  privatize our public sector, undermine our schools and libraries,  keep wages low, crush unions, limit access to health care,  cut or eliminate pensions, and pass trade treaties that further empower corporations. They keep us involved in permanent wars, maintain grotesque levels of military spending, and keep our homes and streets stocked with guns.  They distract us from the urgency of  the looming Climate Crisis.  Meanwhile, they seek to divide us against one another by race, religion, gender, and age, to make it hard for us to fight back.  

But we are fighting back, with increasing vigor and   success.  Join us  on  Monday, July 4th.

Break Free From Fossil Fuels Midwest Rally & March, May 15th

Fox Valley Citizens for Peace & Justice has endorsed and will participate in this March. Click here for background..  All over the world,  people are marching to pressure our governments and fossil-fuel corporations to make the promises of the Paris Agreement come true.  Without this pressure, it will not happen in time.  

Please Join us.

Chicago Area Action

Whiting Lakefront Park,
1798 119th St.
Whiting, IN 46394
1:00 pm CT, May 15th, 2016

We will arrange car pools from the Fox Valley for the morning of May 15th.  If you are interested  write to us through this website.  

See below to understand the passion and the power driving this event.  

On Sunday, May 15 we will assemble for a rally in the Whiting Lakefront Park near the BP Whiting Refinery and near the 2014 oil spill into the waters of Lake Michigan.  Sign Up Now to receive event updates including plans for pre and post event activities.

We are the daughters and sons of the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi Region and we reflect the many colors of the people of the Earth. Our ancestors came from many lands to join here with the indigenous First Nations to live on this land, drink this water and breathe this air.

We are marching because we the people have a Right to clean water, air and land that is greater than any corporate need to make money!  Our diverse group from throughout the Midwest drafted this formal resolution outlining the devastation the fossil fuel infrastructure has caused to the Great Lakes region and our solutions to allow us as a society to Break Free from fossil fuels.  You can view a summary version of our resolution, the full version, or sign the resolution.

Resolution Summary

We are asking local, state and federal governments to do or help with the following:

  • Moratorium on all new pipeline projects pending independent environmental impact studies.
  • Review of all existing pipelines moving more oil than originally permitted for air quality and leak assessments.
  • Shut down the 62-year-old Line 5 as it threatens our region’s water supply.
  • Create a regional citizen review board to oversee all fossil fuel related industry in our region (pipeline construction, refineries, fracking, oil-by-transit, petcoke piles)
  • Create independent 3rd party review of air quality and overall worker safety for existing workers in fossil fuel related industries (Petcoke, Refinery, Oil-by-Rail, and Fracking)
  • Partner with the Calumet Region community to plan a Just Transition in anticipation of the eventual closing of the BP Whiting Refinery, to create a transition model that includes new jobs and a more sustainable community.

 

 

Occupy Elgin for Saturday, April 16th, 2016

 

Occupy Elgin will meet on Saturday, April 16th at the intersection of Kimball Street and Grove Avenue in Elgin from 1:00 PM till 2:00 PM.    Please join us!

We will hold signs calling for an end to the budget impasse in Springfield.  Below is the text of the flyer we will distribute.

End Illinois Budget Impasse!

The budget impasse in Springfield is causing great suffering throughout Illinois. Services to people with disabilities, people with mental health needs, the elderly, students, and the hungry are being severely cut because Illinois has no money available to pay for these services. . The governor refuses to negotiate with the legislature unless they accept his agenda stripping workers of their collective bargaining rights.

The governor is wrong in his call for a “turnaround agenda” in Illinois. He claims that by destroying the power of unions, he will make Illinois more attractive to investors who will then move their business here, bringing jobs. He claims Illinois has no money, so he must severely cut state spending. This is an austerity agenda.

Illinois has no money because, for decades,
under the leadership of both parties, it has
refused to fairly tax corporations and our wealthiest citizens. Our “flat tax” system results in the poor and the middle class paying state taxes at far higher rates than the top one per-cent. Meanwhile two-thirds of Illinois corporations pay no taxes whatsoever. This is wrong.

1) We need unions to protect and improve wages and working conditions for everybody. The growth of unions was a major cause of the rise of the American middle class in the 20th century. The decline of unions hurts us all.

2) We need a state-level hike in the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour.

3) We need to close tax loopholes and force corporations to pay taxes in Illinois.

4) We need the LaSalle Street Tax which would place a tiny tax on transactions at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board Options Exchange. This would bring in
billions of dollars of revenue to end Illinois’s budget deficit.

We need a constitutional amendment that would
allow Illinois to introduce a graduated income tax. That would require wealthy people to pay tax at a higher rate per household than poor and middle class people.
Please call Governor Bruce Rauner 217-782-6830 and tell him to stop attacking unions, drop his “turnaround agenda,” and begin negotiating in good faith with the legislature.
Please call your State Senator and your State Representative and ask them to pass the measures cited above. Call 217-782-3944 and ask them to give you the phone number for your lawmakers.

Occupy Elgin for Saturday, March 26th, 2016 Choose Love! Oppose Racism!

Occupy Elgin will gather on Saturday, March 26th, 2016 at the corner of Kimball Street and Grove Avenue in Elgin from 1:00 PM till 2:00 PM.  Please join us.  We will hold signs and distribute a flyer with the following text.

Choose Love!   Oppose Racism!

Life has become harder for many Americans in recent decades.  Unscrupulous politicians seize upon our frustration and give us someone to blame.  People of a different race or religion become easy targets, along with refugees  and migrants.

But the forces that make life difficult for White Americans are the very same forces that are driving  refugees to our borders and pushing African-Americans into second-class citizenship. They are the same forces that want to keep us focused on the threat of terrorism and afraid of our Muslim neighbors.  These forces are the multinational corporations and the wealthiest one-percent.  It serves their purposes to keep us divided against one another. That keeps us from noticing that the economic system has been rigged against all of us.

For example, the Trade Treaties have devastated the middle class in both Mexico and the United States, but they have enriched and empowered the multinational corporations and their top investors. The tax code allows them to pay tax at a far lower percentage than we pay.  In many cases they pay no tax at all.   Organized labor has been almost crushed and is still under vicious attack.    We work longer hours, compared with Europeans,  and, despite our productivity, our wages remain shockingly low.

Our social safety net is badly torn.  That wealthy class wants to cut it away altogether. They keep trying to “reform” Social Security and Medicare.   Health Insurance is still expensive and often inadequate for families.

Meanwhile, our criminal justice system is harsh and brutal when applied to the poor and to racial minorities, but it is lax and forgiving when it comes to the bankers who caused the 2008 economic crash,  and the corporate executives who regularly pollute our air, water and land while getting wealthy.

No wonder we are angry.  But if we spend our anger trying to exclude immigrants, or vilify Muslims or punish Black people, we only help that wealthy class to keep us down.  Even some members of that class recognize the unjust nature of this destructive system which is spiraling out of control.

To uproot racism and end religious bigotry, we must move out of our comfort zone.  We must extend ourselves to try to understand people who are different from us.  Their appearance, their languages, their beliefs and their life experience make it hard for us to know how to begin to make friends with them.  But we have to do this, not just for their sale, but for our own sake.

Until we affirm the infinite value of each unique human being, we cannot begin to heal our overheated planet and start constructing a better, sustainable society.

Here is a link to an article which supports our argument.

And here’s a link to a budget proposal which would take several steps toward that better future society.

Occupy Elgin for Sat., Feb 20th, The LaSalle Street Tax

This is the message for Occupy Elgin for Saturday, Feb 20th:

Support the LaSalle Street Tax.

The budget impasse in Springfield is causing great suffering throughout Illinois. Services to people with
disabilities, people with mental health needs, the elderly, and the hungry are being severely cut because Illinois has no money available to pay for these services. The governor and the legislature are battling about how to solve this problem. The governor refuses to negotiate with the legislature unless they
accept his agenda stripping workers of their rights.

The legislature should NOT cave in to the governor’s wishes, but they should do more than say NO. They should put forth proposals to raise revenue.

They should NOT raise revenue with tax proposals that would hurt the poor or the middle class. They should tax Illinois’s own 1%, the very wealthy.

The most creative way to tax the wealthy in Illinois is the LaSalle Street Tax.  A LaSalle Street Tax (also called a Financial Transactions Tax or Robin Hood Tax ) is a very small tax on the trading (buying/selling) of financial assets such as stocks, bonds, currencies and derivatives (futures and options) based on these assets. Essentially it’s a sales tax on those trades, similar to what we pay when we buy groceries or shoes. It’s only fair to ask these wealthy traders to pay this small tax.

Why could this work in Illinois?
Illinois has two of the largest financial markets in the world, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). The underlying yearly value of products traded on these two exchanges totals over $800 trillion.

The proposed tax rate is very low but, because the amount of trading is so large, the proposed La Salle Street Tax would raise between $10 and $12 billion per year for Illinois at current trading volumes.

This could go a long way to ending the Illinois deficit. It would free up funds for the state to pay its bills, fund needed social services, and fund our schools. For more information click here .  Click  here to see the actual text of the bill.

State Senator Michael Noland has introduced such a tax (SB 2199) into the legislature in Springfield. Please call him at 847- 214-8864 to thank him for doing so.

Call other Illinois State Senators to ask them to co-sponsor the bill. And call your State Representative and ask him or her to co-sponsor the House version of the bill, HB 106.

Occupy Elgin for January 16, 2016: Tax the Rich!

Occupy Elgin will meet on Saturday, January 16th,  and January 23rd, 2016 at the corner of Kimball Street and Grove Avenue in Elgin  from 1:00 PM till 2:00 PM.  Our focus will be  TAX THE RICH.
Below is the text of the flyer we will distribute.  But on this website, we are adding annotations and links so that you can get more specific source material and background information about each of our statements.

TAX THE RICH!

The  very wealthy, the top 1%, pay taxes at a much lower percentage, per household, than the rest of us.
Click here.  That’s because their wealth  allows them to buy enormous political  influence through campaign  donations and lobbyists.  Essentially,  they get to write the tax laws.
It wasn’t always this way.  In the 1950s, our tax code was far more progressive.  But over the past 45 years, a series of tax cuts were passed which moved the tax burden from corporations to individuals, from the wealthy unto the middle class, and from capital gains unto wages.   Click here for more information, and here  for even more.
 This has created a vicious circle in which the wealthy keep getting wealthier while the rest of us are struggling just to keep afloat.  The wealthy also keep gaining more political power while you and I are becoming continually more disempowered.  Click here.

Some wealthy people, and their allies,  oppose almost all taxation, especially if taxes act to “re-distribute the wealth,” ( help poor people.)   See here,   and here.     But our Congress passes Corporate Welfare provisions which, along with unregulated market forces keep re-distributing the wealth upwards. That money ends up in the pockets of the rich.  We need  tax revenue  so that our government can fulfill its mandate to “promote the general welfare.”  The current cruel system increases economic inequality and imposes “Austerity” measures which hurt ordinary people.

We pay income taxes, capital gains taxes, and payroll taxes at the federal level.  And we pay property taxes,  sales taxes and income taxes at the state level.  Even people who earn so little that they do not pay income taxes, pay plenty in sales taxes, payroll tax,  and indirectly in property taxes through their rent.     All these taxes could be modified to make the system more progressive and more fair. Click here.   here

To make that happen we must join forces and fight back against the power of the 1%.   Join us.

We propose :

  • a financial transaction tax  at both the federal  and the state level on irresponsible and dangerous speculation in  stocks, currencies, & derivatives.  Click here.   here
  • Tax capital gains at least as heavily as we tax wages.  Click  here.
  • Make the income tax at both the federal and state level graduated,  so that the highest earners would pay at higher rates.  Click here  .   here
  • End corporate loopholes so that  large and multinational corporations would pay their fair share.   Click here.   
  • Tax Carbon and other pollutants at the source.   Click here.
  • Eliminate the cap on the Payroll Tax. Click here, and here,  and here.

Call Senator Durbin at 202-224-2152
and  Senator Kirk  at 202-224-2854
and your member of Congress  at 202-224-3121
and ask them to make these changes.

Fox Valley Citizens for Peace & Justice & Occupy Elgin

www.fvc4pnj.org.