Network News - May and June 2014

In this issue:

In this issue of WNPJ’s Network News, we celebrate the legacies of three lifelong activists who are an inspiration to all who work for peace, justice and sustainability. While we sorely miss Gene Farley, John Kinsman and Jeff Patterson, their clear vision and the power of collective organizing ensure that their good work continues. We also report on youth activism around military spending and the federal budget, providing more hope for our future.

 


 

Eugene Farley, 1927-2013, Tireless Advocate for All Living Creatures and the Planet

by Susan Corrado

 

Dr. Eugene Farley, the founder of the Linda & Gene Farley Center for Peace, Justice and Sustainability, died on November 8, 2013. Ever optimistic that we can create a better world, Gene and Linda (his wife, who died in 2009) devoted their lives to advancing a broad vision of justice that includes care and respect for people and the environment.

Growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania, Gene learned early the importance of the world’s natural cycles. His family encouraged exploration and discovery, which fueled his constant curiosity about how things worked, from tractors to family systems. A lifelong Quaker, he embraced the principles of peace and social justice. His stint in the U.S. Navy during World War II influenced his future commitment to work toward ending all wars.

Gene found a perfect partner in Linda Fabry, whom he met at medical school. Once married, they went to the Navajo Reservation to serve as physicians, where they lived simply for several years with their young family. Over the years, their medical career took them to varied places. The Farleys became leaders in shaping Family Practice as it is known today.

Their deeply embedded sense of justice led the Farleys to devote much of their retirement to advocating for a national health care system under a single payer plan. Confident that Americans would embrace the notion that everyone was entitled to health care, they traveled around the state speaking on the issue, believing that it was simply a matter of time before there was a critical mass of support. Both Linda and Gene were involved in the founding of the Wisconsin chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program.

Gene understood the importance of community discourse and was a cofounder of The Madison Institute (TMI), a Policy Study Center in the progressive tradition, as well as a member of WNPJ. TMI provides venues for thoughtful dialogue, the development of new insights, and dissemination of information about major issues. On a personal level, he could engage in conversation with everyone, from farmers to members of Congress, in a meaningful way. He took every opportunity to learn from others and to encourage them to live in a socially conscious way.

Gene was never shy about his politics and was involved in many campaigns. No doubt local Democrats running for office miss having his unwavering support. The preamble to the U.S. Constitution was a beacon for Gene in its mandate to act from a place of justice and concern for the general welfare of all. He held the conviction that the best way to advance as a society is through cooperative action, and that this capacity is the hope for the future.

Gene’s love for the land and respect for the natural world in all its diversity was mirrored in how he related to people. He was at the forefront of the Civil Rights movement in the sixties and included all people on equal footing. His gentle smiling greeting of “Hi, how are ya?” was given to strangers and friends alike, and represented his sincere desire to connect his life with the other person’s. You knew that when you were in his presence he really saw and valued you, whether he agreed with you or not.

Gene believed in the importance of “speaking up and showing up.” Even if he was tired, he would do what he could to attend any gathering, whether it was a meeting, a protest, a volunteer activity, an election, a performance, a meeting for worship, a fundraiser, a presentation, or a friendly dinner. He knew that in order to contribute to a life of change and growth, one has to participate.

Gene was delighted that he was able to donate his land and house to the community, and guide the development of the Farley Center as a non-profit organization dedicated to the values that he shared. He referred to the Farley Center as “a little red schoolhouse,” believing that the Center’s farm incubator, green cemetery, and peace and justice programs were important models for others. At the same time, he recognized that no one has all the answers, and that it will take all of us working together to change the world.

As his granddaughter Rebecca said at Gene’s memorial, it is now up to each of us to carry on his legacy.

 

Susan Corrado is the Farley Center Facilitator and knew Linda and Gene Farley for many years. Together with her husband Kevin Corrado, she has enjoyed being resident staff since 2011, living with Gene before he died. The Linda & Gene Farley Center for Peace, Justice and Sustainability is located outside of Verona, Wisconsin in the Town of Springdale on 43 acres of beautiful farm and wooded land. It was established to promote ecological sustainability, social justice and peace. www.farleycenter.org. A tribute to Linda Farley can be found in our Sept-Oct 2009 issue.

 


 

Frac Sand Mining Appeal to Wisconsin Assembly and Senate Committees

by Carl Sack

 

On March 3, WNPJ’s Environmental Working Group forwarded a resolution, endorsed by 78 citizens’ groups, to the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Jobs, Mining and Economy, and the Senate Committee on Workforce Development, Forestry, Mining, and Revenue. Fortynine Wisconsin groups, and twenty-nine from other states impacted by hydraulic fracturing (fracking), signed the resolution.

Bills in both chambers of the state legislature aimed to prevent local towns and municipalities from enacting ordinances to limit the development of new, or expansion of existing, frac sand mines. The rights of local communities to enact such ordinances, necessary for the protection of public health or the environment, are seriously undermined by the legislature’s proposals. Yet the legislature has a mandate to protect and enhance local control.

The resolution, widely supported by constituents, asked legislators to act in the interests of Wisconsin citizens by enacting stronger regulations on nonmetallic mining, including implementing a ban on the mining of silica sand for hydraulic fracturing, rather than acting solely in the interests of the frac sand industry. Thanks to widespread opposition, the “frac attack” bills did not pass, and their supporters say they may not be reintroduced in the future.

 

Carl Sack is the WNPJ environment work group coordinator and a WNPJ Board member.

 


 

John Kinsman, 1926-2014, Son of the Soil

by John Peck

 

One of the great voices for peace and justice passed away on January 20, 2014. John Kinsman spent his last days at his family farm outside Lime Ridge, surrounded by relatives and friends, gazing out the window at a forest he had planted half a century before. Author and activist Wendell Berry, in his “manifesto” for the Mad Farmer Liberation Front, talks about growing trees that one will never harvest and counting mulched leaves as profit. By this calculus, John Kinsman was among the wisest and wealthiest people I’ve ever met. Who knows how many seeds he planted, both physically and figuratively, over the course of his 87 long years?

I first met John when I arrived in Wisconsin for graduate school, back in 1992. He was picketing outside the UW-Madison Memorial Union, warning students about the experimental rBGH-induced ice cream served by Babcock Hall without FDA approval. In this respect, John was among the first to raise the alarm about the insidious dangers of genetically modified organisms. His foresight continued in his opposition to global free trade, the military industrial complex, factory farming, carbon trading, land grabbing - name the issue, and John was probably involved in one manner or another. Being so deeply self-educated, John was often mistaken for a college professor - to which he invariably responded with a laugh about his hard won “B.S.” degree.

As a PhD candidate myself in UW’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, I learned from John just how far the onceproud land grant college had strayed from its original mission. I then joined Family Farm Defenders, the grassroots organization that John had founded. I heard from John about La Via Campesina, the largest umbrella organization for farmers, fishers, hunters, gatherers, foresters, herders, and indigenous people in the world. John Kinsman knew La Via Campesina’s seven principles of food sovereignty almost by heart and these guided his activism. By 1999 we were marching together with peasants from all over the world at the famous “Battle in Seattle.” John loved to call himself a peasant since it was a label he figured corporate agribusiness would never want to co-opt. French activist farmer Jose Bove was also at the WTO protest, and we joined him and others in front of a shuttered McDonald’s for a memorable slow food potluck (the Roquefort cheese smuggled through U.S. customs was especially tasty!). My subsequent travels with John to such places as Portugal, Mali, Oaxaca and Mozambique were always an adventure, since he had an amazing knack for finding common ground with kindred spirits, often on a farm tour or over a good meal.

Multicultural organizing was another hallmark of John’s social change work, going way back to the 1960s civil rights movement. Through Project Self Help and Awareness, John helped bring African American children from the violent turmoil of the South to enjoy a respite with Midwest host families. He then arranged return trips for rural Wisconsin kids to witness the realities of racial injustice for themselves. This solidarity and reciprocity were nurtured by John for decades, and sprang back to life after Hurricane Katrina when Family Farm Defenders dispatched a busload of volunteers with food, medicine, and other relief supplies to the Gulf. They were followed by a shipment of nine tractors and other implements donated by Wisconsin farmers to their Mississippi counterparts. A similarly inspired FFD “hay lift” brought truckloads of surplus fodder to desperate drought-stricken ranchers in Oklahoma and Texas. John’s indefatigable “do it yourself” attitude spoke volumes about his belief in the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity. He often told me that cooperation - not competition - was the key to living the good life, a refreshing reminder for someone like me with way too much formal academic economic training.

John won many awards over the years for his inspirational work, building bridges between many communities. Being so humble, he was also quick to praise all the other people behind the success. John won the WNPJ Lifetime Peacemaker award back in 2008 and received the World Food Sovereignty Prize on behalf of FFD at the Food, Culture, and Justice Conference held in New Orleans in 2010. He often shared the stage with the likes of Winona La Duke, Willie Nelson, Frances Moore Lappe, Jim Hightower, and Vandana Shiva. He was also very involved in such groups as the National Family Farm Coalition, the Organic Consumers Association, Veterans for Peace, and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference. Towards the later part of his life, John devoted much time and energy to bringing the concept of food sovereignty home through the Fair Trade Neighborhood project, which brings family farmers and urban consumers from different faith communities to the same dinner table. Being a World War II veteran himself, he realized that one of the best ways to bring about peace is to recognize the amazing therapeutic and regenerative capacity of farming for those who have suffered and survived conflict.

I’m proud to have known John both as a friend and a mentor. He touched thousands of people’s lives as a farsighted pioneer of sustainable agriculture and a globetrotting advocate of food sovereignty. He taught me how to put the culture back into agriculture and to see the intrinsic value in the earth and the immense dignity of those who steward nature. For these gifts I will always be grateful.

 

John E. Peck is currently the executive director of Family Farm Defenders and has also served on the WNPJ board. Family Farm Defenders is a national grassroots organization founded in 1994 and based in Madison, WI. Its mission is to create a farmercontrolled and consumer-oriented food and fiber system, based upon democratically controlled institutions that empower farmers to speak for and respect themselves in their quest for social and economic justice. To this end, FFD supports sustainable agriculture, farm worker rights, animal welfare, consumer safety, fair trade, and - most importantly - food sovereignty.

 


 

Dr. Jeff Patterson, 1946-2014, Wisconsin Loses an Exceptional Activist

by Amy Schulz, RN

 

Physicians for Social Responsibility Wisconsin was deeply saddened when one of our founding members, Dr. Jeff Patterson, died unexpectedly of a heart attack on January 23, 2014.

Jeff joined the anti-nuclear movement in the early 1980s after hearing Dr. Helen Caldicott give a lecture in Chicago during the height of the Cold War. Dr. Caldicott was traveling the country, speaking against the concept of a “winnable nuclear war” and calling on health professionals to “prevent what we can not cure.” Jeff was so impressed by Dr. Caldicott’s message that he said, “I felt like I’d been hit in the head by a two-by-four.” Jeff promptly began working with students from the UW-Madison medical school to bring Dr. Caldicott to town. Soon the group grew in numbers and commitment, formally chartering the Madison chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Jeff’s involvement in the anti-nuclear movement continued all his life. He collaborated with physicians from around the world through International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), and physician exchanges between Russia and the U.S. IPPNW’s efforts were recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985.

Jeff volunteered on the PSR national board for decades, serving as president for two terms. Jeff traveled extensively and gave lectures on the dangers of nuclear weapons and nuclear power. He provided direction to medical students and nurtured their understanding of humanitarian ethics. He was able to relate stories about people that he met who had been directly impacted by radiation exposure, whether it was farmers around Chernobyl or Fukushima, or veterans affected by depleted uranium in Iraq. Jeff was always willing to share his passion and knowledge on nuclear issues and, more recently, about climate change and the health threats that accompany it.

Jeff also served as the medical director for Hackett Hemwall Foundation, where he led annual medical mission trips with his partner, Mary Doherty, to Honduras and Mexico. He taught physicians the painrelieving procedure of prolotherapy and treated thousands of patients with chronic pain. Jeff worked as a family practice physician for 35 years at the Northeast Family Clinic where he listened carefully and provided compassionate care to his patients.

In a recent interview, Jeff said he felt like many of the issues that he’d been working on over the last 25-plus years had not changed much: there are still too many nuclear weapons, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty has not been ratified, and the U.S. ballistic missile defense, “the shield,” has been resurrected in Europe. Despite these challenges, Jeff felt optimism after the election of President Obama. Jeff’s greatest goals were to see the abolition of nuclear weapons, a ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban, and a nonviolent approach to resolving disputes between countries.

Jeff believed that we could make a difference and he challenged all of us to do what we can to make this planet a better place. Please join us in honoring Jeff’s legacy by becoming a member of PSR Wisconsin and strengthening efforts toward these goals.

 

Amy Schulz, RN, is President of the Steering Committee of Physicians for Social Responsibility Wisconsin. Guided by the values and expertise of medicine and public health, Physicians for Social Responsibility works to protect human life from the gravest threats to health and human survival.” For more information about PSR’s work in Wisconsin go to www.psr.org/chapters/wisconsin or call 608-232-9945.

 


 

High School Age Youth Create Their Own Discretionary Budgets

by Z! Haukeness

 

WNPJ is asking high schoolers across the state to make a short video about what they would do for themselves, their family and their community if they had $1 trillion.

Some inspiring youth organizations have responded to our call, including Urban Underground, YES (Madison), GSAFE Youth Leadership Board, West High Amnesty International, Freedom Inc., and the Goodman Center Multi- Cultural Investigation Team. A few more groups have requested workshops to help launch their video activism.

We start these workshops by discussing just how much $1 trillion is. I was a bit taken aback myself. Do you know that if you stacked thousand dollar bills on top of each other, you would need to stack them 63 miles high to equal $1 trillion? Or, if you saved money for 80 years, you would have to put away $34 million each day to reach $1 trillion (without interest)!

It’s been inspiring to talk with these high school leaders about the federal budget and to challenge them to envision how they would redesign the federal discretionary budget, which is $1.5 trillion for fiscal year 2014. Fifty-seven percent of the U.S. discretionary budget is spent on the military, with the remaining 43 percent split between 11 major areas, including education, health, transportation and veterans’ benefits.

The students were surprised and concerned that the budget is so unbalanced. So, they created their own budgets collectively, by placing star stickers worth $10 billion each on a budget chart. Their top-funded areas have routinely been education, health, science and food and agriculture.

When asked more specifically what they would do with the money to improve their communities, the students had thoughtful responses. One young woman said she cared about the environment and wanted to put money towards stopping climate change, so we can still have a healthy earth when she is older and for the children that come after her. One young man said he would like to create a sports facility for all youth to be able to attend anytime, with all the sports equipment they need to play and put their energy towards a positive outlet.

Another student said that passing the DREAM Act is important to her and her friends. A youth leader at Urban Underground talked about their program to bring more organic food and gardening opportunities to low-income neighborhoods in Milwaukee and how funding could help this program grow.

Students often prioritized ending homelessness and creating more lowincome housing. But the most common suggestions involved improving the education system and improving their schools. Specific ideas ranged from increased technology, to addressing disproportionate graduation rates for students of color, to improving teachers’ salaries and training, to meeting basic needs such as having updated and relevant textbooks for their classes.

These and other students are now expressing their budget ideas creatively, making short videos for WNPJ’s first-ever youth video contest, “The Future We Deserve: A Wisconsin Without War.” If you’re in the Madison area, you can see these student videos at our May 3rd Growing a Peaceful Future Film Festival at the Villager Mall on South Park Street, from 1 to 4 pm. The makers of the top videos, along with a people’s choice award decided at the event, will receive scholarships. Please visit www.wnpj.org/video for more information.

 

Z! Haukeness is WNPJ’s Bring Our War Dollars Home grassroots organizer, as well as an organizer with community groups Freedom Inc. and Operation Welcome Home, and a member of Groundwork, a white anti-racist collective.

 


 

News from the WNPJ Office

by Diane Farsetta

 

Following a long, hard winter, we’re eager to see seeds (both literal and metaphoric) break through into the light!

As I write, we’re promoting our spring meeting in Oshkosh, “Peace is good for workers (and other living beings).” On April 6, we’ll meet at the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 578 Hall and hear from union president Joe Preisler. One of the main goals of our Bring Our War Dollars Home campaign is to bring peace and labor groups together. There’s no better place to do that than Oshkosh, where a reduction in military contracts caused Oshkosh Truck to lay off 1,200 workers over the last year (plus another 760 jobs that will be cut this June). Marinette, near Green Bay, may also be hit by layoffs, if the Pentagon decreases its orders for littoral combat ships.

As a peace group that supports increasing the number of living-wage jobs, WNPJ is advocating for a Council on Wisconsin’s Future. Similar to Connecticut’s Futures Commission, the Council on Wisconsin’s Future would bring together labor unions, business groups, environmentalists, economists, community leaders and others to move our economy away from its reliance on military spending. Because military spending creates far fewer jobs per dollar spent, we would have more good-paying, sustainable jobs by shifting war dollars to clean energy, healthcare and education. This green “peace economy” would also better reflect community priorities.

Unions, including the South Central Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO), economic justice groups like Wisconsin Jobs Now, and member groups including Peace Action Wisconsin are joining WNPJ in supporting a Council on Wisconsin’s Future. Some state legislators are interested, too, including Rep. Gordon Hintz from Oshkosh and Rep. Melissa Sargent from Madison. It’s a great start, but getting a bill passed won’t be easy. Please contact us at zh@wnpj.org or 608-250-9240 if you can help.

Other sprouts on the horizon include “The Future We Deserve: A Wisconsin Without War,” our first-ever youth video contest. We’re asking high school students across the state to creatively explain, in three minutes or less, what they would do for themselves, their families and their communities if they had one trillion dollars. (See the article on page 5 and visit www.wnpj.org/video for more information.)

We’re also looking forward to the 25th annual MREA Energy Fair in June. WNPJ is bringing together grassroots activists on iron mining, frac sand mining and energy policy issues, who will present a workshop on local control and sustainability.

Who tends the gardens of social justice in your community? Please use the awards nomination form in this newsletter to suggest who should receive our Peacemaker of the Year (youth, adult or senior) and / or Dennis Bergren LGBTQ Advocacy awards for 2014. Don’t delay - nominate someone today!

We have many volunteers to thank for their efforts to grow community, peace and justice. Sheila Spear and Ilana Caplan put our last newsletter together, and Fred Brancel, Karen Pope, Karma Chavez and Kathy Walsh got it ready to mail. Judy Miner, Josh Steward and Karma helped WNPJ table at Madison’s Martin Luther King Jr. observance. Thanks for help with other mailings to Helen Findley, Norm Littlejohn, Judy, Kathy, Fred and Josh; to Kathy for her weekly website updates; and to Mary Anglim, for help with our events calendar.

Just before springing the clocks ahead, WNPJ slightly shifted our staff hours. Both Z! and myself are now at 15 hours a week (Z! up from 10 and me down from 20), while Page remains at her preferred 10 hours a week. The change is a win-win-win: it better reflects Z!’s commitment during a busy time for the war dollars home campaign; it gives me a better work / work balance, as I have a new other part-time job at UW-Madison; and it keeps WNPJ’s staff hours and payroll expenses steady.

 

Diane Farsetta is WNPJ's Executive Director.

 


 

Do You Know a Peace and Justice Activist Who Deserves Recognition?

 

WNPJ is seeking nominations for our annual Peacemaker of the Year and Dennis Bergren LGBTQ Advocacy Awards. Please submit this form to WNPJ, 122 State St #405A, Madison, WI 53703 or email diane@wnpj.org. We will collect nominations over the summer and recognize the winners at our fall meeting. Early nominations are greatly appreciated!