Berkeley / East Bay
Gray Panthers Newsletter
November-December 2014

6501 Telegraph Ave.- Oakland CA 94609

Tel: (510)595-9696
Email: GrayPanthersBerk@aol.com
Website: http://berkeleygraypanthers.mysite.com

The November membership meeting will be on
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 1:30pm
at North Berkeley Senior Center.
(Next membership meeting January 28, 2015)

The Subject of the November 19 meeting will be:

Where Does Stuff Come From?

There will be a short film "The Story of Stuff," created by Annie Leonard, plus a presentation covering where we get the things we use: electronics and household items. Do they come from overseas sweat shops? Are they made in Mexican Maquiladoras?
Film was produced by the Berkeley-based Story of Stuff Project

On December 17 there will be a HOLIDAY PARTY in conjunction with North Berkeley Senior Center starting at 1:30pm -- There will be Music and food!


Board Meeting
November 12, 2014 2:00pm
At Niebyl-Proctor Library

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Election of Officers

Election was held during the membership meeting on October 22. Seven (7) ballots were cast.

New officers are:
Co-convenors -- Edie Hallberg and Leeza Vinogradov
Secretary -- Claire Risley
Treasurer -- Chris Caldwell
Newsletter Publisher -- Steve Geller

Board of Directors

Our current board (people who actually attend board meetings) consists of:

Become a member of Gray Panthers!

Dues: $35/year ($15 low income)
Send us your name and mailing address.
Traffic Tickets can also be worked off by volunteer work for Gray Panthers

Living Graveyard

Third Mondays, Noon - 1:00 pm.
date subject to change –– check www.epicalc.org
Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay Street (two blocks from 12th Street BART)
People lie down on the city sidewalk in front of the Federal Building, covered with sheets to represent the dead. The names of some of the Californians who have died in Iraq and the names of some of the Iraqi dead are read during the event. A gong is sounded after each name.
Please bring a white sheet. A pad to lie on is recommended.
Info: Ecumenical Peace Institute, www.epicalc.org (510)990-0374.

Tax the Rich Rally

October 27 was the last 5-6 pm rally time. The following Monday, November 3, with the end of Daylight Saving Time, we will be rallying from 4-5pm . The obvious reason is to avoid rallying in the dark.

We meet every Monday 4-5 pm at the top of Solano Ave in Berkeley to protest the inequality of taxes in our country. We hold signs saying “Tax the Rich” and “Tax the Big Corporations.” Cars passing by honk in support. Pedestrians take leaflets.

The signs and leaflets present information about the impact of tax inequities in our society, and how we must work together to bring about essential changes so that the rich and big corporations pay their fair share.

Monthly Peace Rally

Every 3rd Friday, Gray Panthers and Strawberry Creek Lodge sponsor a Peace rally, at Acton and University in Berkeley. Next rally is Friday November 20, 2-3 pm. Come sing, wave signs, listen to approving honks. For info, Call 841-4143
No December rally; next is Friday January 20, 2015.





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Report on the October 22, 2014 Membership Meeting:
"Talking With Our Grandmothers"

The October 22 membership meeting featured an unusual presentation: Two women from Burlington, Vermont, who had been touring the country, put on a show in which they portrayed themselves talking to their grandmothers, who had been active with a group of women who worked to stop World War One.

Robin Lloyd and Charlotte Dennett are members of WILPF – Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Several Berkeley WILPF members were present in the audience, which totaled about forty people. We were told that our Berkeley audience was the largest they’d had in California.

The year 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One. In August, 1914, the guns began firing.

The presentation began with showing a picture of sheet music and playing an anti-war song which was popular when war broke out in 1914 -- “I Didn’t Raise my Boy to be a Soldier.”

World War One was triggered by the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. In those days, Europe was so militarized, full of national pride, and the countries bound into so many interlocking alliances, that the whole world was compelled to go to war. Plans had actually been in place for years.

The war drew in all the world's economic great powers: the Allies (Britain, France and Russia) and the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary). Italy, United States and Japan eventually joined the Allies; Turkey (the Ottoman Empire) and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers.

Ultimately, more than 60 million Europeans were mobilized, plus 10 million more soldiers from the British, French and German colonies and the eastern Russian Empire. It became one of the largest wars in world history.

WILPF tried to stop World War One. Robin’s grandmother and Charlotte’s grandmother were part of that effort.

WILPF is the oldest peace organization in the world. It was formed in 1915, as the result of an International Women's Congress against World War One which took place in The Hague, Netherlands.

In April 1915, 1200 women from twelve countries travelled to Europe aboard the ship Noordam, braving mines and other difficulties of travelling in wartime.

At The Hague, they held a meeting to protest against the horrors of the war and to discuss how to prevent future wars. This was before American women had achieved the right to vote.

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The meeting was noisy, as they chose to work in only three languages: French, German and English. There were no microphones or amplifiers. In little groups, they helped each other to interpret back and forth to understand each other and created twenty resolutions that still have resonance today. They agreed that the world could no longer tolerate governments solving problems using brute force. They defined a unique form of mediation which did not require an armistice. They planned another conference, originally to be held at Versailles, but was shifted to Switzerland. Women envoys would be designated to go to belligerent countries to offer mediation.

Many heads of state were impressed with what these women were doing, but they couldn’t hold back pressure from militarism. Armament companies like Dupont were making a lot of money supplying the war effort. Robin and Charlotte noted that, back then, munition makers were named in the news; it might be a good idea to make public today which companies are profiting from war (guns, bombs, missiles, drones).

President Wilson pledged to make the world safe for democracy, but after the sinking of the Lusitania, he led the United States into the war.

There have been many other international women’s conferences since 1915, notably the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, China in September 1995.

In April, 2015, there will be another WILPF conference at The Hague, to promote world peace by using the power of women to stop war. Specifically, the 2015 WILPF conference will support Security Council Resolution 1325, which reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction. The resolution stresses the importance of equal participation and full involvement of women in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. It also calls on all parties in a conflict to take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse. Women who attend this conference will learn skills to promote peace and security.

It was time to introduce a grandmother.

There was a mysterious cloth-covered object on the table with their computer.

The cloth was removed to reveal a white bust of Lola Maverick Lloyd, Robin’s grandmother. She was a handsome woman, looking strong and determined, but with a little smile on her face.

Robin said “Welcome, Lola. It’s October, 2014. I’m sad to say several wars are going on. Our wars are not as big as your Great War, but there sure are a lot of them. You’re in Berkeley, California with Gray Panthers in a Senior Center. These centers are all over the country now. This is a cool place. How are you feeling?”

A bell tinkled softly, indicating that grandmother Lola was speaking; only Robin could hear her. Robin told us that Lola said she was fine. Lola remembered October 1914 was when the Germans were approaching Dunkirk. The Belgians had opened dikes to flood the land and slow down the Germans, many of whom drowned. At the time, Lola was living in Chicago with her husband Henry Lloyd, a progressive political activist and pioneer muckraking journalist, who wrote about Standard Oil. They had four children. Lola was a suffragette and a peace activist. She was born Lola Maverick, from Texas; she was definitely a maverick.

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Lola became friends with Rosika Schwimmer, a brilliant Hungarian feminist, who spoke nine languages, was a strong suffragette and did not wear a corset or a bra. Just as the war was starting in 1914, Rosika had a prescient vision of a conflict that would crumble the borders and values and bodies of Europe. Rosika launched herself on a speaking tour of the US, hoping that by awakening the American public, she might persuade president Woodrow Wilson to offer to mediate the war, or at least to keep the US out of it. She urged Wilson to convene a neutral conference. Rosika also knew Lloyd George, the British prime minister. She told him in July that an event in Sarajevo might ignite a major conflict. She predicted accurately that a “revenge victory” ending the war would make a mess of things and bring on another war. Rosika kept a diary of her experiences, which is on file at the New York Public Library in the Schwimmer-Lloyd Archive.

Robin said her grandmother’s meeting with Rosika Schwimmer and Jane Addams in Chicago in the late fall of 1914 changed her life. She became a life-long feminist pacifist.

Lola Maverick Lloyd met Charlotte’s grandmother Elizabeth Redford when both attended Smith College, graduating in 1927. At the time Smith was a religious girls-only school. Lola was a mathematics major; Elizabeth was a biology major.

The “big boys” evidently decided that World War One was about oil. Winston Churchill, in charge of the British Navy, made the decision to convert British warships from burning coal (which Britain had plenty of) to oil (which it would have to get from Mesopotamia). This started the “great game for oil.” Land bordering the Berlin to Baghdad Railroad would be open for exploration.

People in the Gray Panther audience were urged to study their own ancestors who were involved in World War One, or were fleeing any war. During the question period, someone asked about Jeanette Rankin, the woman in Congress who was one of 50 members who voted against getting into World War One in 1917, and the single vote against declaring war on Japan in 1941. The presenters said that their grandmothers probably met Rankin, because they travelled in the same circles. Someone else in the audience pointed out that our present local member of Congress, Barbara Lee, is like Jeanette Rankin.


A more detailed version of this report, with more links, is online at
http://www.berkeleygraypanthers.mysite.com/WILPF_talk.html.