Our House

This is what Democracy looks like–

From the Occupy Providence Facebook page

Thursday, November 17 · 6:00am – 8:00am
6pm General Assembly :: 7pm City Council Meeting
25 Dorrance St., Providence

On Thursday, join Occupy Providence to show that City Hall belongs to the 99%. We will meet in the lobby at 6pm for a brief General Assembly before entering the City Council meeting at 7pm to show our support for a pro-Occupy Resolution, as well as for an Ordinance that will lift the curfew on Burnside Park and expand free speech rights for all. We will then return to Burnside Park together to celebrate more than one month of Occupy Providence!

I was present at the City Council meeting in 2003 when the City of Providence passed a resolution opposing the pending Iraq War. I saw the faces of the council members, and the impression it made on them when the council room filled to the rafters…

Lead by newly elected Green Party city council member David Segal

Providence Journal-“Activists lobbied members with calls, letters”


Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE — Adding their voices to a chorus of doubts across the
nation, City Council members last night declared themselves opposed to a U.S. invasion of Iraq.

The council adopted a resolution calling for a diplomatic strategy to
deal with “the Iraq situation” and a reliance on world courts and
international justice to promote international and national security.

The declaration was met with cacaphonous applause, cheering and
foot-stomping by a crowd of 150 or more antiwar activists who filled the council chamber in City Hall.

A great array of placards and signs were held aloft by the activists,
some of whom sat on the floor in the main aisle or wore costumes.

“Providence City Council: No War for Oil,” one sign said. “Let Iraq
Live,” read another. And one sign proclaimed, “Bush’s Bottom Line is
Overhead Iraq.”

One man carried what looked like a cardboard missile and one woman was
costumed as if a rocket had gone through her head, with each end showing.
She wore a bib that was dotted with peace symbols.

The vote for the resolution was 10 to 1, with 4 abstentions. In favor
were Councilmen David A. Segal, Miguel Luna, John J. Lombardi, Josephine DiRuzzo, Luis A. Aponte, Kevin Jackson, Rita M. Williams, Balbina A.Young, Peter S. Mancini and Joseph DeLuca.

Councilman Patrick K. Butler voted no and members John J. Igliozzi, Carol A. Romano, Ronald W. Allen and Terrence M. Hassett were recorded as not voting.

A campaign in favor of the resolution, organized in part by the American Friends Service Committee, had bombarded members with telephone calls, letters and e-mail, to some effect.

DeLuca, for example, made it plain that he was voting to uphold the
convictions of his constituency rather than his own beliefs in supporting the resolution. He called Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein “a horrible threat to the world.”

The council also received a petition bearing the signatures of 226 people — all but about 25 gave Providence addresses — asking for an anti-war resolution.

Hassett said he abstained because it is too soon to say what the correct course of action will be until the next report from the United Nations inspectors is submitted. Igliozzi said the resolution is premature.

Segal sought to bring the question home when he said that the issue is
not war versus no war, but the expending of national resources on war
that are badly needed in Providence and other places.

He quoted a figure produced by a group called the National Priorities
Project asserting that a war and post-war occupation of Iraq would
conservatively cost the nation $100 billion and would divert $28 million in federal aid from Providence.

Luna cited a Vietnam-era quote from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “Poverty, urban problems and social progress generally are ignored when the guns of war become a national obsession.”

So far, 69 state legislatures and city and county councils, including
Providence, have adopted resolutions opposing war with Iraq, or a
majority of their memberships have signed letters to that effect,
according to a coalition called Cities for Peace.

[from The Providence Journal, . Visit them at ProJo.com and support our one statewide newspaper and treasure of Rhode Island history.]

Recently Facebook lit up with agitation about the proposed resident permit parking fee, but I went to the hearing and less than a dozen people showed up, all of them apparently supporting permit parking.

The comments section in the Providence Journal is full of hostile remarks about the Occupiers, mainly of the ‘dirty hippie’ vintage. I’ve visited and talked with them at Burnside Park and it’s a very diverse group, united– as far as I can see– to say ‘NO’ to the escalating economic injustice built into our current way of life. I trust the Occupiers to exercise their rights to participate in the City Council meeting with dignity and effectiveness, because I saw this happen in 2003.

MORE: Thanks to Kiersten for finding the great vintage postcard of our City Hall. I notice a bicycle parked on the sidewalk. The night the City Council passed the anti-war resolution there were about 100 bicycles chained in front of the City Hall steps. Some of the people who have been biking, planting, rehabbing and meeting all these years are coming together in Burnside Park and all around town. We’re in it for the long haul.


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