Peace and War in the Heartland believes that a broader and deeper public conversation about the moral landscape of war and peace-making is crucial and overdue and that an informed citizenry is democracy’s best safeguard. PWH produces events that promote personal engagement with the complex moral terrain of war and peace-making.
War is conducted by and waged against human beings, so the conversation needs to move beyond numbers of troops and calendar dates to engage with universal human values. Critical Constitutional questions abound, and the role of American participation in the world community is hotly debated. We believe that an informed citizenry is democracy’s best safeguard.
As the nation debates the moral consequences of war, unheard in a generation, the timeliness of the project is unprecedented. For example, did you know about the "Virtual Draft"? That since 2002, 18-25 year-olds in 41 states are automatically registered with the Selective Service System (SSS) when they obtain a drivers’ license or face potential criminal prosecution?
Operationally, the SSS is robust and ready. It manages over 2,000 draft boards with over 11,000 volunteers trained in an eight hour program. SSS estimates that, nationwide, 90% of eligible potential draftees are registered in their "Virtual Draft" database. Military recruiters receive unprecedented access to high school and college campuses, and the federal government has impelled cooperation with SSS registration as a condition for federal funds, both for individual student loans as well as for institutions. See, SSS website. Moreover, complex pressures including class and race continue to affect military recruitment.
A series of stimulating campus-based public events that discuss, educate and reflect upon the moral landscape of war, peace and resistance are being produced in partnership with campuses, congregations, and other non-profits. These are scheduled for diverse Metro locations in January, February and March 2008.
Each event has at least one thematic intersection with the morality of war, peace and Resistance. Those include: Art, History, Law, Politics, Religion, Science, Veterans, Women and Youth. Programs include small group discussions that enable participants to clarify and express their personal moral positions. Veterans groups have chosen to be participants in and a resource at all events.
The Video Diary is a portable media booth that allows individuals to record their opinions about war, peace and Resistance. These clips, along with video of the pubic events, will be selectively uploaded to sites like YouTube, edited into a representative compilation in the project report, and provide a digital resource library for any ongoing project activities.
The Project is inspired by the landmark trials of the “Minnesota 8” in 1970-1971, whose defense forwarded the core argument that Resistance is Patriotic. Seven of these draft resisters served felony sentences in federal prisons.
A play by Doris Baizley, "Peace Crimes: the Minnesota 8 vs. the war," about the draft raids and trials of “The Minnesota 8” is being co-produced by History Theatre, The Playwrights’ Center and the University of Minnesota Theater Department. Fourteen performances are set from February 21 to March 9, 2008 at the University of Minnesota theater in Rarig Center. Click for more information about "Peace Crimes." To purchase tickets, first see the play's calendar and prices.
While Peace and War in the Heartland is an entirely independent project, the public events are timed to coincide with the presentation of the play, "Peace Crimes," for the enrichment of all participants.
Peace and War in the Heartland has its 501c3 fiscal sponsorship through Springboard for the Arts. Click here to Donate.
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The military Selective Service Draft has been activated!
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