Friday, September 9, 2011

Organizing for Effective Social Change

Organizing for Effective Social Change - ASHEVILLE
Mike Ferner, VFP National President & Labor Union Organizer
September 23 & 24, 2011
Grieving about dashed hopes for change? Don’t mourn—Organize!
Friday evening 6:30-9pm North Asheville Library
1030 Merrimon Ave, Asheville - Presentation, Discussion
Saturday 10am-4pm
Battery Park Apartments—Rooftop Garden

1 Battle Square, Asheville Workshop I, Lunch, Workshop II
Reserve your spot
Contact: Clare Hanrahan
828-242-5610 email:
(No set fee—but donations are encouraged)

Presented by VFP Chapter 099’s Center for Peace Education & Training and the New South Network of War Resisters

If you advocate for change, this event is for you whether your issue is peace, social justice, the environment, the economy, human rights…whatever.
What can we do to: stop these wars; save the planet; distribute wealth equitably; end racism…???

Mike says: “There may be more ways than one to get there, but this much is certain: we, the relative handful of committed believers, aren't going to get there on our own. Gleanings from history and my own experience tell me the best way is still found in Joe Hill‟s last words: „Don't mourn for me, organize!‟

“We must do more than fix the wrongs. We must make the rules, define the terms, run the show—in a word: govern ourselves…

It is precisely when we learn how to gain the power to govern our-selves--not just the power to fix the wrongs—-that we will be able to reorder these systems to serve the common interest and create a better life. And not coincidentally, it is when we begin to take organizing seriously that we will begin this journey.

As Asheville goes, so goes the nation—or at least the movement! I am so looking forward to working with you on the most time-tested (and unfortunately these days, seldom used) method for social change.

Warning: Numerous times through this process you will say to yourself, „What?? (or possibly even “WTF”) I know that!‟ or „Huh? We're already doing that.‟ You will be right. We will be teaching each other. It will be exciting, tedious, frustrating, great fun...and revolutionary.”

Recommended reading (whether you attend the event or not) : Introduction to
THE POPULIST MOMENT: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America by Lawrence Goodwyn

* Mike Ferner is a writer and activist from Ohio who served two years as the national president and is currently interim director of Veterans For Peace. He was elected twice to Toledo City Council, organized for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) for 5 years, worked as communications director for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee the first three years of the Mt. Olive Co. boycott and worked as Communications Director for the Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy. Mike also worked as a volunteer on the FLOC Campbell Soup Co. boycott through the 1980′s. In the 70′s, organized two local anti-nuclear power groups in northern Ohio.

Mike traveled to Iraq twice, with a Voices in the Wilderness delegation just prior to the U.S. invasion in 2003, returning in 2004 for two months as an independent journalist. His book about those trips, Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran For Peace Reports from Iraq, was published by Praeger in 2006.

His activism includes several arrests for “disturbing the war,” including disrupting a session of Congress. During the Vietnam War he served as a Navy Hospital Corpsman, took care of hundreds of wounded sol-diers and was discharged as a conscientious objector. Mike wrote the “Veterans For Peace Case for Impeach-ment and Prosecution.”

His main interest is in learning more about how the Populists organized the largest mass democratic movement in U.S. history and what that might mean today for popular uprisings looking for a better life.

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