2002 Annual Report
On November 30, New York City People's Life Fund held its 2002 Annual Meeting at the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute. Following below is the text of our update to membership:
We all feel the seriousness of the current political climate, 9/11 has come and gone. No further Al Qaeda-backed attacks. Afghanistan and Pakistan are relatively quiet despite the concentration of the Al Qaeda network in that region. Now George Bush has turned his attention to Iraq.
He has now marked Saddam Hussein as Enemy Number 1. Why? Certainly, Iraq's huge oil reserves are a major factor in this drama. Also, the need to gain a foothold in the Middle East to oversee and control events in this volatile region is another factor. But the personal aspect cannot easily be discounted. Bush has some unfinished business which his father failed to finish over a decade ago—the ousting of Saddam Hussein and his replacement with a hand-picked successor.
George Bush is on a crusade. As in medieval times, when the Christian Crusade was mounted to win back the Holy Land from the infidels, this crusade is infused with religious fervor and compels belief in the absence of evidence and reason. This is the influence of the radical Christian right.
Although the Christian right muted its influence during the election campaign, we saw evidence of its blind adherence to authority and its antidemocratic thrust in the Florida voting fiasco, when thousands were denied the right to vote on spurious or nonexistent grounds.
Then a year ago, under the guise of threat from the “Axis of Evil,” Bush first hinted toward a policy of preemptive strikes. Now, in a test of power he aims to wrest total control from the Congress to wage war whenever, wherever and however he sees fit. The recently passed Congressional resolution authorizing Bush to use force against Iraq gives him unprecedented power. An unconstitutional delegation of power.
While slowly gathering its resources, the peace movement has a long way to go to match the organization and political clout of the right. It will never match the moneyed backing, so the imaginative use of all its resources is an absolute must. Crucial political strategies will unfold in the next few months. The peace movement must be ready for a long, relentless struggle for a changed direction in U.S. foreign policy.
The Year in Review
Why Just Survive? Flourish!: New York City People's Life Fund takes pleasure in announcing publication of our book on survival in New York City. Here are listings that all budget-minded, struggling New Yorkers need to be familiar with. Here is a reference for family and friends.
Book Party: This very special occasion will be celebrated at Chez LaRoe, 303 Park Avenue, #500A on Wednesday, November 20 at 7:00 PM. Join us to celebrate the publication of this needed work, and to partake of the food, drink and good cheer.
Moratorium on Loans and Grants: This year, once again a moratorium on all loans and grants to community groups is in place. Unfortunately, our reserve requirements give us no other choice. While the pledge campaign did bring in some needed steady backing, it failed to make up for the funds necessary for our usual fifteen hundred dollar grants.
Be Part of the Pulse for Change
As an organization inspired by the activism of the Sixties, the New York City People's Life Fund holds a special place in the peace community. It was during that era that the steady pulse toward domestic change was halted. After decades of cold war policies, now replaced by a crusade in the Middle East, countless domestic programs have been ravaged and new programs have been stopped dead in their tracks. The ability of the Fund to help struggling local groups has never been more needed. Our aim is to resume our lending/granting activities as soon as possible.
On April 15, despite our moratorium on loans and grants, two groups, Catholic Worker and People United for Children, received awards of $500 each at a brief ceremony in front of the IRS. These grants were made possible by a private donor. For further information on how you can help us meet that goal, please write us.