Recommendations to the SDCPJ from the Strategic Planning Meeting of August 4, 2007Our strategic planning group included members from most of the key organizations that voluntarily staff and organize the coalition. We met using the agenda in the appendix below. We initiated our discussion by noting the many strengths of the coalition, won through years of committed hard work. We believe the coalition has a culture of mutual respect, friendship, and trust, remarkable given the many viewpoints the coalition includes–and key to any organization calling for peace and justice. Our experience demonstrates that the coalition has a base of people that goes beyond any single member organization. Many people look directly to the coalition for leadership.
We think we are at a crucial juncture because of external factors (the relentless wars and the possibility they will expand, deepening inequality and the possibility of an economic crisis, rising racism, nationalism, and sexism, intensifying surveillance and repression, especially aimed at poor and working class communities–and always color coded) and internal factors (an urgent need to build a larger base of people taking effective action coupled with profound reflection, a need to be more open to new people, and have greater organizational transparency, etc).
We took our recommendations to the last steering committee meeting of SDCPJ. They were well received, accepted. We want to now present our recommendations to you for your comments and criticism. We hope to complete this process before October, 2007.
1. We agreed that we are at a critical juncture in peace and justice work in San Diego. One person suggested that we should be, “pessimistic of the intellect, optimism of the will,” while another suggested, “a patient sense of urgency.” We discussed that we cannot wait for others to bring peace and justice for us, but that we can think and act ourselves to understand and change our world.
2. Given our estimates of our own resources and social conditions, we believe the focus of our work in the period ahead should be on three sectors: Schools, the Military, and Existing Progressive Groups.
3. We think a coordinating committee should be reestablished, perhaps a three person group, easily identified by newcomers, with terms of office certain. These people could serve as contact points, be decision makers between meetings, and nurture new leaders.
4. We agreed that it is key to the peace and justice movement to have a systematic approach to recruiting and training new organizers, starting with trying to bring new people to each meeting–with attention paid to the expanding the demographics of SDCPJ in terms of race, class, sex/gender, etc.
5. Our web site has been an important informational and organizing tool. We need to provide the web master with more information and support so as to make it more instructive about issues and to provide more, and clearer, links to member and related groups.
6. We think SDCPJ needs to revisit, and perhaps re-write, the Mission Statement.
7. We believe that our actions for the fall should be a clearly delineated, coordinated campaign, with each action building on the last.
We also discussed, but did not reach closure on, questions of capital and empire, the real possibilities for the continuation, or end, of the war(s), and Iraq/Afghanistan/Palestine, especially in regard to our relations with Arab and Middle-Eastern based organizations in San Diego.
In relation to the above, we also discussed the relative significance of “peace” and “justice,” inside the work of SDCPJ.
Appendix1. Introductions (brief)
Tentative Agenda SDCPJ Strategy Session
August 4 2007
City Heights Community Center
2. Review and corrections to agenda (brief)
3. Discussion of our current situation vis a vis the war(s)
4. What people/forces do we have now? What are our likenesses, or differences?
5. Who do we want to target and what do we want them to learn and do?
6. What of the structure and purpose of the coalition as related to the above?
7. What of the coalition's own media?
8. What are the key places we would want to target in, say, the next two years? What do we want to have achieved by 2009?
10. Meeting summary. What have we decided to do?