Alan Shorb, DeMetria Warren, Joseph Hancock, Shilpa Pandey
Saturday, 5 p.m.
At this historical juncture, the world is at a very dangerous point. The Doomsday Clock showing the risk of nuclear destruction of the world/humanity is now at 2 minutes to midnight. This is particularly meaningful because people who set the clock, atomic scientists, are well aware of the danger to the world. The US is associated with most of this danger. It has the biggest accumulation of wealth in the hands of individuals, yet according to the recent UN report, 40 million Americans live in poverty.
The US has counter-terrorism activities in 76 countries, contributes to the humanitarian crises in Yemen and Palestine, has nearly 1000 foreign military bases around the world, and is ignoring the efforts of 122 countries in the UN to ban nuclear weapons. Yet, there are hopeful signs: Moral Mondays/Poor Peoples Movement; #meToo; #TimesUp; high school youths from Parkland stopping the NRA; the Families Belong Together movement. There is resistance rising up all over the US and the world. Along with the greatest repression there is the greatest resistance at the present time. But we need to be educated, to know which side we are on, to stand up. Women and children are most oppressed, and men, particularly white men have been oppressive for hundreds of years.
Women for Racial and Economic Equality (WREE) was a progressive women’s peace activist organization from 1975 to 1995 that approached peace through the lens of racial and class issues. The Women’s Commission of the Movement for People’s Democracy is facilitating the revival of WREE as a vital, national organization. The panel will discuss the issues that the revived WREE will address, as well as suggesting appropriate activism in line with its vision of “Women leading the human race in a powerful movement in our communities to advocate for social and economic equality in collaboration with other women’s peace/labor organizations”. Panel members will discuss how WREE can address the issues of women in the workforce, racism, sexism, and world peace. Discussion will focus on women’s role in saving humanity, and men, from their own stupidity and arrogant behavior.
A principal source about WREE is Harriet Hyman Alonso’s book, Peace As a Women’s Issue. As noted in the book, this is a class and race issue, not a man/woman issue. This class war divides us by race, gender, gender orientation, ethnicity, religion, nationality to distract us from focusing on the struggle as a class issue. WREE was destroyed because among all of the women’ organizations, it had more class consciousness than others. We want all to join in this struggle and join with WREE.
DeMetria Warren: I am an elderly lady who knows how it feels to be a black woman in white town. I have lived in Ojai for 20 years, working in spiritual centers like Meditation Mount and the Krishnamurti school, Oak Grove. I got to understand that white people see things on an intellectual level, but bypass the spiritual realm. They read and intellectually understand the world, but still just don’t get it. I am on a spiritual path, and am very clear and frank about what I see. I was born in Brooklyn and raised in Detroit, down the street from Motown. You might say I grew up with the Supremes. I became a Rastafarian and moved to Jamaica, built a house there and stayed 5 years. I moved to California 40 years ago and have been here since.
Joseph Hancock is a retired and disabled trade unionist. He is a member of American Federation of Musicians Local 47 and a pensioner with UFCW Local 770. He received an AA degree in Labor Studies from Los Angeles Trade Technical College and a BA in Music from California State University, Los Angeles. Currently Joseph serves as the Editor of the bilingual publication Labor Today / El Trabajo Diario, published by Labor United for Class Struggle (LUCS).
Shilpa Pandey holds a BA in English (with Honors) and an MBA from India. She has held management positions with WILPF in both India and the US. She has nearly a decade of multi-faceted international work experience, and is fluent in English, Hindi, Punjabi and French. She has been a development consultant and trainer in organizations as diverse as the United Nations and Dell Computer.