Ides of March walk 2013

Inspiration to Occupy Walk USA: Great American Peace March

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Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament

The Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament, Inc. (also referred to as The Great Peace March, GPM, and the March) was a cross-country event in 1986 aimed at raising awareness to the growing danger of nuclear proliferation and to advocate for complete, verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons from the earth. The GPM consisted of hundreds of people, mostly but not exclusively Americans, who convened in Los AngelesCaliforniaUSA, in February 1986 to walk from L.A. to Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital. The group left Los Angeles on March 1, 1986 and arrived in Washington, D.C. on November 15, 1986, a journey of about 3,700 miles, nine months, and many campsites.

Statement of Purpose

Statement of Purpose preamble as approved:

The Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament is an abolitionist movement. We believe that great social change comes about when the will of the people becomes focused on a moral imperative. By marching for nine months across the United States, we will create a non-violent focus for positive change; the imperative being that nuclear weapons are politically, socially, economically and morally unjustifiable, and that, in any number, they are unacceptable. It is the responsibility of a democratic government to implement the will of its people, and it is the will of the people of the United States and many other nations to end the nuclear arms race[citation needed].

Life on the march

Along the way marchers created a vibrant visual impact as they walked through small towns and big cities alike. They interacted with local populations and conducted educational workshops for each other and for the communities through which they passed. Workshops usually centered on options for non-violent conflict resolution and peace-and-justice topics related to the mission of the demonstration. Marchers self-selected the facets of GPM life where they wanted to focus their energies. The speakers’ bureau spoke in schools and community centers from coast to coast. Other outreach activities included a “Marcher In The Home” program to match up GPM marchers with “townies” for overnight stays, sleeping indoors, and special events like concerts and community potlucks. For many, the walk-a-day life of a peace marcher also brought opportunities for “marcher in the cafe,” “marcher in the diner,” and the popular “marcher in the laundromat.” Through all of these activities and events, conversations were sparked, friendships were forged, and the seeds were sown for communities to explore their own notions of peace, justice, and non-violence long after the March had passed by.An average day’s walk on The Great Peace March was about 15 miles. The group camped outside most nights, an advance team having scouted locations and secured permits in advance. Most people on the March walked at least some part of each day. There were gear trucks specially outfitted to transport clothing, tents, and other personal supplies. There was a mobile kitchen, dry-storage trucks, a library, school, and other specialty vehicles. For an expedition of this size and scope, it took many people working in camp to keep systems and processes humming, and each marcher was expected to volunteer for two regular in-camp “job” shifts each week. On any given day, dozens of marchers did not walk with the GPM on the highways and byways of that day’s route; but were instead washing breakfast dishes, packing up the tractor-trailers, advancing to the next camp site, preparing lunch, gathering supplies for dinner, teaching the schoolchildren, cleaning and dumping the porta-potties, participating on councils or committees, making presentations to community organizations, leading a classroom discussion in a local school, doing educational outreach to church congregations and Universities, maintaining daily contact with local, national, and international media to provide Peace City and GPM updates, re-shelving items on the library bus, fund-raising, formulating logistics, negotiating land use permits, restoring damaged areas of the last camp site caused by the heavy trucks and heavy foot traffic, and any of a number of other jobs necessary to keep this traveling community on the road and on schedule.

Synopsis of GPM history from the Swarthmore College Archives

Historical Introduction by Swarthmore College[1]
The Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament evolved from another peace effort, PRO-Peace (see below). Formally organized on April 2, 1985, by David Mixner of Los Angeles, California, PRO-Peace envisioned raising $20 million to send 5000 marchers 3000 miles eastward to Washington D.C. The march departed from Los Angeles on March 1, 1986, with only 1200 participants and a fraction of the needed monies in hand. The marchers soon began to realize that the collapse of PRO-Peace was imminent and some began to organize a new structure to take its place. On March 14, while camped near Barstow, California, they received word from David Mixner that PRO-Peace no longer existed. Many marchers departed but those who remained incorporated on March 19 into the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament. A home office was established in Santa Monica, California, and financial aid was received from individuals and organizations, including the Peace Development Fund and Physicians for Social Responsibility.The GPM, also known as Peace City and now numbering approximately 600, resumed its eastward walk on March 28. Its governance and organizational structure adapted to meet its evolving needs. Marchers assumed volunteer jobs, replacing the highly structured and paid PRO- Peace network, and a Policy Board began the task of governing. A City Council soon replaced the Policy Board with decisions made preferably by consensus. The Board of Directors was enlarged from three to seven members and a Judicial Board oversaw resolution of disputes and disciplinary problems among marchers. Three City Managers, one for each of the tent cities, plus department heads, formed an Operations Council. Mayor Diane Clark represented Peace City at ceremonial occasions as the GPM made its way across the United States.Many departments and task forces were created to carry on the work of the March. These included the Community Interaction Agency which planned outreach events with communities the March passed through, the Field Department which later merged with the C.I.A., Education (Peace Academy) which worried about school for the children on the March as well as issue-oriented speeches for marchers, and Entrance/Exit which handled marcher applications.The marchers crossed the United States through California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, and arrived in Washington, D.C. on November 14. Concluding ceremonies were held the following day in Meridian Park, followed by speeches in front of theWhite House, and closing ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial.

February 27, 2012 - Posted by | Preparation, Walking Blog

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