Subject:         Protest Budget Priorities in Washington
   Date:         Wed, 31 May 2000 13:56:37 -0400
   From:        War Resisters League <>
     To:         (Recipient list suppressed)

Dear Day Without the Pentagon activist,

On July 10, War Resisters League will participate in the People's Campaign for Nonviolence in Washington DC. You are invited to participate and encouraged to respond to this email now of your are interested in any of the activities described below.

Our participation will include members of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee and focus on Federal Spending Priorities. We plan to set-up a "penny poll" near the Washington Monument in the morning. A "penny poll" is an activity that gives people the opportunity to express how they would like Federal tax dollars to be spent. At noon, we will march a few blocks to the IRS building where we will present the findings from our poll and continue our protest and leafletting there.

In addition to the protest on Monday, everyone is invited to a panel discussion on war tax resistance on Saturday evening July 8 with several long-time war tax resisters including Juanita Nelson, Dave Zarembka, and David Waters at Catholic University (location to be announced) from 7:30 to 9:00.

On Sunday, we have the opportunity to learn a new organizing skill called a listening project. It is described below. If you are interested, please respond today. The listening project training will only happen if we have enough interested people.  



The Fellowship of Reconciliation plans to conduct the People’s Campaign for Nonviolence, July 1 through August 9, 2000 in Washington, D.C. Over a period of 40 days, your group and others will go to Washington to vigil and protest, calling for an end to our culture of violence and injustice and for the creation of a culture of nonviolence and justice. This Campaign has given rise to Listening to the People -- an innovative program that can enhance your group’s participation in the People’s Campaign for Nonviolence.

The Listening to the People (L2P) is a program to increase the effectiveness of regional and national protests and mobilizations. Whereas many such gatherings rely on the media to carry their message to the people, the L2P mission is to provide outreach tools, including community interviews and dialogue, that enable us to go directly to the people. Thus we can hear and respond to the wisdom of the grassroots.

The L 2P Coalition recognizes that Washington, DC is not only the nation’s capital, but is home to people who have no voice in their government - they do not have the right to elect a member of Congress, and are often ignored by those who come to Washington to demonstrate. "Listening to the People" seeks to create a safe space where people from the DC community can speak from the heart and be heard through a process of interviews and facilitated dialogue. The Listening to the People’s mission is to enable peace and social justice organizations to hear and respond to the wisdom of the grassroots.

"Listening to the People" brings together people of diverse beliefs, feelings and ideas in a way that benefits all involved and can spark real change. This approach to listening and organizing helps to make global/local connections and to link analysis to community action. "Listening to the People" builds on the strengths and knowledge of the people, broadening and deepening all participants’ understanding of social, economic, and environmental oppressions as we, together, seek to build a culture of nonviolence and justice for all.

How It Will Work:

  1. Your group needs to make the time commitment necessary to participate in Listening to the People. A description of the methods of listening, and the time they take, are on the back.
  2. You will identify a particular group of people you’d like to listen to. For example, they may be D.C. residents from a particular religious community or organization you have a connection with.
  3. Your group will designate a contact person/coordinator to work with a trainer from the Listening to the People Coalition.

Trainers experienced in these models work with your group to develop questions and train participants from your group.

How It Will Benefit Your Organization

  1. Learn a nonviolent model for listening and building bridges between people. Participants will experience a listening process which fosters deeper interest and understanding of the issues by all who participate.
  2. Gain insight from people living in D.C. about critical social issues, developing a connection with them in the process.
  3. Increase the effectiveness of your participation in The People’s Campaign for Nonviolence.

"Listening to the People Coalition" includes Fellowship of Reconciliation, Rural Southern Voice for Peace, American Friends Service Committee/DC Office, Citizens United to Restore Economic Selfhelp, and War Resisters League.
CONTACT: Chris Ney 212-228-00450

Choosing between Two Listening to the People Programs

Listening to the People (L2P) provides two nonviolent communication tools to choose from. In each case, your organization first determines your specific goals and who you wish to listen and dialogue with. The time commitments below are for on-site work and do not include advance preparation time.

One-On-One Interviews. Members of your group are trained in active listening and nonviolence so they can go directly to the people — including people with differing or opposing views and those who would normally not come to a protest gathering. One-on-one interviews create a safe, intimate setting where interviewees can express their deep feelings, fears, hopes, angers and ideas. Thus people are able to get beyond feelings of defensiveness, frustration or powerlessness, so that they can offer solutions to critical social issues. L2P interviews helps us learn from the wisdom of grassroots people. It is an empowering process that inspires some people to become more involved.

The L2P training and interviews take a full day or more to conduct. Interviews can be conducted randomly, door-to-door, with a specific group or by appointment. Open ended, pre-determined questions guide each interview. Each interview is recorded by a second person from your group, so that what you learn from the people can be brought back to inspire, educate and affect your organization and its programs.

Facilitated Dialogue allows listening and communication to occur in small groups of four or five. These groups can be made up of people with differing or opposing viewpoints, or it can involve a group with which your organization wants to make deeper connections. Each small group has a trained facilitator and a clearly defined structure that helps differing sides listen to one another. Your organization’s goals will determine who participates in the dialogue.

One primary benefit of Facilitated Dialogue is that advance preparation and logistics are much simpler. Also more people can be included in a shorter amount of time. One member of your group can act as facilitator for 2 to 5 participants at a time, whereas it takes two of you to conduct a one-on-one interview (interviewer and recorder). Facilitated Dialogue requires one to three hours of training and about three hours to conduct. Facilitated Dialogue is an effective tool for bridge building and organizing, however it does not provide the same level of intimacy and safety as one-on-on interviews and it is not as effective in reaching new people as it only involves people willing to come to a scheduled dialogue.


L2P interviews are an abbreviated, simplified form of the Listening Project. Listening Projects are designed to part of a long-term, heart-centered and effective community organizing
process. Therefore preparation and training is more extensive. The Listening Project and Facilitated dialogue are both tools developed by Rural Southern Voice for Peace which acts as the national clearinghouse for information, resources, trainer referral and training for trainer programs. You can contact them at: RSVP, att: Herb Walters, 1898 Hannah Branch Rd., Burnsville, NC 28714 (828-675-4626;
For further L2P information contact: Chris Ney 212-228-0450

War Resisters League
339 Lafayette St.
New York, NY 10012
212-228-6193 (fax)
1-800-975-9688 (YouthPeace and A Day Without the Pentagon)
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