This is the website for the local chapter of Veterans For Peace in Western North Carolina, based in Asheville.
For the most complete and current content about our activities and issues, please visit us on Facebook: Veterans For Peace Chapter 099

You don't have to be a veteran to belong, just a person who wants peace and is committed to taking action to achieve it.

Joan Baez is quoted as saying, "Action is the antidote to despair."

If you feel despair at the many costs and endlessness of our wars please consider joining us in taking action.

Peace and Justice Reading List
Begin with this short book written by the highly decorated Marine General Smedley Butler: "War is a Racket" Click the link to read the book in its entirety on line or download/print it.
Then go on to learn more with this list:

To Become Radicalized in the Cause of Peace, please click here:

Statement of Purpose

We, as military veterans, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace. To this end we will work, with others both nationally and internationally

To increase public awareness of the causes and costs of war 

To restrain our governments from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations 

To end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons 

To seek justice for veterans and victims of war 

To abolish war as an instrument of national policy. 

To achieve these goals, members of Veterans For Peace pledge to use non-violent means and to maintain an organization that is both democratic and open with the understanding that all members are trusted to act in the best interests of the group for the larger purpose of world peace.

For More Information (Including how to become a member):

Join us for the weekly vigil at Pack Square Vance Monument, Tuesdays from 4:30pm to 5:30pm.
MONTHLY MEETING TIME: The Third Tuesday of each month from 5:45PM to no later than 7:15PM. Held at The Block off biltmore, 39 South Market Street, Asheville.

All are welcome; please join us!

Our phone # is:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Organizing 101: Effective Social Change — led by Mike Ferner* September 23 & 24, 2011

Grieving about dashed hopes for change? Don’t mourn—Organize!

Friday evening 6:30-9pm North Asheville Library, 1030 Merrimon Ave, Asheville
             Presentation, Discussion
Saturday 10am-4pm: (Battery Park Apartments—Rooftop Garden, 1 Battle Square, downtown Asheville)
            Workshop I, Lunch, Workshop II

Presented by VFP Chapter 099's Center for Peace Education & Training

Reserve your spot. Contact:  Clare Hanrahan    828-242-5610    email:

Donations welcome

If you advocate for change, this event is for you whether your issue is peace, social justice, the environment, the economy, human rights…whatever.

What can we do to: stop these wars; save the planet; distribute wealth equitably; end racism…???

Mike says: “There may be more ways than one to get there, but this much is certain: we, the relative handful of committed believers, aren't going to get there on our own. Gleanings from history and my own experience tell me the best way is still found in Joe Hill’s last words: ‘Don't mourn for me, organize!’
“We must do more than fix the wrongs. We must make the rules, define the terms, run the show—in a word: govern ourselves….It is precisely when we learn how to gain the power to govern ourselves—not  just the power to fix the wrongs—that we will be able to reorder these systems to serve the common interest and create a better life. And not coincidentally, it is when we begin to take organizing seriously that we will begin this journey.
“As Asheville goes, so goes the nation—or at least the movement! I am so looking forward to working with you on the most time-tested (and unfortunately these days, seldom used) method for social change. Warning: Numerous times through this process you will say to yourself, ‘What?? (or possibly even “WTF”)  I know that!’ or ‘Huh?  We're already doing that.’ You will be right. We will be teaching each other.  It will be exciting, tedious, frustrating, great fun...and revolutionary.”

Recommended reading (whether you attend the event or not) : Introduction to THE POPULIST MOMENT: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America by Lawrence Goodwyn

* Mike Ferner is a writer and activist from Ohio who served two years as the national president and is currently interim director of Veterans For Peace. He was elected twice to Toledo City Council, organized for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) for 5 years, worked as communications director for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee the first three years of the Mt. Olive Co. boycott and worked as Communications Director for the Program on Corporations, Law &  Democracy. Mike also worked as a volunteer on the FLOC Campbell Soup Co. boycott through the 1980′s.  In the 70′s, organized two local anti-nuclear power groups in northern Ohio.
Mike traveled to Iraq twice, with a Voices in the Wilderness delegation just prior to the U.S. invasion in 2003, returning in 2004 for two months as an independent journalist. His book about those trips, Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran For Peace Reports from Iraq, was published by Praeger in 2006.
His activism includes several arrests for “disturbing the war,” including disrupting a session of Congress.  During the Vietnam War he served as a Navy Hospital Corpsman, took care of hundreds of wounded soldiers and was discharged as a conscientious objector.  Mike wrote the “Veterans For Peace Case for Impeachment and Prosecution.”
His main interest is in learning more about how the Populists organized the largest mass democratic movement in U.S. history and what that might mean today for popular uprisings looking for a better life.

1 comment:

  1. Mike's comments are spot on. We must organize, and I add we must be organized. I have been a peace and social justice advocate for several non-profits and NGOs over the past 40 years, including time when I was in the military. I would like to say, that far too often I think we lose sight of the fact that results can take decades. I and those like me are fighting some of the same social justice issues we engaged with during the Civil Rights Movement. But is I may, with this comment, I would ask your indulgence to allow me to take just a moment to address some of the areas where we might not do as good a job as we could?

    We use lots of tactics, including petitions, letter writing, telephone calling, grassroots organizing, and lobbying. I have been to Washington, D.C. to lobby, as well as to a variety of state capitals, as well as to mass media outlets to try to get the message out. Any strategy that relies on but one tactic is not going to achieve the goals required to change hearts and minds.

    Petitions are but a tactic, and nearly every social justice group uses them. Like most tactics, they are not designed to be the tool that changes minds and hearts but a tool that begins a process, one that is usually long, frustrating and difficult. Instead, these tactics are designed to get the attention of staff members in the offices where they work for elected officials; the media, those who are allies, those who might become allies, and, perhaps, those who have the power to make changes. Creating awareness among these groups of people is a necessary step, as at the end of the day, they are the ones who influence and "motivate" those with the power to take the actions to make social justice and peace a reality.

    I believe we must use the tactics regularly and encourage people to sign petitions, write letters, and make phone calls. In terms of lobbying, most people have neither the time nor the skills to lobby well. All too often, I have seen well-meaning activists lobbying their elected officials without the necessary preparation to convince and activate that official. And, I have seen good-intentioned lobbyists alienate elected officials, definitely a losing strategy. I was both a paid and an unpaid lobbyist for several peace organizations and the Archdiocese of Seattle. Very few people have the skills to be effective as lobbyists and very few organizations have enough influence (re: power and money) with our elected officials to move them. I encourage lobbyists who are meeting with their local officials to start with using the tactics first. Get to know their elected officials and get them to know and respect you. Shared respect and dignity go a lot farther toward achieving our goals than do accusations and anger. Once we have created that informal relationship, we might also have formed a footing to meet them in a more formal atmosphere to begin the work of lobbying. When we have that first meeting in the elected officials office, depending on the meeting purpose, I believe delivering petitions supporting our cause, deliver is a powerful message.. And that is our goal when we lobby an elected official... we deliver a message... one that might lead to his or her's support. Then, the real lobbying takes place in the hallways when we gently grab elbows of those heading onto the floor to vote and remind them of their earlier commitments and to thank them for their support.

    I am honored to be a member of VFP, and sincerely thank you for your efforts. Keep up the great work. I am getting up in age and now feel that my job is to support those younger than I who have taken up the great causes of social justice, peace and the environment. Let me know how I can help.