Sunday, March 15, 2020

What was the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice (WEFPJ)?

 The Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice (WEFPJ) was an all-women’s community of protest and challenge to violence and militarism housed on 52 acres bordering the Seneca Army Depot in upstate New York.
    Commonly known as the Seneca Women’s Peace Camp or Seneca, WEFPJ was modeled after the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in England (1981-2000) where thousands of British sisters were engaged in nonviolent protest in the face of the scheduled deployment of U.S. Cruise and Pershing II nuclear missiles.
    Though the United States military steadfastly refused at the time to either confirm or deny the presence of nuclear weapons at the Seneca Depot, it has since been revealed that the base was a storage site and departure point for nuclear weapons bound for Europe. Additionally, the Depot housed radioactive material for the Manhattan Project.

    In the summer of 1983, 12,000 women from around the world came to the encampment to participate in nonviolence training, direct action, and civil disobedience at the Seneca Army Depot resulting in 950 arrests. Actions continued throughout the 1980s with an ongoing peace presence until 2006.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Interview: Barbara Deming

    Barbara Deming (July 23, 1917-August 2, 1984) is one of the most significant nonviolent theorists in U.S. history. Her writings and activism chronicle the civil rights movement, the Vietnam anti-war movement, the women's movement and the gay and lesbian rights movement. She published many books, including Prison Notes (1966) and Remembering Who We Are (1981). Prisons That Could Not Hold (1995) contains the essay she wrote about Seneca the summer of 1983 and the incident in Waterloo. It also includes a chronology of events by Blue Lunden and photographs by Dorothy Marder, Catherine Allport, Catherine DeMaria, Ellen Shub & Joan E. Biren, shown below.

Barbara being interviewed Aug. 6, 1983, at the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice several days after being released from the Interlaken school jail.

Barbara raises her flag/bouquet of wildflowers. Photo by Dorothy Marder, 1983.
Above: As she is being arrested, Barbara blows a kiss to a tearful Jun Song. Photo by Catherine Allport, 1983. Below: Barbara is handcuffed. Photo by Catherine DeMaria, 1983.
Above: The Jane Does testify during the arraignment at the Seneca County Fairgrounds. Below: The group waits in the courtroom for the decision. Photos by Joan E. Biren (JEB), 1983.
Above: Grace Paley (center) and other women at the school/jail in Interlaken, NY, circle in support of the fifty-four arrested women. Below: Jane Gaupin (left) talks with townspeople at the jail. Photos by Joan E. Biren (JEB), 1983.
Above: Back at the encampment, Barbara holds the flagpole point. Below: One of the all-women circles at the peace camp in front of the barn. Photos by Joan E. Biren (JEB), 1983.
1983 Chronology of Waterloo 54

JULY 25: Barbara arrived with Rhea at Northwoods in upstate New York. They joined Blue and Quinn on the 21st day of their walk from New York City to Seneca.

JULY 26: Barbara walked from Trumansburg to Ovid Center, N.Y. with Blue, Quinn, Rhea, and Donna.

JULY 28: Walk was joined by Jun Song, Terri, Lisa, and Kitrinka. The entire group reached the Encampment that afternoon.

JULY 29: We spent most of the day at camp and joined Jun Song for part of her daily walk around the Army depot.

JULY 30: We joined with 75 other women in New York City Women’s Pentagon Action’s Feminist Walk, from Seneca Falls to the Encampment. In the town of Waterloo, a mob blocked our way at the bridge. We sat to diffuse potential violence and to insist on our constitutional right to pass. Fifty-four were arrested and taken to the local jail.

JULY 31: We were transported at 5 a.m. from jail to the Interlaken Junior High School and were held in the cafeteria for five days, as we refused to give our names or cooperate in any way with this illegal arrest. Women from the Encampment began vigiling outside the school and were harassed by local townspeople. The governor declared a “state of emergency” and state police were brought in.

AUGUST 3: We were taken to the Seneca County Fair Grounds to a barn that had been converted to a courtroom. After processing 14 of us individually, each of whom refused to give her name and most of whom refused to walk, the judge finally yielded to our demand to be heard as a group. We were all brought in and allowed to make our statement. Charges were dismissed and even our fingerprints and mug shots were returned to us. We returned to the Encampment, where Barbara spent another week before returning home.

Articles: 1982

May 16, 1982
Ithaca Journal "Nuke protest at Seneca"

November 27, 1982
Gay Community News "No nukes! No queers?"

Brochure: Why a Woman's Peace Camp?

Tri-fold brochure produced in the early summer of 1983.
PeHP source: Linda Fields

Friday, October 04, 2019

MaGaZiNe 12.83

Publication: Ms. (Arlington County, VA)
Date: December 1983
PeHP source: Suzanne Sowinska

* Grace Paley (Dec. 11, 1922- August 22, 2007) "There'a a case to be made that Grace Paley was first and foremost an antinuclear, antiwar, antiracist feminist activist who managed, in her spare time, to become one of the truly original voices of American fiction in the later twentieth century." Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker, May 2017.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Articles: July 1983

July 1983 
Ithaca Times "Buyers finish payments for women's camp land"

July 1983
Ithaca Journal "Members of the Peace Camp erect statue..."

July 1983
Democrat and Chronicle "Women defy 'deadly force' warning..." 

July 1983 (Boston)
Boston Globe "Women's peace camp stirs up Romulus, N.Y."
July 1983
Workers Viewpoint

July 3, 1983
Courier-Journal "New wave of protesters arrive at peace camp"

July 5, 1983 
Courier-Journal "400 women demonstrate peace"

July 5, 1983
The Post-Standard "Well runs dry but spirits buoyant at Peace Encampment"

July 10, 1983
Courier-Journal "Different voices, but one message"

July 12, 1983
Middletown Times Herald "Army denies security breached"

July 15, 1983
Ithaca Journal "Inside the Camp at Romulus"

July 19, 1983
Boston Phoenix "Encampment: Working without leaders, so far"

July 31, 1983
Equal Times "Peace is a women's issue"

July 31, 1983
The Citizen "Seneca declares emergency"

Articles: Nov./Dec. 1983

November 25, 1983
The New Statesman "US government fears Greenham leads the way"

December 1983
Ms. Magazine "Stories from Seneca"

Articles: 1984-1994

June 14, 1985
Post-Standard "Seneca Makes N.Y. No.2 in Nukes"

July 7, 1986
Ithaca Journal "13 Cited in Depot Protest"

HeRSToRy 035 Nancy Clover

A Boston native, Nancy was the still photographer for the Women's Video Collective and took hundreds of photographs of the Peace Camp in 1983 and 1984. 

CLIP 1: Putting on a slide show

Herstory: Nancy Clover
Date: February 8, 2008
Location: Cambridge, MA
Present: Estelle Coleman, hershe Michele Kramer

CLIP 2: It really was a little city


The following photographs were specifically referenced in Nancy's interview:
Susan B. Anthony's grand niece at the August 1st action.
"Build Ramps Not Bombs," from the August 1st action.
Nancy (right) along side Claire Beach (middle) and Catherine Allport at the Women's Equality Day rally in Seneca Falls, 1984. Photo by Ruth Putter.

See Nancy's 1983 photographs here. And her 1984 photographs here.

Articles: Sept./Oct. 1983

Sept. 1983
WomaNews, "Women Clash with Community at Waterloo"

September/October 1983
Whole Life Times "Seneca Falls: A woman's place to stop the arms race"

September 17, 1983 
Gay Community News "400 demonstrate at Seneca Army Depot"

October 4, 1983
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, "Upstate Ladies for Peace protest nukes in style"

October 11, 1983
"Women protestors about to be moved to a bus..."

Articles: August 1983

August 1, 1983
Ithaca Times photograph "Historic moment"

August 2, 1983
Ithaca Journal photograph "This is the first wave of women to cross the 7 foot fence..." 

August 9, 1983
The Boston Phoenix "With the women at Seneca: Tense encounters"

August 10, 1983
Courier-Journal "Dichotomy: Can the church heal the breach?"

August 13, 1983
Gay Community News "Over the Fence at Seneca"

August 17. 1983
Valley Advocate "Tribe of women"

Articles: May/June 1983

May 1983
Nuclear Times "The Greenham of America"

May 24, 1983
Ithaca Times "Peace Camp Site"

May 25?, 1983
Democrat and Chronicle "Seneca edgy over protest at Army depot"

May 30, 1983
Ithaca Journal "Women-only Anti-Nuclear Encampment"

June 26, 1983
Democrat and Chronicle "Women's Peace Camp"

Monday, September 30, 2019

Brochure: Seneca Army Depot Fact Sheet

Early 1990s brochure used by WEFPJ and other peace and justice organizations in upstate New York.
PeHP source: Carolyn Mow

FooTaGe 023

   "Chain Gang" affinity group women chain themselves to the main gate of the Depot.

*This video was transferred to miniDV tape from the original 3/4" tape. The content has not been edited. As with all Women’s Video Collective (WVC) footage from the summers of 1983 and 1984, video and sound quality vary greatly due to the age of the material, the quality of the original tapes and equipment (used and borrowed), and the setting itself (outdoors in the heat and wind on uneven ground). Herstory owes a large debt of gratitude to all the women who helped in ways great and small to document the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice and especially to Judi Kelemen and Nancy Clover for storing, and then making available, WVC's videos and photographs.

Many thanks as well to filmmakers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal who graciously donated their equipment, expertise, and Brooklyn studio so the Peace Encampment Herstory Project could digitize WVC’s 130-tape collection.

HeRSToRy 047 Clare Grady

   Clare is a faith-based, anti-war activist from Ithaca, NY who has participated in hundreds of actions and served multiple prison terms over the past four decades. She was part of an affinity group that committed civil disobedience at the Seneca Army Depot in the summer of 1983. 
Interview: Clare Grady
Date: April 4, 2008
Location: Ithaca, NY
Present: Estelle Coleman, hershe Michele Kramer

CLIP 1: Boston to WEFPJ Walk
 CLIP 2: The blood in Iraq


Sunday, September 29, 2019

Restricted Area Warning

MaGaZiNe 11.25.83

Publication: New Statesman (London, England)
Date: November 25, 1983
PeHP source: Suzanne Sowinska

* The New Statesman is a British political and cultural magazine founded in 1913 and published in London.

FLYeR: Women's Peace Encampment (pre-opening)

A call put out by the Rochester Women's Action for Peace encouraging women to come to meetings to help organize the Women's Peace Encampment.
PeHP source: Suzanne Sowinska

FLYeR: Funding Encampment land

FLYeR: A Woman's Action (Sowinska)

A flyer for the May 15, 1982 women's action at the Seneca Army Depot organized by the Women's Pentagon Action and Upstate Feminist Peace Alliance.
PeHP source: Suzanne Sowinska

Regional Meeting - March 31 & April 1, 1984

Date: March 31 & April 1, 1984
Location: Romulus, NY.  
Participants: 15 women came from Romulus, Rochester, Geneva, Ithaca & Lyons (NY). 
Web reports: Program, Children, Community Dialogue, Financial, Grant Writing, Health Dept./Water & Media. 
Issues: Encampment decision making, staff vs. no staff & paid vs. volunteer, nature and length of Encampment
PeHP source: Linda Field

Saturday, September 28, 2019

ViDeo: Every Woman Here: Remnants of Seneca 1982-2006

This 26-minute video highlights Peace Encampment Herstory Project interviews, songs, & photographs from the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice.

PeHP 2007; revised 2015.

Front cover
Back cover

Flyer: A Woman's Action (Mow)

The first Mother's Day women's action at the Seneca Army Depot. Organized by the Upstate Feminist Peace Alliance & Women's Pentagon Action, May 1982.
PeHP source: Carolyn Mow

An article and photo about the action that ran in the Ithaca Journal:

Handout: Summer 1983 Action Timeline

Created in the Fall of 1983 and included in the Nonviolence Preparation Supplement (to the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice Resource Handbook) published by the Seneca Depot October Action Coalition.
PeHP source: Linda Field

MaGaZiNe 5.83

Publication: Nuclear Times
Date: May 1983
PeHP source: Linda Field