Friday, October 24, 2014

SoNG 041 We All Come from the Goddess

Visiting the Peace Camp land, April 2008.
 
We all come from the Goddess
And to Her we shall return.
Like a drop of rain
Flowing to the ocean.

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SoNG 040 If Every Woman in the World

The visual of this video was taken on a visit to the Peace Camp land, April 2008. The song, sung by a group of women from the Encampment (dubbed Seneca Singers for the purpose of the recording), comes from Peace Camp Sings, a cassette produced by Sorrel Hays and Marilyn Ries, 1987. 

If Every Woman in the World
Written by Karen MacKay and Nancy Nordlie

If ev'ry woman in the world had her mind set on freedom,
if ev'ry woman in the world dreamed a sweet dream of peace,
if ev'ry woman of ev'ry nation, young and old, each generation,
held her hands out in the name of love, 
there would be no more war.

If ev’ry man in the world had his mind set on freedom,
if ev’ry man in the world dreamed a sweet dream of peace,
if ev'ry man of ev'ry nation, young and old, each generation,
held his hands out in the name of love, 
there would be no more war.

If ev'ry leader in the world shared a vision,
if ev'ry leader in the world shared a sweet dream of peace,
if ev'ry leader of ev'ry nation, young and old, each generation,
worked for justice and liberation, 
holding hands out in the name of love,
there would be no more war.

If ev'ry nation in the world set a true course for freedom,
if ev'ry nation raised its children in a culture of peace,
if all our sons and all our daughters reached in friendship 
across the waters, refusing to be enemies, 
there would be no more war.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

HeRSToRy 098 Pam Flanigan aka Pam Anndagah

Pam (r) with Estelle and Sera at her home, October 16, 2008. 

*The video of Pam's herstory is in the To Be Processed queue - check back!

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HeRSToRy 088 Sita Lang

 
Sita setting up for a PeHP interview, September 2008.  
*Sita's herstory is in the To Be Processed queue - check back!
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HeRSToRy 083 Sera Brown

Sera working the camera at a PeHP interview, October 2008.  

*The video of Sera's herstory is in the To Be Processed queue - check back!
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HeRSToRy 091 Chick aka Claire Parker


Chick showing off her vintage Peace Camp t-shirt during her Herstory interview, August, 17, 2008.

*The video of Chick's herstory is in the To Be Processed queue - check back!
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SoNG 038 A Peace Camp Ballad


Otter wrote this song for Estelle's Croning ceremony. It is based on an incredibly true Peace Camp adventure. The responders in this call & response song are Sita, Sera, Dorothy, Hershe, Estelle, Alice and Laura. 
Recorded at Peace Camp GatherSing, Ithaca, NY, September 13, 2008.

A Peace Camp Ballad
written by Otter

One night the women were cutting the fence
Ta-roo, ta-roo, were cutting the fence
Even though they knew 'twas a federal offense
Ta-roo, ta-roo, 'twas a federal offense

Up came a lone officer waving a gun
Ta-roo, ta-roo, waving a gun
Who said stop there ladies and don't try to run
Ta-roo, ta-roo, and don't try to run

I finally caught you and now you must pay
Ta-roo, ta-roo, and now you must pay
Put down the bolt cutters and do as I say
Ta-roo, ta-roo, and do as I say

But among them there was a fiesty old crone
Ta-roo, ta-roo, a fiesty old crone
Who said, back off now sonny, and leave us alone
Ta-roo, ta-roo, and leave us alone
 
We do not acknowledge your authority
Ta-roo, ta-roo, your authority
Your power's illegitimate to those who love peace
Ta-roo, ta-roo, to those who love peace

You can shout all you want but we're going home tonight
Ta-roo, ta-roo, we're going home tonight
And she led them away 'neath the full moon's light
Ta-roo, ta-roo, 'neath the full moon's light

He followed them yelling and waving his hands
Ta-roo, ta-roo, and waving his hands
All the way back to the peace camp lands
Ta-roo, ta-roo, to the peace camp lands

Then the crone she did the most kick-ass thing
Ta-roo, ta-roo, the most kick-ass thing
She had him arrested for trespassing
Ta-roo, ta-roo, for trespassing

The women asked later how she'd been prepared
Ta-roo, ta-roo, how she'd been prepared
To do what she did and not get scared
Ta-roo, ta-roo, and not get scared
 
She said of course the guard gave me a terrible fright
Ta-roo, ta-roo, a terrible fright
But I knew what I knew and I knew I was right
Ta-roo, ta-roo, I knew I was right
 
If I've learned one thing it's you must take a chance
Ta-roo, ta-roo, you must take a chance
If you walk on thin ice you might as well dance
Ta-roo, ta-roo, you might as well dance

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Monday, October 20, 2014

WiNDWaLKeR 1984 Barbara Deming

 A 20-minute video of Barbara at the Peace Camp being interviewed by the Women's Video Collective in the aftermath of a confrontation with angry townspeople and subsequent arrest and imprisonment of 54 women at the Waterloo bridge, July 1983.

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

SoNG 037 Warrior Woman

"I wrote this song at the Peace Camp in 1986. It was inspired by listening to Estelle Coleman and Linci Comy talk about their lives."
Warrior Woman
written by hershe, sung by The Average Dyke Band

I get caught up in the hardness of it all, 

the anger swirling 'round.
But in this moment the softness overwhelms, 

let's gather close and circle 'round.
Warrior woman, I'm born of your life, 
The trails that you blaze and the battles that you fight.
Rest your eyes now, lay your armor down.


The battle lines had yet to be drawn, 
the enemy yet to be named.
As you struggled in the wilderness alone, 
awakening to your marriage with pain.
Warrior woman, I'm born of your life, 
the trails that you blaze and the battles that you fight.
Because of you my wounds don't run as deep.

How could you know that the rage you were feeling was so righteous, 
so perfectly true.
Tears of anguish, your head against the wall

they took it all and left nothing for you.
Warrior woman, I'm born of your life, 
the trails that you blaze and the battles that you fight.
How I mourn the price you had to pay.

I want to take you in my arms, take you away.
We'll find a  place where we don't have to feel the pain.

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HeRSToRy 087 Twilight aka Laurie Jetter

Twilight, right, walking with Sita Lang in the 25th Anniversary of the Seneca Women's Peace Encampment walk from Seneca Falls to Waterloo. August 2008.

*The video of Twilight's herstory is in the To Be Processed queue - check back!

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HeRSToRy 017 Barbara Reale


                                                                                       Photo by Nancy Clover, 1983

Barbara, far left, at the Peace Camp in the summer of 1983.

*The video of Barbara's herstory is in the To Be Processed queue - check back!
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HeRSToRy 066 Carmen Bradshaw

                                                              Photo by hershe Michele Kramer, 2008
Carmen (right) with Christine at the 25th Anniversary of the Waterloo 54 Walk in Seneca Falls, August 2008.

*The video of Carmen's herstory is in the To Be Processed queue - check back!
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HeRSToRy 102: J'amie aka Jeanne-Michele Charbonnet

                                                                           Photo by Hazel Brampton, 1983

J'amie (center, blue bandana on head) at the Opening Day tree-planting ceremony at the main gate of the Seneca Army Depot, July 4, 1983.

*The video of Jeanne Michele's herstory is in the To Be Processed queue - check back!
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HeRSToRy 059 Arora Crone

                                                                                          Photo by Renee-Noelle Felice, 1984

Arora  (on the left) in the parking lot at the Peace Camp, August 1984. 

*The video of Arora's herstory is in the To Be Processed queue - check back!
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HeRSToRy 105 Woody Blue


                                                                          Photo by Renee-Noelle Felice, 1984

Woody at the fire pit of the outdoor kitchen in August of 1984. 

Woody (l) with Terry Fredlund [PeHP 103] November, 2008.

*The video of Woody's herstory is in the To Be Processed queue - check back!
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HeRSToRy 110 Terri Shay


                                                                                           Photo by Renee-Noelle Felice, 1984

Terri working on a sign in the back yard at the Peace Camp in preparation for the Women's Equality Day Celebration and Demonstration, August 26, 1984. The day began with a march in Seneca Falls and culminated in a civil disobedience action at the Depot main gate.


Terri being interviewed for PeHP at her home in Tucson, AZ, November 19, 2008.

*The video of Terri's herstory is in the To Be Processed queue - check back!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

HeRSToRy 014 Linda Field


Interview: Linda Field
Date: December 7, 2006
Location: Lawrenceville, NJ
Present: Estelle Crone, hershe Michele Kramer
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Monday, October 13, 2014

HeRSToRy 013 Glynis Lomon


Interview: Glynis Lomon
Date: November 17, 2006
Location: Cambridge, MA
Present: Estelle Crone, hershe Michele Kramer

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

HeRSToRy 012 Judi Kelemen


Herstory: Judi Kelemen
Date: November 16, 2006
Location: Watertown, MA
Present: Estelle Coleman, hershe Michele Kramer
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Saturday, October 11, 2014

HeRSToRy 011 Claire Beach


Interview: Claire Beach
Date: October 22, 2006
Location: Seattle, WA
Present: Estelle Coleman, hershe Michele Kramer
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Friday, October 10, 2014

HeRSToRy 010 Jody Bear aka Jody Laine



Herstory: Jody Bear aka Jody Laine
Date: October 22, 2006
Location: Seattle, WA
Present: Estelle Coleman, hershe Michele Kramer

ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE from the Women's Video Collective, July 1983
Jody facilitating Morning Meeting at the Peace Camp,
Shad Reinstein recording minutes.



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Thursday, October 09, 2014

HeRSToRy 009 Bird aka Johna Cochran



Interview: Bird aka Johna Cochran
Date: October 22, 2006
Location: Seattle, WA
Present: Estelle Crone, hershe Michele Kramer
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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

HeRSToRy 008 Suzanne Sowinska



Herstory: Suzanne Sowinska
Date: October 21, 2006
Location: Seattle, WA
Present: Estelle Coleman, hershe Michele Kramer
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Tuesday, October 07, 2014

HeRSToRy 005 Becky Condon


Interview: Becky Condon
Date: October 20, 2006
Location: Seattle, WA
Present: Estelle Coleman, hershe Michele Kramer

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Monday, October 06, 2014

HeRSToRy 007 Doreen Cornwall


Interview: Doreen Cornwall
Date: October 21, 2006
Location: Seattle, WA
Present: Estelle Coleman, hershe Michele Kramer
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Sunday, October 05, 2014

HeRSToRy 006 Shad Reinstein



Interview: Shad Reinstein
Date: October 20 & 21, 2006
Location: Seattle, WA
Present: Estelle Coleman, hershe Michele Kramer

Shad was one of the founding organizers of the Women's Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice and was instrumental in transforming the newly purchased land into a legal campground.

S: My name is Shad Reinstein. Today is October 20th, we’re sitting in my basement in Seattle, Washington.

E: What we really want to hear from you, Shad, is how you first got involved with the peace encampment.

S: I was involved with the camp from the very beginning. The camp started because of the Women’s Pentagon Action (1) in 1980. A group of women from Rochester, Syracuse and Ithaca rented an old hippie bus and we drove for 6 or 8 hours each way to Washington D.C. We'd just had a great demonstration, and decided we should all go do something together about peace and the the depot. Two or three weeks before a paper in Rochester had done an exposé on the Seneca Army Depot (2). It was the first time that anything about the depot had come out publically and it was reprinted in both the Syracuse and Ithaca weekly papers. Rochester, Syracuse and Ithaca were kind of a triangle and the army depot was in the center of that triangle. The thing about the depot was it had been used for storage and as an army munitions center, which meant that it had leftover weapons that had been used during and since the Second World War and the Korean War, as well as being the place where nuclear weapons were stored for transhipment to Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Also, the GPS signal station was based there and you could go over the poles to get to those locations.Some of us were invited to something in New York City and went down and talked about the depot. No one in New York had ever heard anything about it and were amazed that it housed weapons and the leftovers from the Manhattan Project (3). Most people don’t realize that Buffalo, New York had been one of the places research had been done. and that the nuclear garbage from that research was at Seneca.A bunch of women got together and we started having meetings. I remember the first meeting was in Ithaca. People from the national WILPF(4) office were there and they agreed to put on a staff person. A lot of organizing and fundraising was out of the national WILPF.


Shad (l), Gloria Steinem, & Jody Bear [PeHP 010] at an event in Seattle, 2007.

E: Initially, had people expected that it was going to grow so huge?

S: [laughter] We had no idea what we were doing, we were just going to do something about the issue of the Cruise and Pershing missiles (5).

E: How did the word get out all across the country?

S: We had a really great organizing committee of probably 30 women and we were meeting every month for at least a year. Most of those meetings would happen in Albany because people thought that was a central location. People had incredible experience and backgrounds in organizing.Everyone had major tasks and were very responsible. We’re talking about people who had been national organizers in the peace movement, in some cases since the 50s.

H: Can you talk a little bit about the meetings in terms of how decisions were reached? Did you already have a sense of consensus and feminist process?

S: There would be committees that would do work and then someone else would come to the meeting who had not been involved before and they would disagree. We made a decision early on that we were going to be a consensus group and one of the issues was figuring out what it meant to have consensus. We had very clear dynamics: this is what it means to have consensus; this is what it means to block consensus; this is what it means to step aside; this is what it means to voice an objection. At the beginning of every meeting we would go over what it meant to be in consensus so that people could understand that there were different ways of voicing objections and saying, I don’t think that this is wrong but I don’t think this is what we should do and I am morally opposed and I am so firm that that I will block consensus, as opposed to I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. Those are two different perspectives. Or, I really don’t think this is the right thing to do but everyone else says that they want to do it, so I will step aside. There were a couple of more stages, but those are three different basic levels of blocking consensus and that would be gone over every single meeting.

H: How did you know that?

S: This came out of people blocking consensus when they didn’t mean to. I don’t remember who came up with it. Some of these women were really involved in Quaker meetings and AFSC (6) and had had lots of experience with the consensus process. This was let’s talk about what it means to make consensus and how we are going to deal with this issue. We came up with this as a process to do every minute, and it was part of how we functioned together as a group.

H: Do you remember specific names of women in those early stages of meetings?

S: Vera was an author in NYC who was probably in her 40s or 50s during that period of time; Kate Donnelly who does political posters, now, Donnelly-Colt Productions; oh god, I’d have to sit and think, I’m sure I can.

H: Any names from Ithaca?

S: I’d have to think about them. You’ve talked with Carolyn Mow [Mow, see Herstory 002]. She's one of them. When I was thinking of the longterm people who really knew consensus – Kate and Vera are two of the people who came up.

E: I’m taking it all in, Shad, because every time we talk to someone I’m getting more of a picture. I didn’t become familiar with the idea of consensus until I got to the peace camp and it was obvious to me that women had worked long and hard but I didn’t really even know how old consensus was or how much of a feminist ideology-

S: Oh, consensus is an old longterm Quaker thing. It was not developed by the peace camp.

E: You met through ’81?

S: I’m trying to think. We'd really started meeting by '81, I’d say, and by the summer of '82 Gail Terzi moved to Seattle and brought the concept of the peace camp there.

E: When did you all start looking for land?

S: We talked a lot about Greenham Common (7) and we made the decision that the United States was different than Greenham Common and we wanted people to be able to camp legally. We didn’t know what that meant, but we knew we wanted people to have the option of doing civil disobedience and to be able to come and be there without being arrested. In order to do that we started to figure out how and one of the concepts was that we had to rent a piece of land. There was no concept that we were buying land. We were looking for a place where we could function legally but we were unable to rent land.

Rochester was a primary fundraiser and women from the Rochester community who were more organized than any other community got the land. I don’t remember the details of how the land was paid for, but I know they dealt with that. The Rochester religious Quaker community had heard about these two little old ladies that had a piece of land. Some of their community went and talked to them and they sold it. They assumed that they were selling it to a nice, religious women’s retreat thing and they sold it at under the going price to us. That was only because we couldn’t find land to rent and they did not know what it was they were selling it to.

E: When the land was found some of the women like Carrie [Stearns, see Herstory 002], and Karen [Beetle, see Herstory 003] were very young and hadn’t been land owners and weren’t sure that buying the land was the right thing. They talked originally about camping outside the fence when it had been a small idea of doing an action. That was quite a process buying land and having safe space.

S: We very early on decided that we wanted to make a legal place and what we didn’t realize was that after Woodstock (8), New York state had put in the strictest mass gathering rules of any place in the country in order to prevent another Woodstock. We didn’t realize when we were talking about making a legal campground how complicated that was. The process of getting land was really the responsibility of a number of those of us who were in upstate New York and we couldn’t find a legal campground until we found this piece of land. I don’t remember there being a huge decision because we had to buy land if it was going to be a legal campground and it was getting closer and closer and closer to the date. We had to buy the land because that was the only way we could honor this legal campground that we had all decided on. Yes, I’m sure there was personal stuff around the decisions we made. In the early meetings we made a decision that when the peace camp closed at the end of the summer, the land was to be given to the native tribe from that area. There was a clear decision in that early meeting that the camp was to not go beyond the summer and that at the end of that time it was to go to the Se-, not the Seneca, I can’t remember.

E: Cayuga.

S: To the Cayuga Nation (9). The land was to be given to the Cayuga Nation at the end of the summer.

E: So that had been decided. That’s something I did not know.

H: Was there any point in this process where the idea that camp was going to close at the end of the summer was up for negotiation?

S: Absolutely not.

H: Can you talk a little bit about the people in the local community, the military, and the police. And how you all developed relations and how you thought about that in the early stages?

S: Most of the people on the organizing committee had never been there. For them, going to Albany was a really long trip. Some of us from Rochester, Ithaca, and Syracuse were there but we were not the majority, I was not living in Ithaca that winter. I was actually living and working in Albany, getting all the legal papers together, helping Albany organize, and doing things like getting these monthly meetings together. I was on unemployment and had left Northwoods(10) for the winter and moved to Albany. I was there and we did not develop a local relationship with the community, That was a real problem. We were trying to get the camp together and we did not develop a relationship or lay any groundwork in the community. People laid more of a groundwork nationally than we did locally.

E: It wasn’t happening at all?

S: No. It happened in Rochester, it happened in Syracuse, it happened in Ithaca, it did not happen in that community. It did not happen in Romulus, it did not happen in Geneva. No, there was no one there. We had no community people from Geneva on the organizing committee.

H: As it got closer to the opening, how did things progress? Was there a point at which you realized you were on to something really big? Do you remember that moment for yourself?

S: I was going to tell you this moment anyway. Shortly after the land was bought, within a week or two, we knew we had to go there. We had planned for groups of women to come in and do work weekends and all of these type of plans were set in place for women from other communities to come there the minute we had the land, to start doing work on the land. But no one had talked to the local community because we were afraid something would blow up. So Michelle [Crone, see Herstory 004], Jody [Laine, see Herstory 010], me and this other woman go to the land in the middle of May and we didn’t want to make a big announcement because we were afraid the land deal would fall through This other woman and I were chosen to go to talk to the local government and had appointments with the county sheriff and with the town supervisor from Romulus. We went into the county sheriff’s office at 10 o’clock in the morning and we were escorted into a room and we were left to wait for a little bit. I’m sure they were trying to make us nervous. It was a room with probably three or four big wooden desks in it, where the sheriff and the deputy sheriff had their desks. And there were chairs there but they were arranged around the desks. Each desk would have a chair and there would be a couple of chairs on the other side of the desk so that you could be interviewed. All of a sudden, in walk all of these men and my visual remembrance was watching man after man after man after man wearing very prominent guns and going, oh, my god, what have we gotten ourselves into [laughter]. Pretty soon it was the two of us and, I would say, 10 –15 men with guns who were representing the county sheriff, the state police, probably the FBI, the military, who knows what else. There were probably five different police jurisdictions. There was a deputy sheriff who was bringing us in and then the county sheriff walked in. It was his job to interview and he was the only one that asked us any questions. He was very thorough. Kind of good cop, bad cop thing -- he was sure that we weren’t planning on any terrorism but what were we going to do when the Red Brigade, the terrorist women’s group from Germany, came to the peace camp and used our peace camp as a way to get on to the base and cause problems. They told us that there were two bus loads of women coming from Minneapolis and because we had been doing all of this national outreach, the FBI and all of these people nationally had been reporting on these women’s groups forming to go to Seneca, to walk from Florida or whatever. I remember Barbara Reale [Real, see Herstory 017] and I talking afterwards, Oh! I guess there’s two bus loads coming from Minneapolis! [laughter] Of course we couldn’t let on to any of this. Barbara had been the campaign manager for Bernie Saunders in Burlington the year before when he won his first election and so she was dealing with the political stuff and I was the local representative, Of all of the people in the organizing committee, I was the most local representative because I lived in the country outside of Ithaca but I was not connected. As the local representative they kept asking me what would you do in this situation? And what do you do in that situation? And so in my mind, I went to the Michigan Women’s Music Festival (11) because I had worked there for a number of years and every time they asked me a question, in my mind I would go, well, how did they deal with men harassing them at Michigan? How did deal with this in Michigan? How did they deal with that in Michigan? And I would answer the questions based on what Michigan Women’s Music Festival had done. I had no idea how we did, but we did it. Later, the county sheriff became friends with us and told us that he had been assigned for several months to study the women’s peace movement and civil disobedience. They knew this thing was coming and they had pulled him off of his normal county sheriff’s job and assigned him the task of learning about radical feminist movements to prepare the local sheriff’s department for this encampment invasion. So that was the morning and then Barbara and I went and we had lunch some place, probably Nicastro’s (12), [laughter] and then we went to Romulus to the town supervisor’s office.He was really basically smart and his job was to quiz us on the politics and he wanted to question and know our politics. It was very clear that they had planned out who was going to question who, and what each of their roles were going to be in talking with us. And he said, " Why the fuck haven’t you made an announcement?", and he set us up with a press conference the next day to make the announcement out of the Romulus town hall, because he said, "you need to do this". The government knew that the camp was happening and they had been doing local groundwork and had sent in what we now believe was an FBI agent in the winter to move to Romulus and start going to church and start organizing against us. But we weren’t doing that. We got behind because we were just trying to get our shit together. We didn’t relate to the community, whether that was because of fear or ignorance or lack of energy or being overwhelmed and we didn’t do any groundwork in the community. The most we did, was I insisted that we had to do something around class and rural issues with people coming in. Tina wrote an article for the peace camp handbook on rural issues because I basically called in a favor to get her to write that article.

E: People like Jody and Barbara Reale had been hired. Were there other people who were hired or being paid a salary?

S: We had hired people at token wages. Basically spending money was what we were paying them. Jody can tell you that because she’ll want to tell you her story [laughter]. I can’t remember if Michelle actually got paid or not but Barbara was. Basically there were two or three postions that were being paid probably $25 a week.

E: What was the process for hiring?

S: There was a hiring committee and the word went out. People applied and there were interviews and that kind of stuff.

E: As stuff was escalating had you all been aware of how much involvement by the government was going on?

S: Most of us had come out of the civil rights, anti-war, Vietnam, feminist movements. We were all really aware of government infiltrators and all of that kind of stuff. Did we know that they had sent someone to Romulus to live, and organize in the church against us, no. But did we expect that there was government stuff going on, yes. That’s why we were afraid to make an announcement before we got the land because we knew that they could interfere with us getting the land and that was our last chance to get legal land.

H: Tell us about why July 4 as the opening day?

S: One was, so people would have a 3-day weekend to get there. One was definitely because we wanted to say that we were Americans and we were protesting Cruise and Pershing. And then the third thing was because it was a slow news day. And I don’t know if that was a conscious decision, but it was something we became aware of as time went on and it got closer that it was a slow news day and would pick us up. I believe that that was at least mentioned in meetings. Let me tell you one little bit more about getting the land. So we got there and then we had to go to a barbecue and the county supervisor’s meeting. There was an older woman named Marsha Craig who’s now died, from Rochester. She was the treasurer and was really involved in getting the money and keeping stuff under control. I remember we got the land the middle of May and the first work group came in Memorial Day weekend. In upstate New York everybody has Chicken Barbeques and the local fire company had their annual one and invited women from the peace camp to come to this in Romulus. I was a vegetarian, and I didn't want to go [laughter] and there were all these women from Albany saying we can’t go, we have to go home. So Marcia, who’s this total short hair, scrawny butch dyke, and Jody who’s like a 25-year-old punk and me, who’s a vegetarian are left. What do we do? We knew we had to go to the barbeque to represent the people who were coming the whole summer. That was the first time I ate chicken. That’s when I stopped being a vegetarian because I knew that for me to go to a Chicken Barbeque and not eat chicken would be insulting and I had to do that because I was representing these women who were going to be there all summer. We went to the Chicken Barbeque and everyone sang hymns. I didn’t know hymns, but Jody and Marcia both knew the hymns because they had both grown up in churches and been in church choirs and they sang at the top of their lungs so that everyone there knew that the women from the peace camp knew those hymns. And I kind of mouthed along [laughter] because I didn’t know what the fuck was going on. [shared laughter] I don’t sing and I didn’t know the hymns. [laughter] Then we had to go to the county council meeting and talk to the county council or the county board of supervisors. And we had to say the Pledge of Allegiance and once again, we had to do it because we were not representing ourselves, we were representing all the women..

E: You said Woodstock had really escalated campground expectations…

S: You had to have running water of a certain pressure within a certain number of feet of every campsite. We had to have a campground plan which we didn’t do. We had to have a plan which had people camping in rows that were clearly marked so that cars and rescue vehicles could get back. We had to have a certain number of Porta-Johns. We had to have a dumping station for RVs. There was an engineer at Rochester Institute of Technology and every summer he would go off and take his family to some island in the Bahamas or some place in Africa and develop a sanitation system. He was a sanitation system engineer teacher that Rochester women found and instead of going away that summer, his project was to develop the plans for the peace camp. He had taught the guy who was approving the sanitation plan for Seneca county. His student knew exactly what was supposed to be in the plans. One of the things we had to do was have a huge water tank that fit certain specifications and it was pretty expensive. The women from Rochester did all the fundraising, found the tank, and transported the tank to the peace camp. We had to find water and Romulus wouldn’t or couldn’t let us have it, So we hired a water truck and they would go to Lodi or some other little town around Ovid to get the purified water from that town, put it into their water tank, transport it and then put it into our water tank where we would then re-chlorinate it. We had to build a huge stand and we had to have pumps to get it to be this specific pressure when you turned the faucets on at the back of the land. The tank was toward the front of the land and we had to lay the water pipes to go to the back of the land. We had to build the pole barn pavilion. Suzanne Sowinski [Sowinski, PeHP 008] wrote a grant to get us Porta-johns. This was an old farm. There had been a chicken coop and we had to literally scrape several inches of chicken poop off the floors in order for people to have meetings there. There was no electric, no refrigeration, and no water. We had to set up a a shower and set up a waste system. We set up a fake shower behind the garage that was supposed to be a sun shower because it had to have hot water according to the camping ground. Then there was the transfer pit which was an old dry well there. We took an oil tank or something like that, that we got from a junk yard, threw it into the pit, had a pipe that stuck up, put stone around it and said here’s our transfer pit, where the RVs can come and dump their waste, knowing that we would never let anyone do that. We had to have one so that’s what we did, This is the extent that we had to go creating a false hot water shower and creating a false transfer pit. Did people know that that was happening? They probably knew that, but they had to have it in order for them to sign off on the plans.

H: Was there a point in all of this process that you wondered whether you could get it all done?

S: Oh, all the time [laughter] are you kidding? [laughter] We had no idea whether it was going to get done or not. Matter of fact, we, everyone was trying to come up with lots of stuff to make sure that that didn't happen. We didn’t know if we physically could do it but we were putting the word out that we had all of this physical work that had to be done. There was an announcement made in Burlington, Vermont at gay pride that this peace camp was happening asking women with carpentry experience to come help set it up. Some woman heard about it, came for the weekend, went back, closed down her carpentry and then moved there for the summer to run the carpentry stuff. People were doing that all the time. All the carpentry crew - every one of the butches, were falling in love with all the other butches. [Hershe laughter] There were at least four relationships that started that summer that I know of. Butches working together on the carpentry crew were falling in love with each other and then falling in love with someone else. Jody and I got together. Aja and I got together. There were lots of people, we got it together. We had no idea. One of the issues was Jody and I were developing the physical plans and my carpentry knowledge came from Northwoods and building cabins that were going to be permanent and had to deal with snow. Jody’s carpentry experience came from building theater sets that had to last for three weeks [Hershe laughter]. So we were fighting all the time because we had totally different carpentry experience, neither of which were totally appropriate and so some of the stuff we did had to be redone because other people would come and in and say, no, that won’t last the whole summer or no, that won’t last the winter. It was a learning experience for all of us. Jody was 25, I was 35. I’d been living on land for five years, and been doing carpentry but none of us had ever planned anything like that and we didn’t know if we were going to make it by the opening thing. Then even when we did make it, we didn’t have the permit and the camp was supposed to open in two days, Have you heard of the whole Bella Abzug story? Bella Abzug (13) came for the opening and someone said, Bella Abzug’s on the land! [laughter] She had her trademark hat and she came in and we said that we didn't have the permit. Bella Abzug got on the phone and used her political power. She called up the governor and she called up the local congressman and she said, " this thing is happening and you better give them the permit because it’s going to happen whether you want it to or not and you better make it legal " and that’s how we finally got the permit. If I remember correctly, the governor was supposed to go make a speech at some national governor’s convention some place out of state and he sent his lieutenant governor to make the speech because he didn’t know what was going on and he wanted to be there in case something happened; not be at that camp, but in state.

H: What was your plan or prepared vision for opening day?

S: One of the things we did for opening day was we made the decision that it was women’s land. We made the decision that men could be in the front of the land in the driveway and forward but men could not go behind the driveway. We were sending out publicity and press releases and we made it very, very clear that was what was happening. If the news and TV stations and newspapers wanted to have reporters there to see what it was like, it was women-only land behind the driveway and no men would be allowed there. That was pretty strictly enforced and was pretty controversial. There were women who thanked us because they said that it was only because of that that they were being given this chance to do the story. They never would have been given it, otherwise. Newspapers had to go to go find women who could run camera and do the interviews and women weren’t in those positions in 1983 and so this was their big break on some level to prove that they could run a camera on site. There were those people and then there was the black guy who was there from some news station who felt like it was racism and was dealing with sexism that was racism that as a black man he couldn’t go back there, as a man he couldn’t go back there. He was identifying with it as a black man who was dealing with and reacting to racism. So it was pretty controversial. Then there was the issues of the flags. How were we going to deal with the flags.was in mediation for days,

H: What do you remember of that?

S: The guy who was the FBI agent from Romulus came over to welcome us. He was the Jesus Nut Guy. He talked about the jesus nut being the nut on the helicopter that held all of the blades together. I remember him telling us the story about the jesus nut and he became the Jesus Nut Guy. He gave us a flag and said if we were truly American we would fly the flag. It was kind of like being invited to the Romulus Chicken Barbeque. If you’re really Americans, here’s this flag to fly. You say you're Americans and your not. You’re using your protest here, and at that point it became this huge controversy. There were women from Europe and for them the American flag was imperialist. There were three Elmira housewives, who had maybe never even been to New York City in their lives who came up and to them the flag was a really important thing. The town knew it, and all of a sudden someone passed out flags and all over town, every house in Romulus had flags in their yards. It was why don’t you guys have a flag, kind of thing. The guy from the FBI had made everyone know that he had given us a flag and we hadn’t flown that flag so it became days and days of discussion. Finally there were a group of people, I think there were probably nine people, three from each of the two extremes and three in the middle and they went off and they met for 24, 48 hours until they could come up with a compromise. The understanding was that whatever compromise these people came up with was going to be the compromise. The result was that everyone could design and fly their own flag pillow cases and all that kind of stuff would represent what they felt the flag was. People could put the American flag out or not, or put the American flag upside down or whatever. Not that many people were talking about or protesting the Cruise and Pershing missiles although they intellectually knew it was wrong. One of the things that the peace camp did was it allowed people who were in the news media to talk about the Cruise and Pershing missiles because they couldn’t bring it up themselves but they could report on the women’s peace camp and the protesting of the Cruise and Pershing missiles. Seneca was where they were stored to be shipped. Greenham Common was where the Cruise and Pershing missiles were based and would be fired from. We were really protesting two different parts of that process. The two protests were not protesting the same thing. My impression is they were protesting different parts of the same thing. We were all protesting the deployment but Seneca was not a place where they would ever be shot from. It was a transshipment spot and it was where the storage place was. It had a big airport that was in the middle of nowhere. No one knew about it for years except for the locals who had no problems with it. Seneca had been a huge army/navy base because of the great lakes. There were submarine tests in the great lakes and it was an army training camp during the Second World War and during the Korean War. People had worked at Seneca for two generations. It was the local employer. The flag issue was in a sense totally different politics and totally different cultures coming together and learning to respect those cultures. Women were trying and developing consensus and we had developed consensus.

E: Then the flag issue really made the locals more angry with the encampment than they had been?

S: Oh, definitely. The flag became the symbol of all of these outsiders invading their space. There were hundreds and thousands of people that summer that invaded their space and we were really different. A lot of people didn’t have any respect for the locals. We were not always culturally sensitive. We were building the barn and we were up there with our shirts off. It was hot and sunny and we were back from the road but the Amish next door were having a meeting outside of their house and they had to move the church meeting inside because we were all up there shirtless. There was the Buddhist nun who was at the base drumming everyday, boom, boom, boom. One of the locals came and said can we stop them, my mother’s dying of cancer and it’s giving her a headache. Their lives were totally impacted by these hundreds and thousands of people who came through that summer. Some had no respect and no understanding for the fact that townspeople and their fathers and their grandfathers had worked at this base; that their grandfather had been in the, in the U.S. service during the Second World War; that that was a really popular war and it was a really important thing to do. A lot of guys would come through the base, meet some local girl, marry them and then live there for the rest of their lives, so to them this base was their honeymoon. And here we were protesting this base.

H: And did you personally understand that at the time? This perspective you have about the locals?

S: To some degree, I was from upstate.

H: As one of the primary organizers how did you deal personally with the influx of people?

S: I had a space in Ithaca that I would go escape to and I would have days when I couldn’t deal with anything. I had a pair of white cotton drawstring pants and if I was wearing those white cotton drawstring pants, everybody knew that I was at the camp to hang out and you can’t do any physical work in white cotton drawstring pants [laughter] and that was a sign that I was off and was burned out and I was there to play and party and be at the camp with the rest of the people and don’t bother me [laughter]. How did I deal with people? I got angry at people sometimes. I got angry at some of the attitudes of the urban women coming up there. I felt like they didn’t understand. But I also had some amazing experiences. I met the Queen Mother of Harlem who was up there. I sat and talked with her for an hour, hour and a half, because someone had brought her up to the peace camp and said, oh, she’s the Queen Mother of Harlem She couldn’t walk and had to stay at the main house and everyone else was going back to dinner and I said, " I’ll go get dinner and bring it up here". We both ended up sitting on the front porch of the peace camp and talking for a couple of hours. Then years later I was in Seattle and there was this big exhibit of the 100 Most Famous Black Portraits of the 100 Most Famous Black People or something and I went to see it and all of a sudden I’m like, oh, my god, that’s the Queen Mother of Harlem! You know, that’s the woman I had lunch with at the peace camp [laughter], and there she was in the portrait gallery.

E: Shad, you had been doing healing work for any number of years before the peace camp. Did you have anything to do with setting up the healing at the camp?

S: I was responsible for finding Twilight [Twilight, see Herstory 087] [laughter], that was my content to the healing, I was not there as a healer - I was there as a construction person and I found Twilight and got Twilight involved and that was my extent.

H: Once you got the camp open, what was your role?

S: Other people came in. Jody left to go to Michigan. Michelle left to go to Michigan. I can’t remember when Barbara Reale left, but she didn’t stay the whole summer. We moved on and other people came in and I remember there was some point when we called for volunteers to become the leaders, take over the important roles of the peace camp very early on, like July 5th or July 8th or something. We knew we were leaving. And I remember we did a little dance routine to ‘I’m a little teapot, short and stout, tip me over and pour me out.’ We decided we were ‘burt', too burnt out to even spell the word ‘burnt’ right. [laughter] We were really burned out and we needed other people to take over and Karen Zellermeyer and D.L. and Felice Yeskel and and all of those people came in and they became the leadership of the camp.

E: Do you remember what the fourth was like? How many women were there?

S: It was totally overwhelming. I remember lines and lines and lines of people’s flags on pillow cases. I remember we had a Cayuga woman come and bless the land. I remember figuring out how to cook for these huge numbers of people. What I remember is oh my god, there here and how do we do this. I remember it being here, we have to function. I don’t have memory, I have physical, visual memories of things but I have no idea what the content was. We were ‘burt’ [laughter]. We were poured out, we were the little teapot and our brains and our energy had been poured out.

H: Can you speak about the concept of no spokesperson? Was that something you all had developed?

S: That was a very conscious decision that was developed during the planning meetings. It came out of feminist principles that we had no leadership and that any woman could be a leader. It was also a way that no one could be targeted as being the leader of the organization. By the end of the summer,I had a personal relationship with the sheriff and that became really important when the Waterloo bridge incident happened. Some of us developed personal relations with people in the news media or in the sheriff’s department. They understood that we were not the official spokespersons but they also understood that we were in leadership roles and we’d be more likely to know what was really going on then someone who had just come in for that day.

H: Did that pose a conflict at any time in terms of feminist philosophy and practice?

S: I don’t know. We tried not to. I’m sure there were probably some people who thought there was. I don’t even know if people knew that the sheriff knew me, but that became important at Waterloo and I had issues at Waterloo. I had totally mixed feelings about Waterloo.

H: Can you start at the beginning and talk about that? Describe what it was for the camera.

S: For many of the women on the organizing committee who were from New York and Boston, that was the only time they were at the peace camp ever. They came and they were going to do a march from Seneca Falls to the peace camp. They were going to walk through places that had been important to women and go to Harriet Tubman’s house and to Cady Stanton’s house, that kind of thing. This was the beginning of August and I was not a part of the walk and was at the peace camp doing the logistics stuff that I did gettting ready for all these women to arrive there and have food because they would have just walked 20 miles. There was a lot of antagonism from the local community by this point and it came out in Waterloo. The women had to turn and go south to come to the camp and that turn was in the town of Waterloo. They had to go across the Erie Canal and a couple of rivers and stuff like that, so there were bridges. There was a bar right next to one of the bridges where a bunch of local guys were drunk, drinking, and really pissed at the camp. They were from that area and all of a sudden, all these women who were outsiders were going to march right past them and they were very antagonistic. The women came down from the north and the guys came out from the bar and there on the bridge things got dangerous. Whoever was leading the march got the women to sit down and the cops realized that there were going to be real problems.. Someone called the camp and said that there was this major incident happening in Waterloo. By the time I got there, the cops had arrested the women and what I was told by the county sheriff was that they were afraid that the women were going to get massacred. Probably not killed, but physically harmed. They knew that the women would be trained to do civil disobedience and that they knew that the men were drunk and out of control. and their thought was to get the women out of there. So they arrested them knowing that they would do civil disobedience and they could carry them out to some place in Waterloo. By the time I got there, they were in Waterloo jail. They weren’t in the school yet. I said, "what are you going to feed these women"? And the cops said, " We don’t know, salami? I said, "A lot of them are vegetarian". They let me go get food from the camp and bring in food that the women would eat, including vegetarian food. I was allowed to go in and out because the cops had this relationship with me. I was allowed to go in and out and bring food in and out until someone decided to leave with me and all of a sudden they had one less person and then I wasn’t allowed in any more. I could still bring food, but I wasn’t allowed to go in and out. And my reaction was pretty mixed because I realized that I was really angry at the Romulus guys and I don’t know if this is true or not, one of the things is that I felt really pissed at some of the women because I felt like they had made decisions that weren’t appropriate. And I think one of the things that’s coming back to me as I’m talking about this, was that the cops had asked them to change their march route and if they had changed the march route, everything would have been fine. If they had gone down to the next street and crossed the bridge at the next street as opposed to doing it on the main street they wouldn’t have gone past the bar and there would’ve been no incident at Waterloo. Eventually they were moved to a school and then they eventually went to trial.

H: So your memory is that the police officers asked them, once the scene was happening to sort of diffuse it and move the other way?

S: I don’t know if that’s true or not because I wasn’t there but I remember the cops talking--we tried to get them to move to a different bridge and we couldn’t and we were afraid and so we arrested them because we knew that the women would do civil disobedience and we could carry them off peacefully and our concern was to get them out of physical danger.So I felt like that was not respecting the locals, that, this whole incident was because someone said no, we’re going to go do this, when it’s just a bunch of drunk jerks.

E: Was there another bridge? They had applied for a permit and were told they didn’t need one.

S: There’s more than one bridge in Waterloo, there’s more than one way across the canal in Waterloo.

E: Way down the other end but they had already reached that area.

S: I don’t know. I don’t know.

E: Yeah, ‘cause while we were in New York there was woman who was part of the Waterloo 54 and she talked very briefly about it and, she wanted to hear some of the interviews from some of the other 54.

S: I’m sure it was a really powerful thing for the people who were part of that. It was an intense bonding experience and I don’t know if I had a reasonable reaction, part of my reaction was realizing that these women could have been killed, that someone could have been permanently damaged. And reacting to hearing the cops saying if they’d gone this way. But looking back on it, of course, they had the right to do that but at the time, I was oh my god, these city women don’t respect the local people and some of that was definitely there. There were lots of people from the city who had never been to the country in their lives who were coming to the peace camp and had lots of attitudes about local yokels.

E: The minute I hear the Waterloo 54 I see the picture of the guy with the gun.

S: It was really fucking scary. The cops were scared and they were trying to get people away safely.

H: Do you remember prior incidences that were scary or violent on the land itself?

S: There was one point when someone called a bomb threat in and we all, the quote, leadership, had all been at a party at Northwoods and there was just one or two people at peace camp in the leadership role and the cops came out and I remember [laughter] they had to search every single Porta-John, you know, they had to go and lift up the seat and look into the Porta-Johns with a flashlight and really examine every Porta-John that was there. There were some people who had camp tents ripped off, but it was much more individual. I had my tent right on the far edge of the field as a security tent, and I had consciously as a security person. put my tent there because it was a place where people could easily get through the hedge row into the camp. I caught some guy one time coming through and he was just curious to see what it was like. I remember there was more of that stuff later on than in the first summer. There wasn’t a lot of physical harassment but I wasn’t there the whole summer, I went to Michigan and my job there was to publicize the peace camp. My role at Michigan that summer was in the political tent talking about the women’s peace movement and I did a daily workshop on the peace camp. We had the the pillow case thing there and people made pillow cases. I was there for the big march on the 3rd of August or whatever it was, but I wasn’t there for all of August.

E: Do you remember anything about the Commie Dyke Buttons?

S: I'm sure they were there but not particularly. I remember that as a button from that period of time, I don’t remember anything specifically. There was more stuff about witches than the commie dykes, I think people had more issue that we were all witches and that was a big thing in the local newspaper for a period of time.

H: What can you tell us about civil disobedience and actions that first summer or your personal thoughts on that happening?

S: I got arrested twice that first summer. Let’s see when was the first time I was arrested? First time I was arrested was the big march day. I think it was August 3rd. I can’t remember, August 6th, right around Hiroshima/Nagasaki. In the planning committee, we decided to not do the big event on opening day because we knew that we were not going to be prepared and we decided to do it around Hiroshima/Nagasaki because of the symbolism of that with the Cruise and Pershing missiles but also that would give us a month's time to be able to handle having this influx and my guess is there were about 3000 women there. I guess that because at some point during the march I did a rough estimate, okay there’s 50, there’s 25, there’s 25 and I came up with around 3000 people. The march started off at the peace camp and went to the base, went around the bottom of the base to the truck entrance. I remember there being musicians, people playing music, and doing all of that kind of stuff in the park. Then people went over the fence and I went over the fence. It was a really powerful thing to sit on top of the fence and look out at all of those faces. I remember one of the women from Northwoods did it and she stood for a really long time on top of the fence and kind of did mime up there. Her picture with several mime faces on top of the fence,ended up in the Ithaca Journal and one of our neighbors saw it. That’s another story to tell you, one of the neighbors saw it and we could no longer get milk from that neighbor afterward. Some of the stuff that happened was a local story. One of the things that happened for me is that I was on unemployment that winter and was working part-time doing math for displaced homemakers and I had been on unemployment when I lived in Albany doing organizing work, I was living on unemployment and theoretically I was looking for jobs in Albany. So, at some point in May, when we were setting up the peace camp, my name or my picture got in the newspaper and someone local, who was actually one of my neighbors at Northwoods realized that I was on unemployment and I was doing work around the peace camp and I was investigated. They brought in an unemployment investigator from Rochester, and I had to prove that I had the ability to work and luckily I was doing this project with Becky for displaced homemakers teaching math, once or twice-a-week, how to balance a checkbook and do that kind of stuff. I was technically working and I said, " Look, I’m allowed to do what I want on my free time, obviously I could work if I got a job". I was very careful wherever I was that I would apply for a certain number of jobs a week and I had all of my records. I would apply for jobs that I knew either I was over-qualified for or would never be hired for, or that I was under-qualified for, that no one would hire me for. I was applying for jobs and I could prove that and I had kept very careful records and every place I went to do the peace camp I would put in applications in that city, It looked really good and I showed that to all those people. The guy from Rochester realized it was harassment and it stopped but I still had to go through that.
 

H: Tell us more about the arrest. Do you remember the process that August? Were you part of an affinity group ?

S: Oh, I was an unofficial part of an affinity group, I was just doing things on the spur of the moment. Technically I was being a peacekeeper but I hadn’t really gone through peacekeeper training but at the last minute they needed more peacekeepers. I had said I wasn’t going to do it, but then at the last meeting, I went in and one of the other organizers said I knew you were going to be here, I even saved you a vest. I was like really burnt out. I spent the last year and a half organizing so this could happen and you guys have to take it over. I was not into doing work but when something happened, I would be there. I would step up. They needed a peacekeeper that day, so I did it and I wasn’t planning on getting arrested, but I did [laughter] and once I got arrested, I was in there and I just said, hey, I’m not in an affinity group, can I join your affinity group? And I got an affinity group. I was arrested by a woman, I remember that. I think I was one of the only people who had a woman MP who arrested me and I remember sitting on the bus with her. I was one of the first ones on the bus. Being in the jail, being in the pen and most people were doing Jane Does and I gave my real name because I knew that everyone would know me. When the county sheriff came down, the one that I had this relationship with, he was like, oh, hi, I know her name, do you need her name? [laughter] He was not surprised to see me and I was not surprised to see him there. We both knew who each other was so, I knew it was stupid to not give my name. Being in pens-- it was not a big thing, you know, it was not a major life changing event for me to be arrested. It was fun!
.

H: Had you done civil disobedience before?

S: I had done some.

H: And tell us, how, do you remember how you were arrested the second time?

S: No, [laughter] oh, what I do remember is one of the times I was arrested, my picture didn’t come out so I got them to give me my picture, so I have a copy of a bad mug shot of me from being arrested [Estelle laughter] for some civil disobedience at seneca. Then we went to trial and they had someone from the base and we got to interview the guy. We didn’t know how to be lawyers so we didn’t really know how to get him to answer questions, but we got to ask him about the base and the waste material and what was on the base. Of course they said, we neither confirm or deny that kind of thing. I don’t remember much about the being arrested. It wasn’t that big of a thing for me.

E: Over the years have you stayed in touch with a lot of people from the peace camp?

S: Some. I feel, it wasn’t that I stayed in touch with them as much as when I see them I feel connected to them. The people that I stay in touch with. You,Estelle. I stay in touch with Michelle [Crone], It’s more like, for some of the people, I have developed a relationship with them later on as we have done different political work together. We’ve had this in our background and we have this basis of connection and trust because we have both gone through that experience.

H: Can you say more about that, the quality of it, the timing of it?

S: Well, it’ people like Karen Zellermeyer or Felice Yeskel who have gone on to do national organizing. When I see them, we both know where we were 20 or 25 years ago that summer and we all know that we’ve been in it for a long time and that we have this common basis of radical feminist political activism in our past and so that there’s a certain trust level that’s there because of that. I don’t know if that makes sense.

H: Is that something particular though about the peace camp or do you have other experiences in you life that are similar?

S: To me it was the peace camp. There are other things like that, but to me the peace camp was such a major thing. There were 10,000 women that went through. There’s just a few people like that were really major, you know.

There’s a couple other things I want to talk about that you probably won’t get from anybody else. One was the money. You need to talk to Rochester women about the money. Evelyn came down and would take bank deposits and do books and all of that kind of stuff. But one of the things that probably no one knows is that we had 501. We probably got $100,000 that summer and it was just basically by people donating in tin cans. No one kept any track of that. It wasn’t checked every half hour or even a couple of times a day, maybe, so I’m sure we got more than that and other people stole huge amounts. People would drive in with truckloads and station wagons full of food to give to us. And then some of the local people would allow the organizers to come and take showers at their houses. There were definitely local people like Pam Flannigan who started getting involved and who became supportive. But it was really fucking scary for them a lot of the time. I don’t think people from the peace camp every really appreciated how much the local people really went out for them to do what had to be done.

E: Yeah. I know that local women who did things for the peace camp had some pretty horrible things done to them by their neighbors.

S: You really need to interview those women and the local people were really antagonistic. The local people felt like they were invaded and they were. There was a real culture clash there… And the peace camp women made a lot of really positive things happen but not in terms of cultural sensitivity.

H: And in your opinion, with hindsight, is there something that could have been differently? Was it inevitable or was a matter of bad planning?

S: Both. [laughter] I don’t know, I’d have to think about that question. I think, we could’ve done a lot more around cultural sensitivity. I think that it was also, that we were young, idealistic, and righteous.

H: A combination.

E: It was like a volcano needed to erupt to some extent, to push things. It might not have been the way we would have liked to do it. Hindsight too, we can see back now that, there were things that women did that it would have been a lot easier if that hadn’t happened but at the time and in the moment, for some of those women, they needed to do it, the spirit needed to break free. I don’t know if there was any stopping it once it had started.

S: Oh no, there was no stopping it once it had started. I don’t know what could have been different, Some really bad things happened and some really great things happened. Women came out who had never been in a women’s space; women came for the weekend and learned how to hammer, use a hammer or skillsaw for the first time; women came and felt empowered for the first time. That was an amazing thing, really. Women’s lives were really, really changed. For women who came through, that’s really positive.

E: Spirituality that happened at the peace camp was another huge opening for lots of women. A term that I heard a lot that first summer was ‘political lesbian.’Do you remember hearing that?

S: No, but I probably was one of the political lesbians, that would’ve probably been fine [laughter] I have no idea. Political lesbians in the sense that they weren’t really lesbians, or they were lesbians because of politics? Or did it mean political lesbians as that was your lesbian identification, as a political lesbian?

E: No, I think, I think that there were women who were identifying with lesbians politically. They weren’t necessarily lesbians.

S: Oh yeah, that was happening all the time. There were tons of women, in the 70s and early 80s, feminism was there, everyone was exploring their sexuality, women were coming out as lesbians that are no longer lesbians. They got that misogony and feminism and all of that existed and they wanted to be lesbians because they understood it from a political sense and maybe they slept with someone, maybe they didn’t…then they went back, and then afterwards they left and went back in. There’s many famous women that were part of the lesbian movement at some point that now kind of want to forget about that ever happening. I’m sure that there women who politically identified as lesbian and then there were women who for the first time had the, oh, I can sleep with my neighbor who I’m here with who I’m in love with. There were women who literally went home and got divorced, whether or not they stayed divorced, I don’t know, but there were women who would call us up and say, I went home and I realized I was in a really bad relationship and my husband didn’t support me and so I’m filing for divorce [laughter].

H: So did the encampment issue in any personal epiphanies, political epiphanies of that nature for you? Did it change your life at all?

S: [laughter] I was going through very many traumas that summer. I had been living collectively and I was in the process of leaving Northwoods. I ended up breaking up with several lovers that summer and sleeping with several other women that summer, so for me, it was a summer of transition. I was going through a lot of major transitions and the peace camp became a vehicle of those transitions rather than creating those transitions. I was leaving Northwoods not because of the peace camp but the peace camp became a way for me to focus my energy because I was no longer at Northwoods. My relationship with Becky ended up breaking up that summer and part of it was the peace camp and part of it was I was going through lots of break-ups that summer [laughter]. Let’s put it that way, and sleeping with lots of other women that summer. Everyone was sleeping with lots of other women that summer.

H: Was that a different experience to sleep around like that?

S: No. [shared laughter] I probably had more one-night-stands than usual but it was not unusual for me to be non-monogamous.

H: So is there anything you didn’t know about yourself prior to your experience at the camp that you found out about yourself as a result of the encampment?

S: I had been political my whole life, but it was my first really big organizing thing. I had done more local organizing and city organizing, I had never done that big organizing so that was probably where my growth was at that summer.

H: And is it anything that you’ve since had that level of bigness or success, quote, unquote?

S: I have never wanted to be in that size mass gathering again, [shared laugher]--not be in it, but do an organizing of that big a a mass gathering again. Have I done other organizing? I have and I think I’m more conscious now and understand stuff differently. My father died the next year and my life changed radically, so I started dealing with family issues and that kind of pulled me out of the peace camp and put me on a different track.

H: How did your family responded to your involvement with the camp?

S: My mother had a friend from Rochester who clipped every single clipping around the peace camp for her and gave it to her. My parents were... well, that’s one more thing you’re doing. My parents were used to me being a political organizer by that time. I didn’t have contact with my brother before or after, so, that was not a big deal for me, My parents were, this is the politics you’re doing now. They were kind of intrigued and horrified by it but not particularly to cause any different relationship than they had had before.

H: And were they in Rochester?

S: No, they were in Buffalo.

H: And did your mom ever come to the camp that summer?

S: No. I want to talk a little bit about what happened with the $100,000 at the end of the summer. We had another one of our organizing meetings. At this point it was the people who had been meeting together for the year to organize the peace camp and for some of those women, this was the only time they had been to the peace camp and could only be there for one week because they were working and had jobs. I think that was a really big thing. There were some of us who were there all the time, there were some people who could only come in for a weekend or a week’s vacation, and then there were people who would be there for a couple of weeks. It impacted everyone differentlly. For some of those organizers, they had worked for a full year to organize the camp and then their only experience was Waterloo and that was a really negative experience for them. They had not planned on doing civil disobedience and all of a sudden they were doing civil disobedience in the middle of upstate New York without a support system. It was a really hard. They had been working their butts off for a year to get the camp together and they had not gotten any of the benefits of it and they had made a decision that the camp was going to close. Then there were the women from the peace camp and some of those women were believing in the peace camp and some of those women were there because it was a free place to stay and it was a cheap place to live and they didn’t have to do any work and they could get fed and they wanted the camp to stay open because they wanted that free ride and they wanted other people to do it, too, There had been a $100,000 raised that summer so why they shouldn’t they live there and have that free ride and then there women there who were there because they wanted to create a permanent peace camp and there was a huge disagreement at that meeting and it was one of the times where we talked about what does it mean to do consensus. and the decision was made to give the money away and to let the peace camp live but not to let it live with the financial backing because the peace camp was supposed to have closed. And with the understanding that if the peace camp ever did closed it was supposed to go to the Cayuga tribe. But that was a really hard decision

H: Where did you stand personally in that discussion?

S: I felt like the peace camp should continue but I felt like that money should be given away. I also felt like the people who stayed didn’t have the same vision or organizing skills that the women who organized the peace camp did and that was a real problem because there was such an alienation between those two groups. The women who had been the organizers had so many more skills and had been much longer organizers. They had put in a year and had already worked through how you do a national thing. The people who were at the peace camp didn’t have that kind of history of organizing and there was no way for those two groups to interact because there had been so much conflict. Because of that there were real issues.

S: . Today’s October 21st. Ask me a question to get me started.

H: Will you give us your date of birth, too.

S: I was born 4-18-48. So I’m 58. I was 35 during the first year of the peace camp,

E: Shad, what were the skills picked up at Michigan Women’s Festival that helped or translated to the camp?

S: Well, one of the things had to do with posting the property and making sure there were sections of the property that were more for animals, sections that were more for camping. How the fires and the cooking was going to be done were the kind of things. A lot about how we were going to handle mass gatherings, how we were going to deal with security, the fact that we would have women take turns being up every night, that that some of those shifts would be all-night security shifts and women would be doing it in pairs. Everyone would be asked to put in a certain number of shifts-- an hour a day or a number of shifts per week, that related to working and keeping the land functioning. The trash truck was Mother Earth, That was my truck I'd had gotten in 1978 and that was the camp truck -- named from a Tracy Nelson song about Mother Earth takes care of me.

E: Keep talking about that because you all put together so much about how the webs were set up for security, and trash

S: Well, I think that Jody and Michelle and I had all done Michigan together and I recruited Michelle to join the peace camp meetings but she didn’t join until later after a lot of the concepts had been gotten together and we were already meeting in Albany. I was real frustrated because I felt like everyone was talking about the politics and all of that, but no one was dealing with the concrete stuff. So I got Michelle to join because I said specifically, we need someone who’s had mass gatherings background--Michigan type things. That was how Michelle came in.

H: Give us a little breakdown for folks who might not be familiar with Michigan festival.

S: Michigan Women’s Music Festival is about 30 years old and has a 600-acre piece of land in Michigan. Every summer for a week probably around 4 to 12 thousand women come there. For a month before the festival to about three weeks after the festival, women live there setting it up and tearing it down. There’s a big communal kitchen and showers, a staff kitchen and there's an acoustic stage, day stage, night stage, films, workshops, that kind of thing. It’s basically a big women’s music festival,

H: How many years had you been there prior to the encampment and what was your capacity there?

S: I have no idea how many years I’d gone there, at least five or six and I had been primarily a healer there. My role had been in the Womb (14) working as a healer.

E: Security shifts and those kinds of things were things that you’d learned or gathered were going to be important. Starting to get the practical stuff, pulling Michelle in as a practical doer - so, keep going with that, I want to hear about it.
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H: Can I you go back to post-decision, to keep it open or not keep it open, did you think a that you would be involved after that fact and would you spend any time at the land?

S: I was very involved at that point. I was heavily involved in the pre to mid encampment, up until about June of the second year. I knew that part of it was because Aja and Jody, my two girlfriends, were involved in the encampment. This is always a funny, that a lot of the logistics people all ended up being involved with each other and I had gotten involved with both Aja and Jody. Aja was, at that point, 19 and a student at Hampshire College who had come out when she was 14. I was 35 and I was into having a fling. Jody and I slept together a couple of times during the summer but were not involved as partners during the summer but were obviously falling in love during that time and learning how to work together. I had broken up with Becky and I had broken up with Jesse. The two women I was involved with were staff at the encampment, so obviously I was going to still be involved. And I had an apartment in Ithaca that was kind of the R&R for everyone from the encampment. Lots of people from the encampment would use it besides me. I was not living at Northwoods and there was this standing joke, neither Aja or Jody had a car, I would drive to the encampment, pick up one of them, take them down to Ithaca, we’d have a day or two in Ithaca, drive them back, pick up the other one, drive that person back, spend some time at the encampment, drive them back to Ithaca and then I was just going back and forth with whichever girlfriend who’s turn it was to get away from the encampment. Aja and Jody were actually working together, sharing the job of being the logistics people. At that point there were probably 10 or 12 women and it was pretty hard because the encampment was not winterized. People had not really done a decent job getting it ready for winter. It was clear that a lot of the women who were there had never lived on the land, lived with winter, knew how to winterize a house that had been an old farmhouse. Food was not dealt with-- the milk froze and the tomatoes froze solid. It was pretty clear that it was city people living up there. [laughter].It was pretty hard living. There was no indoor plumbing, there was water and there was one woodstove and people were living in the upstairs attic where the only heat was the insulated pipe that was coming through. You’d be pretty cold up there at night. It was a pretty hard living situation but people could have made it easier if they had done more work. It was a pretty hard living situation and no matter how much they had done, it was going to be hard to live there.

E: Did Michelle Crone stay there?

S: She would come and spend a weekend but she was not living there, she was living in Albany. Michelle was there pre-encampment. Michelle left to go to Michigan early in the encampment, Michelle and Jody left almost immediately after the encampment opened and Michelle would come back and forth, but Michelle was not there very much at all once the encampment opened. She was involved much more in the planning committee involvement. She was not involved in the day-to-day encampment that I remember up there. Once the encampment was open, I don’t remember her being at the encampment a whole lot.

H: Were you in and out that second summer?

S: That second summer my father died in May, basically Memorial Day weekend of the second summer, so I was in and out only as Jody’s partner and to be kind of a how does this work, or how do you, what was the history of the encampment or answering questions, that kind of thing. And Jody was still there, so, I would come and visit her there but once my father died, especially that first summer, I was pretty involved in Buffalo. My mother was still alive and we were trying to deal with my father’s death and all of that kind of stuff.

H: From what experience you did have that second summer, can you say some of the ways that it was different from the first summer?

S: It was a much smaller summer. There were fewer people there. I think there was more harassment but I think it was the second summer, they began to be much more aggressive towards us from the base. I remember there was the pathway that went from the land back to the fence and I remember walking back with a woman sheriff and we were on the trail and she found a trip-wire. We didn’t actually trip the trip-wire but the trip-wire would have gone over into a place about 10 feet off the trail where there would have been a little explosion so that if a woman had gone back and had tripped the trip-wire, it would have made her feel like she had been shot at even though nothing would have been there. The second summer we had the well. We had gotten a dowser and the man dowsed the land and found one of the strongest water sources of any of the farms or any of the places in the area. We had one of the strongest water sources and we were able to get a well so that we didn’t have to bring in water and it was much easier to do the water pressure. We also set up the summer kitchen and that was a fun. We did did the outhouses and didn't have to use Porta-Johns, We were much more stable in our facilities. This is a funny story. We were planning on doing the outhouses and we dug the huge pits for the outhouses and we had to make huge concrete forms to pour the concrete. None of us had ever really dealt with pouring concrete forms so we didn’t make the walls of the form quite strong enough so instead of the outside walls, being really straight, they were kind of like angle [laughter] and kind of went to the wall, ‘cause we didn’t know what we were doing. We were doing it again, by the seat of our pants. And then we had extra concrete left over so we went back and we poured the concrete pad that became the summer kitchen. We had women out there smoothing it out [laughter] with the bottom of the pots and pans.

H: If all the money got given away where did the funds come from?

S: People were still recruiting money. There was still a political aspect to it, much more than in later years. There was still an attempt to have a schedule and have women come and do political workshops and that kind of thing. It was much more of a continuation of the first summer where there was a real political focus towards the base.

E: And specific actions.

S: And, definitely specific actions.There were specific actions all during the whole winter, too. I remember there was something on the north side of the base, I remember it being the winter and people going over the fence on the north side of the base and them being let out in the middle of the night over on one of the gates and having to go over there and find them. We didn’t have cell phones. How do we find these people and where are they being let out in the middle of the night, in the middle of the winter and having to track them down. I remember Marcia and I going off and doing that in the middle of the winter.

E: Another question about the money, do you know much about who the money, which groups it was going to be given to.

S: I don’t remember. What I do remember about the money is a few years later, we had, our 501c3 was with Haymarket People’s Fund in Boston and people didn’t do it accurately and that at some point I was working with Haymarket on something else and they said, "Do you know anything about this peace camp up there"? Obviously I did and we had never turned in the right form and we were gonna cause them problems because they had to audit their books and so I went back and had to recreate books for the summer so that we could turn those in and not screw up our relationship with the Haymarket People’s Fund. They were turning to me because they knew I had been involved and saying please help us because we can’t get any response from the peace camp.

E: In the first year, Kris Eberlein had been, if I remember rightly, in charge of the money.
I remember people going to Kris with the slips and that kind of a thing…

S: There were lots of people and the money changed hands. Money was a total burnout.
I don’t know who exactly was in Rochester.

E: Right, but the second summer I remember there was Kerry Koons and then Miraisiem [Barens, see Herstory 107] handling the money.

S: Oh right, I’d forgotten totally about Miraisiem. Miraisiem had gotten there from Northwoods. Miraisiem had originally been a part of Northwoods.

H: So after that summer, how many times in the next decade or so did you visit?

S: Oh, we would visit pretty regularly. We were resource persons. Jody and I were living in Northwoods which was about 30 miles away and we would frequently be called on. How does this work, what do we have to do here. Both because of the political stuff and also because of the physical things. How do you; what do you have to do around this; who do we contact around plowing this something or other, or mowing the fields or you know where the pipes were for this or that or how do you use this tool or can you bring this tool up - I remember a lot of it being physical stuff that we were being called on as resources but we were also called on as resources for political things, but I don’t remember a whole lot of specific details. So the camp was in ’83, Jody was there ’83 and ’84, by ’85. The fall of ‘84/’85 we moved back to Northwoods, and then we moved out here in ’87. We took about a year to close Northwoods down and move out here, so we were around the peace camp a lot until ’87 and then in ’87 we moved out here and at that point we would just visit when we went back east.

E: The peace camp was around you a lot, too, because there were many trips to Northwoods for rest and recreation or for some reason. To be shown certain kinds of plants or healing kinds of things. There was a direct line between Northwoods and the peace camp and I'm eternally grateful.

S: Oh yeah, there was definitely a close relationship between Northwoods and the peace camp.

H: And how would you characterize the evolution of the camp from ’83 to ’87 as far at the projection it took?

S: I’d say it went from being a mass gathering political demonstration in the summer of ’83, which is what it had been designed for, to, over the the next year, women’s land that had a political focus but then it felt like slowly it became more of a woman’s land that had women who were political on it. It was more of a woman’s land and less of a political encampment.

H: And as an original architect of the peace encampment that first summer, what were your personal feelings about that progression.

S: I was disappointed. I don’t know how much the microwave radiation (15) affected stuff because that started just after I had left. I know at some point people started really focusing on that and realizing how dangerous it was for women to come there because of it. It felt like as the time went on, there were definitely issues around open women’s land and how women are going to survive. I have seen situations where women who want to take advantage or women who can’t function and need a place to have a breakdown come there. As the number of women dwindled, their presence became more prominent because they became a larger percentage. I think they were there the whole time but it became a larger percentage so that you had to take care of them rather then taking care of the land and creating a political focus. I was really disappointed. To me it could have been a political retreat center - a woman’s political retreat center and it felt like that never happened. When it was clear that never happened, I felt it is no longer the peace camp and it needs to end. There was the period when there was the peace camp and then there was the period when it was peace land and I don’t know exactly when that transition happened because I was transitioning out of the area but to me those are two totally different things. I know in ’87 it was pretty much headed that way. When we made the decision in ’86 that we were moving, at that point our energy was closing. We were dealing with what had to be dealt with with at Northwoods and moving on and emotionally leaving so I don’t know exactly what happened. It was not my issue. I’m not involved with the peace camp and I don’t think that I should come to meetings because I’m not going to be there to put in the work and the energy. And you know, I don’t know when the decisions were made.

E: Right, I think there were several years from ’87 to ’89 when transform or die was what was going on. What was happening was that it was coming over the few women who were able to take care of themselves were overwhelmed by the number of women who were showing up who were needing to be taken care of. Money wasn’t coming in and it was a very difficult time.

S: And I felt like people were kind of expecting money to come in because of what had happened in the past rather than doing things to maintain the money and I think that had clearly started before ’87.

E: Right. At that point, the transiency of people coming in and making decisions and leaving without implementing them was happening.

S: That had happened all along though.

E: Yes. But now there were fewer women to keep things going. It had gotten to be a smaller group.

S: You talked this morning about how when you came to the camp you were new to the women’s movement and new to consensus and I think the difference was the women who were there were newer to organizing and didn’t have the skills to do the organizing that the women who set it up had. I think some of that was just frustration and burnout, as the women who had more skills and that’s an issue with women’s land, not just at the peace camp, you know and I don’t know what’s happening with women’s land now, I’m talking about women’s land in the ‘80s.

H: So I’m curious about that in terms of women’s land, what you knew, your experience, one way the peace camp differed was there that was in some sense money coming in based on what had happened there in ’83, were there other differences in your mind between peace camp as women’s land and Northwoods or other women’s lands you’d been to?

S: I don’t think I want to go into that on tape because I don’t want to get into the whole women’s land discussion.

H: Okay. Was there anything particular about the peace camp once it more slid into women’s land? That’s what I was trying to figure out.

S: No, it felt like to me like the peace camp was very much symbolic of open women’s land. it didn’t feel like it was, and I think tha that’s, and I think there was, I would say that it felt very much like open women’s land and the peace, and the women at the peace camp didn’t necessarily, feel like it was different and I don’t feel like it was very different. I felt like all those issues that I saw happening were issues of open women’s land and I felt like I wasn’t seeing the political focus. Some women would come through and use the camp as a jump off place to do the political work they wanted to do at the base, but by that time a lot of the weapons had been moved out. The weapons had been moved out by the second summer. We didn’t know that, but the reality was that the nuclear weapons and all the stuff had been moved out during the first winter or the second summer but it was pretty clear that the energy at the base was different.

H: Say a little more about the zapping (16) because you said you’re not sure if it maybe had an influence, if it did, what would you assume that influence…

S: I was not part of that zap collective (17) . I only know about the zapping secondhand, you’ll need to talk to other people about that. This is what I can talk about with the zapping. I doubt if either of you heard this story, It was late ‘90s I was teaching acupuncture at the Northwest Institute here in Seattle at Northwest Institute of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine also called NIAOM. So I was at NIAOM and I had an evening shift and there were probably eight students on my shift and one of my classmates was there and she probably had another six or eight students, so there were probably 15-20 of us that would hang out in the evening three to four hours a night once a week and the students would be there for 12 weeks. So the first day of the shift I asked everyone to introduce themselves and these two guys said that they had been in the military and they had gotten into studying one of the martial arts when they were serving in Vietnam and China and Korea and they had starting learning self defense and they had really gotten into it. They were no longer in the military but had been in the military 25 years and they were retired which meant that they had been in during the Vietnam era and that kind of thing, so I was like, oh my god, I have these two military guys on my shift but that was as much as it went and then at some point, probably May, we were taking about the weather one night and I was saying how I had just talked to someone I knew who had just been to the east coast and people in New York state were saying that the weather in May felt more like July than it did May, that the weather was so weird not only in Seattle but in upstate New York and this one guy said, “Oh, where in upstate New York?”
I said, “ Well, how well do you know upstate New York?”
He said, “Pretty well, I was assigned there at the base.”
I said, “Oh, which base?”
He said, “Seneca.”
I said, “Oh, what was your job there?”
He said, “I was head of security.”
I go, “Oh, you remember the Seneca peace camp?”
He said, “Yeah.”
I said, “I was one of the organizers of that.”
He went, “Oh.”
And so we began talking that night and he talked about how he had gotten out of the military because he didn’t like the way that the military had changed and he didn’t like the way people were being treated in the military so when he had done his 20 years he had resigned. But that he had been the head of security and I said, “Oh, were you one of the people who was responsible for the bird’s nest at the back fence where there was no room in the bird’s nest for the bird’s to build a nest because there was so much equipment?” And he kind of laughed and said, “Yes.” And I was asking him, I said, “Oh, so, oh, was there still nukes there when you were there and he said, and he started to say it, “Aww, you can’t, we can no, we can not,” and I said, “I know, I know, you can’t confirm or deny.” And we all laughed about that, and then he started talking about how he really hated his base commander there and then he started talking about the deformities on the base and that he was a guy who loved to fish and there were all of these farm ponds on the base and, I guess we started talking about the white deer, he was talking about how he would go fishing in these ponds on the base and he would pull up all of these fish that were in the ponds and they would all be to grossly mis-formed or with huge tumors on their heads and all of that kind of stuff and how there were not just albino, not just the white deer but there were other animals that were white on the base and how absolutely polluted the base was. I had told my classmate who was supervising with me and she said that she was alert all that night in case we got into some sort of a fight [laughter] or something and we never really got into a fight but then he never showed up on my clinic shift again and you know, he was a first-year student so that he was able to drop that shift in a way that he wouldn’t have if he was a second-year student and then he managed to never be in any of my classes. He managed to avoid haveing me as a teacher, but the next fall when classes started I went to my box and stuffed in my box was the Seneca Army Camp Depot military hat, that had obviously been his work hat with grease stains on it and that kind of stuff, as a memento of the base.

E: What a story.

S: That’s what I know about the zapping. I remember the bird’s nest that was directly at the back fence where there was a grassy area and then the road and right on the edge of the road pointed at the base was the bird’s nest. When you look into the bird house there was no bird’s nest it was just a place for equipment and there was all this electronic equipment in the bird’s nest, so that’s about the only thing I personally know about the zapping.

H: Two things I wanted to cover. We got the zapping.The other thing I was wondering if you would talk about is how and when you heard about the land being sold and what your thoughts were being one of the first people to be out there on that piece of land.

S: The spring before the land was sold, Jody and I had gone back east and we were thinking about doing a peace camp video and we had taken our camera back east and we were there just a couple of weeks earlier than when we had bought the land and so we had done video taping of the land. It was basically abandoned at that point, there was no one living there that winter so it looked pretty much like it had looked when we got the land. We were able to get shots of the land and that kind of stuff, and during that point we kind of went in and we wandered around and looked at things and then went upstairs and were kind of upset because we found this whole file cabinet in the upstairs attic that had all of the original records in it, including the notes of all the original meetings and it had lots of women’s names on them and we felt it was really irresponsible to leave this kind of data there By this time the war on terrorism has started and we felt it was really irresponsible to leave that kind of data there and there was a big sign, ‘do no remove these from the land’ and we said, you know, we’re removing these files anyway and we took some of them because we felt like it was so irresponsible that it was not fair to leave them. It was endangering women’s lives to leave those files on the land unprotected. so we had that experience. Then we found out the land was sold because we came home at 10 or 11 o’clock at night and there was this very hyper call from Merry Christmas on our phone that had come 9ish at night and we had not heard from Merry Christmas for years and years, um, and so we called her back. She said, call tonight it’s an emergency and that was how we found out that the land had been sold and we got the distinct feeling that she wanted us to rescue the land. It felt like people wanted the land to be rescued, that was my reaction. She was asking us to give money and there was no clear understanding of why we were giving the money, who we were giving it to, why there was going to be some women moving onto the land again, and I’m like if they want to move onto the land and it’s a couple thousand, three to 10 thousand dollars, I’m like if they’ve got the money and they want to live on the land and they’re putting a trailer on the land, spending three to 10 thousand dollars to get a piece of land to live on is not unrealistic, that’s really cheap. Why aren’t they the ones that are out there hustling the money. That was my reaction. People wanted the land to be rescued and we weren’t going to rescue it. Our concern was what was going to happen to all of the records there because we knew that we had brought some records out but that there were still a shit load of records there. That was our concern. We immediately went into the land has to be cleared out. We have to figure out how to get the stuff off the land. That was what our reaction was, how do we get the pictures out of the house, how do we get the records that shouldn’t have been there. And that was my reaction when the land was left, sold.

H: And the documentary, why? What is your vision?

S: I think we want to do a documentary. I don’t know, couple of reasons. We’ve just done this one of the lesbian mother’s custody movement. We want to document that women can make major change, that ordinary women can do extraordinary things. And we think it’s a really important issue because everything that we did at the peace camp we would be thrown in jail as terrorists for now and how we’ve lost our rights but also how much of a major effect it had. You’re doing this project and that’ll help, If we get around to really do the documentary, this will help us because you’ll have done preliminary interviews and done a lot of the research but also it will be a really different thing because we’ll probably talk about the effect that it had on people’s lives. There’s Stronger Than Before that talks about what actually happened that first summer. We want to talk about what effect the peace camp had.

H: When you say that ordinary women can do extraordinary things, what was, in your opinion, an extraordinary thing that happened at the peace camp?

S: I’d say two things, I’d say one, we eventually did, one was we really publicized the issue of the Cruise and Pershing missiles. I was talking at one time a couple of years after the camp started, I was talking to someone I had been friends with in Roch, in um, Albany, that winter when I had lived in Albany helping to organize the camp and do the paperwork and legal stuff for the camp and she said, and she reminded me that we weren’t sure that the camp was going to, you know, what, what the impact of the camp was going to be and if anyone would even hear about it beyond the local area and it became a national movement, you know, because of that camp, there were camps started in Solarno, in Italy and Sicily, not Italy, but Sicily and you know, and Minneapolis, you know, one of the things that happened was people were urged to go home and start their own peace camp and focus on local issues around the military you know, the Puget Sound peace camp was a clear sister-camp that was started by two women who had been to the Pentagon action, had been part of the original decision making to start the camp here with WILPF, had been at that meeting and had then moved to Seattle and they brought the idea of starting a peace camp to Seattle and the Puget Sound peace camp was here and lasted for a year and had a much more distinct ending, um, they had been able to rent land which we hadn’t been able to do.

S: So, um, you know the, there were lots of peace camps and that may have been part of the thing that affected the second year was that by the second, you know, women had been encouraged to go and do their own peace camps and not to focus on Seneca um, so, and then the other thing I think I was saying was how I had run into this woman several years after, you know, the camp started that I had known that winter before the camp started and she reminded me that, you know, we didn’t know if the peace camp was going to get in any publicity and it had become, and it became a national and international thing, and I think, as I said, I think I said this yesterday, I think a way for the news media to talk about the dangers of the Cruise and Pershing missiles and um, to bring that up, so it became a way for them to report something, to bring up other things that they could not bring up themselves because news media people have to base, have to report the news, they can’t bring up their own issues, you know.

S: Um, you know, we got the missiles moved, we got the nuclear weapons moved out, you know, it really freaked, you know, I remember when I read the first um, article on, in Rochester or wherever it, I think it was the Rochester paper about the Seneca Army Depot. I had been going by, you know, I had been driving to and from Buffalo, past that base for years and every time there would be a base closure list I would wonder if that base was going to be on the base closure list, well, obviously it was never going to, at that point, be on the base closure list, but I didn’t know what was happening and all of a sudden, here I was, um, we had been working in upstate New York, which at one point considered a nuclear sacrifice zone and at one point they were thinking about putting nuclear wastes in upstate New York in the salt mines as opposed to in, where, you know, in the Southwest where they eventually made the decision. And they were talking about Connecticut Hill and I remember thinking, we did this huge thing to keep the nuclear waste from being stored here and here I am at ground zero where there’s the largest single storage of nuclear weapons in the world was at Seneca and here I am living 30 miles from total ground zero because it’s the largest storage of nuclear weapons in the world, you know. Um, so, I remember that kind of fear and those missiles got moved, you know, um, and then when the based was closed and they were talking about the base clean-up and you know, people from Rochester were much more involved in that, I just heard about it third-hand because I was out here by that, you know, for many years by that time but the fact that people who had been involved in the peace camp were a part of the base clean-up committee, you know, that’s pretty amazing, that you know, they consid, they respected Cindy enough at that point to do that, you know, um, so I think there were definitely some major things that happened, you know, tons of women came out, a lot of women’s lives were affected um, you know, positively and negatively.

H: There was one other thing that I wanted to ask you yesterday that we didn’t, and that was about the huge percentage of white women who were at the camp. Do you have anything that you could talk about in terms of racism or anti-racism work in that, preceding the camp?

S: Part of it was because upstate New York is very predominantly white. Part of it is that the feminist movement was white. There were definitely attempts to understand anti-racism and to do anti-racism work. Both in the peace camp and in the feminist movement there were definitely attempts to do work around anti-racism. But, it wasn’t safe and it was scary for women of color to be there. I remember Miraisom talking to me about that because she had both lived at Northwoods and she had lived at the peace camp and it’s really scary for there to be one woman-of-color living in the middle of the country in an environment that’s not familiar. Most blacks in the Northeast live in urban environments whether that’s small cities, or small towns, but to me, to be at a place where there is no one like you, or the people that are like you are on the base and those are the ones you’re protesting. You know, that definitely raised issues.

                                                    END of INTERVIEW

NOTES

1. Women’s Pentagon Action - a nonviolent, direct action in which 2000 women blocked three entrances to the Pentagon on Nov. 16, 17, 1981 to call an end to the nuclear arms race. 143 were arrested. A second Women’s Pentagon Action took place November 15-16, 1982.

2. Seneca Army Depot (SEAD) – a former U.S. military base, pre-1941–2000. Located on 11,000 acres in Romulus, New York, the depot was one of several facilities used to store nuclear weapons for the Department of Defense. The earliest known use of SEAD for nuclear weapons related work was in the 1940’s when uranium was stored at the depot for the Manhattan Project (the project that developed the atomic bomb). SEAD was approved for Base Realignment and Closure in 1995 and closed in 2000.

3. Manhattan Project - the project to develop the first atomic weapon during World War II.

4. WILPF - Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

5. Cruise and Pershing missiles - Cruise missiles - is a guided missile that carries an explosive payload and uses a lifting wing and a propulsion system, usually a jet engine, to allow sustained flight; it is essentially a flying bomb.
Pershing missiles - was a family of solid-fueled two-stage medium-range ballistic missiles designed and built by Martin Marietta to replace the PGM-11 Redstone missile as the United States Army's primary theater-level weapon. The Pershing systems lasted over 30 years from the first test version in 1960 through final elimination in 1991. It was named for General John J. Pershing. The systems were managed by the U.S. Army Missile Command (MICOM) and deployed by the Field Artillery Branch.

6. American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) - a Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) affiliated organization which works for social justice, peace and reconciliation, abolition of the death penalty, and human rights, and provides humanitarian relief. The group was founded in 1917 as a combined effort by American members of the Religious Society of Friends and assisted civilian victims of war

7. Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp –an ongoing nonviolent protest outside the U.S. Air Force base at Greenham Common in England, 1981-2000. On August 28, 1981, 40 women marched 110 miles to the U.S. Air Force base at Greenham Common, the proposed site of 96 U.S. cruise missiles. Eight days later, four women chained themselves to the air base fence. From this direct action a women’s peace camp was born. On March 21, 1982, 10,000 people demonstrated at the base. 250 women engaged in a 24-hour blockade – 34 were arrested. On December 12, 1982, 300,000 women linked hands to embrace the 9-mile fence encircling the base. Although the last of U.S.’s 96 cruise missile were removed in 1991, women stayed on at Greenham until 2000 to ensure that the base was closed down. In March of 1997, the land was purchased by the Greenham Common Trust and returned to a variety of civilian uses.

8. Woodstock - was a music festival, billed as An Aquarian Exposition, held at Max Yasgur's 600 acre (2.4 km_; 240 ha) dairy farm in the rural town of Bethel, New York from August 15 to August 18, 1969. Bethel, in Sullivan County, is 43 miles (69 km) southwest of the village of Woodstock, New York, in adjoining Ulster County. The festival exemplified the counterculture of the late 1960s – early 1970s and the "hippie era". Thirty-two of the best-known musicians of the day appeared during the sometimes rainy weekend in front of nearly half a million concertgoers.

9. Cayuga Nation - aka the Gayogoho:no, People of the Pipe, are one of the original Five Nations who joined together with the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, and Seneca to form the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, which is also know as the Iroquois Confederacy. The original homeland of the Cayuga Nation extends from Lake Ontario to the Susquehanna River and includes the land of the Seneca Women’s Encampment for a Future of Peace and Justice. The Cayuga were forced onto a 64,000-acre reservation in 1789 and lost additional land illegally when the state of New York bought reservation land in 1795 and 1807. The Cayuga have been attempting to regain their land since 1849 but to this day do not have a reservation or land base. In the early 1980s, the tribe successfully sued the state of New York for the return of 64,000 acres and a federal judge awarded them $247.7 million in damages. The case has been appealed and as of May 2005, is awaiting further proceedings.

10. Northwoods - Women's community located in Aline, NY-30 miles from WEFPJ and was closed in 1986.

11. Michigan Women’s Music Festival – a yearly all-female gathering on privately-owned land in northwestern Michigan each August since the 70s. The festival is marketed as a cross-generational multi-cultural event for womyn to gather and listen to concerts, make art, explore politics and community, live simply among the meadows and woods and have an outrageously good time. The Michigan community is based upon an essential participatory ethic and is designed and crafted each year by a new combination of womyn, ranging from first-timers to those who have worked on it for over 30 years.

12. Nicastro’s - a family owned and operated restaurant located six miles from WEFPJ on Route 96. The owners allowed peace campers to use the space for meetings.

13. Bella Azbug - Served the state of New York in the United States House of Representatives, representing her district in Manhattan from 1971 to 1977. For part of her term, she also represented part of The Bronx as well. She was one of the first members of Congress to support gay rights introducing the first federal gay rights bill, known as the Equality Act of 1974.8. Sonia Johnson - is an American feminist activist and writer. She was an outspoken supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and in the late 1970s. She ran for President in 1984, as the presidential candidate of the U.S. Citizen's Party.

14. The Womb - the healing center at Michigan's Women's Festival.

15. Microwave radiation - electromagnetic waves between far infrared and radiowaves.

16. Zapping – low frequency, electromagnetic wave weaponry used by the U.S. government. The use of zapping against nonviolent protestors at Seneca Women’s Peace Camp and Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp was first confirmed by women at Greenham who brought microwave-testing equipment to the camp in 1985 after a pattern of illnesses began to be established. Subsequent testing at Seneca in 1986, where women had been suffering from similar illnesses, confirmed zapping was in use there as well. Documented symptoms of exposure to such weapons include: severe headaches, memory and concentration problems, irregular menstrual cycles, post-menopausal bleeding, nausea, ear pain, dizziness, fatigue and sleep disturbances.

17. Zap collective - a collective of women from WEFPJ who gathered information about SAD's zapping on peace camp land.

 
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