There are about a dozen of us volunteers working with nearly 1500 local peace, justice and environmental organizations in 50 states. The Peace, Justice and Environment Project (PJEP), located at pjep.org, places in the hands of local activists, at no cost, the kinds of tools that larger organizations have access to. This includes such features as online fundraising, eletters, online petitions and boycott tools. In addition, we make available almost 1000 resource documents congregating in 44 issue clusters, offer inter-organizational communications tools, and connect activists with like minded grassroots organizers in other states.

Spontaneous protests have been emerging across the country this last week with activists demonstrating against Obama’s anticipated escalation of the Afghanistan war. Currently United for Peace & Justice (UFPJ) is in flux. They are in debt functioning with all volunteer staff as the steering committee reaches out to member groups to help define the future of UFPJ. As a result, A.N.S.W.E.R., National Assembly, Codepink and World Can’t Wait (WCW) have been, by and large, offering attention to this issue as national organizations. Nevertheless, none of those organizations have an inclusive national presence with chapters or affiliates in every state. Only WCW has put any effort into trying keep up with the actions proliferating around the country.

With PJEP, keeping up has been relatively easy. Our 1500 participating organizations post actions to their state network websites themselves or send the actions to us to post for them. We have keep a running tally of Dec 1 and Dec 2 Afghanistan escalation protest actions. I email WCW and National Assembly my running totals. WCW then posts that tally on their national website. We’re also finding WCW events on their website that we didn’t know about. A.N.S.W.E.R. hasn’t responded to emails offering them information, except for a Washington state chapter that we work with.

As the list of local protests grows we send it out to local activists in the various states. This seems to be encouraging the creation of new events. As of 8 am (today, Dec 1) we are following almost 70 protests across the country.

We observe the momentum. We share the information. We see increases in momentum and action.

This has been an interesting experience. I’ve been monitoring the use of Facebook and Twitter as a communication device for the coming demonstrations, it has become clear that Facebook and Twitter offer no opportunity to monitor or experience an integration of related events across the country. By contrast, PJEP has had 50-state coverage since early July, 2009. This is the first time our breadth of operations has been able to magnify our members’ goals and actions into a clear contribution to a national movement. The networks are fulfilling one of the goals we set out to accomplish as we envisioned what PJEP could be.


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