Why we do it: Protesters get hearing with Conyers

(11:15PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

“People say, ‘Why do you keep doing it?  Why do you want to stand outside of some fundraiser with a sign?  What’s the point?'” a Milwaukee activist said at a recent meeting at Peace Action-Wisconsin.

There are a lot of reasons.  Some are personal. Some do it to take a stand, bear witness, confront a politician.

And every now and then something happens to make you think that it might actually be having an impact and making a difference.

When members of the Milwaukee Impeachment Commikttee and others picketed a recent political fundraiser for a Wisconsin Congressman, Steve Kagen, featuring the House Judiciary chair, John Conyers, as a special guest, they didn’t have any expectations.

But Conyers’s committee is the committee that must consider articles of impeachment against George Bush and/or Dick Cheney if anything is to come of them.

So the group stood outside the fundraiser.  And Conyers not only spoke with them for a minute, but invited them to spend an hour with him the next morning at the Pfister Hotel, where he spent the night.

Twenty-two people took him up on the invitation and spent a lively hour with him.  The Shepherd-Express, Milwaukee’s alternative weekly, reports:

In his Milwaukee meeting [July 1], Conyers didn’t make any promises, although he did say that while Pelosi took impeachment off the table, he did not.

But Conyers didn’t say that he’d begin impeachment proceedings in the House.

“He has sent mixed signals all along,” said David Redemann, a citizen supporter of impeachment. “This meeting was more of the same.” Conyers said that he and Kucinich would discuss the matter with the other House members to see if there was any support for it. But he warned that the conservative Blue Dog Democrats, as well as Democrats who are serving their first term in Congress, would be unlikely to support impeaching Bush for crimes he committed while in office.

Conyers also hinted that alternative measures could be taken so that Bush and his allies could be tried for crimes after they leave office.

Many of the participants are members of Veterans for Peace, and you can read their notes from the Conyers meeting on the Chapter 102 website.  They’re fascinating.

It’s a classic example of citizens exercising their rights and getting a hearing.

And it all began with standing around with some picket signs.

See you at an Iraq Moratorium action on Friday?


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  1. Pelosi says Conyers’ committee might take up impeachment.

  2. I remember calling Conyers’ office a couple of years ago after his “basement hearings” on Impeachment with Constitutional Attorneys Bruce Fein and Jonathon Turley.  The hearings, which had been carried on KPFA-Pacifica Radio, had just ended.

    It had been so wonderful listening to these fine attorneys and a few others testifying at this hearing.  Even though it was past closing time for Congressional offices, I wanted to call and leave a message of appreciation that Conyers had held these hearings.

    Instead of the voice mail, a man answered, I said that I wanted to thank Congressman Conyers for having held these hearings.  The man’s voice said, “Well, this is Congressman Conyers…” and expressed how happy he was with the hearings also.

    I was blown away, so blown away that I didn’t realize until after the conversation, which lasted for several minutes, that I didn’t ask him how come he was answering his own phone.

    I don’t know what this means, but somehow it gives me a sense of the randomness and the synchronicity with which things happen.

    See you on Friday at Iraq Moratorium.

  3. perhaps they could be approached to encourage their member groups to list their events on the IM website (assuming this hasn’t been done yet, and I’m guessing it already has).  

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