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EVENT ALERT: Metro Justice flexes old and new muscles to oppose war in Syria

I used to run PeoplePoweredRochester.com. Since that website is defunct, I’m importing some older posts over here. (Here’s the wayback link to the original)

When: 5pm – 6:30 Thursday
Where: 100 State St
What: Petition dropoff to both Senators opposing war in Syria. Then a strategy meeting about what to do next afterwards.
(Link)

Metro Justice has spent the last couple of months or so setting up their swanky new website and organizing tool. Tomorrow, they’ll have their first test to try it out. First, they’ll drop off a petition they’ve gathered opposing attacking Syria. Then, they’ll convene a strategy meeting to figure out their next steps.

This move is unusual for Metro Justice.

The group, Rochester’s premier broad-left organization, has a history of anti-war activism in Rochester. While it was founded as an allied group to FIGHT, it’s more recently known for its anti-war work. Membership shot up during the run-up to the Iraq War, and for many years Iraq was *the* primary focus for Metro Justice. Over the past few years, however, they’ve taken a new tack.

The new Metro Justice is both more member-driven and domestically focused. In fact, the two are entwined: Back in 2011, they engaged in an intensive internal discussion about values and strategy which ultimately culminated in their 7-point platform: Fight For Economic Justice.

Since then, Metro Justice has mainly taken on campaigns around housing justice, dignified retirement, and health care for all. More recently, they’ve switched to a wholly new integrated database/website/online organizing system. They used that system to blast their membership yesterday, asking them to sign a petition against war in Syria, and then signers were asked to commit to attending a rally scheduled for tomorrow. These are Metro Justice’s new muscles, and they’re flexing them for the first time.

They aren’t just relying on fancy online tools, however. As I type this, members across the city are calling other members and asking them to commit to the rally. These old-school organizing techniques aren’t going to be dropped any time soon.

While the rally and petition dropoff are the headline event, some are more interested in the meeting that will follow. Colin O’Malley, their organizing director, told me in a statement:

The most empowering part of this is that we’re not simply rallying and then dispersing, but committing to building a more thoughtful and dynamic anti-war movement in Rochester. The strategy meeting after the rally is a first important step.

We’ll see how it goes!

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