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About Just out. (Portland, OR) 1983-2013 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 20, 1984)
by Sandra Jo Palm
Who is at the Peace Camp?
We are the ordinary women: mothers,
daughters, sisters, workers. And we feel that
tim e is running out for all of life on earth. We
are camped near the Boeing Cruise missile
plant in Kent Washington. Our Peace Camp
was inspired by the courageous women of
Greenham Common Royal Air Base since
What are you trying to do?
We are a peaceful force to halt production
of the Cruise and to encourage conversion to
peaceful production in the Puget Sound Re
gion. We want to stop all forms of violence at
home and abroad. We want to live in a new
way, based on respect and harmony with
each other and the earth.
What do you actually do?
We have daily vigils outside the Boeing
plant and frequent actions to remind the
Boeing workers and community that two
nuclear Cruise missiles are produced here
every day. We speak to local groups about the
need for Boeing workers to have the right to
work and to have a voice in what their work
produces. We work both in coalitions and
independently through action and work
shops to create an awareness of the connec
tions between rise of G.S. militarism and vio
lence toward all oppressed groups: women,
poor people, people of color, Jewish people,
Native Americans, the mentally and physically
disabled, the young and elderly, lesbians and
gay men. We expand and experiment with
fem inist process so that it contributes to each
woman’s self-esteem and the expansion of
her repertoire of behavior.
Why are you an all woman camp?
The view that women and men are essen
tially the same and should relate to each
other as fellow (note this word) human
beings is not historical. Women have and still
have barriers that prevent them from full par
ticipation in economic, social, political and
religious concerns of the wor Id. The effects of
this sexism are twofold: a woman has not
been able to develop all the parts of herself
and the world has not been influenced by
those values that it has relegated to women. A
com m unity of women is a powerful force to
work against both these effects. Our goal in
all our Peace Camp practices is to empower
each other in the true sense of the word
pow er (from the Latn Potere, to be able). We
are also exploring ways of making the axis of
the world pass through women’s values.
Many groups of men and women are incor
porating feminist philosophy and process. All
too often, however, men rely on women to get
out the newsletter mailings and “man" the
literature tables while they do the speaking
and media work. At present women’s com
munities are the most fertile ground for the
development of women’s visions.
What’s it like living at the Peace Camp?
It is very exciting. Each day is different
Every woman finds herself doing things she
never thought she would be doing. A typical
day at the camp for a woman might include
planning morning exercise for those inter
ested, attending a com m unity meeting, do
ing a household chore, attending a police
liaison meeting, answering the phone, greet
ing visitors, speaking at a college class or a
noon club meeting, writing a proposal for the
general meeting or a newsletter article or
news release, helping a child build a play
house, holding our Peace Camp banner at
the afternoon Boeing vigil, helping with din
ner and facilitating an evening meeting (polit
ical, street theater, affinity group, outreach,
coalition, etc.) Days are always full and never
long enough to get everything done. There is
the satisfaction that you have had the privilege
of spending the entire day working for peace
How do you get your money?
An amazing amount of $5, $ 10, and $20
checks come in the mail, primarily from wo
men in the Northwest Around 100 women
and men pledge $5 a month. We also sell
T-shirts and sweatshirts and often receive
honorariums for speaking. Most participants
donate expenses of their activities, including
stamps. Neighbors and friends donate food.
We have no paid workers. Every penny we
spend is carefully considered at weekly
How many women are involved in camp?
We have around 50 partici pa ntswho give
an incredible amount of time. Half of these
consider the Peace Camp their full-time work
(some of these have full time paying jobs,
also). A few of these participants live at the
camp. The camp often has foreign, California
and Pacific Northwest visitors. The encamp
ment work leans heavily on fresh energy from
How are lesbians treated at Camp?
O ur camp is one of those unique places on
earth where lesbians and heterosexual wo
men do not find a need to form sub-groups
based on sexuality. We respect and love each
other and take seriously all sexuality choices
— lesbian, heterosexual, bisexual and celibate.
Is there a lot of Goddess worship?
There is a shared feeling among women
that organized religion is not pointing the way
to women’s spirituality. In addition, feminists
find religious institutions hierarchical, spec
tator-oriented, and sexist. Many women at the
Peace Camp are exploring new and old ways
of developing their spirituality. These include
centering circles, participatory rituals
developed for specific occasions, optional
small group traditional rituals, shabbat,
Quaker meeting for worship, Buddhist
drum m ing and chanting, meditation and
goddess visualization exercises.
How can we help?
Everything you are now doing for peace
helps us at the camp because we are all
connected. Specific ways to help the camp
include spending at least a night, monthly
pledges of $5, donations of food and house
or camp equipm ent In small ways keep
changing your life to reflect the fact that you
accept personal responsibility for ending
nuclear war and social, political, and
econom ic injustice. We can be reached by
writing Puget Sound Women’s Peace Camp,
7604 212th S., Kent. Washington 98032 or
Editor 's note: Sandra Jo is a Portland artist
w h o has been living at the Peace Camp
since its beginning last summer.
Our specially — Victorian
alyllny — allka, aallna, lacc and
georgette arc blended with beaded
and allk fringe«
fiaaea for aale acparalely.
Custom work available lo fit
your laalea S color acheme, from
elaborale lo elegantly «Imple.
for our brochure.
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