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News :: DNC
A New Center for Resistance in CT
17 May 2004
New Peace Center for Progressive groups in New England now being organized in Voluntown, CT
A New Center for Resistance in CT
by Stephen Vincent Kobasa

...what's past is prologue, what to come,
                In yours and my discharge.
       - William Shakespeare, The Tempest (II, i)

There are landscapes marked by memories of resistance. One of them is a fifty-five acre stretch of woods and fields, farmhouse and outbuildings, in Voluntown, Connecticut. From this place, throughout the 1960s, the Committee for Nonviolent Action organized a series of protests against nuclear weapons in general, and against those carried by submarines built at Groton, CT in particular. Through many permutations and alliances, this Peace Farm was a central locale for tax resistance and organizing against the Vietnam War, involving activists like Barbara Deming, A.J. Muste, and Marjorie and Robert Swann. Its community life was modeled on the values of simplicity and consensus, reflected in work on issues of land use and land trusts. In later years, it was the home of Equity Trust, overseen by the late Chuck Mathei, which provided loans and technical assistance to projects in low-income communities, and to community supported agriculture initiatives .

The Voluntown Peace Trust, Inc. (VPT), a newly founded nonprofit organization initiated by the Hartford Catholic Worker, has been working with other individuals and groups concerned with issues of social justice to preserve this historic property for the work of nonviolent transformation it was initially created to achieve.

The Trust intends to purchase the land and manage a non-profit farm and retreat center which it would then establish there. To develop programs for this center, an entity known as Northeastern Cooperative for Nonviolence (NCN) is now in the process of being created. It will be composed of a wide spectrum of groups and individuals from throughout New England --some faith-based, some secular--committed to nonviolent resistance to the military, economic and structural violence of our society.

We invite you to join us in this effort. Members of the cooperative will help develop the site into a model of nonviolent community building, a sanctuary for resistance and resisters, an experiment in participatory agriculture, and a classroom of hope for children, urban and rural. Organizations within the NCN will have special access to the facilities on the property, including a meeting center and buildings for lodging.

Each cooperative member will be responsible for an annual pledge of $1200 to help pay off the mortgage while the Trust obtains grants and uses the assets of larger progressive community to staff and operate the facility. Some will pledge to the cooperative as representatives of various groups (e.g., War Resisters League, the Catholic Worker, the Buddhist Peace Fellowship). Others will pledge as individuals who may themselves raise contributions from their friends and fellow activists--or fulfill the pledge out of their own private incomes.

VPT is particularly interested in having grassroots urban organizations as an active part of the Co-op. Grant assistance to meet the membership pledges for such groups will be made available.

For further information, write to the Voluntown Peace Trust, Inc. at 26 Clark Street, Hartford, CT 06120, or telephone Theresa Allen at (860) 956-1738 or Stephen Kobasa at (203)777-3849.

Stephen Kobasa is a member of the Board of the Voluntown Peace Trust.

This work is in the public domain
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