Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Planning Committees

AFSC and YM Regions
North American Regions, American Friends Service Committee

As one of the NPYM reps with the AFSC corporation, I'm on the lookout for opportunities to integrate the AFSC's machinations within a Quaker context, which isn't the same thing as seeking exclusive control.  AFSC is a shared enterprise, an alliance builder.

My latest memos focused on the Doctrine of Discovery, whereby in some imaginations, vast lands became the property of some King or Queen or President or one of those, even as the people who lived there were informed of their new "undocumented" status.

The Doctrine of Discovery was part and parcel with the migrant worker policy of exporting excess populations to "bases" in the colonies, aka the New World (New Atlantis -- many visions were projected, many of them focused on the element gold (Au), not that the silver (Ag) people would be without their say).

Given these "bases" were that far away there was little to stop them from banding together and declaring their independence from the King, little beyond their own inability to get along.

You likely recognize this old story, which has actually been repeated many times, with different names and faces.

The Wabanaki of the Maine area sent delegates to our last AFSC corporation meeting in March.  They were interested in talking about the Carlisle Industrial School, which Quakers had a hand in, and in this Doctrine of Discovery, recently repudiated by the Episcopalians, and a focus of the Parliament of World Religions.

Our internal documents spin on a shared web server we call Star Cafe, which sounds somewhat Hitchhiker's Guide to my ears.  The 18 page overall National Plan is there, mostly about demonstrating the efficacy of non-violent development over wonton destruction, in terms of raising living standards.  You'd think that'd be a no-brainer but remember this is only 2013.  The regional plans, more detailed, get a bit more in to the nitty gritty (but not a lot).

Given the recent redrawing of the AFSC North American regions, there's a sense that our current drafts have a ways to go, but that's usual for living documents.  There's always inertia, things that already have momentum and can't be expected to just turn on a dime.

Whether the Doctrine of Discovery is mentioned explicitly or not in current draft language, I feel in a position to say it's topical among Friends, and a current focus of some intra-NPYM communications.

We'll talk more about it all when the Area Support Committee next meets.

For further reading:

click pix for more context