Group struggles to keep civil liberties, members

As local peace advocate Roger Peace articulated the principles of the Tallahassee Network of Justice and Peace, he stressed that the military campaign would only go so far to address the roots of terrorism.

With the Taliban surrendering in droves and the prospect of a reduction in U.S. military activity, the next challenge for the stateside peace movement is to build opposition to anti-terrorism legislation which critics claim will endanger basic civil liberties.

Tom Baxter, a member of Veterans for Peace and part of the Network, said that there has been a considerable amount of networking with other state antiwar groups and organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, but acknowledged that it’s been difficult to draw people to Tallahassee and challenge legislators in person.

“I haven’t talked to anybody who thought it was worth their time to come up and lobby,” Baxter said.

For the 10 Network members assembled at the First Presbyterian Church Wednesday, the most immediate concern was retaining members of its already-diminutive group.

“I’m kind of disappointed we didn’t have 3,000 people here ranting and raving tonight,’ Baxter joked.

Another member also decried the lack of participation in the community.

“After our initial meeting, there were enough people in our group to branch out into different departments,” said Jan Rogers, a local paralegal and group member. “By the time of our Nov. 4 rally, there was only one person regularly communicating with me.”

Network members agreed to hold the group’s next meeting on Dec. 12 and extend vigils at the intersection of Apalachee Parkway and Monroe Street to weeknight hours.

Several members also suggested linking with other groups for a demonstration on Martin Luther King Day in January.