A couple of weeks ago the Activist group i’m involved with had a social event. I went and was asked by the organizer if I wanted to write up a little, uh, “write up” of the event. So I did, and here it is…

The USC4P&J Social Event
June 22, 2005

We held a purely social event to give our members a chance to chat over a glass of wine and get to know one another. The following is Ryan’s account of the evening:

Beehive is a-Buzzing
To cap off a highly successful and well-attended film series U.S. Citizens for Peace & Justice had a garden party at The Beehive. The Beehive is a cozy little hotel located at via Marghera 8, just a few blocks from Termini. The lush courtyard was an excellent location for members of our group to get to know each other in a new atmosphere. The post-film discussions were always interesting, but the opportunity to get to know the people behind the ideas isn’t really present in the large group talk-back format. So we had a potluck style party: BYOB, snacks provided. I didn’t think I’d be there for very long, but didn’t want to show up empty handed, so I grabbed a single bottle of Beck’s from the off-license in Termini to act as my social egg-timer. 2 and a half hours later I regretted my brutta figura, because by now my beer was long gone, but I wasn’t. It’s a good thing I stuck around too, because the USC4P&J Social was everything a mixer is supposed to be: a good-time event where the drinks and snacks circulate frequently and so do the people. There was all kinds of folks there, united of course by the rather broad requirement of being united against American imperialism and an unjust war in Iraq. There were journalists, documentary film-makers, web designers, publicists, professors, tour guides as well as UN employees and consultants. This list is of course not exhaustive; I had time to talk to some, but not all the people, and only conversationally catalogued professions. The point is: there were plenty of people and plenty of good conversation to be had. There were also people from many different countries, including our Italian friends from Articolo 11 / Ostinati per la pace. But that is, of course, not the whole story.
Not all attendees wear their hearts on their sleeves, but thanks to a donation from a woman from California who had passed by the vigil at Palazzo Chigi one night while on holiday in Rome and who sells political protest paraphernalia, all are now able to wear a button expressing their beliefs. A whole range of political buttons were offered up: From the simple “Not in my Name” to the ironic “Don’t Blame Me: I Voted Touch Screen” there were buttons to suit all tastes. As well, Robert Greenwald the filmmaker who made “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism” and “Unconstitutional”, two of the films in the film series, gave permission for copies of his films to be distributed. Could this party get any better?
Yes. As Stephanie Westbrook said, “It’s better to give than receive” So we all signed “PACE” flags to be sent to those two individuals, as well as one other worthy recipient. In Unconstitutional (a film that exposes the blatant unconstitutionality of the USA PATRIOT Act) the owner of a SCUBA shop in California that refused a subpoena of his client records is interviewed. The records were being requested to assist in the pre-emptive battle against the heretofore unheard-of practice of underwater SCUBA terrorism. By challenging the subpoena the shop owner faced a court case. However, the request for information was dropped in the face of a legal challenge, tacit acknowledgement of the unconstitutionality of the initial request. This Everyman hero too, gets a signed PACE flag.
It was after the signing of the flags that I begrudgingly made my departure, but I trust that the good times carried on: there was plenty of drinks and food and people left. These are the same people, plus interested others, who I hope to see at the next series of events in the fall. After the Beehive social I don’t just respect their politics, I like them as people; I’m glad I had the opportunity to get to know them in such a pleasant atmosphere.

Ryan Millar

Special thanks to Linda and Steve of The Beehive for providing us with a perfect venue, to Minerva for dashing off in a cab to pick up the peace flags and to Jacopo for chaining himself to the dvd burner making copies of the films