At the Banquet Dinner on Sunday, August 14 over 400 attendees were treated to the first ever showing of Pat Scanlon’s new music video,“Extremists” for Peace. The video was accompanied by VFP members singing along as the video played. Colonel Ann Wright commented afterwards, “I love it. I can’t stop singing it.”
The origins of the song:
After 9/11, Homeland Security was created which included the formation of eighty-six Fusion Centers, formally named Regional Intelligence Centers (RICs) across the country for the collection of local intelligence. In Boston it is known as the BRIC. These RICs received a lot of resources and equipment including surveillance equipment. In Massachusetts, the American Civil Liberties Union and National Lawyers Guild wanted to know the extent of surveillance of area peace groups including the VFP Smedley Chapter. In order to get that information they ended up having to sue the BRIC in Federal Court. As a result of that lawsuit, in which both Pat Scanlon and the Smedleys Chapter were named as plaintiffs, they received a load of films, tapes, reports etc. Within the documents Veterans For Peace was identified as an extremist organization. Pat was troubled by the BRIC’s classification of veterans who work nonviolently for peace being labeled as in the extreme, in other words a real danger to the homeland. Upon reading this Pat went home and wrote the song,“Extremists” for Peace.
“They call us all Extremists cause we’re out here in the street
How unpatriotic, Veterans For Peace
They say we gotta watch them like never before
Cause there’s nothing more dangerous than Veterans against war”
It was not until Barry Ladendorf (VFP President) stayed at Pat’s house during VFP’s first anti-Islamophobia event at New England’s largest Mosque in Boston that the effort to make a music video was hatched. That evening Barry heard the song in Pat’s kitchen. That immediately started a conversation about having to do something with the song. That was the beginning of a six-month effort to record, mix and master the song and make the music video, not to mention raising the necessary funds through donations. Members from across the country participated in the production of the music video. Enough money was raised to put together a companion CD of the same name. It is a two disc CD containing thirty-two original songs. The first disc contains peace and environmental songs, the second disc contains some of Pat’s favorite songs, covering a multitude of topics. Everything was completed just one week before the convention, just in time for its debut showing. Each convention attendee also received a copy of the companion CD.
There were some“Extremists” for PeaceCDs left over and are available through the national office. All proceeds from those CDs go to support VFPs work.
You can see Pat’s first music video, “War is Not the Answer”by clicking on the following link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFRgEQGIDzs