Democrats Abroad Austria July Newsletter

  • EVENTS
  1. YOUNG DEMS PUB NIGHT: ALTE DONAU EDITION
  2. POSTER HANGING
  • ACTIONS AND ISSUES
  1. SOLSUN IS ON SUMMER BREAK - OUR PLANNED ACTIONS ARE GOING ONLINE!
  2. SUMMER OF ACTIVISM: JOIN RESISTANCE SUMMER
  3. RESISTANCE SUMMER SELFIE CHALLENGE
  4. POSTER HANGING MEET-UP
  • REVIEWS
  1. DAA TALKS: MELISSA FLEMING
  2. CLIMATE CHANGE AND TRUMP
  3. DANCING IN THE STREET
  • HAPPENINGS AROUND TOWN
  1. FOURTH OF JULY PARTY
  • MEMBERS CORNER
  1. WE WANT TO HEAR WHAT YOU LISTEN TO!
  2. ‘VIELMEHR FÜR ALLE’

  • EVENTS
1. YOUNG DEMS PUB NIGHT: ALTE DONAU EDITION

Alte Donau Pub Night Patio

Summer is here and hot days are ahead, so we are planning our July Pub Night with a cool summer breeze on the Alte Donau We still have some Resistance Summer postcards to send out, so we will have those available for you as well. Please RSVP by either Facebook or via the website. We will have to change the reservation if we are more than 10 people.

Where: Restaurant Zur Alten Kaisermühle

U1 Alte Donau, Fischerstrand 21a

1220 Wien –Franz Josefs Land

When: July 20th, 2017 7 pm - 10 pm.

Contact: Ashley Arreola

+436503749481

ashley_arreola@yahoo.com

RSVP via Facebook

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2. POSTER HANGING

 

Currently we are working on improving our outreach in Austria. Thanks to a Resistance Summer grant The DAA Youth Caucus will be hanging up posters promoting upcoming events and becoming a member. The idea is to hang posters within the first nine districts of Vienna at pubs and bars, and places of interest to the international community. We 'll see how far we get! Join us in this supportive and help hang posters, perhaps in combination with a pub crawl and other fun activities, please contact david.heckenberg@gmail.com, if you have any other ideas or suggestions for the Youth Caucus, fire away and send an Email to the address provided above!

Bring your friends! The more the merrier!

Where: The Golden Harp

Erdbergstraße 27

When: August 11th, 2017 6 pm - 12 am

Contact: David Heckenberg

+43664 3782040

david.heckenberg@gmail.com

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  • ISSUES
1. SOLSUN IS ON SUMMER BREAK - OUR PLANNED ACTIONS ARE GOING ONLINE!

By Antje Lewis, Grassroots Caucus

Solidarity Sundays Vienna participants are spread across the globe this summer, so we’re taking our planned actions online where everyone can reach us.

Keep a lookout here to take part and be sure to keep up with DA’s Resistance Summer! (see below)

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2. SUMMER OF ACTIVISM: JOIN RESISTANCE SUMMER

by Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair

Since the 2016 election, people are not - as Timothy Snyder would say - simply being bystanders. Instead, they have been marching, writing letters, calling their Members of Congress, and holding Town Halls. Small groups and a few noteworthy individuals have set a ball in motion that has managed to be heard and to make a difference in the halls of Congress. The DNC is using this momentum to contact voters in 50 states and around the world. “The mission of Resistance Summer is to educate, organize, and mobilize grassroots energy.“To further the grassroots efforts, Democrats Abroad has given grants to country committees like DA Austria to enable us to print postcards and posters. Please read below about Bruce Murray’s Resistance Summer Selfie Challenge and David Heckenberg’s Poster Outreach Party. Text RESIST to 43367 to stay up-to-date on all the major items of Resistance Summer.

Excitingly, the DNC has now approved Democrats Abroad’s grant proposal for online trainings over the next two months. There will be trainings for Executive Committee members as well as Membership trainings, which will include online seminars on phone banking and canvassing. They will also focus on DA issues such as Residency Based Taxation, the healthcare bill, its potential consequences abroad, and more. These trainings will provide useful skills for reaching out to voters in 2018, so I hope many members will take advantage of this opportunity!

Please contact me at demsabroadaustria@gmail.com if you would like to participate in an online training session and I’ll forward you the specifics as soon as they’re available. Country committees whose members participate also receive funding for banners etc. Join Resistance Summer - it’s a win for everyone!

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3. RESISTANCE SUMMER SELFIE CHALLENGE

by Bruce Murray, Counsel

Tim Snyder's 20 Lessons from the 20th Century can only strengthen our resolve to engage in the Resistance Summer. Become involved! Make a Difference! Your Voice Counts!

Democrats Abroad Austria encourages you to send us a creative Resistance Summer Selfie when you participate in (or host) an event. We look forward to your submissions on or before Labor Day, September 4th. We would like to post them on our Facebook page. The greatest prize we can offer is the future of our democracy. We also are tinkering with plans for more mundane prizes for the best submissions!

So –

  1. Look up a Resistance Summer event near you and attend.

  2. No event in your area? Then invite some neighbours and friends over and host one!

  3. Print out the logo (printer friendly version) and take a selfie at an event, with a neighbor, or at a spot you feel represents your America. Get creative!

  4. Remember to send it to demsabroadaustria@gmail.com

or post it on our FB page by September 4th!

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4. POSTER HANGING MEET-UP

by David Heckenberg, Youth Caucus

We are currently working on improving our outreach in Austria. Thanks to a Resistance Summer grant, the DAA Youth Caucus will be hanging up posters promoting upcoming events and new DAA membership. We will be hanging posters within the first nine districts of Vienna at pubs, bars, and places of interest to the international community. It should take no more than a few days to get it done. The posters will be designed and printed in July so that in August we can put them up. Please join us in this effort - we can combine it with a pub crawl and other fun activities! If interested, please contact david.heckenberg@gmail.com. Should you have any other ideas or suggestions for the Youth Caucus, fire away and send an email to the address provided above!

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  • REVIEW
1. DAA TALKS: MELISSA FLEMING

Democrats Abroad Austria was pleased to launch its new DAA Talks series with Melissa Fleming on June 8th. It was attended by about 70 members, friends, and a group of exchange students from the University of Illinois who heard the heart-wrenching story of a young Syrian woman’s journey to Europe. The audience also gained insight into the numerous challenges that refugees face and information about the UNHCR, who work to assist them. It was a fascinating account, which closed with a lively discussion.

Before the talk began, we had the chance to mingle while enjoying delicious bureks provided by a Syrian friend. We heard from Susanne Summer, who generously provided us the use of the rooms, about the history of the left wing Republikanischer Club. Afterwards, two representatives from “Vielmehr Für Alle” spoke to us about the work they are doing to help refugees build a new life in Vienna (see the article below in Member’s Corner).

The event was streamed live and recorded.

You can watch it here .

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2. CLIMATE CHANGE AND TRUMP
–A BAD DEAL FOR THE CLIMATE AND FOR A CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE

by Faith Hall Herbold and Andreas Beckmann

Members of Democrats Abroad Austria as well as political and environmental science students gathered once again at the Amerlinghaus on a rainy, sweltering day to discuss climate change and the impact and implications of the United States withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord for the 5th Solidarity Sunday called “Environment without Protection? No.”

Faith Hall Herbold began with a presentation discussing the basics of climate change with the aim of providing the audience with talking points based on scientific data in order to successfully debate the topic in social settings. Climate change is real and is already occurring. 2017 is the second hottest year on record and the earth is in flux with dramatic shifts in weather patterns, ocean warming resulting in acidification, and loss of coastline and habitats -- just to name a few. With the progression of climate change from a warning to an actual reality, we are left with few choices but to adapt to climate change and mitigate the effects. Although individual choices contribute to the rise of greenhouse gas production, a major contributor is industrial pollution. Government at the local, state and federal levels has an important role to play in driving forward the shift to a clean energy future.

Faith passed the rhetorical baton to Andreas Beckmann, who talked about the implications of the U.S. leaving the Paris Climate Accord. The Paris agreement, which was signed in 2015 by 195 countries (the two exceptions are Syria –mired in a nasty civil war –and Nicaragua, for whom the agreement was not ambitious enough!), was seen as the best hope for keeping overall increase in temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius to avoid the most catastrophic impacts. It is important to note that the Paris Agreement is voluntary, depending on peer pressure not only to deliver on but also ratchet up future commitments to decrease emissions of greenhouse gases. By withdrawing from the agreement, Trump essentially has kicked the international community in the teeth –and has very much isolated the U.S. on the world stage.

The U.S.’s exit deals a serious but not necessarily mortal blow to the global efforts to address climate change –indeed, China, India, Europe and Russia have responded to Trump’s announcement with redoubled commitment to the accord. The U.S. accounts for 20% of the commitments to decrease greenhouse gases under the Paris Accord and much of this will be achieved regardless of the actions of the Trump Administration, thanks to economics, with cleaner gas and renewables putting dirty coal power out of business. Indeed, while the U.S. President has explained the withdrawal in terms of financial costs, the bigger risk over the longer-term is that the U.S. is left behind as China, India, Europe, and other parts of the world press forward to a clean energy economy. Fortunately, in the absence of leadership from the White House, a dozen states including California and New York, 333 cities, hundreds of corporations (Walmart and Facebook among others), and many universities have taken the lead and pledged their support for the Paris Accord, and they are doing their part to promote the shift to a clean energy economy.

We ended the session by taking action. Democrats Abroad Organizer Antje Lewis presented instructions on how to successfully use phone banking to contact our state and federal representatives on various issues, and we then wrote cards to our governors, mayors and university presidents urging them to show the leadership that is missing in Washington to deliver the U.S. commitment to the Paris agreement.

You can check www.wearestillin.com to see if your governor, mayor, CEO, or university president has already signed up for the future. For all our sakes: thank them if they have and pressure them if they haven’t!

For more information see:

· Climate change and The historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2017.

· US states, cities, corporations, universities and colleges committed to the Paris Accord and promoting the shift to a clean energy future.

· Phone banking!

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3. DANCING IN THE STREET

 

by Keith Jacomine, Vice-Chair

On Saturday, June 17th, approximately fifty Democrats Abroad Austria members took to the Ringstrasse to march in the Regenbogenparade. This year our contingent had a decisively carnival feeling as our organizer, Juan David, encouraged everyone to don costumes, glitter and glitz with the theme, "It's Just Absolutely Fabulous!"

This year marked the fifth consecutive time that DAA has participated in this important event.

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  • HAPPENINGS AROUND TOWN

 

by Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair

We all know that there are many advantages to living in a city as beautiful and with such a high quality of life as Vienna, but an often underappreciated advantage is the number of fascinating people who are invited by the US Embassy or academic foundations to hold public talks.

Two such events took place in late June and both, unsurprisingly, touched on the realities and ramifications of fake news and the state of our current body politic. On Thursday June 20th, David Mikkelson, the founder and CEO of snopes.com, spoke at the Amerika Haus about whether the causes of the current distrust in the media are a product of fake news or simply bad journalism and whether this is actually a greater problem now than it had been in the past. Mikkelson explained the spectrum of journalistic behavior and the monetization of news that has caused the current phenomenon. snopes.com doesn’t have a single focus as do other political fact check sites such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning Politifact.com, but instead it investigates claims according to how they are trending, email requests etc.

On Tuesday June 22 nd , Timothy Snyder, a Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale University, an IWM Permanent Fellow, and, most recently, a New York Times best selling author, was invited by the IWM Institut f ür die Wissenschaften von Menschen (Institute for Human Sciences) to present his most recent book. Breaking conventional borders and reflecting the urgency of his appeal, his 20 Lessons on Tyranny were first published on Facebook and then transformed into posters by students from Kingston University and pasted along a street in East London. The book is “an attempt to distil what I have learned about the 20th century into a guide for action today.”His presentation and discussion with journalist Martin Pollack revealed the importance of the many activist actions that are currently taking place in the U.S. and globally –including our very own Solidarity Sundays Vienna group –from a historical perspective. On Tyranny is billed as “a practical guide to resisting the rise of totalitarianism”and his overarching theme, “Don’t be a Bystander,“struck a chord with an enthusiastic audience.

Although different in context, both talks addressed the polarization of our news sources and our society. Where Mikkelson said, “polarization is the disease,”Snyder posited that the result of polarization was inaction on both ends. To paraphrase –if all is going right, you feel it doesn’t matter to change something. And if all is going wrong, then it also doesn’t matter what you do to change something. Trying to find a place between is where you have responsibility.

As a last note, David Mikkelson accepted our invitation and joined about 20 DAA members on Friday, June 23rd for dinner. Professor Snyder met with about 30 members and friends in Halle Cafe in the Museumsquartier to discuss and sign copies of his book on July 5th. A full review will be in the September newsletter!

If you are interested in getting on the email list for such events, please send your request to the U.S. Embassy for Amerika Haus events at ViennaUSEmbassy@state.gov and the IWM at iwm@iwm.at .

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1. FOURTH OF JULY PARTY

by Marcy Fowler, Treasurer

Democrats Abroad Austria joined up with Americans in International Organizations in Vienna (AIOV) again to celebrate Independence Day in as authentic a way as possible: a big outdoor party complete with food, bands, sports and of course as many American flag themed items as you can imagine. The weather held up well and the large crowd of Americans and friends made for a truly festive event.

DAA yet again sponsored the annual softball game, which was great entertainment for all. Captained by DAA's own Jeffrey Velasquez, the "Stars" team defeated the "Stripes" 2-1 on a walk-off hit in the bottom of the 6th inning. With most of the game highlights coming in the form of fancy glove work in the field, who says Democrats are weak on defense?

As befits any 4th of July party, there was more food than anyone could possibly eat. Hamburgers, hot dogs and fries from Der Garten in the Prater park along with tables full of pot-luck desserts and snacks brought by attendees. Just the Troubles got the crowd singing and dancing, and made sure everyone went home not just full but also with a smile on their face.

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  • MEMBERS CORNER
1. WE WANT TO HEAR WHAT YOU LISTEN TO!

Do you have a favorite podcast? Share it with your fellow members in an upcoming newsletter. Send your submissions to demsabroadaustria@gmail.com

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2. VIEL MEHR FÜR ALLE

By Parissima Taheri

Remember me, Parissima, and my colleague Abdiwahab? On June 8th at the Melissa Fleming talk, we told you about our work for the organization “Vielmehr Für Alle,”which supports young refugees here in Vienna in many aspects of their lives that are critical to a healthy participation in society: education, housing, introduction into the working world and healthcare and a strengthened local social circle. Get involved! No need to speak German, no need to have regular time to dedicate. All we need is YOU – your talents, skills, contacts, ideas, spaces, collaborations – we are open to everyone. I look forward to hearing from you and I’m sure we can inspire each other.

Please contact: parissima.taheri@vielmehr.at

Further info. at www.vielmehr.at

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