Move the Money on Tax Day

April 15, 2014

30927_10150183416160391_1940262_nBy Judith Le Blanc, Peace Action Field Director

Today is Tax Day and also the Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS.)  On every continent, peace and disarmament, sustainable development groups will hold events.

In 70 locations across the US, activities, forums and vigils will be held to raise the call to Move the Money from wars and weapons to fund jobs, public services and transition jobs in defense industries to green sustainable manufacturing.

Join the global action by calling Congress 202-224-3121

Tell your Senator and Representative: Cut $100 billion over ten years wasted on nuclear weapons. Urge your Senators to co-sponsor the SANE Act, S. 2070 and your Representative to cosponsor the REIN IN Act, H. R. 4107.

Background:

MA Senator Ed Markey introduced Senate bill S. 2070, the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act. OR Congressman Earl Blumenauer introduced a companion bill in the House, H.R.4107, the Reduce Expenditures in Nuclear Infrastructure Now (REIN-IN) Act. 

Join the Tax Day/GDAMS actions on social media: Sign onto the Thunderclap asking Congress to eliminate the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), also known as the Pentagon” slush fund.” It is a simple one step action that can reach tens of thousands. Just click on this link.

 Join an event in your area. US Tax Day/GDAMS sponsored by: Alliance for Global Justice, American Friends Service Committee, CODEPINK, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Foreign Policy in Focus, Friends Committee on National Legislation, National Priorities Project, National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, Peace Action, Progressive Democrats of America, United for Peace and Justice, USAction, US Labor Against the War, War Resisters League, Women’s Action for New Directions & Women’s Legislators


April 15 Tax Day: Global Day of Action on Military Spending!

February 20, 2014
VA Organizing at teh Richmond, VA post office on April 15, 2013

VA Organizing at teh Richmond, VA post office on April 15, 2013

By Judith Le Blanc, Peace Action Field Director

The International Peace Bureau’s Global Day of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) is April 15, US Tax Day. Peace Action is convening a cross section of peace and community, faith-based national groups who are supporting local actions across the country on Tax Day. Tax Day will be a day to shine a light on the Pentagon budget and how it drains the resources needed for our communities.

Not only does our government allocate a majority of the discretionary spending every year on the Pentagon at the expense of human needs and diplomacy, it also is one of the world’s biggest arms dealers.

The Tax Day actions are a call for changing national spending priorities, it is also a day of solidarity with all those who suffer from US wars past and present and the presence of over 1,000 bases around the world. The actions will call attention to the domestic impact of continuing to pour money into the Pentagon budget while community services are cut.

The recent Congressional budget deal delayed the next round of ”sequestration” or across the board budget cuts. Federal budget cuts were made but the Pentagon came out the big winner. In fact, the Overseas Contingency Operations account got bumped up while the war in Afghanistan is winding down creating a slush fund to blunt the impact of cuts!

Initial reports are that the Pentagon will announce their budget on February 24 and will include a $26-28 billion dollar “investment fund.” Yet another maneuver to add money to the budget and relieve the pressure to cut the Pentagon budget!

The April 15 Tax Day local actions will focus on Congress. In April, the Congress will be in the midst of working on the federal budget.

We will send a clear message to our Congressional representatives: ”Move the Money” from wars and weapons to human services and convert military industries into civilian use.

We have commitments from 10 Peace Action affiliates to work with their community allies to organize Congressional lobby visits, town hall meetings, and vigils, leafleting, banner drops or other visibility actions. Please post your event here.

Soon a US website will be up with materials, information and organizing tips. Find out more about what is going on around the world at http://demilitarize.org/

For more information email: JLeBlanc@peace-action.org.


When Will They Ever Learn?

January 9, 2014
Peace Action board member, professor, activist and author Larry Wittner’s article published yesterday on CounterPunch 
JANUARY 08, 2014
When Will They Ever Learn?
The American People and Support for War
by LAWRENCE WITTNER

When it comes to war, the American public is remarkably fickle.

The responses of Americans to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars provide telling examples.  In 2003, according to opinion polls, 72 percent of Americans thought going to war in Iraq was the right decision.  By early 2013, support for that decision had declined to 41 percent.  Similarly, in October 2001, when U.S. military action began in Afghanistan, it was backed by 90 percent of the American public.  By December 2013, public approval of the Afghanistan war had dropped to only 17 percent.

In fact, this collapse of public support for once-popular wars is a long-term phenomenon.  Although World War I preceded public opinion polling, observers reported considerable enthusiasm for U.S. entry into that conflict in April 1917.  But, after the war, the enthusiasm melted away.  In 1937, when pollsters asked Americans whether the United States should participate in another war like the World War, 95 percent of the respondents said “No.”

And so it went.  When President Truman dispatched U.S. troops to Korea in June 1950, 78 percent of Americans polled expressed their approval.  By February 1952, according to polls, 50 percent of Americans believed that U.S. entry into the Korean War had been a mistake.  The same phenomenon occurred in connection with the Vietnam War.  In August 1965, when Americans were asked if the U.S. government had made “a mistake in sending troops to fight in Vietnam,” 61 percent of them said “No.”  But by August 1968, support for the war had fallen to 35 percent, and by May 1971 it had dropped to 28 percent.

Of all America’s wars over the past century, only World War II has retained mass public approval.  And this was a very unusual war – one involving a devastating military attack upon American soil, fiendish foes determined to conquer and enslave the world, and a clear-cut, total victory.

In almost all cases, though, Americans turned against wars they once supported.  How should one explain this pattern of disillusionment?

The major reason appears to be the immense cost of war — in lives and resources.  During the Korean and Vietnam wars, as the body bags and crippled veterans began coming back to the United States in large numbers, public support for the wars dwindled considerably.  Although the Afghanistan and Iraq wars produced fewer American casualties, the economic costs have been immense.  Two recent scholarly studies have estimated that these two wars will ultimately cost American taxpayers from $4 trillion to $6 trillion.  As a result, most of the U.S. government’s spending no longer goes for education, health care, parks, and infrastructure, but to cover the costs of war.  It is hardly surprising that many Americans have turned sour on these conflicts.

But if the heavy burden of wars has disillusioned many Americans, why are they so easily suckered into supporting new ones?

A key reason seems to be that that powerful, opinion-molding institutions – the mass communications media, government, political parties, and even education – are controlled, more or less, by what President Eisenhower called “the military-industrial complex.”  And, at the outset of a conflict, these institutions are usually capable of getting flags waving, bands playing, and crowds cheering for war.

But it is also true that much of the American public is very gullible and, at least initially, quite ready to rally ‘round the flag.  Certainly, many Americans are very nationalistic and resonate to super-patriotic appeals.  A mainstay of U.S. political rhetoric is the sacrosanct claim that America is “the greatest nation in the world” – a very useful motivator of U.S. military action against other countries.  And this heady brew is topped off with considerable reverence for guns and U.S. soldiers.  (“Let’s hear the applause for Our Heroes!”)

Of course, there is also an important American peace constituency, which has formed long-term peace organizations, including Peace Action, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and other antiwar groups.  This peace constituency, often driven by moral and political ideals, provides the key force behind the opposition to U.S. wars in their early stages.  But it is counterbalanced by staunch military enthusiasts, ready to applaud wars to the last surviving American.  The shifting force in U.S. public opinion is the large number of people who rally ‘round the flag at the beginning of a war and, then, gradually, become fed up with the conflict.

And so a cyclical process ensues.  Benjamin Franklin recognized it as early as the eighteenth century, when he penned a short poem for  A Pocket Almanack For the Year 1744:

War begets Poverty,

Poverty Peace;

Peace makes Riches flow,

(Fate ne’er doth cease.)

Riches produce Pride,

Pride is War’s Ground;

War begets Poverty &c.

The World goes round.

There would certainly be less disillusionment, as well as a great savings in lives and resources, if more Americans recognized the terrible costs of war before they rushed to embrace it.  But a clearer understanding of war and its consequences will probably be necessary to convince Americans to break out of the cycle in which they seem trapped.

Lawrence Wittner (http://lawrenceswittner.com), syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. His latest book is “What’s Going On at UAardvark?” (Solidarity Press), a satirical novel about campus life.


Excellent Op-Ed on Iran Sanctions and Congress

December 11, 2013
Viewpoints: Rep. Bera should show support for first step on Iran nuclear deal
By Harry Wang and Rebecca Griffin
Special to The Bee
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 – 12:00 am

We all know that Congress has a lower approval rating than cockroaches and the much-maligned rock band Nickelback. Now we can add another thing to the more-popular-than-Congress list: the recently negotiated deal to constrain Iran’s nuclear program. This historic diplomatic achievement has widespread support from the American public. The question now is whether Congress will ruin a popular plan that Americans understand is the right one.

Sacramento-area Rep. Ami Bera can have a powerful voice on this issue as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He should use it to support the negotiations and ensure his colleagues don’t scuttle a long-term diplomatic deal.

If you want to avert war and stop the spread of nuclear weapons, it’s hard not to like this first-step deal negotiated between the United States and its partners and Iran. In exchange for modest sanctions relief, Iran reins in its nuclear activity, making it much more difficult to get anywhere near a nuclear weapon. Its facilities will be open to daily inspections, the most intensive inspections program ever. This deal offers an opportunity to build confidence on both sides as they work toward a more permanent arrangement that will make the world safer.

Smart people around the world are lining up behind this reasonable, realistic approach to addressing nuclear proliferation concerns. The deal was negotiated with major allies such as Britain and France who have been part of the administration’s ongoing pressure campaign on Iran. Experts from Brent Scowcroft to Madeleine Albright to a group of former U.S. ambassadors to Israel have lined up in support.

Still, there are people who resemble those stalwart Nickelback fans, raising their lighters to the old song about bombing Iran. Some can be dismissed as delusional, like Ben Shapiro at Breitbart.com, who described a deal that largely skews toward U.S. interests as “worse than Munich.” But there are people with actual power in Congress who are tenaciously working to undermine this deal.

Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., are trying to push through another round of sanctions despite opposition from the Obama administration. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., described the deal as dangerous and may bring a bill to the floor this week to put unwieldy restrictions on the agreement and undermine the diplomatic process. We’re still waiting for any of these opponents to offer a viable alternative.

It might be tolerable to let these members of Congress spout their hawkish rhetoric if the situation weren’t so delicate. The United States and Iran are working through decades of tension. The countries have talked more in the past three months than in the last three decades. Congressional belligerence will empower hard-liners in Iran who want to scuttle negotiations and could shatter the fragile trust that is being built.

If that trust is shattered, sanctions alone won’t stop Iran’s enrichment program and pressure will increase for U.S. military action. Every member of Congress who acts to undermine the current diplomatic process is tacitly supporting either allowing Iran to continue to enrich uranium unobserved or launching a costly military attack that experts believe would at best only delay Iran’s nuclear program.

As White House spokesman Jay Carney pointed out, “The American people justifiably and understandably prefer a peaceful solution that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and this agreement, if it’s achieved, has the potential to do that. The alternative is military action.”

After the diplomatic Hail Mary to secure Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles and this historic agreement with Iran, the American people are finally getting a chance to see diplomacy work. It turns out they like it, as polls show the public supporting the deal by a 2-to-1 ratio and wanting Congress to hold off on new sanctions. The lack of appetite for another war after more than a decade of fighting is abundantly clear.

If this deal is going to turn into a stable long-term solution, there are tough months of negotiating ahead. Congressional leaders must step up and do everything they can to make that process a success. California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein have expressed their support for a deal. Feinstein said she is baffled that Congress would think of ratcheting up sanctions at this time.

In an embarrassingly misinformed hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Bera exceeded the low bar set by his colleagues by acknowledging that we have to at least try negotiating with Iran. But the political moment calls for more forceful leadership in favor of smart diplomacy.


Dr. Harry Wang is the president of Physicians for Social Responsibility/Sacramento. Rebecca Griffin is the political director of Peace Action West.

 


Judith LeBlanc Honored as Democracy Champion by National Priorities Project

November 15, 2013

11/8/13 – NORTHAMPTON, MASS.–Judith LeBlanc has been recognized as a Democracy Champion by National Priorities Project (NPP). Selected as one of 32 allies and partners from across the country, NPP recognizes LeBlanc for exemplary leadership and tenacious commitment to the democratic ideals upon which our nation was founded.

“We are honored to celebrate our remarkable allies and partners, without whom our work to democratize the federal budget would be impossible. These Democracy Champions represent a broad cross-section of social movements. We are proud to partner with them as we work towards a federal budget that reflects Americans’ priorities,” NPP Executive Director Jo Comerford said.

National Priorities Project is a national non-profit, non-partisan research organization dedicated to making federal budget information accessible so people can both understand and influence federal spending and revenue decisions. Over the past 30 years, NPP has reached well-over 40 million people and leveraged its research to support thousands of national, regional and state organizations.

“Peace Action and I are honored to be among the awardees, and we treasure our partnership with the National Priorities Project, especially our joint Move the Money grassroots training program on cutting Pentagon spending in order to invest in better human and environmental priorities,” said Le Blanc.

To learn more about NPP’s 30-year history visit: http://nationalpriorities.org/en/about/npp-turns-30/.

Below is the full list of the 2013 Democracy Champions. To learn more, visit: http://nationalpriorities.org/en/about/npp-turns-30/democracy-champions/.

  • Eric Byler & Annabel Park
    Co-Founders, Coffee Party USA
  • Sister Simone Campbell
    Executive Director, NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
  • Tim Carpenter
    Founder and National Director, Progressive Democrats of America
  • John Cavanagh
    Fellow, Global Economy, Institute for Policy Studies
  • Ben Cohen
    President and Head Stamper, StampStampede
  • Cheryl Contee
    Partner, Fission Strategy
  • Tom Engelhardt
    Tomdispatch.com
  • Seth Flaxman & Kathryn Peters
    Co-Founders, TurboVote
  • Barney Frank
    Member of Congress (1981-2012); Chairman, House Financial Services Committee (2007-2011)
  • Anna Galland
    Executive Director, MoveOn.org
  • Christie George
    Director, New Media Ventures
  • Michael Leon Guerrero & Cindy Wiesner
    Grassroots Global Justice
  • Sarita Gupta
    Executive Director, Jobs with Justice
  • Van Jones
    Host, CNN’s Crossfire
  • Judith Le Blanc
    Field Director, Peace Action
  • Annie Leonard
    Founder and President, The Story of Stuff Project
  • Tiffany Dena Loftin
    Power Shift Coordinator, Energy Action Coalition & Organizer, Dream Defenders
  • Katherine McFate
    President & CEO, Center for Effective Government
  • Heather McGhee
    Vice President, Policy & Outreach, Demos
  • Jim McGovern
    Member of Congress (1996 – present)
  • Bill McKibben
    Founder, 350.org
  • Ellen Miller
    Executive Director and Co-Founder, Sunlight Foundation
  • Leslie Moody
    Executive Director, The Partnership for Working Families
  • Bill Moyers
    Moyers and Company
  • Liz Ryan Murray
    Policy Director, National People’s Action
  • Eli Pariser
    Co-founder, Upworthy
  • Ai-jen Poo
    Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance & Co-director, Caring Across Generations
  • Robert B. Reich
    Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, University of California
  • Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner
    Executive Director/CEO and Co-Founder, MomsRising
  • Micah L. Sifry
    Co-Founder and Editorial Director, Personal Democracy Media
  • Jessie Spector
    Executive Director, Resource Generation
  • Deborah Weinstein
    Executive Director, Coalition on Human Needs

Life Stories: Activist Bill Towe, a voice against war and for the poor

November 12, 2013

Our former Peace Action board of directors co-chair, Bill Towe, passed recently. Here is a wonderful remembrance of Bill in the Raleigh News and Observer including quotes from his children, Maria and Chris.

BY ELIZABETH SHESTAK

CorrespondentNovember 10, 2013

Bill Towe.

COURTESY OF MARIA TOWE

  • William H. Towe

    Born: March 27, 1933

    Family: An only child, Towe marries Betsy-Jean Robertson Towe and they raise two children together, Chris and Maria Towe, who give him two grandchildren. He lives all over the Triangle, as well as in Henderson, before settling in Cary. He is widowed in 2011.

    Education: Undergraduate degree from Davidson College, master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. Spends two years enlisted in the U.S. Army, deployed to Germany, in the late 1950s.

    Career: Leaves a position teaching history in Virginia to work full time for peace causes. His positions over the years include, but are not limited to, senior planner for the Soul City project, research director for the N.C. Voter Registration Project, the Office of Economic Opportunity under Gov. Jim Hunt, and national co-chairman of Peace Action.

    Dies: Oct. 18

     

Growing up in Wilson, Bill Towe often asked his parents why his nanny did not eat with them.

Though his parents demonstrated that everyone was equal in their rights, in the 1930s South they had a hard time explaining why their housekeeper and cook, an African-American woman, did not join them at the table.

In that instance, the distance kept during meal times had more to do with employment status than skin color, but it left a mark on Towe. As an adult, Towe dedicated his life to eradicating inequalities – and injustices – of any kind.

A key turning point came when Towe rejected the option to take over his father’s successful insurance company in Wilson. Following a brief stint in the military, he later left a career as a history teacher to work full time for nonprofits and state organizations seeking to bring peace where there was strife, justice where there were wrongs.

His career as an activist was often likened to that of a long-distance runner. Friends and family can now say he is finally able to rest after a lifetime of fighting for others. Towe died last month at the age of 80.

Towe’s early career had a slightly different direction – one that went straight up, as he was a tent raiser for the circus. Sometime near the end of high school, Towe, an only child, literally ran away with the circus, his children said. He was certainly running away from an unwanted career in Wilson, where a comfortable life selling insurance was ready for the taking.

“It was always assumed by my grandfather that that’s where my father would work. My dad had other plans,” said his daughter, Maria Towe.

From there he went to Davidson College, then enlisted in the military for two years and was stationed in Germany. Upon his return he earned a master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill, and embarked on a teaching career.

He met his wife of 47 years, Betsy-Jean, while teaching in Hampton, Va. They shared the same values from the start. She was the first white teacher to work in a black school, his family said, and it wasn’t long before he resigned from teaching to work for $12 a week (plus gas money) as a civil rights organizer.

Together they helped organize the Virginia Civil Rights Committee. A cross was burned in their front lawn, but rather than react with hatred, they took the stance that Ku Klux Klan members were from “poor and downtrodden” white families, he once wrote.

When they moved to North Carolina, Towe worked on various peace projects, some at the state level, some for nonprofits. No cause was off-limits, though in the end, it was his work combating weapons proliferation that was the most public.

And the most noticeable.

He designed and wore a bright blue spandex suit, of superhero design, donning a gigantic boomerang atop his head under the moniker “Captain Boomerang.”

This getup often made an appearance at the state fair, where, as he manned the N.C. Peace Action booth (he was national co-chairman of this Washington-based nonprofit) he talked about the ways the United States sold weapons to other nations, only to have those same weapons later used against American soldiers. He felt those funds would be much better spent on schools and other peace measures.

But for as overt – and brightly hued – as his political presence might have been in the public, at home he was just the opposite.

“He never really wanted to engage in political discussions. He definitely had his beliefs, but he never got up on his soap box,” said his son, Chris Towe.

Towe met Cyrus B. King, a longtime Raleigh activist, after he moved to the area in the 1980s. In recognizing Towe’s impact to fellow activists years ago, King reminded folks of Towe’s tireless dedication – and financial contributions. Many feel he personally kept Peace Action afloat.

“Anytime there was a peace demonstration like the ones at Fort Bragg on the anniversaries of the war in Iraq, Bill and Betsy-Jean were always present,” King said.

“If you have email and you were foolish enough to give your address to Bill, you have received reminders of events that you should participate in and you have received more action alerts than you can possibly respond to.

“But if you complained, as I sometimes did, you should be reminded that not only was Bill sending out those emails, he was participating in all those demonstrations, going to all those events, writing all those letters that he was asking you to write but he was at the same time keeping N.C. Peace Action alive and making a significant contribution to national Peace Action.”

His message lives on with his friends and family.

“His main thing was that everybody is human. And everybody deserves the same human rights,” Chris Towe said.

 


Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo) Takes 3 Million SIgnitures to UN

October 10, 2013

Exciting news from Peace Action’s sister organization Gensuikyo!

Dear friends,

The delegation of Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo) in New York met Ms. Angela Kane, UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi of Lybia, the Chair of the First Committee, on October 9 respectively and submitted them 3,286,166 signatures in support of the “Appeal for a Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons”.

The chair encouraged the delegation’s activity, saying that he would report to the First Committee that he received the signatures representing the voice of civil society in favor of a world without nuclear weapons.

The following is the “Letter to the United Nations and Member Governments”. Based on the letter, the delegation is actively meeting with the delegations of nuclear weapons states, governments of Non-Aligned Movement and New Agenda Coalition, etc.

unnamed

The delegation meets with UN High Representative Angela Kane.

Letter to the United Nations and Member Governments October 7, 2013

Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo)

We cordially extend our heartfelt greetings to the officials of the United Nations and the representatives of national government delegations.  We express our high respect to you for your tireless effort to realize the ideals of the U.N. Charter.

First of all, we are pleased to report to you that the number of signatures we have been collecting in support of the “Appeal for a Total Ban on Nuclear Weapons” have reached 3,286,166 as of today.  These signatures include those of 1,167 mayors and deputy mayors as well as 859 speakers and vice-speakers of local assemblies.

This signature campaign started on February 15, 2011, in response to the agreement reached at the NPT Review Conference of May 2010 to “achieve the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”  The petition calls on “all governments to enter negotiations without delay on a convention banning nuclear weapons.”  Through the signature campaign, we are trying to further develop public support for a total ban on nuclear weapons, and to demonstrate their desire, we will submit the collected signatures to the 9th NPT Review Conference in 2015.

We also would like to inform you that the 2013 World Conference against A and H Bombs held from August 3 to 9 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki achieved a great success, with the participation of about 10,000 people, including 89 overseas delegates from 20 countries.  U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane kindly sent messages of support, and many heads of states and senior government officials sent their messages or representatives to the Conference.  Taking this opportunity, we again express our sincere gratitude to the U.N. and these governments for their warm support and solidarity extended to the World Conference against A and H Bombs.

The International Meeting of the 2013 World Conference unanimously adopted the Declaration of the International Meeting.  Having been held in the A-bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki since 1955, the World Conference once again focused on the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. The “Declaration” pointed out that “the use of nuclear weapons is a serious crime against humanity” and stated, “they have to be banned without any further delay.”

The “Declaration” called on all governments, and those of the nuclear weapon states in particular, to implement the agreement for “achieving the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons” by starting negotiations on the Nuclear Weapons Convention as the framework of it.

Now that 68 years have passed since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in the world there are only 9 countries possessing nuclear weapons.  Out of 189 States parties to the NPT, 184 countries have placed themselves an obligation not to develop or acquire nuclear weapons as the “non-nuclear weapon states.” The four countries of them, including those not parties to the NPT, too, express their support to the start of negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention.

Now is the time that the United Nations, with the founding objective “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” should play its role and the nuclear superpowers in particular must fulfill their due responsibility.

In light of the above, we hereby request all government delegations to make special efforts in the current session of the United Nations, to confirm that the use of nuclear weapons is a crime against humanity, build a consensus on a total ban on nuclear weapons and agree to start negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention as the legally-binding “framework” to achieve a “world without nuclear weapons”.

Last but not least, what would guarantee international peace and security of peoples of the world is not nuclear weapons, but their abolition and the rule of peace under the U.N. Charter.  Attempts to legitimate nuclear weapons as the “guarantee of security” or “deterrence” would only encourage nuclear possession and proliferation, which may lead to a second or third Hiroshima or Nagasaki.  The catastrophic humanitarian consequences of their use must be known to the world, especially to the future generations.  To this end, we ask all the governments to cooperate in our efforts to inform and educate people of the world about the damage caused by nuclear weapons, through the testimonies of the A-bomb survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the victims of nuclear tests as well as photo exhibitions on the A-bomb damage.

=============================================

Japan Council against A & H Bombs (GENSUIKYO)

2-4-4 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8464 JAPAN

phone: +81-3-5842-6034

fax: +81-3-5842-6033

Email: antiatom@topaz.plala.or.jp

U RL: http://www.antiatom.org/


Next Steps on Syria

October 7, 2013

We helped stop a potentially disastrous U.S. military intervention in the Syrian civil war, but that war rages on. Here is a “peace platform” Peace Action helped craft along with allies* in the very effective ad hoc  coalition on Syria we initiated. Your comments on the substance of the platform, and on how to promote it to the media, the public and policy-makers, are most welcome. 

A CALL FOR U.S. ACTION FOR PEACE IN SYRIA

1.    The U.S. should, first, do no harm. Stand against any U.S. military strikes or any further military intervention in Syria. Support UN decision-making, international law and diplomacy instead of military force.

2.   The U.S. should call for an immediate ceasefire by all sides and a comprehensive international arms embargo.  Announce plans to stop sending or facilitating any arms to rebel forces or allowing U.S. allies to do so, and urge Russia and Iran to stop sending any arms to the Syrian government.

3.   The U.S. should immediately re-open plans with Russia for international diplomatic negotiations towards a political solution in Syria. The talks must include all sides in Syria, including non-violent Syrian civil society, and representatives of Syrian, Palestinian, and other refugees and internally displaced persons forced from their homes in Syria. All key parties to the conflict, including Iran, should be included. The U.S. should also support efforts towards accountability and justice for all war crimes that have been committed in the Syrian war.

4.   The U.S. should announce a major increase in refugee and humanitarian assistance coordinated through the United Nations, and call on other countries to increase aid and coordinate through the UN.

5.   The U.S. should support the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons to lead and oversee the transfer of chemical weapons to international control so they may be safely destroyed or removed. The U.S. should support further disarmament efforts by endorsing calls for a Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone throughout the Middle East, with no exceptions.

* Groups working together on Syria: 

Peace Action

Pax Christi

Sisters of Mercy

Win Without War

Institute for Policy Studies

Fellowship of Reconciliation

CodePink

Just Foreign Policy

Progressive Democrats of America

American Friends Service Committee

Peace and Justice Resource Center

U.S. Labor Against the War

United for Peace and Justice

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Women’s Action for New Directions


Shutdown the Shutdown Talking Points and Resources

October 4, 2013

Compiled by Peace Action’s Move the Money Working GroupID-10055209

We need to find ways to connect the current Congressional crisis with the ongoing struggle to change national spending priorities: Move the Money from wars and weapons to fund jobs, human services and diplomacy.

Two immediate actions we can take:

1. Public education: Letters to the Editor (LTE), op-eds and using social media.

2. Join in solidarity with domestic needs, labor and others taking action in our communities to pressure Congress to end the shutdown and change national spending priorities. Although the bottom line is ending the shut down it is also true that the struggle over the passage of a budget and the debt ceiling are all connected.

Talking Points & Resources for LTE, op-eds and social media: some of theses points are the biggest demand we can make, others are shorter term points suited to appeal across the political spectrum. You are the best judge of which will be appropriate for your audience. Use National Priorities Project’s handy interactive online tools to get specific data on your state, city or town and the federal budget to make your LTE or op-ed hit home.  Read a brief history of how we got to the shutdown.

Immediate impact of shutdown: 800,000 workers are furloughed and may not get a paycheck while tens of billions will be wasted to implement the shutdown and restart services when it is over. Read what the National Priorities Project estimates. For the most up-to-date information on the shutdown including the impact on the state level can be found here: Center for Effective Government

• Democracy: The shutdown and failure to pass annual budgets and resorting to Continuing Resolutions are limiting the rightful role of constituents and the grassroots to dialogue and inform Congressional decision-making on federal budget priorities. The ball keeps getting kicked down the field with Continuing Resolutions. Time for Congress to pass a budget and decide on national spending priorities!

Role of government: Speeches from the floor of the House of Representatives say better to have less government and the shutdown proves that. We need effective government with a federal budget, which reflects the needs and aspirations for a better country and world. Not a government which spends 57% annually on wars and weapons while there is high unemployment and cuts to community services.

Government is not broke. We can’t let the norm for federal budget decisions become the Budget Control Act or what is called sequestration. The problem is that a federal budget has not been passed in years. It’s been replaced by stopgap Continuing Resolutions, which now lock in cuts, set by sequestration. We need, even with limited resources, a thoughtful prioritization for annual spending. We need to Move the Money!

In fact, there is growing support for cutting the Pentagon budget if the political will exists.

What can be cut in the Pentagon budget so we can have more funding of essential community programs?  Read 27 recommendations for budget cuts in the 2015 budget drafted by 17-member defense advisory committee, which includes two former vice chairmen of the Joint Chiefs, a former Air Force chief and a former chief of naval operations. Read entire Stimson Center report issued on 9/25/13

Use Peace Action’s website to send your Letter to the Editor.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


October 1, 2013

 Tuesday, Oct. 8th - National Teach-In on Syria & US Policy in the Region

6:30 to 7:30 pm EST

Live Streaming at  http://www.busboysandpoets.com/videos/live-streaming

09 June 2012 Homs, Syria

09 June 2012
Homs, Syria

The civil war continues in Syria.

Although a threat of a US. missile attack against Syria was averted, the raging civil war continues. The massive outpouring of anti-war sentiment from the people in every corner of the country and around the world prevented a US military strike.

Our victory was clear, but our work is far from over.

• How did the peace movement in the U.S. and world-wide stop Washington from proceeding with military action in Syria?

• How can we build on our success to change U.S. policy in the region?

• What’s happening now, on the ground in Syria and on the diplomatic front?

A dynamic panel will address these questions and our next steps to change US policy in the region.

Watch the teach-in online, gather for potluck dinners, show the broadcast to begin a discussion on what we can do now, share the info with your family and co-workers. Just click on this link between 6:15-6:30pm EST and wait for the broadcast to begin.

Oct 8 Tuesday - National Teach-In on Syria and U.S. Policy in the Region

6:30 to 7:30 pm EST Live Streaming at  http://www.busboysandpoets.com/videos/live-streaming

Panel:

Phyllis Bennis - Director, New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies

Stephen Miles – Coordinator, Win Without War

Nick Berning – Communications Director, MoveOn.org

Rep. Barbara Lee (invited) - 13th Cong. District, CA

moderated by Judith Le Blanc – Field Director, Peace Action

 This teach-in is sponsored by groups that have been working together on Syria:

Peace Action

Pax Christi

Sisters of Mercy

Win Without War

Institute for Policy Studies

CodePink

Just Foreign Policy

Progressive Democrats of America

American Friends Service Committee

Peace and Justice Resource Center

U.S. Labor Against the War

United for Peace and Justice

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Women’s Action for New Directions

The link will be available for viewing at http://www.busboysandpoets.com/videos after the event.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 12,573 other followers

%d bloggers like this: