The following came out of our mid-year staff retreat, comments or questions are most welcome!
Priorities and Opportunities for Peace Action/Peace Action Education Fund program, organizing, advocacy and political work for the second half of 2013
-Move the Money/ Cut Pentagon Spending Campaign: Planning is underway to do the next round of Move the Money Trainings , a joint project with the National Priorities Project. A new feature of the trainings will be two sessions for “training of trainers” to conduct the trainings in their areas.
National staff are participating in the planning for an 18 month coalition campaign (mostly in the U.S. but with some coordination with international allies as well) to cut funding for the F-35 fighter, the most expensive weapons system ever.
On the legislative front, House Defense Appropriations, Senate Defense Authorization and Appropriations, possible continuing resolutions and omnibus bills may provide congressional and media opportunities.
-Afghanistan: A possible week of action to pressure the administration for zero troops after 2014 is in discussion. The 12th Anniversary of the invasion on Oct 7th may provide media opportunities. Additionally, Senate Defense Authorization may provide opportunities to strengthen the win in the House, the Jones-Lee-Garamendi amendment calling for a faster end to the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.
-Syria – a new campaign, initiated by Peace Action and the Institute for Policy Studies, to get peace groups working together on a public education, political action, grassroots advocacy and media work aimed at opposing arming the militias, building public support for a negotiated end to the conflict in Syria and promote humanitarian assistance. A petition campaign should be ready to launch in the next few weeks (PA already gathered nearly 5,000 signatures on our Syria petition to the president). We will be building support for Senate and House bi-partisan bills. We will also be attempting to use the Senate confirmation hearings of Samantha Powers as possible LTE/oped opportunities. More details to follow soon.
-Iran: A P5 + 1 meeting is not expected until after the new President is inaugurated and has a chance to form his government — sometime in late September. Israel has been relatively silent after Iran’s election and seems to be focusing its concern on Iran’s progressing heavy-water reactor in Arak. Remember they bombed similar reactors in Iraq and Syria. Media opportunities are expected during inauguration and possibly at the UN General Assembly. Meanwhile, continued pressure on Congress to stop punitive sanctions and other bad bills while messaging that this is a big opportunity for diplomacy with Iran is needed.
-Nuclear disarmament – a new opportunity to advocate for U.S. participation and leadership in multilateral forums for nuclear weapons abolition is underway. See the sign-on letter PA helped initiate http://bit.ly/15rKhg9, as well as the petition http://bit.ly/1aTvQWb . The campaign can be combined with Hiroshima and Nagasaki commemorations, and will culminate (at least this phase of the campaign) with a United Nations meeting on nuclear disarmament September 26.
Also, we will launch at least a limited Don’t Bank on the Bomb boycott/divestment campaign targeting TIAA-CREF, a supposedly socially screened investment fund, before the end of the year.
-New Jersey special election for U.S. Senate (replacing the deceased Sen. Frank Lautenberg) – October
-Mid-Atlantic/Upper South organizational development retreat for affiliates, chapters and associate member groups, in October in either Philadelphia or Virginia, date and location to be announced soon.