It's September, so the air is a bit cooler, but election campaign season is upon us and that means our work is beginning to heat up. Here's a brief update of our major campaign work - work you make possible through you ongoing support of Peace Action.
In this issue:
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will likely vote in mid-September on whether to send the new START Treaty to the Senate floor for ratification. The treaty would cut US and Russian deployed strategic nuclear warheads by about one-third, to 1,550 each.
It's been 9 months since the old START expired. Since then, on-site monitoring of Russia's nuclear weapons and facilities was suspended. So, in addition to removing hundreds of warheads from US and Russian nuclear arsenals and renewing and enhancing verification protocols, New START also will help improve cooperation to prevent nuclear terrorism, a vital national security priority.
Keeping tabs on Russian nuclear weapons, materials and facilities means a lot to the Pentagon, which usually enjoys the full support of the extreme Right in the US Senate. According to an op-ed by Brigadier General John Adams, who served as deputy US military representative to NATO, leading Senate opponent to the treaty Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) "recently acknowledged that he was unaware that inspections of Russian weapons had been suspended since last December when the original START expired."
Will this sudden realization permit a floor vote in September? We'll see. For Peace Action members, the New START is a modest step forward toward the realization the President Obama's goal (and ours!) of ridding the world of nuclear weapons. It's a step that should be taken without further delay so the administration can begin work on the steps that must follow.
Please continue to contact your US Senators and ask them to support the New Start Treaty. Call 202-224-3121, or write your Senators at: US Senate, Washington DC 20510; or email them at Senate.gov.
Our communities are facing millions of dollars in cuts to vital public services like education, police and firefighters. Meanwhile, hundreds of billions of dollars are being spent on outdated Cold War weapons systems to counter threats that don't even exist anymore. This out-of-control military spending needs to stop.
Peace Action members -- like you -- arrived at this conclusion a long time ago. The rest are just starting to come around, now that the economy might not be snapping into place as quickly as hoped. The war hawks in Congress, however, continue to fret that spending as much as the rest of the world combined might not be enough to keep us safe.
Peace Action's Move the Money Campaign gives voice to millions of Americans angered at how our tax dollars are being spent. We need to demand military spending be afforded the same scrutiny now directed at Wall Street and the banking industry by bringing this issue to the forefront of the budget debate.
Peace Action is collaborating with economic justice groups, labor, communities of color, low income, youth/students, veterans and military families groups , as well as community groups in Chicago, Boston, St Louis, and New York City working on local campaigns to reduce military spending. The collaboration made its debut with a successful, dynamic, interactive training workshop at the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit in June designed by Peace Action National Field Organizer Judith Le Blanc.
The first major initiative to build the Move the Money campaign is a national demonstration in Washington, DC "One Nation Working Together" on October 2. The coalition is calling on the Obama administration and Congress to create jobs, meet the needs of our communities and move the money from wars to our communities. Peace Action is on the national steering committee and also seated onfive state steering committees to facilitate the peace movement's participation in the planning of Oct 2.
Peace Action is a member of the International Peace Bureau which has issued a call for a Global Day of Action on Military Spending for early June 2011 (exact date to be announced) to coincide with the release of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute's annual report, which will include new figures on military expenditures. On this day, people all over the world will join in actions to focus public, political, and media attention on the costs of military spending and the need for new priorities. Such events will help us to build the international network around this issue.
As this campaign gathers momentum it could be the best chance we've had since Eisenhower's warning of a "military-industrial complex" to force a real debate as to whether our military spending spree is 'defense' or an addiction to militarism.
Peace Action's election-year Peace Voter 2010 campaign can help us advance that debate. The last thing you and I need is for the so-called leaders of the Tea Party movement, folks like Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney, defining what constitutes the government's most grievous fiscal sins - guns or butter.
Yes, Ed Schultz has agreed to be our Glenn Beck! He is promoting the 10.2.10 rally "One Nation Working Together" (ONWT) on his nightly TV show on MSNBC and his syndicated radio show.
No doubt that Ed Schultz will reach many about Oct 2. Peace Action and all the peace groups in the ONWT Peace Table are working out in our communities to get the word out with our allies in labor, economic, racial justice and immigrant rights groups. It is the important step in building a new movement to "Move the money from wars to our communities!"
On Labor Day weekend, Schenectady Neighbors for Peace, a chapter of Peace Action New York State, leafleted with their own flier at the big downtown farmer's market. In Cleveland, Peace Action gave out info and signed people up at the Labor Day parade.
Peace Action Michigan is working with their citywide coalition to fill 2 buses from Detroit.
The Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives and Great Neck SANE/Peace Action have teamed up with LI Jobs with Justice to organize buses.
Cleveland Peace Action will be doing a press conference with the NAACP and Jobs with Justice.
These are just a few examples of the local coalition work Peace Action is doing. ONWT is a historic opportunity to work side by side with our allies to change the priorities of our government to invest in peace and in our communities.
Leaflets, in English and Spanish (soon in Arabic) are available to download from the ONWT Peace Table website
10-2-10 Bus Registration.
As a member of the Steering Committee, we, Peace Action, have the opportunity to register our buses first -- before the link goes live to the general public. When you register your bus, a Bus Permit to park in either RFK Stadium or FedEx Field will be issued.
Registering your bus automatically triggers the bus permitting process, and ensures that your bus will have a parking space on 10.2.10.
Metro fare cards can be purchased in advance from METRO. You can purchase a $9 day pass which is good all day, system wide or you can purchase bulk $5 fare cards which cover the fare to and from the metro stations that we will be using.
To purchase fare cards, call METRO at 202-962-5700 or 5716. This phone number is for credit card purchases only. When ordering, please state that you are with One Nation Working Together.
In order to get cards aent to you in time, METRO asks that cards be purchased before September 17, 2010.
If you haven't gotten started yet, here are a few organizing steps
1. Contact the ONWT local steering committee in your city to get involved.
2. If your city/town does not have a local ONWT committee, contact the regional director to find local contacts.
3. Start your own committee by reaching out to community and labor groups to organize a bus. Check the ONWT national steering committee list to find a local chapter of one of the national groups.
4. Outreach to all Peace Action members to join the mobilization from your community.
You may not know this, but it was a Peace Voter activist bird-dogger who asked John McCain the question during the New Hampshire primary in 2008 to which he famously responded to the effect that we could be in Iraq for 100 years, and that was basically OK by him. Instantly, millions of Americans who probably never have considered so outrageous a notion, were confronted with the possibility.
Since 1996, Peace Action's Peace Voter campaigns have trained thousands of local activists and provided resources to hundreds of on-the-ground organizers, enabling us to reach millions of voters with critical analysis of candidates' positions on peace and disarmament issues.
Peace Voter activists engage voters at the grassroots level around the country by comparing and contrasting candidates' positions on peace and justice issues through non-partisan voter guides, "bird-dogging" candidates on the campaign trial, paid advertising, earned media coverage and public education.
Peace Voter 2010 will give voice to the many Americans concerned about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, potential conflict with Iran, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation issues, military spending and the overall direction of U.S. foreign policy.
During the Peace Voter 2008 campaign, Peace Action distributed more than two million voter guides in 39 targeted Congressional Districts. Peace Action hired two experienced regional field organizers in 2008 to work in the key states of Michigan, Ohio, , Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina..
Peace Voter provides invaluable resources for Peace Action affiliates and chapters, in volunteer recruitment and training and visibility in the community, in elevating the issues over the candidates, and later, office-holders, as they are held accountable to positions they have taken on our issues. At the annual planning retreat Peace Action staff and leadership developed plans for Peace Voter campaigns in California, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin and other states. The overall goal, through national, regional and local training, is to train over 500 Peace Voter activists this year.
Though conducted in the context of election campaigns, Peace Voter, at its heart is community organizing, providing activists with information and resources, including our candidate questionnaire, and training materials on voter registration, candidate bird-dogging and other tactics. Peace Voter plays to Peace Action's greatest strength, the largest and most experienced network of chapters and activists in the peace movement today.
From October 7-10, Peace Action is helping lead the global days of action to end the war on Afghanistan, working with many of the same groups from Europe and Asia that we partnered on around the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review (NPT) conference at the United Nations last May.
Global pressure in support of a cease-fire and negotiations leading to the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan focuses public opposition not just on the US but also NATO countries where the war has become increasingly unpopular.
Peace Action and the US endorsers are launching a website next week http://www.endafghanistanwar.com/ to help coordinate activities and organizing for the international days of action.
It will serve as hub for local events around the country providing sample press materials, how to's, fact sheets and a place to post location and information on local events. Nationally, a Congressional call in day, press briefing and grassroots educational forum are planned.Sincerely,
Kevin M. Martin
P.S. Enter P.S. here
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