January 27, 2013, a dozen local Peace Action Maine members held a conversation led by Judith LeBlanc, who provided information on the current starting national campaign to focus on “Move the Money”, Demilitarize the federal budget, reach new people and make a difference. With very positive energy, LeBlanc provided good suggestions to encourage us in mobilization,
Since 2008 there has been on-going recalibration of anti-war movement, actually, since September 11, 2001, with collaboration among Peace Action, AFSC, Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War and others. Review of the national status now indicates that every dollar going to the Pentagon comes from Food Stamps, health care, education, etc. Hence: Demilitarize the Federal Budget.
A Rand Corporation study of arms struggles from 1963 to 2006, showed that 7% were solved through military action.
The peace relation to justice, from weapons to jobs, services, environmental preservation, solving health issues….
Is where we need to be looking and acting, and also, an appropriate way to organize in communities.
In 2013, national Peace Action is addressing members, affiliates, fund raising, carrying on with organizational development.
Focus: "Move the Money" expects to relate to the issues people are feeling in communities across the country, but those same people may not consider the connection to the military budget. There are indicators that some CEO’s of military contractors agree that the budget requires changes. Peace Action Maine members shared the matter that"Bring Our War $$$ Home" has been carrying this message for a couple of years now, in a variety of venues.
National has training available, the next coming up Monday and Tuesday, February 4-5, in Washington, D.C.
The process can be to look at the federal budget and then work realizing that people who are struggling economically may know nothing of the Pentagon budget.
Peace Action Maine members and LeBlanc discussed many ways to address the issues and move forward, to reach “beyond the choir”. Tax policy is doing the most harm. The fear factor works to favor the Pentagon. We can consider how to reach and support workers. It is possible to start a discussion with “are you better off…….?”
LeBlanc also itemized scheduling expectations, a potential time frame on the federal budget and related issues.
Expected is a State of the Union address in early February, followed by a President’s Day/week-end House-Senate recess, then the March “deadlines”. Also expected are rumors on Social Security, “sensible budget”, sequester, etc., with more on taxes, closing loopholes, corporate taxes.
There will be follow up with suggestions for letters, sample letters, “how-to” on letters, web information on coming issues. Congress still pays attention to letters.
Sally Breen provided update information regarding the New Nuclear policy, actions of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and upcoming State Department relations with Russia.
Will Hopkin, New Hampshire Peace Action, brought interesting information related to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the possibilities of transitions that would preserve jobs.
Expect more news from Peace Action Maine.