New Priorities Campaign & Global Day of Action – 2014-04-17 01:36:47
(April 15, 2014) — The US Congress and the President have been locked in cycles of brinkmanship over the federal budget priorities and deficits that have brought the vast and wasteful Pentagon budget into public scrutiny. The general public overwhelmingly supports cuts to military spending when shown the facts and the trade offs between human services and the Pentagon.
There is a broad and growing movement of peace, community and economic justice groups pushing for new federal budget priorities. This makes GDAMS and Tax Day in the US a particularly auspicious occasion this year.
We will stand with the rest of the world to bear witness to the fact that military spending, especially the impact of US military spending stands as the major obstacle to addressing the crisis problems all of our peoples face globally.
East Bay Marks Global Day of Action on Military Spending
New Priorities Campaign & Global Day of Action
OAKLAND, Calif. (April 15, 2014) — The New Priorities Campaign in the East Bay (Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, etc.) has organized for the Global Day of Action on Military Spending for the last four years. During each occasion the NPC has distributed brochures on excessive US military spending at Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) stations in both the East Bay and San Francisco.
Each year the number of stations covered and number of brochures distributed has increased. This year, two dozen organizations distributed 15,000 pieces of literature (up from 10,000 in 2013) at 34 BART stations.
The campaign held a press conference in front of the Oakland Federal Building in the late morning following the distribution.
Speakers at the press conference included:
Michael Eisenscher, USLAW National Coordinator,
Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan,
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan,
Reverend Daniel Buford,
Reverend Deborah Lee speaking for Women for Genuine Security,
Jackie Cabasso, Exec. Dir. of the Western States Legal Foundation and Coordinator of Mayors for Peace,
Dr. Henry Clark from the West Contra Cost County Toxics Coalition, and
Jonathan Gast, who presented a statement on behalf of Cong. Barbara Lee.
Proclamations were received from the mayors of Oakland, Richmond and the City Council of San Pablo. Sandra Schwartz of the American Friends Service Committee moderated and Carolyn Scarr introduced the Living Graveyard Vigil, which immediately followed the press conference.
You can listen to coverage of the event on the KPFA-Pacifica Evening News Report
Statement on the
Global Day of Action on Military Spending
Michael Eisenscher / US Labor Against War
OAKLAND, CA (April 14, 2014) — The US once again ranks first in the world in military spending. It spends nearly three and a half times more than China and more than seven times what Russia spends. The US with its allies among the top 15 military spenders in the world spends four times as much as Russia and China together.
Does anyone believe that this makes us four times more secure? Indeed, our effort to dominate the world militarily so that multinational corporations can dominate the world economically — is making us more unsafe not more secure.
At a time when millions of Americans are unemployed and millions more are working but remain trapped in poverty, it is unconscionable that the United States continues to spend 55% of its discretionary funds on the bloated, wasteful Pentagon, nuclear arms and war budgets.
Our military is the world’s largest consumer of carbon fuels and also the world’s biggest polluter. Aside from the misuse of resources and the conflicts that ensue from our aggressive posture in the world, our misguided military spending is a leading cause of pollution that is accelerating global warming, putting not only our nation but all of humanity at risk.
Our run-away military budget is a substantial contributor to our national debt. Yet the deficit hawks are also in most cases also the military hawks, calling for ever greater spending on boondoggle weapons like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (the most expensive weapons system ever made), and demanding that this gross misallocation of our tax dollars be paid for by gutting social programs that are so desperately needed by so many.
We will never reach Prosperity Street by traveling the Austerity Highway. The course we are on is financially, politically and environmentally unsustainable. It is long past time for us to demilitarize our foreign policy — and to invest in diplomacy, economic development aid, education and humanitarian assistance so that we are revered and respected rather than reviled and feared by the global community.
We need a new definition of national security — one that includes health security, housing security, education security, food security and the other things that give meaning to the concept of a “good life.” We need a new economy that does not depend on war and preparation for war to sustain our standard of living, because it is in fact eroding our standard of living, undermining our real security and putting our society and the planet at risk.
Michael Eisenscher is the National Coordinator for USLAW. (510) 693-7314â€¨
Statement by Reverend Deborah Lee
Over the past 5 years I have had the opportunity to visit and travel to several places around the globe to see first hand some of the places where US military spending is going — the vast network of 1000 bases that dot the globe — from where the US prepares to and launches war â€¦. Anywhere â€¦. and anytimeâ€¦. I have visited the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, Okinawa, Hawai’i — and several places here in the US.
These are the places where stockpiles of weapons are stored, bombs are tested, pilots conduct bombing practice, ships and planes are cleaned and repaired — washing toxic solvents into the ground and water –, soldiers on “rest and recreation” frequent brothels and bars.
From the experiences of the people who live with this in close proximity, I would would like to share a few things I have learned about Militarism.
From Women in Puerto Rico: Militarismo es contra Maternidad. Militarism is against motherhood. Militarism destroys motherhood and the lives of their children who have been recruited and fought in US wars; whose bodies and minds and relationships have been lost or destroyed serving in the military and those children who have fallen victim to our weapons and wars.
From Women in Okinawa — who live with the presence of so many foreign US Bases on their tiny island: Militarism does not make them safer. In fact, militarism IS a threat to public safety, particularly the daily security of women, and children in local communities.
From Women in Hawai’i: Militarism is against all that is Sacred. Sacred land, sacred waters, sacred burial grounds. Instead of respecting indigenous sacred lands of the kanaka ma’oli, these lands are used for jungle training, military golf courses, bombing target practice and have been turned into hundreds of superfund sites.
From the Women in Guahan (Guam): Militarism is against the Environment and a sustainable future. The US military, the number one polluter and contribute of greenhouse gases has left a toxic legacy or environmental contamination in Guam and now threatens the well being of the planet. It has stood in the way of Chamoru people’s ability to live as a sovereign people.
From the Women in the Philippines: Militarism is against the human rights of women. The military culture of violence and degradation of women has left an ugly pattern of military prostitution, rape of local women, 50,000 Amerasian children in the Philippines with no opportunity for US citizenship, even though they are half-American, and impunity, for US soldiers committing crimes overseas.
From Women in the United States: Militarism is robbing this nation of our own genuine security — for ourselves, our children, our communities. Genuine security that looks like good Jobs, education, healthcare, affordable housing domestic violence services, childcare, food security, youth programs and other programs that serve families and communities. Militarism is diverting our Community Wealth (taxes) to enrich the 1% and defense contractors known to be guilty of waste and fraud.
It is time to Move the Money. It is time to Demilitarize.
Unfortunately, in a week, President Obama, instead of moving forward with an agenda to demilitarize and move the money, will travel to Asia, on a mission to further militarize the Asia-Pacific.
This will mean more troops. More aircraft carriers (just last week, 2 more, so that there are now 7). More land grabs from local communities for new US Bases. New bilateral security and basing agreements. Building up and expanding existing bases. Destroying and contaminating more beautiful places — permanently and forever.
Posturing and stirring up sentiments of war with China and US allies in the region. Making people feel more insecure and unsafe in their homelands. And robbing us here of tax dollars that be used for economic growth, education, environment and human needs.
It is time to Move the Money and demilitarize. Not Pivot more military might to the Pacific. But Pivot military to the needs of people and the environment.
Statement of Wilma Chan,
Alameda County Supervisor
On this Global Day of action Against Military spending, I join in the bi-partisan voices to ask President Obama and Congress to meet the urgent local needs of our communities.
Several months ago, on the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, I led Alameda County to declare a New War on Poverty as persistent poverty continues to plague close to 200K residents of Alameda County.
In fact, California today, when you take into account the cost of living index, has the highest rate of poverty in the nation and the highest rate of poverty among seniors. 29% of our children are poor and there are 15 neighborhoods with child poverty rates above 50%.â€¨â€¨
Income inequality has never been worse with the richest 10% of Americans controlling 75% of the wealth.â€¨â€¨
The only weapons of war we need to expand are weapons in the War on Poverty! Congress must reinvest in human lives and not on increased militarization!â€¨â€¨
Over the past 6 years, over $15 billion has been cut from County safety net services. While 1 in 6 families now depend on food banks for their primary source of family food, the federal government has cut $813 from the SNAP Program.
Budget cuts have resulted in the elimination of over 100,000 childcare slots statewide leaving many women with no choice but to stay at home and endure economic loss. Statewide over 1 million jobs were lost during the recession.â€¨â€¨
It is time to place priorities using our precious tax dollars on getting people back to work, funding early care and education and providing food security to Alameda County residents. $10 billion of federal money is enough to create 1.5 million high quality subsidized childcare slots.
$100 billion would create 1.2 million living wage jobs. The amount needed to enhance these programs pales in comparison to the $682 billion dollars currently spend in the US on the military.â€¨
I am glad to add my voice to this event today. Please join me to advance food security, education and decent jobs so all County residents can have the quality of life they deserve.â€¨â€¨
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