Working towards peace and sustainability

Put Yourself in the Picture

Check out this amazing picture. One of our supporters, Jon Asher, took this pic at the 2018 Solidarity March and Rally. If you were there, besides looking for yourself in the picture, you are likely recalling the sense of community and mutual support that was in the air.

On Saturday, Jan. 19, this year, we have another opportunity to come together to demonstrate our concerns. We are building a strong alliance of progressive groups and individuals throughout mid-Missouri. We intend to turn out in large numbers to challenge the retrograde agenda of the Trump administration and, simultaneously, to advance policies and programs that work for all of us.

If you recognize the necessity of economic and social justice, peace, sustainability, climate action, civil rights and liberties and meaningful, participatory democracy, please plan to put yourself in the picture this year as we gather for the 2019 Solidarity March and Rally.

The Details

This event, put together collaboratively by Peaceworks and our allies in the Mid-Missouri Solidarity Network (see list below), will begin at 1 p.m. at Courthouse Plaza, 8th & Walnut, downtown CoMo. We will have a short rally there and, about 1:30 p.m., we will begin our short march to the Missouri Theatre where we will hold the remainder of the program indoors.

We have an amazing lineup of speakers. At Courthouse Plaza participants will hear from Barb Kuensting, student activist from the University of Missouri, and Michela Skelton, vice-chair of the Missouri Democratic Party Progressive Caucus. When we get to the Missouri Theatre there will be music from Violet & the Undercurrents and talks by Carolyn Amparan, chair of the Sierra Club Osage Group and Reverend Cassandra Gould, director of Missouri Faith Voices.

All this is a prelude to our keynote speaker, author and activist, Frances Moore Lappé (CLICK for more info). Lappé is the author or co-author of 19 books about world hunger, living democracy, and the environment, beginning with the three-million copy Diet for a Small Planet in 1971. In Fall 2017, she coauthored Daring Democracy: IgnitingPower, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want with Adam Eichen.

What You Can Do

Besides participating yourself in the March and Rally, there are several important ways you can help make this event a success. First, you can talk it up with friends, family, neighbors, work or school colleagues, co-parishioners, etc. Encourage others to attend. Offer to go together, share rides, etc. If you’re on Facebook, you can also invite friends that way. For the FB event CLICK HERE.

You can also be an event volunteer. We are seeking more Peacekeepers. This requires participation in a non-violence training session that will be held this Saturday, Jan. 12, 1-5 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia. If you are interested in attending, please sign up by calling Jeff Stack at 573-449-4585. There is also a Facebook event for this. CLICK HERE.  If you’ve had previous non-violence training it might be possible to volunteer without attending the Jan. 12 training. Please speak with Jeff to discuss this.

There are also a number of other volunteer slots still open. You can find these on-line if you CLICK HERE.

What to Bring?

If you have the time and wherewithal, you might want to make a sign or banner for the march. The theme for the march is “Unity Moving Forward” and signs that reflect or expound on this, intersectional, message are very appropriate. You are, of course, welcome to bring signs focused on what you oppose. This said, we’d urge you to consider making signs that reflect what we’re for. This could be peace, climate action, reproductive rights, fair taxes, LGBT rights, infrastructure investments, asylum rights, universal healthcare, tuition-free education, student loan relief, etc.

We probably don’t need to remind you to come dressed for the weather. It is January, and it’s highly unlikely to be unseasonably warm for a third year in a row. You might also want to bring along a little money. The event is free, but we will be passing the hat for donations to help cover our costs. There also will be a book-signing with Frances Moore Lappé. Her books are available now at the Peace Nook and will be available for sale at the Theatre on the 19th.

Who’s Behind This?

The Mid-Missouri Solidarity Network is a loose alliance of progressive groups. Peaceworks has been part of this effort from its inception. We’ve been working closely with many of the groups in the Network on a variety of efforts. Besides the Solidarity Marches and Rallies in 2017 and 2018, the SN is also the alliance of groups that put together Citizens’ University this past August. To date, 19 area organizations have signed on for this year’s Solidarity March and Rally, and the list is still in formation.

To date, the co-sponsors include:  Callaway County Concerned Citizens, CoMo for Progress, Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation, Mid-Missouri NORML, Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, Missouri Faith Voices, Missouri National Organization for Women, Mizzou Energy Action Coalition, Moms Demand Action for Gunsense in America, MU Peace Studies Program, NAACP Columbia Branch, Osage Group Sierra Club, Our Revolution Mid-Missouri, Physicians for a National Health Plan Mid-Missouri Chapter, Planned Parenthood Great Plains, Rock Bridge Christian Church, Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia Social Action Team, Vets for Peace – Charlie Atkins Chapter, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom - Mid-Missouri Chapter.

How Does This Fit Into Peaceworks’ Mission?

Peaceworks is a progressive, multi-issue organization and we have long understood the importance of creating coalitions and alliances. We have done this around specific issues in the past, but today we are in need of broader, Popular Front-style, politics that bring together all groups that oppose the dangerous, neo-fascist Trump administration.

By coming out in large numbers, we embrace the theme of the national Women’s March, “Unity Moving Forward.” We hope you share the sense that this is needed, now more than ever, and will plan to participate as actively as possible in this effort.

Please Help Peaceworks End 2018 Well.

Hello friends. First, we thank all who have supported Peaceworks with your time and talents as well as your generous financial support. As we write this, we are keenly aware of the need to raise at least an addition $17K before year’s end to meet our financial obligations. We invite you to read through the letter below, and then to give as generously as you can.

If you’d like to see some of what we’ve been up to this year, here’s a LINK to a photo-spread that’s gone out in our year-end mailer. If you’d like to contribute securely on-line you can click HERE. Or, if you’d rather mail in your contribution, you can download a coupon by clicking HERE and then printing it out and mailing it to us.

It’s the generous support of our community that allows Peaceworks to continue to challenge misdirection and hold strong a positive vision of the sort of world we are working to create. Please join us in this effort.
Part of the huge crowd at the Solidarity Rally held Jan. 20, 2018. Peaceworks joined with our progressive allies to organize this, among many, events this year. Thanks to all who participated. Photo by Jon Asher. 
Citizen Action for Peace & the Environment
804-C E. Broadway, Columbia, MO 65201 573/875-0539
www.midmopeaceworks.org      mail@midmopeaceworks.org

Our Work, Bringing People Together to Create a Brighter Future, Depends Upon Your Support.

November 24, 2018

Dear friend of Peaceworks,

The end of 2018 rapidly approaches and we’re writing to you, as a supporter of our work, to ask you to help us end the year well. For us this means raising at least $25K during the last quarter of the year, and we really need your support to achieve this goal.

About Us: As you probably know, Peaceworks is pretty unique. As our name implies, we’re a peace group, but we’re a lot more. For nearly 30 years we’ve been active proponents of sustainable living and, in this vein, we’ve taken a leading role in coordinating Columbia’s Earth Day celebration. For nearly as long, we’ve been pressing for effective action in the public policy realm to address climate change. We’re an educational organization, an advocacy group, and for the past 28 years we’ve operated the non-profit Peace Nook as a community resource center.

Our plate was already fuller than most when the election of 2016 offered up a heaping serving of “address-this-now” to add to our to-do lists. We once again jumped right on it, as we’ve done many times before. By the end of November 2016, we’d brought the progressive community together to form what has become the Mid-Missouri Solidarity Network, a loose alliance of progressive groups that’s put together Solidarity Rallies and Marches in January of both 2017 and 2018, as well as Citizens’ University in August 2018. And we are right now working with our allies to put together a march and rally that will be held on January 19 of 2019.

Our Vision: Peaceworks holds to a vision of a future that’s truly livable; a future in which people recognize the necessity and desirability of living in peace with one another; a future in which diversity is celebrated and fear of the “other,” based upon difference, is a thing of the past; a future in which cooperation is embraced and domination and control are rejected.

We recognize that this future is not right around the corner—far from it, actually—but we also know that unless we hold to, and articulate, the vision, we are unlikely to ever achieve it. Thus, while our work has us addressing matters much more immediate—working for a robust Climate Action and Adaptation Plan for CoMo, for example—we regularly articulate the broader vision and encourage others to recognize our potential. This is particularly relevant in the war and peace realm, as a whole generation has come of age knowing nothing but permanent war.

What We’ve Been Up To: Often, when we write an appeal like this we lay out what we’ve done throughout the year, the events we’ve organized, from Earth Day and the Sustainable Living Fair, to films we’ve shown, speakers we’ve sponsored, talks we, ourselves, have given, demonstrations we’ve organized, op-eds we’ve penned, our presence in cyberspace, on the campuses and at events in the community throughout the year. We mention our visits to Congressional offices and our weekly Rush Hour Demos, as well as the times we’ve brought the community together for potlucks and celebrations.

As a supporter, you already know a lot about what we do, so we will keep this short. We do want you to know that we’ve been proactive whenever we can, and reactive whenever we’ve needed to be. In the age of Trump, there’s been more of the latter than we’d like, but we must play the hand we’ve been dealt. We also have consistently pursued coalition. Making common cause and coming together with others really does make us stronger and more effective.

We Really Need Your Support: Our ask is simple: your generous support. We really need more friends to step up to the plate and join our Peaceworks Peace Core, giving at the $100 or above level, or donating on a monthly basis at $10 a month or more. Giving as generously as you can is all we can ask, and we appreciate what each of you does to support our work at whatever level works for you.

While money, alone, won’t turn things around, it is a necessary ingredient. These are, as we noted above, extraordinary times. And such times require extraordinary responses. We hope we can count on your generous support.

We also invite your active participation. And, we assure you, there are many ways to contribute your time and talents to our efforts. But, right now, what we’re asking for is your financial support to help us reach a $25K goal that will give us the wherewithal to move things forward in 2019. We hope you will recognize that bringing people together, sustaining the resistance and promoting a positive vision of a future that works for all is really needed now. Please support this work as you can.

Your contribution is tax-deductible. You can mail it in or you can give securely by clicking HERE. We know that at this time of year you are likely receiving many requests for support. There are few groups, however, that do as much with as little as our grassroots, volunteer-driven non-profit. We’ve been at this for nearly 37 years and our intention is to hold firm to our vision of a brighter, more peaceful, just and sustainable future. We really hope you will support this work as generously as you can.

With much appreciation and best wishes this holiday season,
Mark Haim                                     

Kim Dill                                             
Peace Nook Coordinator
Laura Wacker
Sustainability Education Coordinator

Making Real the Dream of Ending War

Can anyone living in our society really imagine the abolition of war? It’s a stretch, to be sure. But unless we can imagine it, identify it, and work to achieve it, we will never have it. And worse, a nuclear armed world that does not transform itself into one based upon cooperation and non-violence—one of real peace, real justice—is a world likely to destroy itself, sooner or later.

Why We’re Gathering for Peace on Armistice Day

November 11. While these days most call it Veterans Day, older folks still remember it as Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day. The holiday was established to mark the anniversary of an armistice; a halt to fighting. At its core, November 11 is a peace holiday, celebrating the end of war.

Exactly one hundred years ago—in 1918—on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, fighting ceased in what is now called World War I. In the course of four years and three months of combat, from July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918, the warring nations mobilized 70 million military personnel.  

Of these, thirty million soldiers were killed or wounded and another seven million were taken captive during the conflict. Sixteen million people died in the war. And even more would die from a flu epidemic created by the war. Never before had people witnessed such industrialized slaughter, with tens of thousands falling in a day to machine guns and poison gas.

Despite massive propaganda campaigns that dehumanized the enemy and portrayed the war as a noble cause, after the war, more and more the truth began to overtake the lies. What had been called “The Great War,” became known as “The War to End All Wars,” and the world came together in the post-war period to create the Kellogg-Briand Pact, a 1928 international treaty to outlaw war.  

Sadly, that treaty has not prevented war. And today, mass slaughter and war-created famines and disease epidemics have become almost routine. Our country has had a permanent war economy for nearly eight decades, from the buildup for World War II to the present, and the Pentagon or other branches of our government have been involved in wars—overt or covert—and proxy wars for virtually this entire period. Young people growing up today have lived with wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and other “hot spots” around the world every day of their lives. To them, it’s the norm.

But, it’s not “normal.” It’s not right. And we don’t have to stand for it. It is up to us to share with our fellow citizens a vision of a world living in peace.

We recognize that war is not the cause of our problems, but rather a symptom of a dominance and control-seeking mindset—a way of engaging the world that dualistically views almost everything through a prism of winners and losers—a zero-sum game that we really should not be playing. This “power over” paradigm is pernicious; toxic.

Humanity desperately needs to outgrow this way of thinking and adopt, instead, a culture of cooperation, caring and mutual support. We need to begin to recognize that we are one human family and we’re all in this together.

None of this will be easy to do, but the crises we face today, including climate change, pollution, water shortages, famines, population outstripping resources, mass migration, etc. hold the potential to be a wake-up call. Alternatively, they can lead to a more selfish response. Which way things develop depends, in large part, on what we—those who are engaged in addressing these issues—do to engage our fellow citizens and the body politic.

One key area we’ve been notably unsuccessful in to date is convincing our government or our fellow citizens that the U.S. military should be downsized, rather than expanded. This includes recognizing that the global “full spectrum dominance” that the military has aimed to establish for decades, is neither attainable nor desirable, and that the most appropriate role for any military is defense.

We need to advocate, among other things, that our government takes steps to move forward global efforts for mutual and verifiable disarmament, both in the nuclear and non-nuclear realms. We need to build support for arms limitations as steps toward incremental disarmament.

Moving such ideas forward will take effective public advocacy, educating our fellow citizens as well as elected officials. It’s a process that will take years so, just like the struggle to address climate change. We need to collectively commit to long-term activism around this agenda.

In the meantime, let’s salute those who went before us, including those who, in the wake of the “War to End All Wars” took action to mourn the dead and celebrate peace on Armistice Day. They began the work to create an international order based upon the rule of law and the abolition of war. It’s now up to us to carry this forward.

Vote! Vote! Vote!

Front and Center: The upcoming election is extremely important and we hope all Peaceworks members and supporters who are eligible will be sure to vote, and will encourage friends, family and others to turn out as well. We also encourage members and supporters to consider volunteering to support candidates, as active participation in the electoral process is the only real antidote to the domination of politics by money.

Some people say voting is the most important thing we do in the political realm. Without diminishing its importance, we’d like to suggest that it’s the bare minimum we can do; something that every eligible voter can and should do, in addition to other forms of activism, both electoral and issue-oriented. Put another way, voting is to political engagement as recycling is to sustainable living; something necessary, but not sufficient.

In most cases, voting just takes a few minutes out of a day, perhaps two or three times a year. So we hope that, come November 6, you will turn out and exercise your franchise. (And, if you will be away, or otherwise unable to go to your polling place on that day, that you will get and file an absentee ballot.)

Peaceworks is an educational non-profit. This means we do not endorse, support or oppose candidates for office. We encourage active citizenship, which of course includes voting. We urge voters to become informed as to where the candidates stand on the critical issues of the day, including climate change, justice concerns and war and peace, the latter particularly regarding candidates for federal office.

Ballot Questions

While we don’t take positions on candidates, we can, and do, on occasion, endorse ballot issues, which are essentially legislation. This year we are supporting yes votes on three ballot issues:

Amendment #1:  The “Clean Missouri” amendment is a package of what could be called “good government reforms,” all of which sound to us like steps in the right direction. These include:

  Establishing a new method for legislative redistricting that reduces the ability for politicians from the majority party to unfairly gerrymander districts;
  Setting campaign donation limits for candidates to the Missouri House and Senate;
  Sharply limiting gifts to legislators, allowing only trivial gifts;
   Opening to public scrutiny public records and proceedings;
   Reducing “revolving door” politics by prohibiting legislators or legislative employees from going directly into paid lobbyist positions; and
  Prohibiting political fundraising on state property.

To learn more about Amendment #1 click HERE.  

Medical Marijuana: Peaceworks supports the legalization of medical marijuana. There are many ways patients can benefit from cannabis. It is far safer than many drugs—both prescription and otherwise—that are used to treat various conditions for which cannabis is effective. It is time, therefore, for Missouri to join the more than 30 states around the nation that have legalized.

How to vote on medical marijuana in Missouri, this year, is somewhat confusing, as there were three separate medical marijuana initiative campaigns this year and all three qualified for the ballot. Let’s break this down. First of all, there are two constitutional amendments and one statutory proposition. The amendments have the advantage of not being subject to repeal or alteration by the state legislature, and can only be changed by a future vote of the citizens.

Amendment #2: Peaceworks is supporting and urging a “yes” vote on Amendment #2, which has been put together by a coalition of patients, healthcare providers and grassroots citizen advocacy groups. The campaign organization goes by “New Approach Missouri” and it provides a very reasonable framework for legalization, including a fairly low tax (4%) and provisions that allow patients to grow their own in limited quantities. The amendment provides a common sense framework for overseeing the process of production and distribution. Details available by clicking HERE.

Amendment #3, the Bradshaw Amendment: This proposal, on the other hand, is anything but common sense-based. It is the project of one man, Brad Bradshaw a personal injury lawyer and physician, who has funded the campaign virtually single-handedly. If this amendment passes, it would allow the sale of medical marijuana, but not personal cultivation. It would put a higher (15%) tax on retail sales.

The revenue from this tax would fund a “Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute” of which Bradshaw would be made chairman. He would also appoint all the members of the board of directors for the Institute. Bradshaw expects an annual income of approximately $66 million, and decisions as to how these funds are spent would be in the hands of Bradshaw and his handpicked board. Bradshaw also sued in failed attempts to get both Amendment #2 and Proposition C removed from the ballot.

The choice between these two is clear cut and this has been widely recognized including in this St. Louis Post Dispatch editorial. Click HERE.

It’s important, before voting, to be aware of the process. Specifically, if both Amendment #2 and Amendment #3 pass, the one receiving the larger number of votes is the one that will be enacted. For this reason we urge voters to vote yes on #2 and no on #3

Proposition C:  The third medical cannabis ballot issue is Prop. C. It is a statute (law) and thus would only go into effect if both amendments failed, but it passed. Peaceworks did not take a position on this proposition. We have heard that some are voting “yes” on C as insurance, in case the dueling amendments split the pro-legalization vote. There certainly is some logic to this position.

But our primary message remains: “Yes” on Two, “No” on Three.

Proposition B: If passed, the “Raise Up Missouri” initiative would increase the minimum page in the state from its current level of $7.75 by 85 cents a year until 2023 when it would reach $12 an hour. Adjusting for inflation, the minimum wage has decreased dramatically over the past four decades. Anyone working full time should be earning a living wage and passage of Prop. B would be a step in that direction.

This measure isn’t perfect. It is statutory, rather than a constitutional amendment, which means the legislature could tinker with it, and some think $12 an hour is not enough. But we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Passing this would be good for Missouri’s working poor, and therefore for all of us. For more info on Prop. B click HERE.

For more information on these ballot issues as well as on candidates for office, we encourage you to check out the Voters’ Guide published by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters. It’s available on-line by clicking HERE. 

See you at the polls come Election Day!