Working towards peace and sustainability

Respond to Iraq Crisis by Joining in a Call for Peace and a New Foreign Policy.

When medical doctors consider health problems, they distinguish between acute and chronic conditions. The current crisis in Iraq brings both sorts of problems to the fore. On one hand, some in the foreign policy establishment are calling for American military intervention to reverse the gains made by the ISIS insurgents and their allies. This push for the use of the U.S. military is one we need to respond to. On the other hand, we need to deal with the chronic or underlying set of issues that drive the Permanent War Economy and lead to repeated crises. This involves becoming proactive in advocating a different sort of foreign policy, one that would make conflicts like this one, as well as those in Syria, the Ukraine, etc. less likely in the future.

The U.S. war on Iraq was illegal and immoral; a war of aggression. Our tax dollars and U.S. troops were used to take down Iraq's government. The years of violence that have followed, including current events, are the direct consequence. The lesson needs to be learned. We must never again launch an aggressive war or attack a nation that has done nothing to attack or threaten us. Moreover, and perhaps more to the point at the moment, a U.S. military intervention, even one that was just from the air, with no "boots on the ground" would only compound the unfolding tragedy; like pouring gasoline on a fire. Our government should not be sending troops—whether we call them advisers or combat troops matters

little—we shouldn’t be putting U.S. “boots on the ground.” They should not be sending drones, planes or missiles to drop bombs that will undoubtedly kill innocents. And they should not be selling or giving arms to the Iraqi government. The U.S. has already supplied too many weapons to Iraq and they are now in the hands of both sides in the conflict.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION NOW:  What's needed is a groundswell of opposition. Polls show lots of people opposed, but when so few are taking action, politicians think people don't really care and therefore they can do what they choose, w/o concern for our opposition.

MAKE IT VISIBLE:  We invite and encourage you to join us this Wednesday anytime between 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the intersection of Broadway and Providence. If you don't want to see your tax dollars paying for bombs falling on Iraq, make your concern visible, please. We’ll have signs and banners and welcome you to be there for whatever portion of the hour fits your schedule. We also invite participation at this time any Wednesday that you can join us. We’ve held a weekly Rush Hour Demo for Peace for 12 going on 13 years now and welcome participation whenever it can fit your schedule.

CONTACT PRESIDENT OBAMA & CONGRESS:  Please call the White House (202-456-1111) or post a message on their site: CLICK HERE.  Also, please contact your Congressional delegation. You can find their contact info if you CLICK HERE.

REGARDING THE LONG HAUL:  Peaceworks and our peace movement allies have been working for years to promote a thoroughgoing reconsideration of the U.S. role in the world. The Military Industrial Complex has held sway for far too long and policies driven by geopolitical and profit imperatives are weakening us and diminishing, not enhancing, our security. Our work for a sustainable Peace Economy that provides Real Security will continue. We need and invite your participation in this work as well. If you’d like to get more involved, please let us know. You can reach us via phone at 573-875-0539 or via e-mail at mail@midmopeaceworks.org.

Earth Day is Upon Us.

Earth Day 2014 will be celebrated here in CoMo on Sunday, April

27. There’ll be a big Festival going on in Peace Park and on the adjacent streets. You can get all the info on the Festival if you click HERE.
Peaceworks has played a leading role in organizing Columbia’s Earth Day every year since 1990, so this is our 25th consecutive year of Earth Day organizing. It seems to us that having a day devoted to celebrating the home world, the only known habitable planet, Earth, is the least we can do, especially at a time when human activity so acutely threatens the future.

The media generally downplays environmental concerns and they certainly don’t give as much attention as we’d like to Earth Day. When they do cover the event, however, they often focus on “who, what, where and when?” while glossing over, or ignoring entirely, “why?” When they interview us, the most frequently asked question is usually some variant on “So, tell us what’s new or different this year?” when we’d much rather be answering “So, tell us why you think it’s important to have a holiday focused on the Earth?”

The answer to the latter question isn’t terribly complicated. The way we live today is unsustainable. We are polluting the air and the water. We’re using up non-renewable resources. We’re creating vast inventories of toxic and radioactive wastes and we’re failing to isolate these from the biosphere. We’re destroying nature and crowding out other species.

Ongoing human population growth along with rising levels of resource consumption per capita just doesn’t work on a finite planet. Our economy, including all its major systems—food, transportation, industrial production, housing, healthcare, education, etc.—is organized in unsustainable ways.

And, when we get right down to it, there are true existential threats we face—in particular, climate change and nuclear war. These really should be the overarching concerns of our age. The former is happening as you read this and the latter is an ever-present threat.

While Earth Day does not present a single, neat, clean, simple answer to all of the above, it points out the problems we face—loud and clear—and puts forward the message that we all are responsible and we all need to act to address these. Getting this message out is why we do Earth Day. We start with the notion that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. We point out that individual actions matter and collective action is needed as well. And we remind our fellow earthlings, over and over again, “Every day is Earth Day.” Here’s to hoping that message gets through.

Have a great Earth Day 2014 everyone, and let us know if you’d like to volunteer.

Peace Economy? Real Security? Your Ideas?

We're Looking for YOUR Input!

Peaceworks has, for several years now, been working to promote the conversion of our Permanent War Economy into a sustainable and just Peace Economy. We are now seeking your ideas, input, vision and participation.

For more than seven decades our economy has been on a permanent war footing. We’ve been spending far more each year on the military than is required to defend our nation. This has cost us many, many trillions. And then there’s the opportunity cost; that is the things we could have invested in instead. This includes investments in people and infrastructure that would have made our nation healthier, more prosperous and more sustainable.

While politicians talk incessantly about “national security” as they argue for directing our tax dollars to the bloated Pentagon budget, they ignore some of the most important threats to our security, most notably climate change. Prioritizing Real Security we’d make major changes to the U.S. military posture and budget.

We need to do more than simply oppose illegal and counterproductive wars, like those in Iraq or Afghanistan, when they crop up. We need to get to the root of things and challenge the very concept of the United States as a dominating global power—maintaining a military presence on every ocean, on every continent and in the skies everywhere—insisting on Full Spectrum Dominance in all realms. Our government needs to work with others to develop a framework for global security based upon cooperation and mutual, verifiable steps to disarmament, rather than attempting to impose a Pax Americana upon the planet.

We urge our fellow citizens to recognize that throwing billions daily at the Military Industrial Complex not only enriches the owners of these massive, for-profit companies while impoverishing us collectively, it also leads to an interventionist foreign policy that makes enemies and leaves us less secure.

As Dr. King observed, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” Thus, we’re aiming to do more than simply cut military spending while investing in people and infrastructure. Creating a Peace Economy also involves economic justice, domestically and internationally. This includes full employment, fair wages, progressive taxation, financial regulation, fair trade relations as well as meaningful economic democracy.

Your Opportunity for Input—Make Your Voice Heard

How do we get from here to there? Peaceworks invites you to share your ideas on how we can build a Peace Economy and attain Real Security.

We’re asking you to think about what you’d like to propose for concrete actions that could be taken on our behalf by our elected officials at all levels of government, from the President and members of Congress right down to city councils or school boards. 

We’d appreciate it if you could send your ideas our way via e-mail. Please keep each proposal brief (400 words max). It’s fine to submit more than one. We suggest you write these in the form of letters to a specific elected official(s). We’ll also accept proposals directed to NGOs and others. We will, at our discretion, post your thoughts on our website and our Facebook page. We will include your name, unless you request anonymity, and your picture, if you’d like, and if you send us one.

Send to mail@midmopeaceworks.org ASAP and by 3/15/14 at the latest. Peace Nook gift certificates will be awarded to those we judge best. And we’ll consider all proposals for future campaigns as part of our work for Real Security and a Peace Economy.