On Sunday, October 9, 2011, nearly 200 mid-Missouri residents gathered at Courthouse Square for "ENOUGH! Stand for Peace & Justice," a peace rally marking the 10th anniversary of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Below are prepared remarks that Peaceworks Steering Committee member and GRO organizer Lily Tinker Fortel delivered at the rally:
Good afternoon. It is good to be with you as we mark this tragic occasion.
Today, I will be talking about the concept of a peace economy and discussing how we can move forward toward our vision of a peaceful and just world –one that puts people before profits in all aspects of life, and builds unity by embracing an understanding of we.
Today, not just in Columbia, people are coming together to mark the tenth anniversary of the War on Afghanistan. We are calling for an end to war and standing together, honoring a vision of a peaceful future. What makes this war anniversary different from others over the course of the past ten years is, of course, the Occupy Movement. Right now and for the past three weeks, people all over the world are standing up together - against corporate control of our political and economic systems – and demanding fundamental change.
It is no wonder that this has happened. For too long now, it has become increasingly clear that the nature of the for-profit, government dominating corporate model is neither sustainable nor peaceful nor just. Here are some of the symptoms that illustrate just how ill our society has become: Cuts to funding of basic domestic programs – education, maintenance of public infrastructure; proposed cuts to social insurance programs – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid; big box stores ruining local economies and not paying living wages to employees; corporatization and delocalization of food sources; lack of access to quality health care; high jobless rates; the ever-increasing wealth gap between the richest and poorest, high homicide and imprisonment rates, increasing numbers of Americans living in poverty – 43 million, now – And of course, the specific tie-in to this afternoon is that our country is engaging in three active wars – spending nearly $500 million each day, $3.5 billion each week on those wars– and we are still manufacturing weapons and maintaining 865 foreign military bases.
All of these things are failures of a system that places profits before people. The current economy is based on a corporate model, which allows a very, very few to accumulate excessive material wealth and secure political power at the expense of the masses. The “success” of the current economy is based on American Dream consumerism - money and thing accumulation – and denies any concept that the wellbeing of the individual is inherently connected to, and dependent upon, the wellbeing of the collective. This “success” is dependent upon the extent to we see ourselves as divided. Of course, the failures of this “successful” system extend to and are most blatantly exposed in the form of corporate control and dominance of government. So, taking all these things into consideration, we might say this moment – this surge of energy – has been a long time in the making. Click to READ MORE