Peace Action New York State challenges U.S. militarism in domestic and foreign policies through grassroots organizing by community and student leaders throughout the State. Together, we can work with elected leaders to create a U.S. foreign policy that promotes human needs, not endless war.
Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!
Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.
We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From
the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a
great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,
to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a
general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at
the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement
of international questions, the great and general interests of
Julia Ward Howe
Two US Senators introduced legislation that would halt future sales of aerial munitions to Saudi Arabia until President Obama verifies that the Saudi government is respecting international humanitarian law in waging war in Yemen, that it doesn’t support listed terrorist groups, and that it is pursuing all measures to eradicate al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) said that in light of the civilian toll of the US-backed Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, the White House must ensure that American weapons are not being used in attacks on innocents.
The House Version of the Bill (H.J. Res 90) was introduced April 20th by Ted Lieu (D-CA33) and is being co-sponsored by Ted Yoho (R-FL3) and John Conyers (D-MI13)
If the legislation became law, it would represent a meaningful step in cutting off some of the arms supply to the Saudis, and it would reduce the extent of U.S. involvement in the ongoing war. Since the Saudi-led coalition has been committing war crimes in Yemen for the last year and has been largely ignoring the rise of AQAP’s mini-state, the administration would not be able to verify that the Saudis are meeting most of the conditions listed in the bill.
While it would be ideal to put a halt to future arms sales to the Saudis and their allies all together, this bill has a better chance of winning broader support.
The United States could meet its spending goal on aid for poor countries if each American gave up one Starbucks cappuccino each week. Lock Johnson asks the question: “are Americans willing to sacrifice what amounts to a cup of coffee in order to save the lives of the 20,000 individuals who currently perish from extreme poverty each day?” Annually, $450 billion is spent on the military, but the United States has yet to meet this goal. It may not even be the fact that Americans are unwilling to help, but rather have misinformation about foreign aid.
In a poll conducted in 2010, Americans were asked how much of the federal budget goes to foreign aid. The average estimate was 25% and many Americans responded that an appropriate amount should be lower, at about 10%. In reality, only 1% of the annual budget funds foreign aid. Of course Americans want to decrease foreign aid because American leaders have done a subpar job explaining to the American people where their tax dollars are going. If Americans were informed about how little the government actually spends on development and foreign aid, they may support an increase in foreign assistance.
Americans have gotten away with not knowing much about the world around them, but times have changed. Here we are in the twenty first century with access to the most modern communication devices and Americans still lack knowledge about key events that occur around the world. We produce citizens who cannot even point to Iraq on a map when our country has sent forces abroad. Three years after the Iraq War began, only 37 percent of young Americans, between the ages of 18 and 24, could find Iraq on a map of the Middle East.
So, why did we spend so much on a war in a country that could not be labeled on a map?
We isolate ourselves from the rest of the world and therefore our foreign policy is impacted. In President Obama’s 2009 Speech to the United Nations General Assembly, he declared that it is “time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges”, yet we don’t see these words turned into action. It is best for the United States to act in a collective response to address global challenges since the international arena is too large and complex for the United States to act alone. Our first step to action needs to be increasing our foreign aid and decreasing our ignorance in this country.
This blog was written by Canisius College Student Organizer, Alie Iwanenko. For more information on our Student Organizer program and our student network, click here.
Great News: We’re bringing 20 student activists to the national Peace Action D.C. Organizer’s Meeting. Can you help us get them there?
From May 23-25, Peace Action community activists, organizers and allies from around the country will be coming together in Washington, D.C. to speak truth to power and call for peace as a priority in U.S. foreign policy.
We’ll have a full schedule of lobby visits, trainings and more, with activists from coast to coast. On the 23rd, we’re starting early with two days of planning, training and strategy meetings to talk about the year ahead, and on the 25th we are meeting with our Representatives. We already have meetings scheduled/being scheduled with our Senators. And, at some point when we’re together, we’ll take some time to celebrate the historic merger of Peace Action and Peace Action West, for a fully national, representative peace movement in the United States.
“I can tell you, as an activist who started in college, the experience of going to DC for campaigns I was involved in was transformative. The DC trips may be what made me into a life-long activist, because I felt supported by my organization, and I felt my voice being heard by my Representatives.”
– Kate Alexander, PANYS Director of Policy and Outreach
I’m so glad we can give that same experience to our Peace Action New York State student activists.
Can you give $40, $60 or even $100 to cover student expenses for the DC conference?
- $40 Contribution – Feed Them: This will support one student’s food budget while in DC
- $60 Contribution – Get Them There: This will support one student’s travel costs to and from DC (an average cost across the network)
- $100 – Lodge them: This will support one student’s lodging for 2 nights in DC.
Wow! Yesterday was an incredible display of voter mobilization in the New York State Presidential Primary election. We are so grateful for the active role you played in the Democratic process to make sure that our call for peace and diplomacy is loud and essential in the national political discourse.
Although Bernie didn’t win in New York, his policies have mobilized demands for political change. And most importantly, in significant numbers, New York has shown the country that we want, and will vote for, a politician who stands up to war, who stands up to bloated defense spending, and defends the rights of all.
These campaigns – these policies – they need our continued support, activism and mobilization.
Our work in New York is far from over.
In June, we have the opportunity to vote in the Congressional Primaries and begin the process of electing the New York delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives. Across the State, we will support candidates who defend diplomacy, stand up to the defense industry, and work to abolish nuclear weapons.
In the coming months, we will identify the candidates who will work for peace and diplomacy, and who will refuse to work for war – because we need more Representatives in Congress to stand up to out of control defense spending and advocate for bills like The People’s Budget. This bill, if passed, would close corporate tax loopholes, audit the Pentagon, close the Pentagon slush fund (the Overseas Contingency Operations account), and redirect that funding towards green energy and infrastructure.
We don’t have to wait for the election to support the People’s Budget – it is on the floor now. Click here to learn more and tell your Representative to support the People’s Budget.
Our work in this election cycle is just beginning – and, together, our work for peace continues on.
Here is one action you can take for peace right now: share this message. Forward it to Bernie supporters you know and worked with, and invite them to be a part of the peace movement to continue supporting Bernie’s policies. We must remember: we can’t give up now. The policies that Peace Action supports – policies that Bernie also supports – they need our continued activism. There is so much on the line – and there is much more work to do.
Together, we will move forward, and so will peace.
We’re getting out to vote, and we know that you’ll join us and exercise your rights, use your voice and vote on April 19th in the Presidential Primary.
- Do you know your polling place? You can find your polling location and its hours of operations by clicking here.
- Not sure if you are registered? You can find out by clicking here.
Voting is our duty in a Democracy. It’s our opportunity to elevate, within political offices, individuals who share our most essential beliefs and values, whose vision aligns with our own, and whose background qualifies them to turn that vision into a legislation. It’s an opportunity to support a candidate who you believe will listen to you when they are in elected office, so that your advocacy and organizing continues to have the greatest impact, far beyond election day.
For Peace Action, that candidate is Bernie Sanders. We’ve endorsed Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Presidential Primary because of his consistent support for diplomacy, his leadership in opposing bloated Pentagon spending, and his role as a co-sponsor of the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act. For these, and so many other reasons, Bernie Sanders is the Peace candidate in the Democratic Party. Need a few more reasons? Here’s a list of 5 reasons why Peace Action endorsed Bernie Sanders: Click Here.
So pick your candidate, find your voter registration status, find your polling place, and make your voice heard. Time to vote!
Take Action for Earth Day (April 24) and the Global Day of Action Against Military Spending (April 5 – 18).
Tell Your Representatives to Support the SANE Act and the People’s Budget.
The Department of Defense currently takes 60 cents of every federal tax dollar. This has huge impacts for the environment, because of how the Defense Department uses those funds in their programs and because of the amount of money that cannot go to renewable energies and environmental protection programs, because they are tied up in the Defense Industry.
- War is Bad for the Environment: The U.S. Department of Defense is the country’s largest consumer of fossil fuels, using over 550M gallons of fuel each year. This results in similar Co@ emissions to mid-sized European countries. And, more and more, we are seeing how war is tied to climate change and the loss of natural resources. In the first Gulf War, US bombed Iraq with 340 tonnes of missiles containing depleted uranium. Researchers have suggested that the radiation from these weapons poisoned the soil and water of Iraq, making the environment carcinogenic. Moreover, the war in Iraq destroyed the governmental infrastructure that was in place to protect the environment. Sewers flowed into streets and rivers, and refineries and pipelines leaked oil into the soil. In Afghanistan, the Cost of War Project reports that illegal logging by U.S.-backed warlords and wood harvesting by refugees caused more than one-third of Afghanistan’s forests to vanish between 1990 and 2007.One impact: the number of migratory birds passing through Afghanistan has fallen by 85%. An unchecked defense budget means an unchecked environmental impact of war.And that doesn’t even begin to cover nuclear weapons or energy. There is no safe way to store nuclear energy, and we’ve learned from the nuclear disasters in Fukushima and Chernobyl, that nuclear power accidents have generational impacts on public health and environmental safety. And, the use of nuclear weapons would be a cataclysmic event for the global environment. Detonating between 50 and 100 bombs (just .03% of the world’s arsenal) would throw enough soot into the atmosphere to create climactic anomalies unseen in human history: tens of millions would die, global temperatures would crash, and most of the world would be unable to grow crops for more than five years. In addition the ozone layer would be depleted by 40% over many inhabited areas and up to 70% at the poles. The U.S. currently has 450 silo-based nuclear weapons, and hundreds of submarine-based weapons, on hair-trigger alert.
- The Defense Industry Ties Up Funds That Can Be Re-Directed to Support the Environment (and People): The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the most expensive military weapons program in human history. The estimated price tag for the program? 1.45 trillion. We’ve already spent about $400B on the program, and it isn’t even close to ready for combat. It can’t fly, and it can’t fire. Yet, we’ve already committed to buying 2,443 of these jets for the Air Force, Navy and Marines. Here’s something else we could do with that money: provide tuition-free public higher education for every student in the United States until 2039.Or, for the cost of one F-35, we could address security concerns not through war, but through sustainable development and peace. And global epidemics, loss of water resources, energy, education and robotics are areas of national security and peace.
For the cost of one F-35 (according to 2014 estimates, the price per craft is looking much higher now) – we could more readily address and end epidemics (no more Ebola or Zika Virus scares); we could make sure fresh water is available around the world to prevent future health catastrophes and maintain peace and order; we could seriously invest in renewable energy and energy storage; and so much more.
Here’s what you can do:
- Tell Senators Gillibrand and Schumer – and your Member of Congress – to Support the SANE Act
The Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act is the smart choice, and the right choice, for our national defense and for our economic future. By scaling down, delaying or canceling a variety of obsolete nuclear weapons programs, the SANE Act will save taxpayers approximately $100 billion over ten years.As SANE Act co-sponsors, Senator Markey (D-MA) and Representative Blumenauer (D-OR-3) have made clear the stakes for the United States in passing this legislation. Senator Markey stated: “America faces a real choice: spend billions on nuclear weapons we no longer need or fund programs that educate our children and help find cures to deadly diseases. The security of our nation’s future will be ensured by investing in education not nuclear annihilation.” Or, as Representative Blumenauer summarizes, “We cannot afford these weapon systems and we don’t need them.”
Sign our petition: http://org.salsalabs.com/o/161/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=19164
- Tell Your Member of Congress to Support the People’s Budget
The People’s Budget is a financial roadmap to a more equitable society in the U.S. and to promoting peace in our foreign policy. It offers a solid blueprint to: Close corporate tax loopholes; Tax Wall Street speculation; Redirect wasteful Pentagon spending; End the Overseas Contingency “Slush Fund”. The People’s Budget not only cuts wasteful defense spending (and would require the Pentagon to be audited), but it redirects the savings to programs that support human needs and a vision of a sustainable future. The People’s Budget would invest more than $1 trillion in housing education, transportation, clean energy and safe water, creating millions of jobs. It would prevent cuts and restore social spending, cutting poverty by half in 10 yearsSign our petition: http://org.salsalabs.com/o/161/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=19260
We can choose to support war or the environment – we can’t do both. We choose peace and planet. Tell your Representatives to choose peace and planet, too.
Can you collect signatures at an event, and mail in a petition? Here are links to petitions you can table with, for these two legislative items: