four-month campaign kicking off on January 19th, MLK Day, and building to an April 4th national mobilization in the financial centers of New York City connecting war and the economic crisis.The goals of this important compaign include "a new set of national priorities rooted in the vision and values of Dr. Martin Luther King: A world without racism, poverty or war." The campaign reaches out to all, and especially those who participated in the Obama campaign, in an effort to realign the priorities of this country from war to meeting the needs of the people.
This campaign seeks to mobilize a new base of people who have been inspired by Obama and want to see an end to war with that money going to fund housing, healthcare, education, jobs and a radically different environmental policy. So much hope and inspiration despite the most challenging of economic and environmental times needs to be nurtured with lots of opportunities to learn and grow.
Very importantly for those of us active in the peace movement, the document describes specific objectives around which to build an action agenda. These objectives include:
Keep the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – and our call to end these wars - on the front burner.
Turn up the heat to bring the troops home now by amplifying voices of Iraq Veterans, military families,Iraqis and Afghans. Because the 6th anniversary of the war in Iraq is within this time frame, that would be a major opportunity to highlight our call.
Expose the costs of war and connections between issues. Activate people to demand cuts in the military budget and the use of that money to fund housing, healthcare, education, jobs and infrastructure. Offer alternatives to the “war on terror” through a call for diplomacy and respect for international law.
Collect X # of signatures by using a tool (petition, survey, postcard, ideas for how to re-shape the federal budget) to engage people in one-on-one conversation, build lists and other capacity building efforts, and to deliver a strong national message to Congress on April 6th.
As the goals above highlight, this campaign continues to focus on the fundamental conflict between meeting the concrete needs of working families in the United States and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A timeline of events associated with the campaign so far includes:
January 17-19: KICK-OFF - MLK Holiday Weekend - Posters for marches and a flier talking about the connection between war and poverty and economic collapse.
January 20: Inauguration Day - distribute Peace Signs and messages in DC for visibility along the parade route and all around town.
February 15: Possible Nationwide Day of Education and Outreach w/ tool – common theme to be determined
February 27: Power Shift Conference and No Foreign Bases Conference - both in DC. UFPJ presence to connect with activists and promote campaign.
March 8: International Women’s Day - Possible Nationwide Day of Activity focusing on the cost of war on women, possible lobby day on war and women’s issues.
March 19: 6th Anniversary of the War in Iraq - local actions on and around the anniversary, focusing on the economic and human costs of the war – re-affirming our movement’s call to end the war and bring all the troops home now!
March 31: Possible Day of Local Activity on Cesar Chavez’s birthday.
April 4: King’s Assassination and Anniversary of Beyond Vietnam Speech - National March in NY calling for a re-ordering of economic priorities.
April 6: Delegation and Press Event in Washington DC to deliver signatures to Congress and White House.
In some larger cities, a effort to learn from the Obama Internet activities has resulted in attempts to utilize a more networked organizational model, for example creating a network of small neighborhood or geographically defined organizations. These organizations can focus on building local membership and creating small coalitions in that limited area geographic area. The issues of peace and a reordering of the national priorities toward meeting the needs of the mass of working families provide a focus. Included in these outreach and coalition efforts, the neighborhood groups are reaching out to the folks who show up for different Internet based virtual organization events by organizing and/or participating in those events.
These times are full of hope and promise. Yes we can work together to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, bring all the troops and contractors home, leave no bases behind, and provide financial help to the Iraqis and Afghans to rebuild their war ravaged homes. Its time to reorder our priorities to meeting the needs of working families here in the United States rather than wasting huge amounts of money on immoral and unjust wars on behalf of imperialist greed that result in destruction and death in foreign lands and unending pain for those who survive there.