Front page, The Blogful of Salt

Bring our Billions Home

New campaign launching in January

by Liz Moore

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower

While people are losing their jobs and homes, state and local governments are cutting needed services. In Washington State over 40,000 people have lost Basic Health coverage, funds to reduce class size in our schools have been cut 70%, college tuition has risen, library hours are being cut, and the Governor has put forward an all-cuts budget again. Meanwhile, taxpaying families in Eastern Washington alone have spent $2.1 billion for the wars since 2001.

In January 2011 we will launch a new campaign to Bring Our Billion$ Home. The campaign is aimed at moving local elected bodies like the city council to urge our Congressional delegation to stop funding the wars, occupations and military activities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, and to shift priorities to put money now wasted on the bloated Pentagon budget into putting people back to work and funding education, healthcare, and community services. PeaceWorks volunteers are excited to reach out across our community to garner individual and organizational endorsements. Our goal is to garner 500 signatures and 10 organizational endorsements by June 30, as a first phase of the campaign. We’ll start by launching signature gathering on January 17 at the Martin Luther King march and celebration. Our March conference will focus on connecting the dots between militarism and social and economic exploitation, oppression, and poverty. At the conference we’ll launch our regional coalition.

After the conference, we will hold a “Bring the Billions$ Home Community Speak Out” where survivors of this crisis and affected agencies can tell their stories.

Here are five ways you can get involved:

1. Send back the insert in this issue to add your name to the Declaration of Principles.

2. Invite a “Bring Our Billion$ Home” speaker to your faith community’s social concerns committee, professional association, union, or other community group so that we can ask your group to endorse the Declaration.

3. Come learn more and chat it up at our New Year Potluck on January 12 at 5:00.

4. Join in our PeaceWorks meetings on Thursdays January 6 and 20 at 5:30.

5. Help launch our signature gathering at the Martin Luther King march and celebration on January 17: call Dale at 838-7870 to sign up.

October 2010 marked 9 years of US war in Afghanistan, and March 2011 will complete 8 years of US warfare and occupation in Iraq. That means almost 5900 US troop deaths and as many suicides, over a million civilian deaths (and that’s just the released numbers), and 30% of US soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from identified mental illness. What could we provide with our $2.1 billion instead of war?

—Healthcare for 932,568 children for a year, or

—Pell Grants for 380,924 college students at $5550, or

—Head Start for 229,772 children for a year, or

—School teachers in 31,407 classrooms for a year, or

—VA medical care for 269,306 military veterans for a year, or

—Jobs for 52,500 people at $40,000 for a year.

We are excited about this new campaign and hope you will join in making it successful.

3 comments

The fault is not with the governor but with the voters who refused to tax themselves for unnecessary pop and candy so that needed services could be funded and failed to tax income of the super rich. The people are the problem, it is sad to say. We cannot fairly fault the politicians – they are simply playing the cards the voters dealt them in November.

I do believe that the governor showed courageous in simply laying out the reality of the budget and the costs to deal with it. I do, however, believe that our politicians who have failed us and have not shown the courage of their convictions in finding other places to cut. If you can give 5000 Washington state families with children a 100% reduction in income — as was done on short notice two weeks ago on February 1, 2011 when Washington state cut 5000 families off TANF in sub-freezing temperatures — you can also take from the super-wealthy and the elites. So-called “progressive” politicians who have had the support of their constituents for years should have, at a minimum, taken the opportunity to have their “Bernie Sanders moment” to take a stand and layout for the public the true nature of power, wealth, and priviledge in a our system. To the extent that they did not, they have betrayed us.

Until we build a powerful left in the US — and that includes a third party — we will be subject to the whims of our current two party ruling class consensus.

http://buildingapowerfulleft.org/2011/02/04/show-5-february-4-2011/

Well, the campaign goes on. Just ran into Liz and Shar and Roseanne outside the Community Building. They had been downtown with young Jack gathering signatures. Now that the US is in Libya as well and making plans for its next interventions, this campaign is all the more important. Not only that but we are literally seeing the coming to pass of President Dwight D Eisenhower’s words in our nation and in our state: (quote) Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. (end quote)

Time to bring the billions (and the troops) home!

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