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From Venezuela to the border and beyond: Stop the spiral of violence!

We are recognizing once again the increased fervor of the U.S. war machine with these recent actions from the Trump-Pence Administration:

  • Increased aggression and preparations for war against Iran.
  • Calling for war in Venezuela by expanding sanctions, breaking diplomatic ties, failure to maintain open channels of communication with leaders, and reminding the world that “all options are on the table”
  • Calling for increased military presence at the southern border and demonizing the migrants who are fleeing crime, violence, poverty and ecological devastation
  • Withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia
  • Proposed budget increase for the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security including funding for the border wall

As an organization dedicated to building a just and nonviolent world, the Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane (PJALS) reaffirms our commitment to nonviolent solutions and rejects these U.S. imperialist actions that perpetuate a spiral of violence.

PJALS members have led our region’s opposition of US militarism for more than 40 years!  We stand together in spring rain, summer heat and smoke and winter cold to tell the truth about the need to grow beyond militarism and stop our endless wars. We connect the dots between out-of-control military spending and cuts to lifeline programs for struggling families.  We recognize and work to illuminate the deep connections between militarism, colonialism, structural and ideological white supremacy, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism, both nationally and world-wide.

We believe that all human, economic, moral, and environmental costs of war are unacceptable.  PJALS opposes the billions our country spends on war and militarism and its devastating impact on our national and local economies. We oppose our country’s devotion to the twin “sacred cows” of tax loopholes for corporations and the super-wealthy and a bloated military budget.  This devotion has led to disastrous cuts to education, health care, and basic human services and has reduced resources for the needs of low-income individuals and families.  For all individuals to thrive, our country must commit to inclusive democracy and reject exploitation and violence in all forms.

In our PJALS community, we are united in recognizing that violence has many forms. Summarizing “Spiral of Violence” by Dom Helder Camara, Alastair McIntosh wrote: “Violence builds up at three levels in a society. Primary violence is the everyday effect of structurally ingrained social injustice. This generates secondary violence – the revolt of the oppressed. And that in turn provokes tertiary violence – repression by the powerful to secure their privileged position. And so the spiral of violence tightens.”

This tells us that a commitment to nonviolence requires not only individual choices but also systemic transformation to address structural violence, which Johan Galtung wrote “is the violence built into the very social, political, and economic systems that govern societies, states, and the world. It is the different allocations of goods, resources, opportunities, between different groups, classes, genders, nationalities, etc. Its relationship to direct violence is similar to the bottom nine-tenths of an iceberg, hidden from view.”

The U.S. has a long imperialistic history of intervening (with devastating economic sanctions and covert military operations) in Latin and Central America. This has directly contributed to the current situation in Venezuela, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. It has played a powerful role in increasing the number of individuals seeking asylum at the border as they flee the very countries where our militarism has caused suffering and instability. The violence of  U.S. military and economic interventions will not solve these problems, it will only exacerbate them.

We call on Senators Murray and Cantwell to lead as champions, and Rep. McMorris Rodgers to move away from the party line by:

Supporting:

  • Nonviolent diplomatic solutions
  • Safe and humane entry for asylum seekers and reunification of separated families
  • Overriding Trump’s veto of the Yemen War Powers Resolution
  • Adequate funding for social programs, health care, education, housing, etc

Rejecting:

  • Military actions anywhere
  • The militarization of our border
  • The violence of economic sanctions to interfere in the sovereignty of any country
  • Any further increase to the bloated Department of Defense budget
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