In this time of crisis, heroism, and despair, I write about an ideal. Around us, the pandemic's constraints bring the pressures from multiple crises -- political, economic, climate, and health -- to a climax. Structures, systems, and even governments are tottering, threatening to collapse. Yet in response to these situations, most governments, rather than seek an alternative to the military model, rely on investing massive resources in armies and weapons.
As we have for over a century, WILPF seeks an end to wars. Now that multiple situations and events bring us to confrontations with mortality -- in our own lives, in our disaster-wracked towns, and in our entire society -- WILPF proclaims that we must act to return meaning to life. We issue a Call for Peace.
The context and shape of events is dramatic. The world we've come to expect is rocked by global quakes. Even the countries of the "Western World", once viewed by many as the bastions of civil liberties and stability, are affected. How can we not feel shaken in these times?
But there is good news: In the US, more and more people of privilege are dropping their blinders. No longer obscured is the racist violence that has haunted this country since its origins -- starting with the genocide against the original inhabitants and the enslavement of many imported inhabitants.
The bad news is that we see little institutional change in the racist practices in many areas: The police, the courts the prisons; the census and apportionment, voter registration, voting rules; working conditions, under-employment, job opportunities; local schools' funding, educational options, college costs; pay differentials, indebtedness, "pay day loans" vs. easy money from the Federal Reserve for corporations. Far too many racist and classist practices and conditions continue.
Here in the US, societal decay is accelerating. But, especially for white, middle-class people, the knowledge of others' circumstances is often restricted. Lives are segregated one from the other, particularly in these times of isolation. Though the corporate news may carry some reports, those are often presented as data points in a vacuum. In WILPF, we seek out the connections and look at the wider context.
Already, WILPF is responding. We're protecting the vote and preparing -- see the October eNews article about organizing to prevent an election-time takeover. And WILPF does more than just react to threats.
With the Call for Peace, we offer a positive choice, for aspiration and uplift - an ideal. We call for the extension of the UN's Global Ceasefire and a 50% cut to all US military spending. Along with others, we call for those saved funds to be moved to programs -- new and existing -- to meet human needs, including the need for a healthy planet.
In the months ahead, through the efforts of issue committees, branches, and at-large members -- through your chosen focus -- WILPF will develop and refine strategies and actions to advance and extend this Call. I invite you to make the Call yours by claiming a part of it to pursue:
- Will you contact government leaders, to call on them to speak at the October 2 UN High Level Meeting for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons?
- Can you review the Poor People's Moral Budget, that calls for cuts and redirects Department of Defense (DoD) budget funds? The Poor People's Campaign Moral Budget specifies many new constructive investments for the destructive DoD money. Share the Moral Budget's facts and figures with WILPFers and others.
- Will you select and, then, help track down some specifics of unneeded US military expenditures, further researching such areas for US military spending cuts?
- Perhaps you'll specialize, looking for cuts in nuclear weapons budgets, ending investments in the nuclear weapons industry and to testing?
- How will you increase public awareness of the UN Global Ceasefire -- letters to the editor? vigils? social media? an op. ed.?
- You can start now, considering how, after the elections, you will organize to reach out within your local government. Nationwide, activist will be to lobbying for representatives to sign on to support moving military money to human needs programs. (More information to come.)
- The DoD budget hearings come up in January and February. Can you mobilize pressure in your community to cut military spending
With the Call for Peace, WILPF declares to the people of the US that we have an alternative! Let us unite our efforts, committing to creating the conditions that support a peaceful world. We know it is past time to invest our nation's energies and resources in building a new model.
I encourage you to learn about this initiative, which builds on and with the work of our allies. Read the Call for Peace.
Yours for the vision of a brighter future.