Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Get Real or No Vote from Us

Real progressives talk about militarism, war and military spending!

To: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and all other Progressives 

By U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW)

We call upon all those who seek our political support to speak out forcefully, with clarity and passion, for a new definition of national security that puts the welfare of our people and the planet ahead of the interests of the Pentagon brass, military contractors, multinational corporations and the military-industrial complex.

Why is this important?

Populist: someone who embraces a political doctrine that appeals to the interests and conceptions (such as hopes and fears) of the majority of people, as opposed to the interests of the elite.

Progressive: a person advocating or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas.

The election season is upon us. Politicians, whether candidates themselves or supporting others, are criss-crossing the country hoping to harvest campaign donations and, down the road, our votes. Many will tell us what we want to hear, whether they believe it or not. Others will tell us what they want us to hear, whether they mean it or not.

Those who identify as progressives espouse populist ideas and speak passionately about inequality, poverty, racism and the need for fundamental reforms. They generally want government to be an active instrument to promote and secure a higher standard of living, greater economic and social equality, a society that is tolerant of differences and that values and protects human rights, social justice and the common good – all necessary elements of a progressive populist agenda.

Necessary but not sufficient!

All too often Progressives who are passionate and outspoken about the need to provide good jobs at living wages, reduce inequality, eliminate poverty, protect the planet and advance social justice suffer from a debilitating political condition known as 'MAD' (Militarism Acknowledgment Dysfunction) or 'PEP' (Populist Except for Pentagon).

This condition makes it difficult to connect their laudable domestic agenda to the reality that our economy and foreign policy are militarized and operate in the interests of multinational corporations and the military-industrial complex.

The US is addicted to militarism.

With 57% of all discretionary spending going to the Pentagon, war and nuclear weapons - even with significant tax reform - it will be impossible to implement an ambitious progressive agenda without cutting bloated runaway military spending and Pentagon waste, fraud and abuse. And to do that will require the US to abandon its militarized foreign policy and stop trying to militarily subordinate the rest of the world to a neo-liberal agenda.

We need to reassess what is required to achieve real “national security.” Rather than measuring our security on the basis of the size and power of our military, the advanced state of its weapons and our government’s ability to instill fear in others, we should measure our security based on the welfare of people and the planet, and the respect our government earns in the rest of the world.

Anyone who wants our support as a progressive must have as much to say about militarism, war and military spending as about climate security, economic security, human rights and social justice. They are all essential elements of a progressive agenda. All are required to have real national security.

If you agree, please sign our petition and urge others to sign here. And speak up when the candidates come around asking for your vote but refuse to mention the Pentagon elephant in the middle of the room!


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