Howard County Peace Action is a new chapter affiliated with Peace Action, the largest grass-roots peace organization in the country. Based in Columbia, Maryland, it is part of Maryland Peace Action along with sister chapters, Peace Action Montgomery (http://www.peaceactionmc.org) and Anne Arundel Peace Action (http://www.mdpeaceaction.org.)
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
We take as our touchstone this expression of Einstein’s:
“May the conscience and the commonsense of the peoples be awakened, so that we may reach a new stage in the life of nations, where people will look back on war as an incomprehensible aberration of their forefathers.”
These words, spoken by a truly brilliant, great and compassionate man, whose wisdom extended to human affairs, suggest that in the future humankind would view war not as inevitable but, indeed, as a horrible anomaly. Our nation and the peoples of the world must take a very different path, and we wish to contribute, as best we can, to this noble cause.
Our recent activities
Howard County Peace Action grew out of the Howard County Coalition for Peace and Justice, (HCCPJ) a local and active group formed to protest the first Gulf War.
We changed our name and broadened our affiliation in June of 2012. We voted to join national Peace Action to help do our part to:
- Eliminate the threat of nuclear war
- Foster the use of diplomacy over military force
- Convert a defense-based economy to one that meets domestic needs (and helps pay for reversing climate change)
- Share the resources, dynamism and stimulation of a national office (established over 50 years ago!) as well as our sister chapters.
In the last few years, we have:
- Opposed efforts by legislators to undermine ongoing multilateral negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program;
- Supported the control of Iran’s nuclear program through negotiation
- Lobbied our federal representatives and held a vigil to prevent a U.S. attack on Syria and re-engagement in Iraq;
- Protested the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, P.M. Netanyahu’s speech before Congress, and called for a two-State solution;
- Lobbied representatives in Annapolis and Washington on behalf of Fund Our Communities: Not the Pentagon for economic conversion to prevent domestic cuts and increase defense cuts;
- Lobbied representatives in Howard County and Annapolis to reform or eliminate solitary confinement in State prisons;
- Worked to Get the Money Out (of politics) – Maryland Chapter;
- Supported imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning;
- Invited these speakers: Phyllis Bennis, a well-known Middle East expert; Mel Goodman, author of National Insecurity; and Kevin Martin, the Peace Action Executive Director.
Campaigns & Action!
Campaign: Diplomacy with Iran This was a hard-fought struggle and our most successful and significant recent campaign. Peace Action, as part of a broad coalition of peace groups, supported negotiation with Iran over war (with six nations) on a comprehensive nuclear deal. The Iranians have made good on their side of the agreement: sending over 8.5 tons of enriched uranium to Russia so Iran can’t use that in bomb-making, disabled more than 12,000 centrifuges and poured concrete into the core of a reactor at Arak designed to produce plutonium. As President Obama said, we have”cut off every single single path Iran could have used to build a bomb” and noted that engagement with Iran has created a “window to try to resolve important issues.” The New York Times wrote in an editorial on January 17, 2016, “The world is now safer for this.”
We told our Democratic representatives not to help Republicans torpedo the Iran deal! Our position was: Let diplomacy take its course! Click on: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/democrats-dont-side-with?source=c.em&r_by=1135580
Campaign: Fund our Communities: Not the Pentagon. This campaign intends to redirect obscene Pentagon overspending toward socially useful purposes and pressing national needs, especially to minimize climate change, as the photo, above, portrays. You may ask, where will we get the money for combatting such ills as climate change, inequality and racism, rotting infrastructure and poor education? It is an aim of Peace Action and Fund our Communities to at least get the enormous down payment for such items by redirecting the priorities of the military budget.
The campaign — to bring about a national process of economic conversion — is waged by many Peace Action affiliates, including HCPA, and especially by Peace Action Montgomery http://www.peaceactionmc.org. In Maryland alone, we had a 62-organization coalition pushing for it, including the AFL-CIO and the NAACP. The feasibility of economic conversation has decades of research behind it. See Institute for Policy Studies: http://www.ips-dc.org/authors/miriam-pemberton/
On a national level, we work with the National Priorities Project, a Nobel Prize nominee, that provides an analytical overview of the Federal budget and educational leadership on national priorities. We are talking about military bloat–unneeded equipment, war planes and ships, and over 1000 military bases abroad! The US. “Defense” Department budget accounts for 54% of all federal discretionary spending. That’s larger than the next seven largest military budgets around the world combined! This defies commonsense and as Einstein said, “…may the commonsense of the peoples be awakened…”
Help shrink the Pentagon! Click here: https://www.nationalpriorities.org.
- Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free World In 2007, 46 organizations joined forces to create the Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free World to promote practical steps today to free the world from nuclear weapons tomorrow. There are now more than 150 organizations that have joined this coalition. The coalition calls on Congress and President Obama to make a world free of nuclear weapons an urgent priority, and to demonstrate U.S. leadership by taking steps to realize this goal.Here is a promising and hopeful campaign. They need our help!Learn more: http://nuclearweaponsfree.org/aboutus/
Important links and resources:
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