by Popular Resistance, October 17, 2018
On November 10 in Washington, DC, there will be an historic gathering of groups and people to launch the Peace Congress to End US Wars at Home and Abroad. The Peace Congress will bring together advocates for peace and economic, racial, environmental and climate justice to develop a strategy, goals and actions based on the principles of unity. These are:
- End U.S. wars at home and abroad.
- Create a peace economy that meets the necessities of people and protects the planet.
- Respect the self-determination of all people and nations.
- Create transformative change by building a movement of movements.
In recent years, there have been efforts to broaden the peace movement in the United States and connect with the many manifestations of militarism at home, such as militarized police, racist policing, military training and recruitment in schools, attacks on immigrants and glorification of war, and with the impacts of an empire economy. A growing proportion of federal discretionary spending, now over 60%, is going to the Pentagon while people are struggling to afford housing, education and healthcare and US infrastructure is failing.
The Peace Congress arose from the successful effort to stop President Trump’s military parade scheduled for November 10. In February of this year, peace groups met and agreed to work together to stop the parade. By August, over 250 groups had signed on to stop the parade and an open letter was issued to Congress calling on them to stop this glorification of war, saber-rattling and misuse of tax dollars. Shortly after that, the estimated cost of the parade, which was $92 million, was leaked from Pentagon officials and the parade was canceled.
With a desire to continue to build on the momentum created by this organizing effort, the groups continued to meet and decided to convene a Peace Congress to determine more ways of collaborating. The Peace Congress is open to all who want to participate.
It will take place on Saturday, November 10 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church, 201 4th St SE in Washington, DC. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. The Peace Congress is free but a suggested donation of at least $10 to cover food is requested.
The Peace Congress will open with a moderated panel to discuss the current environment, obstacles to building a unified movement and opportunities for collaboration. This will be followed by a facilitated and participatory discussion to further delineate challenges and opportunities. After lunch, the discussion will focus on goals and next steps. This will be a participatory event.
Panelists for the morning are:
- Ajamu Baraka – Black Alliance for Peace
- Angela Bibens – Red Owl Law and the Standing Rock Legal Collective
- Bernadette Ellorin – BAYAN USA
- Cheri Honkala – Poor People’s Economic and Human Rights campaign
- Eli Painted Crow – Turtle Women Rising, Women’s Eco-peace, veteran and mother of two veteran sons
- Netfa Freeman – Institute for Policy Studies, Pan-African Community Action
- Joe Lombardo – United National Anti-war Coalition
- Moderator, Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance
The Peace Congress is part of a full weekend of events. These include:
Heart to Heart Tour -Military families and veterans will be traveling from Los Angeles to Washington, DC in a caravan stopping along the route speaking from the heart with people about the impacts of war. It will be a cross-country conversation about love, war, and the war at home – enough folded flags. For more information about their schedule visit their Heart 2 Heart website
Catharsis on the Mall – An annual event at the National Mall near the Washington Monument (15th Street & Constitution Avenue, NW). Enjoy live music, art, costumes, and vendor booths!
Veterans occupation of McPherson Square and the Veterans Administration – Veterans will hold space at McPherson Square, 14th and I Streets, NW, from Friday night to Sunday night. There will be live music from 4:00 to 8:00 pm on Saturday, and an interfaith service at 8:00 am and open mic fro m 1:00 to 8:00 pm on Sunday, as well as a bar-be-cue. There will be protests outside of the Veterans Administration regarding veterans benefits and opposing privatization of the VA.
Veteran and military family-led solemn march to reclaim Armistice Day on its 100th anniversary – veterans and military families will assemble at the Vietnam Veterans memorial at 9:00 am on Sunday for the march and plan to arrive at the WWI memorial by 11:00 am. All are invited to participate in the march. It is asked that all participants respect the solemn tone of the march.
Philadelphia Protest Against former President Bush and Vice President Biden: On November 11, after the Veterans & Families Silent March the Heart 2 Heart tour will go to the the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA. Biden will present this year’s #LibertyMedal award to George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush for their commitment to veterans. The ceremony starts at 5 pm. Tour leader Stacy Bannerman received a Freedom Medal from George W. Bush that she intends to give back.
For more information, see NoTrumpMilitaryParade.us.