Annual Meeting Workshops


Building Peace and Justice: Now More than EverMassachusetts Peace Action’s 2016 Annual Meeting, will be held  Saturday, March 12 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm in Cambridge.  After hearing the two keynote speakers, author Phyllis Bennis and Representative Jim McGovern, and eating lunch, attendees will have a choice of four workshops.  Please indicate your workshop preference when you register for the annual meeting.

Peace and a stable climate:  Can we have one without the other?


Rosalie Anders, Mary Popeo, and Sue Donaldson

Human suffering from climate disruption will continue to lead to unrest and war.  In turn, war fighting and war prepartion are key causes of climate disruption.    

Peace activists promote alternatives to war, and climate activists promote alternatives to fossil fuels and an extractive economy.   Many people see the need to bring peace, justice, and climate campaigns together to create a more powerful movement.  

We’ll explore some of the possibilities for joint action.  

This will be highly participatory–just short presentations by the facilitators, and some prepared questions.

Struggling for Peace by Meeting People’s Needs at Home

Conveners: Cole Harrison, John Ratliff

To build a progressive coalition that can implement a foreign and national security policy rooted in peace and justice, the peace movement embraces struggles for economic, social, and racial  justice.  By strengthening the campaign for a People’s Budget, the RaiseUp Coalition, the effort to defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the struggle to restore our democracy and get big money out of politics, the peace movement builds the alliances we need to win.  Mass. Peace Action is re-launching our Economic Justice Working Group in spring 2016 to focus on these campaigns, and this workshop will discuss these plans.

The People’s Budget is a progressive blueprint for federal spending.  It includes a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure (including a clean energy grid and transit funding), debt free college, universal pre-K, job creation and reducing the unemployment rate to 4%, bold action to fight climate change, restoration of anti-poverty programs strengthen the social safety net, SNAP, child nutrition, unemployment compensation, making veterans a priority, criminal justice reforms, protecting the right to vote, an end to emergency war funding (OCO), cuts in the base Pentagon spending and nuclear weapons spending, auditing the Pentagon, funds for refugee resettlement, and much more.  Developed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the FY2017 People’s Budget is scheduled for a vote in the House of Representatives approximately March 23-25. In Massachusetts, only four of nine House Representatives voted for the People’s Budget in March 2015.  In the workshop, we will make plans to increase that number this year.

The RaiseUp Massachusetts Campaign has won increases in the minimum wage and earned sick leave in our state, and is now working to raise revenue for education and transportation by adding a 4% tax on incomes over $1 million a year.   The workshop will update us on the state of this critical effort and launch MAPA’s work on the 2016 RaiseUp struggles.

We will continue to oppose unfair trade deals such as the Trans Pacific Partnership and the planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The workshop will provide a update on the state of play for TPP and TTIP and plans for our continued campaign to defeat them.

Building Peace in the Middle East: Diplomacy Wins, War Fails

Conveners: Shelagh Foreman and Prasannan Parthasarathi

Presenter: Phyllis Bennis

The Middle East continues to be the world’s major hotspot, but important victories such as the Iran Nuclear Deal have been achieved in the last year. Our challenge is to build upon such successes, focusing on the Syrian civil war, which now has a fragile ceasefire. The workshop will begin with an examination of Peace Action’s national campaign plan and then move to what we in Massachusetts can do to further that plan. We will conclude with an action agenda for the coming year, which may include items such as popular education, lobbying Congress, media work, and building a coalition for peace in the Middle East.The Palestine/Israel working group will also briefly present their work plan for 2016.

Resisting the Trillion Dollar Nuclear Weapons “Modernization” Plan: First Steps in a Long-Term Campaign

Convener: Jonathan King

Presenters: Guntram Mueller, Elaine Scarry, Richard Krushnic, Abel Corver, Lucas Perry

This workshop will focus on the development of a Peace Action campaign to actively and effectively oppose administration proposals to spend $1 Trillion of our tax dollars on increasing the lethality of the US nuclear weapons triad. After a review of the emerging new dangers, pieces of the campaign that are taking form will be presented including Don’t Bank on the Bomb; People’s Call to President Obama; People’s Budget; April 2 Conference. We will discuss possible  intermediate and long term political goals, such as influencing selected 2018 midterm electoral contests. We hope participants will sign up to work on the various components identified, and to develop other aspects needed.