Peace Action and Massachusetts Peace Action endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders for President of the United States and will work for his victory in the Massachusetts Primary, March 1, 2016.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. -President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953.
The above quote, which was used by Sen. Sanders on the floor of Congress arguing against a bloated military budget in 2013, is one he paraphrases on the campaign trail in a way that underscores the strongest aspect of Sen. Sanders’ pro-peace, anti-war record in public service. Sen. Sanders’ record on the military budget is unique for its consistency and courage over a decades long period.
He has opposed every annual defense authorization and appropriation bill submitted during his tenure.
He has been for subjecting the military budget to the same audits to which the rest of the federal budget is subjected and to drastically cutting it in order to fund programs needed to address social inequality.
Sanders has advocated for rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, rapidly shifting to a non-carbon, highly efficient energy system based on renewable sources, and funding unmet human needs for education, health, and housing.
Alone among his fellow Democrats, Sen. Sanders has identified climate change as the greatest single threat to our country and has clearly spelled out a solution which includes the U.S. leading a new international collaboration necessitating a close, friendly joint effort between the U.S., Russia, China, and India among many other nations.
His platform concerning peace and war (see https://berniesanders.com/issues/war-and-peace/) acknowledges the need for a strong military, capable of meeting threats to the nation and its vital national interests, but rejects the role of world policeman. It recounts Sanders’ history of opposition to all of the wars we have engaged in since he began public life except for Serbia/Kosovo and Afghanistan. In a Democratic debate he strongly opposed the US policy of regime change, from Arbenz through Gadaffi to the current effort against Syria’s Assad. Sanders is one of only three senators to cosponsor the SANE bill which would significantly cut spending on nuclear weapons modernization. He has consistently opposed the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and he calls for developing a system of fair trade rather than free trade agreements. His theme, is always, in every crisis, to try the diplomacy and to exhaust it before taking up arms.
We understand that Bernie Sanders’ campaign against inequality is critical to building the peace movement. The group that benefits directly from our foreign policy is the economic elites, the billionaires, and they dictate the terms of our foreign policy in their interest. Today, 10% of Americans control 60% of national income. Bernie Sanders’ challenge to Wall Street, the billionaires, and government/corporate collusion is exactly what will empower the 99% and make possible a Foreign Policy for All.
Bernie Sanders is not a flawless peace candidate. He has not challenged the Administration’s acquiescence to Israel’s settlements and violence or on the billions it gives annually to Israel’s military. His proposals on the Syria/Iraq war would allow US military support of a Saudi-led anti-ISIS coalition, if one were to emerge, he has not ruled out killings by drone.
But he comes closer than any candidate in decades who has had a serious chance to win the presidency, embodying the values of peace and justice. In challenging the elites (or “establishment”), and in seeking to restore a democracy to the people by constructing a people’s campaign capable of mounting a political revolution, the Sanders campaign stands out as a unique force. It comes at a time when it just might have a shot at winning. Massachusetts Peace Action should be part of that effort.
The decision to endorse was made by both our national board and our Massachusetts state board. National and state members each supported the endorsement by more than a 3 to 1 margin in an email poll.