by Brian Garvey
The coronavirus pandemic has upended all aspects of our society, costing more than a quarter million lives and devastating our economy. Massachusetts Peace Action has taken up the challenge to respond to this crisis, addressing the health care issues head-on and changing the way we work in order to protect the safety of our members and the public. We have forged ahead with our grassroots organizing and our pressure on elected officials for more peaceful and just policies at home and abroad.
In the past six months we have held almost 60 webinars, online meetings, and educational events, reaching more than 7,000 people and encouraging them to take action. Our webinars have addressed a wide range of issues, including the Covid-19 pandemic and frontline healthcare delivery, racist policing, nuclear disarmament, crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Korea, Bolivia, Venezuela, Honduras, China, Yemen, and the rise of authoritarianism in the United States.
Our work depends on the grassroots for our funding. The military industrial complex spends millions of dollars to influence politicians. The peace movement relies on the participation and generous support of members and supporters like you! Your contributions make possible our continued work on such vital campaigns as:
Cutting the military budget: Our nation’s problems cannot be solved without moving money from the bloated Pentagon budget and reinvesting in healthcare, education, housing, infrastructure and a plan to address climate change. Congress is listening. Ten out of eleven members of the Massachusetts delegation – some influenced by our advocacy — and about half the Democrats in Congress voted in July to cut the Pentagon budget by 10%.
Electing progressive lawmakers: We supported Ed Markey this year in his successful re-election bid, as well as a slate of progressive candidates for Congress and the State Legislature. We partnered with Markey to challenge Trump’s proposed resumption of atmospheric nuclear testing in August. After the September 1st Massachusetts primary, many MAPA members joined the national mobilization to get out the vote in critical states and senatorial districts.
Raytheon Anti-War Campaign: We continue to struggle against war profiteers in our backyard, exposing Raytheon’s corporate militarism, which is driving the Saudi/UAE war in Yemen. The Waltham-based company is now the world’s second largest arms manufacturer. The Raytheon Antiwar campaign is the leading such effort in the nation and is joining with international organizations to push the Biden Administration to end our shameful participation in the war in Yemen.
State Legislative Work: On Beacon Hill, the bill to change the State Flag and Seal passed the State Senate and it is now awaiting action in the House this fall, after over 3,000 people signed our action letter. We are also actively supporting the police reform bill and preparing to file bills to call for cuts in the Pentagon budget and to challenge the state’s involvement in nuclear weapons in January.
Uniting to build and strengthen a progressive movement: In September we convened a movement building event, Power to the Peaceful, where we awarded author and columnist Stephen Kinzer with the Peacebuilder Award. Taking the place of our annual dinner, this virtual event recognized allies and raised over $12,000. We are working with a dozen Massachusetts progressive organizations to sponsor “Where Do We Go from Here? Preparing our Movements for the Next Four Years,” an on-line progressive strategy conference on December 5.
Between our two organizations, Massachusetts Peace Action Education Fund, which accepts tax-deductible donations and uses them for educational purposes, and Massachusetts Peace Action, which engages in advocacy and political campaigns, we have a 2020 fundraising goal of $180,700. We have raised $133,287 through October 31. We need your help to reach our goal!
Please consider increasing your last year’s contribution by 25%, which will enable MAPA to meet current needs. With your generosity, we can exceed our goal and enter January in a strong position to push forward the peace agenda in the coming year!
—Brian Garvey is Mass. Peace Action’s full-time organizer.