by Cole Harrison and Brian Garvey
Over 150 MAPA members gathered online to chart the organization’s path in 2022 in a two-part annual meeting on April 26 and May 3
Co-chair Jonathan King opened the meeting by requesting a moment of silence in memory of Jaime Babson, Joan Ecklein, and Marty Nathan, leading MAPA members who died in the past year.
Our keynote speaker was Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editorial Director and publisher of The Nation. She reflected on the coverage of war in today’s media as the Russia/Ukraine war continued to escalate. Vanden Heuvel lamented the lack of accurate reporting, especially on American wars. She echoed MAPA’s call for immediate negotiations and a ceasefire to end the destruction in Eastern Europe. Calling the war in Ukraine a “US/NATO proxy war,” she opposed further transfers of weapons from the US.
“The opposition to war must not prevent efforts to understand history and context,” she said. “It’s as if you’re not allowed to oppose the war or you’re called pro-Putin…The ability to shut people down by calling them names has been a very destructive part of our politics.” Vanden Heuvel called NATO expansion the “original sin” that led to today’s conflict. “The fear of negotiating comes from the identification of diplomacy, restraint, and dialogue with capitulation.” Our important work must be, in large part, to overcome this dangerous misconception.
We were also joined by Kevin Martin, the President of national Peace Action. He laid out the priorities of the Peace Action network for the next year. He urged us to learn from the war in Ukraine and use it to “take the steps to rebuild the arms control and disarmament regime.” He urged our support for a Yemen War Powers Resolution, saying that the war in Yemen deserves at least as much attention as Ukraine. He criticized President Biden for not returning to the Iran Nuclear Deal, saying it, “should have been a lay-up or a slam dunk!” He stressed our commitment to fight back against growing military budgets. Global military spending has now reached $2 Trillion and the US makes up 45% of that. Criticizing his inaction on implementing a policy of No First Use of nuclear weapons, Martin said, “Biden, who knows these issues as much as any president ever… (and his team) are seemingly incapable. They’re in the thrall of the military-industrial complex.” Raising the need to unfreeze billions of dollars in stolen assets Martin said, “the people of Afghanistan need to be able to rebuild their economy no matter who is in government.”
Representatives of ten working groups and four special projects reported on MAPA’s program work. They included Alec Neilly for the interns’ group; Susan Mirsky on nuclear disarmament; Paul Shannon, Val Moghadam, Tom Huf, and Jeff Klein on Middle East wars; Yoav Elinevsky for Hands Off Latin America; Cate Henning on MAPA’s Cuba trip; Amar Ahmad on No Cold War; Cold Harrison on the Ukraine war; Jax Nicoloff and Chloe Steele on Palestine/Israel; Claire Gosselin on Racial Justice and Decolonization; Rosalie Anders on Peace and Climate; Amar Ahmad on Fund Healthcare Not Warfare; Brian Garvey on the Raytheon Antiwar Campaign; and Amar Ahmad on the Poor People’s Campaign.
The members then unanimously affirmed MAPA’s 2022 program summary
In the business meeting, treasurer Maryellen Kurkulos explained the 2021 financial report and the 2022 budget. In 2021, MAPA income was $98,000 and expenses were $104,000; in 2022, the budget calls for income of $105,000 and expenses of $92,000. MAPAEF income was $111,000 in 2021 and expenses were $88,000; for 2022, budgeted income is $145,000 and expenses will be $150,000. MAPA and MAPAEF share three full time staff; about 20 interns will receive stipends this year; the budget also pays for office space, printing, online services and miscellaneous expenses. Income is derived entirely from members, supporters, and grants from small foundations.
The members elected five new directors, Merriam Ansara, Hayat Imam, Avery J, Alec Neilly, and Calla Walsh, to MAPA’s board. They also re-elected Yoav Elinevsky, Shelagh Foreman, Joseph Gerson, Keith Harvey, Jared Hicks, Jackie King, Jonathan King, Prasannan Parthasarathi, Steve Powell, and John Ratliff, Paul Shannon, and Michael VanElzakker, to additional two-year terms. Rosalie Anders, Rosemary Kean, Jeff Klein, Maryellen Kurkulos, Susan Mirsky, Valentine Moghadam, and Vernon K. Walker are halfway through their two year terms and are continuing their board service. Andrea Burns, Carol Coakley, Eva Moseley, and Jeff Napolitano completed their board service.
Video of the session can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0dPo82OQZo.
In the second session of the annual meeting on May 3, members discussed three difficult issues that have arisen in MAPA’s work over the past year. Jonathan King presented a paper on Peace and Political Action, Brian Garvey introduced one on Integrating Peace and Solidarity, and Maryellen Kurkulos addressed Organizational Issues, and members commented on each. MAPA will continue to discuss these issues over the coming period; our members are requested to read and respond to the papers using the link which is included in each of them.
Members then divided into nine issue-oriented breakout groups to plan our campaigning for 2022 in detail.