Mel King, Peace Leader

Mel King testifies at Budget for All hearing, Massachusetts Legislature, July 10, 2013

by Joseph Gerson and Cole Harrison

Massachusetts Peace Action honors Mel King, leader of the peace and justice movement who died at his home on March 28.   (Boston Globe obituary)

We cannot win peace without the participation of large numbers of people from every walk of life — rich and poor; black, white, Latino, Asian, and Native American; men and women; straight, gay, and transgendered; documented and undocumented.  In the interest of justice as well as peace, Peace Action stands with labor, community, people of color, environmental groups and faith groups that work for economic and social justice.   By strengthening the voice of minority, low income, working people, and marginalized people in our society, we also strengthen the peace movement.  Mel King shared this perspective and was a powerful voice for it.

Mel‘s lifetime commitments and achievements were exemplary, and we stand/live on foundations he played such important roles in creating. Some may have forgotten the important role he played in 1983 in preventing Boston Harbor from being transformed into a nuclear weapons base. Senator Kennedy, then Lt. Governor John Kerry, (and the Boston Globe) were suckered into a plan to base a nuclear armed battleship fleet in Boston Harbor opposite a Logan Airport runway and in violation of the Nuclear Weapons Freeze which Kennedy and the Democratic Congressional delegation were all on record of supporting. A popular movement, drawing on nuclear weapons freeze energies and commitments, knowledge of the Navy’s history of nuclear weapons accidents, and better economic development plans for Boston opposed the homeporting plan. In the spring and summer of 1983 Mel King was the leading mayoral primary candidate to oppose the basing plan. His opposition played a major role in our victory and to the the now relative safety of everyone in Boston and New England, who still live with the Battleship Iowa still being in mothballs.

Thirty years later in 2013, Mel King continued to advocate for peace, as he testified at the State House in favor of the Budget for All resolution.  The resolution was based on the Budget for All Referendum, a public policy question we put on the November 6, 2012 ballot in 91 cities and towns across Massachusetts. Of one million Massachusetts voters, 75% of them supported the resolution, which called to prevent cuts to vital programs that help families, protect jobs, end corporate tax breaks and redirecting Pentagon spending to meet human needs.  View Mel’s testimony at the hearing: