About eighty people rallied at six Massachusetts Congressional offices Thursday, January 26, to protest President Biden’s decision to send US Abrams battle tanks to join the fight in Ukraine. At four of the six offices they met with Congressional staff and turned in letters and petitions.
In Worcester, twelve people joined the stand-out on busy Shrewsbury St., which was organized by Claire Schaeffer-Duffy of the Center for Noviolent Solutions. Worcester activists were joined by Sister Clare Carter and Brother Toby of the Leverett Peace Pagoda. Rep. McGovern’s district director Jon Niedzielski met the group, who gave him a letter, and heard Sr. Clare’s words of concern and alarms about the escalation of the war.
“Negotiate. Negotiate. Negotiate. Our request may sound like a broken record to some, but negotiations are how all wars ultimately end. The US needs to push hard for this. The recent decision to send tanks to Ukraine is moving this conflict in the wrong direction,” said Schaeffer-Duffy. This Week in Worcester covered the action.
Another 25 peace protesters stood outside Rep. McGovern’s satellite office in Northampton the same day. “The idea of more tanks is anathema to peace talks,” said Paki Wieland, coordinator of the Northampton group. “This only further escalates the war.”
“Americans only hear one side,” added Stanley Maron, a member of Veterans for Peace. “There’s got to be some discussion and debate on both sides,” reported the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
15 peace activists gathered in Salem to criticize Rep. Seth Moulton’s pro-war policy. The group spoke spoke to Conor Friend, staff aide to Rep. Seth Moulton. Friend then read a statement from Moulton, which was “worse than we had imagined,” according to the rally organizer, Rev. Art McDonald of the First Universalist Church of Essex. “We expected a more nuanced response, but he was pretty defiant and talked about the importance of Ukraine winning the war,” Macdonald said. The Salem News and Gloucester News put the protest on page 1 and published an online photo essay on the event by Jaime Campos and an article by Dustin Luca.
In Newton, Susan Mirsky read a constituents’ letter to Rep. Auchincloss in a meeting with Auchincloss’ aide. She was joined by a dozen peace supporters.
In Malden, peace activists led by Steve Gallant and Massoudeh Edmond met with Rep. Katherine Clark’s district director Kelsey Perkins, and Wade Blackman, district director for policy. “We are alarmed by an American policy that focuses almost exclusively upon increasing military aid to Ukraine, rather than promoting a negotiated settlement of the war,” said Gallant. “There is an assumption that US policy makers understand Russia’s red lines well enough so that US/NATO escalation will not lead to a devastating World War, possibly turning nuclear. We are not confident that strategy makers can continually increase arms aid to Ukraine while avoiding a US/NATO direct confrontation with Russia.”
In Quincy, activists challenged Rep. Stephen Lynch’s support for the Ukraine war.
“The Ukraine-Russia war is in a dangerous cycle of escalation. Both sides are sending more powerful weapons, training troops, and planning spring offensives. Meanwhile, Russia has mobilized 300,000 new troops and is bombarding Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, greatly increasing the suffering of the population,” said Cole Harrison, MAPA’s executive director.
“We call on the U.S. to support negotiations instead of hindering them, to stop sending arms that escalate the conflict, to sit down with Russia to address U.S./Russian security issues, including reestablishing strategic stability, arms control, US missile bases in Eastern Europe, and conventional force deployments, and to seek mediated negotiations to end the conflict,” Harrison continued.
The group sang peace songs and leafleted passersby.