January 31, 2023
The U.S. Peace Council has been at the forefront of the struggle for peace and justice at local, national and international levels. In the last three years the U.S. Peace Council has grown in numbers and especially in influence within the U.S. peace movement. Believing that local organizing of diverse communities is essential to creating a mass peace movement, in addition to the longstanding chapter in Connecticut, newly-formed local and regional Peace Councils are being organized in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Denver, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Kentucky Ohio and Arizona.
The basis for such organizing is acting consistently and firmly against imperialism and promoting the unity in action on common goals of the broad peace movement on issues like:
- Preventing the war in Ukraine from escalating to a nuclear exchange and demanding negotiations to end it, making space for peace.
- Stopping all the wars the U.S. is engaging in.
- Reversing the massive resources infused into the biggest U.S. and global war budget, yet again this year, and releasing them to confront the continued social, racist and economic erosion in the lives of the working class in the U.S. and the environmental degradation that results.
- Addressing the unmet health demands of our public during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and future pandemics; the unmet housing needs, the unmet educational needs.
- Ending the illegal U.S. sanctions, economic warfare, funneling whole populations of some 40 countries into poverty and deprivation.
- Cooperating globally to reduce extraction and burning of fossil fuels to prevent worsening climate catastrophe.
- Organizing solidarity campaigns in support of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and all other countries that have been the target of the U.S. and NATO aggression.
National Coalition Work:
Working in coalition we have organized conferences, forums, vigils, demonstrations and lobbying to stop the endless wars, abolish nuclear weapons, drastically cut the military budget, provide alternative good jobs to workers in the weapons industries and return our taxes to repair our communities. We have called for a Green New Peace Deal, creating a sustainable economy with dollars saved from the war industry.
- Since 2012 the U.S. Peace Council has been leading efforts to force a public discussion on the impact on local communities of our country’s gigantic war budget — now $1.25 Trillion a year absorbing 69% of the federal discretionary budget. Public hearings in New Haven, CT, led its Board of Alders (city council) to pass a resolution calling to cut the military budget and redirect the money saved to human needs. Introduced to the U.S. Council of Mayors, this resolution passed unanimously. Related resolutions are being submitted in a number of major U.S. cities (see below)
- In summer of 2016 we broke the peace movement’s icy silence on Syria by organizing and leading a broad delegation of peace leaders to that war-torn country. Upon the delegation’s return we arranged a news conference at the United Nations and also ignited the inclusive Hands Off Syria Coalition.
- When President Trump violated international law, yet again, by deciding he had the right to choose who would govern Venezuela, the U.S. Peace Council was one of the first organizations to mobilize a broad solidarity delegation to that country in March 2019. It was hosted by COSI, the Peace and Solidarity Committee of Venezuela.
- By the following year the Peace Council had brought together various factions of the Peace Movement into the Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases, which created a focused Unity Statement as the basis for working together and began organizing a national conference in Baltimore. That Foreign Bases conference was successfully held in January 2018 with broad participation from within the U.S. peace and solidarity movement and numerous peace leaders from abroad.
- The Baltimore conference planted the seeds for a second anti-Bases conference which to begin the U.S. Coalition initiated a global unity statement, in this case targeting both U.S. and NATO military bases. With it we attracted representatives and speakers from countries in Africa, Asia, both Americas and Europe and from diverse and often adversarial peace organizations. In November 2018, the “International Conference Against US/NATO Military Bases” was held in Dublin Ireland. One of the keynote speakers was Alicia Guevara, a Cuban physician and activist, the daughter of Che. Among many international peace leaders, members of the Irish Parliament also spoke. The proceedings of that conference have been issued as a book available here.
- We initiated the formation of the Move the Money to Human Needs Campaign and have been working to build the national Move The Money coalition to redirect federal funding away from killing to health care, education, housing, food security, infrastructure — all the needs of our communities (org). While the Covid pandemic restricted in-person organizing, nonetheless New York City’s Move the Money campaign has so far collected the endorsements of 24 (of 51) City Council members. Similar local organizing campaigns are making progress in Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Denver, Los Angeles, Middletown and other cities.
In addition to the existing USPC chapters, newly-formed local and regional Peace Councils are being organized in New York City, Chicago, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Kentucky, Ohio and Arizona. Our chapters are organizing their activities in accordance with the principal guidelines of the National Office of the U.S. Peace Council. A sample of their activities includes:
Greater New Haven Peace Council:
- The USPC with coalition partners organized an examination of how to convert our militarized economy to a peacetime economy: “Connecticut’s Economy from War to Peace: Practical Public Actions.” This featured presentations by economics Professor Richard Wolff, Middletown, CT, Mayor Ben Florsheim, Afghanistan and Iraq veteran Danny Sjursen, youth climate activist Adrian Huq, and Move the Money national leader Joe Jamison.
- With 25 diverse New Haven organizations, our New Haven Chapter persuaded the Board of Alders (city council) to pass a Move the Money resolution and insert on the 2020 November election ballot a referendum asking: “Shall Congress prepare for health and climate crises by transferring funds from the military budget to cities for human needs, jobs, and an environmentally sustainable economy?” Voters supported it with an 83% yes vote.
- Our New Haven Chapter, together with our allies organized a visit by the Cuban Ambassador to the UN in support of city resolutions to end the U.S. blockade against Cuba.
Queens Peace Council:
- Our Queens Peace Council together with a large and diverse coalition of labor, social justice and academic organizations, is advancing in New York, the biggest city in the country a Move the Money resolution in city council. Peace Council chapters in Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Denver among others, are taking up similar resolutions.
Michigan Peace Council:
- Organized a series of 3 panel discussions
- Organized a rally “Say No to U.S. Wars” following a talk with Medea Benjamin on her book: War in Ukraine: Making Sense of A Senseless Conflict.
- Organized two “NO TO NATO!” rallies in solidarity with worldwide protests against the NATO Summit in Madrid.
Denver Peace Council:
- Participated in the 2023 MLK Day march with banners against the U.S. war with Russia.
National and International Webinars:
The U.S. Peace Council, in collaboration with the World Peace Council and our allies in the peace movement has organized numerous webinars on important national and international issues, among which are:
- “AUKUS — Militarizing Asia-Pacific,” Organized by U.S. Peace Council in Cooperation with the Peace and Solidarity Organization Sri Lanka — November 5, 2021. https://youtu.be/4kgyjty8G3w
- “Why Are Afghanistan, Its Neighbors, and Refugees a Constant Battlefield?” — October 16, 2021. https://youtu.be/rmsmQAkCUvA
- “Imperialism’s Intensified Military and Economic War Against Latin America and the Caribbean,” Organized by U.S. Peace Council, Sponsored by World Peace Council and the Black Alliance for Peace — August 28, 2021. https://youtu.be/BoZnuSLgB4U
- “Eyes on Puerto Rico: Crisis in Culebra and Vieques,” Organized by USPC, Sponsored by World Peace Council and the Black Alliance for Peace — July 24, 2021. https://youtu.be/cSFUP3PZuR8
- “Haiti vs. Imperialism and Neocolonialism: Yesterday and Today,” Organized by U.S. Peace Council — June 13, 2021. https://youtu.be/ZJKjDgYP1dw
- “Peace and Occupation Cannot Coexist in Palestine! Organized by U.S. Peace Council and the World Peace Council,” May 23, 2021. https://youtu.be/L72itRSJPW8
- “Exposing the White Helmets, Supporting Syrian Sovereignty,” organized by the U.S. Peace Council — November 20, 2020. https://youtu.be/Bv4Yc0tMJdw