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Viewpoints

Bring the War Dollars Home

Viewpoint by Corey Mattson.

Three years into Obama’s presidency, the war budget continues to skyrocket. The U.S. is warmongering in 5 countries – Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen – with no end in sight. Money continues to flow upward to the rich, producing record levels of inequality.

Meanwhile, an economic system that puts profits over people has been increasingly stagnant over the last few decades. Corporations are sitting on mountains of cash – unable to find real, productive investment – resulting in more of the financial speculation that burst the last bubble.

What can do about this? One strategy is to demand progressive taxation and that tax money be spent on human need, not war. A number of locally-grounded campaigns have sprouted in the last year, calling for cuts to the war economy and using the savings to pay for universal health care, a needed jobs program, adequate and equitable education, and the building of a environmentally sustainable infrastructure. One campaign calls for an immediate 25% cut from the defense budget for these purposes. The local BloNo organization, Bloomington-Normal Citizens for Peace and Justice, is considering these campaigns and welcomes any help in starting one in town.

BNCPJ is involved in a number of events and actions in September and October around this issue.

On Sunday, September 11, BNCPJ is sponsoring a panel discussion on what a people’s budget would look like. At 2:30 pm at the Bloomington Public Library, Sonny Garcia will speak on the need of a jobs program, Dr. Susan Hildebrandt will talk about priorities in education, and Dr. David Gill will speak on the fight for Medicare for All. Public discussion will then follow.

That same weekend, one day earlier on September 10th, 4 pm, the Common Action Free School is sponsoring a panel discussion on Palestine Solidarity. The event will be at the Market Street Market at 1011 W. Market St. Visit Common Action Free School for more info.

On Sunday, October 2nd, 4 pm, BNCPJ activists will be discussing ideas of how to revitalize the anti-war movement, including the campaigns to cut military expenditures. The meeting welcomes everyone opposed to the wars. It is located at the Unitarian-Universalist Church in Bloomington (1613 E. Emerson Street).

On Thursday, October 6th, there will be a speak-out starting at 5:30 pm at the monthly BNCPJ anti-war picket, marking the 10th year of war and occupation in Afghanistan. The event is on the front lawn of the Bloomington Center for Performing Arts.

Later that same week, on Saturday, October 8th, there will be a large march and demonstration outside the headquarters of the Obama campaign in Chicago. BNCPJ will be coordinating carpooling to the Chicago event from the south parking lot of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, on Douglass Street, gathering at 8:30 am and leaving by 9 am.

Lastly, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, Mel Goodman is speaking on October 19th on the dangers of U.S. militarism. The talk starts at 7 pm, at the ISU Bone Student Center.

A majority of Americans are opposed to the wars. Now is the time for us to get organized.

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