Convener: Henry Lowendorf email@example.com
How this topic relates to the main question of the day (whatever that is):
The wars on Iraq and Afghanistan have sucked $445 million from New Haven, even more from the greater New Haven area. The 2010 defense department budget takes $343 million.
All this money could be available for local needs - more teachers, more health care, more head start, more college scholarships, more police and fire fighters, more sustainable energy, more affordable housing, more music and art.
A sustainable New Haven will be far more likely when so much of our resources are focused not on destruction but on the desperate needs of our cities.
Figures on how much the military takes from New Haven come from the national priorities project www.nationalpriorities.org/ .
The growth of military spending and the influence of the military in the U.S. was described in 1961 by outgoing President Dwight Eisenhower. He coined the term "military industrial complex."
In polls a large majority of those in the U.S. want our military out of Iraq, a small majority want our military out of Afghanistan. But most people don't realize that half of all Federal spending is on war and war-related activities. Most people don't realize that the U.S. spends as much on military as the rest of the world combined, and with its NATO allies over 70% of what all countries spend on military.
Surely we are not more secure with all this spending. Surely our city could use the hundreds of millions of dollars for needed projects and needed jobs.
What can we do locally?
1. Attend and speak out at a public hearing at city hall on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010, at 6:00 pm. This hearing is being held by the City of New Haven Peace Commission (a real commission, like zoning) to explore how New Haven is hurt by military spending and how it could prosper were that spending actually creating what we need instead of destroying.
2. Tell your elected representatives in Washington to stop funding the military. As a first step, accept and act on the proposal of Congressman Barney Frank (MA) to cut the military budget by 25%. Call Rosa DeLauro, Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman.
3. Participate in vigils, demonstrations, letter writing, petitions, visits to our elected representatives at all levels, outreach with local peace groups, e.g. Greater New Haven Peace Council firstname.lastname@example.org. Reach out to your neighbors, friends, colleagues - educate what the military budget is doing to us - and urge them to speak out. Participate in the demonstration at the UN on Sunday, May 2, calling to "Disarm Now! For Peace and Human Needs." www.peaceandjustice.org
4. Support social initiatives, green jobs bills and insist that they be paid for by cutting the military budget and transferring savings to things we need.