Most national peace organizations urge their members to send money and occasional signatures on petitions and letters. They seldom introduce their local members to each other. We can build a far more powerful peace movement by inviting all peace people to join a local Peace Club. It is encouraging to work and socialize with people of similar attitudes. Peace clubs can overcome the sense of isolation that results from being critical of our government. Through outreach local peace clubs can expand their memberships to the point of influencing elections and nominating peace candidates. They can also do outreach and fundraisers to support national peace issues. Looking at the national picture, we believe that the combination of national organizations and local clubs can deliver the one-two punch that magnifies the influence of the peace movement.
Is Now The Time?
In spite of disappointment with the Obama administration, the current scene provides ample evidence of the failure of militarism and the misguided attempt to dominate the Earth. People are outraged by untouchable war budgets that cause cutbacks in our educational system and pricing many out of attending college. They are outraged by shoveling money into Afghanistan, while millions of Americans lose their jobs and homes. Now is an excellent time to be reaching out for more members, sympathizers and supporters of the peace movement.
We must ask all peace people to do more. We need to connect the dots for people who read the major newspapers and watch TV. These media are not going to say that war and military spending are stealing tax dollars from the education and other needs of our children. They are not going to encourage community action. They are not going to search for progressive candidates who can't be bought. They are not going to encourage people to join organizations and work for a significant change in national priorities, Which means that our members have to educate their neighbors with meetings and door to door contacts, explain the situation and create peace events that are appealing as well as educational.
This is by no means the classic version of the Peace Vision. It is a beginning, a reveille, a first draft of what is so urgently needed. My hope is that this simple outline will be developed by peace leaders and organizers, who are working every day to save lives and preserve the battered soul of America.
Peter G Cohen, artist, activist and W.W.II veteran, has been working for peace for over fifty years. He designed maps for SANE, buttons for the Vietnam mobilization, kiosks for the McGovern. campaign. He was an independent peace candidate for Representative in the Lehigh valley of PA in 1968 and Director of the New Democratic Coalition of PA in 1969-'70. Peter is the author of
http://www.nukefreeworld.com and other internet writings. He can be reached at @verizon.net>