Photo is of a poster from the US Social Forum in June 2010 in Detroit, MI.
Dear UFPJ Activist,
We wanted to give you a little update on our work and movement happenings! Our time at the US Social Forum went really well. We connected with hundreds of people through a variety of workshops. We had lots of people approach our table with words of interest and support. We had a small but boisterous peace march at noon on Thursday and passed out lots of fliers with workshops by member groups! We wanted to extend a special thank you to George Martin from the Milwaukee Peace and Justice Coalition who represented UFPJ on the Social Forum Planning Committee and did so much work to coordinate peace efforts!
Several important pieces of work are coming out of the social forum and lots of interest and energy growing for UFPJ. At our “Assembly” workshop on Thursday morning about 35 people – new and old – gathered to talk about what is needed in this next period and what the best role of UFPJ.
Key points in summarizing the conversation include:
1. Desire to maintain a systemic analysis of Empire connecting racism, war and greed as root causes of the multitude of crisis’s we face.
2. Concrete plan offering organizational opportunities to engage in collective work (recruit, train, action cycle)
3. Solutions based approach – keep focused on what we want
4. Visioning/building/modeling the world we want in current practices
Some of the other pieces of the conversation include the importance of us (the movements) doing the work, the need to understand the interests of other groups and what moves them, the importance of listening and building relations and the need to transcend divides and polarization.
Collective Strategies include:
· Visibility – posters, stickers etc
· Humanize cost – human, environment
· Public education – list building, events etc
· Alliance Building and Solidarity actions
· Legislative – resolutions at local and state levels
· Direct Action
Expectations of Network
· Be specific in request for action
· Strategic plan – what is process for moving campaigns forward
· Up the Ante - need more local direct action / locally coordinated actions
· Keep principled and democratic
· Make more ways for member groups to be highlighted
· Integrate more fundraising into the work and sharing resources between local and national
Some new concrete work emerging is developing and building the Move the Money campaign to Fund Jobs and Cities by cutting the military. A number of member groups are doing great work at moving a slow build effort that is allowing space to build relations with groups most impacted by the economic crisis.
UFPJ is working with the One Nation Movement in an effort to expand the political call to include as a solution to the economic crisis we need to cut the military budget and stop funding war in order to fund jobs and community needs.
Effort to cut military funding to Afghanistan have been in a flurry to prevent the most recent votes to fund war. Both the Afghanistan Working Group and the Legislative group have been working hard to stop the flow of cash,but Democratic maneuvers have once again proven that Congress is not ready or willing to end these illegal and unjust wars and occupations. Grassroots pressure to end the war is growing thanks to people like you! An international call with the No To NATO Network has put forward Oct 7-10 as days of action on Afghanistan.
The work for nuclear abolition gained momentum as the US conference of Mayors called to cut the nuclear budget to fund cities. This is critical in light of the Administration plans to build three new bomb factories – in Los Alamos, Kansas City, Mo and Oakridge, TN. The Think Outside the Bomb, youth network is organizing an exciting initiative call Disarmament Summer – check out more here www.thinkoutsidethebomb.org.
July 20 marks the 3 month anniversary of the BP spill and groups around the country are preparing for action. A big action is being called in Upper Senate Park in Washington DC and there will be protests around the country. Part of the call is for getting the Dirty Money out of politics. This fall will see protests in DC for climate justice and an end to mountain top removal. Sept 25-27, Appalachia Rising will be coming to DC for a Summit and major action to Stop Mountain Top Removal – another horrible form of extraction for dirty coal. October 12th is a Global day of action in Defense of Mother Earth which is leading up to the next round of climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico at the end of Nov and early December 2010.
We are keeping our eye on Arizona as the new law goes into effect on July 29th. A major protest is being called in Arizona with support from around the country if the lawsuits don’t stop this new law. These racist immigration policies are just an extension of the military/security-industrial complex – more walls, more border militarization, more prisons. This is the wrong direction, supports calls for Comprehensive Immigration Reform now!
There is a lot of exciting work going on, and it is a great time for the peace movement to deepen our strategies to move beyond mobilizing to organizing so we can add our power and support to allied movements. Together we can win peace with justice!
In solidarity and peace,
Lisa and Michael
UFPJ National Conveners