Celebrating 10 Years; Building for Our Post-Election Future

On October 25, 2002 in Washington D.C., more than 70 peace and justice organizations initiated United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), a new coalition to coordinate opposition to President George
W. Bush’s Global War on Terror, at that time focused on the war on Iraq. Over these past ten years, UFPJ has stood in opposition to both the Bush and Obama Administrations’ Global War on Terror, as neither a moral, just, nor effective answer to the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Numbering more than 1400 member groups at its peak, UFPJ has been central to the peace movement’s successful effort to turn public opinion against the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Today there are no combat troops in Iraq, both major parties call for all U.S. troops to leave Afghanistan by 2014, and a majority of Americans support cutting the military budget. United for Peace and Justice continues to work for the immediate end of the U.S. military occupation of Afghanistan and the continuing contractor and State Department occupation of Iraq.  We are organizing globally for the abolition of nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction. Through our rapid response network, the Iran Pledge of Resistance, we stand in opposition to both U.S. military attacks and economic sanctions against Iran. With the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation as a member group, UFPJ has supported efforts to end the occupation of Palestine and calls for justice and respect for the Palestinian people. We call for an end to the current violence in the region by both parties, but we hold the Israeli government responsible for the deteriorating situation due to its lack of good faith efforts to end the occupation, and constant encroachment on Palestinian land. United for Peace and Justice has engaged in many efforts over the past decade. These include supporting activists working to close the School of the Americas, end the U.S. war on drugs, and stop the militarization of communities across the country. We have supported efforts to end U.S. empire building and dismantle the prison-industrial complex. We have worked in solidarity with vulnerable communities to protect and expand our nation’s civil rights, including immigrant and worker rights, repeal of the Patriot Act, and every person’s rights to decent and affordable housing, healthcare and quality education. The year long election cycle has finally ended with the historic re-election of the first Black President, Barack Obama. The nation is now turning its attention back to the daily pain and suffering faced by ordinary people in a lagging, weak, and unfair economy still struggling to recover from the crash of 2008.  Domestic issues continue as the main point of agitation, with economic and social justice forces fighting against budget cuts and dismemberment of programs that service the poor and middle class. In support of our allies in these movements, UFPJ is organizing to pressure Congress to move funding from war and Pentagon spending to meeting human needs and rebuilding our infrastructure. Supporting efforts of the New Priorities Network and the upcoming Jobs Not Wars Campaign, we are working to build a groundswell of opposition to more military spending. We believe that our nation can move beyond war to a fair and equitable economy in which diplomacy and investment in human needs and development is the norm — not intimidation, militarization and war. We call on those who benefit most from our nation’s war economy to invest instead in jumpstarting a peace economy. United States efforts to address the often ignored or forgotten issue of climate change must be central to this new economy. Although it is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity, during the Presidential debates it was not mentioned by name, and throughout the election seemed to be of little concern to either major party. But nature has a way of intervening, with Hurricane Sandy bringing climate change roaring back to center stage. With the U.S. military as the number one single global polluter, and the consequences of climate change projected to cause global environmental upheaval and resource scarcity, we need to reduce carbon admissions, phase-out carbon based energy sources and nuclear power, and invest in sustainable, renewable energy. The development and growth of these technologies will help fuel the beyond war economy. UFPJ calls on Bank of America and on all major financial institutions to abandon investing in coal and weapons production and invest instead in emerging clean, green technologies and industries. UFPJ urges the Obama Administration to stop the Tar Sand Pipeline project. United for Peace and Justice will not let up in our efforts to change the course of our country. We believe that beyond war, a new economy is possible. As we approach February 15, 2013, the 10th anniversary of the largest global demonstration for peace in history — when millions of people around the world said no to war, inspiring the notion of world public opinion as a second superpower — we must not forget that we are the majority. We must remember that there are many more of us who want a peaceful and just world than those who believe in the use of violence to solve the world’s challenges. We must keep up the struggle because the path of peace and justice is the only hope for the future of humankind and the planet. UFPJ will keep up the struggle because we know that together we can build a better world for everyone. We hope that you will continue on this journey with us until justice is won and peace is achieved! Please make a donation today to keep UFPJ a vital network for peace and justice! Michael McPhearson UFPJ National Co-ordinator

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