No War in Ukraine
NO WAR WITH RUSSIA! NO EXPANSION OF NATO!
Massachusetts Peace Action Statement on the Ukraine Crisis
February 1, 2022
As the Ukraine crisis has intensified, a confrontation between the world’s two most heavily armed nuclear powers has become an actual possibility. The Biden administration has put 8500 troops on high alert for possible deployment in Eastern Europe, and threatened to deploy 50,000 more troops and send additional airplanes and warships to the area. With many thousands of Russian and Ukrainian troops near their mutual border, the situation is already tense.
Within the US, the bi-partisan Cold War hysteria has risen to dangerous heights. Biden has said that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is “imminent.” Congress is rushing through new legislation that proposes $500 million in new “security assistance” to Ukraine and is threatening to pass punishing new sanctions against Russia. The mainstream media, for the most part, has added to the turmoil by parroting false Cold War histories and narratives.
This dangerous rhetoric must stop! Instead of ratcheting up tensions, the US should work with all parties to de-escalate and pursue vigorous, sincere diplomatic paths out of the crisis. Ukraine’s leaders have advised calm and have rejected US statements that a Russian invasion is imminent.
The US has just managed to extract itself from a 20-year war in Afghanistan. Does our government seriously want to embark on another war? Since 2001, our long, bloody, fruitless interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Pakistan have cost thousands of US lives, hundreds of thousands of civilian lives in those countries, and $6.4 trillion.
These US taxpayers’ dollars could have been used instead to address vital human needs, especially during the pandemic. We need serious investment in health care, housing, environmental protection, education, civilian manufacturing jobs, and programs that address the plight of the 140 million poor and low-income people in our country. The only entities that stand to benefit from warmongering are the huge weapons manufacturers of the military industrial complex.
For any kind of peaceful settlement to be successful, all parties will need to accept the legitimate security concerns of others. Yet the US refuses to foreclose the possibility of Ukraine membership in NATO. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, officials in the George H. W. Bush Administration, along with other Western leaders, repeatedly assured Russia that NATO would not move “one inch” further east after the reunification of Germany. Those promises have been repeatedly broken. NATO has moved ever eastward, adding 14 countries, including most of the members of the former Warsaw Pact, so that it now presses up against the border of Russia. Ukraine being part of NATO would put missiles within a few minutes’ striking distance of major Russian cities. Russia has long warned that this is incompatible with its security. One need only remember the Cuban Missile Crisis to understand Russia's attitude. The distance between Cuba and Washington D.C. is 1,250 kilometers. The distance between Ukraine’s border and Moscow is 490 kilometers.
We join with our colleagues in the “No to War / No to NATO” international network in calling for an end to further NATO expansion and the establishment of a new "Common Security" architecture in Europe, based on the principle that the security of one state is linked to the security of all others. Negotiations in regard to Ukraine need to be opened based on support for the 2015 Minsk II accord, which was signed by Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany and was endorsed by the US and the UN – but has never been implemented. The Minsk II accord includes provisions for a ceasefire, secure access for humanitarian aid, withdrawal of all foreign troops and military equipment, and Ukrainian constitutional reforms that include decentralization of political authority, respect for and protection of Russian minorities, and relative autonomy for the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Massachusetts Peace Action calls upon our members and allies to contact your US Representatives and Senators and strongly urge them to pursue peaceful diplomacy to resolve the Ukraine crisis:
No to the massive $500 million in “security assistance” for Ukraine!
No to the expansion of NATO!
Yes to negotiations and diplomacy based on the Minsk II agreement!
Turn down the heated rhetoric that could, by intent or accident, lead us into another war.
Stop demonizing Russia and start working cooperatively to establish a Common Security framework in Europe.
Without peaceful coexistence, there can be no peace.
Jan 29 "Reducing the Threat of Nuclear War"
2022 Reducing the Threat of Nuclear War:
Rebuilding a Broader Movement
With Congress appropriating funds for new and upgraded nuclear weapons and delivery systems, the need to counter these misguided policies has become acute. The 2022 Conference will follow the general pattern of previous conferences, but with increased emphasis on coordinating efforts of advocates, and expanding outreach to organizations and constituencies outside the world of nuclear disarmament advocates.
Saturday afternoon, Jan 29, 2022, 2 – 6 pm
[2:00 pm] Welcome - Rev. Thea Keith-Lucas
[2:05 pm] Background and Tasks of this Conference- Prof. Jonathan King
[2:10 pm] Dangers and Costs: Chair - Susan Mirsky:
-Prohibiting First Use of Nuclear Weapons - Elaine Scarry;
-Resisting a New Cold War with China - Joseph Gerson;
-How the Nuclear Weapons Manufacturers Influence Policy - William Hartung.
- Low-Income Voters can Change the Political Landscape- Shailly Gupta Barnes.
[3:15] Paths Forward: Chair Jean Athey:
-Barriers to Policy Change - Phyllis Bennis;
-Prospects for Changing U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policies - Joe Cirincione;
-Role of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in Promoting Nuclear Disarmament - Larry Cohen;
[4:10 pm ]- Breakouts, listed below in arbitrary order: These are focused working groups planning for 2022. Reporters to provide summary of proposals from the Breakout for circulation to Registrants and co-sponsoring organizations.
- Growing in New Congressional Districts: Chair – Aaron Chapell (Our Revolution). Panelists - David Borris (Chicago Area Peace Action), Shailly Gupta Barnes (Poor People’s Campaign), Jean Athey (Maryland Peace Action). (Reporter Zoe Stevenson).
- Promoting Nuclear Disarmament in Rotary Clubs: Chair -Frances Jeffries. Panelists - Ann Frisch. (Reporter Peter Metz).
- Promoting Nuclear Disarmament within Communities of Faith: Chair - Sofia Wolman. Panelists Mark Moran (Pax Christi), Nicholas Mele (Pax Christi USA). Keith Harvey (AFSC). (Reporter Louise Coleman).
- Advancing the Back From the Brink Resolution: Chair - Denise Duffield (LA-PSR). Panelists - Dr. Ira Helfand (PSR), Anna Baker (GBPSR), Jackie Cabasso (Mayors for Peace), Dennis Carlone (Cambridge City Council). (Reporter – Jeannie Winner).
- Advancing No First Use Legislation: Chair- Steve Gallant. Panelists- Elaine Scarry (CPDCS), Kennette Benedict (Bulletin), Dave Pack (Kansas City). (Reporter- Steve Slaner).
- Cutting the Budget for New Nuclear Weapons: Chair – Carley Towne. Panelists - Monica Montgomery (CLW), David Swanson (World Beyond War); Williams Hartung (Quincy Institute); (Reporter, Richard Krushnic ).
- Resisting a New Cold War and Promoting International Treaties: Chair - John Ratliff (Mass Peace Action). Panelists - Joseph Gerson (Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security); Ralph Hutchison (Oak Ridge Peace Alliance); Drew Baldwin (Northeastern University). (Reporter – Mike Van Elzakker).
- Fund Healthcare Not Warfare; Recruiting in the Public Health Community: Chair – Amar Ahmad (FHCNW) . Jonathan King (MAPA), Dr. Robert Gould (San Francisco PSR); Catherine DeLorey (Women’s Health Institute); Martin Fleck (PSR); Vaughn Goodwin (1199SEIU). (Reporter-Louise Parker).
- Recruiting on Campuses: Chair; Prof. Robert Redwine (MIT). Panelists - Prof. Stewart Prager (Princeton), Margaret Engel (PANYS), Kareem King (Harvard BSA), Prof. Edmund Bertschinger (MIT Physics); Prof. Gary Goldstein (Tufts U). (Reporter – William Moon).
- No Wars, No Warming; Chair- Rev. Bob Moore (NJ). Panelists - Ed Aguilar (CFPA), Rosalie Anders (MAPA), Nick Rabb (Sunrise), Diane Fine (350 MA), Vernon Walker (CREW). (Reporter – TBA).
- Mobilizing Cultural Workers, Musicians and Artists: Chair – Jim Anderson: Panelists Eva Moseley (Mass Peace Action), Kathie Malley-Morrison (Boston University); Mel Hardy (Millenium Arts DC); Andre DeQuadros (Boston University). (Reporter – Jack Snyder).
- Working with Our Revolution Chapters: Chair: Martha Karchere (Our Revolution MA). Panelists - Rand Wilson; Carolyn Magid (OR-Cambridge); Hal Ginsberg (Our Revolution Maryland); (Reporter Jared Hicks)
- Working with Poor People’s Campaign Chapters ( Chair - Maryellen Kurkulos (Mass Peace Action): Panelists - Jodie Evans (CodePINK), Rosemary Kean (MAPA), Martha Speiss (Maine PA), Anne Cassebaum (NC). (Reporter- Steve Powell (MaPPC).
- Designing Direct Actions including Divestment: Chair – Susan Mirsky. Panelists - Susi Snyder (Don’t Bank on the Bomb Europe); Rev. Paul Dordal (PA), Paul Shannon (AFSC), Medea Benjamin (CodePINK), David Swanson (World Beyond War), Jonathan Daly-Labelle (Just Peace Rhode Island). (Reporter – Christopher Spicer Hankle).
5:15 pm Moving Outward: Chair Jodie Evans.
- Prospects for Change in the US House - Representative Barbara Lee;
- Prospects for Change in the US Senate -Senator Jeff Merkley;
- Progressive Political Agenda for 2022 - US Rep. Ayanna Pressley (invited);
- Moving our Ideas into Political Action - Medea Benjamin.
6:00 pm Adjourn.
Co-Sponsors: Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security; CodePINK; Institute for People’s Engagement; Mass Peace Action; MIT Radius; MIT Faculty Newsletter; Nuclear Weapons Education Campaign
Program Committee: Jonathan King, Susan Mirsky, Robert Redwine, Amar Ahmad, Patricia-Maria Weinmann.
Thanks to the Amy Rugel Giving Fund and Norris Rugel Giving Fund for financial support.
Fund Healthcare Not Warfare
Fund Public Health not Foreign Wars
Jonathan King and Rosemary Kean
The coronavirus outbreak and the nation’s lack of preparedness require a major change in national policy, shifting investment of our tax dollars into public health, and away from prosecuting endless wars abroad. The large Emergency Stimulus Package Congress voted March 27 to cope with the crisis was a step in the right direction in cushioning the economic blows of the coronavirus outbreak. The direct response to containing the outbreak certainly requires expanding existing healthcare facilities and building new ones; increasing healthcare staffing; ensuring health care providers have an abundant supply of masks, gloves, and gowns to safeguard their health; raising the wages of frontline healthcare workers; and ramping up testing at no cost to those tested. Whether the Congressional appropriation will be adequate is unclear
For example, virus test improvement, vaccine and therapy developments are not funded by Medicare, Medicaid, other health insurance or hospitals. They depend on the efforts funded through the budgets of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Biological Advanced Research and Development Agency (BARDA) and related basic and biomedical science agencies. The $1 billion directed to the NIH, $4.5 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and $27 billion to BARDA appear as generous sums given the previous almost austerity budgets for these agencies. But these investments pale when compared with this year’s $738 billion currently being spent on foreign wars, 800 military bases around the world, and a dangerous new nuclear arms race. The federal budget has been a business plan for the military/industrial complex, not a plan to protect the health and welfare of the citizenry. Now is the time to switch budget priorities.
A Reverse Manhattan Project
Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey and Peter L. Slavin, president of Massachusetts General Hospital, have called for a Manhattan Project level response to the coronavirus pandemic. We commend them for their leadership. We would make one change in that formulation: We need a Reverse Manhattan Project. During World War II, as the US engagement in fighting fascism in Europe and the Pacific deepened, hundreds of billions of dollars were diverted from civilian projects to concentrate on building the first atom bombs. Today, we need to divert hundreds of billions from our war budget, into the healthcare and biomedical research needs noted above, and even more into the economic cushions needed to protect our people.
Protect the Most Vulnerable
The Poor Peoples Campaign, Move ON, Our Revolution, National Nurses United, and other organizations have emphasized the need to protect all those at risk, but first and foremost are the 140,000,000 already below or near the poverty line. Among their calls are:
- Guaranteed paid sick leave for all;
- No foreclosures or evictions;
- Debt forgiveness not only for student but for medical debts;
- National moratorium on water and utility shutoff
- Prevent profiteering.
Establish Universal Health Care
If ever there was a time when the desperate need for universal health care in this country became apparent, that time is now. We need for every person to be covered, including the most vulnerable among us – those who are elderly or homeless or incarcerated or low-income or suffering from chronic illnesses and underlying conditions. We are all in this together. We need hospitals that are properly staffed and equipped, not reeling from years of austerity. We need enough doctors and nurses to actually take care of the ill in our society. We need simplified regulations and a single payer system, so doctors do not become exhausted and cynical and unable to spend enough time with their patients because they are forced to spend endless hours filling out complex paperwork and arguing with insurance companies who care only about their profits. We need Medicare for All. Initial funding should come from cutting the bloated and dangerous military budget. Congressional adoption of Senator Markey’s Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditure (SANE) Act would make available $75 billon.
Among the most tragic and inhumane aspects of current US foreign policy are the sanctions which cripple the ability of vulnerable countries to save patients’ lives. These sanctions threaten all of us by contributing to the global spread of the coronavirus. Congress needs to act immediately to end sanctions against Iran, Venezuela, North Korea, and Cuba so that all countries can import the medicines, equipment, and food they need to prevent unnecessary loss of lives.
--Jonathan King and Rosemary Kean are Co-Chairs of Massachusetts Peace Action. Jonathan is professor of molecular biology at MIT. Rosemary is a retired RN, and Public Health Nurse
Moral Budget Forum - Sep 27, 2019 at MIT
A Moral Budget for Massachusetts
September 27, 2019
MIT, Room 3-133
77 Mass Ave.
Cambridge MA 02139
Free and open to the Public but seating is limited. Please Pre-register to attend.
2: 05 pm: Welcome: Patricia Weinmann (MIT Radius)
2:10 pm: The Poor Peoples Campaign’s Moral Budget for the Nation- Shailly Gupta Barnes (National PPC & Kairos Center)
2:20 PM Panel 1: Developing a Moral Budget for Massachusetts
Chair: Savina Martin (Mass Poor Peoples Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival)
- Increasing the Mass State Budget – State Representative Mike Connolly
- The Congressional Progresive Caucus People’s Budget in Mass – Andrea Burns (Our Revolution)
- Producing a Moral Budget for Massachusetts- Jonathan King (Mass Peace Action)
3:00 pm Panel 2: Housing, Transit, Infrastructure and Energy.
Chair: Caesar McDowell (MIT Urban Studies)
- Affordable Housing – Lee Farris(Cambridge Residents Alliance)
- Public Transit – State Rep Denise Provost (Somerville)
- Sustainable energy – Quinton Zondervan (Cambridge City Councilor)
3:45 pm Coffee Break
4:00 pm Panel 3: Education and health
Chair: Ruth Rodriguez Fay (Save Our Schools, Worcester)
- Child care and Pre-K Education – Dr. Denisha Jones (Defending the Early Years)
- K-12 Education – Lisa Guisbond (Citizens for Public Schools)
- Higher Education: Fund Our Future – Merrie Najimy (Mass Teachers Assn. President)
- Basic and Biomedical Research – Prof. Ishara Mills-Henry (Framingham State)
- Public Health Needs – John Ratliff (Mass Senior Action)
4:45 pm Panel 4: Cutting the Pentagon Budget
Chair: Cole Harrison (Mass Peace Action)
- Investing in Veteran’s needs – Dan Luker (Veterans for Peace)
- Toward a Sustainable Defense budget - Lindsay Koshgarian (Institute for Policy Studies)
- Cutting Raytheon Weapons for Saudi Arabia - Paul Shannon (AFSC)
- Cancelling New Nuclear Weapons – Dr. Kea Van der Ziel (Greater Boston PSR)
5:30: Next steps
- Methodology for a state Moral Budget – Jelena Mitić Elliott (Institute for People’s Engagement) and Lindsay Koshgarian (IPC)
- Constitution of Publications Committee -Panelists
5:45: Benediction - Rev. Leslie Sterling (St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church)
(All panels – 6-8 minute talks, then general discussion)
Program committee: Jonathan King, Savina Martin, Jelena Mitić Elliott, Brian Garvey, Patricia Weinmann.
Co-Sponsors: Mass Poor Peoples Campaign; MIT Radius; Institute for People’s Engagement; Mass Peace Action.
Additional support from the Amy S. Rugel Foundation.
Social and Economic Costs of Endless Wars
Social and Economic Costs of Endless Wars
Friday, April 26, 2 – 5:30 pm
MIT 34-101, 50 Vassar Street, Cambridge
1:30 pm: On site Registration
2:00 pm: Welcome: The Task We Face -Jonathan King (MIT, MAPA)
2:15 pm: Opening Panel:
Chair: Prof. Sally Haslangar (MIT)
- The Costs of War – Prof. Neta Crawford (Boston University)
- The Bloated Pentagon Budget - William Hartung (Center for International Policy)
- Saudi Military Aggression in Yemen - Michael Page (Human Rights Watch)
- U.S. Interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq – Major Danny Sjursen (U.S. Army -retired)
3:00 pm: Emerging Responses:
Chair Cole Harrison (Mass Peace Action)
- Build Bridges not Bombs; Bringing Nuclear Disarmament into the State Legislature – [Rep Nika Elugardo Mass State Legislature]
- Don’t Bank on the Bomb – Divesting from Nuclear Weapons Manufacture - Rep. Mike Connolly (Mass State Legislature)
- Bringing the Moral Revival to Massachusetts- Savina Martin (Poor Peoples Campaign)
- The Intensifying Struggle for Affordable Housing – Chuck Collins (Institute for Policy Studies)
- Massachusetts Battles to Protect and Promote Public Education - Andrew King (UMass Boston).
4:00 – Workshops:
- A) Organizing on Campuses: Facilitator, Brian Garvey, MAPA; Zac Bears (PHENOM); Alice Pote (MIT/anti-Saudi Coalition); Husayn Karimi (MIT Students Against War); Paul Shannon (AFSC).
- B) Nuclear Disarmament Initiatives: Facilitator, Joseph Gerson and Michelle Cunha; Jerrold Ross (MAPA); Prof. Aron Bernstein (MIT).
- C) Moral and People’s Budget: Connecting battles for Economic Justice with Reducing Pentagon Spending: Facilitator, Jared Hicks (Our Revolution); Andrea Burns (MAPA); Andrew King (UMass Boston); John Ratliff (Mass Senior Action); William Hartung (Institute for International Policy).
- D) The Continuing Links between Militarism and Racism: Facilitator, Rosemary Kean (MAPA); Savina Martin (Poor People’s Campaign); Caesar Mc Dowell (MIT).
5:00: Report back from Workshops
Co-sponsored by MIT Radius (of the Technology and Culture Forum), Massachusetts Peace Action, the MIT-Saudi Arabia Divest Coalition, MIT Students Against War, AFSC, the Institute for People’s Engagement, the Poor People’s Campaign, and the Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security.