The Cambridge MA-based New Priorities Network and its affiliates in Main, Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Minnesota and other states have already established a public engagement and resource model dedicated to this issue. I encourage you to visit the organization’s website (http://newprioritiesnetwork.org/). You’ll be pleased and inspired by national efforts that, I believe, can be implemented in our region. Strategies include ways to raise the issue through resolutions, campaign events, political debates, town hall meetings, mainstream and social media, newspaper commentaries, “letters to the editor” and online and public forums.
The Coalition on Human Needs provides a great example of collaborative action with its SAVE (Strengthening America’s Values and Economy for All) campaign. With this national effort, organizations are asked to simply sign a letter endorsing four basic principles: Protect low-income and vulnerable people; promote job creation to strengthen the economy; increase revenues from fair sources; and seek responsible savings by targeting wasteful Pentagon spending.
The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) fields the largest team of registered peace lobbyists in Washington, DC. FCNL staff and volunteers work with a nationwide network of tens of thousands of people to advocate social and economic justice, peace, and good government.
FCNL has two active campaigns aimed at advocating for a balanced approach to deficit reduction.
The Federal Budget Campaign: We consider a balanced approach to deficit reduction as one that protects vital domestic human needs and international programs, restores lost revenues and reduces planned Pentagon spending by a $1 trillion dollars over the next 10 years.
Cut the Pentagon: Our Nation’s Checkbook Campaign : We believe the Pentagon must pay its fair share. We encourage Congress to oppose any legislation that will disproportionately shift Pentagon cuts to non-defense discretionary and mandatory programs and to seek a balanced approach. This fall, on November 15, we are bringing together our members and constituents from all over the country to lobby for cuts in Pentagon spending at our annual Quaker Public Policy Institute. We are serious about putting pressure on Congress to make sure the Pentagon pays its fair share.
As you can see, most of PEP’s causes are included in these initiatives. The sequestration standoff provides an opportunity for us to collectively and consistently address many of our causes, including economic, social and racial injustice, decreased funding for education, the prison-industrial complex, the mistreatment of our soldiers and our government and corporation’s unsavory profit-oriented activities.
We cannot let the war hawks, profiteers and political puppets dominate the dialogue during this election campaign. Few voters understand or are talking about spending reductions that will severely hurt economic recovery and effect their lives and livelihoods. Inspired by the work of the New Priorities Network on a national level, we decided to do our part regionally. This website is part of our effort to collaborate with local labor, economic justice, community, peace, and faith movements to address this topic from various perspectives.