by John Andrews
On a sunny St. Patrick's Day afternoon the Green-Rainbow Party marched through the streets of South Boston in the St. Patrick's Peace Parade. A dozen or so GRP members were joined by Greens from Maine and New Hampshire who brought their banners, their chants, and their enthusiasm. The Peace Parade is organized by each year by the Veterans for Peace to provide a marching opportunity for groups such as GLBT organizations, peace organizations, and social justice organizations that have been excluded from the original St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Green-Rainbow activists worked with many others across the state to put war and peace spending on the ballot. Rick Purcell worked heroically in Holyoke, getting signatures for this referendum and also registering new voters who wanted to sign but had not yet registered to vote. Scott Laugenour also worked hard in the Berkshires 4th District. And Isabel Espinal worked to get signatures in Amherst.
The effort is being called The Budget for All referendum. It will allow voters in the districts where it got on the ballot, to vote yes or no on this question:
Shall the state Representative (or Senator) from this district be instructed to vote in favor of a resolution calling upon the Congress and the President to:
1. Prevent cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Veterans benefits, or to housing, food and unemployment assistance;
2. Create and protect jobs by investing in manufacturing, schools, housing, renewable energy, transportation and other public services;
3. Provide new revenues for these purposes and to reduce the long-term federal deficit by closing corporate tax loopholes, ending offshore tax havens, and raising taxes on incomes over $250,000; and
4. Redirect military spending to these domestic needs by reducing the military budget, ending the war in Afghanistan and bringing U.S. troops home safely now.
Says Cole Harrison, of Massachusetts Peace Action: "Peace groups and the Green-Rainbow Party led the organizing in the Western Massachusetts towns of Amherst, Northampton, and in the Berkshires. In the blue-collar, economically depressed cities of Lawrence, Fall River, Holyoke, and Chelsea, with large Latino populations, ad hoc groups of activists made the difference, led by a school committeewoman in Lawrence, an Occupy group in Fall River, a Green-Rainbow activist in Holyoke, and a peace group in Chelsea. In these areas there is a hunger for participation and a search for effective means of political action."
Read Cole Harrison's account of how people came together all over the state so we the people can vote for peace.
Budget for All Referendum to Reach 1 Million Massachusetts Voters
By Cole Harrison, Massachusetts Peace Action
A successful campaign generates its own energy. The drive to get the Budget for All referendum on the ballot caught fire because scores of activists throughout the state want to do something. I’ve heard over and over again from progressive activists who are tired of the Right rolling over us, and equally tired of endless meetings and preaching to the choir. They want to get out there, talk to their neighbors, and bring a progressive agenda into the political process. And that is what we are doing in Massachusetts in the 2012 elections.
Under the slogan “Stop the Cuts – Invest in Jobs – Tax the 1% – End the Wars”, Massachusetts Peace Action helped lead a peace-community-labor coalition of 42 organizations to organize a petition drive to place the Budget for All referendum on the ballot.
Members representing the Green-Rainbow Party marched in the St. Patrick's Peace Parade in Boston on March 18. We were the only political party to join the peace parade. The GRP banner led the way followed by marchers, some holding "Jill Stein for President" signs. The weather was great and we were received very warmly by the on lookers.
Among the GRP members who showed up to march were John Andrews, Anthony Barrows, Danny Factor, Shirley Kressel, Saul Levine, Wes Nickerson, David Rohrlich, and Claribel Santiago. Mulltiple people came up during the course of the parade and offered to help carry signs!
President Obama shocked many listeners last week in his Fort Bragg speech on the Iraq war, when he invoked 9/11, essentially echoing one of George Bush's favorite excuses to justify the war. Obama said there was an "unbroken line of heroes" from the American colonists who "overthrew an empire" to the American soldiers "who fought for the same principles in Fallujah (Iraq) and Kandahar (Afghanistan), and delivered justice to those who attacked us on 9/11."
The war in Iraq delivered justice to those who attacked us on 9/11?