Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mainers Protest The Pentagon Budget And Environmental Costs Of Militarism #GDAMS


Federal income taxes were due on April 19 this year in the U.S., so organizers Martha Spiess and Rosalie Tyler Paul organized a rally on the day with speakers including myself for the Maine Natural Guard, Ginny Schneider for War Tax Resisters League, Bruce Gagnon for Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Richard Clement for Veterans for Peace and Michelle Fournier for 350.org Maine.
All day tabling by Ginny Schneider for the War Tax Resisters Resource Center included a penny poll for people to indicate where they would like to see their taxes spent.
Coverage by WCSH Channel 6 t.v. showed many ways of understanding the true costs of militarism, from dollars spent in Fiscal Year 2015 -- $598.5 BILLION, representing a 54% slice of the discretionary budget pie -- to environmental destruction from wars and weapons. Coverage by Maine Public Broadcasting Network was the first mainstream media mention of the Maine Natural Guard campaign. Yay!
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It was great to have an environmental group ably represented by Michelle's remarks on the intersectionality of the struggles to overcome racism, materialism and militarism. She also provided context on the Pentagon's gargantuan carbon boot print around the planet, saying it is the largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels in the world.

I am continuously amazed at how many environmental groups and individual activists ignore this issue. Maybe the tide is turning as young people like Michelle realize that if you're not including the military in the carbon and other pollution equations, you are not really talking about the problem.
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It's why I have been offering people the chance to join the Natural Guard campaign -- in Maine or wherever they are. Many dedicated activists have come forward to take the pledge to bring up environmental harm when "security" is being discussed (generally as a pretext for more bombing -- as of this week, U.S. taxpayers are sending B-52s to bomb Syria). The second part of the pledge is to bring up the Pentagon in discussions about responding to climate change.

Burning fossil fuels to secure corporate access to more fossil fuels around the planet is a dead end game. Ditto ramping up nuclear weapons under Obama's administration in order to threaten competitors for dwindling resources. The radioactive pollution created by those weapons of mass destruction is an environmental cost that will be paid for generations to come.


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