Sunday, March 11, 2012

Community Leaders, 99% Speak Out Against Fiscal Madness To Demand: Fund Human Needs, Not Wars

Hall of Flags rally to bring war dollars home to Maine, April 2011
The Maine Campaign to Bring Our War $$ Home and Occupy Maine have announced a rally in the Statehouse Capitol Building Hall of Flags on March 20 from 2-4pm to hear testimony from citizens affected by cuts to vital services and programs. These cuts are presented as necessary by Governor LePage's administration and Tea Party legislators, but are in fact the result of years of excessive spending on the U.S. military and its wars abroad.

The event is intended to remind citizens in Maine that our state's share of war spending since 2001 comes to $3.4 billion. Testimony from local government officials, educators, students and Occupy Mainers will be heard.

Mayor Karen Heck of Waterville released a preview of remarks she plans to deliver on March 20: “I see one of my jobs as mayor as connecting the dots for the people of Waterville between what’s happening nationally and the effects of those decisions on our lives locally and I believe it’s past time to bring our military dollars home. We need that money for our local schools, for our infrastructure improvements and to support people are suffering from budget cuts to education, health and welfare services.”

Our requests for General Assistance are increasing and local food banks and soup kitchens are serving more people than ever before. We are facing cuts to Head Start at a time when we are only able to serve 23% of those families who are eligible...we need to make our voices heard that spending on the war must stop now,” wrote Mayor Heck.

Representatives from Occupy Maine in Portland, Augusta and Bangor will testify as well. Curtis Cole, a student at UMaine, Augusta who participated in the encampment in Capitol Park until its eviction in December, will speak on March 20 as follows: “The 1% would like us to believe it is in our best interest to spend billions of dollars annually on a defense budget. They would like students to believe that it is in their best interest to maintain funding occupation soldiers’ salaries; they want us to believe that we can ‘suffice’ without quality healthcare, teachers, firefighters, and decent infrastructure. Yet, most of all, they would like society at large to swallow the ultimate lie: that maintenance of the... Military Industrial Complex, is needed for our safety.”

The Bring Our War $$ Home campaign began two years ago in Maine with a rally inside the Hall of Flags in Augusta, and has now spread nationally. Last summer the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting passed a Bring Our War $$ Home resolution, the first time they have taken a foreign policy position since the Vietnam War. Bring Our War $$ Home resolutions have passed in Maine by the Deer Isle Town Meeting, Solon School Board and the Portland City Council. Similar resolutions have also passed city councils in Hartford, Ct, Amherst and Northampton, MA, Eugene, OR, and Los Angeles, CA.

Last fall the campaign held a series of 17 local events in 14 Maine communities, supported by a radio ad campaign featuring Maine's Humble Farmer, Robert Skoglund on five Maine stations from Portland to Presque Isle.

According to Bring Our War $$ Home co-coordinator Bruce Gagnon, "Recent national polls show that 70% of the American people want us out of Afghanistan and they want the $10 billion we waste on that war every single month to be brought back to our local communities and states to help solve our fiscal crisis. We are not going to have an economic recovery as long as we keeping flushing people's hard-earned tax dollars down the endless war hole. We are organizing this action in order to help people apply pressure on all of our elected officials to publicly say - Bring Our War $$ Home."

The Bring Our War $$ Home campaign is waged by a coalition of about twenty groups including CODEPINK Maine, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Veterans for Peace, PeaceWorks of Greater Brunswick, Peace Action Maine, the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine, and the Midcoast Peace and Justice Group.

Contact: Bruce Gagnon (207) 443-9502
Lisa Savage (207) 399-7623

1 comment:

chrisrushlau said...

Q. What is a "Hajji"?
A. A "Hajji" is what a US soldier typically calls an Iraqi or Afghan. My sergeant in Iraq, an African-American, told a captain (from Maine) that the term sounded to him like "nigger". The captain replied, "Oh, I'd never call them that to their face."