Can you sign on to the petition below? Can you join us at the Real State of the Union on January 12?
PETITION TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: WE URGE YOU TO CHANGE YOUR POLICIES, AND TO USE THE STATE OF THE UNION SPEECH TO RENOUNCE INEQUALITY, MILITARISM AND ECOCIDE
January 12, 2016
Dear Mr. President,
As friends and representatives of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR), we are writing to request that you use the State of the Union speech to indicate you will do your best to change the direction of this country. A real State of the Union would be a frank speech which would condemn our country’s addiction to economic inequality, racial injustice, warmongering and the destruction of our planet. After being honest about our failures, you would then urge our elected officials to go in a new direction, based on a democratic ideal for we the people, and not for we the wealthy. Tell them to listen to the people, and not the corporations. You could inform them that you will utilize diplomacy and other peaceful means. You could tell them to listen to the scientific community and not the fossil fuel industry.
You could also state that you will immediately end the illegal and immoral killer drone program, and will never resort again to assassination as a foreign policy. And most importantly, you would close down the Pentagon, the Department of War, and renounce nuclear weaponry. Finally, you would pledge to save Mother Earth. The Pentagon would become the Department of Peace with Justice, and its mission would be to shape the sustainable future.
We write to you as people committed to nonviolent social change with a deep concern for a variety of issues that are all interrelated. Please heed our petition—end our government’s continuing wars and military incursions around the world and use these tax dollars as a solution to end growing poverty which is a plague throughout this country in which vast wealth is controlled by a tiny percentage of its citizens. Establish a living wage for all workers. Condemn forcefully the policy of mass incarceration, solitary confinement, and the rampant police violence. Pledging to end the addiction to militarism will have a positive effect on our planet's climate and habitat. Should you show any interest in our demands, we would be available to assist in this process.
NCNR members have consistently participated in witnesses of nonviolent civil resistance calling on our government to take meaningful action to confront the climate crisis, the unending wars, the root causes of poverty, the bigotry and antipathy to African Americans, Muslims, and other minorities, and the structural violence of the military-security state. By listening to the millions of people at home and abroad your administration has recently taken laudable steps to avoid using military force with Iran and to reduce carbon emissions, but more significant action is still needed.
Instead of the State Department, your administration uses the Pentagon to deal with conflict, and such behavior in concert with our allies greatly contributes to a violent and destabilized world. The U.S. use of armed drones by the military and the Central Intelligence Agency is inflicting enormous human suffering, is unconstitutional, and is only creating more “terrorists.” Your administration should cease its hostile rhetoric and sanctions against North Korea, Russia, and Iran. Furthermore, the US should seek a diplomatic solution to the civil war in Syria, disband NATO, and end the increasing military presence in Southeast Asia, commonly referred to as the "Asian Pivot," which threatens China. You must end all military aid to Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the other countries in the Middle East. A new approach must be taken by your administration to free the Palestinians from over half a century of violent Israeli oppression. Diplomacy is the only answer to stop the cycle of violence. Regardless of whether noncombatants suffer or not, violence and war are not the answers to conflict. Diplomatic efforts to end the sanctions and hostile relations with Cuba are a good example of the positive path that can be taken and should be followed with other countries labeled as our enemies.
Nuclear weapons can never be used, and the plan to use a trillion tax dollars to “upgrade” the nuclear arsenal is madness. A study by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, an independent think tank that works closely with the Pentagon, reports that the actual costs your administration plans for updating the nuclear triad — the intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarines and aircraft capable of delivering nuclear warheads – will cost one trillion dollars. This is beyond senselessly wasteful! It is immoral and actually illegal under international law to possess such weapons capable of global annihilation thousands of times greater than the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These tax dollars must be re-allocated towards reviving our sagging infrastructure and supporting social services desperately needed by the poor. The tax dollars could also be utilized to assist former prisoners returning to their communities.
Almost half the people on this planet live off less than $2.50 a day and around 22,000 children die every day due to poverty according to UNICEF. However, the U.S. has continued to expend half of the federal discretionary budget on warmongering. Besides wasting tax dollars, the wars have resulted in untold numbers of lives lost, injured millions of refugees, and contributed to ecocide.
According to the National Center for Children in Poverty "More than 16 million children in the United States – 22% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level – $23,550 a year for a family of four. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Using this standard, 45% of children live in low-income families."
Unending war and imperialism means rampant death and destruction. Within the last 13 years, we have experienced how the United States has responded to international crisis with violence. Our government has waged wars in violation of international law. The failed Middle East policy leaves a whole region mired in violence and instability including an enormous refugee crisis. The continuing support for Israel’s apartheid state and oppression of the Palestinian people must end. Furthermore, so many continue to be victimized by killer drones or are tortured and illegally detained now. We welcome the long overdue release in 2015 of some prisoners from Guantanamo but you must follow through on your promise to close this shameful illegal detention camp which has come to represent the racism and structural violence of the American empire. Even in this country, solitary confinement and mass incarceration is the norm, and undocumented immigrants, who have fled strife and poverty caused by international economic agreements, are held for long periods of time before being deported back into the poverty and instability they desperately tried to escape.
Our disregard for the causes of climate chaos is leading to the destruction of the planet. Being controlled, in part, by the fossil fuel industry, our government has not been willing to sign onto international treaties to end climate chaos. In the article “Greenwashing the Pentagon”, Joseph Nevins states, “The U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate.”
We believe that another way is possible and that there are alternatives to the life threatening policies that our government has promoted and that have been so destructive to Mother Earth and the people of the world.
Use the State of the Union as a platform to renounce the past and to promote necessary and positive social change. Unless our elected officials take immediate and significant actions, Mother Earth is doomed.
Please sign onto this petition by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs