We are in historic times. The Obama campaign mobilized millions of people, and his election has brought a new sense of hope and possibility to the nation. United For Peace and Justice is building on this momentum and the rich history that made the election of an African-American possible.
With the inauguration coming the day after our nation celebrates the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, we are reminded again of King's courage and wisdom in connecting the issues of poverty, racism and war. In honor of his legacy, United For Peace and Justice is launching our BEYOND WAR, A NEW ECONOMY IS POSSIBLE: YES WE CAN! Campaign that will kick off on January 19th and culminate its first phase on April 4th with a massive mobilization in New York City.
- Click here to view resources on 'Retooling the Antiwar Movement'
- Click here to view resources on 'Resources for Base-Building'
- Click here to view news resources on the connection between war and the economy
April 4th is the anniversary of Martin Luther King's "Beyond Vietnam" speech in 1967 and, sadly, the anniversary of his death one year later. Our urgent call to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be linked to our call to help solve the current economic crisis by dramatically cutting military spending and, instead, investing in our communities.
Click here to download a PDF file of Dr. King's "Beyond Vietnam" speech. You can also listen to audio from Dr. King's speech here while reading along to the text.
Our campaign is a call for a new set of national priorities rooted in the vision and values of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. -- a world without racism, poverty, or war. To honor his work -- as well as our work of the last six years -- we are committing ourselves to working across race, class, and gender lines to build a massive people's movement with the power to help make sure the Obama administration and the U.S. Congress are in alignment with the will of the people.
Building this kind of power and movement starts from the bottom-up with local organizing and building relationships and alliances that are rooted in respect and real solidarity. To nurture the peace movement's growth into a strong ally for other movements will require work. But ending war and building justice for our communities is worth it!
There are several core elements to this campaign that we hope you will take up:
- Retooling the Antiwar Movement: We are launching this campaign in the context of this unique political moment. Our country has crossed a racial divide with the election of the first Black president. It is a moment to celebrate and to move a racial and economic justice agenda to the center of our grassroots organizing to end the wars. As a movement, we must relearn some history and deepen our analysis of systemic oppression. The UFPJ website will have resources to help facilitate discussions, strengthen organizing, and provide materials on racial justice.
- Alliance Building Work: Now is the time to take a new look at what coalition and alliance-building work means. Those of us who have spent the last six years trying to end the war in Iraq need to link up with the groups who have been active in the economic and social justice movements: what other groups are active in your community, what are their issues, what are they doing, what do they need, what do they think about the war. Together we can make a much stronger demand to end the wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and insist that money is spent on creating jobs, rebuilding infrastructure, building a green economy, stopping housing foreclosures, providing health care, and meeting the other needs of our communities.
- Base-building Work: expanding our memberships, our lists, and our power. Now more than ever people want to talk about the role of our government and what we might expect or not from the Obama administration. Let's engage them and listen to them. Let's use this moment to educate people on the costs of war and how the issues are connected. Let's invite people to join our groups and at least to sign up on our contact lists.
We encourage your group to take some time to think about how King's work and the framework of the Yes We Can campaign can support and be integrated into your local work.