At a time when the U.S. is bogged down in the Iraq war, a growing grassroots movement is trying to build support for a U.S. Department of Peace.
During the 20th century, more than 100 million people lost their lives to warmost of whom were noncombatants. Now, at the dawn of the 21st century, the extent and current speed of nuclear proliferation makes the achievement of nonviolent alternatives to war a crucial need.
Ruth Snyder is a local co-leader of the Illinois Campaign for a U.S. Department of Peace in the 16th Congressional District. She supplied the following information.
More than $400 billion a year is spent on military-related expenditures. Yet, the U.S. government has no platform from which to seriously wage peace. There is little institutional effort to address the causal issues of violence, diminishing its psychological force before it erupts into material conflict. The problem of violence is a many-layered one, and its solution will be, as well. While no one action–governmental or otherwise–will provide a single solution, we must treat the problem itself as an all-systems breakdown requiring an all-systems response.
The Peace Alliance and The Peace Alliance Foundation are working to educate people to become citizen activists on behalf of the Department of Peace legislation. There is currently a bill before both houses of Congress to establish a United States Department of Peace. The bills are House Resolution 3760 and Senate Bill 1756, and seek to augment our current problem-solving modalities, providing practical, nonviolent solutions to the problems of domestic and international conflict.
The campaign has citizen organizers working in all 50 states. Local activists are mobilizing a mighty wave of momentum by working with their members of Congress, writing editorials, doing local radio and TV interviews, organizing local talks and trainings, getting city council endorsements, visiting with police and fire chiefs, military and prison officials, directors of abuse shelters, school boards, etc., to discuss how a Department of Peace would benefit their community.
For more information or to join the campaign, visit the Web site www.ThePeaceAlliance.org.
from the March 28-April 3, 2007, issue