Why should we be focusing on the Peace movement? Can we influence and reduce spending for the military? I for one believe we can, provided we have a strong grassroots and working class peace movement. Just this week the Senate voted 58-41 to cut the F-22 Fighter Jet from the 2010 Defense Authorization Bill. It is a fact that senators, who had pledged before to go against the White House and back F-22 funding, changed their votes. Why? Because of the determined effort of the grassroots peace and working class movement’s effort through calls and emails to end the funding.
Through continuing pressure at the grassroots level, by the efforts to end this one weapons system shows it will take a massive amount of pressure to make the deep and lasting cuts that are needed. The peace movement does not have the huge amounts of money doled out by defense contractors to buy votes. During the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes, what we do have is a capacity to organize on a grassroots level, the common sense sentiments and the voices of the people.
This is the first time in years that the Senate cut a weapons program although the House did not. It is important to rebuild our communities, to transfer money from the military budget for spending on human needs. We must build a movement to do just that. We must invest in building a movement that will make a sustained effort to end all wars and redirect national spending for diplomacy, not war; for human needs and not the military stockpile.