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Put a Peace Pole in CharlottesvilleA peace pole is a popular means of expressing a desire for peace around the world, including in the United States, where peace poles are found in public plazas and parks in many locations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_pole A registry of peace sites lists none in Virginia*: http://www.peacesites.org/sites/map A peace pole can be purchased for $200 with "May Peace Prevail on Earth" written on four sides in four chosen languages: http://stores.bigwaterhosting.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=peacepoles&Category_Code=peace_poles One idea would be to have 6 sides including English, Spanish, and the languages of Cville Sister Cities: Italian, French, Bulgarian, and one of the many languages from Ghana. Or 8 sides with some left blank to be filled in later. Charlottesville's monuments to wars, including the Native American genocide, the defense of slavery, and the slaughter of 3.8 million Vietnamese, dominate public space. Removing them would be ideal. An easier method of quickly displaying our city's support for peace would be to create a peace pole. Charlottesville's city council has spoken up repeatedly over the years for peace, for reduced military spending, for transition to peaceful industries, and for a halt to particular wars. But a visitor to Charlottesville cannot observe any of that anywhere on the landscape. Charlottesville has four sister cities, and signs indicating them are visible in Charlottesville. But the motto of Sister Cities International, "Peace Through People," is nowhere to be found. There is no location set aside to celebrate these relationships, as there could be in combination with a peace pole. Promote this page with this link: http://bit.ly/cvillepeacepole *There are peace poles in Warrenton, Va., and at the Pentagon (which is of course a travesty that injures the whole project). There is a peace pole at a church in Charlottesville and a small pole reading "Peace" at an elementary school. What we're proposing is a public peace pole. THIS PROJECT IS ENDORSED BY: RootsAction.org WorldBeyondWar.org Pax Christi Charlottesville Amnesty International Charlottesville Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice
Stop Military Demonstration TeamsThese military demonstration teams draw tens of thousands of visitors to an already overcrowded city during the annual Cherry Festival. The planes emit tons of CO2, violate the city noise ordinance, disturb the young, old and those with PTSD and they cost taxpayers over $100 million per year. Further, the crowds overextend our first responders and overtax our limited infrastructure. Finally, these aircraft are war machines - they are not entertainment. Stand with me in asking the city commission to restore a measure of purity to our town.
Support freedom of speech in Sweden and throughout the worldThe Documentary Ukraine - Masks of Revolution (In Swedish: Ukraina - Revolutionens mörka sida) on the massacre in Odessa May 2, 2014 will be aired in Sweden May 23, 2016. The broadcast has been postponed twice. Maidan Norway, a Swedish Human Rights organization (Östgruppen för demokrati och mänskliga rättigheter), Ukrainian organizations, the Ukrainian embassy and journalists have protested against the documentary. In 2015, Ukrainian organizations stopped an exhibition on the massacre in Odessa May 2, 2014. Sweden’s largest organization for adult education (ABF) had admitted it in their program but the exhibition was prevented. The same Ukrainian organizations together with others now seek to slander and defame a documentary which premiered February 1, 2016 on Canal+ in France and is directed by the renowned and award-winning French journalist Paul Moreira. The documentary is based on witness statements from all sides and on facts about events that took place in Odessa May 2, 2014. Those who protest against this documentary refer to an article authored by the journalist John Færseth and published in the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet. Færseth opposes what the documentary proves. The film shows a Ukrainian-nationalistic mob setting a trade union building on fire and this leads to 42 fatalities among supporters of a referendum on federalisation of the country. The Norwegian journalist instead believes that a lot suggests that the main responsibility for the fatalities lies on the fire brigade who arrived late at the scene of the fire. Færseth also suggests that the role of right-wing extremism in Ukraine is grossly exaggerated in the entire documentary about the dark elements of the Ukrainian revolution. The campaign against the documentary aims to provide people, who have this lack of moral and who excuse a mass murder, the possibility to "comment" the documentary in connection to the broadcast. Their aim is to promote their so-called critical voices so that they can make the documentary appear as if it is based on conspiracy theories. Do not let a narrative that excuses right-wing extremist violence, wherever it occurs, get the final say in mass media. Defend freedom of speech and freedom of information against any government and their followers who want to impose their views and biased narrative as the only valid truth on their own people or upon people in other countries. This open letter will be sent to the media and the public in Sweden and in neighboring countries. Help us support peace, freedom of speech, freedom of information and to expose the right-wing extremist violence. Initiators Ukrainabulletinen Platform Peace on earth and peace with earth Support for conflict resolution and yes to peace negotiations - no to war. Yes to common security - no to rearmament. Yes to investments for social justice and the environment - no to austerity policies in Ukraine, Europe and the world. Editorial team Tord Björk, editor, Ukrainabulletinen Stig Broqvist, active in Friends of the Earth Helsingborg Lars Drake, assistant professor Swedish University of Agriculture (SLU) Jan Wiklund, popular movement researcher Supporters Goran Brankovic, peace activist Mika Böök, peace activist Susanne Gerstenberg, peace activist Thomas Gunnarsson, peasant Joel Holmdahl, peasant Jake Kayzer, peace activist Thorsten Laxvik, peasant Markus Limmergård, board member FiB/K Oleg Mezjuev, Ukraine observer Eddie Olsson, active in Friends of the Earth Europe Anders Romelsjö, professor emeritus, radical blogger Bo Sundbäck, teacher Maj Wechselmann, documentary film maker International supporters Mika Böök, Finland Noam Chomsky, USA Pål Steigan, Norway We who have initiated this international action come from diverse backgrounds. As farmers we are concerned about the agriculture in Ukraine with its 7 million farmers who are protesting against the policies imposed upon them by the EU and IMF being austerity policies directed against small and middle sized farmers: policies only in the interest of the big corporations. As employees in the public sector we are concerned that the future society is put in the hands of companies that are replacing social rights with privatized social services to make profit off the needs of people. As pacifists and environmentalists we are concerned about the secretary general of NATO claiming that environmental movements with its protests against fracking were in the hands of Russia. We are also concerned about how Russia or any other country is portrayed as an enemy in Sweden with the purpose to promote rearmament and war rather than peace building. We are, as activists for human rights very concerned about the selective use of the indivisible human rights including both social and political dimensions with double standards that weaken the struggle for human rights everywhere. The campaign against the documentary was supported by Maidan Norway, Ukrainian organizations and a Swedish Human Rights organization (Östgruppen för demokrati och mänskliga rättigheter). Others who opposed the documentary had their background in a think tank funded by Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (In Swedish: Svenskt Näringsliv), defense research, the Ukrainian embassy, Swedish public service radio and human rights organizations that share the Swedish Government’s position on the conflict in Ukraine. Find more back ground material at the campaign web site.
Toxic Work Conditions in Texas PrisonsPrisoners within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice are working, unpaid, in the TCI chemical plant without being issued the proper air-ventilated safety masks. In an open letter, TDCJ inmate David Martinez described the entire work area at the Coffield Unit’s Metal Fabrication Plant as having a faulty ventilation system. "It is not fully operational and does not protect prison workers or TCI employees from hazardous and toxic fumes that are put into the atmosphere by numerous projects like welding and painting," writes Martinez. The Metal Fabrication Plant Manager and his staff have devised a “warning system” that TDCJ inmates are very familiar with, Martinez says — a warning system that gives the Metal Fabrication Plant Manager a “heads up” when any kind of inspector or auditor is at the front gate — allowing the prisoners and Texas Correctional Industry employees to shut down all activities deemed illegal and unsafe by the Fire Marshal or any other oversight Agency. The Metal Fabrication Plant is currently devising a plan for expansion, filling an order for 5,000 new storage lockers, Martinez adds, while there are no current plans to fix the plant’s ventilation system, nor to restock masks and safety equipment for the inmates who work there. Many of the chemicals and substances used in the Coffield Unit’s Metal Fabrication Plant, and in many other units and plants throughout Texas, have clear warning labels that they have the potential to cause cancer. Martinez explains that Texas prisoners are being forced to work in a very dangerous environment and to engage in hazardous and illegal practices with no regard for their health or safety. "Many prisoners are afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation," Martinez reports. "Prisoners are threatened with disciplinary action if they [complain, refuse to work or] do not sign Material Safety Data Sheets (which give the 'appearance' that Texas prisoners are being given the proper training and safety equipment) in this very volatile and hazardous atmosphere." David Martinez and thousands of other Texas prisoners need your immediate help and support! Sign this petition to demand that Texas state officials provide immediate relief to the affected prisoners and to facilitate investigation by a body that's not part of the prison administration
Abolish War, Save Article 9The movement to maintain Article 9 is important because Article 9 is such a positive force for Japanese people and for other nations globally. What makes the movement even stronger is that the movement leaders also want to revise the constitution in their own image - that is, to make it a constitution of the 21st century removed from the influence of World War II. They are supported by important thinkers and activists such as Noam Chomsky, Akihiko Kimijima and Helen Caldicott who stress that Article 9 should be a role model for the world to follow. All emphasize that living in the nuclear age our survival is at stake. To embrace Article 9 is to support the United Nations mandate to abolish war and "turn your swords into ploughshares." But we must remain consistent over a long period of time. We must outlast big money lobby groups over a long time - and we must be very creative in our strategy. The public at large becomes quickly bored and apathetic unless the new movement is able to stimulate their imaginations and motivate them to take action in support of the protesters. Both General Douglas MacArthur and Prime Minister Kijuro Shidehara were very successful in motivating the voting public to embrace the new peace constitution in 1946. So in conclusion I truly believe there is hope for Article 9, but it will take hard work and consistency. Join hands, hearts and minds to support and promote this wonderful constitution.
Petition for a United Nations Peace Conversion ConferenceWarfare is obsolete, and is destroying the human environment, slaughtering innocent people, exhausting the world economy, and generating tens of millions of desperate refugees. I’m asking all people and groups to call for a United Nations Peace Conversion Conference, to make practical plans to move away from warfare and military confrontation in international affairs, and phase out military industries, with an orderly transition to peaceful production to meet basic human needs worldwide. We taxpayers support a military-industrial complex which generates endless warfare, and has set up a complex and edgy thermonuclear weapons confrontation involving nine nuclear-armed nations. Many nations today would join the call for a United Nations Peace Conversion Conference. We can each be the center of a Worldwide Peace Conversion Network, living peace conversion with each other as we do this delightful work.
Tell Bernie Sanders to Reject AIPAC's InvitationAIPAC has invited Bernie Sanders to participate in its 2016 Policy Conference in Washington DC. Voice your support for justice and equality in Israel-Palestine and urge Bernie to reject this invitation. As the main arm of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, AIPAC has sworn to promote the racist, militaristic, and anti-democratic policies of the most right-wing government in Israel's history. Its conference this year will feature Islamophobes, anti-immigrant activists, and religious extremists. With his promise to seek a "level playing field" on Israel-Palestine, Bernie does not belong on the same stage as these figures. Urge him to reject AIPAC's invitation and support justice in the Holy Land.
Pass the new bill to abolish the military draftA bureaucracy unused since Richard Nixon left office, an institution that has served no purpose since before people already too old for it were born, a machinery whose only function is to send huge numbers of unwilling young men (and some hope to expand it to include young women) into immoral actions should be abolished. This bipartisan bill would make that happen. The selective service budget is $23-26 million every year. There are also costs to the states and financial aid offices that must ensure people are registered before administering benefits. Many states automatically register men who obtain driver's licenses for selective service; that technology should remain in place but be used to automatically register men and women to vote. Opponents of war and supporters of conscientious objection back this bill. You can too. SIGNED BY David Swanson, WarIsACrime.org Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence Alice Slater David Hartsough Maria Santelli, Center on Conscience and War Leah Bolger
Not Another U.S./NATO War on LibyaThe illegal 2011 overthrow of the Libyan government subjected the people of that nation and surrounding nations to violence, weapons proliferation, chaos, and desperate insecurity. In no way will compounding the problem with the same approach again improve matters in this case or establish good precedents.
End Funding of "Defense" Research That Ignores Climate ChangeThe United States has hundreds of programs at universities, think tanks, and research institutes that claim to devote their attention to “security” and “defense” studies. Yet in almost all of these programs that receive many millions of dollars in Federal funding, the vast majority of research, advocacy and instruction have nothing to do with climate change, the most serious threat to security of our age. In an act of profound intellectual irresponsibility, so-called scholars of "security studies" spend their hours imagining fantastic military scenarios, rather than responding to incontrovertible threat of climate change which scientists have unanimously identified as a reality. We cannot waste any more of our tax dollars on security and defense studies that fail to address the primary threat to the well-being of the United States, and of the world. The time has come to put an end to this insanity. We demand that all programs of defense and security studies in the United States identify in their statement of purpose climate change as the primary security threat to the United States and that they dedicate at least 70% of their budgets to research, teaching and advocacy to the critical topics of mitigation of (primarily) and adaptation to (secondarily) climate change. Any program that fails to focus on climate change in this manner should lose its status for Federal funding. Mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change should be the primary concerns for all in security and defense field studies. Obviously other security issues deserve study, but granted the fact that the cost of climate change will run in the trillions of dollars over the next decade, and even more beyond then, we do not have the funds to support programs that are not dedicated to addressing this immediate threat. Signers include: Emanuel Yi Pastreich Director The Asia Institute David Swanson Director World Beyond War John Kiriakou Associate fellow Institute for Policy Studies John Feffer Director Foreign Policy in Focus Norman Solomon Cofounder RootsAction.org Coleen Rowley Retired FBI agent and former Minneapolis Division legal counsel