|October 8th, 2017. Third Summit hosted by MUPJ, and facilitated by Mary Louise Cohen, with Opening remarks by Kevin Martin, (President Peace Action)
During the Third Summit hosted by MUPJ, and facilitated by Mary Louise Cohen, with Opening remarks by Kevin Martin, (President Peace Action), the participants discussed 4 priority issues selected by Maryland Peace activists at Maryland United for Peace and Justice’s Summit on Sunday.
1. Nuclear weapons, including helping prevent nuclear conflict with North Korea,& the likely increase of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, if Trump decertifies the Iran nuclear agreement and Congress then increases sanctions; urge the United States to sign the recent United Nations Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons, and to end the excessive federal budget expenditures on nuclear weapons (that reduces funds available for anything else).
Peace movement activists are lobbying our U.S, Senators, and Representatives about these issues. The focus has been S 200 and HR 669 which would require
Congressional approval before the President initiates a nuclear weapons attack.
Diplomacy with North Korea is also being urged. Senator Markey is circulating a sign-on letter for this, Senator Van Hollen and Senator Cardin have signed.
SUMMIT participants agreed to lobby all Maryland Representatives and Senators to stand for the Iran nuclear agreement. Senator Cardin has been advocating it even though he was originally against the agreement. Van Hollen has been strong supporter of the agreement.
2. Middle East wars and conflicts: e.g. Yemen, Syria, ISIS, Israel & Palestine, etc.
This has been an ongoing concern of the Maryland peace movement, and we plan to take actions when the opportunities arise, e.g. supporting Congressional actions to stop arming Saudi Arabia’s aggression in Yemen.
3. Immigration. The Maryland peace movement will be an active ally of the movements and actions for immigrant rights, including DACA recipients, refugees, working for an end to scapegoating immigrants and for just immigration policy and law.
Maryland United for Peace and Justice already is on record in opposing racism, discrimination against women, LGBTQ persons, persons with disabilities
and other forms of discrimination. We firmly support civil rights and hope to be active in upholding and expanding voting rights.
4. Maryland peace activists agreed to start a long-term campaign for Maryland state legislation to create a jobs program for people who are having difficulty finding good jobs other than military service.
We had a brainstorming session about this in which we identified many possible types of jobs where social needs or infrastructure are not being met.
We also discussed some possible criteria for what would constitute a good job, such as the $15 minimum wage or the prevailing wage.
We will further develop this proposal and later prepare state legislation. Legislation will not be ready for the next Maryland General Assembly Session. We would really appreciate help from any individual or organization in developing a campaign and legislation for this.
Federal budget expenditures will be a future priority, as we hope to generate more Congressional support for an alternative federal budget known as the People’s Budget.
Maryland United for Peace and Justice will continue to work for a healthy climate and environment; expanding democracy through campaign finance reform, a constitutional amendment to overturn “Citizens United”, and economic justice.