Action Alert for Peace and Economic Justice #1

 
BY:CPUSA Organizing Department| October 3, 2001

CONTAINS:
1) Take action for peace
2) Economic crisis
3) Progressive Caucus Economic Stimulus Package
4) October 7 Peace Actions
5) FYI: New Coalition forms in Pennsylvania

TAKING ACTION FOR PEACE:

This past weekend the National Board held an expanded meeting in Chicago to discuss the crisis and the danger of war. We will email everyone Sam’s report to the meeting shortly. A conference call meeting of district organizers to discuss practical steps is planned for Tuesday, October 2, and this bulletin will come out on a regular basis with ideas and experiences. The Party’s web page will feature an action section — launch date for the new and improved site is October 11th.

Please send examples of what you’re doing to us — see letter to the editor below.
Letters to the Editor, The Plain Dealer

The Gallup poll (Plain Dealer Sept. 22) reports that 58 per cent of Americans believe that the terrorist attack of Sept. 11 resulted from U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.
That being, in fact, the case, it follows that this policy that has kept the Middle East in turmoil and caused such massive suffering to all the peoples of the region and now to the American people as well, must fundamentally change.

To do this we must recognize that since the end of World War II the force driving U.S. policy in this part of the world has been the giant oil monopolies and their bottomless thirst for maximum profits.

This makes it all the more problematical that the Bush-Cheney Administration, entrenched as it is in the oil industry, can make the kind of policy change needed as it deals with the current crisis.

The massive military intervention that seems to be in the works may in the short run take out some current terrorists and maintain the flow of oil profits, but the cost to human civilization could well be devastating.
Rick Nagin, Cleveland

ANOTHER PART OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY:

Although the terrorist attacks and the danger of war have changed the political landscape immeasurably, and re-focused people’s attention, the pressing issues of jobs, healthcare, social security, etc., have not gone away. The challenge is to connect the struggle against the Bush administration on these issues with the fight for peace, and to build the broadest possible coalitions in the process.

Last week’s PWW center spread contains the Party’s program for economic recovery. This couldn’t be more timely. In Washington and around the country there is a big discussion taking place about the economic crisis, which has been sharpened by the impact of the terrorist attacks. The AFL-CIO has also stepped into the ring on this, and is discussing with its member organizations how to fight for measures that benefit workers and their families, and not just bail outs for corporations. (More on this in the next Action Alert.)

The Progressive Caucus in Congress has issued an economic recovery package (see below). We should do whatever we can to help build broad, grass roots support for this, bringing the discussion about solving the economic crisis with jobs, extended unemployment compensation, etc., to our Congressional representatives. Delegations, email and letter writing campaigns, etc., are all important, and the more of our coalition partners we can involve in any efforts, the better.

Our Party program for a pro-worker economic recovery can be downloaded from the web site, or copied from this week’s paper. We have done a mailing to 1000 trade unionists around the country (see cover letter below), but our list is incomplete, and it would be very good if similar mailings could be done locally. We also recommend special targeted distributions of the paper, if possible.

PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS:

Unveils $200 Billion Economic Stimulus Package
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, today released a Progressive Caucus economic stimulus package to provide immediate relief to the US economy. The $200 billion package would get people back to work and raise household incomes by providing enough new spending to recover from the recent fall of the stock market, the lagging economy, and the economic downturn following terrorist attacks against the United States two weeks ago.
‘This package is a prescription for a healthy economy,’ Congressman Kucinich said. ‘It injects the economy with $200 billion where it is needed now and is the only proposal which won’t touch Social Security. The American economy is hurting, this package spells relief sooner rather than later.’

The Progressive Caucus’ economic stimulus package directs the $200 billion in new spending to four major categories: expanded unemployment benefits for those who have already lost their jobs; health care and other social services for those hurt by the recession; public works to repair our nation’s infrastructure to promote long term economic growth; and tax rebates to those left out of the tax cut many taxpayers have just received.

This economic stimulus package would protect the Social Security Trust Fund, and the cost of the package would be offset when the economy revives. Future tax cuts, enacted earlier this year benefiting the wealthiest Americans, would be postponed to pay for the stimulus spending once the economy improves.

What some of the more than 50 Member Progressive Caucus are saying:
‘It is clear that our nation truly needs an economic stimulus, especially in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks that continue to reverberate through our economy, threatening both industries and workers,’ said Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA). ‘The Progressive Caucus’ economic stimulus package will create jobs while also setting up a much needed safety-net for American workers affected during this period of crisis in our nation.’

‘The $200 billion stimulus package proposed by the Progressive Caucus expands health benefits for the unemployed, fully funds LIHEAP and makes a full investment in education by funding school construction and renovation,’ said Congressman Major Owens (D-NY).

‘The U.S. Government must act forcefully to stimulate the economy and create decent-paying jobs,’ said Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-VT). ‘Instead of maintaining tax breaks for millionaires, we should be building affordable housing, repairing our schools and putting people to work protecting our environment.’

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) added, ‘The President has for a long time warned that this economy was heading for recession, even after his tax cut was implemented, and we need to stave that recession off. Because of the recent tragedies, a downturn in the economy could be all the worse. We need to make sure that those hardest hit — by no fault of their own — don’t drown, and, at the same time, make sure we invest responsibly to get the economy back on track. Our proposal will do just that.’

‘We must include among the victims of the terrorist attacks two weeks ago the many working families who have lost jobs, health care and social services,’ Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) said. ‘Congress must do more to help them. This stimulus package reflects a new set of priorities. It puts people first by getting relief in the form of expanded unemployment benefits, health care, social services, public works and housing to the working families who need it most.’

Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) applauded efforts by the Progressive Caucus to stimulate the economy. ‘The September 11 terrorist attacks ripped a gaping hole in an already weakened U.S. economy. In the short time since the World Trade Center was destroyed, thousands of New Yorkers have lost their jobs, while hundreds of thousands more teeter on the brink of unemployment. Congress acted quickly to condemn the senseless violence, to authorize military retaliation against the terrorists, and to provide much-needed funds for victim assistance and disaster relief at the sites of the attacks. We must act just as quickly to stimulate the national economy, as the effects of September 11 spread. The Progressive Caucus’s $200 billion proposal to shore up unemployment benefits and the health and social safety net, to fund public works projects, and to provide immediate relief to the lowest income Americans is the right response at this time.’
‘We need an economic plan to rescue this failing economy. It is time to repeal the recently enacted tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest one percent in our society and use those savings to help stimulate the economy,’ said Congresswoman Maxine Waters, (D-CA). ‘We need to increase unemployment insurance benefits, expand health care coverage, develop public works projects, and provide a tax rebate for those who did not receive a tax cut.’

‘American workers hurt by the economic downturn and terrorism need immediate help,’ said Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL). ‘Now is the time to make a public investment to meet Americas unmet needs — build high speed rail, fix our crumbling schools, improve our health care system, provide a high quality day care system, and rebuild all of our communities, rural and urban — not just limit our appropriate response to New York City.’

‘America needs an economic stimulus package that embraces all of the people. Because America’s values are based upon equality for all,’ Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) added. ‘I am pleased to support a comprehensive economic stimulus package that helps America’s working poor.’

‘The Progressive Caucus Economic Stimulus Package combines economic efficiency with deeply decent programs for our neediest,’ Congressman Earl Hilliard (D-AL) said. ‘I believe that stimulating spending at the bottom of the economy is the most efficient form of spending because the poor spend everything they get, putting the money into use many times.’

PEACE ACTIONS ON OCTOBER 7

(Following is a letter issued by the National Coalition for Peace and Justice, calling for actions across the country on October 7).
Dear friends,

The National Coalition for Peace and Justice, representing the nation’s largest peace organizations, asks its member groups and networks to organize a national day of action for peace on October 7 in local communities across the country. The day follows the lead of people in New York City who have been working since the tragic events of September 11 to plan antiwar activities.

In the immediate aftermath of that tragic day, hundreds of New Yorkers (representing the peace community and a broad cross-section of the city’s many communities) started working together and agreed on five points of unity:

1. We mourn the victims and condemn the attacks of September 11.
2. War and militarism are not the answer.
3. Defend civil liberties.
4. We oppose anti-Islamic, anti-Arab, anti-immigrant and all racial, ethnic, and religious bigotry and violence.
5. Seek global peace through economic and social justice.

As Residents of the city that suffered the greatest devastation on September 11, New Yorkers feel the urgency and the moral authority to say that we do not want more violence and killing.

The exact nature of the event in New York is still taking shape, but it has tremendous support and momentum behind it–energy that we hope will be shared across the country.
We encourage you to organize the activity that is most appropriate for your situation and your community. That might mean a vigil, a march, a prayer service. We urge you to reach out beyond your usual circle, listen to your neighbors, and stand together for peace. Let us know what you’re planning–events can be posted to by email to nowar@warresisters.org or by using a response form at www.warresisters.org.
Our grief is not a call for war.

Peace, Chris Ney

(Members of the NCPJ Steering Committee include the American Friends Service Committee, Black Radical Congress, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Global Exchange, Pax Christi, Peace Action, Shundahai Network, SOA Watch, War Resisters League, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom)

FYI: NEW COALITION OF CONSUMER,LABOR, RELIGIOUS AND COMMUNITY GROUPS

Harrisburg — On Friday, September 28, political activists from across Pennsylvania will meet to discuss what’s next for politics in the Commonwealth at Pennsylvania’s Next Agenda Conference. The event will launch a new coalition of consumer, labor, religious and community groups to be known as United Pennsylvanians and it will be co-sponsored by the Washington D.C.-based Campaign for America’s Future.

The Next Agenda Conference is one example of a new kind of partnership between the Campaign for America’s Future and state-level progressive organizations — unity coalitions which are coming together around a progressive action agenda for their state and for the nation. Organizers feel that in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, these new coalitions can play an important role in mobilizing new public unity around plans for reviving economic growth.

Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, said, ‘Just as many similar citizen coalitions we are helping to build around the country, UP is forging unity around a state and national agenda for economic reconstruction. This mission was important before September 11. Now it is essential.’

Peter Wiley, United Pennsylvanians spokesman, said, ‘It seemed clear to all that, in order to move ahead, the state must deal with a number of issues in education, economic development, healthcare, and the environment far more creatively.’
The Next Agenda Conference is co-sponsored by United Pennsylvanians, the Campaign for America’s Future (www.ourfuture.org), the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, Citizens for Consumer Justice, the Keystone Research Center, the PSEA and the Pennsylvania SIEU State Council.

— END —

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