By Medea Benjamin & Macy Winograd / Popular Resistance
Last month CNN published a poll revealing 55% of people surveyed in the United States do not support spending more money on the Ukraine war. A tone-deaf White House responded by requesting another $24 billion, mostly for weapons and military training that would bring the Ukraine war tab for US taxpayers to nearly $140 billion.
CODEPINK, a member of the Peace in Ukraine Coalition that represents over 100 anti-war organizations, is committed to raising up the majority opinion that the U.S. needs to stop fueling this war. We condemn the illegal Russian invasion but we believe that this conflict has no military solution, only stalled counter-offensives, random drone attacks and profound heartache for the families losing their loved ones, their homes and their livelihoods.
That’s why we are participating in the Global Days of Action for Peace in Ukraine, Sept. 30-October 8th, joining with others in the United States and Europe to march, protest, petition, vigil, banner and push our elected officials to publicly advocate for a mutual ceasefire, peace negotiations and weapons freeze.
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The call for Global Days of Action emerged from last June’s International Summit for Peace in Ukraine, held in Vienna, Austria and attended by representatives from 32 countries, including Italy where tens of thousands marched in Rome last year to end funding for the war. The Summit produced a declaration urging “leaders in all countries to act in support of an immediate ceasefire and negotiations to end the war in Ukraine” and calling on civil society globally to mobilize.
In this country, events to end the Russia-Ukraine-NATO war are slated for Washington DC, New York City, Albany, Brooklyn, Boston, Milwaukee, Madison, Philadelphia, Portland, Hilo, San Francisco, Seattle, Burlington, Rockville and other locations.
The Peace in Ukraine Coalition, which includes CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace, DSA-International, World Beyond War, RootsAction, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom-US, Massachusetts Peace Action, Brooklyn for Peace and others, invites all peace-loving people to join us in DC and become a member of our coalition.
On Tuesday, October 3, we will host a DC rally with professor Dr. Cornel West, People’s Forum Co-Executive Director Claudia De la Cruz, CODEPINK Co-founder Medea Benjamin, journalist Eugene Puryear, and comedian/podcaster Lee Camp. You can join us in person in Washington or join us online here as we broadcast a livestream!
The following day, Wednesday, October 4, we will organize in the halls of Congress to hand deliver this “No more weapons!” petition and dialogue with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as other senators who represent constituents traveling to DC.
The answer to the war in Ukraine is not more cluster bombs, depleted uranium munitions or nuclear-capable F-16 fighter jets but a willingness to embrace a diplomatic solution, such as the 15-point peace plan that was drafted by both sides in April 2022 but squashed by Western powers.
While the majority of congresspeople in both parties have ignored public opinion and refuse to call for negotiations, some members of the Republican party have voted against more funds for the war, have called for an audit to follow the billions spent on this war, and have pressed the Biden administration to report on its efforts to seek a diplomatic path. Unfortunately, not one Democrat or Independent in Congress has been willing to join any of these efforts.
Instead, high-profile Democrats and Senate Armed Services Committee members, such as Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), flew to Kyiv to shake hands with Ukraine President Zelensky and promise an endless stream of US tax dollars to continue fueling this war.
Even Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), whose Presidential campaigns were supported by anti-war activists, has quietly gone along with the war funding. In championing workers rights and health care initiatives, he fails to point out that the billions spent on the Ukraine war could be used to address urgent domestic needs instead of lining the pockets of military contractors.
He also disregards his own critique, right before the war began, about the dangers of NATO expansion, the West’s refusal to acknowledge Russia’s security interests, and the pressing need for dialogue.
That’s why a contingent from Vermont is requesting a face-to-face meeting with Senator Sanders in DC to ask him point-blank, “Why aren’t you speaking out for a diplomatic solution to end this war?”
As we face a war marked by intense suffering and environmental devastation in Ukraine, increasing hunger in Africa, and growing fears of a nuclear catastrophe, it is urgent we promote a ceasefire and negotiations. Join us.
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace, is the author of the 2018 book, “Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Her previous books include: “Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection” (2016); “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control” (2013); “Don’t Be Afraid Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks from the Heart” (1989), and (with Jodie Evans) “Stop the Next War Now (Inner Ocean Action Guide)” (2005).