On Wednesday we created visibility around Jack Reed as we had a small gathering on the sidewalks along Chapel View Blvd and Route 2 (New London Ave) in Cranston. This is the plaza where his office is located. We oppose our government’s easy inclination to go along with war and militarism. We looked to press Reed to shift our economic priorities away from corporate profits for arms merchants and back towards education, infrastructure, constructing wind turbines, solar panels, engineering and constructing resiliency efforts to address climate change, as well as helping those in need. More and more Rhode Islanders are realizing that war, violence, and militarism are not progressive values. In short, we would like Reed, Langevin, Whitehouse to support the Green New Deal and similar ideals, and put less money toward oversea military adventures and military budgets.
Reed thankfully shifted his stance in supporting Saudi Arabia and their War on Yemen at the end of November. Will he continue on toward reducing war and militarism and be open to repealing and/or replacing the current Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which is open-ended and has no end in sight? Will he follow Senator Jeff Merkley’s (Democrat, Oregon) lead and advocate to replace it with a better effort that will ensure Congress’ continued and direct oversight rather than possibly codify presidential powers over the funding, declaration, and running of wars and military actions? This is where much of our advocacy and activism is and needs to be.
We also try to focus on imagining a world not driven by war, hate, xenophobia, violence, and militarism. We envision and look to a world more driven by common values of people’s lives and rights, lifting up those most in need, a more just and peaceful world.
The question of whether we support Saudi Arabia’s War on Yemen continues. We note the House’s successful and historic passage of legislation from Representative Ro Khanna (Democrat, California) limiting our support of Saudi Arabia last week. The Senate passed similar legislation last year, with all the Dems’ support. Will the Senate and Reed and the necessary number of Republicans support when it comes up again, hopefully within the next week?
We are interested to see Reed, Whitehouse, and Langevin’s follow-through and urgency with these efforts, and see if they overlap into military weapons sales generally, a re-thinking of our burgeoning military budget, and growing over-reliance on a militaristic economy for jobs here in Rhode Island and the United States. Just two years ago, the military budget was $620 billion. It is now $717 billion, and Trump wants it upped to $750 billion! Reed, Langevin, and Whitehouse voted for these increases. They must be pressed to not continue, and our state legislators, progressives in particular, need to do their part too. No more cheap photo ops until Jack, Jim, and Sheldon start to work and vote to put our resources toward the needs of our people.
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We call for a reasonable and steady conversion of the Rhode Island economy away from one hooked on producing weapons of death, like the ones that have been used to slaughter innocent Yemeni civilians for years.
Saudi Arabia clearly felt like they had free rein to do what they want with Trump, majority of the GOP, and congresspeople such as Reed, Langevin, and Whitehouse putting military weaponry sales at such a premium over human rights concerns. What role did this play in the grisly murder of American resident and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the very highest of Saudi Arabian interests? As we genuinely appreciate their recent change, we need to be mindful of past approaches, keep present and future goals in mind, and ensure there are lessons learned and applied.
Call Reed and Whitehouse, if you haven’t already, to thank them for their votes at the end of November to pass the Sanders-Lee-Murphy resolution to end our support of the War on Yemen. Call Langevin and express your thanks for his vote to end our support of the War on Yemen. After you express thanks, ask each of them to repeal and replace the AUMF ( The effort of Barbara Lee (Democrat, California) in the House and Jeff Merkley in the Senate) and to reduce the military budget and sales of war machinery around the world including South and Central America.
Reed – 401-943-3100
Langevin – 401-732-9400
Whitehouse – 401-453-5294
Call Cicilline and thank him for his consistent opposition to the War on Yemen. Request his active support of repealing the current AUMF and advocating for a reduced military budget. 401-729-5600. The rest of our congressional delegation should follow Cicilline’s lead as well as that of most of the rest of New England’s delegation.
Our demonstration today was simple. There were 7 or 8 people gathered on the sidewalks along the plaza. People were there peacefully with signs. We received a lot of positive feedback from passersby, good honking, thumbs-up, peace signs, and waving. Public awareness is building that there are other avenues for our public officials to take. Make your calls, talk to your state legislators about these issues, build awareness with your friends, co-workers, and family.
As always, we believe the key for successful demonstration is to Respect Ourselves, Others, and Community. These are positive interactions to publicly challenge our elected officials, and work to change how they conduct our business and improve their service of our interests.