Monday, December 1, 2008

UFPJ to Host Annual Conference

United for Peace and Justice Conference

Across the world there is excitement in the air with high hopes for 2009. On every continent millions will be looking for a new administration in Washington to change course. The world wants to see an end to U.S. unilateral bullying, to “might makes right” militarism, and to wars soaked in oil and blood while the planet is destroyed.

We share these hopes. And we know that whatever the result of the November elections, turning them into realities will require broad, creative and continuous action and pressure from the people of the United States. We cannot sit back and expect our elected leaders to change the course alone. Now, more than ever, we must ensure a popular mandate to end the war in Iraq and change the direction of our country.

United for Peace and Justice is working hard to galvanize and organize a re-energized movement for peace. We are convening our next National Assembly just six weeks after the elections to keep building on the momentum of this period and to quickly prepare ourselves for the year ahead. Representatives of our 1,400 member groups will have an opportunity to come together and plan effective and united action on new post-November terrain.

We believe that if the peace and justice movement aims high and works hard, 2009 can be a breakthrough year:

* 2009 can be the year Washington is forced to recognize that “time horizons” and “residual forces” are not enough, that the U.S. must totally withdraw from Iraq.

* 2009 can be a year of decisive change in U.S.-Iranian relations, with the “military option” and “regime change” taken “off the table” and all outstanding issues resolved through negotiation.

* 2009 can see the end of the public assumption that Afghanistan is Washington’s “good war”; and instead of sending more troops, the U.S. can begin the process of negotiating reconciliation and peace with all key Afghan and regional parties.

* 2009 can bring a new level of popular debate on the U.S.-Israeli “special relationship” and a change in Washington’s blank-check-for-Israel policies, which are a prime obstacle to ending the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands, negotiating a just solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and establishing a nuclear-free Middle East.

* 2009 can be the year that the wrong-headed “war on terror” framework that now guides U.S. policy is discarded, and the U.S. begins to earnestly address the real causes of violence and instability by prioritizing international cooperation to end global poverty, ensure equitable access to life-sustaining resources, and lead the world by example toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

* 2009 can be the year that that the U.S. takes leadership in the fight against global warming and reduces key sources of international conflict by renouncing dependence on fossil fuels, shelving plans for offshore oil drilling and new nuclear power plants, and investing seriously in the development of safe renewable, sources of energy.

* 2009 can bring a massive reallocation of this country’s resources away from militarism and war toward providing health care and education for all while rebuilding the GulfCoast and the entire national public infrastructure.

* 2009 can be the year the U.S. reverses course and moves to expand rather than curtail civil liberties and democratic rights, bring accountability back to government, ensure equal rights for all, and aggressively combat all discrimination based on race, nationality, religion, gender, immigration status and sexual orientation.

* 2009 can be a year to end the racist demonization of immigrants and of entire peoples, the raids on migrant workers and an end to the new homeland security detention centers and racist border walls.

* 2009 can be a year when global trade agreements that rob the global south of their resources while imposing destructive social policies can be dismantled, and when all future agreements include real labor and environmental protections.

This is an ambitious agenda. It is also an urgent one, for the interlocking crises facing this country and the world not only are harming millions daily but threaten the very future of the planet. There is no time to lose. We take heart from the fact that the U.S. public is demanding a change in this country’s course; large numbers – with new generations of young people in the forefront - are already mobilized and pushing, both within and beyond the electoral arena, in exactly these directions.

In the weeks immediately following the November balloting, every political force in the country (and the world) will be taking stock of the results, assessing the new terrain, and making plans to weigh in and influence events in 2009 and beyond. The U.S. peace and justice movement needs to be in the very forefront of both assessment and action.

We aim to intensify the effort to build the broadest possible movement anchored in the communities especially hard-hit by all the horrors that flow from war, militarism and violence: communities of color, immigrants, working and poor people, women, LGBT people, active-duty military personnel and veterans, and youth. We look forward to an exciting and energizing Assembly in which we assess how far we have come in five-plus years of organizing, educating and mobilizing - and collectively determine plans to make 2009 a breakthrough year for peace and justice.

We invite you to join us in Chicago on December 12-14, 2008.
for more information visit: http://www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?id=3952

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