WNPJ is celebrating the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Jan 17 – 22

WNPJ is celebrating the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Jan 17 – 22
 Join in!   There are ZOOM events, available across the state.

 **********************************

Mon Jan 18, 1 pm Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 20th Annual Justice Gathering - on zoom from Milwaukee. Recognizing Dr. King’s Vision of a Beloved Community:

The Great Gatherings for Black Lives Matter  The diverse marches to end police violence brought together black, brown, white, old and young, gay and straight by the tens of thousands across the country and around the world to demand justice and respect for our Black brothers and sisters.

The Great Frontline Heroes of the Covid-19 Pandemic Doctors, nurses, technicians, service people, teachers, mail carriers, grocery clerks, firemen - the list goes on and on of people who are risking their lives for the rest of us in the midst of this pandemic. 

Words of Dr. King and music performed by local actors and musicians. 

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic we will have a safe, virtual gathering on Zoom.

To register for this free event go to  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/20th-annual-milwaukee-dr-martin-luther-king-jr-justice-program-on-zoom-tickets-133034885925

The Zoom link will then be emailed to you.

Sponsored by the Martin Luther King Justice Coalition (over 30 peace, justice and community organizations). Contact: George Martin 414-745-5740 .

                                         ************************************

Mon Jan 18, 6 - 7 pm 36th Annual King Holiday Observance celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day - Madison.  Online this year, sponsored by The King Coalition of Madison and Dane County.

The 2021 King Holiday Observance will feature Eddie S. GlaudeJr., author of "Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own,” a book with "elements of biography, criticism and memoir" in regards to the late writer and activist, according to a New York Times book review. Glaude is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University, according to the King Coalition's news release. He writes columns for Time Magazine and is a contributor on MSNBC programs, among other media appearances. The event will include the presenting of the Madison-Dane County Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian award by Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. Angela Fitzgerald, host of "Wisconsin Life" on Wisconsin Public Television, will host the observance, while musician Leotha Stanley will lead an online version of the MLK Community Choir.

More information and instructions on how to attend will be posted on the King Coalition's website.http://mlkingcoalition.org/

                                          ****************************************************

Friday January 22nd, 5-7pm MLK - "Beyond the Dream:  A Call to Conscience" - a webinar presented by Veterans for Peace. Two-hour program with speakers, music, and a round table discussion focused on remembering Dr. King's legacy to stand up and organize for a better today and tomorrow - not just on his birthday but every day.  Topics covered will include the intersectionality of people's struggles to include addressing racism, heterosexism, poverty, male supremacy, and nuclear weapons.  January 22nd, 2021 was chosen for this special edition of StandDown Live as it is the date that the UN has chosen to take a stand against nuclear weapons - and this was also a message of Dr. King's call for people to mobilize and organize for change. Register herevfp@veteransforpeace.org

 

                                           **********************************************

This brief essay was forwarded to WNPJ’s antimilitarism group by Bob Graf  to share with peace and justice groups on this MLK, Jr. Holiday. bobsyouruncle@sbcglobal.net

 

Graf writes: “In honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday please read the brief essay by Gene Sharp "Militarism is everywhere and is killing U.S.". To stop the growing dominance of militarism in our society, we need to create a united effort of peace and justice groups, movements and individuals focused on lowing the amount of our next budget.  The time to start is now as our new president will soon a new budget and our congressional representatives vote on it.  Militarism affects the other two evils of our society, racism and extreme materialism. Are you and your organization ready to organize now and to work together to stop militarism?”

               * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” Martin Luther King, Jr. April 4, 1967

Militarism is everywhere and is killing U.S.                                                                                       Essay by Gene Sharp

In 1967, during the Vietnam War when Dr. King spoke these words the Department of Defense budget was $75.45 billion dollars.  Now it is $740.5 billion and when we add in military spending in other parts of the budget it is over $938 billion dollars. (1) What is surprising, however, is how the evil of militarism has grown without much fanfare.  The US defense budget is now higher than the next top ten defense budgets of other countries combined. (2) Also, the Pentagon budget is higher than the budgets for Health and Humans Services, Education, VA, Homeland Security, Energy Department, HUD, State Department and NASA combined.  Does this budget reflect our American values?

How invasive military spending is in the US can be seen in the database of Pentagon Defense Contractors that won defense contracts from 2000 -2019. (3) Check out your state, county, city, charitable organizations, universities, church groups, or local businesses and you will find military contracts everywhere. (3)  For example, I was talking with a friend from a very small town in Wisconsin with a population of 519 persons.  My friend said that businesses in his town had no Defense Contracts.  I looked up his small town in Defense GovernmentContractsWon.com and found that a small sports wholesale business had won an $88,392 Defense contract and an Upholstered Household Furniture Manufacturer had received Defense contracts of $390,447 from 2000-2019.  Both of these small businesses can handle a small piece of Pentagon needs for sports equipment and upholstered furniture and they illustrate how Defense contracts are spread wide and far in the US reaching all congressional districts.   In my home town of Milwaukee, 502 contractors received 31,961 defense contracts valued at $4,586,791,907 in 2000-2019.  The contracts range from non-profits to a Catholic University to arms manufacturers.  Militarism is everywhere!

 When the 2020 and 2021 Pentagon budget of $1.48 Trillion, ($738 billion dollars for 2020 and $740. 5 billion dollars for 2021) was passed with overwhelming support from Democrats and Progressives, I was dismayed but not surprised.  I immediately wrote an essay of ten reasons to oppose the budget, ranging from destruction of the environment, harm to people in need, taking resources away from education and health, putting our country deeper into debt and more. (4)  We all are living with these military allotments of our money no matter if it is killing innocent children, polluting our environment, spying on us or limiting our freedom of expression of values.  Peace groups, for the most part, are focused on the NDAA, National Defense Authorization Act, authorizing the spending of these outrageous military budget, while ignoring these grotesque amounts themselves. 

We can also learn from history how militarization in the USA, based on individualism, is unsustainable and leads to the failure of Government.  Societies like ancient Greece and Rome, built on militarism and individualism were unsustainable and ultimately failed.  Our US society was built for cooperation, not just competition. But now with a strong market and state but without a strong “link to our fellow citizens in bonds of collective responsibility -- trust and truth erode, economics becomes inequitable and politics becomes unbearable”. (5)  

Compare this to a history of the ancient Egyptian civilization which lasted three millenniums, (from the early dynastic era before 3000 BC to the fall of the Ptolemaic dynasty in 30 BC).  It displayed no interest in military expansion or in being an Empire but believed the State was the “ultimate guarantors of citizen welfare and the equitable distribution of wealth” (6). It is no wonder why our founders used Egyptian symbols when establishing the USA.

US militarism is killing our republic.  Perhaps we cannot stop it but we certainly can slow it down through nonviolent struggles to resist and work to reduce our military budgets.  We can refuse to cooperate or support in any way when our congressional representatives, Democrats or Republicans, Conservatives or Liberals support the “Unprecedented, Wasteful, and Obscene” Pentagon budget. (7) Working together we can stop the bleeding and perhaps heal this divided nation.  Are we willing to try?

“When people refuse their cooperation, withhold their help, and persist in their disobedience and defiance, they are denying their opponent the basic human assistance and cooperation which any government or hierarchical system requires.  If they do this in sufficient numbers for long enough, that government or hierarchical system will no longer have power.  This is the basic political assumption of nonviolent action.” (From the book ‘The Politics of Nonviolent Action (Part One) Power and Struggle’ by Gene Sharp)

 

 (1)   https://www.thebalance.com/u-s-military-budget-components-challenges-growth-3306320#defense-department-base-budget

(2)   https://www.globalfirepower.com/defense-spending-budget.asp

(3)   https://www.governmentcontractswon.com/

(4)   file:///C:/Users/Robert/Documents/Militarism/10%20Reasons%20to%20Say%20No%20the%201.htm

(5)    “Morality, Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times” by Johnathan Sacks, p. 262

(6)   https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2020/12/31/ancient-egypt-a-pyramid-scheme-that-worked

(7)    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/07/26/unprecedented-wasteful-and-obscene-house-approves-148-trillion-pentagon-budget