PA Green Party Joins MLK Week of Peace Actions
By Jocolyn Bowser-Bostick
For about two billion people throughout some Asian countries such as China, South Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam the lunar calendar is used to mark the progress of months and years. The Lunar New Year began on January 22 with celebrations lasting up to 16 days. The Chinese predict this lunar year to be marked by peace, prosperity, and optimism.
As a member of the Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA), I long for this to be true because the U.S. is a key player in sustaining too many violent conflicts around the world instead of being, as it could be, a major force for facilitating and maintaining peace, prosperity, clean energy, and environmental sustainability. The U.S. could and should be a leader in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include the four goals cited above. They were adopted and committed to by the U.S. and 192 other countries in 2015.
These SDGs are about achieving social, economic, political and environmental progress for all of us but especially for the most vulnerable and exploited people on our planet. The Green Party's 10 Key Values are very similar to the United Nations' 17 SDGs.
Working to achieve and to maintain peace in our communities and between all the different nations of the world is such a crucial value and goal of the Green Party and an absolute necessity in helping to accomplish the other 16 SDGs. There are other NGO's, thankfully, that make agitating for peace a high priority, and the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) is one of them.
Early last year, UNAC called for several days of actions and protests titled, STOP U.S. Wars: MLK Week of Actions, to run from January 13 through January 22, because it encompassed the U.S. holiday that celebrates the birthday of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a great visionary who understood the importance of promoting peace, love for humanity and the use of non-violent protest as a strategy to gain needed societal changes and social/economic justice. The GPPA Steering Committee endorsed these ten days of action to focus on changing policies and funding priorities to promote peace domestically and internationally, such as:
- Cutting the U.S. military budget in half;
- Ending new U.S funding of nuclear weapons and having the U.S. sign onto treaties that reduce nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear war;
- Having the U.S. deescalate the war in Ukraine and promote a peaceful resolution to the violence between Russia and Ukraine;
- Stopping the U.S. military support of the Saudi-led war in Yemen; and
- Ending U.S. financial, political, and military backing of the physical, social, and environmental violence and oppression being inflicted by Israel on the Palestinian people.
Many of these issues and other policy changes that promote peace and social/economic justice are addressed in the Peace Platform of the Green Party of the U.S.
In Pennsylvania there were peace actions in Pittsburgh and King of Prussia (KOP), and three events in Philadelphia. The events in Philadelphia and KOP were also endorsed by the Green Party of Philadelphia. GPPA Communications Team Co-chair Chris Robinson participated in two of these events, which shared an emphasis on uplifting the anniversary of the U.N. Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty. Robinson said, "I was glad to see the Green Party presence on January 22 for the Anniversary of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This action was hosted by the Brandywine Peace Community and co-sponsored by the Grannie Peace Brigade, No War Now, and Divest Philly from the War Machine -- in addition to the Green Party. Despite the poor weather, the rally in front of the Federal Building was vigorous and finished with a march around the Liberty Bell."
Other themes supported at these PA events were:
- NO to NATO!
- YES to Peace in Ukraine! and
- More funding for our communities to improve healthcare, improve and expand affordable housing, improve the access to and the quality of education, and save the environment – rather than the bloated war machine.
The following are some observations that can be made about the STOP U.S. Wars: MLK Week of Actions:
- In the state of New York there were peace actions in the cities of Rochester, Schenectady, Syracuse, Albany/Delmar, Binghamton, Buffalo, and Ithaca;
- Across New York City there were four rallies, two rally/march actions, and an action over several days to recognize countries which have already ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; and
- About ten different actions in several cities across Massachusetts.
Some actions focused on specific issues tied to decreasing U.S. militarism such as ending NATO, stopping the involvement of the U.S. and NATO in the war in Ukraine, ending U.S. provocation of China over Taiwan, stopping U.S. weapons and money going to Saudi Arabia to help end the war in Yemen, and stopping the financial and military backing of Israel to end the suffering of the Palestinian people.
Other actions were broader in focus, identifying several issues the U.S. government would have more money for by cutting military spending and issues it must approach differently to foster peace, such as immigration, ending poverty, Indigenous treaties, reducing gun violence, universal healthcare, sanctions against Cuba, Venezuela and other countries, police brutality/over funding of police, the Green New Deal, and corporate capitalism. Some actions targeted state or federally elected officials with protest letters and petitions to urge them to take actions that promote peace, justice, and cuts to military funding.
Other demonstrations for peace occurred in Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Wisconsin, Washington and Washington, DC; Berlin, Germany; Hamilton, Montreal, Vancouver and Victoria, Canada; and Melbourne and Sidney, Australia.
The need for these protests against militarism, racism, and materialism to vigorously continue was made even more obvious to me when I read the sickening comments by Dutch Admiral Rob Bauer, Chair of the NATO Military Committee, on January 28 with RTP, a Portuguese broadcasting organization. According to RTP, "Rob Bauer insists that NATO is prepared for a direct confrontation with Russia and admits that rearmament is the Alliance's top priority . . . . Bauer recalled that during the NATO summit in Madrid last year the Alliance decided to establish four additional multinational battlegroups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine.
"Bauer said that NATO countries ought to gear civilian industrial production to the needs of the military and expressed his support for the idea of a 'war economy in peacetime' . . . ." In a previous interview Admiral Bauer said that Russia will remain a threat to NATO even if its forces are defeated in Ukraine.
Clearly, we cannot be silent or inactive if we don't want to be slaves to the war machine.
Jocolyn Bowser-Bostick is a former member of the GPPA Steering Committee and a current delegate to the GPPA State Committee from Delaware County.
The Green Party of PA (GPPA, https://www.gpofpa.org) is an independent political party that stands in opposition to the two corporate parties. GPPA candidates promote public policy based on the Green Party's Four Pillars: grassroots democracy, nonviolence, ecological wisdom, and social justice/equal opportunity. For further information about GPPA, please email [email protected]. Please follow GPPA on social media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
For more information, please see:
"Take Action for the Sustainable Development Goals," United Nations,
"Our Ten Key Values," Green Party of the U.S.,
"Peace and Disarmament," Platform, Green Party U.S., I. Democracy, D. Foreign Policy,
"Top NATO official says Alliance ready for direct confrontation with Russia," Yahoo!News, January 28, 2023,
Photo by Rich Gardner.
Peace rally on 1/22/23 at the federal building in Philadelphia, PA.