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March with us: No to U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad

April 1, 2018

Join the march Sunday, April 15, 11 a.m., Oakland’s Lake Merritt Amphitheater, 12th Street and Fourth Avenue on Lake Merritt Boulevard

by Barry Hermanson

It has been years since large numbers of people marched to protest wars at home and abroad. I think people stopped coming out when they saw that our marches had little impact on spending priorities in Washington. Massive military spending and unchecked sales of arms to other countries have not produced peace. Instead, violence and terrorism increase around the world.

Bay View publisher Willie Ratcliff speaks to a quarter-million people massed in front of San Francisco City Hall on Feb. 16, 2003, to protest Bush’s threats to invade Iraq.

The large March for Our Lives rallies on March 24 may bring about a new day for the anti-war movement. At the march in San Francisco, my favorite sign was carried by a young girl. “You want your AR-15. I want to live until 15.”

It is shocking to read such a message from a child. Yet, AR-15s are sold all over the world. Selling arms is big business. The U.S. is No. 1 in military spending and is No. 1 in arms exports, both by wide margins.

March with us. More than 100 Bay Area organizations have endorsed the April 15 rally and march in Oakland. Join the Spring Action 2018 Coalition Against U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad. Our march is part of a national April 14-15 mobilization. Many thanks to the San Francisco Bay View newspaper for printing the flyer for the rally and march in this paper. It is an amazing gift to the anti-war community. If you are reading this and are not a subscriber, if you are able, please become a subscriber or send a donation. Help keep this valuable and unique news source in print.

Take time to read Riva Enteen’s excellent report on the March for Our Lives in San Francisco. The most jarring image of the day was captured in the picture with the article of two San Francisco police officers standing with assault weapons. As I walked by them, I felt less safe.

We spend too much on a bloated military industrial complex. Every year Democrats and Republicans in Washington vote overwhelmingly to fund the military. Last year, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker voted to give Trump more than $30 billion for the military than was requested – $700 billion for 2018, $94 billion more than last year. And, for the first time, a two year “Defense Budget” was passed: $716 billion for 2019. Why do they prioritize military spending over everything else?

March with us. More than 100 Bay Area organizations have endorsed the April 15 rally and march in Oakland. Join the Spring Action 2018 Coalition Against U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad. Our march is part of a national April 14-15 mobilization.

The Pentagon is the only federal agency that has never been audited. Why do we have so many military personnel stationed in other parts of the world? Why is there never a national debate about how much we need to spend to defend ourselves?

The Democratic National Committee tells us that we should elect more Democrats. Take back control of the House. The vote on HR 2810, the 2018 U.S. military spending bill was 344 yes and 81 no, as it passed from the House to the Senate last July. In the Senate, the vote was 89 to 8. And, they tacked on several more $billions.

Why do we have so many military personnel stationed in other parts of the world? Why is there never a national debate about how much we need to spend to defend ourselves?

Sen. Bernie Sanders, normally a reliable vote for the military budget, voted no and is finally speaking out. When HR 2810 went back to the House to reconcile differences with the Senate, the vote was 356 yes and 70 no. Nancy Pelosi was one of seven representatives who did not cast a vote.

Members of Congress fight over everything except military spending. Children have stepped to the front and are leading the gun control debate. But this debate shouldn’t be about just guns in the U.S. Children in other countries also want to live to 15 and beyond. Join us as we march against the wars at home and abroad.

Barry Hermanson is the San Francisco-based Green Party candidate for U.S. House of Representatives. Visit his website, barry4congress.org, and email him at Barry@Barry4Congress.org.

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