Thank you for your continued support in 2016. Because of you, the Peace Economy Project remained a strong voice for peace and justice. Over the last 40 years, PEP has emphasized the importance of converting swords into plowshares and we hope to continue to do so in 2017 and onward.
To assist us in this work, we are asking you for your help in reaching our end of year goal. This holiday season, we hope to raise $5,000 from generous supporters such as you.
As many of you know, PEP’s mission is to educate about the hazards of an unchecked military-industrial complex and advocate for conversion from a military to a more stable, peace-based economy. Central to our purpose has been President Eisenhower’s admonition to be weary of the Military-Industrial Complex. Over time, we have come to realize the Military Industrial Complex is better defined as the “Military-Industrial-Congressional” complex, a revolving door of Pentagon officials, defense industry lobbyists and contractors, and Congress. This informal alliance of the military and related government departments with defense industries has and continues to wield great influence over public policy. PEP is here to challenge those policies that support massive defense spending.
Through our annual Congressional Appeal and lobby visit to DC, our newsletters and monthly e-zines, our social media outreach and website, and our public events including our film and discussion series, we continue to educate the public about the dangers of costly and wasteful defense spending.
This year, PEP and Veterans for Peace launched a monthly peace and justice film series to reinvigorate the peace movement in St. Louis area. We’ve shown documentaries such as, “Dirty Wars,” “Paying the Price for Peace,” “Immigrants for Sale,” and “Blue Gold: World Water Wars.” PEP and VFP will continue the series through 2017 with exciting films like “13th” and “The Interrupters” to continue discussion with fellow activists about the biggest peace-related issues facing us today.
In October 2016, the Peace Economy Project presented at Amnesty International’s Midwest Regional Conference in Detroit, Mich. The session, entitled, “Blank Check: U.S. Military Aid and Human Rights Violations Around the World,” featured facts and figures about human rights, the federal budget, foreign aid and the countries impacted by the U.S.’ budgeting priorities.
In recent years, especially after the events in Ferguson, our focus has expanded as well to local police departments, their behavior, training, and the “excess” equipment that they are given by the Pentagon through the Department of Defense’s 1033 program. The militarization of police is directly related to the part of PEP’s mission which reads, “We focus our attention on local weapons manufacturing, arms proliferation and worldwide militarization.”
In the coming year our mission will be challenged as never before. The results of the presidential election have troubling implications for the future of Pentagon spending. For those of us who value peace, it is imperative that we focus on strategies moving forward and that we continue to lift up our voices for the issues that matter most to us.
There’s too much wasteful spending in the Pentagon budget. On top of that, the Pentagon receives billions of dollars every year outside of its regular budget through its own slush fund, the war budget or Overseas Contingency Operations account. PEP sees a reduction in Pentagon spending as a step towards reducing militarism in the U.S. and around the world, at home and abroad. The federal budget should be rebalanced to support communities and promote peace, rather than promote violence, poverty and inequality.
Now, more than ever, public education on issues related to excessive and wasteful military spending is extremely important. With a gift from you, we can continue our important education campaign to raise awareness about costly Pentagon spending. During these troubling times, we are committed to increasing our visibility and our voices, through even more letters to the editor, letter to congress, and public events.
Thank you for your support.