APRIL 5th Coalition for Peace & Justice (start page)
Stop the War on Iraq! Stop the War on Us!
Bush’s pre-emptive strike against Iraq is illegal, breaking international law as observed by the United Nations. The U.S. attack is opposed by the majority of the world’s peoples and governments. Some will call it genocide--the systematic massacre of poor men, women and children of color, the majority of whom are under the age of 15. It is a war that will likely divide the world along racial and religious lines and only bring more acts of retaliation.
We Can't Afford War
The human toll is incomprehensible--the damage to the environment and homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses in Iraq will be devastating. And there are costs here at home as well. Reuters estimates the war will cost the United States $100 to $200 billion for a quick attack. Longer engagement or occupation could cost $1.5 trillion or more (Nordhaus, NY Review of Books).
Where will this money come from? Taxpayers. And this time, our taxes will not return to communities to help with social services, such as Medi-Cal; nor will they support Headstart, jobs programs, immunizations, or other critical services. Budget cuts at both state and federal levels will impact us all.
Shifting resources into the military budget will drain an already weak economy and force budget cuts that will be felt for a generation. Funding cuts will decimate our children’s education, further erode a healthcare system in crisis, and continue to undermine the economy and job programs. Another price of the war is the unprecedented attack on our constitutional rights and civil liberties.
Books Not Bombs
Federally-funded special education programs and Headstart are targeted for cuts. California’s budget woes are forcing a $1 billion cut to the state’s community college system. The Federal government is doing nothing to help states hurt by the weak economy. Three times the number of Latino and African American students are enrolled in community colleges as in the UC system, and they will likely be hit hardest by fee increases and the elimination of classes.
Education is a good investment. Fund our future: money for schools, not for war.
Jobs Not Jails
While U.S. unemployment stands near 9.6 million, President Bush proposes a $680 billion stimulus package that benefits the wealthiest 5 percent at the expense of working people. In the past two years, 1.7 million jobs have been lost and 1 million unemployed workers have run out of benefits. Proposed Medi-Cal cuts are projected to eliminate another 27,994 jobs in California. Federal budget proposals cut almost $700 million from job training and employment programs in 2003.
Jobs with a living wage provide the security we need, not more jails or “Homeland Security.”
Healthcare Not Warfare
Across the U.S., three years of budget shortfalls at the state level total more than $180 billion; the federal government faces an additional deficit in 2003 of $200 billion. Currently, 7.4 million Californians have no health insurance. To make up the state’s shortfall, the governor proposes budget cuts of $1.3 billion to Medi-Cal. Three million California children rely on Medi-Cal, which provides free health coverage to the poorest children and families. Reductions in Medi-Cal would disproportionately affect seniors, working families, and the disabled.
Instead of spending billions on destruction, we could fund universal healthcare--like all other industrialized nations in the world.
Rights not Racism
In the name of its “war on terrorism,” the U.S. government has targeted Muslim, Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian men for incarceration and deportation; it has permitted federal agents to tap our phones, invade our private email, and search records of the books we borrow from public libraries. At military bases, we hold “suspects” without charges and without trials. Our government has engendered a climate of hate, fear and racism. Civil liberties guaranteed by our constitution have been suspended under the Patriot Act and racial profiling has been legalized by “Homeland Security” measures. In our schools, students’ rights to distribute flyers is curtailed and their right to protest is met with expulsions.
We resist the manufactured climate of fear and demand the restoration of full civil liberties to all.