April 16th, 2020
We knew this was going to be a tough and pivotal year politically, but few predicted the extent to which it would be so. Constant updates from the COVID-19 pandemic to the Democratic Primaries to chaos from within the Trump administration are alarming and hyperstimulating. For many young people, this will be the second economic collapse that we’ve lived through in our lives— not to mention the third “conceptual” war (the “war” on the coronavirus follows the War on Drugs and War on Terror).
Our deepest hope for our members is that you are able to take care of yourselves and others right now. Remember to practice asking for help, as well as offering help.
Here at War Resisters League, our work continues. Earlier this month, we held our first online event with the new broad antiwar coalition Racial Justice Has No Borders, which brings together antiwar and antimilitarist organizations from across the country to push analysis forward that centers the needs of those directly impacted by war and militarism: refugee, diaspora, Black, brown, indigenous, and poor and working class communities in and out of the U.S. With opening remarks from Rep. Ilhan Omar and a series of panels addressing issues like why militarism and war are a reality today, what current crises are facing our communities, and how to imagine beyond the empire, the townhall allowed us to dig deeper into the work of understanding how we, as a movement, can come together to meet the challenges we face— like the need to repeal the AUMFs.
WRL’s Resisting Airwars Network was active both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Ramah Kudaimi, a member of WRL’s Resisting Airwars Network spoke about U.S. internationalism and solidarity on the final panel alongside Barbara Ransby of Rising Majority, moderated by Reece Chenault of Justice Before Peace.
Reece: How can we help people based here connect with struggles percieved to be happening "over there"? What can help people see past the empire that they live in?
Ramah: I think sometimes we over analyze and over complicate what solidarity should be. In some places it’s clear. For example, the US government sends Israel $3.8 billion in military funding every year. That is funding that could be used for education housing, hospitals, everything we need for our communities to thrive in the United States. But for other struggles where there isn’t a direct link, it’s as simple as recognizing that people have a right to resist their regimes. Demands for liberation is not something that is limited based on whether these regimes are on one side of the United States. If you pick up a book and read a book, that is an act of solidarity. If you hold a sign saying “I stand in solidarity with your struggle,” that is solidarity. If you stop people from denying war crimes, that is solidarity. Solidarity doesn’t have to be complicated. Every single day people across the globe are resisting and unfortunately, every single day people are losing their lives to the struggle. Simply acknowledging it is one step we can take to say: your struggle is worth it.
As we strive to do the difficult work of bridging domestic and international conversations about the impacts of militarism, WRL's Resisting Airwars Network also coordinated with the Ambazonian Prisoners of Conscience Network to collect a series of video comments from people across Africa, Latin America, and Asia on how U.S. foreign policy affects their lives. We believe that amplifying the stories of people living outside the U.S. is fundamental to the work of building a truly internationalist, U.S.-based antiwar movement and if you haven’t already, we hope you’ll take a minute to listen.
As Ramah mentioned in the webinar, the U.S. sends Israel $3.8 bilIion dollars in military funding every year. That's just part of the story: did you know that 47% of our income taxes go to military and defense spending? War Tax Resisters advocate for the redistribution of tax money away from the military and it's as clear as ever that we need those resources to go towards hospitals, education, and other life-affirming measures.
Income tax day has been moved to July 15th. From now until then, join War Tax Resisters in protesting how these funds are distributed. Read and share the infographic below:
INFOGRAPHIC: Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes