PETITION TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: WE URGE YOU TO CHANGE YOUR POLICIES, AND TO USE THE STATE OF THE UNION SPEECH TO RENOUNCE INEQUALITY, MILITARISM AND ECOCIDE
January 12, 2016
Dear Mr. President,
As friends and representatives of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR), we are writing to request that you use the State of the Union speech to indicate you will do your best to change the direction of this country. A real State of the Union would be a frank speech which would condemn our country’s addiction to economic inequality, racial injustice, warmongering and the destruction of our planet. After being honest about our failures, you would then urge our elected officials to go in a new direction, based on a democratic ideal for we the people, and not for we the wealthy. Tell them to listen to the people, and not the corporations. You could inform them that you will utilize diplomacy and other peaceful means. You could tell them to listen to the scientific community and not the fossil fuel industry.
You could also state that you will immediately end the illegal and immoral killer drone program, and will never resort again to assassination as a foreign policy. And most importantly, you would close down the Pentagon, the Department of War, and renounce nuclear weaponry. Finally, you would pledge to save Mother Earth. The Pentagon would become the Department of Peace with Justice, and its mission would be to shape the sustainable future.
We write to you as people committed to nonviolent social change with a deep concern for a variety of issues that are all interrelated. Please heed our petition—end our government’s continuing wars and military incursions around the world and use these tax dollars as a solution to end growing poverty which is a plague throughout this country in which vast wealth is controlled by a tiny percentage of its citizens. Establish a living wage for all workers. Condemn forcefully the policy of mass incarceration, solitary confinement, and the rampant police violence. Pledging to end the addiction to militarism will have a positive effect on our planet’s climate and habitat. Should you show any interest in our demands, we would be available to assist in this process.
NCNR members have consistently participated in witnesses of nonviolent civil resistance calling on our government to take meaningful action to confront the climate crisis, the unending wars, the root causes of poverty, the bigotry and antipathy to African Americans, Muslims, and other minorities, and the structural violence of the military-security state. By listening to the millions of people at home and abroad your administration has recently taken laudable steps to avoid using military force with Iran and to reduce carbon emissions, but more significant action is still needed.
Instead of the State Department, your administration uses the Pentagon to deal with conflict, and such behavior in concert with our allies greatly contributes to a violent and destabilized world. The U.S. use of armed drones by the military and the Central Intelligence Agency is inflicting enormous human suffering, is unconstitutional, and is only creating more “terrorists.” Your administration should cease its hostile rhetoric and sanctions against North Korea, Russia, and Iran. Furthermore, the US should seek a diplomatic solution to the civil war in Syria, disband NATO, and end the increasing military presence in Southeast Asia, commonly referred to as the “Asian Pivot,” which threatens China. You must end all military aid to Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the other countries in the Middle East. A new approach must be taken by your administration to free the Palestinians from over half a century of violent Israeli oppression. Diplomacy is the only answer to stop the cycle of violence. Regardless of whether noncombatants suffer or not, violence and war are not the answers to conflict. Diplomatic efforts to end the sanctions and hostile relations with Cuba are a good example of the positive path that can be taken and should be followed with other countries labeled as our enemies.
Nuclear weapons can never be used, and the plan to use a trillion tax dollars to “upgrade” the nuclear arsenal is madness. A study by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, an independent think tank that works closely with the Pentagon, reports that the actual costs your administration plans for updating the nuclear triad — the intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarines and aircraft capable of delivering nuclear warheads – will cost one trillion dollars. This is beyond senselessly wasteful! It is immoral and actually illegal under international law to possess such weapons capable of global annihilation thousands of times greater than the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These tax dollars must be re-allocated towards reviving our sagging infrastructure and supporting social services desperately needed by the poor. The tax dollars could also be utilized to assist former prisoners returning to their communities.
Almost half the people on this planet live off less than $2.50 a day and around 22,000 children die every day due to poverty according to UNICEF. However, the U.S. has continued to expend half of the federal discretionary budget on warmongering. Besides wasting tax dollars, the wars have resulted in untold numbers of lives lost, injured millions of refugees, and contributed to ecocide.
According to the National Center for Children in Poverty “More than 16 million children in the United States – 22% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level – $23,550 a year for a family of four. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Using this standard, 45% of children live in low-income families.”
Unending war and imperialism means rampant death and destruction. Within the last 13 years, we have experienced how the United States has responded to international crisis with violence. Our government has waged wars in violation of international law. The failed Middle East policy leaves a whole region mired in violence and instability including an enormous refugee crisis. The continuing support for Israel’s apartheid state and oppression of the Palestinian people must end. Furthermore, so many continue to be victimized by killer drones or are tortured and illegally detained now. We welcome the long overdue release in 2015 of some prisoners from Guantanamo but you must follow through on your promise to close this shameful illegal detention camp which has come to represent the racism and structural violence of the American empire. Even in this country, solitary confinement and mass incarceration is the norm, and undocumented immigrants, who have fled strife and poverty caused by international economic agreements, are held for long periods of time before being deported back into the poverty and instability they desperately tried to escape.
Our disregard for the causes of climate chaos is leading to the destruction of the planet. Being controlled, in part, by the fossil fuel industry, our government has not been willing to sign onto international treaties to end climate chaos. In the article “Greenwashing the Pentagon”, Joseph Nevins states, “The U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate.”
We believe that another way is possible and that there are alternatives to the life threatening policies that our government has promoted and that have been so destructive to Mother Earth and the people of the world.
Use the State of the Union as a platform to renounce the past and to promote necessary and positive social change. Unless our elected officials take immediate and significant actions, Mother Earth is doomed.
Please sign onto this petition by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
CALL TO ACTION TO DECLARE THE REAL STATE OF THE UNION – JAN. 12, 2016
Guided by conscience, reason, and deeply held convictions, the National Campaign for Nonvi…olent Resistance calls upon all people of good will to come to Washington, DC on Tuesday January 12, 2016 to actively participate in a witness of nonviolent civil resistance, challenging President Barack Obama and the United States Congress to address the real state of the union, to immediately stop all U.S. acts of war, and to make significant changes that will put the people of the United States on the path to acting cooperatively with all in the world so that we can all live together in a world of peace, sharing our resources fairly.
The president will deliver his State of the Union speech to the U.S. Congress on that day and tragically for the world, without a doubt, his presentation will once again be a threadbare act of political theatre with no relevance to the masses of people here in the United States or around the world. The escalating violence and tyranny of an expanding American empire abroad is destabilizing the world. The US Congress is bought and paid for by corporations and a wealthy minority who believe that assertion of global military control is the only way to ensure their corporate success. Congress willingly rubber stamps empire’s ongoing wars, with U.S. citizens footing the bill, paying the trillions of dollars in military costs benefiting only the 1 percent while causing crippling injuries, deaths, extreme hardship and suffering for so much of the world. Congress is nothing more than a bipartisan betrayer of the people. The ongoing wars for empire must end if humanity is to survive.
To be more specific, the perpetual wars waged by the U.S. are illegal, immoral, and enriching the wealthy financial corporate elites as millions within the U.S. lack basic needs, and billions around the world live in extreme poverty. We see how the wars and occupations abroad, fueled by fear and profit, have literally and figuratively turned inwards against the American people, impoverishing and imprisoning us. The US drone wars are directed at the poorest and least powerful in places like Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries around the world. The people of Syria are now experiencing the US neocon strategy to “redraw the map of the Middle East”, greatly exacerbating the international refugee crisis. The region is further threatened by the continued oppression and persecution of the Palestinians with US consent and complicity. The ultimate weapon in the U.S. arsenal still poses a serious danger to all on this planet and all these weapons must be eliminated by all countries which control them.
Furthermore, the racist nature of empire with its structures of violence and oppression are directed at all of us. Islamophobia, racism, police violence, and the growing security surveillance state must be resisted to protect the liberty of all. From schools to the prison industrial complex with mass incarceration and solitary confinement at home, to Guantanamo and other sites of indefinite detention and torture abroad, we are all caught up in the empire’s systemic violence threatening the freedom of all. Undocumented people, victims of US economic trade deals and support of oppressive governments, are rounded up, held in for-profit jails for extended periods of time before deportation. The empire’s short-sighted thirst for profit, strategic domination, control of fossil fuels and other natural resources are leading us to more war and destruction of earth’s habitat and climate. We must actively resist and oppose the racism and violence of empire! We must save Mother Earth! Our resources must be directed away from the war machine and used for peaceful purposes, placing people over profit, with the goal as nothing less than saving of all life on our planet.
We urge those who are not able to be in Washington on January 12 to organize actions locally. We especially encourage those who are already speaking out against drones across the country to consider a simultaneous action. We support our friends in California who are already working on an action there. For information on the actions at Creech and Beale, contact mailto:smallworldradio@
Join us in the streets of Washington, D.C., on January 12, 2016 as we all present our message on the real State of the Union to President Obama and the Congress.