Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Greenwich Rally against War and Income Inequality

By Reginald Johnson

      One of the wealthiest communities in the United States will be the scene this weekend of a rally against income inequality and America’s ongoing wars.
    The “Rally and Teach-in for Peace and Economic Justice” will take place Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm on the Greenwich Common, 290 Greenwich Avenue in the heart of downtown Greenwich.
   According to Nick Mottern, one of the organizers for the event, speakers at the rally will address the destructive consequences of the wide and rapidly expanding gap between rich and poor.
   “We will emphasize what Martin Luther King labeled the 'Triplets of Evil: Racism, Extreme Materialism and Militarism' and the takeover of our democracy by an increasingly insular plutocracy,” said Mottern.
   Representatives of social justice and antiwar organizations will discuss strategies on how to stop US wars, police oppression and how to create income equality, including a call for divestment from the military-industrial complex.
   Mottern said that Greenwich was selected for the protest since a number of its residents have extraordinary economic and political power and as such have the ability to make a difference as to how national resources are spent, whether for war or for peaceful reasons.
   “Greenwich is not only one of the wealthiest communities in the United States but the world.  I’ve read press reports that show there are at least 10 multi-billionaires in Greenwich and their total worth combined is about $35 billion, and six of those people control investment companies that have under their management about $500 billion,” said Mottern, an activist with the peace organization in Westchester County called WESPAC.
   Investment firms and banks have holdings in publicly-funded weapons manufacturers and large health companies which benefit from massive military spending and US involvement in wars.
   Mottern said “we would want these people (leaders of the investment firms) to take leadership in selling stock they own in companies that are making weapons.”
   Mottern drew the connection between stopping wars and economic justice. He said the US wars overseas are "essentially colonial" wars where this country makes sure that foreign lands are open for corporate exploitation. "Economically, these wars, by repressing people overseas and grabbing their resources at cheap prices keep their economy struggling, keep wages low and thereby maintain low wage zones that undercut US workers," Mottern said.  "In addition, dollar for dollar more jobs are created by taxpayer spending on education health and green energy then on military industry."
   Out of the rally and teach-in, Mottern added, “it is hoped that people will go out and form local peace and economic justice groups that will carry forward with the purpose of using economic power to stop war and achieve some kind of economic justice.”
   Speakers at the rally will include some nationally known figures, including Medea Benjamin, of the antiwar organization Code Pink/Divest from the War Machine.  There will also be representatives from Veterans For Peace, Black Lives Matter and the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC).
  The event was organized by Mottern and others in WESPAC and by Orange County Peace and Justice.
  It has been endorsed by a number of groups including Code Pink, Friends of the Congo, the Greater New Haven Peace Council,, WESPAC and the Hudson Valley Green party.
    Another theme that will be emphasized at the event is to urge people to put pressure on their members of Congress to curb US involvement in wars.
   Hanging over the event is the announcement by the Trump administration that the United States will likely attack Syria due to charges that the Syrian military recently dropped chemical bombs on a town near Damascus where the government has been fighting Islamic militants. The alleged attack, not yet substantiated, killed dozens of civilians. A number of members of Congress have already expressed support for a retaliatory strike.
   The US has 2000 troops and military personnel in Syria in violation of international law, since the UN never authorized US intervention in that country and Syria had never attacked the United States.
  The American military has been fighting to dismantle the ISIS terrorist group while at the same time covertly aiding rebel groups trying to oust the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.
   Mottern said people coming to the rally should bring folding chairs.
  (For more information call Taylor Rae Bundy at 929-305-2351 or Nick Mottern at 914-806-6179)



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