December 10, 2014
Dear Friend of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy,
Our annual appeal comes at a time when all who hope for justice, freedom and ecological survival must feel deep distress. There are plenty of reasons to be discouraged. U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, rather than ending, as many had hoped, has escalated. In Syria and Iraq, thousands are subject to the terror of ISIS and Baghdad’s Shia armed forces as well as to the bombs of the murderous Assad regime. In Egypt, the U.S.-backed military dictatorship has just brazenly exonerated Mubarak.
At home, the dreadful results of the November election have given a powerful boost to the Right, while in Ferguson and Staten Island the grand juries' refusal to indict the policeman who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner signals that unchecked police violence against people of color remains the order of the day. Meanwhile, climate change, rising oceans, species extinctions, and a host of other environmental threats accelerate globally.
And yet – and yet, there are undeniable grounds for hope. In the United States, we are inspired by the months of determined protests in Ferguson and now, in the wake of the Staten Island grand jury's decision, by the explosion of massive demonstrations and creative disobedience across the country against police brutality and the racist criminal justice system; these may be the beginning of a new, militant civil rights movement. Popular resistance also includes an ever-growing movement for a $15 an hour minimum wage, strikes and protests by low wage workers at Walmart and other employers, determined movements in defense of undocumented immigrants and for climate justice.
Abroad, outrage in Mexico at the disappearance of 43 students at the hands of government forces and drug gangs acting together has triggered massive protest demonstrations, many of them demanding the resignation of President Peña Nieto. (See the CPD statement sign-on statement “End the Killing of Students Now: Peace, Justice, and Democracy for Mexico” in English and in Spanish.) The Kurds of Kobanê, with matchless courage, continue to resist both ISIS and Damascus. Elsewhere in the Middle East, democratic forceshave not been extinguished.
Everywhere, in Mexico, China, Greece, Russia, Bahrain, Hong Kong, in every corner of the world, embattled fighters for human rights and social justice, even though at times few in number, are keeping the lamp of freedom burning. And, of course, the conditions – poverty, insecurity, oppression – that have always generated large-scale popular resistance will continue to do so. What appears as quiescence and defeat is often only a lull.
The Campaign for Peace and Democracy, as part of its mission to advance a new, progressive and non-militaristic U.S. foreign policy -- one that encourages democracy and social justice by promoting solidarity with activists and progressive movements throughout the world -- works to build publicity and support for their struggles. We oppose all authoritarian governments, whether they are U.S. allies, like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, or states like North Korea and Iran, to which the United States is hostile.
In these critical times, CPD needs your help to continue our work in support of democratic and social justice movements and in promoting a democratic, peaceful U.S. foreign policy. Donation information is on our website and at the end of this letter. Below are some of our 2014 activities:
- In November, we launched a sign-on statement “End the Killing of Students Now: Peace, Justice, and Democracy for Mexico” which has been signed so far by more than 750 people including Ralph Armbruster-Sandoval, Ed Asner, Medea Benjamin, Noam Chomsky, Ariel Dorfman, Barbara Ehrenreich, Daniel Ellsberg, Mike Farrell, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Barbara Garson, Sam Gindin, Greg Grandin, Kathy Kelly, Enrique C. Ochoa, Leo Panitch, William I. Robinson, Marta F. Sánchez Soler, and Lynn Marie Stephen. A full list of signers and their identifications is on our website.
- Since 2012, we’ve circulated periodic updates on the situation in Greece, drawing on news from contacts inside the country and from the Greece Solidarity Campaign in the UK.
- In September we responded to the appeal of the 595 women cleaners of the Greek Ministry of Finance to gather signatures in support of their fight against layoffs.
- In June we joined via livestream in anniversary commemoration of the resistance of the workers at ERT, the Greek national broadcasting company, which the government shut down in 2013.
- In March we participated in the International Day against Racism and Fascism by co-sponsoring a demonstration at the Greek Consulate in New York City, and a forum “Is Fascism Returning to Europe?” with speakers focused on Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and France.
- In October CPD issued a statement “ISIS, Kobanê, and the Future of the Middle East” that expressed the hope that Kurdish successes against ISIS would inspire a wave of grassroots resistance through throughout Syria and Iraq; it went on to say that that a democratic and peaceful future for Syria and Iraq cannot be built through U.S. military intervention and sordid alliances with authoritarian, reactionary regimes.
- In September we re-published a New Politics interview with Ukrainian feminist Nina Potarskaya, “Ukraine: Resisting Nationalist Polarization and Russian Invasion.” Potarskaya described the immense difficulties facing Ukrainian leftists who want to build an independent political alternative based on democracy and social justice.
- The Summer 2014 issue of New Politics published an article by CPD Co-Director Joanne Landy: “Ukraine Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Is There a Way Out?”
- In March we issued a statement “Oppose NATO, Russian Intervention in Crimea, and the IMF.”
- In July we joined with many other organizations to issue an urgent call to stop the Israeli offensive in Gaza and end the 7-year siege that has made life in Gaza so miserable.
- We promoted a number of Left Forum panels on May 31 and June 1 on Greece, Mexico, Syria, and the wider Middle East. In August we urged support for the “$15 dollar now” campaign. In February we called on people to sign the Egypt Solidarity Campaign’s statement “Defend Democratic Rights in Egypt.” In March we protested the Egyptian government’s mistreatment of Medea Benjamin. In January we asked our supporters to contact the Obama administration and their senators with these demands: No Threat of New Sanctions on Iran! No to the U.S.-led Sanctions Program on Iran! Yes to a Nuclear-Weapons-Free and Democratic Middle East!
Donations are tax-deductible. Thank you very much in advance for your support -- we could not survive without your help.