The South Asia Solidarity Initiative and the War Resisters League have put together a series of popular eduction-style workshops that explore how organizing against federal military spending relates to, and can forward, local campaigns for economic justice, as well as how the past decade of war has effected Afghans and what they are doing in response. The pilot of this workshop in New York City was held on August 21st (see pictures here) and included the South Asian social justice and solidarity organization DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving) and housing justice group Community Voices Heard. Various economic justice and community organizations all over the country, including Austin and Portland, are planning to do the workshop in the month from September 7th to October 7th.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to try the workshop in your local community.
Download the Bombs and Budgets curriculum for Decade of War Awareness Month
The workshops are divided into four areas of focus:
1) "A Living Pie Chart" which encourages communities to reflect on present US federal budget priorities, as well as imagine a budget where their priorities are at the forefront.
2) "Me and You and all of the War Profiteers We Know" challenges communities to expand their understanding of 'war profiteers', find patterns in how militarism and the US economy have evolved over the past thirty years through historical and personal timelines, and reflect on who profits most in these systems.
3) "Narratives of Liberation: Holding the Government and War Profiteers Accountable" explores case studies of financial institutions and companies at the heart of our economic decline and the war economy (such as J.P. Morgan Chase Bank and Sodexo) as well as presently existing grassroots campaigns that blend these targets and take on the elected officials that enable them. Communities are then challenged to imagine how they would engage in similar work.
4) Finally in "Occupied Afghanistan" communities discuss commonly heard justifications for the continuing US/NATO occupation, learn from Afghans how occupation violence has effected them and their organizing, and model how these discussions can be taken back to where people live and work.
These workshops are now available to download from the War Resisters League website, as well as the websites of these partner organizations: United for Peace and Justice, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, New Priorities Network etc. (list to be expanded and confirmed).
The organizations we have invited to participate, from Oregon to Texas to upstate New York, to join us to build ground work and connect our movements, are at the front lines of economic justice work. That is why our focus in designing these workshops has been to foreground the experiences and leadership of those most effected by budget cuts in the related struggle against militarism. Similarly, we are interested in adding strength and capacity to the many already existing, locally focused campaigns.