WHAT IS THE ACTIVITY? On Friday, March 23rd, the US House passed more ‘supplemental funding’ for the Iraq occupation; $124 billion, to add to the $70 billion approved by Congress in October. The Senate voted and passed on a similar bill on Tuesday, March 27th. Congress takes a two week break beginning March 30th and when they reconvene on April 16th, a joint Congressional Committee will hash out the details and vote the bill out of Congress and on to the President who has pledged to veto it if it contains any troop withdrawal dates. Things are moving fast and details change, but what we know for sure is that now is the time to keep the public pressure on to stop this war.
As Howard Zinn pointed out in a recent article, “We who protest the war are not politicians. We are citizens. Whatever politicians may do, let them first feel the full force of citizens who speak for what is right, not for what is winnable, in a shamefully timorous Congress…When a social movement adopts the compromises of legislators, it has forgotten its role, which is to push and challenge the politicians, not to fall in meekly behind them.”
In the spirit of Zinn’s message, this month’s activity keeps the heat on Congress by delivering “Certificates of Ownership” for the War in Iraq. These certificates allow constituents to say to their Representatives, “You bought it, you own it!” There are many creative ways to organize your delivery, be it en masse to your Representative and Senators offices as some folks are planning or by popping it in the mail along with a letter to the editor that shares why you are opposed to any more money for the war in Iraq.
WHY THIS ACTIVITY? This is not the time to back off. Bush has sworn to veto this legislation. At that point, Congress and the President will be in a standoff. Our strong voices against this war, calling for immediate withdrawal as the only way to reduce the violence in Iraq and do justice for our troops, will be crucial to forcing the constitutional confrontation that is necessary to end the Iraq crime spree. This pressures the whole legislative branch from completely caving in. They need to feel our heat at their backs as well as our support when they stand strong.
STEPS TO COMPLETE THE ACTIVITY:
- Gather your human dignity leadership together or create a plan over email – things are moving fast!
- Review the “Certificate of Ownership” Download the Certificate in PDF here and print a copy for your group. You can add your own group’s name as a signature on the certificate.
- Many groups are combining the Certificate with delivery of the People’s Resolutions that were passed at ROP’s Town Halls in February. Read more and download copies of your Congressional District’s Resolution below.
- Decide how you will deliver the Certificate and Resolution. Our Congresspeople have offices in the following locations: Pendleton (Smith), Medford (Smith, Wyden, and Walden), Bend (Smith, Wyden and Walden), Eugene (Smith, Wyden, and DeFazio), Portland (Smith, Wyden, Wu, and Blumenauer) La Grande (Wyden), and Salem (Wyden and Hooley), Coos Bay (DeFazio), Roseburg (DeFazio), and West Linn (Hooley).
- Some groups are gathering a small delegation together to deliver (or re-deliver) the Certificate and Resolution and/or to flyer outside the office. Others are soliciting signatures from local supporters to get more folks involved. Some groups are taking out advertisements to repeat the message.
- Make a plan to involve the local media and amplify the call to Congress of “not one more dollar, not one more death.” This could include a press release from your group, personal calls to local reporters, and letters to the editor. Some groups have made a schedule to make sure that letters to the editor are submitted through the close of this process.
- Contact ROP to talk through your plan with us, coordinate with other groups in your district, get sample materials, or ask for other support.
Register for the April 28th Rural Caucus & Strategy Session to plan next steps on how we move our peace work forward! Download a registration form at www.rop.org