Local Group to Host Conference Addressing Military Spending

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Thursday, September 19, 2019, 7:45 am
Tom Oswald

(Photo by Raymond Holt)

East Lansing's Peace Education Center (PEC) will be hosting a conference Saturday that will bring together leaders who seek to redirect tax dollars from war and militarism toward sustainable community development here and abroad.

The PEC notes that in 2018 the United States spent more than $700 billion on the Pentagon budget. As recent reports indicate, however, the real cost exceeds $1 trillion. Congress has recently passed a two-year funding bill that significantly surpasses that figure each year.

“Building a Peace Economy – Shrink the Pentagon for People and Planet” will be held from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the University United Methodist Church, 1120 S. Harrison Road. Doors open at 8:30 a.m.

Coinciding with the U.N. International Day of Peace, the event will address questions such as:

  • "Where is the waste we can cut?"
  • "How can we spend less on machines of war and feel more secure?"
  • "How do we counter the deep coffers of the arms lobby and shift investments to local communities for good jobs and a healthy planet for all?"

Terry Link, Peace Education Center co-chair and organizer of Saturday’s conference. (Photo by Raymond Holt.)

“We always hear the arguments how about we can’t afford health care for all, or child care, or infrastructure replacement,” said Terry Link, PEC co-chair and conference organizer. “The simple reason is we squander our wealth on needless military expenditures that do not add to our security but benefit the arms lobby. President Eisenhower knew what he was talking about when he warned us about this possible future.”

Professor Lloyd “Jeff” Dumas, an economist and author of “The Peacekeeping Economy: Using Economic Relationships to Build a More Peaceful, Prosperous, and Secure World,” will present the keynote address.

Other participants on a series of panels include William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy; Elizabeth Beavers, coordinator of the People Over Pentagon coalition; Lindsay Koshgarian, director of the National Priorities Project at the Institute of Policy Studies; Johanna Bozuwa, research associate with the Next System Project at the Democracy Collaborative; Valerie Blakely, Michigan organizer for the Poor Peoples Campaign; and Nicholas Jansen, state director, and Lea Dyga of the Sunrise Movement.

The conference is sponsored by the Peace Education Center, Edgewood United Church, Citizens for Peace, Greater Lansing United Nations Association, Pax Christi – Michigan, Greater Lansing Network Against War and Injustice, Pax Christi Lansing, Meta Peace Team, Erick Williams and Margaret Nielsen, and has been generously supported by Steve Esquith and Chris Worland, Richard Peterson, Margaret Rockwell and Joan Tirak.

The conference is part of PeaceQuest 2019 in the Greater Lansing Area. Registration is $25, which includes handouts and other materials, as well as lunch.

To register, visit the Peace Education Center website. Information also is available on the event Facebook page.


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