Congress has agreed to reduce the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion (over ten years) by midnight March 1. Though we and our allies hope to increase taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals, Congress will probably insist on cuts too. At that moment, they’ll have to choose between cutting programs that 99% of us use or cutting unnecessary Pentagon spending.
This is the moment we’ve been working toward. When we started the New Priorities Network two years ago, our analysis told us that the Great Recession would force our nation to choose between guns and butter, unlimited military spending and the needs of the 99%. The last four years since the crash have seen that choice coming into sharper and sharper focus. Pentagon spending is on the table. The question now isn’t whether it will be cut, it’s how much gets cut.
That depends on how much noise we make and how effectively we transmit that noise to Congress. We’ll need to create a national consensus on these two demands.
1. no cuts to our programs.
2. raise taxes and cut Pentagon spending instead.
Menu of tactics
Visibility actions – banner drops, actions at congressional offices, forums. There will be national days of action on January 30 and February 20 led by labor and economic justice organizations. We should join them and raise the solution of Pentagon spending cuts.
Sign-on letters – we want hundreds of local and state legislators to sign letters to Congress saying: don’t cut us, we’re already starving, raise taxes and cut Pentagon waste instead. Ask them to write letters to the editor, put out press releases, and talk directly to your congresspeople as well.
Media – get our actions, sign-on letters, and letters to the editor into the media. Make sure Congress hears about it: walk copies into their local offices and send us (firstname.lastname@example.org) all your media coverage so we can transmit it to Congress and the national media.
Cooperation – work with other no-cuts organizations (unions, community organizations, faith, social service advocates and providers). Co-organize as much of this menu as you can.
This is no ordinary moment. Though we don’t have the power to win our campaigns when we start them, we organize toward a point in the future when conditions will change in our favor. These moments don’t last long. We have a month.
We won’t win all we want. But we can change the momentum toward austerity and the taboo on criticizing the Pentagon. That will change the organizing landscape we work in and take our efforts much farther after March 1.