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Conference: Rising Up for a Livable Future -- Against Endless War, Climate Emergency and Injustice

When: Saturday, November 9, 2019, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: 10 Phillips Place • Washburn Auditorium • Cambridge

Alexandria Villaseñor, 13, speaks at the climate strike in City Hall Park, New York City, on March 15, 2019. Millions of students across the world walked out of class that day to protest climate change.



Michael McPhearson Michael McPhearson is a veteran, peace and antiracist movement leader, and past executive director of Veterans for Peace. Danny Sjursen
Danny Sjursen, Major, U.S. Army (Ret.) served in Iraq and Afghanistan and is a former history instructor at West Point. He is author of Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge, a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War.
Merrie Najimy
Merrie Najimy is president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.
Nick Rabb Nick Rabb is a member of the Sunrise Movement, Boston Hub and a co-chair of Massachusetts Peace Action’s Peace and Climate Working Group. An A.I. researcher, technologist and philosopher, he is a Ph.D. candidate at Tufts University.

Medea Benjamin

Medea Benjamin is founder of CodePink: Women for Peace and one of the U.S. peace movement’s most powerful voices. Her latest books are Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection.

Kevin Peterson
Kevin Peterson is founder and director of The New Democracy Coalition, a leading racial justice advocacy project in Boston.
Alexandra Pineros Shields
Alexandra Pineros Shields is executive director of the Essex County Community Organization (ECCO). She has organized to advance the human and civil rights of immigrants for the past 30 years and is an adjunct senior lecturer at the Heller School of Brandeis University.

The progressive struggle against Trumpism continues to escalate, as Democrats have taken control of the House and as the “squad” of four progressive women of color have boldly stepped forward to confront racism, reaction, and timidity.  Young people are stepping up by the thousands to demand immediate action on climate change, to push forward a Green New Deal, and to rally for the declaration of a climate emergency. And a vibrant new movement has gathered at the border and throughout the country insisting on justice for immigrants fleeing their homes. The presidential race has opened up frank discussions of class, race, sex, gender, and white nationalism and how best to build an inclusive, democratic and welcoming society.

Endless wars continue to unfold as the U.S. national security establishment continues its campaign to maintain its domination of the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, preparing regime change efforts for Iran, Venezuela,  and North Korea, continuing wars in Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia and more, and preparing for a long term struggle against China and Russia.  The Trump administration’s open embrace of the Israeli right, its support for annexation of Jerusalem, the Golan, and the West Bank signal abandonment of the “two state solution”, even as Trumpists and the Democratic leadership circle the wagons around the Israel lobby and seek to isolate supporters of Palestinian human rights with anti-boycott bills and resolutions.

An impending climate catastrophe draws ever closer as the world increases its use of fossil fuels, aided by US efforts to control Middle East politics and sea lanes, and as the Trump Administration forges ahead with energy policies that guarantee climate disaster.  The new fascist president of Brazil is rapidly destroying the greatest carbon sink on earth, the Amazon rain forest.  Meanwhile families are torn apart and refugees seeking  safety at the border are demonized and abused.

Military budgets have reached record levels – now standing at $738 billion – even as the Green New Deal and the climate emergency, Medicare for All, free public college, transportation, and economic inequality require major federal investments. The ruinous $1.7 trillion nuclear weapons “modernization” program continues apace, as a new low yield weapon and an air launched cruise missile near deployment readiness and as the administration pulls out of arms control treaties with Russia.

The long history of U.S. interventions and coups in Latin America, together with escalating climate change caused by our energy and agricultural policies, have been revealed as the main drivers of immigration, which Trump is using to whip up a nativist and racist proto-fascist movement.

How do endless war, climate emergency, immigration, racism, xenophobia and militarism combine to shape today’s political challenges, and how can we best knit them into a peace and progressive agenda that will be victorious in 2020 and the years to come?

This one-day conference will build clarity of analysis and unity of perspective across progressive sectors and to energize activists for the work ahead.  We will lift up organizing projects in the Boston area, Massachusetts and New England in the context of national politics. The conference builds on previous successful conferences, most recently “ The Next Two Years and Beyond: A Movement Building Conference” held in November 2018 at Simmons University.  Massachusetts progressive organizations are invited to cosponsor and participate in the planning; contact Cole Harrison, Massachusetts Peace Action, at 617-354-2169 or   Registration will open by October 1.

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