Gil Scott-Heron left us more legacies of consequence than we can count. But few stand the test of time so well as his song “Work for Peace,” with its reflection on the military-industrial complex—“the only thing wrong with Peace is that you can’t make no money from it”—and his charge:
I don’t want to sound like no late night commercial,
but it’s a matter of fact that there are thousands of children all over the
world in Asia and Africa and in South America who need our help….
Nobody can do everything,
but everybody can do something,
everyone must play a part,
everyone got to go to work, Work for Peace.
It is often claimed that the United States does not have much of an antiwar movement these days.
That’s the lie perpetuated by a media that does not care to cover politics or government, let alone activism, in any realistic sense.
The fact of the matter is that, when Congress voted last week on the omnibus defense authorization bill, energetic lobbying by grassroots peace activists across the country produced some of the most muscular antiwar votes seen on the Hill in decades.
On the question of President Obama’s undeclared assault on Libya should be allowed to extend from an air war to a ground war, 416 House members (233 Republicans, 183 Democrats) voted “no.”
On the question of whether it was time for the Pentagon to begin developing an Afghanistan exit strategy, the numbers were not quite as strong. But they were striking when compared to past votes on the issue. A total of 204 House members (178 Democrats, 26 Republicans) voted “yes,” versus 215 (207 Republicans, eight Democrats) “no” votes.
On the final question of whether to authorize funding for maintaining the undeclared wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and to expend more than half a trillion more dollars on the extension of the military-industrial complex about which President Eisenhower and Gil Scott-Heron warned, ninety-six House members (ninety Democrats and six Republicans) voted “no.”
Now the debate goes to the Senate, and the time to really get to work for peace is at hand.
Tim Carpenter and the veteran peace activists who form the core of Progressive Democrats of America are mounting a national campaign to highlight the cost to American prosperity and liberty that comes when the country’s energy and resources are steered into maintaining undeclared wars and massively over funding the preparation for war.
The message to the Senate is a simple one: “Bin Laden is dead; the Afghanistan mission is accomplished. It is time to bring our troops and war dollars home and start addressing the very real hardships facing Americans, including providing comprehensive healthcare for all and the spiraling costs of healthcare.”