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New Haven (US) Votes to Cut Military Budget and Fund Human Needs
an article by David Adams

On election day, voters in New Haven gave overwhelming support to the referendum question, “Shall Congress reduce military spending; transfer funds to convert to civilian production; create jobs to rebuild our infrastructure; meet pressing human needs?”

Tom Holahan, who was Chair of the New Haven Peace Commission during the previous referendum in 1989

click on photo to enlarge

According to the Registrar of Voters’ Office, 23,398 city residents voted “yes,” while 4,152 voted “no,” which comes to 85%

Of course, the referendum is not binding, since military budgets are decided at a national level, but it shows that at a grass roots level, people want a different priority for their tax dollars.

Al Marder of the New Haven Peace Commission, which pressed for the ballot referendum, told CPNN that this issue is at the core of the problems of America's cities. It cannot be solved at a local level. It can only be solved at the national level where, despite record levels of unemployment, priority continues to be given to military spending. The referendum sends a signal to Congress that this must be reversed.

New Haven has long been in forefront of the struggle for a culture of peace. This referendum comes exactly 23 years after a similar initiative, which was one of the first acts of the New Haven City Peace Commission after it came into being in 1987. The results in 1989 were the same as in 2012: 83% vote in favor of cutting the military budget and funding human needs.

A similar referendum was held on election day this year in 91 towns in neighboring Massachusetts. According to the preliminary results, it was supported in all of them, with an average approval rate of 74%.


Question(s) related to this article:

How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?,

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Latest reader comment:

International Cities Choose Peace

J. Fred Arment

International Cities of Peace, an association of global cities of peace, is using the U.N. Culture of Peace tenets as the guideline for forming initiatives. To date, thirty-one cities are part of the association. Some are grassroots organizations, others have the firm commitment by resolution or proclamation from the city council.
International Cities of Peace include the following:
• Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A.
• Eugene, Oregon, U.S.A.
• Unity Village, Missouri, U.S.A
• Coventry, England
• Bradford, England
• Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
• Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo
• Mataki, Philippines
• Pathuthani, Thailand
• Fizi, Democratic Republic of Congo
• Lake County, California, U.S.A.
• Aba, Abia State, Nigeria
• Nagpur, India
• Reno, Nevada, U.S.A.
• Bujumbura, Burundi
• Mzuzu and Lilongwe, Malawi
• Tunis, Tunisia
• Tuolumne County, California, U.S.A.
• Bihac, Bosnia, Herzegovina
• Yaounde, Cameroon
• Freetown, Sierra Leone
• Nyala, Darfur, Sudan
• Bujumbura, Burundi
• Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
• Nakuru, Kenya
• Calgary, Alberta, Canada
• Kathmandu, Nepal
• Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
• Egg Harbor City, New Jersey, U.S.A.
• Warrake, Nigeria
• Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.A.

To start an initiative, go to the association's website for resources and tools.

This report was posted on November 10, 2012.