Connecting with Partners in Your Area
Ideas for Organizing Actions
Researching Federal Cuts to Social Programs
Researching Military Contractors and CEOs in Your Area
Focusing on Economic Conversion
Sample Press Release
The Jobs Not Wars campaign proposes actions throughout the country from Friday, June 21st to Wednesday, July 3rd. We are asking endorsing organizations to organize local actions or events that highlight the disparities between military contracts and social spending in the federal budget, as these play out in our communities. The aims of the actions are:
to make visible the sites and corporations where military contracts enrich a few, or serve immoral and useless wars, and the places and people hurt by federal budget cuts to social programs;
to put forward the vision and prospect of converting military spending to projects that both generate jobs and serve desperately needed and socially constructive ends;
to help create coalitions of local people, especially those who have not worked together before; and
to reach people that previous actions have not reached.
Our goal is to help create more awareness about the causes and effects of war, Pentagon spending, and budget cuts. We are compelled to peacefully stand up, articulate a vision, and demand change.
I. Connecting with partners in your area
Most organizations will want to work with other groups to organize an action or event. To identify local partners, feel free to contact members of the Jobs Not Wars campaign team: Michael Eisenscher (email@example.com); Mary Hladky (firstname.lastname@example.org); Sally Weiss and Carl Moos (sallyweissJNW@crocker.com), 413-320-2283; Michael McPhearson (email@example.com); and John Lindsay-Poland (firstname.lastname@example.org), 510-282-8983. We can also connect you with individuals in your area who signed the Jobs Not Wars statement.
Find Jobs Not Wars endorsing groups on this map. If you see other groups in your area whom you don’t know, check links to the groups on the Jobs Not Wars site, or contact us.
Find groups that organized actions to re-orient federal spending on Tax Day at this map.
Groups that organized actions for the Global Day of Action on Military Spending are listed here. Find groups that organized actions on drones in April at this map.
II. Ideas for Organizing Actions
Actions will place a spotlight on the priorities and needs of the majority of people.
The LEPOCO Peace Center in Pennsylvania organized a tax day walk in 2011 that witnessed outside the places that suffer under budget cuts proposed at both the state and federal levels – see photos here.
Groups may wish to focus on some specific issues of federal spending that you work on, or that are especially relevant in your area. These might include:
Protecting Social Security and Medicare benefits
Cuts to Head Start and public education
Excessive CEO compensation for military corporations and income inequality
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and waste
Nuclear weapons development
US military aid to Israel
Use of weaponized drones
US military in Latin America
CODEPINK in April organized protests at General Atomics in San Diego (see Los Angeles Times coverage), maker of Predator drones, and at the home of its CEO in La Jolla, Calif.
Some groups have expressed interest in conversations between anti-war activists, social service proponents, and labor unionists.
What’s important is that you take organizing on federal budget priorities to a new place, use your imagination, and connect people who have been part of anti-war activism and advocacy for social services, as well as those impacted by federal budget cuts.
III. Researching the issues in your area
Researching Federal Cuts to Social Programs
Locating the Social Security office in your area. Social Security and Medicare benefits would be reduced in Republican and White House budget proposals by what is known as ‘Chained CPI.’ Locate the Social Security office nearest you at this site.
Food Stamps in Your Community. Use this interactive tool to find the number of people in your county receiving Food Stamps, how it’s changed since 2000, and the percentage of the population receiving them.
The National Priorities Project has created interactive tools to calculate how much the federal government spends in your state and county (and proposes to in 2014) by sector.
The Coalition on Human Needs produces Sequester Impact: Weekly Summaries that you can download or receive from CHN. You can also see a map of sequester impacts produced by the Center for American Progress, which may show some in your area, with links to news sources.
Download this Sequestration Toolkit (sample press release, letter to the editor, tweets, how to tell your story, helpful graphics) from the Half in Ten Campaign, a project of the Coalition for Human Needs, Center for American Progress and the Leadership Conference.
The National Education Association has an Ed Flight campaign (take a picture of yourself holding a paper airplane and post it to Congress)
MoveOn Petition: Fix the Sequester Cuts for the Poor, Not Just Congressional Travel
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Congress Addresses Flight Delays But Leaves Other Sequestration Problems Unsolved by Sharon Parrott, Vice President for Budget Policy and Economic Opportunity, April 26, 2013.
Coalition on Human Needs: Fear of Flying: Congress Fixes Waits in Airports but Lets the Poor Wait One More Year for Housing Vouchers, in Human Needs Report, April 30, 2013.
“21 Statistics About The Explosive Growth Of Poverty In America That Everyone Should Know” by Michael T. Snyder.
Center for American Progress, Sequestration Nation: Congress Acts to Ease Sequestration’s Pain on Air Travelers by Kwami Boadi, April 29, 2013.
Researching Military Contractors and CEOs in Your Area
1. Draw on knowledge that you and allies have already developed. Many groups and activists have researched and acted around military contractors. While information often changes, this experience and knowledge can be important for understanding what the contractor does and how it contributes to war, logistics of protesting, company labor, economics of conversion, local government relations, etc.
2. Contact Jobs Not Wars organizers to talk. We can help you talk through your action, learn about military contractor sites and social spending cuts, and connect with other organizers.
3. Identify Pentagon contractors in your zip code or Congressional district.
A. Use the web site usaspending.gov/advanced-search to search for Pentagon contracts in your area. In the field for “Department/Agency” select Dept of Defense (at bottom of list); select a fiscal year or years; in “Place of Performance Location” select a zip code, state or Congressional district, and click on “Search” button at top of screen.
B. Here is a list of the top 100 Pentagon contractors and the amount they received in 2012. Many of these contractors have multiple sites around the country in addition to their corporate headquarters, which can be a focus for Jobs Not Wars actions or events.
C. An initial map of military contractors is here.
D. The collaborative watchdog project Crocodyl produced critical informative profiles of 27 military contractors in 2010, posted here.
4. Locate military contractor CEOs made wealthy by Pentagon pork.
A. Find the addresses of homes of CEOs of larger corporations here.
B. Find out how much the most highly paid Pentagon contractor CEOs are compensated from The Washington Post and Forbes.
C. Learn about the revolving door between corporate contractors and Pentagon generals, Strategic Maneuvers: The Revolving Door from the Pentagon to the Private Sector, a report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
5. Find out how much the corporation spent on lobbying and campaign contributions.
Pentagon contractors employ hundreds of lobbyists to influence federal government decisions, and contribute many millions to candidates’ campaigns, creating an unfair playing field and distorting policy. In the first three months of this year, while Congress and the White House made budget proposals, Pentagon contractors spent more than $33 million on lobbying. Use the Open Secrets database on lobbying and database on corporate campaign contributions.
6. Learn about fraud, corruption of military contractors.
The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) maintains a Contractor Misconduct Database that compiles information, reports, and sources on federal contractor fraud, kickbacks, discrimination, environmental pollution, etc., by corporation.
7. Skills for researching military contractors.
Watch the webinar led by POGO researcher Nick Schwellenbach on researching military contracts. (62-minute video here)
Use the tools at Strategic Corporate Research: Looking Inside the Corporate World.
Focusing on Economic Conversion from Military to Non-Military Activity
Total Jobs Created1. An important study by University of Massachusetts economists (pdf here) shows that “investments in clean energy, health care and education create a much larger number of jobs across all pay ranges,” including high-paying jobs (over $64,000 a year), than military spending does. Education spending generates more than twice as many jobs as Pentagon spending. Bruce Gagnon urges us to “to internalize those study results so [we] can write and speak about them clearly.”
2. Miriam Pemberton of the Institute for Policy Studies has been researching and promoting economic conversion of Pentagon spending for many years. She’s produced this fact sheet on replacing defense industry jobs and an offer to collaborate with local activists for such transitions. She recently posted the top 10 myths of the jobs argument against military cuts as well as a short analysis of sequestration about why the Pentagon is due for downsizing.