Minnesota Peace Project

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Minnesota Peace Project

MPP's Board of Directors, 2019

Beginnings

In 2009, Roxanne Abbas, of Women Against Military Madness, helped form the Minnesota Peace Project.

“Never a meeting without an action!” Most of us know and live by WAMM’s motto, but we don’t all have the same preferred mode of action. Some like to hit the streets. Some write letters to the editor. Some plan or attend educational programs. Some lobby their members of Congress. And some do it all.

Several WAMM members are leading the development of a statewide network of peace activists and groups with the working name “the Minnesota Peace Project” to influence foreign policy through their elected officials in the U.S. House and Senate. The group, which is organized by Congressional district, plans to use dialogue techniques to build a mutual understanding of each other’s views and to present documented information from reliable sources to build credibility. District groups will function semiautonomously based on the issues of greatest concern to their members and their opportunities to influence their representative.

Although the project is still in the organizational stages, there has been some progress to report:

Peace activists have volunteered to serve as district organizers for eight of the 10 congressional offices. These 10 organizers will serve as a steering committee for the project.

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer has written a comprehensive “Peace Agenda” for the group to use as its basic platform.

Keith Ellison and Wellstone Action have both offered to conduct a training session on lobbying techniques for group members.

A meeting was held with Amy Klobuchar aides to present the Peace Agenda and to exchange perspectives on the Israel/Palestine conflict. [1]

Recent accomplishments

MPP members from across the state traveled to D.C. to meet with our Members of Congress and their Foreign Policy Aides. We explored our differences on key foreign policy issues such as nuclear disarmament, Israel’s occupation of Palestine, the military budget and tensions with other world powers.

An MPP member worked closely with Senator Klobuchar’s office and the Constitution Project to author a bill outlawing torture. Their bill received bipartisan support and was signed into law.

After we explained how Saudi Arabia was using U.S. manufactured arms against Yemeni civilians, Senator Franken co-sponsored a bill to freeze all sales of U.S. arms to the Saudis.

Our persistent advocacy helped convince Senators Franken and Klobuchar to vote in favor of the Iran nuclear deal.

We provided regular information to all 10 Members about the illegal and tragic Israel occupation of Palestine. Several of our Members have modified their positions, we believe, as a result of our work with them. Rep. McCollum is now considered by many as THE strongest voice in Congress for a just peace.

We established a close working relation with the Ethiopian community in working to alleviate gross human rights violation of the Oromo people. We worked with Congress Members Klobuchar, Franken, Paulsen, Emmer and Ellison to gain their public objections to the treatment of Oromos. Senator Franken pledged to work to insert language requiring evidence of human rights progress in the next year’s appropriations bill.[2]

References

  1. WAMM Newsletter, 03 2009, Minnesota Peace Project, by Roxanne Abbas
  2. [1]

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