Phyllis Bennis, peace activist, author and fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, addressed a large crowd tonight in a forum sponsored by Brooklyn For Peace. Held at Park Slope's Brooklyn Society For Ethical Culture (BSEC), Bennis titled her discussion, "Arab Spring, Endless Wars: What's Next for U.S. Policy??
A crowd of over 60 filled the main room to hear Bennis discuss events that have roiled the Mid East in recent months. Discussing everythng from Libya, to Egypt, to the occupation of Palestine, Bennis called for a new approach to moving the question of peace forward. The strategy of only appealing to people on a moral level hasn't worked and won't work as people lose their jobs and homes. She urged activists to develop a new approach that connects the wars and spending for war to the economic devastation that is destroying the lives of working families. Connecting the pervasive militarism of our society to the issues being highlighted by Occupy Wall Street, that is, the domination of the country and of its political process by the corporations, can build the kind of coalition that can turn things around.
War spending and corporate / wealthy tax evasion are the twin evils that must be fought and changed. Those two realities are the chief culprits that have led to deficits, layoffs and cutbacks. As folks chanted as they marched through the streets of Prospect Heights last Saturday, "How do you end the deficit? End the wars and tax the rich!"