Martin Luther King Jr. explicitly and emphatically linked the issues of economic injustice at home with war abroad. Bernie Sanders should do the same. Adequate funds for programs of economic equity and social justice will require an end to what Dr. King called “the madness of militarism.” Overcoming militarism is just as vital as overcoming oligarchy. We won’t be able to do one without the other. Just days ago, Bernie addressed the organization that King led, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The long speech was eloquent, but you’d never know from it that the United States is now in its fourteenth year of continuous warfare. In fact, the only time Bernie’s speech used the word “war” was in the phrase “war on drugs.” The only mention of the war industry was a two-second reference to the “military-industrial complex.” Bernie’s speech to the SCLC paid resounding tribute to Dr. King but made no mention of his antiwar leadership. From Bernie’s speech, you wouldn’t have a clue that King explicitly and emphatically linked the issues of economic injustice at home with war abroad. Bernie Sanders is one of only two sitting U.S. senators who joined the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where King spoke about his dream. King’s life was cut short five years later as he campaigned for expanded federal programs and a “poor people’s bill of rights” — not only organizing for economic uplift but also an end to what he called the madness of militarism.”
In the United States, we have one of the most unequal wealth and income distributions of any major country on earth. In fact, inequality is worse now than at any other time in American history since the 1920s. Today the top one-tenth of 1 percent of our nation owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent combined. One family, Walmart’s Walton family, owns more wealth than the bottom 42 percent of Americans combined. Nearly all of the new income growth since the recession has gone to the top 1 percent. Even as millions of American workers continue to see their incomes decline, and are working longer hours for lower wages, the wealth of the billionaire class is soaring in a way that few can imagine. If you can believe it, between 2013 and 2015 the 14 wealthiest individuals in the country saw their net worth increase by over $157 billion dollars. We live in one of the wealthiest countries on earth – and yet children go hungry, veterans sleep out on the streets and senior citizens cannot afford their prescription drugs. This is what a rigged economic system looks like.
resently, the War Resisters League is actively organizing against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the impact of war at home. Much of its organizing is focused on challenging military recruiters and ending corporate profit from war. It publishes an annual peace calendar, the quarterly magazine WIN: Through Revolutionary Nonviolence, and other materials and is involved in a number of national peace and justice coalitions, including <a title="United for Peace and Justice" United for Peace and Justice and the . Since 1958, WRL has awarded almost annually the <a title="War Resisters League Peace Award"War Resisters League Peace Award to a person or organization whose work represents the League’s radical nonviolent program of action. The War Resisters League annually publishes a pie chart showing how much of the <a class="mw-redirect" title="US Budget" U.S. federal budget actually covers current and past <a title="Military budget of the United States" , listing the total as 54%:
"The figures are federal funds, which do not include trust funds — such as Social Security — that are raised and spent separately from income taxes….The government practice of <a title="Unified budget" combining trust and federal funds began during the <a title="Vietnam War" , thus making the human needs portion of the budget seem larger and the military portion smaller. These figures are at odds with official government figures:
"[Dov S. Zakheim, the Pentagon comptroller pointed] out that the 2004 military budget would represent 16.6 percent of all federal spending, compared with 27.3 percent in the late 1980's.""…War Resisters….count moneys appropriated for veterans' benefits and payment of the national debt as "taxes to support past wars." The group