NJ Peace Action

Statements of Support from 50th Anniversary Host Committee

Prof. Frank Askin, Constitutional Litigation Clinic, Rutgers Law School, Newark

“I am pleased to associate myself with the observation of the 50th anniversary of New Jersey SANE/Peace Action. SANE/Peace Action has played a remarkable role for half a century in trying to restrain the dogs of war. From efforts to halt nuclear proliferation to ending the war in Vietnam, to leading the fight to prevent nuclear holocaust, the organization has been ever vigilant in the struggle for a peaceful world.

Without the efforts of SANE/Peace Action over the past fifty years, it is likely that this still war-ravaged planet would have seen even much more bloodshed.

And nowhere in the country has this vital movement for peace been more active and more successful than here in New Jersey due to the vigilant efforts of a succession of remarkable leaders, such as Dorothy Eldridge, Herb Sheppard and Peter Shuchter.”

Helen Caldicott, M.D.

“The work of New Jersey Peace Action is more important than ever before. With the United States looking to rebuild a new nuclear arsenal and regular discussion of the use of so-called tactical nuclear weapons in the Middle East, it is more important than ever that people of conscience speak out against the military-industrial complex to raise the awareness of the people of New Jersey, all Americans and indeed all of humanity to end the nuclear madness. I am glad to support New Jersey Peace Action in this work.”

Professor Noam Chomsky

“The onset of the 50th year of New Jersey Peace Action is an occasion for pride in impressive accomplishments, and for me personally, for gratitude at having had the privilege of association and occasional participation. Regrettably, it is also a moment for grave concern.

The keepers of the famed Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientistshave just moved it closer to midnight, because the world is entering 'the most perilous period since Hiroshima,’ in their expert judgment. They are hardly alone in their concerns. Robert McNamarawarns of ‘apocalypse soon’ if we continue on our present course, joined by former Senator Sam Nunn, a leading figure in arms control efforts, who warns of ‘an Armageddon of our own making’ unless serious steps are taken to address very ominous concerns. Other prominent strategic analysts explain why the Bush administration's aggressive militarism carries ‘an appreciable risk of ultimate doom’ (John Steinbrunner). No one with eyes open can fail to perceive the seriousness of these dangers.

The invasion of Iraq was undertaken with the expectation that it might increase the threat of terror and nuclear proliferation. So it did, well beyond what was anticipated, not to speak of the utter disaster that has befallen the people of Iraq, 90% of whom feel they were better off before the U.S. invasion, according to recent U.S. polls. Overwhelming world opinion, joined by 75% of Americans, calls on Washington to improve relations with Iran rather than threatening it with attack. Insofar as evidence is available, the U.S. military and intelligence agree. Policy is proceeding in the opposite direction, with consequences that could be awesome.

These are only a few of the challenges that lie ahead. No one ever said that the struggle for peace and justice would be an easy one. Sporadic actions do not suffice. It requires dedicated constant engagement and commitment. NJ Peace Action has provided an exemplary model for half a century, and its efforts have never been needed more than they are today.

Daniel Ellsberg

“As a whistleblower myself and one who has long sought to encourage others, I am well aware of the risks you may have to face to stand up for what you believe in, and to speak out publicly about government lies and wrongful secrets.

Following my release to the NY Times of 4,000 pages of the top secret Pentagon Papers in 1971, I was charged with theft, conspiracy and espionage, with a possible sentence of 115 years in prison. In the end, due to governmental crimes against me, all charges were dropped. But even if I had been awarded my full sentence—getting out in 2008 with good behavior—I’m sure that my deepest regret would still be that I waited too long to reveal the truth. Had I moved more quickly, more lives could have been saved!

When I spoke at NJPA's soup luncheon in 2005, I was impressed with the organization's commitment to creating a better, more peaceful world. It impressed me further to find out that NJPA spotlighted other whistleblowers at this year's soup lunch.

NJPA has been at the forefront of exposing government lies that promote war for 50 years. They need to be able to continue this vitally important work. Now, as much as ever, we need an organization that not only stands up for the truth, but actively works to bring about positive change.”

Kathy Kelly, Co-coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence

“You won't find fearful submission marking the annals of Peace Action's history in New Jersey. Courage is the ability to overcome our fears. Peace Action's vital fifty year history reflects the stamina and determination of numerous people who refused to succumb to threats that would divide people. It reflects a history of hundreds of events requiring careful preparation, education, outreach, --the phone calls, fliers, and press releases, the planning sessions and fundraisers, the mailings and the vigils --all of the components that hopefully provide rewards of community and will draw in more people intent on building a better world. I think one of the most important steps we face is that of expanding the numbers of people who will help organize our communities to seek peace and resist war.

To all who celebrate today in New Jersey heartfelt thanks for all that you've done to promote the further invention of nonviolence. For your loved ones, and especially your children, my very best wishes in every effort to create a world wherein it's easier to simply be good. Congratulations!”

Michael Parenti, author of Superpatriotism and The Culture Struggle

“Let me send my best wishes of solidarity to a dedicated organization such as yours which speaks truth to power. New Jersey Peace Action has a proud record ofchallenging the lies and hypocrisies of those who pursue war and empire, those who profit at the expense of people at home and abroad. Your precious efforts help to make democracy a reality, and your organization is deserving of the utmost support."

Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights

“NJPA celebrates 50 years of grassroots peace actions. This is an organization made up of ordinary citizens who have worked every day in every way to promote peace in their communities and in the world. The struggle for a better world is won not in the courts but in the streets. Yes, courts and Congress are important, but no important victory--whether to end the war in Iraq or to close down Guantanamo--can be won without an aroused citizenry. CCRis honored that NJPA activism has supported our legal efforts.”

Dr. Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States

“I want to declare my support for New Jersey Peace Action and its long history of campaigning for peace and justice in this country and in the world. It is fitting that it should be starting its anniversary year on Martin Luther King. Jr. Day, because Rev. King in his life spoke for and acted for all that Peace Action stands for today. His bold denunciation of the Vietnam War is echoed now in the protests taking place in New Jersey and everywhere in the country against the war in Iraq. Like King, we today see the shame of a government wasting the wealth of this country on war while people here, colored and white, struggle for health care, for decent housing, to bring up their children and educate them in a clean, safe environment. If King were alive today he would be joining people here in New Jersey and all over the country in protests against war and militarism, in the struggle for a just society and a peaceful world.”