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Linda Schade, Spokesperson, VotersForPeace.US

I am pleased to be here speaking on behalf of a new national project called VotersForPeace. I’d like to start out by reading a famous quote by from Dwight Eisenhower’s 1961 farewell speech:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the Military Industrial Complex. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.” And this is where Voters for Peace comes in: “Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

The mission of VotersForPeace is to organize, educate and mobilize a new emerging political force – a new voting bloc. Peace Voters.

VotersForPeace did a poll earlier this week which showed a near majority supported our Voters Pledge which stated:

“I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress of President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future wars of aggression a public position in his or her campaign.”

46% of registered voters polled agreed with this strongly worded Pledge. Yes Peace voters are the new Soccer Moms.

It is important to note that the Pledge talks not only about the Iraq occupation but also opposes future wars of aggression -- in other words challenges the permanent war economy.

As is demonstrated with our speakers here today, which includes Kara Hopkins of the American Conservative magazine and a statement by John Nichols of The Nation magazine, the emerging peace voting bloc spans the breadth of the political spectrum.

This project is committed to building dialogue and relationships across the spectrum to forge an effective political force so that the issue of war WILL NOT, CAN NOT, be ignored.

We plan to let candidates and elected officials know that large numbers of Americans are no longer willing to be taken for granted when it comes to the fundamental issue of war.

We plan to count and make visible this antiwar voting block so that anyone running for office will know the Peace Vote is a constituency that they cannot afford to ignore.

Imagine the headline: “Two Million Voters Pledge to Vote for Peace in 2006!

Today we are announcing a lobbying organization, but there is also an affiliated Voters for Peace Education Project which will be running a bold, edgy advertising campaign -- we'll be announcing the first ad campaign in the coming weeks.

Many of the leading national anti-war groups are already part of this campaign to educate and organize anti-war voters -- UFPJ, Peace Action, Democracy Rising, Peace Majority Report are all here today -- other groups Not In My Name, Code Pink, Gold Star Families for Peace are already participating in this effort so the movement is beginning to focus on the critical issue of organizing voters.

The vision for VotersForPeace is to create a new political base that will INSIST on the priorities and necessities of the American people…. rather than the priorities and necessities of defense contractors -- and rather than a permanent war economy a permanent peace economy -- a civilian economy rather than a military economy.

The Peace Movement is becoming the Peace Vote.

 
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