Peace Action Montgomery was established as a chapter of the national organization, Peace Action, in the 1980s. Beginning in 2005, it became much more active. We are an all-volunteer group.
Here are a few of the accomplishments of Peace Action Montgomery in the last few years:
In this year, the majority of our work was done through our statewide coalition called Fund Our Communities, Not the Pentagon:
- We organized the "Prosperity Not Austerity" bus/auto caravan that traveled from Baltimore to Capitol Hill, with five stops in Maryland, each of which showcased community needs contrasted with the wealth of military contractors and Pentagon waste. At each stop, community people gathered to meet the bus and to participate in a local rally.
- In 2011, 2012 and 2013, Lockheed Martin lobbied to obtain a special tax break from Montgomery County; it demanded a law written to reduce the company’s local taxes by almost $500,000 per year. We organized more than 15 representatives of community groups to testify before the County Council (in two different years) and succeeded in blocking the bill from becoming law. Lockheed Martin then circumvented the council by pushing a bill in the state legislature to force the county to award the company the tax exemption. Given its extensive lobbying and political contributions, the company prevailed legislatively. However, our efforts to kill the bill inspired substantial community support, public awareness of corporate welfare for military contractors, multiple articles in both the local and national press, and enhanced collaboration among our coalition members.
- We organized a campaign we called "Pull the Pork": We asked our state legislators to stand up for a change in federal priorities by signing a letter to Maryland’s Congressional delegation asking them to “pull the pork from the Pentagon.” To emphasize our point, we held a press conference in Annapolis and then delivered pulled-pork sandwiches to every Maryland state senator and delegate. Forty-seven political leaders in Maryland signed the letter, copies of which we then delivered to members of Congress. They, too, were given pulled-pork sandwiches.
- We assembled and publicized a “report card” compiling the voting records of Maryland’s Congressional delegation on legislation related to military spending. We have met with Congressional representatives multiple times on Pentagon spending and continue to pressure them to vote for bills to reduce military spending.
- We began organizing for a campaign to encourage the Maryland General Assembly to establish a “Commission on Maryland’s Future,” to explore ways to reduce Maryland’s economic dependency on military spending. We secured support from several key groups in Maryland for the legislation.
- We succeeded in getting a “bring the war dollars home” resolution passed by the Takoma Park town council.
- We organized testimony to the Montgomery County Council in opposition to a $900,000 grant to Lockheed Martin, and as a result, the grant was not funded.
- We collaborated in the successful effort to prevent Beit Shemesh from becoming a sister city to Montgomery County.
- We organized two community forums, a film showing, and a luncheon.
- We succeeded in getting 47 MD state legislators to sign a letter to Congress, asking for a cut in military spending.
- We grew the coalition, Fund Our Communities, Bring the War Dollars Home, to over 50 groups.
- We put on a conference for leaders of organizations in the coalition and established managerial structures. We organized an “Activists and Organizers” meeting for about 40 people to develop future plans for the coalition.
- We organized a Town Hall focused on the budget, which some 400 people attended.
- We made 26 educational presentations to groups around the region, testified formally at one public hearing, and participated in 9 street actions. Two of these led to arrests for civil resistance.
- We had a resolution requesting a cut in military funds submitted to the Montgomery County Council.
- We succeeded in passing legislation in the state of Maryland to limit the access of military recruiters to information on high school students through the ASVAB test. This is the first such law in the nation.
- We stopped the County from passing legislation that would have given Lockheed Martin a tax exemption worth $450,000 per year.
- We organized the first-ever youth peace conference in the County.
- We initiated a new coalition aimed at securing political support to cut military spending and use the money saved for community needs at home.
- We made 25 educational presentations to groups around the region, testified formally at 7 public hearings, and participated in 9 street actions.
- We organized a state-wide meeting with the legislative directors of both our senators and a county-wide meeting with Reps. Van Hollen and Edwards to discuss the Gaza attack of December 2008-January 2009.
- We initiated a campaign to keep the Maryland National Guard at home. We secured 15 co-sponsors for the bill in the House; organized a Lobby Night in Annapolis, in which about 30 people participated as citizen lobbyists; and organized panels for hearings on the bill in both the House of Delegates and the Senate.
- We organized a luncheon and raised funds for a playground in Gaza. We also organized multiple presentations on Palestine and Afghanistan.
- We organized seven street demonstrations.