Peace Action Coalition Agenda Features Voter Drive; Forums with Chomsky, Klare
By Donald Gilpin
Seeking to maximize its impact for peace in the upcoming elections, the Coalition for Peace Action’s (CFPA) nonpartisan 2020 Peace Voter initiative is focusing on candidates in New Jersey congressional Districts 2 and 4 in the July 7 primary and plans to target general elections in those districts plus Districts 3 and 7 in November, along with the presidential election race in Pennsylvania.
Peace Voter can wield the greatest influence in the contests that are expected to be very close, said CFPA founder and Executive Director the Rev. Robert Moore. So far Peace Voter has conducted press briefings with 2nd District leading Democratic candidates Brigid Harrison and Amy Kennedy, who will be competing for a spot on the November ballot to run for congress against the Republican (recently switched from Democrat) incumbent Jeff Van Drew.
CFPA also conducted a briefing, by Zoom, with Christine Conforti, who is vying for the Democratic nomination to take on incumbent Republican Chris Smith in the general election for New Jersey’s 4th Congressional District.
In the fall election campaign, Peace Voter will also be focusing on the 3rd District, where incumbent Andy Kim (D) won a narrow victory in the 2018 election, and the 7th District where incumbent Tom Malinowski (D) is anticipated to be competing with state Senator Tom Kean Jr. Because the New Jersey presidential vote is not likely to be close, according to Moore, Peace Voter efforts in the presidential election will be focused on Pennsylvania.
In addition to its press briefings with three candidates, the CFPA has received completed questionnaires back from the candidates interviewed so far and will be distributing Peace Voter guides online and as half-page signature ads in newspapers.
The first Peace Voter campaign was initiated in 1995, under Moore’s leadership, with tens of thousands of Peace Voter guides distributed. The following year CFPA ran the first Peace Voter signature ads in newspapers (with the names of contributors listed) in targeted races. In 2000, the CFPA conducted the first candidate briefings in the country, and the CFPA peace voter campaign has since become a model for peace groups across the country.
Moore emphasized the importance of the candidate briefings — to the candidates, to the general public, and to the peace action effort. “A lot of people running for federal office haven’t necessarily held office before and are novices on issues we deal with,” he said. “We can share organizational expertise on these issues and also the knowledge of bona fide world class experts, especially experts on nuclear weapons issues.”
Included in these briefings have been physicist Frank Von Hippel, former assistant director for national security in the White House Office of Science and Technology and co-director of the Princeton University Program in Science and Global Security; Zia Mihan, an expert on the 2017 nuclear ban treaty and co-director of the Princeton University Program on Science and Global Security; and Rob Goldston, Princeton University astrophysics professor and former director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, an expert on Iran and Korea, and a frequent contributor to the Bulletin of Atomic Science.
“Their level of understanding is stunning,” said Moore. “We’re so honored that they give so generously of their time and expertise to help us hold these briefings and be part of our team. Everyone who is willing to participate in these briefings, even if they already know a lot, will learn much.”
Chomsky and Klare
Political theorist, activist, and linguistics expert Noam Chomsky on June 10 and the writer and teacher Michael Klare on June 14 will be the featured speakers at the CFPA two-part virtual membership gatherings by video conference.
Over the past five decades Chomsky has been a leading critic of American foreign policy and global capitalism, which he has identified in terms of class warfare against the needs and interests of the great majority. He has also more recently criticized the mainstream corporate mass media.
There will be a sponsor-only virtual reception with Chomsky from 6:30 to 7 p.m., where participants will be able to ask Chomsky questions preceding the June 10 webinar.
On June 14, Klare, who studies issues of war and peace, resource competition, and international affairs, will speak on the connections between the climate crisis and nuclear war, the subject of a much discussed recent article he published in The Nation. “Climate crisis and nuclear war are the two great existential threats to humanity,” said Moore.
Based at Hampshire College, Klare, professor of peace and world security studies, teaches courses on resource politics, contemporary conflict, and world affairs. He has written 14 books and hundreds of essays.
The Rev. Carol Haag, who served as CFPA’s Donor Drive chair for four years, and Danielle Alura, climate crisis activist representing Pennsylvania in the Miss Earth competition, will be honored at the June 14 event.
Members of the public are invited to join or renew their CFPA membership and then register for the reception and webinars at peacecoalition.org.