Anti-war protesters call for peace economy
By Lisa Rathke, The Associated Press • November 1, 2008
MONTPELIER — Three days before the presidential election, anti-war activists rallied in front of the Statehouse on Saturday calling for an end to the war and a continued fight for change after Nov. 4.
Both Barack Obama and John McCain support increased military spending at a time when there's an incredible economic crisis, said Eugene Jarecki of Waitsfield.
"There's a moment of real crossroads here," he said. "But it's a crossroad for all of us not to be happy and go to bed but for all of us to be absolutely unrelenting and dissatisfied until real change happens."
About 50 demonstrators marched down State Street to the Statehouse led by a single drummer. They carried signs saying "Vermonters Say No to War," "Share the Wealth! Cut the Military Budget!" and "How Much Longer."
Organizers urged the state to pursue what they called a peace economy, and not give tax breaks to military weapons manufacturer General Dynamics of Burlington, which they said received $3 million in tax breaks last year.
"We don't want Vermont's taxpayer dollars going to war. We want it spent here to help with health care. There's over 60,000 Vermonters who don't have health care. That's where we need to be spending our money," said S'ra DeSantis of Burlington.
The event was attended by several Iraq war veterans, political candidates and University of Vermont Students Against War, who are working on a campaign for the school to divest from companies that build weapons systems for the U.S. military, including General Dynamics.
The demonstration was organized by the Vermont Peace Economy Coalition, whose mission is to work to promote a Vermont economy that advances social and economic justice, enriches the natural environment, enhances the ability of future generations to flourish and opposes business practices related to weapons and legislative policies that support the military industrial complex, representatives said.
"In the eve of the election we're asking all candidates to support a peace economy and not a war economy," said DeSantis.