Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice links environmental & social justice movements
Carol F. Mosley
October 1998

For too long now, organizations have allowed themselves to be classified as either peace groups or environmental groups, giving the appearance that it is possible to have social justice in the midst of environmental degradation or environmental justice in a war zone. Well, it's not! And, this delineation of facets of "the movement" has only served to promote the separation so welcomed by the "powers that be." Those powers being, of course, the multinational corporate controllers and the global military industrial complex that serves to protect their interests. Their power lies in the money that controls local politicians, world leaders and global banking institutions. Our only power of resistance lies in our unity. So, that's how the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice serves the movement; by channeling our individual efforts into a unified voice. Through active pacifism rather than passive activism, we make the connection between environmental and social justice and we work locally to promote global equity.

November 6th 8th, we will host our fifth annual Common Ground Conference, Working Toward Equity in Latin America and the Caribbean." The conference will be held at Rollins College in Orlando and our keynote speaker will be Father Roy Bourgeois of School of Americas Watch. Father Bourgeios was recently released from prison after serving a six month sentence for "crossing the line" at Ft. Benning in protest of the atrocities committed at the hands of "School of Assassins" graduates. We will have workshops and panel discussions on the campaign to close the SOA and the upcoming demonstration; the recent outrages in Chiapas, Mexico; effects of the Cuban embargo; globalization of the south; destruction of rainforests and cultures in Central and South America; and other issues of injustice in the region. We co-sponsored a recent conference with Pax Christi, held here in Gainesville, on the Death Penalty. Aside from the hypocrisy of using execution as a message that killing is wrong, it is not a deterrent, not cost effective, is irreversible, and it is also unjust as concerns race and socio-economic status. The proposed Constitutional Amendment 2 is a frightening statement of our use of vengeance as a method of dealing with our social ills. Violence is pumped down our throats by the media, our military uses retaliatory bombings as a means of combating terrorism, and then we are shocked when our citizenry uses violence to resolve their own conflicts. As activists, we'd better take a stand now, or we'll soon be watching our children fry in the electric chair.

The Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice believes Einstein was right when he said, "You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war." We're in the business of prevention. Our ninth annual Youth Peace Camps were a part of our prevention program. Young people of ages 10-20 came together this summer to learn such peacekeeping skills as conflict resolution, peer mediation, consensus decision-making, environmental conservation, cooperative games, and healthy food choices, as well as self-empowering skills like bicycle repair, birdhouse construction, wildlife rehabilitation and canoeing.

Our Food Security Campaign is an on-going issue of the Coalition this year. We are often asked just what is meant by "food security." What we are referring to is Recovering Our Rights to Basic Sustenance and Uncovering the Corporate and Military/Industrial Quest for Food Monopoly. The issues range from weakened organic standards, food irradiation, and genetic seed manipulation to health issues, topsoil loss, farm worker's rights, world hunger and rainforest destruction. We will host a weekend teach in and retreat October 30th-November 1st, with a Halloween Day Demonstration at the food irradiation plant in Mulberry (near Lakeland). Creative costuming is expected and day glow paint obviously appropriate. This is a not-to-be-missed party and wonderful opportunity to tell the corporate food oligopolies that we're not exactly fond of eating toxic sludge. In the months ahead, we look forward to initiating our "Triumph of the Commons" fruit tree planting campaign and a three day Permaculture workshop.

As a non-profit, educational organization, it is our great pleasure to visit schools and other group gatherings to share information on these and other topics of interest that promote a healthy and safe future for the generations yet to follow. We hope you will join us at one of these events and/or invite us to participate in yours. Through our collective voices and actions, a peaceful and just world is possible.

For more information, contact Carol Mosley at The Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice, P.O. Box 90035, Gainesville, Florida 32607. Call (352) 468 3295 or email us at fcpj@juno.com.

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