On the 9th anniversary of the war on Afghanistan, City Council members voted to make Northampton officially opposed to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq Thursday (October 7, 2010). The Council held a second reading and voted in favor of a resolution to “Bring Our War Dollars Home” (See attached passed resolution).
The City of Northampton has now taken an official stance opposing further spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and formally urges its congressional delegation to redirect federal tax dollars to help meet local needs. “We feel it is incumbent upon us in the community’s interest to stop this misdirection of our community’s tax dollars to wars that are not accomplishing the best interests of our country,” says Marty Nathan, of the Alliance for Peace and Justice.
The vote was the culmination of an ongoing dialog within the Northampton community that escalated at a citywide forum in July and continued in subcommittee meetings and council meetings. On September 16th, an amended version was brought before the council with the addition of calling on the city’s Congressional leaders to advocate redirecting war spending to support funding for more than a million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families.
The “Bring the War Dollars Home” campaign was launched in Massachusetts based on a campaign from the state of Maine, where the city of Portland and many other municipalities have adopted a similar resolution. The campaign in Maine aims to redirect state spending in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to address the fiscal crisis the state is facing in areas such as education and health care.
The resolution is the first of its kind passed in the state of Massachusetts. Advocates in the area are hopeful that it is a catalyst for the rest of the state.
“This campaign got so much of our community involved in a conversation about war – and war dollars,” said Sally Weiss, an organizer for the resolution. “That didn’t happen before. I wish every city could have this experience. I hope the conversation and the momentum spread.”