Veterans Peace Teams launched to stand with Occupy Movement
People of color, including Native Americans, African-Americans, Latinos, and working class communities in America have long been on the receiving end of police brutality.
Now with the recent police violence directed toward the Occupy movement, the country at large is waking up to the unpleasant reality that the violence of the system can and will target anyone who stands up for justice and opposes the exploitation of the 99 percent by the 1 percent.
The Veterans For Peace mission statement states that we pledge to work for peaceful conflict resolution and the elimination of war—the ultimate violence. As veterans of conscience, we are compelled to take a stand against police violence toward the national Occupy movement.
Veterans For Peace will establish Veterans Peace Teams to deploy to as many Occupy sites and actions as we can. We ask any and all military/law enforcement veterans to join us in this endeavor as nonviolent Veterans Peace Teams will attempt to act as mediators with the police, and as a buffer between Occupy protesters and police violence. Our goal is to protect constitutional rights and minimize conflict and injury to all involved.
Veterans For Peace stands with the Occupy movement as members of the 99 percent. We have taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Some of us have taken a similar oath as firefighters, government officials, and members of law enforcement. We therefore oppose any and all use of force by police against peaceful protesters exercising their right to peaceably assemble to seek redress of grievances as guaranteed by the First Amendment.
We also stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Tahrir Square and worldwide, standing up courageously, leading and often dying in the struggle for equality and justice as they are exposed to massive state-run police and military violence. We recognize that our common enemy is the wealthy power elite, those who control, ravage and exploit.
Excessive use of force by police toward those in the Occupy movement has led to arbitrary arrests, a fractured skull for one veteran and a ruptured spleen for another, near-asphyxiation and trampling of peaceful protesters and pepper-spraying of students sitting peacefully on a sidewalk obstructing nothing at all, among many abuses and injuries. Pepper spray, tear gas, bean bag projectiles, rubber bullets, tasers and other weapons—all of which can cause grave injury and death—have all been deployed against peaceful U.S. citizens.
This abuse of unarmed civilians exercising their constitutional First Amendment rights must cease.
As veterans and as citizens, we implore individual officers, police agencies, elected officials and government agencies to use restraint, negotiation and common sense when dealing with peaceful protesters. We will continue our efforts to convince law enforcement to avoid excessive force, brutality and injury to all involved. We also oppose the increased militarization of police agencies.
We invite law enforcement agencies to contact us to further communication and understanding. We seek to prevent deaths and additional injuries in domestic protests of governmental policies. We realize that those employed in law enforcement are part of the 99 percent, and we call upon all police personnel to honor and perform their duty to serve and protect the people—not to be a domestic front line force for the 1 percent.
Veterans For Peace