Palestine, Nukes & China: Joseph Gerson’s Boston Tax Day Rally Speech
Tax Day Rally Speech
Boston, May 17, 2021
Counting the dark money for so-called intelligence agencies, DOE nuclear
weapons spending, the Pentagon’s Overseas Contingencies slush fund, and the Pentagon’s core budget of more than $ 700 billion, U.S. military spending is close to $1 trillion a year.
I wanted to focus on the $2 trillion being spent for a new generation of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems. If they are ever used, they could end all life on earth. I also wanted to speak about the hundreds of billions of dollars being spent to intimidate and prepare for war with China. That too could end with nuclear winter. This is national treasure that should be used to fund Biden’s American Families Plan, the green 21st century infrastructure plan, and to stanch climate change and pandemics.
But U.S. tax dollars continue going to help fund Israel’s ethnic cleansing colonial settler operations. That is what sparked intensified Palestinian resistance to Israel’s brutal military occupation and its apartheid rule. Now we have yet another deadly and massively unequal Israel-Palestine War. Hamas’s missiles aren’t mana from heaven. But killing 20 Palestinians – many of them children – for every Israeli lost, and the massively disproportionate destruction and suffering in Gaza and the West Bank are obscene and probably constitute war crimes.
We can celebrate much of Biden’s domestic agenda, but he has failed us and the people of Palestine and Israel with his refusal to insist on an end to the killing. How can our elected leaders universally condemn and sanction Chinese human rights violations and repression, while they provide support and more than $4 billion a year for Apartheid Israel, with its advanced economy, colonial settlements, and wars?
Ending the carnage is a moral imperative, underscored by images of dead, wounded and traumatized children. The fighting must stop – now.
40 years ago, at the height of the Cold War, we had massive movements to halt the arms race and prevent nuclear war. The nuclear danger and U.S. threats to initiate nuclear war – think of the recent threats against Iraq, Iran, and North Korea – didn’t disappear with the end of the Cold War. The U.S. is now on track to spend an imperial fortune in preparations to inflict genocide and nuclear winter. It is deploying “more usable” nuclear weapons to Europe and Chinese leaders have to plan for a possible U.S.
first-strike attack, which in turn is leading the to increase their comparatively small but potentially omnicidal nuclear arsenal. Nuclear weapons and missiles won’t feed or house
the needy, educate our children and grandchildren, save the planet, or prevent pandemics.
Our call must be no more money for the Doomsday Machine, passage of the Markey-Lieu and Warren-Smith no first use bills, and fulfilment of our Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty obligation to engage in good faith negotiations for the complete elimination of the world’s nuclear weapons.
Our movements must also oppose the new Cold War with China. Billions are being spent to contest China’s influence in the South China Sea, its equivalent of the Caribbean Sea for the U.S. Military incidents and accidents, resulting from provocative naval and air operations there and related to Taiwan, which have increased since Biden took office, could easily escalate beyond control. We can compete economically, technologically, and culturally with China. But a new Cold War threatens us all. And the massive military spending to contain China simply diverts money that should be spent for our real security.
Friends, Let’s Tax the Rich! Starve the Military Industrial Complex. And Move the Money! Now!