Social Justice

 

Unified and Vocal Opposition to Trump:

Our leaders must be courageous and uncompromising in resisting the destructive and undemocratic policies of Donald Trump and his allies. Trump is a fascist. It is our responsibility to unite against fascists and to resist their agenda – not to try to make deals and compromises with them.

Attempting to strike deals with Trump would legitimize and normalize him and the extremists that support him. The CJPD will field candidates that will be unified in their resistance to Trump and to any extremist and undemocratic government.

Fair and Welcoming Communities:

The Trump Administration is trying to divide Americans by scapegoating immigrants, Muslims, people of color and anyone who does not conform their white nationalist ideals. At the local level they are threatening any city that refuses to participate in their efforts. The CJPD will push local governments in Central Jersey to make a unified stand as fair and welcoming communities that adopt policies that improve public safety, protect immigrants and support trust between communities and police. The CJPD will also push for State and County policies, similar to those in New York State, that protect fair and welcoming communities from punitive attacks by the Trump and Christie Administrations’ that are attempting to divide us.

Protecting the Environment and Creating a Sustainable Energy Future:

California, New York, and a dozen other states are taking the lead in building a an energy system built on safe, reliable, and affordable renewable energy. President Trump and Governor Chrisitie, aided by deal-making Democrats, have moved New Jersey from a national leader to a laggard. The consequences to our economy and environment will be dire. New Jersey must become a leader in protecting the environment and creating a sustainable energy future.

End Violence Against Communities of Color and Lower Incarceration Rates:

We must end violence against communities of color perpetrated both by the State and by Extremists, and we must lower the current incarceration rates of communities of color that amount to damning evidence of institutional racism in our laws and judiciary.

Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Jessica Hernandez, Tamir Rice, Jonathan Ferrell, Oscar Grant, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, Samuel DuBose and Anastacio Hernandez-Rojas. We know their names. Each of them died unarmed at the hands of police officers or in police custody. The chants are growing louder. People are angry and they have a right to be angry. We should not fool ourselves into thinking that this violence only affects those whose names have appeared on TV or in the newspaper. African-Americans are twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police. African-American and Latinos comprise well over half of all prisoners, even though African-Americans and Latinos make up approximately one quarter of the total US population.

We are far from eradicating racism in this country. Today in America, if you are black, you can be killed for getting a pack of Skittles during a basketball game. Or murdered in your church while you are praying. This violence fills us with outrage, disgust and a deep, deep sadness. These hateful acts of violence amount to acts of terror. They are perpetrated by extremists who want to intimidate and terrorize black, brown and indigenous people in this country.

Promote Community Policing Strategies and Civilian-Run Police Review Boards:

We must invest in community policing. Only when we get officers into the communities, working within neighborhoods before trouble arises, do we develop the relationships necessary to make our communities safer together. Among other things, that means increasing civilian oversight of police departments.

We must create a police culture that allows for good officers to report the actions of bad officers without fear of retaliation and allows for a department to follow through on such reports. We need police forces that reflect the diversity of our communities, including in the training academies and leadership. We need new rules on the allowable use of force. Police officers need to be trained to de-escalate confrontations and to humanely interact with people who have mental illnesses.

States and localities that make progress in this area should get more federal justice grant money. Those that do not should get their funding slashed.

Protect and Expand Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid:

Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are among the most popular and most effective programs in establishing a social safety net that our government has ever conceived. Yet they are precisely the programs most frequently under attack by the political right, who want to privatize Social Security, and cut Medicare and Medicaid. That is exactly the wrong direction. We must seek first to protect these programs from those who would leave our elderly forgotten and in poverty, and who would leave our sick to die, uncared for and not cared about.

Instead we must seek to expand and build upon the success of these programs, and ensure every American the right to healthcare and the right to retire with dignity and security.

Create Affordable Homes Here in New Jersey and Nationwide:

There is a nationwide shortage of affordable homes, and in New Jersey the problem, is particularly acute. Yet year after year nothing is done to address it.

Not only has the dream of home-ownership receded ever further into the distance for many working Americans, the lack of affordable places to rent is reaching crisis proportions.

When a family has to spend over 50% of their take home pay, or work two or three jobs just to put a roof over their heads, it is a problem. When communities are gentrified such that those who work in them cannot afford to live anywhere near them, it is a problem. When we turn our backs on those without anywhere to live, and they are pushed onto the streets, or to encampments on the edge of town, or underneath bridges or wherever they can find some sort of shelter from the elements, it is a problem.

It is self-evident that we must end homelessness, just as we must end hunger - these are basic prerequisites for a civilized society. But beyond that, we must work to enact policies to promote the availability of affordable homes for all working Americans as the foundation upon which strong communities are built.

End Discrimination Based on Race, Religion, Gender, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and National Origin or Documentation Status:

The CJPD consider it self-evident that all people are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Those inalienable rights are not, and cannot be, contingent upon one's race, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, or documentation status. We are all people, and we all deserve the same measure of justice, dignity, and common human decency. We oppose any attempts to divide us along any of these lines, and we oppose any attempts to take away the rights of any person based upon them. We will stand together - an attack on one is an attack on all!

Promote Respect and Understanding Among Religions:

We oppose the recent attempts of the political right to scapegoat, marginalize, and criminalize those of the Muslim faith. We oppose their attempts to spread distrust, and to make us fear our Muslim brothers and sisters. We believe that while there are extremists to be found in every faith, the vast majority of adherents to all faiths want the same things - to live peacefully; to raise our families; to do honest work for a fair wage during the week and spend time with our children, loved ones and friends on the weekends; to better our lives, and to provide our children with the opportunity to go further the ourselves. These are the things that we have in common, and they are far greater than any differences that we may have. The sooner we realize that, and come together to promote justice and peace for all, the better off we will all be.

Cut Military Spending and Invest in Education, Healthcare, and Jobs Instead:

 U.S. military expenditures are roughly the size of the next seven largest military budgets in the world combined. Why? What benefit accrues to the vast majority of Americans from this spending?

More than half of all federal U.S. discretionary spending goes to the military. This year the Trump Administration has proposed making this gross disparity even worse, by boosting military spending by an additional 10 percent, to $639 Billion for fiscal year 2018, and paying for this increase by slashing social programs designed to benefit the public.

And yet, the people do not feel safer. If anything, growing economic insecurity makes them ever more fearful, and ever more susceptible to the saber-rattling of a demagogue, who would cynically use war to distract the people from the real problems our nation faces, and to create even more fear, which is used as justification for more military spending, and so on. Where does it stop?

Nearly 60 years ago, in his farewell address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said:

"Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together….

… Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war -- as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years -- I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight…

… We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love."

The subsequent years proved his words prophetic, and the U.S. military-industrial complex has assumed a size, complexity, and power that has fulfilled his worst fears. To see how badly this military-industrial complex has distorted our priorities consider for a moment how there never seems to be enough money to invest in education, to invest in healthcare, or to invest in infrastructure, or to feed and shelter our people, yet there always seem to be trillions of dollars available to fight wars that no one needs, and very few want.

It is not too late to turn from this path. For starters, we must oppose Trump's absurd proposal to increase military spending. In the long-run, we must dramatically reduce the percentage of federal discretionary spending that goes to the military budget, and instead invest in education, healthcare, and jobs. That is the path forward to a prosperous, and peaceful, future.

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