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Help Wanted: Making Poverty History at YKOS 07

rsz_1rsz_902888866_77d6db5bf3.jpgFor far too long, our foreign policy has been based on militarism rather than partnering with people around the globe to move us all towards a better life. In the 60’s, Martin Luther King, Jr said:

“It is a tragic mix-up when the United States spends $500,000 for every enemy soldier killed, and only $53 annually on the victims of poverty.”

and sadly that “tragic mix-up” remains. In fact “more people have died from extreme poverty in the last ten years, than all of the wars of the 20th century put together.”

This tragedy is increased as we move into an era when Making Poverty History is a real possibility. With more advanced communications, transportation, medicine and technology we now have the very real capability to eliminate extreme poverty world-wide … but we are so far from doing this or even making this our top foreign policy priority.

Consider this:

  • According to UNESCO’s 2007 Global Monitoring Report, Universal primary education would cost only $11 billion a year – half of what we Americans spend on ice cream while the Iraq occupation has already cost over $447,000,000,000.
  • Or this: $0.6 Billion would immunize children world-wide against measles, tetanus, whooping cough, diphtheria, tuberculosis and polio – yet Congress in May funded the occupation in Iraq once again to the tune of another $120,000,000,000.

At this year’s YearlyKos convention, the team from the ONE Campaign has organized a panel to address precisely this issue. Global Poverty: Creating Leadership for a New Foreign Policy (Saturday morning at 9:15AM) will take a look at how we – as netroots activists – can join the effort.

The panel will include Bread for the World CEO David Beckmann, Anathalie Sugira who grew up in a tiny village in Rwanda, a country where a quarter million people are infected with HIV/AIDS and now lobbies Congress for more federal AIDS funding, Susan McCue who recently became the president and CEO of the ONE campaign after 8 years as Harry Reid’s Chief of Staff … and I’ll be joining in to give a netroots perspective.

Now I want to invite you to help. In my blog reading, I rarely see discussions of global poverty issues – outside of posts like Christy’s this morning on Edwards and poverty in the US. In fact, I see very view posts with a perspective that reaches beyond our borders or that mention global initiatives like the Millennium Development Goals. So I’d like to hear about the blogs or posts I may have missed that talk about poverty issues. I’d also like to hear how folks here think about the connections between global poverty and our progressive agenda so I can share these thoughts with the panel on Saturday – and I hope you will join in this important discussion at YearlyKos.

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Siun is a proud Old Town resident who shares her home with two cats and a Great Pyrenees. She’s worked in media relations and on the net since before the www, led the development of a corporate responsibility news service, and knows what a mult box is thanks to Nico. When not swimming in the Lake, she leads a team working on sustainability tools.

Email: media dot firedoglake at gmail dot com