A Sample Local Resolution to Resist and Overcome — and How to Pass It

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Passing local resolutions in favor of moving funding from militarism to human and environmental needs is useful each and every year for the forseeable future. The template below has been used to pass variations on a resolution in numerous locations each year since 2017. It can be varied by country and locality.

Here’s one passed by Milwaukee in 2019.

Here’s one introduced in New York City on February 13, 2019.

In 2018, Nevada City passed this resolution.

In 2017, together with our allies, including U.S. Peace Council, Code Pink, and others,we passed resolutions in numerous localities. Then we got resolutions that had been passed by Ithaca and New Haven as well as a third focusing on nuclear weapons to also be passed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors on June 26, 2017. We also created a debate in the Illinois state legislature. Here’s a list of localities that passed resolutions in 2017 and links to the resolutions: New Haven, CT, Charlottesville, VA, Montgomery County, MD, Evanston, IL (see page 14 of linked document), New London, NH, Ithaca, NY, West Hollywood, CA, Wilmington, DE, and the California Democratic Party.

Your town or city or county can also go ahead and pass its own. For more tips and sample materials from Ithaca, NY, click here.

You can also watch/listen to this webinar done with Code Pink and U.S. Peace Council.

Here’s how to go a step further and get your local government to hold a hearing with the heads of its various agencies on what it could do with the funding that local taxpayers send to Washington for militarism.

Steps you can take:

  1. Contact greta@worldbeyondwar.org to ask for help
  2. Form a coalition of local groups concerned about the cuts, the military increase, or both
  3. Find out how to speak publicly at local government meetings and how to submit a proposal or get one on the agenda for a vote; or ask council members/ aldermen / supervisors to sponsor it.
  4. Collect organizations’ or prominent people’s or lots of people’s names on a petition
  5. Hold rallies, press conferences
  6. Write op-eds, letters, go on radio, tv
  7. Use http://costofwar.com to calculate local trade-offs
  8. Make use of this petition signed by many prominent people and over 20,000 people total
  9. Revise the draft below:

Resolution Proposed for __________, ___

Whereas the U.S. Congress has dramatically increased military spending in recent years, depriving us of those funds for human and environmental spending at home and abroad[i], and bringing military spending to well over 60% of federal discretionary spending[ii],

Whereas polling had found the U.S. public to favor reductions in military spending,

Whereas part of helping alleviate the refugee crisis should be ending, not escalating, wars that create refugees[iii],

Whereas President Trump himself admitted that the enormous military spending of the previous 16 years had been disastrous and made the U.S. less safe, not safer[iv],

Whereas 3 percent of U.S. military spending could end starvation on earth[v],

Whereas fractions of the U.S. military budget could provide free, top-quality education from pre-school through college[vi], end hunger and starvation[vii], convert the U.S. to clean energy[viii], provide clean drinking water everywhere it’s needed on the planet[ix], build fast trains between all major U.S. cities[x], and double non-military U.S. foreign aid rather than cutting it[xi],

Whereas even 121 retired U.S. generals have written a letter opposing cutting foreign aid[xii],

Whereas a December 2014 Gallup poll of 65 nations found that the United States was far and away the country considered the largest threat to peace in the world, and a Pew poll in 2017 found majorities in most countries polled viewing the United States as a threat,[xiii]

Whereas a nation responsible for providing clean drinking water, schools, medicine, and solar panels to others would be more secure and face far less hostility around the world,

Whereas environmental and human needs are desperate and urgent,

Whereas the U.S. military is itself the single greatest consumer of petroleum[xiv],

Whereas economists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have documented that military spending is an economic drain rather than a jobs program[xv],

Be it therefore resolved that the ____________ of ___________, ________, urges the United States Congress to move our tax dollars from militarism to human and environmental needs.

[i] “Trump to Seek $54 Billion Increase in Military Spending,” The New York Times, February 27, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/27/us/politics/trump-budget-military.html?_r=0
“The Senate’s Military Spending Increase Alone Is Enough to Make Public College Free,” The Intercept, September 18, 2017, https://theintercept.com/2017/09/18/the-senates-military-spending-increase-alone-is-enough-to-make-public-college-free/

[ii] This does not include another 6% for the discretionary portion of veterans’ care. For a breakdown of discretionary spending in the 2015 budget from the National Priorities Project, see https://www.nationalpriorities.org/campaigns/military-spending-united-states

[iii] “43 Million People Kicked Out of Their Homes,” World Beyond War, https://worldbeyondwar.org/43-million-people-kicked-homes / “Europe’s Refugee Crisis Was Made in America,” The Nation, https://www.thenation.com/article/europes-refugee-crisis-was-made-in-america

[iv] On February 27, 2017, Trump said, “Almost 17 years of fighting in the Middle East . . . $6 trillion we’ve spent in the Middle East . . . and we’re nowhere, actually if you think about it we’re less than nowhere, the Middle East is far worse than it was 16, 17 years ago, there’s not even a contest . . . we have a hornet’s nest . . . .” http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/02/27/trump_we_spent_6_trillion_in_middle_east_and_we_are_less_than_nowhere_far_worse_than_16_years_ago.html

[v] “The 3 Percent Plan to End Starvation,” World BEYOND War, https://worldbeyondwar.org/3percent/

[vi] “Free College: We Can Afford It,” The Washington Post, May 1, 2012, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/free-college-we-can-afford-it/2012/05/01/gIQAeFeltT_story.html?utm_term=.9cc6fea3d693

[vii] “The World Only Needs 30 Billion Dollars a Year to Eradicate the Scourge of Hunger,” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2008/1000853/index.html

[viii] “Clean Energy Transition Is A $25 Trillion Free Lunch,” Clean Technica, https://cleantechnica.com/2015/11/03/clean-energy-transition-is-a-25-trillion-free-lunch / See also: http://www.solutionaryrail.org

[ix] “Clean Water for a Healthy World,” UN Environment Program, http://www.unwater.org/wwd10/downloads/WWD2010_LOWRES_BROCHURE_EN.pdf

[x] “Cost of High Speed Rail in China One Third Lower than in Other Countries,” The World Bank, http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2014/07/10/cost-of-high-speed-rail-in-china-one-third-lower-than-in-other-countries

[xi] Non-military U.S. foreign aid is approximately $25 billion, meaning that President Trump would need to cut it by over 200% to find the $54 billion he proposes to add to military spending

[xii] Letter to Congressional leaders, February 27, 2017, http://www.usglc.org/downloads/2017/02/FY18_International_Affairs_Budget_House_Senate.pdf

[xiii] See http://www.wingia.com/en/services/about_the_end_of_year_survey/global_results/7/33
and http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/08/01/u-s-power-and-influence-increasingly-seen-as-threat-in-other-countries/

[xiv] “Fight Climate Change, Not Wars,” Naomi Klein, http://www.naomiklein.org/articles/2009/12/fight-climate-change-not-wars

[xv] “The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities: 2011 Update,” Political Economy Research Institute, https://www.peri.umass.edu/publication/item/449-the-u-s-employment-effects-of-military-and-domestic-spending-priorities-2011-update


10. Be prepared for the argument that a national issue is not your locality’s business:

The most common objection to local resolutions on national topics is that it is not a proper role for a locality. This objection is easily refuted. Passing such a resolution is a moment’s work that costs a locality no resources.

Americans are supposed to be directly represented in Congress. Their local and state governments are also supposed to represent them to Congress. A representative in Congress represents over 650,000 people — an impossible task.Most city council members in the United States take an oath of office promising to support the U.S. Constitution. Representing their constituents to higher levels of government is part of how they do that.

Cities and towns routinely and properly send petitions to Congress for all kinds of requests. This is allowed under Clause 3, Rule XII, Section 819, of the Rules of the House of Representatives. This clause is routinely used to accept petitions from cities, and memorials from states, all across America. The same is established in the Jefferson Manual, the rule book for the House originally written by Thomas Jefferson for the Senate.

In 1798, the Virginia State Legislature passed a resolution using the words of Thomas Jefferson condemning federal policies penalizing France.

In 1967 a court in California ruled (Farley v. Healey , 67 Cal.2d 325) in favor of citizens’ right to place a referendum on the ballot opposing the Vietnam War, ruling: “As representatives of local communities, board of supervisors and city councils have traditionally made declarations of policy on matters of concern to the community whether or not they had power to effectuate such declarations by binding legislation. Indeed, one of the purposes of local government is to represent its citizens before the Congress, the Legislature, and administrative agencies in matters over which the local government has no power. Even in matters of foreign policy it is not uncommon for local legislative bodies to make their positions known.”

Abolitionists passed local resolutions against U.S. policies on slavery. The anti-apartheid movement did the same, as did the nuclear freeze movement, the movement against the PATRIOT Act, the movement in favor of the Kyoto Protocol (which includes at least 740 cities), etc. Our democratic republic has a rich tradition of municipal action on national and international issues.

Karen Dolan of Cities for Peace writes: “A prime example of how direct citizen participation through municipal governments has affected both U.S. and world policy is the example of the local divestment campaigns opposing both Apartheid in South Africa and, effectively, the Reagan foreign policy of “constructive engagement” with South Africa. As internal and global pressure was destabilizing the Apartheid government of South Africa, the municipal divestment campaigns in the United States ramped up pressure and helped to push to victory the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986. This extraordinary accomplishment was achieved despite a Reagan veto and while the Senate was in Republican hands. The pressure felt by national lawmakers from the 14 U.S. states and close to 100 U.S. cities that had divested from South Africa made the critical difference. Within three weeks of the veto override, IBM and General Motors also announced they were withdrawing from South Africa.”

11. When people only oppose the “cuts,” as the cities of Pittsburgh and Ann Arbor have done, others will reflexively argue against “big government.” We have to oppose the military increase as well as the cuts to everything else. Moving money from better things to worse things, or the reverse, does not involve the question of the government’s size at all.

12. Use this action to form a new World Beyond War chapter.

What residents said to the City Council in Charlottesville, Va.:


  1. Thanks for preparing this Resolution with footnotes.

  2. Thanks for preparing this resolution with footnotes

  3. I’m all for sending a resolution out.

  4. No more money for weapons. Leave the Middle East. We created the destruction we are the invaders.

    Americans need social projects! Humanitarian. Projects! Environmental protection! Medical care and aid to the poor!

    No more guns….give us butter

    No more blood for oil!

  5. This is excellent. Time to cut military spending.

  6. Robert Gilstein says:

    Increasing the military budget only creates a need to find more enemies. “America First”? BULL. “America First” SHOULD mean helping Americans.

  7. Amazing how we do not have money for our elders who have worked all their lives in support of this country, not for our children who will work all of their lives, not for our environment that we depend on to sustain us, not for the poor, sick and handicapped but we ARE always able to find more and more money for the military industrial complex who thrive on wars. Our priorities are so wrong and need to be turned around so that We the People benefit not the warmongers.

  8. I submitted it to my city councilwoman here in Baltimore.

  9. Just like Hitler during and before WWII – “Kanonen statt Butter” (Canons instead of butter.) But he did not succeed either just like so many before him – to rule and occupy the world!

  10. see above!!! I don’t have all morning to answer this request

  11. Work for Peace, npt war.

  12. Work for America not people who don’t like our citizenship.

  13. corporations aren’t people, money isn’t speech!!!

  14. Rev Sandra Mackie says:

    We must protect the planet if we want the planet to sustain us. More war equals destruction of the planet, which means the destruction of humanity. Are we truly as heartless as this budget?

  15. Robn Diekow says:

    A total change of priorities from corporate profits, MIC, the prison system, fossil fuels, and bigAg to human needs – sustainable environment, health care (not insurance), education, PUBLIC infrastructure, true justice, true representation (election campaigns without any fundraising, paper hand counted ranked choice ballots), a universal basic income and other improvements.

  16. Our Owners disagree. We’ve been saying this for as long as I’ve been alive on 84.

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