Democracy and Peace Working Group

CONTACT:  Mike Ferner -

Peace activists like to bang our heads against the wall! 

That may sound odd, but If you look at the evidence you have to agree.  

How many times have we mobilized against a war or a weapons bill, worked long hours, spent our limited funds, our limited energy and our limited lives – with meager results. OUCH! 

When our taxes buy the next coup, the next invasion, the next generation of electronic warfare we mobilize again with the same results…OUCH!  And again…OUCH! 

Starts to feel like we don’t run our own country, and our own government is the biggest barrier to the better life we deserve – except it’s not really our government, is it?  

Weapons corporations decide our foreign policy.  Insurance corporations decide our health policy. Corporations in the highway lobby make transportation policy...and on…and on…and on. 

This working group is different than any other in VFP. We don’t research the latest numbers in the Pentagon budget or join a coalition opposed to a certain weapon system – as important as those things are. Those are things we do to oppose the madmen arsonists running the show, but in the end it’s only firefighting.  

This working group will study what fire prevention means for us and how VFP can begin to adopt language and strategies towards that long-term goal.  Example: Removing corporations’ First Amendment “rights” they’ve usurped (think: lobbying and political contributions) would greatly reduce the time and energy we spend fighting their legislation.  

We can do it.  We must do it if we want our lives, our energy and our treasure to make a lasting difference!  And by practicing fire prevention as we race to put out fires, we will find all sorts of allies in all sorts of movements fighting their own fires!

We will publish our findings and ideas as we develop them and invite you to join us.  Here are a couple initial works to noodle upon. 


Legalize Democracy.  A 30-minute documentary from our partners at Move to Amend, that is the definitive description of how we got in this mess and what activists today are doing to build democracy to get the life we deserve and a planet where we can live it. 

Taken for a Ride. PBS documentary on what happened to mass transit, tells the little-known story of how the highway lobby took over transportation policy. Great film but stops just short of recommending a democratic solution. 


Introduction to “The Populist Moment.”  This book is about the flowering of the largest democratic mass movement in American history. It is also necessarily a book about democracy itself. Finally it is about why Americans have far less democracy than we think and what has to happen to alter that situation.