2011 Grassroots Lobby Campaign Print

call to action

Contact the Debt Super Committee NOW !

Tell them:


The Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, sometimes called the Debt Super Committee, is making its decisions on budget cuts now.  Tell the twelve committee members to defund the School of the Americas/WHINSEC and other SOUTHCOM programs, including funding for U.S. military bases in Latin America, the 4th Fleet and Military training and aid.

Click to connect to the Joint Select Committee's comment page.

Suggested talking points:

1. Cutting more that $1 Trillion should not be done by slashing programs that support childern, the poor, the elderly, or others in need.  The largest portion of the discretionary budget goes to the Pentagon.  This is where the cuts should be made.

2. Defund the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA).  This school is an out-dated cold war relic. It costs the tax payers millions of dollars each year.  Meanwhile, its graduates continue to be implicated in human rights abuses in Honduras, Colombia and elsewhere. Closing the school would go a long way toward addressing the issue of impunity in Latin America and it would help divert much-needed resources to programs such as education, healthcare, and jobs.

3. Cut funding for SOUTHCOM, U.S. military bases in Latin America, the 4th Fleet, and other military training and aid. The security of the United States is best achieved through economic stability and opportunity at home and positive relations abroad. Military bases, training, and aid do not address the root causes of instability at home or abroad and often contribute to it.

Find more information on the Joint Select Committee here, including member names and contact information.

Letter to President Obama

On August 16, 2011 Sixty-nine Members of the House of Representatives, headed by Congressman Jim McGovern and Congressman John Lewis, sent a letter to President Obama asking him to issue an executive order to close the SOA/WHINSEC. (See below for a list of Congressional signatories and view a copy of the letter here)  This is one of many efforts that SOA Watch has employed to close the training school that has so many links to human rights violations across the hemisphere, and one of many efforts to curtail oppressive U.S. foreign policy in the Americas. We will also deliver over resolutions and statements in support of closing the school from labor, religious, and academic organizations along with over 10,000 signatures from citizens across the country in support of the closing of the SOA/WHINSEC, and demand that the president shut the school down! See the list of organizations that have called for the closure of the SOA/WHINSEC.

There is still work to do! Will you help?


Will you contact the White House and Congress:


1. Call the White House to urge President Obama to respond to the letter by closing the SOA/WHINSEC.

You can reach President Obama's office at: (202) 456-1111

Click here for a sample call script.

Ask your Representative to contact the White House and the Joint Select Committee:

2. Identify your Representative (If you're not sure, you can find out here.) This site gives the phone number of your Representative's Washington DC office.  You can also call the Capitol Switchboard, 202-224-3121 and ask for your Representative.

3. Where do they stand? Check to see if your Representative signed the letter to President Obama or has supported SOA Watch in the past.  See list of Congressional signatories and  cosponsors of HR2567 in the 111th Congress.

*You can find more information about your Representative's voting record, official positions and more at sites such as Project Vote Smart.

4. If she/he signed the letter, make sure to send a "Thank you".  Then, ask that they follow-up with the White House for a response to the sign-on.  Finally, ask them to reach out to their colleagues on the debt super committee urging that all funding to the SOA/WHINSEC be cut.  You can find a sample letter on this online action page.

5. If your Representative did not sign the letter, contact them again! If it's a previous supporter, find out why they did not sign on and ask that they convey their support of closing the SOA to President Obama now.  Then, ask them to reach out the members of the debt super committee urging that the SOA/WHINSEC be defunded.

6. Let us know how it went! Be sure to call Nico or Alison at the SOA Watch office in DC (202-234-3440), or send an email ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) after your meeting, phone calls, or actions so that we may follow up with work at their offices here in DC!


1. copy of the sign-on letter (download as PDF),

2. reasons for closing the SOA/WHINSEC.

3. talking points

4. tips to schedule and prepare for a meeting,

5. online action page to send a message to President Obama and your Representatives.

Other tactics include:

- asking for a meeting with your Representative or an Aide;
- writing letters to the editor;
- bird-dogging your Representative when they are in town, or in DC;
- doing a sit-in, die-in or other nonviolent direct action that grabs their attention! Escalating your tactics is a great way to organize more people, build alliances and bring more attention to your demands.


As justice and peace activists, and specifically anti-militarization activists working to close down the SOA/WHINSEC, we have a duty to encourage our representatives to choose the right path.  An anti-militarization struggle, in our times, will NEVER be easy, but since we know that our actions today will lead to gains tomorrow, we must persevere and work on multiple fronts.  Our lobbying efforts should be interconnected with our mass mobilizing efforts, our research efforts, and efforts from Latin America to fight imperialism and intervention.

If you have any questions on the SOA Watch Lobbying Campaign, please call Alison or Nico at 202-234-3440 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Members of the House of Representatives who signed the McGovern/Lewis Letter to President Obama urging him to close the SOA/WHINSEC (sent to President Obama August 16, 2011):
McGovern, James (MA)
Lewis, John (GA)
Baldwin, Tammy (WI)
Braley, Bruce (IA)
Blumenaur, Earl (OR)
Capps, Lois (CA)
Capuano, Michael (MA)
Carnahan, Russ (MO)
Carson, Andre (IN)
Clarke, Yvette (NY)
Cohen, Steve (TN)
Conyers, John Jr. (MI)
Cummings, Elijah (MD)
Davis, Danny (IL)
DeFazio, Peter (OR)
DeLauro, Rosa (CT)
Doyle, Mike (PA)
Ellison, Keith (MN)
Eshoo, Anna (CA)
Farr, Sam (CA)
Fattah, Chaka (PA)
Filner, Bob (CA)
Fitzpatrick, Michael (PA)
Frank, Barney (MA)
Fudge, Marcia (OH)
Garamendi, John (CA)
Grijalva, Raul (AZ)
Gutierrez, Luis (IL)
Hahn, Janice (CA)
Hastings, Alcee (FL)
Hinchey, Maurice (NY)
Holt, Rush (NJ)
Honda, Michael (CA)
Jackson, Jesse Jr. (IL)
Kucinich, Dennis (OH)
Lee, Barbara (CA)
Lofgren, Zoe (CA)
Loebsack, David (IA)
Maloney, Carolyn (NY)
Markey, Ed (MA)
Matsui, Doris (CA)
McCollum, Betty (MN)
McDermott, Jim (WA)
Michael Michaud (ME)
Miller, George (CA)
Moore, Gwen (WI)
Nadler, Jerry (NY)
Neal, Richard (MA)
Olver, John (MA)
Paul, Ron (TX)
Pingree, Chellie (ME)
Polis, Jared (CO)
Price, David (NC)
Rangel, Charles (NY)
Richardson, Laura (CA)
Rush, Bobby (IL)
Ryan, Tim (OH)
Schakowsky, Jan (IL)
Serrano, Jose (NY)
Slaughter, Louise (NY)
Speier, Jackie (CA)
Stark, Peter (CA)
Tonko, Paul (NY)
Towns, Edolphus (NY)
Waters, Maxine (CA)
Waxman, Henry (CA)
Welch, Peter (VT)
Woolsey, Lynn (CA)
Yarmuth, John (KY)
*italics indicates Republican
(updated 8/16/11)