You Never Give Me Your Money

Executive Director John Tierney spoke to The Nation about the difficulties peace and security non-profit organizations can have in getting funding.

John Tierney, executive director of the Council for a Livable World, said, “People have a sense of complacency.”

Generational factors also play a role. Many of today’s new philanthropists came of age after the end of the Cold War. “If you weren’t born with ‘duck-and-cover’…you’re often focused on other issues,” said Tierney, who said it was challenging to raise money for arms control work from younger donors.

The lack of public mobilization on peace issues means that there is little counterweight in Washington to hawkish voices and defense-industry clout. “You don’t get the balance you need in the debate,” said Tierney, who was a member of Congress before running the Council for a Livable World. Tierney said Democrats are often cowed because they don’t want to seem weak on defense and aren’t facing public pressure to take stronger stances on issues like military spending or troop deployments. “Somebody has to push back against all that money and all that effort that comes from industry,” Tierney said. “You need strong civil society.” Read more