Hamtramck, Mich., becomes first U.S. city to pass ‘Move the Money’ resolution
Jim Rine of Veterans for Peace testifies in support of the resolution before the Hamtramck City Council. | Daniel Hopkins / People's World

HAMTRAMCK, Mich.—In a historic move, the Hamtramck City Council has unanimously passed Resolution 2024-22, making Hamtramck the first city in the United States to adopt a “Move the Money” resolution. The resolution calls on Congress and the president to shift significant funds from the military budget toward funding essential social services programs.

“Those billions of dollars that are used to support wars around the world and to fund oppressive regimes need to stop,” Hamtramck Mayor Amer Ghalib said following the resolution’s passage. “We need to shift that money back to our local communities.”

At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, residents of the majority-Muslim city took to the chambers to voice their support for the resolution. With impassioned speeches and heartfelt testimonials, community members emphasized the urgency of reallocating funds from the Pentagon to address pressing needs in their neighborhoods.

“The spirit of this resolution is directed at corporate America and the private military-industrial companies that profit off of killing people across the world with our tax dollars,” Cameron Harrison, a union steward and Hamtramck resident said. “We’d be better served to push our government to instead spend that money on our schools, our cities, and to develop sustainable food and job programs.”

“Why do I support this resolution? Because I’m much more concerned about climate change than I am about Russia or China,” Jim Rine, of Veterans for Peace, said. “We spend more on our military than the next ten countries combined, and the reason we’re spending all this money is essentially because of legalized bribery—half of the budget goes to private contractors. We need to cut the Pentagon budget and fund social welfare projects.”

The city council’s decision to pass the resolution came after a series of deliberations citing concerns over the exorbitant budget allocated to the Department of Defense, amounting to $886 billion for Fiscal Year 2024, surpassing the combined military budgets of several other major nations including China, Russia, and India.

Moreover, revelations of the Department of Defense’s inability to account for half of its assets, despite nearing a trillion-dollar budget, have fueled skepticism among residents and officials alike.

According to the National Priorities Project, reallocating just $100 billion from the Pentagon budget—as called for in the People Over Pentagon Act of 2023—could address critical domestic needs such as clean energy initiatives, childcare provisions, education, and healthcare.

Hamtramck’s resolution reflects a broader national sentiment echoed by the United States Conference of Mayors, which urged municipalities to scrutinize the federal defense budget and its impact on local services. Residents’ rights to transparency and public input on budget allocations were emphasized as fundamental principles guiding the resolution.

Mayor Ghalib said the city’s recent symbolic but powerful gestures, including calling for a ceasefire in Gaza in October and renaming a main street as Palestine Avenue in December, signal Hamtramck’s continued commitment to promoting peace and opposing military interventions.

“We represent our community, and this is what our community stands for,” Ghalib said. “We are not afraid to express that through action.”

Quoting Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the resolution emphasizes the moral imperative of prioritizing social uplift over militarization, warning against the spiritual decay of nations that neglect essential social programs in favor of military expenditures.

Councilmembers also invoked the words of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who warned against the excessive focus on military expenditures at the expense of addressing societal needs.

In passing Resolution 2024-22, Hamtramck’s City Council has taken a decisive step towards reshaping national budgetary priorities, advocating for a more equitable distribution of resources to address pressing social challenges. The resolution sets a precedent for other municipalities across the country to follow suit.

In fact, Detroit City Councilwoman and Congressional candidate Mary Waters, who attended Tuesday’s meeting in Hamtramck, has already introduced a similar resolution in nearby Detroit. With Detroit facing its own set of socioeconomic challenges, Waters believes shifting priorities away from excessive military spending towards addressing local needs is paramount.

“You have struggling cities, struggling counties, struggling families, right here in the United States of America, right here in Hamtramck, right where I live in the city of Detroit,” Waters said.

“There are so many things that we could use that money for, and it just isn’t happening. So we want to encourage Congress to do the right thing and to start taking care of home for a change.”

The “Move the Money” campaign, spearheaded nationally by the U.S. Peace Council and locally by the Michigan Peace Council, has gained momentum nationwide, with resolutions similar to the one passed in Hamtramck being championed by various peace-focused groups in cities across the country. Historically, this national initiative has garnered support from organizations such as Peace Action, People Before Pentagon, and World Beyond War, among others.

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Daniel Hopkins
Daniel Hopkins

Daniel Hopkins is an independent multimedia journalist based in Detroit.

Bill Meyer
Bill Meyer

Bill Meyer writes movie reviews for People’s World, often from film festivals. He is a keyboardist at Bill Meyer Music and a current member of the Detroit Federation of Musicians. He lives in Hamtramck, Michigan.