Reflections on Rivers of Blood Action: We All Must Come Together to Stop War

We are in some difficult times right now. There are too many people living in poverty and too many suffering from racism. We don’t have a system of health care or education that supports the citizens of this country. We are polluting the earth and this could lead to the end of us all.

We have a madman in the White House, but as S. Brian Willson posts to Facebook, “focusing on Trump is a distraction…. Trump is an avatar (or caricature), an undisguised buffoon serving as a mirror revealing for most to see the ugly decrepit nature of our US American culture.” We live in a very broken society and it is going to take all of us coming together and looking realistically at what is going on to fix it. The Democrats can’t fix it because they are part of the broken system and have done as much damage as the Republicans.

This is where I am coming from in my work in nonviolent civil resistance. In the history of the United States, we have been at war 222 out of 239 years. I was shocked when I learned that fact several years ago. We need to understand what this means, and we need many more people involved in trying to stop our wars.

There are many people protesting the many crazy things that Trump is doing, but the war machine that has been a part of almost every US administration in history is being ignored. We can’t claim any kind of moral leadership in the world when we murder innocent children, women, and men of other countries, and when we use our empirical forces to try to control the world. We can’t provide basic needs like education, health care, food, and housing for our people when we spend the majority of our resources on war. We can’t save the planet when we have a military that is the worst polluter in the history of the world.

Because of this, the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) keeps its focus on the US wars of aggression. NCNR has been acting in resistance to the crimes of our government with its illegal wars since 2003. We are at war in seven different countries today and members of NCNR think it is critical to make the connection between war and all the other problems affecting our world today.

With that in mind NCNR planned the Rivers of Blood action – noting that Rivers of Blood flow through the US Capitol as our Congress continues to vote for funding for war. We did a Rivers of Blood action 10 years ago in the crypt of the Capitol and decided to do this second Rivers of Blood action outside on the steps of the Capitol where we hoped we would be seen by more people.

After months of planning, I again left my family in Wisconsin and returned to DC on July 11 for a July 12 action. It is difficult to leave home and travel to DC several times a year, but I feel compelled to speak out against the crimes of my government.

The day before the action I received an email from someone named Andrew Bolinger. He wrote that he wanted to join us in our action and he wanted information on what we would be doing. The email was suspicious sounding. There was a professional tone to the message, and it didn’t use the language of a peace activist, even though he claimed he had been arrested for nonviolent demonstrations. He said he “wants to seek more justice.” I responded that if he was interested he could meet us for the planning meeting, but didn’t give him any speci