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By John Grant
Vietnam, a story of virtually unmitigated disasters that we have inflicted on ourselves and even more on others.
-Bernard Brodie, 1973
It's just possible that the space of 236 years and a truckload of fireworks are obscuring our vision.
It's hard for us to see what should be obvious.
Many nations -- including Canada as the nearest example -- have gained their independence without wars. We claim that a war was for independence, but if we could have had all the same advantages without the war, would that not have been better?
Back in 1986, a book was published by now Virginia State Delegate and Minority Leader David Toscano, the great nonviolent strategist Gene Sharp, and others, called "Resistance, Politics, and the American Struggle for Independence, 1765-1775."
An urgent plea to the nations that my nation likes to kick around.
The U.S. State Department has a list of the treaties it believes are in force and the United States a party to. On that list one finds this:
RENUNCIATION OF WAR
Treaty providing for the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy.
Signed at Paris August 27, 1928.
Entered into force July 24, 1929.
46 Stat. 2343; TS 796; 2 Bevans 732; 94 LNTS 57.
Afghanistan, Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China 1, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Czechoslovakia 2, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia 3, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 4, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Yugoslavia 5.
1 Pre-1949 convention, applicable only to Taiwan.
2 See note under CZECHOSLOVAKIA in Section 1.
3 See note under ETHIOPIA in Section 1.
4 See note under UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS in Section 1.
5 See note under YUGOSLAVIA in Section 1.
Treaties, under the U.S. Constitution, are the supreme law of the land. Other nations are equally bound to abide by their treaties. And this treaty bans war. It was put in place in 1928 by the wealthy armed nations of the world. They renounced war but not colonialism or racism. They ended and avoided wars in the years that followed. And only once more did they make war on each other -- that occasion being, of course, the catastrophe known as World War II. As the first war after the establishment of a treaty banning war, World War II was the first war that was followed by criminal prosecution of the crime of war. The prosecutors got it wrong, however. The Pact of 1928 banned all war, not aggressive war. The prosecutions were one-sided victors' justice. But they, and the horrors of the war, had their impact. The rich nations -- mine and the others -- never made war on each other again. Now they exclusively make war on you.
You are the future. Your populations are soaring while ours are not. You live under the threat of economic pressure backed up by the threat of war. I'm speaking to you small nations, but also some of the largest (China, this means you). Some of you are proposing that war be criminalized. Here's such a proposal from Malaysia. Why not take advantage of the fact that this has already been done? Some of you have signed onto the Peace Pact of Paris, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and others could do so, including Malaysia. You could then insist that all parties to the treaty comply with it. You don't need anyone's permission to join this treaty. It has built into it the requirement to accept all comers. And it does not ban war of a particular description. It bans ground wars, drone strikes, assassinations, and all non-peaceful means of foreign relations. We couldn't dream up a better treaty. We couldn't get the rich warmongering nations to join it if we did. Thankfully, they've done it for us. Now we need the non-war-making nations of the world to sign on and build pressure -- in partnership with peace activists in the heart of the empire -- for universal compliance.
I wrote a book last year about how this treaty came to be. Here's what this treaty says:
The High Contracting Parties solemly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.
The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.
The present Treaty shall be ratified by the High Contracting Parties named in the Preamble in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements, and shall take effect as between them as soon as all their several instruments of ratification shall have been deposited at Washington.
This Treaty shall, when it has come into effect as prescribed in the preceding paragraph, remain open as long as may be necessary for adherence by all the other Powers of the world. Every instrument evidencing the adherence of a Power shall be deposited at Washington and the Treaty shall immediately upon such deposit become effective as; between the Power thus adhering and the other Powers parties hereto.
It shall be the duty of the Government of the United States to furnish each Government named in the Preamble and every Government subsequently adhering to this Treaty with a certified copy of the Treaty and of every instrument of ratification or adherence. It shall also be the duty of the Government of the United States telegraphically to notify such Governments immediately upon the deposit with it of each instrument of ratification or adherence.
IN FAITH WHEREOF the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed this Treaty in the French and English languages both texts having equal force, and hereunto affix their seals.
DONE at Paris, the twenty seventh day of August in the year one thousand nine hundred and twenty-eight.
By Jane Dugdale
Photo: Councilmember Maria Quinones-Sanchez, who successfully introduced the resolution to Redirect Military Spending to Fund Our Communities, poses outside Philadelphia City Council Chambers with some of the members of the Delaware Valley New Priorities Network, which drafted the resolution, passed by Philadelphia City Council June 21 by 15-2. From left, Andrew Deffley, philadelphiacommunities.com; Jane Dugdale, Main Line Peace Action; Councilmember Quinones-Sanchez; Ben Sears, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, retirees; Bob Smith, Brandywine Peace Community; John Braxton, Faculty and Staff Federation of Community College of Philadelphia; Ken Heard, National Writers Union.
On the phone TONIGHT 10pm Eastern / 7pm Pacific with Kevin Gosztola of The Dissenter blog at Firedoglake, co-author of Truth & Consequences: The U.S. v Bradley Manning and the subject of this interview. We invite all onto a conference call to discuss Bradley's case, as we prepare to march for him in Pride parades this Sunday (see below for details).
Last night’s emergency national conference call on the mounting war crisis was a huge step forward. More than 80 people registered on line to participate in the call. As of last night's call we already know of coordinated antiwar actions in 19 cities during the week of June 23 to July 1.
The actions will be organized around the demands of “Hands off Syria and Iran,” “End the Drone Wars” and “We Need Jobs, Education and Healthcare, Not Endless War.” If you are planning a protest in your area, Please send the information to UNACpeace@gmail.com and we will include your action on the UNAC web site at www.UNACpeace.org.
The growing threats of war against Syria are alarming. Recently, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Russia not to get in the way of US backed efforts to force out the government of President Assad. The corporate media is making every effort to overwhelm us with calls for another "Humanitarian War". The drum beat of aggression against Iran grows daily as well. The threat of new war is real while US drone attacks are an expanding form of anonymous war.
Please join us by organizing demonstrations, vigils, forums and other actions on the growing threats of war during the period from June 23 through July1. Send UNAC the information at UNACpeace@gmail.com so we can post if on the web site.
We will be organizing a second conference call on Sunday, June 23 at 9 PM eastern time. Call-in information will be sent out soon.
Joe Lombardo and Marilyn Levin,
Hello to all the new friends we made at the American Humanist Association conference in New Orleans, especially to the Feminist Caucus who named me "humanist heroine." The AHA came out publicly last week for "restraint" against attacking Iran, and I believe it's one of the few national organizations to do so.
Video from the American Humanist Association Awards Banquet
Are you aware, I asked a friend, that the guy you're registering new voters to vote for keeps a list of people he intends to kill? Oh well, he replied, you know.
Do I, now?
Weaponized drones should be banned, I tell a group of progressives. What? Oh no, drones are better than armies, because with drones nobody gets killed.
Is that so? Just how far do progressives have left to progress exactly?
How can we shake people out of their acceptance of murder, I ask peace activists. Easy. We'll trumpet the news of the 2,000th U.S. death in Afghanistan.
By United for Peace and Justice
(New York – June 17) Come join Global Justice and Peace organizations as we march with civil rights, labor, religious, youth and students, and diverse community groups in a Father’s Day silent march to end the stop and frisk policy of the New York Police Department.
There is a growing movement to oppose this outrageous example of policing as a key element of state repression. As activists and organizers in the Peace and Global Justice movement, come march in solidarity with over 200 domestic economic and social justice organizations.
Read our statement (below) to better understand the importance of Peace and Global Justice organizations participating in this historic march.
When: Sunday, June 17th at 3 pm
Prompting even the judge to express bewilderment at the prosecution's unusual withholding of a new indictment against the NATO 3, Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Betterly, a grand jury on Tuesday returned the indictment after the three were arrested for allegedly planning to recruit people to throw Molotov cocktails at police stations, attack Obama campaign headquarters, and other targets ahead of the NATO protests in Chicago last month. The arrests took place after police infiltrators, acknowledged by the CPD, infiltrated the apartment where the three were staying.
Shimon Peres will be at the White House tonight for an official dinner (with about 140 other guests) right after President Obama awards him the "Presidential Medal of Freedom".
It has come to our attention here at CODEPINK DC that Shimon Peres will be at the White House tonight for an official dinner (with about 140 other guests) right after President Obama awards him the "Presidential Medal of Freedom". We clearly think this is shameful and will be protesting in front of the White House beginning at 6pm decked out in Palestine swag. We hope you can make it! Any questions call me at (860) 575-5692.
This past Memorial Day marked the one year anniversary of Operation Recovery, an initiative developed by IVAW and supported by Under the Hood to stop the redeployment of traumatized troops.
In a year’s time IVAW and Under the Hood volunteers have spoken with hundreds of soldiers about the problems they face in attempting to access mental health care. Efforts to apply pressure on General Campbell to address these issues resulted in a virtual town hall meeting earlier this year. Under the Hood continues to work with soldiers every day to show them that they are not alone in dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and that they have a right to heal from trauma and should not face redeployment.
To mark the one-year anniversary of this important work, Under the Hood and IVAW volunteers stood vigil outside of the gates of Fort Hood, reminding General Campbell of his responsibility to the traumatized soldiers, and reaching out to soldiers entering the base.
“We’ve made some progress, but our work isn’t done”, says Lori Hurlebaus, Director at Under the Hood. “We need to continue to apply pressure and ask that people continue to send e-mails to General Campbell as our summer outreach drive gets underway. ” Hurlebaus explains.
Along with our work in Killeen, Under the Hood participated in a national G.I. Rights Hotline Conference this May.
Under the Hood staff, along with over 40 counselors from across the country, got together in late May in Fayetteville, Arkansas for training and for discussing plans for the G.I. Rights Hotline’s future. UTH co-led two sessions; one along with Coffee Strong, the only other anti-war coffeehouse currently open in the U.S.; and the other with IVAW on Operation Recovery.
While we shared information on the works of the coffeehouses and Operation Recovery, we also gained valuable information that we will, in turn, use to build our Ribs and Rights night programs and other important programming to support soldier rights.
Thanks to all who attended our “ War is Trauma” art show at 5604 and/or the film screening of " Where Soldiers Come From” at the Alamo Drafthouse in April. A special thanks to the Director of "Where Soldiers Come From", Heather Courtney, for joining us at the screening!
Both fundraising events were very successful and we always enjoy seeing new faces! The film screening at Alamo was a new method of outreach for us, and we’re excited to try it again. If you have ideas for a film that we should consider screening, we’d love to hear from you.
Under the Hood is pleased and honored to report that we have received grants from two sources.
For the third year, we have received funds from RESIST. RESIST has been funding social change since 1967 with grants to organizations that are actively part of a movement for social change and can demonstrate an understanding of the connections among oppressions, including race, class, gender, gay and lesbian rights, age and disability.
We also were awarded a grant from the Funding Exchange, a network of community foundations. In its 33rd year, the Funding Exchange funds activists working to build a more democratic, economically just, and non-violent country. We are honored to have gotten this funding in recognition of our work.
Past issues of Under the Hood Update can be found at our website at underthehoodcafe.org, where you can also get information about upcoming events, make donations, visit our ResiStore, stay informed, and find helpful links.
As always, thank you to all who have donated to Under the Hood, and a special BIG thank you to our sustaining donors! If you haven't made a donation before, please consider making a single gift, or sign up to become a monthly sustainer by choosing the recurring donation option when you give online. If you prefer to mail in your donation, you can send a check or money order to:
Fort Hood Support Network
P.O. Box 16174
Austin, Texas 78761-6174
Your contribution now will help ensure that we keep our doors open and continue to support soldiers, veterans and their families.
The Fort Hood Support Network (FHSN) operates Under the Hood Cafe and Outreach Center, FHSN is a Texas non-profit corporation with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.
A magazine asked me this morning for my thoughts on Iraq and the peace movement. What did this war produce? I replied:
· Over a million human beings killed plus extensive structural and cultural damage amounting to sociocide, which we could have prevented and didn't, which we could regret and make reparations for but instead are largely uninformed about.
· A lesson taught to other nations that nuclear weapons are needed to prevent a U.S. invasion, a lesson also taught by the assault on Libya.
· A lesson taught to other nations that might makes right and aggressive killing and torture are to be used when one can get away with it.
· Entrenchment of a fossil fuel / war industry, environmental damage, economic damage, damage to international relations, and a huge rollback in civil liberties and the right to assemble and protest.
· Enormous enlargement of the war industry, privatization of the military, and a strengthened ability to legally bribe politicians and control them.
In the peace movement, there's good and bad:
· We exposed the lies on which the war was based and educated everyone else, but most still don't grasp that the lies are common to all wars; they think this one was unique.
· We played a role in ending the war. But it was a larger role than we are aware of, so people don't take enough encouragement from it.
· We built international relations among peace activists in numerous nations, building an anti-bases movement and an anti-NATO movement, and building relations with activists in the nations attacked by ours as well.
· We exposed the financial cost and the cost in U.S. military lives. But -- again -- few know about the far greater cost in Iraqi lives. And very few understand that the base military budget dwarfs the war budget and is equally misspent.
· Coming out of that, we have a nation strongly opposed to massive ground wars. But we have a nation willing to accept air and drone wars. And why not? They don't hurt anybody!
· We should have been much stronger. And we should have pushed harder when the Democrats took power by pretending to listen to us. Instead, 3/4 of the U.S. peace movement went to sleep. So, we have to have Republicans in power to have a peace movement -- a severe weakness.
What, I was asked, should be done to mark the 10-year anniversary of the invasion next March?
We should apologize, I said. We should make reparations to Iraq and much of the region, including Afghanistan and Pakistan and Yemen, etc., all of which our troops should immediately leave. We should launch cultural and student exchange programs instead. We should open prosecutions of those responsible, from Bush and Obama on down. We should move funding from the military to green energy. We should shut down all foreign bases. We should announce the dismantling of all nuclear weapons. We should end NATO. We should reaffirm the Kellogg-Briand Pact. We should reform and democratize the UN and the ICC. Or at least those of us willing to have a peace movement, either because Romney is president or because we're willing to confront Obama now that he's a lame duck and really really doesn't give a damn, should move things as far as we can in that direction.
In the meantime, we should build on what was built in Chicago protesting NATO. We should assist in opposing what look like false prosecutions of activists coming out of that event. We should learn the approach being developed by militarized police forces around the country, which includes huge numbers of undercover police and infiltrators, attempts at entrapment and provocation, and public relations scare tactics used to demonize activists and reduce participation. We should learn from what worked in terms of coalition building and turnout, and what arguably could have been done better -- such as a public commitment to nonviolence by the organizers.
We cannot reduce public organizing, education, and pressure to elections. We've just seen how that works in Wisconsin. I had the misfortune to catch a bit of Bill Maher last night, and he was denouncing Occupy Wall Street for not being as smart as the Tea Party, not being as serious, not devoting itself to electing people. As if the tea partiers who opposed bank bailouts have elected representatives. As if the tea partiers who opposed restrictions on civil liberties have elected people. As if tea partiers outraged by the concentration of power and wealth in a corrupt two-tiered system have had their concerns remotely answered. To the extent that the Tea Party has actually changed anything, it has done so primarily by pressuring the government from the outside, including by demanding that the Republicans become even worse than they were or be abandoned. This has produced walking-disasters of officials independent enough to sometimes get things right, as when Senator Rand Paul has blocked pro-war legislation.
Occupy Wall Street has the Net Roots Obamanation and the Take Back the American Dried Up Raisin in the Sun conferences, with their support for war and anything else if its Democratic. It's to the credit of every activist who has avoided falling into that trap. We should be lobbying Congress for good bills and for better bills that don't exist yet. There are bills to end the Authorization to Use Military Force, to ban the sale of weapons to abusive countries (does that include our own?), and to require diplomacy with Iran. There should be bills to begin a process of conversion from a military to a civilian economy. But primarily we should be educating, organizing, and building a movement to resist the bipartisan pro-war consensus. We should not be dumping our energies into lesser-evil electioneering. Here are some upcoming events:
June 17, 2012, New York, N.Y., Protest NYPD Abuse and Targeting of Muslims
June 24, 2012, Washington, D.C., March Against Torture
June 22-26, 2012, everywhere, Actions Against Torture
July 14, 2012, Wisconsin, Peacestock
August 8-12, 2012, Miami, Fla., Veterans for Peace Convention
August 27-30, Tampa, Fla., Protest the RNC
Sept. 1-6. 2012, Charlotte, N.C., Protest the DNC
On Afghanistan, I think we need to insist that staying is not the best way of leaving. We have three-quarters of the United States with us on wanting to end the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan. There is no need to worry about being too radical. There is no need to frame our position so as to appeal to patriotic entrepreneurs, and so forth. Three-quarters of the country agrees with us. Can we get them active? Can we get them talking, writing letters, calling shows, blogging, marching, attending events, pushing their organizations and the media and Congress? Obama wants to keep a large number of troops in Afghanistan for another two and a half years, reducing them at an unspecified rate to an unspecified number, and then keeping them there 10 more years, after which it will be time to step back and consider the situation. The House, but apparently not the Senate, wants to require a minimum of 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but Obama already wants the funding at that level and is committed to considering after the election whether to take the Pentagon's advice and keep 68,000 or defy the Pentagon. Betting on what that actually means largely comes down to whether you imagine that, contrary to all established trends, a politician gets better by becoming a lame duck rather than worse. We need to demand all troops home now, to expose the horror of the war, to amplify the voices of Afghans opposing the occupation, to encourage resistance in the military, to escalate our protests, and to build understanding of the numerous tradeoffs, financial and otherwise.
We need to resist the cries for U.S. war in Syria. There are remarkably few stories in our corporate media about the healthy state of democracy in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere else the United States has built a nation by destroying one. There is little outrage over killing and torture by U.S. allies in Bahrain. Many supporters of war in Syria are open about their motivation of overthrowing a government that is friendlier to Iran than Israel. But Tunisia and Egypt have brighter futures because of the tools of nonviolence. Violence is not quick. When the U.S. armed fighters in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the damage was not easily contained. Pouring gasoline on a fire in Syria could be worse.
We need to expose the lies about Iran and to remind people constantly of the lies that they knew were lies about Iraq. Possessing weapons is not grounds for war. Iran is not working on any nuclear weapons. An Israeli war will be understood by Iran and the world as U.S.-authorized, as of course it will be. Iran has not violated the non-proliferation treaty, while the United States has. War and threats of war are crimes. Sanctions that starve people, not to mention "cyber-war," are properly considered acts of war. Iran has threatened no one and has sought to agree to inspections and control of uranium not required by any law or treaty. But the U.S. President and most Congress members are pretending that the onus is on Iran to cease doing what we know it is not doing.
Meanwhile, Obama, not content with having enlarged the military, its global presence, its budget, its privatization, its power to operate within the United States as a police force, and its capacity to act in secrecy, has given himself the power to murder anyone, anywhere, picking the names of the nominees from his secret kill list. RootsAction.org is launching a petition aimed at banning weaponized drones and undoing the kill-list program. Numerous organizations are taking part, and the petition will be sent to every possible national and international authority. Your organization is invited to sign on.
Part of what drives all of this madness is the money poured into it. The military budget has grown every year that Bush or Obama has been president thus far -- and even more so if one looks at all the departments that get military spending. Obama is proposing to cut Iraq and Afghanistan war spending in the military budget from $88 billion to $44 billion. Quite a halfway measure for wars he claims are over or ending. And the budget control act requires, unless Congress undoes it, that $55 billion more be cut. But it could be cut from veterans care, from non-military diplomacy, or from other non-military areas. Even if it is cut from the military, we're talking about $55 billion out of a budget that is well over $1 trillion. We ought to be insisting on much larger cuts and building a major coalition of groups that want the spending for useful purposes, want their civil liberties, want our natural environment, and want to stop killing people.
Charlottesville has planned a pro-war Flag Day event featuring a Brigadier General from the JAG school and new recruits for ongoing U.S. wars that make little pretense of legality. We've planned a pro-peace demonstration. Please bring signs and posters in support of peace and nonviolence. We'll have large signs reading "'There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people for a purpose which is unattainable.' --Howard Zinn"
Thursday, 6 p.m.
Free Speech Wall, Downtown Mall, 605 East Main Street, Charlottesville, Va
SIGN UP HERE.
By the War Resisters League
Over the past year, we've continued to see astonishing changes in the world. The democratic victories won by the Arab Spring are continuing to shift politics regionally and globally; the Occupy movement has created a new way of thinking about capitalism in the mainstream US; the student strike in Quebec is about to enter its fourth month, with numbers of protesters steadily growing. As we've watched the formation of global movements, we've also seen the ways that they've been countered and dispersed. Tear gas is a key tool of dispersal and state repression made in the US and used to dis-organize movements across the globe.
In our preparations for our upcoming campaign against the the manufacture, sale, and shipment of US-made tear gas to anywhere in the world, including to those governments who are most violently repressing social movements, collecting stories about people's experiences with tear gas is an important step along the way!
Facing Tear Gas is a project that tells people's stories with tear gas through writing, video, and images. We're asking people who have been tear gassed to share their stories with us. Check out the Tumblr here.
If you have a story about tear gas, take a moment to write down your story or film yourself talking about your experience with tear gas. Then submit your story on the Facing Tear Gas Tumblr. Check out the stories we have so far here.
If you haven’t yourself been tear gassed but are committed to supporting democratic movements for social change and against state repression, please take a few minutes to help advance our campaign.
Support our work:
- Follow @resistwar on Twitter
- Like War Resisters League on Facebook.
- Visit http://facingteargas.tumblr.
comfor updates, background on the campaign, and media.
Spread the word:
- Post to Facebook: “Tear gas is lethal: it breaks up protests, disperses movements, and kills people. Got a story about tear gas? Tell your story and help us build a campaign against tear gas http://facingteargas.
- Tweet: Got a story about tear gas? Tell it here: http://bit.ly/KqkQUX #facingteargas #teargas
- Reblog the stories shared so far on Tumblr http://facingteargas.tumblr.
Partner with us: Contact us: To follow-up about your submission, ask a question about the campaign, or connect your work against tear gas and other tools of state repression to ours, please get in touch! Send an email to email@example.com A report from WRL field organizer Ali Issa from the NATO protests in Chicago in May 2012: On May 20th, as the NATO Summit began at the McCormick Place Convention Center in downtown Chicago, we marched with the Palestinian/Puerto Rican/ Filipino contingent, members of the Network for a NATO-free Future, and the members of the Swedish anti-militarist network, Ofog. Highlights of the march included us helping to carry a 40-foot Palestinian flag and spirited chants like: "Move NATO get out the way, get out the way, get out the way!" As we approached in the thousands a stage placed a few blocks from the convention center at Cermak and Michigan, we watched and listened as the Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans of IVAW and members of Afghans for Peace began to tell their stories. We heard moving testimony as the veterans threw their medals at the center. The many groups there, coming together to confront NATO and the many agendas it represents, gave me a shot of electricity and a vision of an anti-militarist movement to come.
Partner with us:
To follow-up about your submission, ask a question about the campaign, or connect your work against tear gas and other tools of state repression to ours, please get in touch!
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
A report from WRL field organizer Ali Issa from the NATO protests in Chicago in May 2012:
On May 20th, as the NATO Summit began at the McCormick Place Convention Center in downtown Chicago, we marched with the Palestinian/Puerto Rican/ Filipino contingent, members of the Network for a NATO-free Future, and the members of the Swedish anti-militarist network, Ofog. Highlights of the march included us helping to carry a 40-foot Palestinian flag and spirited chants like: "Move NATO get out the way, get out the way, get out the way!" As we approached in the thousands a stage placed a few blocks from the convention center at Cermak and Michigan, we watched and listened as the Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans of IVAW and members of Afghans for Peace began to tell their stories. We heard moving testimony as the veterans threw their medals at the center. The many groups there, coming together to confront NATO and the many agendas it represents, gave me a shot of electricity and a vision of an anti-militarist movement to come.
From Odessa American:
BREWSTER COUNTY A 72-year-old Terlingua man known for his history of protests, including driving an anti-war bus across the country, died Sunday evening after a rollover in his passenger vehicle 24 miles outside of Alpine.
Jim Edward Goodnow was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a preliminary report by Department of Public Safety trooper David Miller. Miller’s report gave his name as James Goodnow and age as 74, however previous newspaper articles and public records placed his age at 72.
Around 10:45 p.m., Goodnow was driving a 1993 Mitsubishi Diamante north on Texas State Highway 118, 24 miles outside of Alpine, when his vehicle drifted to the right and he overcorrected, a DPS spokeswoman said. The vehicle then went into a side skid and rolled over an undetermined amount of times, ejecting Goodnow, who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, the spokeswoman said.
Friends of Goodnow met Monday at the High Sierra Bar and Grill in Terlingua to honor his memory, however, no one wished to speak for an interview Monday afternoon, saying next of kin had not yet been notified.
Goodnow was also the driver for a protest bus that called to bring U.S. troops home from the war in Iraq and the impeachment of then-President George W. Bush.
“For every one finger salute we get, we get 15 people giving us the peace sign,” Goodnow told the Odessa American after making a stop in November 2007, one of numerous interviews and photos Goodnow managed to appear in throughout his life.
The “Yellow Rose of Texas Peace Bus” — with its signature “Don’t attack Iran/Impeach Bush” back logos — burned in January 2008 in New Jersey, however Goodnow continued to be involved in protests, appearing at demonstrations in Washington, D.C, in December 2008 and participating apparently most recently in an “Occupy” event in the capital in October 2011.
In March 2010, the Miami New Times reported Goodnow, described as an “old hippie lifeguard turned hero” was trying to bring supplies to Haiti following the earthquake there, referencing Goodnow’s Coast Guard service near Miami Beach from 1959 to ’61. His success in the endeavor was unknown, however.
Goodnow found his way into newspapers as early as October 1973 when an Associated Press article identified a James E. Goodnow of Baltimore standing “in front of the Treasury Building with two large cartons filled with imitation straw hats bearing an ‘Impeach Nixon’ label.”
- Join UNAC at the rally to end Stop and Frisk in New York City.
As you may know, there will be a very important rally and silent march against Stop and Frisk in New York City on June 17. At a May 6 New York City meeting called by UNAC and the Muslim Peace Coalition we decided to support the demonstration and build a contingent where we will be marching with the demands of: End Stop and Frisk, Stop Spying on Muslims, Stop Promoting Islamophobia, Stop Waging War on Us.
Our antiwar and anti-Islamophobia contingent will gather with some others at 110th St. and 8th Ave at 1 PM (this is different than what was sent out before). Please join us.
There are downloadable flyers for our contingent and the rally at the UNAC web site at www.UNACpeace.org.
The march is organized by SEIU 1199, NAACP, National Action Network and others.
Endorsers of our contingent include: UNAC, Muslim Peace Coalition, Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan NY, Interfaith Center of NY, May 1st Workers and Immigrant Rights Coalition, Muslim alliance in North America (MANA), Women in Islam, Solidarity with Iran, International Action Center, Free Mumia Coalition, International Socialist Organization, Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Venceramos Brigade, Muslim Consultative Network, DRUM, Pakistan USA Freedom Forum, Bail Out the People Movement, Occupy Hartford, Ct. Indefinite Detention Coalition, National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms.
For transportation information to New York for June 17, please contact Toka at 860-680-7247 or Mongi at 860-514-8038 from Connecticut, Joe at 518-439-1968 from upstate, NY, for Boston, Marilyn at 781-316-2018. For all other areas, please send an email to UNACpeace@gmail.com
Please spread the word about the rally and our contingent.
- Join UNAC to protest at the political conventions
At the UNAC convention in March, we voted to support demonstrations at the Democratic and Republican conventions. On our last Coordinating Committee Conference call we voted to make a financial contribution to organizations organizing both protests. Please start organizing transportation from your area for these demonstrations. Information can be found at the web sites below:
Protest at the Democratic Convention: http://wallstsouth.org/
Protest at the Republican Convention: http://marchonthernc.com/
- Support those arrested in Chicago at the NATO/G8 protests
The Chicago Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild has condemned the actions of the police during their attacks on the anti-NATO & G8 protesters in Chicago on May 20. Their report can be found here: http://nlgchicago.org/.
As you may know, there are still 8 people being held on serious felony charges. These include the NATO 5, all with terrorism charges under an Illinois law. Their defense is being organized by Occupy Chicago. Please go to the Occupy Chicago web site for more information on the defense: www.Occupychi.org.
Please call States Attorney Anita Alvarez at 773-674-6209 and demand that all charges be dropped against the anti-NATO/G8 protesters.
- Victory for Carlos Montes.
There has been an important victory in the case of Carlos Montes. Due to public protest, three felony charges against him have been dropped on the condition that he plea “no contest” on a single count of perjury with no jail time. The original charges could have resulted in 18 years in state prison.
This victory is due to the defense efforts of those of us who supported him. A very public campaign was waged in support of Montes. This shows that, even during this period of continual attacks on civil liberties, victories can be won when a public campaign is waged. When their attacks are done in the public eye, the government realizes that it will pay a political price for attacks on our civil liberties and will often back off.
Carlos Montes’ home was raided on May 17, 2011 by combined forces of the LA County Sheriff’s Swat Team and the FBI, by crashing his door down at 5 a.m. with automatic assault rifles drawn. Montes’ charges centered around the fact that he owns firearms. This apparently is illegal for someone convicted of a felony. The prosecutor claimed that Montes had been convicted of a felony for allegedly throwing an empty soda can at a demonstration that took place decades ago.
Montes is a longtime Chicano community and antiwar leader. His case should be seen in the context of the other 23 antiwar and solidarity activists who have had their homes raided by the FBI and who have been handed subpoenas to appear before a federal grand jury. The victory in the Montes’ case shows the way forward for others who are attacked by the government including the other 23 antiwar and solidarity activists, the NATO protesters, Muslims and others. Montes’ and the other 23 antiwar and solidarity activists are being defended by the Committee to Stop FBI repression. You can support these defense cases at www.stopfbi.net.
More Than Entrapment, More Than a Frame-Up, the Crucifixion of the NATO 3, Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Betterly. The NATO 3 are scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, June 12.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, rarely in history has so much been so wrong with a case in which so much is at stake. The story of the NATO 3 is either the story of the most inept, harebrained terrorists in history meeting the Keystone Cops, or a terrifying retaliation by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's police department for the posting of a Youtube video which documented illegal police behavior.
Chris Hedges' and Joe Sacco's new book, "Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt," is a treasure. Hedges wrote the plain text. Sacco produced the text-heavy cartoon sections and other illustrations, which even I -- not a big fan of cartoon books -- found to enrich this book enormously.
Some years ago, I watched a screening of a film about Daniel Ellsberg and the release of the Pentagon Papers. The film was shown in the U.S. Capitol, and Ellsberg was present, along with others, to discuss the movie and take questions afterwards.
I've just read Chris Hayes' new book "Twilight of the Elites," and am reminded of the question that progressive blogger and then-Congressman Alan Grayson staffer Matt Stoller asked Ellsberg.
What, Stoller wanted to know, should one do when (following the 2003 invasion of Iraq) one has come to the realization that the New York Times cannot be trusted?
The first thing I thought to myself upon hearing this was, of course, "Holy f---, why would anyone have ever trusted the New York Times?" In fact I had already asked a question about the distance we'd traveled from 1971, when the New York Times had worried about the potential shame of having failed to publish a story, to 2005 when the New York Times publicly explained that it had sat on a major story (about warrantless spying) out of fear of the shame of publishing it.
But the reality is that millions of people have trusted and do trust, in various ways and to various degrees, the New York Times and worse. Ellsberg's response to Stoller was that his was an extremely important question and one that he, Ellsberg, had never been asked before.
It's a question that Hayes asks in his book, which can be read well together with Chris Hedges' "Death of the Liberal Class." Hedges' book goes back further in U.S. history to chart the demise of liberal institutions from academia to media to labor. Hayes stays more current and also more conceptual, perhaps more thought-provoking.
Hayes charts a growing disillusionment with authorities of all variety: government, media, doctors, lawyers, bankers. We've learned that no group can be blindly trusted. "The cascade of elite failure," writes Hayes, "has discredited not only elites and our central institutions, but the very mental habits we use to form our beliefs about the world. At the same time, the Internet has produced an unprecedented amount of information to sort through and radically expanded the arduous task of figuring out just whom to trust." Hayes calls this "disorienting."
While I have benefitted from Hayes' brilliant analysis, I just can't bring myself to feel disoriented. I can, however, testify to the presence of this feeling in others. When I speak publicly, I'm often asked questions about how to avoid this disorientation. I spoke recently about the need to correct much of what the corporate media was saying about Iran, and a woman asked me how I could choose which sources of news reporting to trust. I replied that it is best to watch for verifiable specifics reported by multiple sources, to begin by questioning the unstated assumptions in a story, to study history so that facts don't appear in a vacuum, and to not blindly trust or reject any sources -- the same reporter or outlet or article could have valuable information mixed in with trash. Such critical media consumption may not be easy to do after a full day's work, I'll grant you. But it's not any harder to do than reading the New York Times and performing the mental gymnastics required to get what you've read to match up with the world you live in.
By Dave Lindorff
There will be all kinds of dancing around the issue of why progressives lost the recall campaign against union-busting Tea Party Republican Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin on Tuesday, with the Obama campaign trying to claim that it was not a reflection on him or his popularity, the Democratic Party saying it was not their battle, and the labor movement, sadly, blaming it all on right-wing money. They’ll all be saying that it doesn’t matter, and that the important thing is to focus on helping Democrats win in November.
For activist, author, and blogger David Swanson, it really is about the never-ending struggle for social and economic justice; the same battle that has been fought since time began. And for him, “success” or “defeat” cannot be defined by one election or one Supreme Court ruling. For Swanson, “victory” may be generations away, but that does not deter him from keeping the activism fires burning via every avenue he can find.
“I don’t necessarily tell people not to lose hope,” Swanson said in a recent interview with Wisdom Voices. “I think there’s a problem with having a dependency on hope. I don’t go through these cycles of being hopeful and then being despondent. I actually enjoy activism. I don’t think activism is something temporary that we do it once and then everything will be fixed and then we stop. I think it’s permanent and it should be permanent. Activism is more enjoyable than sitting home and griping. It provides me a way to enjoy living every day.”
Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Swanson is a prolific writer and author of several books, the most recent being:
- The Military Industrial Complex at 50 (2012)
- When the World Outlawed War (2011)
- War Is A Lie (2010)
- Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union (2009)
Information on his books and other articles can be found at his web site: www.davidswanson.org.
Activism has been rooted in almost all of Swanson’s adult life. He holds a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including press secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, media coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as communications coordinator for ACORN. John Nichols of The Nation magazine once said: “David Swanson will be remembered and well recognized as the citizen who held up a lamp in the darkness and cried, as did good Tom Paine: ‘We have it in our power to begin the world over again.’ ”
“The most important work I think is educational,” Swanson said. “By that I mean activism has to take a kind of broad term organizational effort. It’s not in passing a particular bill or electing a particular person. Setbacks shouldn’t get us down. If all of our hopes lie in (President) Obama turning out to be better than he claimed to be or all of our hopes are in un-electing (Wisconsin Governor Scott) Walker, we’re setting ourselves up for defeat because we can lose a particular battle and because elections can be the wrong place to be putting our emphasis to begin with. I think we should be putting about 95 percent of our efforts into educating and organizing and mobilizing non-violent struggle and maybe 5 percent into elections.
“But that doesn’t mean I’m not disturbed about what’s going on in our country today. I’m extremely disturbed that the primary business of our government has been mass murder and the preparation for mass murder. And we’ve given presidents powers that kings never had, and most of us will be completely oblivious to that fact as we grill out and shoot off fireworks on another 4th of July.
“And I find it extremely disturbing that we are ruining our earth’s atmosphere for our children and grandchildren. I think we either go down fighting or we win by reversing these trends. But to sit back and watch TV, and say we can’t do anything or we lost an election seems to me immoral. Maybe that’s because I really do enjoy activism.
“We are in a struggle for our lives…a struggle that will not see victory come for generations. And we don’t have to be martyrs about it or somehow make ourselves victims about it, but it is something we have to understand will just go on. But even for people who have demanding day jobs, they are doing a ton of work for peace and justice. People do it in different ways; mine happens to be writing.”
And although the struggle for economic and social just has been a continuing and historic struggle, Swanson does sense something “different” about what’s happening today.
“Historically everyone has thought that their age was the crisis or turning point in history,” he said. “I think in a certain sense we are in a more dangerous time globally than we’ve seen before. I say that in terms of the environmental devastation that is ruining our atmosphere and our ecosystem as well as in terms of our proliferation of weapons that can destroy life on earth.
“Those twin dangers are unprecedented in the military empire of the United States in terms of military spending and production and the number of bases and our presence in occupations around the world. No one has ever had an empire remotely resembling this. It is something we haven’t seen before and it’s incredibly dangerous and destructive environmentally as well as other terms. For example, the U.S. military is our biggest consumer of oil and uses the highest percentage of oil that it fights wars for. It’s an incredibly dangerous cycle.
“And, we are in a place in history that we’ve never been before in terms of our democracy. We’ve done away with more civil liberties, more checks and balances. We have formally legalized a form of campaign bribery. We have less control over our so called representatives in Washington.
“Granted, you can go back in history and find whole chunks of the populace who were forbidden from voting or were slaves or were shut out of the process, but there’s always been popular activism and popular media. And that’s missing today. We are now in a place in which majority opinion is just ignored in Washington by both parties. We’ve never so empowered a set of parties and we’ve never so shut out popular opinion even as we continue to wage wars in the name of democracy.
Swanson points to some positive developments such as the rise of the Internet to counter the corporate controlled main stream media. “If you poll the American people on what we actually want, if majority opinion really ruled, we’d be in a much better place than we’ve been in the past. But we have less activism today and much greater belief in the futile inability of activism. We have people believing they are a minority when they are a majority on positions such as taxing the rich, green energy, etc. We have people believing activism doesn’t work and so we should sit home and be miserable, and that’s a very dangerous trend.
“People want to understand how what they are doing can do some good. They’ve been taught that only elections matter or that the things we see daily are the only things that matter. And then we give up. That’s the wrong frame of mind to be in. We have to tell people the good their work is doing…even if that good doesn’t show up for a long time and even with the fact that the government is trying to hide from us the way we influence it.
“There’s value in election campaigns if they build a movement, if they organize, if they educate, whether they elect an official or not. It’s an added plus if they do. But fundamentally we’re currently electing people in a pair of parties that have sold out and are doing the work of their funders.”
Swanson specifically pointed to the recent New York Times article that described the drone killings by President Obama. “If somehow it had been revealed that Obama was really George W. Bush in disguise, we would have had millions of people surrounding and protesting at the White House. Somehow, we’ve imagined that when Obama does this, he somehow is wringing his hands with guilt or that everyone tells themselves that secretly Obama means well. Or that it’s our job to denounce Mitt Romney because some how he would be even worse. And that’s fatal for us as a country.
“If you can’t object to giving someone arbitrary power to kill, if you can’t object to that because you can imagine someone else coming up will be even worse, then we’ve really tied both hands behind our back.”
The son of a man who studied to be a preacher, Swanson carries that fiery vocal force in his talks and conferences he leads or supports. He was part of the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) at 50 conference in September 2011 and is one of the featured speakers at Peacestock 2012 at the Windbeam Farm in Hager City, Wisconsin.
“I’ve never understood there to be an alternative (to activism),” Swanson said. I would be miserable if I weren’t working a job to help save the world…if I were just working to make a buck.”
See below to hear David Swanson in his own words:
Graduation at Fordham: Worker Bees vs. Cowardly Drones
By Ray McGovern and Nick Mottern
We have reported on White House “Kill List” compiler and alumnus John Brennan’s second coming to Fordham for commencement inside Fordham’s Bronx campus http://warisacrime.org/content/priests-or-hench-men — (see embedded link “imaginative protests” on the line above the subhead, Bellying Up.) And several readers have expressed gratitude to learn that a few Justice-oriented graduates found inventive ways to protest this indignity at graduation on May 19.
By Nick Mottern
ORDINANCE of the City (Town, Village, County)
PROTECTION OF THE PUBLIC AGAINST USE OF UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES (DRONES)
1. United States airspace is the busiest in the world, with up to 87,000 flights per day, including commercial airliners and freight haulers, air taxis and private and military aircraft.
2. Unmanned aerial vehicles (referred to in the remainder of this ordinance as drones) are not now allowed in United States general airspace because of the threat they present to other aircraft. Under the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 the FAA is directed to create regulations that will enable drones to fly throughout US airspace by September 2015.
3. Small drones, 25 pounds or under, are now permitted to fly in general airspace below 400 feet for the use of police and first responders, with FAA permission.