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After 1700 years, the Catholic Church is turning against the idea that there can be a "just war." We speak with John Dear.
John Dear is an internationally recognized voice for peace and nonviolence. A priest, pastor, retreat leader, and author, he served for years as the director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the largest interfaith peace organization in the U.S. After September 11, 2001, he was a Red Cross coordinator of chaplains at the Family Assistance Center in New York, and counseled thousands of relatives and rescue workers. John has traveled the war zones of the world, been arrested some 75 times for peace, led Nobel Peace prize winners to Iraq, recently visited Afghanistan, given thousands of lectures on peace across the U.S., and served as a pastor of several churches in New Mexico.
His many books include: The Nonviolent Life; Walking the Way; Thomas Merton Peacemaker; A Persistent Peace; Transfiguration; You Will Be My Witnesses; Living Peace; The Questions of Jesus; The God of Peace; Jesus the Rebel; Peace Behind Bars; and Disarming the Heart. He has been nominated many times for the Nobel Peace Prize, including by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Sen Barbara Mikulski. He works for www.campaignnonviolence.org, is a priest of the Diocese of Monterey, Cal., and lives in New Mexico. See: www.johndear.org
Statement from April 11-13 Vatican Meeting:
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Last week, the Vatican hosted a conference on the theme of “Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to the Catholic Understanding of and Commitment to Nonviolence,” organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace along with the global Catholic peace network Pax Christi International. In their concluding appeal to Pope Francis, the 80 conference participants recommended that he reject Just War Doctrine as a viable or productive Catholic tradition. They also recommended that he write a new encyclical laying out the Catholic Church’s commitment to nonviolence in all of its manifestations—including nonviolent action as a means of engaging in conflict, nonviolent conflict resolution as a way of resolving conflict, and nonviolence as the principle doctrine of the Catholic Church.
If such an encyclical follows, this is a big deal. The just war tradition—which contains numerous doctrines morally justifying violence and war, as well as defining appropriate conduct during war—has served for the past 1500 years as the primary normative basis politicians have evoked (correctly or incorrectly) to validate their waging of war. Because the Catholic Church developed the doctrine between the 4th and 13th centuries, the just war canon has had a monopolistic influence on the way people in the West think about war and violence—whether they know it or not. Consequently, many people now take for granted concepts like the right to self-defense, the importance of weighing the goals of war against its potential human costs, the need to exhaust other options before going to war, and the necessity of only fighting wars you think you can win. Whether you’re the President of the United States in D.C., a police officer on the beat in Denver, or a student in a self-defense class in L.A., these moral concepts have probably had a deep impact on your thinking and your experience when it comes to the proper uses of violence.
Conference participants acknowledged the main sticking point for many skeptics of nonviolence—that promoting (or using) nonviolence can be difficult in the face of armed aggression. Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International and a participant at the conference, claimed that the group fully considered this challenge. Yet she argued that the international community hasn’t yet devoted resources to developing or discovering nonviolent alternatives to armed aggression because of our reflexive turn to violence as the only possible response. In her words, “as long as we keep saying we can do it with military force, we will not invest the creative energy, the deep thinking, the financial and human resources in creating or identifying the alternatives that actually could make a difference.”
So—why is the Catholic Church reconsidering now? Reporter Terrence Lynne argues that there are five primary reasons for this—among them the fact that contemporary weapons of war render obsolete any positive impacts that war might have; and what he calls “the compelling, thrilling saga of nonviolent action over the 60 years since Gandhi.” Indeed, among the arguments Pope Francis used to encourage the conference participants was the dramatic rise in the effectiveness of nonviolent resistance over the past century—a trend we hear a lot around the halls of the Korbel School. In fact, one of the participants in this landmark conference was my colleague Maria J. Stephan, whose work on civil resistance in a variety of struggles around the world helped to provide a strong empirical basis for this conference.
How’s that for engaged scholarship?
Erica Chenoweth is Professor & Associate Dean for Research | Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. Originally published at Political Violence at a Glance, republishing permitted.
Something’s happening in the presidential race: Clinton’s Crumbling, Bernie’s Surging ‘Political Revolution’ is in the Air
By Dave Lindorff
Philadelphia -- Something “YUGE” is happening in the Democratic presidential campaign, and perhaps in the broader American body politic. It’s hard to put your finger on it, but like that feeling of your neck hairs rising off your skin as a big thunderstorm approaches, you know it’s big and it’s coming.
We were at Shelby’s at the bar and Jeff,
Who was watching Fox News,
Slams down his empty bottle
I’m so sick of hearing about damn red herrings
Hartsoughs 721 Shrader St., San Francisco, CA 94117
March 30, 2016
Dear Friends at the IRS,
We cannot in conscience pay for the killing of other human beings or pay for war and preparations for war. Human life is too precious to drop bombs on people because we do not like their governments. Developing a new generation of nuclear weapons which could put an end to life on our beautiful planet is insane.
Giving the Pentagon hundreds of billions of dollars when we are cutting funds for schools, libraries, head start programs, job training and creation, and now even social security, does not increase the security of our people.
The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and the use of drones have NOT increased our security, but have created more enemies of the United States in these countries, in Pakistan and around the world. Let’s end the war on terror and bring the tax dollars home to meet the needs of the American people.
We are Quakers and cannot in conscience contribute in any way to the killing of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. Fifty percent of our tax dollars go for wars and preparations for wars. Together with our IRS Form, we are sending a check for $424 or 50% of what we owe to the Department of Health and Human Services and ask that you designate all those funds for health and education and human well-being – and NONE for war and killing.
The other $424 or 50% (the portion which goes for war and killing) we are contributing to organizations working for peace and justice and programs meeting human and environmental needs in the US and around the world.
Instead of paying for war and killing, we are joining together with others to build what Martin Luther King called the “Beloved Community”. We hope and pray that all the taxes from people all over the world can go for schools, good health care and housing for all people on earth and a healthy planet for our children and all future generations rather than for wars and killing one another.
Sincerely, David and Jan Hartsough
- Military contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Honeywell Corporation, and Boeing, all of which profit from from drone killing and war in general. Military hardware is Vanguard’s largest investment sector.
- The Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest for-profit private prison company in which Vanguard is the largest investor
- Smith & Wesson (SWHC) and Sturm-Ruger firearms manufacturers. Smith & Wesson manufactured two of the guns used in the San Bernardino massacre. Vanguard also invests in ammunition makers in Vista Outdoor (VSTO) and Orbital ATK (OA).
No to War
No to NATO Bases │ No to the Defence Missile Shield │ No to Arms Race│
Disarmament - Welfare Not Warfare │ Refugees Welcome Here │ Solidarity with peace and anti-war movements
The next NATO summit is planned to take place in Warsaw on 8-9 July. This summit will be held during a period of wars, heightened global instability and conflict. The wars raged by the West in the Middle East and Afghanistan have left hundreds of thousands dead; destroyed these countries’ infrastructure and ruined the conditions for political stability and social peace. The terrorism that has spread around the world is a terrible legacy of these conflicts. Millions of refugees have been forced to flee their homes in search of a safe place for them and their families to live. And when they reach the shores of Europe and the USA, they often meet hostility and racism from those very countries that started the wars from which they are escaping.
The promise of peaceful Europe in a peaceful world that was developed after the end of the Cold War has failed. One of the reasons is the enlargement of the NATO to the east. We are presently in the middle of a new East-West arms race, seen clearly in the area of Central and Eastern Europe. The war in the east of Ukraine, in which thousands have lost their lives, is a terrible example of this rivalry. The proposals of NATO to expand further to the East further threaten to escalate this conflict. The proposals of the present Polish government to station permanent NATO bases in Poland and build a new Missile Defence Shield in the country would not guarantee the country’s safety but rather place it on the frontline of these new hostilities. NATO is urging all member states to rise its military spending to at least 2% of GDP. Not only will this intensify the arms race in the world, but it will mean that during a time of economic austerity more funds will move from welfare to war. When the governments and Generals meet in Warsaw in July an alternative voice must be heard. A coalition of the peace and anti-war movements in Poland and internationally plan to hold a number of events during the NATO summit in Warsaw:
- On Friday 8 July we shall hold a conference bringing together the organisations and activists of the peace and anti-war movements. This will be an opportunity to discuss and debate alternatives to the policies of militarisation and war being proposed by NATO. In the evening we shall hold a large public meeting. We already have a number of prominent speakers (both international and from Poland) confirmed, including former Colonel Ann Wright, Maite Mola, and Tarja Cronberg.
- On Saturday we will take our protest to the streets of Warsaw to express our opposition to the NATO summit.
- On the Saturday evening a cultural/social event will be held.
- On Sunday a meeting of peace activists and organisations will be held to give us a chance to discuss our further cooperation and activity in the pursuit of a peaceful world.
We invite you to participate and urge you to mobilise for this important event. If you wish more information or have any suggestions or questions please write to us: email@example.com/ www.no-to-nato.org.
Our goal is a world without war and nuclear weapons. We are fighting to overcome NATO through the politics of common security and disarmament and solidarity with global peace, anti-war & anti-militaristic movements.
International Network No to War – No to NATO, Stop the War Initiative Poland, Social Justice Movement Poland, Warsaw Anarchist Federation,Workers Democracy Poland
Program of Alternative Summit (as of March 17)
Friday July 8th
12:00 opening of the alternative summit
- NN Poland
- Kristine Karch, No to War – No to NATO
12:15 – 14:00 Plenary: Why we are against NATO
- NN Poland
- Ludo de Brabander, vrede, Belgium
- Kate Hudson, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, GB
- Joseph Gerson, American Friends Service Committee, USA
- Natalie Gauchet, Mouvement de la Paix, France
- Claudia Haydt, Information Centre Militarization, Germany
- Tatiana Zdanoka, MEP, Green Party, Latvia (tbc)
15:00 – 17:00 Working groups
- Military spending
- Nuclear weapons and weapons in space
- How to overcome the war against terror?
- Militarization and women rights
19:00 Public event: Peace politics in Europe – for a Europe of peace and social justice, for a common security
- Barbara Lee, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, USA (video message)
- Ann Wright, former Colonel of the US army, USA
- Maite Mola, Vice President of the European Left, Spain
- Reiner Braun, International Peace Bureau/ IALANA, Germany
- NN Poland
- NN Russia
- Tarja Cronberg, former MEP, Green Party, Finland
Saturday July 9th
- Peace gathering: exchange of information and lesson learnt from peace movements in Europe
- Cultural evening event
Sunday July 10th
9:30 till 11:00 Special forum on refugees, migration and wars
Introduction: Lucas Wirl, No to War – No to NATO
11.30 till 13:30 How to come to peace in Europe? Ideas for strategy
With 10 minute introduction
13:30 END, Afterwards: common lunch
REGISTRATION and further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Engler is founding director of the Center for the Working Poor and one of the founders of Momentum Training. He is co-author of the new book: This Is An Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century.
Total run time: 29:00
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.
Syndicated by Pacifica Network.
Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!
Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!
Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
Why I won’t be voting for Hillary in November: A Neolib Posing as a Progressive vs. a Reality TV Star Posing as a Fascist
By Dave Lindorff
I won’t be voting for Hillary Clinton if she wins the Democratic Party nomination for president, and I won’t heed Bernie Sanders if, as he has vowed to do, he calls on his supporters to “come together” after the convention, should he lose, to support Clinton and prevent Donald Trump or another Republican from becoming president.
Its outrageous (but not surprising) that Donald Trump will be speaking Monday at the The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington D.C. Join CODEPINK outside the conference to protest both Trump and AIPAC’s dangerous racist, Islamophobic rhetoric which foments hatred and undermines efforts to achieve peace.
RSVP here. If you can, bring your handmade sign.
Co-sponsors include: CODEPINK, Jewish Voice for Peace - D.C. chapter, Roots Action, Peace Action Montgomery, Interfaith Peace Builders, Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace.
Know Your Rights/Civil Disobedience Training Saturday March 19 3:00 PM. Contact email@example.com to attend.
2016 Peace Essay-Response Contest Rules
The West Suburban Faith-Based Peace Coalition is once again sponsoring a Peace Essay Contest with a $1,000.00 award to the winner, $300 for the runner-up, and $100 for third place. As in the previous year’s contest, essays will have to be directed to a person who can help promote knowledge of the Kellogg-Briand Pact (KBP) and, from whom a response is expected. Essays will be judged not only on the quality of the essay but on the impact of the response. Everyone is eligible to participate; there are no restrictions regarding age or country of residence. Participants are required to take the following 3 steps:
1.To enter the contest send a Peace Essay Request email to coordinator Frank Goetz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Provide your Name, Mailing Address, Email Address, Phone Number, and, if under 19, Age. Also, provide the Name and Position of the person or persons to whom the Essay will be directed. Your application acceptance as a contest participant will be acknowledged in an email containing your assigned 4-digit Essay Number. [If information is missing or confusing you will be contacted by email or phone.]
2.In 800 words or less write your essay on: How Can We Obey the Law Against War? As soon as possible but at least by April 15, 2016 send the essay to the person named in your application and a copy to email@example.com with your Essay Number in the Subject line.
3. By May 15, 2016 send Essay Response documentation to firstname.lastname@example.org with your Essay Number in the Subject line.
Some examples of impact:
The President agrees to explain the limitations placed on the government by KBP.
A member of congress supports a resolution to make August 27 a Day of Reflection.
The ACT or SAT administration agrees to include questions regarding KBP.
A newspaper includes a KBP story.
A school board revises its curriculum to expand KBP studies.
A religious leader calls for nonviolent actions.
Act now: We may have to limit the number of contestants and it takes time to get responses. We will announce the Winners at a festive event honoring the 88th Anniversary of the Kellogg-Briand Pact on August 27, 2016.
Sanders to keep campaigning: Decrying Clinton’s Wall Street and Oil Industry Bribes, Bernie Soldiers On
The U.S. drone war program will be examined on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at 6 pm at a symposium at the University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Law entitled: “Inside Drone Warfare: Perspectives of Whistleblowers, Families of Drone Victims and Their Lawyers.”
Christopher Aaron, a former counter-terrorism officer for the Central Intelligence Agency’s drone program,
Cian Westmoreland, former drone program communications technician, 606 Air Control Squadron and the 73rd Expeditionary Control Squadron of the U.S. Air Force,
Human rights attorney Jesselyn Radack, Director of the Whistleblower & Resource Protection Progam (WHISPeR).
Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, counter-terrorism case worker for the human rights law firm Reprieve.org
Marjorie Cohn, professor at Thomas Jefferson Law School, former president of the National Lawyers Guild and editor and contributor to “Drones and Targeted Killing.”
Rev. Chris Antal, a Unitarian Universalist minister who served as a military chaplain in Afghanistan, will also present.
“We are holding this symposium near Creech AFB because we would like members of the drone program there to attend the symposium,” said Nick Mottern, of KnowDrones.com, who, with retired Army Colonel Ann Wright, is an organizer of the symposium. He said that the Air Force was invited to have a representative appear on the symposium panel but that no response has been received.
Creech AFB, located about 65 miles from Las Vegas, is believed to be the largest drone control center inside the United States.
The symposium is being organized by Veterans for Peace and Knowdrones.com.
Marjorie Cohn will discuss her thought-provoking book, Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues, about the use and impact of drone warfare in today’s world.
”This book provides much-needed analysis of why America’s targeted killing program is illegal, immoral and unwise.” —Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Sat. March 19, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm, City Council Chambers, 605 E Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902
Hosted by: Amnesty International-Charlottesville
Sunday, March 20, 6:30 pm, Friends Meeting House, 1104 Forest St, Charlottesville, VA 22903,
Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law (San Diego, Calif.) and former president of the National Lawyers Guild. A legal scholar, political analyst and social critic, she writes books and articles, makes media appearances and lectures throughout the world on human rights and U.S. foreign policy and the contradiction between the two.
What happens when there are endless wars accompanied by militarized policing, spreading racism, erosion of civil rights, and concentration of wealth, but the only news is election news, and none of the candidates wants to talk about shrinking the world's largest military?
We happen. That's what. We turn out for a Day of Solidarity and Peace in New York City on Sunday, March 13th. We start by signing up at http://peaceandsolidarity.org and inviting all of our friends to do so. If we can't come, we invite all of our friends anywhere near New York to sign up and be there. We sit down and think of every person we remember hearing ask "But what can we do?" and we tell them: You can do this.
We stopped the war mongers who wanted to rip up the agreement with Iran last year, and the political progress in Iran reflects the wisdom of diplomacy as an alternative to yet more war. We stopped a massive bombing campaign of Syria in 2013. Our brothers and sisters just this month stopped the construction of a U.S. military base in Okinawa.
But U.S. weapons and bases are spreading across the globe, ships are sailing provocatively toward China, drones are murdering in numerous nations with a new base just opened in Cameroon. The U.S. military is assisting Saudi Arabia in bombing Yemeni families with U.S. weapons. The U.S. war in Afghanistan is being accepted as permanent. And the U.S. wars in Iraq and Libya left behind such hell that the U.S. government is hoping to use more war to "fix" it -- and to add another overthrow in Syria.
Why will no candidate (in the two-party system) propose a serious reduction in military spending and war making, foreswear the use of killer drones, commit to making reparations to the nations recently attacked, or agree to join the International Criminal Court and to sign onto the many treaties limiting warfare on which the United States is a holdout? Because not enough of us have turned out and made noise, and brought new people into the movement.
Will you join us in New York City on March 13th to say "Money for Jobs and People's Needs, not War! Rebuild Flint! Rebuild our Cities! End the wars! Defend the Black Lives Matter movement! Aid the world, stop bombing it!"
Peace Poets, Raymond Nat Turner, Lynne Stewart, Ramsey Clark, and other speakers will be there.
Will your organization help spread the word? Please let us know and get listed as part of this effort by emailing UNACpeace [at] gmail.com. Can you help in other ways? Have ideas for how to make this stronger? Please write to that same address.
In a presidential debate in December a moderator asked one of the candidates: "Could you order air strikes that would kill innocent children by not the scores, but the hundreds and the thousands? Could you wage war as a commander-in-chief? . . . You are OK with the deaths of thousands of innocent children and civilians?"
The candidate mumbled something in response instead of shouting Hell No, as any decent person was obliged to do and as we will do on the Day of Peace and Solidarity. How are your lungs? Ready to make some noise? Join us!
Premiering around the end of March will be one of the best films I’ve ever seen on peace activism: Paying the Price for Peace produced by Bo Boudart and others. The film focuses on S. Brian Willson while also informing the viewer on the state of U.S. warmaking and what can be done about it.
This is a story of courageous sacrifice, dedication, excitement, adventure, solidarity, and a service truly worthy of thanking the story’s hero for. If you’re imagining that war will give your life meaning, take a look at this film and see what trying to end war could do for you.
If you dislike war or poverty or environmental destruction, take a look at this film for examples of how we can all do more to make the world better. The film inspires, rather than shaming. But it inspires with examples that many find difficult to emulate.
“You have to be willing to risk life, limb, and prison,” Willson says in the film. “Then you’re free.”
There are things I myself don’t risk because I have a family to take care of. There are things I don’t risk because I believe I can do more good writing. And then there are things I don’t risk for really no good reason at all.
I recently read a comment from someone urging others not to protest at Trump rallies, for fear someone would be killed. History does not repeat, and comparisons are always strained, but would it have been good advice not to protest Adolf Hitler’s first rally? Because someone might get killed? Doesn’t that now sound ridiculous? Don’t we have a moral duty to protest all of these candidates who support the bombing of human beings in distant lands?
If that sounds outrageous, you should really, really see Paying the Price for Peace.
Brian Willson “served” in the U.S. military in Vietnam. His job was to assess the success or failure of bombing missions. He was literally sent to examine the damage. Frequently, what he found were undefended fishing villages that had been bombed with 500 lb. bombs from not very high up, and then napalmed. He found burned bodies, sometimes in such heaps he couldn’t get over them.
Here was a good kid, star athlete, high school valedictorian, doing what he’d been told, thinking as he’d been carefully taught to think. And he concluded that war and a great many other things were fundamentally lies. He came back to the United States ready to search for and promote other ways of living. He’s been doing so ever since and will likely keep doing so for years to come, much to our benefit.
In the movie, we see Willson’s decades of travels, protests, talks, demonstrations, fastings, and bicycling tours. We see him leading by example in his personal life, living peacefully and in an environmentally sustainable manner. We also see how passionately he and others have risked everything.
During protests of the war on Vietnam shown in the film, a veteran says, “If the American people sit down and just hold their fingers up and say ‘peace,’ they don’t deserve any better than Agnew or Nixon or the rest of the people they’ve got here, because they’re doing nothing and they’re as guilty as anyone who pulled the trigger in Vietnam.”
Well, what should we do? The film is packed with ideas, and shows them to us in action. When Ronald Reagan’s Contras were massacring civilians, Brian Willson and many others from the United States, at serious risk to themselves, went to Nicaragua and walked through the war zone observing and recording — and speaking against U.S. policy.
Most famously, Willson and others sat on train tracks in California to prevent the shipment of weapons bound for Latin America. The military train intentionally sped up and ran Willson over. It was a risk he’d been aware of and been willing to take. He lost the lower portion of both of his legs. Others, during the protests of those weapons shipments, had limbs broken by police or were locked up for months. Willson’s injury didn’t slow him down.
When he traveled abroad after that horrific crime, people in places like Nicaragua saw him as a Yankee who had paid the price that they pay when they challenge abusive powers. Willson’s actions were actions of solidarity as well as resistance, and were understood as such.
The film shows us others who have risked or paid similar prices, and others who have done small bits in the same direction (I’m in the film briefly). Included are Occupy activists facing (militarized) police violence, and whistleblowers facing prison. Daniel Ellsberg says in the film that we also need people who will risk their reelections. Indeed.
And we need more Brian Willsons. But we are quite fortunate to have the one we have. Here’s a veteran who cares about veterans but keeps matters in proper perspective, caring also about the vast majority of victims of U.S. wars. If the victims of the Vietnam War were all listed on the memorial in Washington, D.C., Willson says, it would stretch at least as far as from its current location to the base of the Washington Monument.
“If we were willing to risk our lives for a war,” says veteran Leah Bolger in the movie, “surely we can risk some discomfort for peace.”
Here’s a service that would lead me to sincerely thank you for your service: spread the word about Paying the Price for Peace.
The new book This Is An Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century by Mark Engler and Paul Engler is a terrific survey of direct action strategies, bringing out many of the strengths and weaknesses of activist efforts to effect major change in the United States and around the world since well before the twenty-first century. It should be taught in every level of our schools.
This book makes the case that disruptive mass movements are responsible for more positive social change than is the ordinary legislative "endgame" that follows. The authors examine the problem of well-meaning activist institutions becoming too well established and shying away from the most effective tools available. Picking apart an ideological dispute between institution-building campaigns of slow progress and unpredictable, immeasurable mass protest, the Englers find value in both and advocate for a hybrid approach exemplified by Otpor, the movement that overthrew Milosevic.
When I worked for ACORN, I saw our members achieve numerous substantive victories, but I also saw the tide moving against them. City legislation was overturned at the state level. Federal legislation was blocked by war madness, financial corruption, and a broken communications system. Leaving ACORN, as I did, to work for the doomed presidential campaign of Dennis Kucinich might look like a reckless, non-strategic choice -- and maybe it was. But bringing prominence to one of the very few voices in Congress saying what was needed on numerous issues has a value that may be impossible to measure with precision, yet some have been able to quantify.
This Is An Uprising looks at a number of activist efforts that may at first have appeared defeats and were not. I've listed previously some examples of efforts that people thought were failures for many years. The Englers' examples involve more rapid revelation of success, for those willing and able to see it. Gandhi's salt march produced little in the way of solid commitments from the British. Martin Luther King's campaign in Birmingham failed to win its demands from the city. But the salt march had an international impact, and the Birmingham campaign a national impact far greater than the immediate results. Both inspired widespread activism, changed many minds, and won concrete policy changes well beyond the immediate demands. The Occupy movement didn't last in the spaces occupied, but it altered public discourse, inspired huge amounts of activism, and won many concrete changes. Dramatic mass action has a power that legislation or one-on-one communication does not. I made a similar case recently in arguing against the idea that peace rallies fail where counter-recruitment succeeds.
The authors point to disruption, sacrifice, and escalation as key components of a successful momentum-building action, while readily admitting that not everything can be predicted. A plan of escalated disruption that involves sympathetic sacrifice by nonviolent actors, if adjusted as circumstances call for, has a chance. Occupy could have been Athens, instead of Birmingham or Selma, if the New York police had known how to control themselves. Or perhaps it was the skill of the Occupy organizers that provoked the police. In any case, it was the brutality of the police, and the willingness of the media to cover it, that produced Occupy. The authors note Occupy's many ongoing victories but also that it shrank when its public places were taken away. In fact, even as Occupiers continued to hold public space in numerous towns, its announced death in the media was accepted by those still engaged in it, and they gave up their occupations quite obediently. The momentum was gone.
An action that gains momentum, as Occupy did, taps into the energy of many people who, as the Englers write, are newly outraged by what they learn about injustice. It also, I think, taps into the energy of many people long outraged and waiting for a chance to act. When I helped organize "Camp Democracy" in Washington, D.C., in 2006, we were a bunch of radicals ready to occupy D.C. for peace and justice, but we were thinking like organizations with major resources. We were thinking about rallies with crowds bussed in by labor unions. So, we planned a wonderful lineup of speakers, arranged permits and tents, and brought together a tiny crowd of those already in agreement. We did a few disruptive actions, but that wasn't the focus. It should have been. We should have disrupted business as usual in a way carefully designed to make the cause sympathetic rather than resented or feared.
When many of us planned an occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., in 2011 we had somewhat bigger plans for disruption, sacrifice, and escalation, but in the days just before we set up camp, those New York police put Occupy in the news at a 1,000-year flood level. An occupy camp appeared nearby us in D.C., and when we marched through the streets, people joined us, because of what they'd seen from New York on their televisions. I'd never witnessed that before. A lot of the actions we engaged in were disruptive, but we may have had too much of a focus on the occupation. We celebrated the police backing down on efforts to remove us. But we needed a way to escalate.
We also, I think, refused to accept that where the public sympathy had been created was for victims of Wall Street. Our original plan had involved what we saw as an appropriately large focus on war, in fact on the interlocking evils that King identified as militarism, racism, and extreme materialism. The dumbest action I was part of was probably our attempt to protest a pro-war exhibit at the Air and Space Museum. It was dumb because I sent people straight into pepper spray and should have scouted ahead to avoid that. But it was also dumb because even relatively progressive people were, in that moment, unable to hear the idea of opposing war, much less opposing the glorification of militarism by museums. They couldn't even hear the idea of opposing the "puppets" in Congress. One had to take on the puppet masters to be understood at all, and the puppet masters were the banks. "You switched from banks to the Smithsonian!?" In fact, we'd never focused on banks, but explanations weren't going to work. What was needed was to accept the moment.
What made that moment still looks, in large part, like luck. But unless smart strategic efforts are made to create such moments, they don't happen on their own. I'm not sure we can announce on day 1 of anything "This is an uprising!" but we can at least continually ask ourselves "Is this an uprising?" and keep ourselves aimed toward that goal.
This book's subtitle is "How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century." But nonviolent revolt as opposed to what? Virtually nobody is proposing violent revolt in the United States. Mostly this book is proposing nonviolent revolt rather than nonviolent compliance with the existing system, nonviolent tweaking of it within its own rules. But cases are also examined of nonviolent overthrows of dictators in various countries. The principles of success seem to be identical regardless of the type of government a group is up against.
But there is, of course, advocacy for violence in the United States -- advocacy so enormous that no one can see it. I've been teaching a course on war abolition, and the most intractable argument for the massive U.S. investment in violence is "What if we have to defend ourselves from a genocidal invasion?"
So it would have been nice had the authors of This Is An Uprising addressed the question of violent invasions. If we were to remove from our culture the fear of the "genocidal invasion," we could remove from our society trillion-dollar-a-year militarism, and with it the primary promotion of the idea that violence can succeed. The Englers note the damage that straying into violence does to nonviolent movements. Such straying would end in a culture that ceased believing violence can succeed.
I have a hard time getting students to go into much detail about their feared "genocidal invasion," or to name examples of such invasions. In part this may be because I preemptively go into great length about how World War II might have been avoided, what a radically different world from today's it occurred in, and how successful nonviolent actions were against the Nazis when attempted. Because, of course, "genocidal invasion" is mostly just a fancy phrase for "Hitler." I asked one student to name some genocidal invasions not engaged in or contributed to by either the U.S. military or Hitler. I reasoned that genocidal invasions produced by the U.S. military couldn't fairly be used to justify the U.S. military's existence.
I tried to produce my own list. Erica Chenoweth cites the Indonesian invasion of East Timor, where armed resistance failed for years but nonviolent resistance succeeded. A Syrian invasion of Lebanon was ended by nonviolence in 2005. Israel's genocidal invasions of Palestinian lands, while fueled by U.S. weapons, have been resisted more successfully thus far by nonviolence than violence. Going back in time, we could look at the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia 1968 or the German invasion of the Ruhr in 1923. But most of these, I was told, are not proper genocidal invasions. Well, what are?
My student gave me this list: "The Great Sioux War of 1868, The Holocaust, Israel's genocidal invasions of Palestinian lands." I objected that one was U.S.-armed in recent years, one was Hitler, and one was many many years ago. He then produced the alleged example of Bosnia. Why not the even more common case of Rwanda, I don't know. But neither was an invasion exactly. Both were completely avoidable horrors, one used as an excuse for war, one allowed to continue for the purpose of a desired regime change.
This is the book that I think we still need, the book that asks what works best when your nation is invaded. How can the people of Okinawa remove the U.S. bases? Why couldn't the people of the Philippines keep them out after they did remove them? What would it take for the people of the United States to remove from their minds the fear of "genocidal invasion" that dumps their resources into war preparations that produce war after war, risking nuclear apocalypse?
Do we dare tell the Iraqis they must not fight back while our bombs are falling? Well, no, because we ought to be engaged 24-7 in trying to stop the bombing. But the supposed impossibility of advising Iraqis of a more strategic response than fighting back, oddly enough, constitutes a central defense of the policy of building more and more bombs with which to bomb the Iraqis. That has to be ended.
For that we'll need a This Is An Uprising that objects to U.S. empire.
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
By Alfredo Lopez
Bernie Sanders' stunning success in the campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination, highlighted by what is effectively a victory in the Iowa caucuses this past Monday, provokes serious thinking about what a Sanders presidency would look like.
This list is still being added to at http://www.nobelwill.org/index.html?tab=7
Letter Feb. 2, 2016 from the Nobel Peace Prize Watch to the Nobel Committee:
Dear Kaci Kullmann Five, Thorbjørn Jagland, Berit Reiss-Andersen, Henrik Syse, Inger-
Marie Ytterhorn, members of the committee
When We Fight We Win! is the overly violent and overly optimistic title of a very good new book about recent nonviolent social struggles in the United States for LGBTQ rights, immigrants rights, economic justice, public education, a sustainable environment, and an end to mass incarceration.
My initial response to this book was very different from my considered response.
My initial response to a table of contents like the one in this book is always: Where the hell is war? Don't they know that war eats up all the money that could solve all these problems with ease? Haven't they considered that immigrants are refugees from war? That discrimination and hate feed off war? That the top destroyer of the environment is the military -- which destroys the environment in the process of killing people for oil with which to destroy the environment?! Goddamn it, when did acceptance of mass murder become progressive?!
Then I calm down a bit, wipe the blood off my forehead, pick up the broken dishes, apologize to the owner of the coffee shop, and read the book.
By the end of this book, I was wondering why a completely different topic was missing, or rather, why it wasn't in the headline since its shadow so dominates almost every page. That topic is media reform / media production.
The chapter on LGBTQ rights reminds us of the length and complexity of the struggle, and of how much it has been a struggle of communication. The chapter itself, like the rest of the book, is in fact not so much devoted to analyzing activist strategies as to actually engaging in the strategy of communicating the stories of the relevant people. The book is an act of communication, and such acts are the heart of the activism described.
Accounts of successes are inspiring, even if we harbor doubts that the oligarchy really objects to LGBTQ rights. But the point of the chapter is largely to do what a truly democratic television channel or newspaper or online journal could do: show us what is unfair, make us feel suffering, bring us in on people's struggles for justice, convert us to the cause.
When it comes to the defense of public education, we're dealing with a struggle against vast wealth, and it is mostly a losing struggle, but this book focuses on successes, including in Chicago where Rahm Emanuel got a little too greedy. The lessons learned include the need to organize and build personal relationships, but also the need to communicate through the media and through artwork and by aligning teachers with parents and community in a major struggle for huge goals, not technical details.
With mass incarceration and the environment we see potential in divestment campaigns and, again, the need to build large coalitions. But a big focus is media reform in the piecemeal sense of forcing the worst programing, such as Cops, off the air via public pressure. ColorofChange.org targets prisons by targeting ugly and racist portrayals of black men on television. (Peace groups have done the same with war shows.) Immigrants rights groups have persuaded the Associated Press to stop calling people "illegal."
They've also moved President Obama by standing up to him -- and meeting with him but refusing to shake his hand, refusing to censor outrage -- and by threatening to make news advancing their cause with one of his party's Republican rivals. Longtime organizer Marshall Ganz "advised the activists that their story could be their most potent tool for social change." The media attention given to the Occupy movement is also recorded as a successful tool for social change, and for state-level reforms that have been achieved in housing and lending.
It's not that everything is communications, or the media is all that matters, but the media is hugely important. You can watch Bernie Sanders in 1988 propose that labor unions and progressives pool their money and create media outlets. Apart from some small but significant steps on the internet, that's never really happened. I used to work for the AFL-CIO and lobby it to create media outlets, and it chose to put everything into pitching stories to the corporate media.
Seen any good stories about the struggles of working people in the corporate media lately?
And yet somehow Bernie Sanders, who's had the right positions on media reform for decades, has found his way into what amounts to a massive amount of media attention for someone saying something decent -- a significant percentage even of the media coverage Joe Biden received for not entering the presidential race; Sanders may even reach double figures in time spent belittling him as a percentage of the time spent hyping Donald Trump in the media. That could be worth many millions of dollars.
Bernie Sanders' platform is, of course, the same as the table of contents of When We Fight We Win. He's not communicating much, if anything, about peace as an alternative to war. But he's communicating a similar message to Occupy's about wealth and economic justice. If people actually don't know what Scandinavian countries do, or if people literally can't imagine funding education and retirement rather than billionaires, Bernie could be a single-handed movement for change. At the moment, I think he is.
But to the extent that what people learn is that a movement should be a presidential candidate, and should live or die with that candidate, then they are learning a deeply flawed lesson with great potential for debilitating disappointment and despair.
On all of the topics in When We Fight We Win, Bernie advances the discussion beyond where the usual candidates take it. If the media does to him what I've long assumed it will do, or if -- as I certainly hope -- it doesn't, the question will be the same: how can we seize opportunities to accomplish larger and more lasting steps forward, building on anything that anyone learned from his campaign?
A good place to start is with When We Fight We Win.
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
A PowerPoint presentation obtained from a source and published by DeSmog in August 2013 has made its way into a major hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") related legal case, which is set to go to trial soon in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
It has been argued that nonviolent struggles to liberate occupied countries – such as West Papua, Tibet, Palestine, Kanaky and Western Sahara – have failed far more often than they have succeeded but that secessionist struggles (that have sought to separate territory from an existing state in order to establish a new one) conducted by nonviolent means have always failed. See Why Civil Resistance Works: The strategic logic of nonviolent conflict.
Sanders campaign offers a historic opportunity: We Need a Mass Movement Demanding Real Social Security and Medicare for All
By Dave Lindorff
The rising fortunes of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, the self-described democratic socialist US senator from Vermont, in the Democratic presidential primaries, provides a unique opportunity for organizing a new radical movement around key political goals including a national health care program for all Americans, not just the elderly and disabled, and a national retirement program that people can actually live on.
January 12, 2016 1:30 pm
On the sidewalk in front of the Supreme Court building, across from the Capitol
As Obama delivers his final State of the Union address, we call on him to speak the truth. The Union, and indeed the whole world, is ravaged after years of endless war.
Because of the wars:
We are making enemies across the globe.
We have no money left to help those who are struggling and living in poverty.
Our Mother Earth is dying and the climate is in crisis.
Violence is escalating here at home, especially against people of color.
What can we do? Join us on January 12 for a peaceful rally and hear inspiring speakers with real solutions. Bring signs and banners, and materials to share with others in making signs. If you are considering risking arrest in an action of nonviolent civil resistance, contact email@example.com
Note: Beginning at 11:00 am there will be indoor meeting space for activists – see schedule below for details.
SCHEDULE FOR JANUARY 12
11:00 am - People can begin gathering at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation at 212 East Captiol St. NE for networking, leafleting, and making signs and banners. If you can bring materials for people to use in making signs (markers and placards) please do so.
11:30 am -12:30 pm - Group risking arrest will meet at the church for final planning of action.
12:30 - 1:30 pm - Open mic giving activists an opportunity to share information on their group and what they are doing in working for peace and justice.
1:30 pm - Rally with signs and banners, speakers and reading of the petition (see below) outside on the sidewalk in front of the Supreme Court building, across the street from the Capitol
Sometime around 2:30 or 3:00 pm - Those risking arrest will attempt to deliver the petition to Congress and the President in an action of nonviolent civil resistance. If you are planning to risk arrest or want to find out more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please contact malachykilbride@yahoo.
PETITION TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: WE URGE YOU TO CHANGE YOUR POLICIES, AND TO USE THE STATE OF THE UNION SPEECH TO RENOUNCE INEQUALITY, MILITARISM AND ECOCIDE
January 12, 2016
Dear Mr. President,
As friends and representatives of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR), we are writing to request that you use the State of the Union speech to indicate you will do your best to change the direction of this country. A real State of the Union would be a frank speech which would condemn our country’s addiction to economic inequality, racial injustice, warmongering and the destruction of our planet. After being honest about our failures, you would then urge our elected officials to go in a new direction, based on a democratic ideal for we the people, and not for we the wealthy. Tell them to listen to the people, and not the corporations. You could inform them that you will utilize diplomacy and other peaceful means. You could tell them to listen to the scientific community and not the fossil fuel industry.
You could also state that you will immediately end the illegal and immoral killer drone program, and will never resort again to assassination as a foreign policy. And most importantly, you would close down the Pentagon, the Department of War, and renounce nuclear weaponry. Finally, you would pledge to save Mother Earth. The Pentagon would become the Department of Peace with Justice, and its mission would be to shape the sustainable future.
We write to you as people committed to nonviolent social change with a deep concern for a variety of issues that are all interrelated. Please heed our petition—end our government’s continuing wars and military incursions around the world and use these tax dollars as a solution to end growing poverty which is a plague throughout this country in which vast wealth is controlled by a tiny percentage of its citizens. Establish a living wage for all workers. Condemn forcefully the policy of mass incarceration, solitary confinement, and the rampant police violence. Pledging to end the addiction to militarism will have a positive effect on our planet's climate and habitat. Should you show any interest in our demands, we would be available to assist in this process.
NCNR members have consistently participated in witnesses of nonviolent civil resistance calling on our government to take meaningful action to confront the climate crisis, the unending wars, the root causes of poverty, the bigotry and antipathy to African Americans, Muslims, and other minorities, and the structural violence of the military-security state. By listening to the millions of people at home and abroad your administration has recently taken laudable steps to avoid using military force with Iran and to reduce carbon emissions, but more significant action is still needed.
Instead of the State Department, your administration uses the Pentagon to deal with conflict, and such behavior in concert with our allies greatly contributes to a violent and destabilized world. The U.S. use of armed drones by the military and the Central Intelligence Agency is inflicting enormous human suffering, is unconstitutional, and is only creating more “terrorists.” Your administration should cease its hostile rhetoric and sanctions against North Korea, Russia, and Iran. Furthermore, the US should seek a diplomatic solution to the civil war in Syria, disband NATO, and end the increasing military presence in Southeast Asia, commonly referred to as the "Asian Pivot," which threatens China. You must end all military aid to Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the other countries in the Middle East. A new approach must be taken by your administration to free the Palestinians from over half a century of violent Israeli oppression. Diplomacy is the only answer to stop the cycle of violence. Regardless of whether noncombatants suffer or not, violence and war are not the answers to conflict. Diplomatic efforts to end the sanctions and hostile relations with Cuba are a good example of the positive path that can be taken and should be followed with other countries labeled as our enemies.
Nuclear weapons can never be used, and the plan to use a trillion tax dollars to “upgrade” the nuclear arsenal is madness. A study by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, an independent think tank that works closely with the Pentagon, reports that the actual costs your administration plans for updating the nuclear triad — the intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarines and aircraft capable of delivering nuclear warheads – will cost one trillion dollars. This is beyond senselessly wasteful! It is immoral and actually illegal under international law to possess such weapons capable of global annihilation thousands of times greater than the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These tax dollars must be re-allocated towards reviving our sagging infrastructure and supporting social services desperately needed by the poor. The tax dollars could also be utilized to assist former prisoners returning to their communities.
Almost half the people on this planet live off less than $2.50 a day and around 22,000 children die every day due to poverty according to UNICEF. However, the U.S. has continued to expend half of the federal discretionary budget on warmongering. Besides wasting tax dollars, the wars have resulted in untold numbers of lives lost, injured millions of refugees, and contributed to ecocide.
According to the National Center for Children in Poverty "More than 16 million children in the United States – 22% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level – $23,550 a year for a family of four. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Using this standard, 45% of children live in low-income families."
Unending war and imperialism means rampant death and destruction. Within the last 13 years, we have experienced how the United States has responded to international crisis with violence. Our government has waged wars in violation of international law. The failed Middle East policy leaves a whole region mired in violence and instability including an enormous refugee crisis. The continuing support for Israel’s apartheid state and oppression of the Palestinian people must end. Furthermore, so many continue to be victimized by killer drones or are tortured and illegally detained now. We welcome the long overdue release in 2015 of some prisoners from Guantanamo but you must follow through on your promise to close this shameful illegal detention camp which has come to represent the racism and structural violence of the American empire. Even in this country, solitary confinement and mass incarceration is the norm, and undocumented immigrants, who have fled strife and poverty caused by international economic agreements, are held for long periods of time before being deported back into the poverty and instability they desperately tried to escape.
Our disregard for the causes of climate chaos is leading to the destruction of the planet. Being controlled, in part, by the fossil fuel industry, our government has not been willing to sign onto international treaties to end climate chaos. In the article “Greenwashing the Pentagon”, Joseph Nevins states, “The U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate.”
We believe that another way is possible and that there are alternatives to the life threatening policies that our government has promoted and that have been so destructive to Mother Earth and the people of the world.
Use the State of the Union as a platform to renounce the past and to promote necessary and positive social change. Unless our elected officials take immediate and significant actions, Mother Earth is doomed.
Please sign onto this petition by emailing malachykilbride@
What if the very worst result of George W. Bush's war lies is that people stop taking seriously the danger of actual nuclear weapons actually falling into the hands of actual lunatics? Arguably the very worst result of Woodrow Wilson's lies about German atrocities in World War I was excessive skepticism about reports of Nazi atrocities leading up to and during World War II. The fact is that nuclear weapons are being recklessly maintained, built, developed, tested, and proliferated. The fact is that governments make mistakes, fail, collapse, and engage in evil actions.
By Dick Cheney's calculation, if there was a 1% chance that a pile of ridiculous lies was true, it justified all out war on the world, destabilizing a region, killing and making homeless millions, and birthing radical new terrorist forces. By my calculation, there is a 100% chance that if we continue current nuclear policies, sooner or later, a huge number of people -- quite possibly all people -- will die, many of them with melted skin, eyes hanging out of their sockets, noses burnt off, and screams of bitter envy for those already dead. Surely this justifies some slight action of some sort, apart from more fracking or building internment camps for Muslims.
I say that's my calculation, but the idea actually arises -- one of many -- from my reading of an excellent book called City, Save Thyself! Nuclear Terror and the Urban Ballot. It was written by David Wylie, a former Cambridge, Mass., city councilor who helped initiate the first municipal Commission on Peace and Disarmament, the twenty U.S.-Soviet Sister City alliances, and an urban referendum effort against nuclear weapons.
What if we were to confront real dangers of nuclear apocalypse and climate apocalypse without the fear that produces stupidity, but with smart strategic action aimed at substantive change? That brings me to a second favorite idea from Wylie's book, and what I take to be his central proposal. Democratic people power is the force that can put a halt to the war profiteers and weapons proliferators. Democratic people power can best be created at the level of towns and cities. Towns and cities of the world can together form a federalist structure of global power of the sort that nations will never produce and which the United Nations has fervently resisted since its creation.
Do you live in a town or city in the United States? When you organize, are you able in some small way to influence your local government? Would people in your town be willing to communicate with people in a foreign town, perhaps a largely Muslim foreign town? Would people in your town be interested in a world that reduced and eliminated weapons of mass destruction? Would people in your town appreciate major new resources for education, infrastructure, green energy, and jobs -- resources that would become available with reductions in military spending? Would the people of your city like to tell the people of a foreign nation that, despite many differences and mutual ignorance of each other, you'd prefer not to see the U.S. military bomb them, and you'd in fact like to get to know them better through cultural exchanges and joint action as members of a global security committee?
None of this is far fetched. Cities and towns are in fact where it is entirely possible to get things done. While activist groups focus their efforts on doomed bills in Congress, U.S. cities are taking huge strides on election reform, green energy, education, voting rights, etc. We need to shift our worldviews to properly pursue this course. We need to stop identifying ourselves by the name of a nation, and instead think of ourselves in terms of our towns and the world. There is overwhelming evidence that redirecting political engagement from national advocacy that almost always fails into local advocacy that often works would be less a redirection of a finite amount of civic action and more a generation of vast new quantities of popular democratic work.
Sister and twin cities, Mayors for Peace, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the League of Historical Cities, and other such organizations point to the potential for giving local political strength a broader grip on the world. Communication across distances and languages is growing easier by the minute. Agreement that our communities would be better off not burned to the ground by either bombs or climate chaos is among the easiest and least controversial notions available to be proposed to a diverse group of democratic-spirited representatives from planet earth.
Here in Charlottesville, Virginia, I, as a Charlottesvillian and World Citizen, am pleased to report that our local city council has in recent years passed resolutions against possible wars on various countries, including Iraq and Iran, in favor of conversion to peaceful industries, and against the use of drones. Our city council, like most, routinely informs its state general assembly of its wishes. And the influence of the city's official voice does not end there. Cville's past resolutions on Iraq, military spending, uranium, and other matters have inspired other localities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to raise their voices as well. Some of these resolutions have been directed to the federal government, to which the residents of Charlottesville pay taxes and whose laws the residents of Charlottesville are subject to.
This is how our federalist republic is supposed to work. City council members in Virginia take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Cities and towns routinely send petitions to Congress for all kinds of requests. This is allowed under Clause 3, Rule XII, Section 819, of the Rules of the House of Representatives. This clause is routinely used to accept petitions from cities, and memorials from states, all across the United States. The same is established in the Jefferson Manual, the rule book for the House originally written by Thomas Jefferson for the Senate.
In 1967 a court in California ruled (Farley v. Healey , 67 Cal.2d 325) that "one of the purposes of local government is to represent its citizens before the Congress, the Legislature, and administrative agencies in matters over which the local government has no power. Even in matters of foreign policy it is not uncommon for local legislative bodies to make their positions known."
Abolitionists passed local resolutions against U.S. policies on slavery. The anti-apartheid movement did the same, as did the nuclear freeze movement, the movement against the PATRIOT Act, the movement in favor of the Kyoto Protocol, etc. We are not an island. If we become environmentally sustainable, others will ruin our climate. If we ban assault weapons, they'll arrive at our borders. And if the skies of the United States are filled with drones, it will become ever more difficult for Charlottesville to keep them out.
Wylie's proposal would further empower my city and thousands of other cities, each of which would appoint a representative to a global body. If nations won't protect the climate, cities of the world can nonetheless agree to do so. If nations won't resolve disputes by peaceful means, cities can nonetheless make that happen. If nations won't invest in peaceful industries, cities and towns can nonetheless create programs of economic conversion to industries that provide greater economic benefit while also reducing the chances of violent death by nuclear hell fire.
Wylie's proposal should be read in its entirety in his book, which outlines numerous ways for cities to advance this process, including ways to encourage and recognize world citizens, and to encourage and recognize world cities. Cities can also use referenda, rather than council votes, to give democratic weight and wisdom to their actions. And national politicians who denounce the broken system they are part of can take actions to strengthen the local-level system that still has life in it.
The proposal here is not to risk federal prosecution by secretly negotiating with foreign national governments. Rather the idea is to risk an outbreak of peace and mutual understanding by publicly interacting with local governments from one's own and other parts of the world. This public diplomacy could be truly public in the sense of publishing full video of all of its interactions on the public internet. (An outline for such transparency can be found in the remnants of broken campaign promises from a certain national U.S. political candidate of 2008.)
Wylie's book is a guide to action and includes in it a model letter to your local mayor or city council, a model resolution, a model agenda for a first meeting of a municipal security assembly, and a rich bibliography for deeper understanding of how to make this work. I highly recommend it.
By Fredrik S. Heffermehl and Tomas Magnusson
"… this year's Peace Prize … speaks to the core of Alfred Nobel's will and Nobel's vision of fraternity, disarmament and peace-building forums. Not because the [Tunisian] Quartet has actively sought to promote disarmament, but because its work has led to a better platform for peace and non-violent resolution of conflicts. This is a story about building strong institutions to ensure justice and stability, and demonstrating the will to engage in dialogue and cooperation." —Nobel committee chair Kaci Kullmann Five, in opening words of 2015 Nobel speech
- WHO SHOULD WIN THE 2016 NOBEL? – MAKE NOMINATIONS
The quote above very likely is a result of the lawsuit the NPPW initiated in Sweden. It means that the Nobel Peace Prize Watch campaign to reclaim the peace prize is making progress. Eight years ago Nobel and his will were entirely forgotten; in 2015 his intention was the opening of the committee chair's speech.
The progress should be used to promote good nominations, of qualified candidates, for 2016. The right to nominate is limited, to parliamentarians, certain professors, and others, all over the world. See details and list here: http://nobelpeaceprize.org/en_GB/nomination_intro/nomination_criteria/ . Absolute, final deadline is Feb. 1. Send by Jan 31 to email@example.com.
If you are not entitled to nominate, please seek out someone who is.
For the first time since the 1990 speech for Gorbachev, the Nobel awarders have addressed and (honestly) confirmed Nobel's intention. It may be only a tactical move in the lawsuit. To lock the committee to their words we recommend all nominations to open by commending the committee chair's opening words in the speech for the Tunisian Quartet, adding that Nobel clearly had the relations between nations, global “peace-building forums,” in mind. (The correspondence about the peace prize between Alfred Nobel and Bertha von Suttner makes this perfectly clear).
A good nomination takes time, please start the process at once – and please give an extra thought to potential candidates from non-Western countries.
- LAWSUIT TO SECURE PRIZE FOR CORE PEACE WORK
We wish to see an end to the misuse of the prize for Western political agendas. After 8 years of futile attempts to have Alfred Nobel's intention respected we initiated a lawsuit in Stockholm. See our website http://www.nobelwill.org.
For an illustration of who Nobel intended to support see our list of the 25 qualified to win among the near 300 actually nominated for 2015: http://www.nobelwill.org/index.html?tab=7#list
While there, please sign the appeal and consider a donation to the work of NPPW/Lay Down your Arms to promote a weapons-free world An ambitious goal – but why should we be less bold and ambitious than Nobel (and Bertha von Suttner, and Andrew Carnegie) were over 100 years ago?
We need 10,000s of USDs for lawyer fees, so please contribute. A lawsuit is different. For once, our movement has a legal right to respect for its arguments. We can win! A small investment can secure an annual $1 million for efforts for a weapons-free world! This is good, efficient fundraising, but we have to be very precise. As long as we wish all kinds of peace work to win, the awarders will also feel free to promote the Obamas, the EU …, and continue to ignore the antimilitarist core purpose of Nobel.
Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog
Emails and documents obtained by DeSmog reveal that the U.S. Department of Trade has actively promoted and facilitated business deals for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry and export terminal owners, even before some of the terminals have the federal regulatory agency permits needed to open for business.