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BACK TO THE STREETS THIS WEEKEND FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE
By Maureen Baillargeon Aumand
The beloved peace and justice communities are rallying—again—this weekend!
On April 9th in NYC and 10th in San Francisco, human rights, civil rights, and workers rights leaders and advocates - religious and secular - Jewish, Muslim, Christian, humanist - are linking arms in solidarity and common commitment with antiwar activists to take to the streets in the face of what Dr. King once called an “unfolding conundrum”.
A true tempest is rising from the triple threat which Dr. King outlined so eloquently decades past of materialism, racism and militarism.
To be sure there is a tsunami fast approaching which is threatening by its erosion of foundational principles and their hard won incarnation over two centuries of struggle and evolution to tear the very moorings out from under all that has made the “American experiment” such a bearer of hope and promise for the human planetary community as a whole.
Materialism - because greed and possession rule. What is good for business is god and what is good for business is the bottom line- period and this religion has been franchised : in education, in health care, in fiscal policy and budgets, in statehouses, in boardrooms, in elections, in Congressional chambers, in the White House, in foreign policy. Though rhetoric may say otherwise (and even that is shifting and shifting blatantly, frighteningly) honest men all know this to be so.
Materialism because the worship of capital at the expense of all else fosters systemic myopia, self-interest, isolation, fragmentation, class division; materialism because its maintenance requires spiritual blindness, mindless group think, loss of idealism, cynicism, a retreat to hedonism or vapid disinterest.
Materialism because when profit over all prevails, integrity erodes, lip service becomes the norm, the social contract and the common good are eschewed; the political landscape becomes an arid wasteland of partisan and purchased puppetry, a posturing mime show, a self-serving echo chamber of lies.
Materialism because "me and mine" requires authoritarianism, control, a worship of the status quo , engenders endemic fear and runs from caring concern and creative community and a sense of the ever possible.
And racism. Racism because of such myopic vision. Racism because of such fear. Racism because the energy to hold onto possession and control saps the energy to reach out and understand.
Racism because conscience must be silenced with false justification when it rallies against the objectification of the other for the sake of gain and self-preservation, when it rallies against the fallacy of an exceptionalism which attempts to justify murder and pillage for the sake of gain and false security.
Racism because it rests on fear and lies and cannot accept the implications, the required self and national sacrifice, of the uncompromising and imperative inclusiveness of “all men….endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights.”
Racism because ignorance leads to dead ends, security walls, prisons and ghettos of brick, of rhetoric, of laws, of mind, of heart. Racism because our only security lies in a human brotherhood which is polar to the war of all against all which currently rages.
And most integrally connected, militarism. Militarism because of its blinding, obscene, humanly untenable camouflaged immorality and mayhem. Militarism because of its illusion of necessity and good.
Militarism because of its ubiquitous presence, its embedding into the very fiber of our national identity, its becoming the air we breathe.
Militarism because of its black hole energy which robs us, stealing from the national treasury and soul so much that is generative and life giving and transforming the all possible into death, destruction, waste, nihilism. Because armed to the teeth it is always trigger happy, engendering over and over the greatest failures of human will and imagination.
The ugly, soul destroying human curse of violence and militarism promulgated by the lie that it makes us safe so that it can make a few rich; premised on the need to ever and always fabricate an enemy; teaching generation after generation that might makes right, that war will always be with us, that in its weakness is our strength, that there are no alternatives.
Those who are participating in the April 9th and 10th events are concerned that the tsunami that threatens rises from a profound fissure in the grounding of our nation's soul, a seismic hubris. The recent natural tsunami on the other hand, if it counsels anything counsels humility.
The rallying cries which will ring bi -coastally this weekend, which ring out in echo of Tahrir and Madison and all the public squares where the people speak, spring from a humble listening to the admonishment of Dr. King who prophesied:
"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death…There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood."
As citizens link arms in public solidarity this weekend in New York and San Francisco, they will be proclaiming once again with Dr. King that:
"Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now."
Maureen Baillargeon Aumand is a member of Women Against War, a grassroots organization in Albany, N.Y. and a supporter of UNAC's ( the United National Anti-War Committee) call to action on April 9th and 10th which has been endorsed by hundreds of peace and justice organizations. ( http://nationalantiwarconference.org)