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Student Strike for Peace Update
By Brian Bogart
Finally, after reading hundreds of your letters today, I can write one to you.
Thank you very much for writing. (You have all been put on the IntelligentFuture email list for updates.) So many nations out there! Glad to hear from you.
The Strike for Peace plan is going well, and I want to encourage you to spread word that this is all about connecting our 300-plus Pentagon-funded schools across the nation, and transferring the energy created by Cindy Sheehan's camp (and that of the national rallies planned for September 24-26) onto our campuses and into our communities on the first day of school, September 26.
Here is all the information for today, including the Petition for Peaceful Priorities (below) for those who haven't seen it or signed it (reply with your name and title and/or location).
My effort is only what I can do as one person to spark this transfer, but together we can influence a nation and answer the wishes of the thousands of people worldwide who are writing to ask U.S. Americans for help in changing our set of priorities from military-dominant business profit to human prosperity. My group, IntelligentFuture, would greatly appreciate any financial and organizational assistance that can help this effort move forward with clarity and strength. We hope to have IntelligentFuture.org online by the Strike date, September 26, and need travel expenses to speak with representatives in Washington and meet with other progressive leaders around the nation. For now we are a small staff, but we plan to build a team and go on a tour of campuses when school begins. This will require funding from people like you.
We are currently gathering signatures from educators for the first delivery of the petition, September 26. On that day we will also begin collecting student signatures for a sustained effort throughout the academic year -- a second delivery to the White House will take place in June 2006. In gathering these signature, we will spread word of the nature of the problem and how our schools present us with a very good opportunity for networking and expanding resistance against the encroachment of the Pentagon in our lives and on our campuses.
The petition has been sent to dozens of sites, including Antiwar.com, Common Dreams, Democracy Now! and others. It may take a few days before it appears, but the ball is already rolling at After Downing Street, Project Censored, Information Clearing House, and many others.
When you see Strike-plan updates from IntelligentFuture in the meantime, please post them everywhere you can on the web and to your peace-caring friends.
Thank you, and please ask others to support Code Pink, Project Censored, Global Exchange, Information Clearing House, and any who support our combined efforts.
Best wishes for change,
On behalf of a world of promise
Checks can be made out to IntelligentFuture
Contact for mailing address: firstname.lastname@example.org
PETITION FOR PEACEFUL PRIORITIES
September 26, 2005
President George W. Bush, The White House
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Department of Defense, The Pentagon
President Nils Hasselmo, Association of American Universities
Governor Ted Kulongoski, State of Oregon
President Dave Frohnmayer, University of Oregon
Dear Public Servants,
As University of Oregon’s first graduate student in the field of Peace Studies, it is my responsibility to explore the role of the military in society and those conditions that most promote peace and human welfare. In so doing, I have come to understand the nature of America’s war industry, and how that industry has flourished in the wake of the Cold War. I have come to find that more than 300 of our universities are developing weapons for the Department of Defense, and that these schools are increasingly reliant on the industry of war to sustain their education programs. Indeed, the Association of American Universities appears to be little more than a lobby for such funding.
As a person of good conscience, I have learned too much about the business of war to remain silent about its overwhelming encroachment in our schools, communities, and global life systems. In promoting this encroachment, I do not believe that you serve in the interest of prosperity and security for the common people. By your consistent actions, in fact, it is abundantly clear that you believe America’s top priority is profit from the business of war, not the general welfare of its people.
When America was born a people-first country, the concept of freedom spread rapidly throughout the world without military force. The vision of our Founders was to advance the notion of people living in peace using the freedom that nature provides upon birth. You may feel at peace with yourselves, but I believe you are acting as businessmen instead of servants. And in honoring our Founding principles, I must proclaim that to exploit the fears and prejudices of the common people to maintain the flow of profits from conflict—to perpetuate a state of war for personal gain—is treasonous to our creed.
You say this is a peace-loving nation when you know it is not; America is by far history’s greatest peddler of arms, and your business is making war everyone else’s business. The people, under this set of priorities, are an expendable resource, and on behalf of those who founded this country and those whose lives stand in peril today—thus, on behalf of all Americans—I reject the notion of our servants serving only themselves and war profiteers.
Therefore, I feel compelled to strike in peaceful but vociferous opposition to your priorities until our national policies reflect our priorities and serve the rights and needs of the common people.
I am a dedicated scholar and University of Oregon alumnus. But I refuse to study inside the classroom of any school that sells itself to the war industry, and I will stand outside and speak my heart as strongly as possible to highlight the obvious hypocrisy that you promote. For I fear that if I do not, America and other countries are very likely to suffer and fall as a result of your cold determination to saturate with weapons a world that stands on the verge of resource depletion.
Developing weapons at our institutions of enlightenment contradicts the inherent purpose of learning. How will we ever learn peace while making war in our schools?
I hereby submit to you this petition for peaceful priorities.
Brian D. Bogart
Multicultural Studies Certificate, US-Japan Relations, Lewis and Clark College, Portland 1995
International Studies Certificate, Waseda University, Tokyo 1996
B.A. Japanese History, University of Oregon 1997
M.A. Candidate, Peace Studies, University of Oregon
Specialist, Military and Defense in Society
Sponsors of this action include:
Franklin W. Stahl
Professor Emeritus of Biology
University of Oregon
Global Exchange, Code Pink
San Francisco, California
Peter Phillips Ph.D.
Sociology Department/Project Censored
Sonoma State University
Madoka Kusakabe M.A.
East Asian Language & Literature
University of Oregon
Oleg Kripkov Ph.D.
University of Oregon
Virginia Raymond, Doctoral Candidate
Assistant Instructor, Department of English
University of Texas at Austin
Stan Taylor JD. LLM. Ph.D.
Instructor of Political Science
Lane Community College
Susan K. Fuhr, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Psychology
Scott Kerlin Ph.D.
Vancouver, BC Canada
…and thousands more from around the world. If you are or have been a college-level teacher and would like to sign this petition, please send your name and title as you’d like them to appear (using above examples) to: email@example.com
This petition will be delivered to the White House and other addresses on September 26, 2005, and again in June 2006. Student signatures will be collected beginning September 26 for a sustained effort against Pentagon funding on campuses, during which word will spread about the nature of our situation. It is essential that the energy of Cindy Sheehan’s efforts, and the energy from the upcoming national rallies, be honored and spread to our 300-plus campus communities.
If you would like to support the strike effort with financial or organizational resources, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org