Author: Oregon PeaceWorks

Crises Challenge Us to Rise to Our Best

RIVERA SUN – The content of our national character is found in how we take care of one another. Especially in times of crisis. This spirit of neighborly caring is a widely-shared value, stretching from rural communities to urban neighborhoods, encompassing everything from faith-based relief efforts to mutual aid networks.

Our Many Differences Are Not Worth a Second Civil War

WINSLOW MYERS – Are we wholly defined merely by our opinions? The great Sufic poet Rumi said: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” Kate Johnson, a Buddhist teacher, writes: “The Buddha said that friendship is the whole of holy life. To accomplish it, we need only overcome our fear of reaching out to one another.”

Ending the Other War in Yemen

BRIAN TERRELL – It is refreshing to hear a U.S. president at least recognize that the Yemeni people are suffering an “unendurable devastation” and this is due to the hard work of grassroots peace activists around the world. Whether President Biden’s proclamation will mean much in the real world beyond a temporary hold on the weapons deals Trump made just before leaving office is yet to be seen.

In Promoting New Nuclear Power, Biden-Harris Back Fiction Over Science

LINDA PENTZ GUNTER – Biden-Harris must look at empirical data, not listen to spin doctors and establishment cronies who will keep them anchored to the status quo, thus deferring the very energy revolution they claim they will lead. If Biden-Harris remain in favor of action on climate AND for nuclear power, then they are part of the problem, not the solution.

How a Small-Town Paper is Applying Conflict Mediation Skills to its Opinion Content

JULIE HART – A letter to the editor was painful evidence that a small, community newspaper’s commitment to publishing as many letters as possible was no longer advancing a healthy dialogue among readers, if it ever had. In the town’s increasingly divided community, the paper had to take a hard look at how it could become part of the solution.

‘A Day Peace Activists… Have Been Waiting For’: Biden Vows to Curb US Support for Saudi-Led War on Yemen

KENNY STANCIL – Peace advocates rejoiced on Thursday in the wake of President Joe Biden’s announcement that his administration will be ending U.S. support for “offensive operations” in the Saudi-led war on Yemen and appointing a diplomatic envoy to help resolve the devastating conflict that has caused an estimated 233,000 deaths. “This war has to end,” Biden said during an address at the State Department. “And to underscore our commitment, we are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arm sales.”

A Progressive Agenda for Biden’s Foreign Policy

MEL GURTOV – The predominant direction of a progressive US president should be toward “Making America Safe for the World.” That means focusing on domestic problems rather than on foreign policy crusading, relying on diplomacy before making threats and imposing sanctions, redefining the national interest with an eye toward real friends and urgent issues, and finding common ground with adversaries, starting with China, while remaining faithful to our ideals.

Democrats, Here’s How to Lose in 2022. And Deserve It.

EZRA KLEIN – Democrates have two years to prove that the American political system can work. Two years to show Trumpism was an experiment that need not be repeated. Two years. This is the responsibility the Democratic majority must bear: If they fail or falter, they will open the door for Trumpism or something like it to return, and there is every reason to believe it will be far worse next time. To stop it, Democrats need to reimagine their role. They cannot merely defend the political system. They must rebuild it.

Countering The Fascism To Come

ROBERT C. KOEHLER – The questions, as President Biden takes office, turn increasingly paradoxical: Is a coup, and resulting fascism, the nation’s biggest worry? What about the return to normalcy? I fear the latter as much as I fear the former.

Celebrate MLK’s Legacy: Bring US Into the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty

GERRY CONDON – As a veteran concerned about issues of war and peace, I am happy to celebrate the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), the important new international peace initiative. The “Nuclear Ban Treaty,” as it is also known, was approved 122-1 by the UN General Assembly in July 2017, a clear expression of the will of the world’s people. On October 24, 2020, Honduras became the 50th nation to ratify the TPNW, triggering a 90-day period before it goes into force, on January 22.

Don’t Just Denounce Trump. Demand Progressive Policies from Biden Too.

NORMAN SOLOMON – The Republican plunge into Trumpism has made the party especially unhinged and dangerous, but its basic ideology has long been a shameless assault on minimal standards of human decency. Now — while Democratic leaders and most corporate media outlets are suitably condemning the fascist tendencies of Trump and his followers — deeper analysis and stepped-up progressive organizing are urgently needed.

Climate Activists Mount Utility Strike to Urge the Shutdown of New England Coal Plant

BARBARA PETERSON – The Strike Down Coal campaign provides a COVID-safe form of disobedience, building on more than a year of direct actions to shut down Merrimack Station. Activists protest the continued burning of coal in New England by refusing to pay utility bills, and mailing coal to the utility company instead. (Facebook/No Coal No Gas)

Concerning Violence and Hate: A New Year’s Wish

SASKIA HOSTETLER LIPPY MD – Lately, I have been reflecting on what I have in common with extremists. It turns out that the list is longer than one would think. I hold their same passions for change, an ability to withstand discomfort–put more bluntly, tolerance for risk of pain that some term masochism–and I share a lack of tolerance for passivity and denial. Extremists are people of action. I am a person of action. I empathize with their demand to be heard and seen. They want us to feel their pain, even to the point of killing us to further their cause. As a pacifist and humanist, where I differ radically is in the choice of tactics.

Justice for All Essential Workers

ANDREW MOSS – One of the most pronounced areas of inequity of the pandemic involves frontline essential workers in such fields as public transport, food manufacturing, health care, postal work, retail, and grocery work. There are necessary and feasible ways of mitigating such inequalities in the short-term, but, as with any injustice, achieving short-term mitigations doesn’t come without struggle.

The Boss Who Put Everyone on $70K

STEPHANIE HEGARTY – In 2015, the boss of a card payments company in Seattle introduced a $70,000 minimum salary for all of his 120 staff – and personally took a pay cut of $1m. Five years later he’s still on the minimum salary, and says the gamble has paid off.

Peru ‘Coup’: Public Fury Forces Resignation of Interim President Leaving Dangerous Power Vacuum

ALONSO GURMENDI DUNKELBERT – The growing popularity of parliamentary coups in Latin America is frequently overlooked outside of the region, but it is nonetheless an extremely worrying practice. What has happened in Peru should be seen by the international community as a renewed opportunity to examine this new kind of antidemocratic procedure. In the meantime, without a clear consensus on how to move forward and restore stability, there will be difficult months ahead for Peru – and Latin American democracy in general.

Choose Democracy’s Whirlwind Effort to Prevent a Coup is a Crash Course in Good Organizing

EILEEN FLANAGAN – Choose Democracy — the whirlwind start-up that trained 10,000 people to prevent an election-related power grab — started with just three folks. Two had full-time jobs and small children. The other was 82 years old. Over the summer of 2020, Daniel Hunter, Jenny Marienau and George Lakey observed alarming signs that Donald Trump might not go quietly if defeated at the polls. As experienced trainers and organizers, they knew that preparation helped people to act powerfully. So they decided to prepare people to resist a potential coup based on nonviolent strategies that have worked in other countries.

Announcing “No Honeymoon” for Biden

ROOTSACTION.ORG – On December 16, the progressive activist group RootsAction.org announced the launch of “No Honeymoon” — a sustained campaign that will mobilize grassroots pressure on Joe Biden from across the country. The group’s NoHoneymoon.org website invites activists “to join with RootsAction to push back against the destructive forces of corporate power, racial injustice, extreme income inequality, environmental assault and the military-industrial complex.”

How Portland Radicalized Me

SASKIA HOSTETLER LIPPY, MD – Today I find myself in an untenable position. I run an online encrypted mental health service to serve the Portland protest movement. This is the story of how I came to use a code name, an encrypted email and apps, and risk myself to help frontline activists.

Is It Time to Re-Envision Our Constitution?

GREG COLERIDGE and JESSICA MUNGER – The electoral crisis, the decline of trust in government, and gross income inequality in the United States may seem like separate issues. But they have a surprising, common origin: the US Constitution, or more accurately, its shortcomings. Indeed, the depth of multiple crises in our nation in 2020 — if not their existence entirely — are all rooted in our flawed Constitution and the judicial decisions that it has facilitated.

Meet the Volunteer Organizing Team Helping Non-Union Workers during the Pandemic

ERIC DIRNBACH – As early as March, there was a clear need to find ways to assist workers in confronting the new unsafe world at work. That’s when the Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee, or EWOC, was born. A joint project of the Democratic Socialists of America and the United Electrical workers union, EWOC recruited volunteer organizers to talk with workers who wanted to organize around COVID-19 concerns. It created a request form for workers to fill out, which it spread through social media. Inquiries from workers started coming in every day.

Yes, It’s Time to Come Home—Now

ANDREW BACEVICH – As Americans learned in Vietnam, the only way to end a war gone wrong is to leave the field of battle. If that describes Trump’s intentions in Afghanistan, then we may finally have some reason to be grateful for his service to our nation. With time, Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell might even come to see the wisdom of doing so.

Governor Newsom, Oregon Governor Brown, Tribal Leaders and Klamath Dam Owner Announce Agreement to Advance Historic Salmon Restoration Plan

JENNIFER K. FALCON – California Governor Gavin Newsom today joined with Oregon Governor Kate Brown, leaders of the Yurok and Karuk Tribes and Berkshire Hathaway-owned PacifiCorp in announcing an agreement to provide additional resources and support to advance the most ambitious salmon restoration effort in history. The project, when completed, will address declines in fish populations, improve river health and renew Tribal communities and cultures.