Category: Analysis

Let’s End the War Now!

CRAIG CLINE – I’m a “baby boomer” — one of about 76 million American children born during the demographic post-World War II baby boom — between the years of 1946 and 1964. If you’re a baby boomer, too, this message is especially for you. We have patriotic work to do… again.

People Power – The Unconquerable Authority

WINSLOW MYERS – Muhammar Khaddafy’s brutal reaction to the aspirations of his own people is becoming a textbook case in the futility of opposing the citizens from whose consent a leader’s political authority derives, however illegitimately. Instead, his stubborn egotism has led to absurd violence, even civil war. At moments like this, the world trembles with indignation and apprehensive hope.

Defending Democracy 101

DAVID D. LEEPER – Main Street Wisconsin—harbinger for the nation—is becoming aware that our democracy is being threatened by some very rich, powerful people. The super-wealthy are threatening the very core of our democracy as they consolidate more and more wealth and power.

Nuclear Power Madness

NORMON SOLOMON – Like every other president since the 1940s, Barack Obama has promoted nuclear power. Now, with reactors melting down in Japan, the official stance is more disconnected from reality than ever.

The People vs. the U.S. Government

DAVID SWANSON – Statistically speaking, virtually nobody in the United States of America knows that we spend more on the military than the rest of the world combined, that we could eliminate most of our military and still have the world’s largest, that over half of the money our government raises from income taxes and borrowing gets spent on the military, that our wars (outrageously costly as they may be) cost far less than the permanent non-war military budget, or that most of the financial woes of the federal and state governments could be solved just by ending a war in Afghanistan that two-thirds of Americans oppose.

As Climate Crime Continues, Who’s Going to Jail? Tim DeChristopher?

BILL MCKIBBEN – Let’s consider for a moment the targets the federal government chooses to make an example of. So far, no bankers have been charged, despite the unmitigated greed that nearly brought the world economy down. No coal or oil execs have been charged, despite fouling the entire atmosphere and putting civilization as we know it at risk. But engage in creative protest that mildly disrupts the efficient sell-off of our landscape to oil and gas barons? As Tim DeChristopher found out on March 3, that’ll get you not just a week in court, but potentially a long stretch in the pen.

‘Mad as Hell’ in Madison

RALPH NADER – The large demonstrations at the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin are driven by a middle class awakening to the spectre of its destruction by the corporate reactionaries and their toady Governor Scott Walker.

For years the middle class has watched the plutocrats stomp on the poor while listening to the two parties regale the great middle class, but never mentioning the tens of millions of poor Americans. And for years, the middle class was shrinking due significantly to corporate globalization shipping good-paying jobs overseas to repressive dictatorships like China. It took Governor Walker’s legislative proposal to do away with most collective bargaining rights for most public employee unions to jolt people to hit the streets.

Trading Self-Destructive Activism for Nonviolence

ALEX DOHERTY – [It gives me especial pleasure to present this article to PeaceWorker readers because I recall hearing Mark Rudd speak at a rally on the U of California campus in 1968, just after the occupation he refers to below. I thought his rhetoric was wrong-headed at the time and am delighted that he – who later became one of U.S. movement’s most ardent supporters of violence – has now come to appreciate the importance of nonviolence. – Editor]

[From 1965 to 1968, Mark Rudd was a student activist and organizer in the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) chapter at Columbia University. He was one of the leaders of the Spring 1968 occupation of five buildings and the subsequent strike against the university’s complicity with the Vietnam war. After being kicked out of Columbia, he became a full-time organizer for SDS, where he helped found the militant Weatherman faction. Mark was elected National Secretary of SDS in June, 1969, then helped found the “revolutionary” Weather Underground, which had as its goal “the violent overthrow of the government of the U.S. in solidarity with the struggles of the people of the world.” Wanted on federal charges of bombing and conspiracy, Mark was a fugitive from 1970 to 1977. He spoke to NLP’s Alex Doherty on the dangers of self-indulgent activism and his thoughts on current anti-war organizing in the United States.]

A Strong Wind Blows Mubarak Into History

URI AVNERY – We are in the middle of a geological event. An earthquake of epoch-making dimensions is changing the landscape of our region. Mountains turn into valleys, islands emerge from the sea, volcanoes cover the land with lava.

People are afraid of change. When it happens, they tend to deny, ignore, pretend that nothing really important is happening.

Blind Faith in Militarism Serves U.S. Poorly

MICHAEL TRUE – Blind faith — adhering to a proposition with no reasonable justification of its truth — is more dangerous for politicians than it is for religionists. True believers may acknowledge their blind faith in religious dogma, while foreign policy wonks seldom acknowledge their blind faith in political dogma. Yet many legislators and administrators — as well as columnists and academics — adhere to the dogma of “military supremacy,” which dominates U.S. foreign policy. American tax payers, who have invested heavily in that dogma, may have serious questions about whether it works. The evidence?

A Time for Action — Not Servility

JEFF COHEN AND NORMAN SOLOMON – While Washington pundits are talking up a new civility, many progressives are bracing for the old servility — a bipartisanship that is servile to a corporate elite that is unquenchably greedy and more powerful than ever. But this is not a time for despair. It’s a time for new activism — built upon one of the great achievements of the last decade: the rise of independent media.

The Third Force Idea: Creating a New Political Voice

TED GLICK – “Those who take the meat from the table teach contentment.
Those for whom the taxes are destined demand sacrifice.
Those who eat their fill speak to the hungry of wonderful times to come.
Those who lead the country into the abyss call ruling too difficult for ordinary men and women.” – Bertolt Brecht

Several times in columns over the last year or so I have written about the need for a “third force,” a broad, inclusive, independent, and progressive united front.

Justice is Bigger Than “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”

STEPHANIE N. VAN HOOK and MICHAEL N. NAGLER – In 1967 Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church called “Beyond Vietnam,” where he declared that his conscience would not allow him to remain silent on the question of Vietnam, on the horrors of war, on the threat of violence to our existence. In this speech he pointed out the irony that young men of color were welcomed to join the military in order to burn villages and kill the people of Vietnam in the name of a democracy and of freedoms not yet granted to them in the country for which they fought. They could kill and wreak havoc side by side with white Americans in combat abroad, but they could not sit by one another in the same school or eat together at the same restaurant back home.

A New Year: Time to Envision, Demand Peace

MICHAEL TRUE – “The same war continues,” Denise Levertov wrote, in “Life at War.” Her lament is even more appropriate for 2011 than as it was when she wrote the poem forty-five years ago. Columnists and academics, including International Relations professor Andrew Bacevich, Boston University, are finally acknowledging facts familiar to anyone “awake” regarding failed U.S. policies, wasted lives and resources during this period, Willfully ignoring such facts, as Professor Bacevich wrote, “is to become complicit in the destruction of what most Americans profess to hold dear.”

White House Dries Out Moral Collapse in Spin Cycle

NORMAN SOLOMON – On December 5th, in a column about economic policy, Paul Krugman focused on “moral collapse” at the White House — “a complete failure of purpose and loss of direction.” Meanwhile, President Obama flew to Afghanistan, where he put on a leather bomber jacket and told U.S. troops: “You’re achieving your objectives. You will succeed in your mission.” For the Obama presidency, moral collapse has taken on the appearance of craven clockwork, establishing a concentric pattern — doing immense damage to economic security at home while ratcheting up warfare overseas.

The Values That Underlie Peace

ROBERT RACK – I happened into a conversation with man sitting next to me on a plane ten or fifteen years ago that today seems almost prophetic. It was one of those gradual conversations that can happen when you’re in a car or maybe in a stuck elevator for a long time with someone, where there’s no agenda or expectations and plenty of time to quietly think about what each other is saying.

We Are in a Lynch-Mob Moment

TOM HAYDEN – We know that conservatives are extremists for order, but why have so many liberals lost their minds and joined the frenzy over Julian Assange and WikiLeaks? As the secrets of power are unmasked, there is a growing bipartisan demand that Julian Assange must die.

Why North Korea’s Attack is Not a Crisis

JOE CIRINCIONE AND PAUL CARROLL – Headlines and pundits once again declare that we have a crisis on our hands in the wake of discovering that North Korea is building a new nuclear reactor and a uranium enrichment plant. More ominously, last Tuesday brought news of direct artillery barrages between North and South Korea, heightening tensions and costing lives. But as provocative and serious as this is, neither is a crisis. Both fit a clear pattern of North Korean behavior — a pattern that ultimately holds out the opportunity for progress.

North Korea’s Consistent Message to the U.S.

BY JIMMY CARTER – No one can completely understand the motivations of the North Koreans, but it is entirely possible that their recent revelation of their uranium enrichment centrifuges and Pyongyang’s shelling of a South Korean island Tuesday are designed to remind the world that they deserve respect in negotiations that will shape their future. Ultimately, the choice for the United States may be between diplomatic niceties and avoiding a catastrophic confrontation.

Let’s Expand Our Definition of Defense

CRAIG CLINE – There appear to be no easy ways out of the financial difficulties we face. We have “money messes” at our local, state, and federal levels. There is one big thing that can help us though, and I propose that all of us get behind the following objective, with all the political and financial power we can muster, starting right here in Salem-Keizer.

Obama Wooing “Economic Royalists”

NORMAN SOLOMON – In his first term, President Franklin Roosevelt denounced “the economic royalists.” He drew the line against the heartless rich: “They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred.” What a different Democratic president we have today.

Restoring Sanity with a New Story

WINSLOW MYERS – After the silly season of the mid-term elections, where left and right each proclaimed imminent apocalypse if the other side prevailed, it can be a relief to turn to measured voices and larger views. No voice is more measured nor view larger than that of the late Thomas Berry, a historian of cultures who called himself a “geologian,” because the ruler by which he measured current events was no less than the 13.7 billion year story of the universe itself.

Are Cruel Years Coming to a Neighborhood Near You?

WILLIAM LOREN KATZ – In 2010, with the blessing of a five-to-four Supreme Court, unlimited money from anonymous corporate sources was allowed to select candidates and call the political tune. It is hardly surprising the party best able to tap these funds scored major gains. While suspicious of repentant witches, the public fell for a heroic narrative of capitalist individualism gallantly charging into the 20th century bearing gifts for all. Rand Paul, the clearest voice of the victorious Republican Party, championed the tried and true values of American individualism, freedom and capitalism of this earlier time.

Learning from the Tea Party

TED GLICK – Polling and pundits tell us that tonight we will see a significant political incursion from the right wing, if not, indeed, a complete power takeover. We may not appreciate the Tea Party, but we had better learn a few lessons from them, as this article suggests. Business as usual is not serving us well and if we let it continue to run our nation’s business, we will be increasingly unhappy with the results. – Editor

How (Not to) to Organize a Community

DMITRY ORLOV – Just in time for Halloween comes a fascinating thought piece about some real-life horror: one vision of how some of today’s most positive community-building activities to could turn on us in the face of declining access to oil. Avoiding this future is another strong reason to do the peace visioning Oregon PeaceWorks has been calling for and facilitating. People who do not want to live in the world Orlov posits must take up the challenge of strategizing ways to avoid it. – Editor

Progressive Canaries in a Political Mine

NORMAN SOLOMON — Take it from David Axelrod. “Almost the entire Republican margin is based on the enthusiasm gap,” the president’s senior adviser said last week. “And if Democrats come out in the same turnout as Republicans, it’s going to be a much different election.” But we don’t get to have a different election.

What If Peace Broke Out? One Man’s View

ED HEMMINGSON — My thoughts here are in response to Oregon PeaceWorks’ call for personal visions of what the world might look like if “peace broke out.” That term of course, is a satirical twist on the common expression, “war broke out,” which is used by the popular media, as though war were some wild beast that just got loose. In reality, war is the result of cold calculations by people in power who see it as being to their advantage.

5 Things Dems Can Do to Turn It Around by November 2nd

MICHAEL MOORE — Not only does Michael Moore express many of the frustrations progressives currently experience in relation to the leadership of the Democrats in Congress and the White House, but he also – and much more importantly – suggests some quick fixes the Democratic leadership could and should implement to head off their self-destructive race to the bottom. – Editor

U.S. Neutrality Essential in Mid-East Peace Talks

JACK KIRKWOOD — American leaders and commentators often refer to Israel as our ally. Yet despite six decades of relationship, this term gained wide usage only after President Bush declared alliance with Israel against the terrorists after 9/11/01. American forces have never joined Israel in any military campaign.

“End of Combat” Claim Disputed

JOHN LAFORGE — The press made a big deal of it. The president even starred in an Oval Office TV show about the “end to U.S. combat” in Iraq, which was announced on August 31. Mr. Obama said he’d fulfilled a promise to end the war. Obama’s bit of theater cost less than George Bush’s May 1, 2003 shameless declaration of “mission accomplished,” his circus-act-in-military-flight-suit-to-the-flight-deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. Yet the president’s speech was just as dishonest.

When You Get a Whiff of Disaster, Pay Attention!

TOM HASTINGS — San Bruno, California, is about 12 miles south of San Francisco, near the airport. That is where the gas line ruptured and exploded into a massive fireball hundreds of feet tall, burning dozens of homes, killing at least four, and injuring many others. Residents report having gotten whiffs of gas now and then for a period beforehand.

Right-Wing Republicans vs. Corporate Democrats vs. Progressive Populists

NORMAN SOLOMON — At this bleak political moment, gaining congressional power for progressives might seem like pie in the sky. More and more desperate efforts are underway to stave off a Republican takeover of Congress. But the necessity of trying to prevent right-wing rule on Capitol Hill should not obscure the need to win more seats for genuine progressives.

Moving Beyond Peace Processes Past

AFIF SAFIEH — The Obama administration has been persistent about the Middle East peace process. But is it serious about peace? If it is, and I believe that President Barack Obama is personally serious in spite of widespread skepticism among Arabs and Palestinians, then this administration needs to understand why its predecessors have failed. There were serious flaws in previous peace processes, and I saw how they played out firsthand from my posts in London, Washington and Moscow.

Nuclear Weapons and the Way We Think

WINSLOW MYERS — Two strategic goals of the U.S. are an apparent desire to control Middle East oil and the expressed commitment to help keep Israel safe. This requires the U.S. to refuse the laudable vision of the Middle East as a nuclear weapons-free zone, which would demand that Israel dismantle its nuclear arsenal. Instead, news reports indicate that Israel may be gearing up for a pre-emptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Gen. Petraeus Goes to Media War

NORMAN SOLOMON — It’s already history. In mid-August 2010, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan launched a huge media campaign to prevent any substantial withdrawal of military forces the next summer. The morning after Gen. David Petraeus appeared in a Sunday interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to promote the war effort, the New York Times front-paged news of its own interview with him — reporting that the general “suggested that he would resist any large-scale or rapid withdrawal of American forces.”

DeFazio Explains His Opposition to Afghanistan War Funding

REP. PETER DEFAZIO — Given that the war in Afghanistan has entered its ninth year without clearly defined objectives or an exit strategy, I wanted to provide you an update of my continued opposition to our head-in-the-sand Afghanistan policies. We recently saw a major shakeup in military leadership in Afghanistan, but it is clear that this will not translate to a major change in strategy.

Time to Get Out of Afghanistan

RALPH NADER — The war in Afghanistan is nearly nine years old — the longest in American history. After the U.S. quickly toppled the Taliban regime in October 2001, the Taliban, by all accounts, came back stronger and harsher enough to control now at least 30 percent of the country. During this time, U.S. casualties, armaments and expenditures are at record levels.

How Can We Identify and Utilize Best Practices for Problem Solving?

WINSLOW MYERS — When I was working as a teacher, I loved the phrase “best practices.” It suggested pooled wisdom, a collective weeding out of the more effective from the less effective, a distillation of the authentic out of a world of potential baloney. It implied disinterested cooperation to figure out what really does work when we’re trying to help children learn. Any collection of best practices would synergize with each other in a perfect storm of competency.

The Impossible Contradictions of Modern War

WINSLOW MYERS — The article in Rolling Stone that ended the meteoric career of General McChrystal shines light on the thought-process not only of one military man, but also on the dysfunctional paradigm now failing in Afghanistan. It is a textbook demonstration of how the mind-set of war itself, the notion of annihilating an enemy and emerging victorious, has become obsolete.

Why We Must Reduce Military Spending

REPS. BARNEY FRANK AND RON PAUL — As members of opposing political parties, we disagree on a number of important issues. But we must not allow honest disagreement over some issues to interfere with our ability to work together when we do agree. By far the single most important of these is our current initiative to include substantial reductions in the projected level of American military spending as part of future deficit reduction efforts.