Category: January 2013

Gene Sharp: The Machiavelli of Nonviolence

JOHN-PAUL FLINTOFF – In a long life of scholarship and dissent, Gene Sharp has been imprisoned and persecuted, but never silenced. His ideas continue to inspire resistance movements across the world. Gene Sharp is not a typical pacifist. “When I used to lecture, I would always get complaints from the pacifists,” says the academic, who turns 85 this month. “They would say I wasn’t pure…”

Carol Bragg’s Fast for a ‘Revolution in Values’

KEN BUTIGAN – The December 14 rampage that claimed the lives of 28 people, including 20 children, in Newtown, Conn., has prompted a vigorous new debate on gun violence in the United States and the emergence of a spate of legislative proposals that the president and Congress may broach sometime this year. While policies designed to outlaw or control guns are needed now more than ever, for many of us these efforts must be rooted in a larger imperative: coming to grips with the culture of violence that makes this kind of tragedy possible and seeing our way clear to an alternative.

The Riddle of the Gun

SAM HARRIS – Editor’s Note: Readers may be surprised to find this article reprinted by The PeaceWorker, since it takes a largely pro-gun stance, but it makes a number of very cogent points which gun controllers need to be able to answer. Comments welcome.

Risking Peace is Our Best Security Policy

WINSLOW MYERS – Because we are the wealthiest nation on the planet, we have the luxury of being proactive in ensuring our future security. But the path to that security looks very different from the way it did even a few years ago.

A primary example of our transformed security context is the realization that there is only one ocean of air surrounding the earth. Unless all nations make a concerted effort to convert to sources of clean energy, global mean temperatures will continue to rise and cause undesirable extremes of weather.

King: I Have a Dream. Obama: I Have a Drone.

NORMAN SOLOMON – A simple twist of fate has set President Obama’s second Inaugural Address for January 21, the same day as the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday.

Obama made no mention of King during the Inauguration four years ago — but since then, in word and deed, the president has done much to distinguish himself from the man who said “I have a dream.”

Time is Money – The Devastating Impacts of American Culture on Foreign Policy

ERIN NIEMELA – Two days before Christmas my brother called, frantically demanding I tell him what to purchase for my two young children and myself. For the kids, I said, buy Legos. For myself, I neither need nor want anything. I requested he write for me a brief letter answering the following question: If you could give me anything in the world for Christmas, what would it be and why? My dear brother’s response was less than agreeable: “What the hell? I’m too busy to do that! Just tell me what you want!” In his defense, he just had a new baby, but his response warrants a closer look into American culture and how it impacts all of us.

Gun Control and Arms Control Are Similar

LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – In a number of ways, gun control issues are remarkably similar to arms control issues. Gun controllers argue that the availability of guns facilitates the use of these weapons for murderous purposes. Arms controllers make much the same case, asserting that weapons buildups lead to arms races and wars.

Make Pentagon Savings Part of Budget Negotiations

REPS KEITH ELLISON AND MICK MULVANEY – We believe pursuing savings in the Pentagon’s budget must be one part of the larger — and critical — effort to improve our nation’s fiscal condition.
To argue that the defense budget should be off the table ignores the growth in defense spending–which since 2000 has increased more than a third after adjusting for inflation. We can disagree about the proper amount of defense spending, but it is clear that recent growth has not been tied to strategic needs.

Repeal the Second Amendment

TOM HASTINGS – I’m a peace person, as are my friends. I am striving to be nonviolent and have tried to learn nonviolence for years. I can point to alternatives to guns, I can argue against them, and that’s about it. What we need — what would dramatically change our national discourse on this — is for gun owners to stand up and tell the rest of us, “We no longer want our possessions to be regarded under our Constitution as sacred and above the law. We reject the kneejerk response from the NRA and the gun industry every time there is a tragedy. Not once — never, ever one single time — have they admitted that guns can ever be a problem and are just things that should be subjected to laws like anything else.”

BAN: Recycling Cell Phones, Laptops, TVs Correctly

CHRIS THOMAS – A new national certification program ensures that recyclers properly dispose of items such as laptops, televisions and cell phones. According to the Basel Action Network (BAN), a toxic-waste watchdog group, the oversight is necessary for what’s become an international environmental nightmare.