NORMAN SOLOMON – With President Obama’s second term underway and huge decisions looming on Capitol Hill, consider this statement from Howard Zinn: “When a social movement adopts the compromises of legislators, it has forgotten its role, which is to push and challenge the politicians, not to fall in meekly behind them.”
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…”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
BARNEY FRANK – There were so many encouraging signs for liberals in the election results this year that one of the most significant has been overlooked.
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.
MICHAEL MOORE – I don’t support the troops, America, and neither do you.
NORMAN SOLOMON – As 2013 gets underway, progressives need to be here now. We’re in a new era of national politics — with different circumstances that call for a major shift in approach.
NATHAN TEMPEY – In a potentially precedent-setting decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that a Guild lawyer’s challenge to military spying on peace activists can proceed. The ruling marks the first time a court has affirmed people’s ability to sue the military for violating their First and Fourth Amendment rights.
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.”
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.
LAURA FINLEY – The root problem underlying the Sandy Hook mass shooting tragedy is that the U.S. is a violent, militaristic culture that, in virtually every institution, demonstrates violence as a means of solving problems.