Category: Oct 2010

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

Syria Reasserts Its Centrality to Peace

ALON BEN-MEIR – Despite efforts to internationally isolate Syria, especially during the Bush era, Syria has reasserted itself as a central player in the Middle East. Following the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, the United States withdrew its ambassador to Beirut, intensified sanctions against Damascus and sought to deepen Syria’s isolation from the international community. The recent array of high-level visitors to Damascus-including United States officials-demonstrates that President Bashar al-Assad has weathered the storm of isolation and has emerged as an essential actor in resolving regional disputes, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel should now respond favorably to Damascus’ call for renewed peace talks, and in so doing utilize Syria’s influence to advance peace, rather than thwart it.

Afghan Youth Group Undermines Prejudice

DAVID SMITH-FERRI – Bamiyan Province in Afghanistan, a stunningly beautiful mountainous region, is located in the center of the country, roughly 100 miles from Kabul. Most people here live in small, autonomous villages tucked into high mountain valleys, and work dawn to dusk just to scratch out a meager living as subsistence farmers, shepherds, or goatherds. The central government in Kabul and the regional government in Bamiyan City exercise little or no control over their lives. They govern themselves, and live for the most part in isolation.

Given this, who would imagine that Afghan youth from small villages across Bamiyan Province would come together to form a tight-knit, resilient, and effective group of peace activists, with a growing network of contacts and support that includes youth in other parts of the country and peace activists in the U.S. and in Palestine?

Calling in the Feds on Nonprofit Front Groups

KEVEN ZEESE – One reason why the U.S. sees ongoing wars, massive military budgets and record arms sales is because the military industrial complex spends massively on elections. This year, corporate spending on elections is worse than ever thanks to the Citizens United decision and political operatives like Karl Rove who have created nonprofit front groups to hide the source of campaign donations. These front groups are designed to evade federal election laws and federal tax laws. The violations of law are quite evident.

Following Up on Minnesota FBI Raids

MINNEAPOLIS ANTI-WAR COMMITTEE – On September 24, the FBI raided the homes and offices of peace workers in Minneapolis, MN and elsewhere (see The PeaceWorker, Oct. 1 and Oct. 17). Here is the most recent news and action request from the Minneapolis Anti-War Committee, including an excellent resolution currently in the Minnesota Legislature. – Editor

Oppose Animal Wrongs

CRAIG AND CHERIE CLINE — We have given our personal support to a great many “animal issues” organizations over the past 40 years. We think it would be highly beneficial for all of the organizations (and at least indirectly beneficial for all the animals) if they were to better engage and network with each other. Their “common cause” is, of course, various kinds of animals and the effects of human actions, or inactions, on those animals.

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.

Take Action to Oppose FBI Raids

PETER BERGEL — On October 1, The PeaceWorker ran an article on the frightening and unconscionable FBI raids on peace workers that happened in the Minneapolis area and elsewhere. Since then, some activists have refused to cooperate with a Grand Jury, thereby running the risk that they will be jailed.

The Top Censored Stories From 2009-2010

PROJECT CENSORED — Project Censored annually picks stories the corporate media should be covering, but aren’t. The links below identify the stories and take you to bibliographies that spell them out. Many of the issues Project Censored selects are so suppressed that you may not even be aware of them, yet what you don’t know definitely can hurt you. Check them out. — Editor

Are the Dems Really Listening?

MICHAEL MOORE — Ok! We’re halfway through the week and we’re off to a great start. Last week I gave the spineless Dems five friendly suggestions for things they could do on the off chance they were interested in winning the midterm elections on November 2nd:
1. Deliver a blunt, nonstop reminder to the American people about exactly who it was that got us into the mess we’re in.
2. Declare a moratorium on home foreclosures.
3. Prosecute the banks and Wall Street for the Crime of the Century.
4. Create a 21st century WPA (hire the unemployed to rebuild America).
5. Pledge that no Dem will take a dime from Wall Street in the next election cycle.
So how are we doing 5 days later? Not bad! It turns out that at least some of these ideas were so simple even elected Democrats could come up with them!

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.

FBI Raids Anti-War and Solidarity Activists’ Homes

ACTIVIST SOURCES — The FBI initiated a raid on six houses in Chicago and Minneapolis on Friday, October 24, 2010, at 7 a.m. central time. About a dozen activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan were handed subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury. They also attempted to intimidate activists in California and North Carolina.