Category: What’s Happening In the Movement

Leading Whistleblowers Call for Congressional Action

JOHN HANRAHAN – On Monday, April 27, seven prominent national security whistleblowers called for a number of wide-ranging reforms — including passage of the “Surveillance State Repeal Act,” which would repeal the USA Patriot Act — in an effort to restore the Constitutionally guaranteed 4th Amendment right to be free from government spying. Several of the whistleblowers also said that the recent lenient sentence of probation and a fine for General David Petraeus — for his providing of classified information to his mistress Paula Broadwell — underscores the double standard of justice at work in the area of classified information handling.

Nuclear Legacy Calls for Action

RIVERA SUN – Nowhere is Hannah Arendt’s phrase the banality of evil more potent than at Los Alamos, New Mexico. The prosperous county -one of the nation’s richest – sits amongst the piñon pines and junipers in the high-altitude desert of northern New Mexico. It exists almost exclusively for the purpose of researching and developing nuclear weapons.

TV Ad Airing in Las Vegas Asks Drone Pilots to Refuse to Fly

DAVID SWANSON – This advertisement does a number of things in 15 seconds that U.S. television has not done before. It presents a moral case against drone murders (the U.S. government’s terminology, and strictly accurate). It opposes drone murders as illegal. It shows victims. It provides the name and website of an organization opposing drone murders. And it directly asks drone “pilots” to refuse to continue. It also makes the Nuremberg argument that an illegal order need not (in fact must not) be obeyed.

Reject Endless, Worldwide War

DAVID SWANSON – We strongly reject President Obama’s request for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) of the U.S.-led war on ISIS. We urge Congress to oppose the request for a war which is endless, not the last resort, illegal by national and international standards, geographically unlimited, and unwinnable. The resultant costs of endless wars are too high and will not lead to the expected outcome. We know that the use of military force in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen has been a failure and has increased violent extremism and recruited volunteers for Al Qaeda and ISIS. There is no reason to believe that further military action will have any different result.

The Abusive Incarceration Of Sister Megan Rice

LINDA STASI – Sister Megan Rice and two other activists broke into the facility outside Knoxville, Tenn., in 2012 to bring attention to the dangers of unimpeded nuclear proliferation. They also exposed gaps in national security by showing how easy it was to get in. Now, Sister Megan lives in horrifying conditions in a single room with 111 other women in the Metropolitan Detention Center.

Militarism in the Air We Breathe

DAVID SWANSON – If there is a group of Americans to whom Iraqis struggling with the health effects of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, white phosphorous, and all the various poisons of war can relate, it might be the mostly black and largely poor residents of Gibsland, in northern Louisiana.

Inside the Uniform, Under the Hood, Longing for Change

KATHY KELLY – From January 4-12, 2015, Witness Against Torture (WAT) activists assembled in Washington D.C. for an annual time of fasting and public witness to end the United States’ use of torture and indefinite detention and to demand the closure, with immediate freedom for those long cleared for release, of the illegal U.S. prison at Guantanamo.

Celebrate 2014’s Disarmament Success Stories

MINES ACTION CANADA – The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots had a pretty good 2014 but many people view 2014 as a terrible year full of death, war and disease around the world. Fortunately, things are not as bleak as the news makes them look. The humanitarian disarmament world has seen a lot of successes this year and each of these successes is a win for humanity. So let’s recap the good news stories of 2014 in the humanitarian disarmament world.

Nuclear Harbinger: Vermont Yankee Plant Shuttered

JOHN LAFORGE – On December 29, the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor was shut down for good, cancelled 18 years before its license expired. The shutdown comes after thousands of protest actions; widespread uncontrolled leaks of radioactive tritium; the shocking collapse of a cooling tower; operator mismanagement; lying and cover-ups; and the state legislature’s 2010 passage of a “shut-down by 2012” law, a statute later voided by a federal court. Entergy Corp.’s surrender announcement mentioned only “economic concerns.”

Resisting the Unspeakable in Afghanistan

PAT KENNELLY – 2014 marks the deadliest year in Afghanistan for civilians, fighters, and foreigners. The situation has reached a new low as the myth of the Afghan state continues. Thirteen years into America’s longest war, the international community argues that Afghanistan is growing stronger, despite nearly all indicators suggesting otherwise. Yet, there is another possibility, that the old way has not worked, and it is time for change; that nonviolence may resolve some of the challenges facing the country.

Ten Things to Know About the Climate Deal

BILL MCKIBBEN – November 12: Last night, just weeks after the largest climate mobilization ever, the world’s two biggest polluters — the United States and China — announced their most ambitious climate action yet. That is not a coincidence: it’s a sign that our pressure is working, and that we need to apply much more.

Why Don’t We Build a Movement?

KAZU HAGA – What if all organizations in Oakland who work for social justice put down their egos and worked to create a COLLECTIVE work-plan for the next 10 years? Not just deciding to work together on 1 campaign for a year. Actually built integrated workplans that allow us to still do what each of us do best, but with a grand strategy of how we’re all contributing to the same change? What if nonprofits stopped their turf wars? What if nonprofits stopped feeding into the capitalist, individualistic mentality of this culture and took the idea of movements and collaborations seriously? What if we told all of our funders that after spending down our current grant, we’re all gonna change directions slightly and start to work together for real? What if . . .

Massive Protests Lead Guatemala to Reject ‘Monsanto Law’ in Court

TEX DWORKIN – In a landmark decision on September 4, following intense pressure by indigenous people, trade unions, farmer’s organizations and others, the Guatemalan judiciary ruled to suspend the controversial Plant Variety Protection Law, commonly referred to as the ‘Monsanto Law’ because of the multinational biotech company’s involvement in it.

Paying Respects, Pentagon Revives Vietnam, and War Over Truth

SHERYL GAY STOLBERG – It has been nearly half a century since a young antiwar protester named Tom Hayden traveled to Hanoi to investigate President Lyndon B. Johnson’s claims that the United States was not bombing civilians in Vietnam. Mr. Hayden saw destroyed villages and came away, he says, “pretty wounded by the pattern of deception.” Now the Pentagon — run by a Vietnam veteran, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel — is planning a 50th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam War. The effort, which is expected to cost taxpayers nearly $15 million by the end of this fiscal year, is intended to honor veterans and, its website says, “provide the American public with historically accurate materials” suitable for use in schools. But the extensive website, which has been up for months, largely describes a war of valor and honor that would be unrecognizable to many of the Americans who fought in and against it.

Building the Movement to End the Latest Expanded U.S. War in the Middle East

JIM LAFFERTY – If the U.S. public gained a fuller and more honest understanding of what U.S. and U.S. backed Arab states have done that has led to the creation of ISIS, what the true nature of the threat is from ISIS, and the futility and negative blow-back from waging such a war, antiwar sentiment would develop much more quickly and deeply than otherwise. And those who already oppose this new war would be more articulate opponents of it if they, too, had a better understanding of the root problem, its origins, why the U.S. has entered the fray, and why this war is not in the best interests of the people of this nation.

Oregon and Washington Continue to Fund Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

ONWARD OREGON – Although Governors Kitzhaber and Inslee are publicly concerned about fossil fuel exports, other branches of our state governments are investing in infrastructure supporting these activities. Thanks to our friends at Sightline Institute, we see that Oregon and Washington have made substantial investments in enhancing fossil fuel export facilities.

Peace is Breaking Out All Over the World

STEVEN YOUNGBLOOD – A friend and colleague recently wrote me and asked if I, an advocate for peace, was discouraged by the avalanche of violence that seems to be engulfing mankind. It’s certainly easy to get discouraged, or even to abandon the notion that peace is possible, given the new status quo in Ukraine, the Central African Republic, Iraq, Nigeria, Ferguson, Missouri, Mexico, Syria, Gaza, Somalia and so on. Against this backdrop, the annual commemoration of the International Day of Peace on Sept. 21 seemed futile—like holding a storm awareness seminar in the middle of a category five hurricane. Yes, the big picture seems awful. But it’s not the only picture. That’s why I choose to look instead at a number of other pictures that show peace breaking out all around the globe.

The New War, the Forever War, and a World Beyond War

WORLD BEYOND WAR ISIS STATEMENT – The following is an assessment of the current ISIS crisis. The statement examines: (1) the social context of the destructive violence in Syria and Iraq — where we are; (2) viable nonviolent alternatives — what should be done; and (3) opportunities for civil society to advocate and push for those alternatives — how we can make it happen. The alternatives and pathways toward achieving those are not only preferable from a perspective of humanity, but proven to be more effective.

Guerilla Woolfare: Against the Madness of Mutually Assured Destruction

JAINE ROSE and REBECCA JOHNSON – Editor’s Note: “While Nagasaki Day has come and gone, this innovative project richly deserves to be known by people all around the world, so ‘Ask me what I’m knitting.’” On 9th August – the 69th anniversary of the incineration of Nagasaki by a plutonium bomb code-named “Fat Man” – thousands of people will join the Wool against Weapons demonstration in Berkshire to link up a 7-mile pink knitted ‘peace scarf’ between the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) complexes at Aldermaston and Burghfield.

Stop the Wars, Stop the Warming!

APPEAL TO THE PEACE AND CLIMATE MOVEMENTS – The developing climate emergency does not exist in isolation. . . . We must understand and confront the social and economic context that produced and accompanies it: war and unlimited military expenditures, corporate globalization, vast social inequality and racism.

Recalling the Lessons of Wisconsin

DAVID SWANSON – A new film called Wisconsin Rising is screening around the country, the subject, of course, being the activism surrounding the mass occupation of the Wisconsin Capitol in 2011. I recommend attending a planned screening or setting up a new one, and discussing the film collectively upon its conclusion. For all the flaws in Wisconsin’s activism in 2011 and since, other states haven’t even come close — most have a great deal to learn.

Borderfree Community: Volunteers for Peace in Afghanistan

KATHY KELLY – The Borderfree Center is named for Prof. Noam Chomsky’s call, in a 2013 American University of Beirut commencement speech, for participation in “a worldwide struggle to preserve the global commons” so as to secure “decent human survival in a world that has no borders.” The symbol of their participation is the blue scarf they distribute to friends and supporters, symbolizing the blue expanse of sky upon which national boundary lines will never be drawn.

Apathy or Genocide for Gaza? Citizens Say, ‘Enough!’

ERIN NIEMELA – Israeli, Palestinian and American citizens, between Israelis and Palestinians, we don’t need a “humanitarian pause.” We need actual humanitarians – everyday citizens who work together, rise up and shout “Enough!” to the gunrunning, bloodshed, enmification and apathy. We can end the violence for good and build peace forever – but we have to work together to control those fat, grey leathery legs of war.

Turning Up the Heat on Climate

REGISTER-GUARD EDITORIAL – Eugene city councilors can find plenty of excuses Monday to walk away from an ordinance committing the city to an aggressive strategy for reducing local contributions to climate change. Amid the hubbub over a proposed paid sick leave law, an abdication of leadership on climate change might be little noticed. But the council should reject all excuses and approve the ordinance.

Hiroshima – 69 Years Later

ROBERT F. DODGE, M.D. – On Aug. 6th, sixty-nine years ago, the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, killing 80-140 thousand people immediately. Three days later on August 9th, a second U.S. nuclear bomb was dropped over Nagasaki, killing an additional 74,000 people. From that week to the present moment the world has been held hostage to the insane threat and potential annihilation by these weapons that now number in excess of 17,000 worldwide. However daunting, we have witnessed this past year some of the most significant progress and awareness of this threat and work to eliminate nuclear weapons, thus realizing the long standing desires of people everywhere, to live in a world free of nuclear weapons. It is time for our elected officials to support the international efforts toward this end.

Planning for a Day of Peace

DAVID SWANSON – We need our governments to begin planning for a day of peace. Instead of investing everything in planning for war, preparing for war, and proliferating enough weapons to fuel plenty of wars, governments could invest in alternatives to war, nonviolent means of conflict resolution, moves toward justice that reduce conflict, international standards of law that make negotiations and diplomacy effective.

War Journalism Leads the Bleeding in Gaza

ERIN NIEMELA – As Israel’s boots hit the ground in Gaza, Operation War Journalism rages on. Both Arab and Israeli war journalists weaponize rhetoric: False dichotomies (do we bomb or do nothing?) and a pro-violence worldview, among other deadly bullets. War journalism sells violent conflict – “if it bleeds, it leads” – and we’re buying it. The violence in Gaza is partially a result of decades of media-distributed war products made from state-provided materials. War journalists escalate and prolong violent conflict. Their reporting choices, whether conscious or not, are harmful to citizens on all sides of violent conflicts, the Gaza crisis included.

U.S. Mayors Call for Good Faith U.S. Participation in Nuclear Disarmament Forums

JACKIE CABASSO, Mayors for Peace contact – The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), the non-partisan association of America’s big cities, on June 23, 2014 unanimously adopted a sweeping new resolution Calling for Constructive Good Faith U.S. Participation in International Nuclear Disarmament Forums at its 82nd annual meeting in Dallas, Texas. According to USCM President Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento, California, “These resolutions, once adopted, become official USCM policy.”

Rising People-Powered Movement Of Movements Is Transforming The World

MARGARET FLOWERS – On a snowy weekend in January, activists for social, economic and environmental justice from across the United States gathered in a Chicago union hall to plan a Global Climate Convergence: ten days of action from Earth Day to May Day. Many of these activists had never focused on the climate crisis before, being mired instead in fighting battles that loomed more immediately in their lives. Who has the capacity to worry about climate change when your community is hungry, cold, without shelter, lacks health care or is being poisoned? During that weekend meeting, we transcended the barriers that typically lead to working in narrow silos and treading water while the oceans literally and figuratively continue to rise around us. We stepped outside of our particular areas of advocacy, connected our struggles, and forged a collective effort to take action together this spring and beyond. The rallying cry was that the time has arrived to join hands and change course.

Peace Movements’ Common Vision: The Abolition of Militarism

MAIREAD CORRIGAN MAGUIRE – We are all aware that this is the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo which led to the start of the First World War in l9l4. What started here in Sarajevo was a century of two global wars, a Cold War, a century of immense, rapid explosion of death and destruction technology, all extremely costly, and extremely risky. A huge step in the history of war, but also a decisive turning point in the history of peace.

Mayors Sign Climate Protection Agreement, Endorse Innovative Climate Solutions

ARI PHILLIPS – Confronting climate change was a major agenda item at last week’s U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Dallas, Texas, including climate protection awards, climate panels, and a discussion with U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and U.S. DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz. Mayors signed the latest version of the Climate Protection Agreement — endorsed by over 1,000 mayors, it supports a national goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 amongst other things.

GMO Ban Passes in Jackson & Josephine Counties

NORTHWEST CENTER FOR ALTERNATIVES TO PESTICIDES – Voters in Jackson and Josephine Counties of Oregon took a huge step three weeks ago when they voted to ban cultivation of genetically modified crops in their counties. They overcame out-of-state spending led by Monsanto and Syngenta that amounted to about $1 million (or almost $10 for every registered voter).

Nonviolent Resistance Continues on Jeju, the Peace Island in Korea

KATHY KELLY – Jeju Island, South Korea – For the past two weeks [the latter part of May], I’ve been in the Republic of Korea (ROK), as a guest of peace activists living in Gangjeong Village on ROK’s Jeju Island. Gangjeong is one of the ROK’s smallest villages, yet activists here, in their struggle against the construction of a massive naval base, have inspired people around the world.

Gay Pride Group Honors Manning; Ousts Pro-Corporate and Pro-Military Leaders

“JOEY” – The message below was sent by Joey, a member of the San Francisco Pride Board. Please circulate and go on-line to add your comments and support on the sites listed. This victory comes as a result of months of insurrection in support of Manning inside the SF Pride movement, resulting in the ouster of most of the pro-corporate, pro-military Pride Board.

Egyptian Youth Protest Against Anti-Protest Law a Month Before Elections

JUAN COLE – Hundreds of leftist and secular youth demonstrated on Saturday [April26] against Egypt’s Draconian law forbidding demonstrations, demanding the release of revolutionary activists jailed under it. They marched from Serai al-Qubba to the presidential palace. Activists said that they did not believe the presidential elections scheduled for late May would be on the up and up if the protest law remains in place.

David vs. Goliath: The Nuclear Zero Lawsuits

ROBERT DODGE – Editor’s note: This is a follow-up op-ed on the nuclear zero lawsuits. This past Thursday, April 24th, historic lawsuits were filed against the U.S. and the eight other Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) of the world to meet their treaty obligations to disarm by the courageous tiny island nation Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Nuclear Zero Lawsuits Filed: Action Requested

RICK WAYMAN – Big news today out of The Hague and San Francisco. The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) has filed unprecedented lawsuits against all nine nuclear-armed nations for their failure to negotiate in good faith for nuclear disarmament, as required under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The suits were filed against all nine nations at the International Court of Justice, with an additional complaint against the United States filed in U.S. Federal District Court.