Category: What’s Happening In the Movement

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.

NRC Denies Nuclear Safety Petition

MICHAEL MARIOTTE – On April 9, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) formally denied a petition originally submitted by Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) and 37 co-petitioners to make modest improvements in emergency planning for nuclear reactor accidents.

Earth Day Calls for a New Beginning

KEN MCCORMACK – For Earth Day, April 22, let’s vow to take responsibility. Our careless behavior has changed Earth much faster than predicted. We are living through a global crisis, and the United States is largely responsible. There are good economic reasons, of course, to deny what has happened. ExxonMobil is recording higher profits than ever. Expensive disinformation campaigns are spreading doubt. Governments and corporations are urging “more growth.” That is, “more for us!” But in our hearts we know. Endless growth is impossible, and its pursuit is immoral.

Military Recruiters Bully Counter-Recruiters in Portland School

ANGIE HINES – On March 13, a fellow counter military recruiter and I went to Cleveland High School to talk with students. We were in a room filled with uniformed
military recruiters, many more than necessary to staff a table. The Army, Army National Guard, Navy, and Marines were there. Within three to four minutes of our beginning to speak, we were essentially forced out of the room. Our treatment at the hands of the military recruiters was pathetic and not to be tolerated.

Peacebuilding: Powerful New Frame for the Peace Movement

MATTHEW ALBRACHT – The prevailing notion and dominant cultural story is that violence is inevitable and there is really nothing significant we can do about it. Luckily, this is a false assumption. Many new methodologies are emerging, at almost every level of society, which are proving to be highly effective ways to address conflict before it erupts into violence — or to turn it around more quickly when violence is already ensuing. Conflict may be inevitable, but violence does not have to be.

Small Arizona Town Challenges Border Patrol Excesses

JOHN HEID – “You have no rights here!” barked a U.S. Border Patrol agent to a resident of Arivaca, AZ who was passing through a Customs and Border Protection checkpoint 23 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. This remark confirms a sense of violation of rights that many borderlands residents have when encountering one of the 71 permanent or tactical checkpoints scattered across the southwestern U.S.

Peace Activists Challenge Government Harrassment

ANTI-WAR COMMITTEE – On Feb. 26, 2014 we were successful in getting unsealed the application and affidavit used to obtain the search warrants for the 2010 raids on the Anti-War Committee office and on the homes of Mid-west anti-war and international solidarity activists. A review of these documents shows not only the extent to which law enforcement will twist the truth in pursuit of a target, but also the obsession of the U.S. government with any opposition to the U.S. imperialist agenda and the depths to which they will go to suppress freedom of thought and speech.

Nuclear Weapon Resisters Sentenced to Long Prison Terms, Outrageous Fines

JOHN LAFORGE – Three anti-war activists who easily snuck into what is touted as one of the country’s most secure nuclear weapons facilities were sentenced to long terms in federal prison Tuesday, Feb. 18. The three were convicted last May on felony charges of depredation of property and sabotage for their nonviolent action called Transform Now Plowshares at the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The convictions carried possible maximum sentences of 30 years in prison.

Cut Off the NSA’s Juice

NORMAN SOLOMON – The National Security Agency depends on huge computers that guzzle electricity in the service of the surveillance state. For the NSA’s top executives, maintaining a vast flow of juice to keep Big Brother nourished is essential — and any interference with that flow is unthinkable. But interference isn’t unthinkable. And in fact, it may be doable.

The Only Way to Stop Climate Change Now May Be Revolution

ERIC HOLTHAUS – So it’s come to this. Last year, a researcher presented a paper on climate change at the American Geophysical Union’s meeting entitled ”Is Earth F**ked?” which advocated “environmental direct action, resistance taken from outside the dominant culture, as in protests, blockades and sabotage by indigenous peoples, workers, anarchists and other activist groups.”

Trial of Anti-Nuclear Activists Ends with Unusual Sentence

MEGAN FINCHER – [Dec. 30, 2013; Kansas City, MO.] Defense attorney Henry Stoever meekly approached the bench of Presiding Judge Ardie Bland Dec. 13, complaining that security had refused to let him bring certain pieces of evidence into the courthouse: a full-sized wooden door with a banner proclaiming, “Open the door to a nuclear weapons free world!”, as well as an array of picket signs. Stoever was representing eight nuclear protesters on this unlucky trial date, and Bland, who had sentenced other nuclear activists to jail just two years prior, was the inauspicious icing on the cake.

Anti-Drone Movement Prepares for Take Off

KEN BUTIGAN – An organizing summit held this past weekend [November 23-24] at the Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C. — called Drones Around the Globe: Proliferation and Resistance — signaled another important milestone in the growth of the anti-drones movement. With 400 participants, including people from nations regularly under drone attack, the conference was a mix of research, analysis, networking and concerted movement building. The news delivered at the gathering was grim, but the convergence gave attendees a sense that the struggle is gaining traction, both in the United States and internationally.

Oregon Megaload Protesters Savaged by Police

LYNN FITZ-HUGH – Hyperbole? You decide if this is how you believe the police should behave when citizens are exercising their constitutional right to free speech. On Monday, December 16, 16 people were arrested at two different locations on Hwy 26 outside John Day, OR. They were there in response to Omega Morgan Company moving a heat condenser from the port of Umatilla to the Tar Sands site of the XL pipeline in Canada.

Federal Court Vindicates Edward Snowden’s Actions

ANTHONY D. ROMERO – Edward Snowden is a great American who deserves full immunity for his patriotic acts. When Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA, he single-handedly reignited a global debate about government surveillance and our most fundamental rights as individuals. On Monday, a federal judge vindicated Snowden’s actions by declaring unconstitutional the NSA’s spying program, labeling it “Orwellian”-adding that James Madison would be “aghast.”

Public Interest Groups Propose a Budget for People, Peace and Planet

PRESS RELEASE FROM ROOTS ACTION & OTHER GROUPS – (December 10, 2013, Washington, DC). Representatives from a broad coalition including over a hundred peace, anti-hunger, anti-poverty, environmental and community groups called upon Congressional leaders Tuesday to increase funding for a wide range of domestic programs by cutting runaway, dangerous military spending by 25 to 50%.

Male Socialization – the Unconsidered Factor in Mass Shootings

ROB OKUN – As we prepare for the gut-wrenching first anniversary of Newtown on Saturday, I teeter back and forth between sadness and anger. Sadness that 20 six and seven year-olds were murdered—along with a half-dozen Sandy Hook Elementary School educators—and anger that public officials and most of the media still largely ignore the missing component in the Connecticut tragedy—the gender of the shooter.

Climate Change Protest Halts Megaload in E. Oregon

GEORGE PLAVEN – Dec. 2, 2013: Climate activists won the night Sunday, effectively stalling the first of three controversial “megaloads” from leaving the Port of Umatilla on schedule. Two protesters were arrested after they locked themselves onto the side and underneath the truck hauling massive equipment to the oil fields in Canada. It took police two hours to remove the men, and by the time they finished it was 11:30 p.m. About 50 people representing grassroots environmental groups, as well as the local Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, arrived late Sunday to speak out against the megaloads and industrial transporter Omega Morgan.

School of Assassins Faces Protest and Congressional De-Funding

JOHN LAFORGE – The U.S. Army School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, Georgia is a notorious training operation for Latin American officers and soldiers. It’s associated with some of the worst dictatorships and human rights violators in the hemisphere. Over the past 20 years, the grassroots School of Americas Watch (SOA Watch) has grown into one of the most dynamic, multi-generational, cross-continental movements against militarism in the Americas (SOAW.org/November).

Frequently Asked Questions about Chelsea (Bradley) Manning

EDITOR’S NOTE – Now that the trial is over and the case finished let’s not drop the ball and forget about Bradley Manning (who has changed his name to Chelsea and identified as a woman). She was courageous and did an honorable act. Lead attorney David Coombs explains how we can all show some solidarity and moral support, and notes the dos and don’ts in doing so.

U.S. Plans Nuclear Missile Tests Around International Day of Peace and UN High-Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament

NUCLEAR AGE PEACE FOUNDATION – Two dates this month have special significance to those who want to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons: the International Day of Peace (September 21) and the UN High-Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament (September 26). Instead of honoring the significance of these dates and working in good faith to achieve nuclear disarmament, the United States has chosen to schedule two tests of its Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile on September 22 and September 26.