Category: What’s Happening In the Movement

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.

Organic Seed Growers Take Monsanto to Court

JIM GERRITSEN – WASHINGTON, DC – November 23, 2012 – On November 21, 2012, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., announced that it would hear the Appeal of Dismissal inOrganic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto at 10am on Thursday, January 10, 2013. The landmark organic community lawsuit was originally filed in Federal District Court, Southern District of New York, in March 2011.

Message from Sen. Merkley About Military Spending

JEFF MERKLEY – This letter is a reply from Sen. Jeff Merkley to PeaceWorker Editor Peter Bergel in response to Bergel’s request that Merkley support major cuts to the military budget during the upcoming “fiscal cliff” debate, rather than allow cuts to social security, medicare, or other remaining components of the safety net. Let’s hold Merkley to this encouraging approach.

Time for Obama to Break His Silence About Climate Change

TED GLICK – When did this silence begin? A piece in last week’s Guardian newspaper reminded me of how far back it goes, to a meeting the White House organized for leaders of environmental groups in March of 2009 at the Old Executive Office building next to the White House. At the meeting, according to the Guardian, aides to Obama made it clear that they did not plan to talk much about climate and wanted their supporters to do the same.

Milestone: 1/4 of the Way to Revoking Corporate Personhood

PETER SCHURMAN – With victories on Nov. 6th in statewide votes in Montana and Colorado, both by nearly three-to-one margins, we’re now one quarter of the way to amending the U.S. Constitution to overturn Citizens United. This a huge milestone, one we could not have achieved without your help, along with the help of many friends and allied organizations, including Common Cause, which led the way on the Montana and Colorado victories with our support, as well as People for the American Way, Public Citizen, U.S. PIRG, Move to Amend, Ben & Jerry’s, RootsAction, the American Sustainable Business Council, Auburn Seminary, Avaaz, Credo, unPAC, and SignOn.org.

The Battle Against Big Energy’s Rush to Ruin Our Planet

DARYL HANNAH – “That’s all happened when you raise the temperature of the earth one degree,” says author Bill McKibben, “[t]he temperature will go up four degrees, maybe five, unless we get off coal and gas and oil very quickly.” Additional temperature rises could compromise our safety and cause incalculable damage from a large number of billion-dollar disasters in coming years – if we don’t address our emissions, insist upon an appropriate climate policy and curtail the rogue fossil fuel industry.

Enviros Sue to Boot Miners From National Forest

ERIN MCAULEY – Medford, Ore. (CN) – Environmentalists claim that the U.S. Forest Service should have known better than to allow precious metal mining in waterways in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest that are home to a threatened species of wild coho salmon without first consulting with wildlife experts.

Plans to Ship Coal to China Face a Hurdle: The West Coast

PHILIP BUMP – Coal companies are in a bit of a bind. Well, a few binds, really, but let’s just focus on one at a time, shall we? Demand for their product domestically has dropped significantly of late, as prices of natural gas have remained low. But demand remains high overseas: In Europe, certainly, but particularly in Asia. So if you are running a coal company (which, if you are: Hello!), there’s an obvious solution. Take all that coal and ship it to China and India. Or maybe it’s not that easy.

Veterans Among Those Arrested Protesting Drones

VETERANS FOR PEACE – Once again nonviolent protesters of U.S. drone wars have been arrested at the gates of Hancock Air Field in New York State. Thursday morning, 19 people blocked the three gates to the base for a period of hours beginning at 8 a.m. Eventually, the front gate was opened after 11 people were arrested.

Nun Breaches Security at N-Weapon Site

ANNIE SNIDER – Armed only with flashlights and bolt cutters, Sister Megan Gillespie Rice, Michael Walli and Gregory Boertje-Obed broke through three fences and painted pacifist slogans on the Y-12 National Security Complex at Oak Ridge, Tenn., before voluntarily surrendering to a guard who had not even seen them, according to a report from the Department of Energy’s inspector general last month.

Nine Nobel Peace Laureates Call on NBC to Cancel “Stars Earn Stripes”

ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU – “Stars Earn Stripes” is not just another reality show. Hosted by retired four-star general Wesley Clark, the program pairs minor celebrities with US military personnel and puts them through simulated military training, including some live fire drills and helicopter drops. The official NBC website for the show touts “the fast-paced competition” as “pay[ing] homage to the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and our first-responder services.”

Soft Necks Will Not Be Slaughtered: Applying Nonviolence in a Hard Situation

HAKIM and KATHY KELLY – Abdulhai remembers his father being killed by the Taliban. “Anyone who takes up a weapon in revenge, whether the Talib or any other, is acting like the Talibs who murdered my father,” he says, in a matter of fact way. “The solution does not lie in taking revenge, but in people coming together like the people of Egypt to defend themselves in a nonviolent way.”

Catholic Activists Breach Tennessee Nuclear Weapons Plant in Protest

JOSHUA J. MCELWEE – Three Catholics broke into a guarded nuclear weapons complex in Tennessee on Saturday in an act of civil disobedience and made their way outside of its most secure facilities before they were arrested. The three, an 82-year-old religious sister and two middle-aged men connected with the Catholic Worker movement, were able to enter the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge early Saturday before a guard found them outside the complex’s storage facility for bomb-grade uranium.

Nuclear Disarmament Action Buried by Massacre News

JOHN LAFORGE – James Holmes was in court Mon., July 30, in Aurora, Colorado, charged with 142 counts of murder, etc. The whole world knows of this initial hearing for the alleged murderer/terrorist because every detail of Holmes’ life is now regularly put at the top of TV and radio news shows and above the fold in every newspaper. Someone kills a lot of people and the media swarms.Not so if your action was a peaceful attempt to prevent massacres.

U.S. Government Receives “Warmonger of the Year” Award

PORTLAND PEACE AND JUSTICE WORKS – On Saturday, July 22, in a hotly contested race, the United States Government was named “Warmonger of the Year” by a group of Portlanders, winning 30% of the 311 votes cast. The contest was held at the 20th anniversary event of local group Peace and Justice Works (PJW), which also included as nominees the U.S. Military, the Portland Police Bureau, War Profiteers/”Contractors,” and Drones.

Groups Propose Clean Energy Agenda for U.S.

MICHAEL MARIOTTE – Fed up with the undue influence of the energy companies, utilities, lobbyists and other interests that are making it impossible for Washington to move forward decisively in achieving America’s clean energy future, Nuclear Information and Resource Service and 35 other citizen organizations with more than 1.1 million combined members are joining forces to advance a nine-point “American Clean Energy Agenda” and to push for a serious renewable energy agenda no matter who is the next President or which party controls Congress.

Philadelphia City Council Adopts Resolution to Redirect Military Spending

JANE DUGDALE – Philadelphia City Council, by a vote of 15-2, passed – on June 21 – a resolution “calling on the U.S. Congress to bring all U.S. troops home from Afghanistan, to take the funds saved by that action and by significantly cutting the Pentagon budget, and to use that money to fund education, public and private sector family-sustaining job creation, special protections for military sector workers, environmental and infrastructure restoration, care for veterans and their families, and human services that our cities and states so desperately need.”

U.S. Conference of Mayors Adopts Strong New Mayors for Peace Resolution

JACKIE CABASSO – At the close of its 80th annual meeting in Orlando Florida, on June 16, 2012, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) unanimously adopted a strong, comprehensive, new Mayors for Peace resolution: “Calling for U.S. Leadership in Global Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and Redirection of Nuclear Weapons Spending to Meet the Urgent Needs of Cities.”

99% Spring Disrupts Verizon Shareholder Meeting Six Times

DAVE JOHNSON- The highly-profitable company Verizon — the 16th largest corporation in America — is asking its workers for givebacks amounting to as much as $20,000 each, while tripling the compensation of CEO Lowell McAdam from $7.2 million to $23.1 million. The company made $22.5 billion in profits over the past four years while paying its top five executives $283 million over that period. Because of this the company has earned the nickname “Verigreedy.”

Tea Party and Occupy Share Some Similarities

JOHN DARLING – Tea Party and Occupy supporters found that they have many similarities at a forum in Southern Oregon. In their first public outing together, Tea Party and Occupy backers — and an audience of 200 — found a lot of common ground. They agreed that corporations, lobbyists, the military and the federal government have a huge amount of power, are “bought,” and aren’t very responsive to the needs of the average person.

Can Occupy Open the Door to a Better World?

PETER BERGEL – The Occupy movement has opened space for a national – even international – dialogue on the kind of world we want to live in. It has empowered many citizens to find the audacity and courage to think outside the box – to consider sweeping solutions that were off the table a few short weeks ago.

Selling Out Children to the Military

TERI SHOFNER – On Monday, October 17, a few concerned parents came to the business meeting of the Portland Public School Board of Education to ask that they turn away the military’s offer to take 5th graders out of school to a military base. We’ve been asking them very politely for several years, even though they have given us almost no notice of their intentions to vote on this military program called Starbase—and for the third year in a row they gave us less than one day’s notice, apparently hoping for minimal public turnout

Does ‘Political Disobedience’ Describe the Occupy Movement?

BERNARD E. HARCOURT – Our language has not yet caught up with the political phenomenon that is emerging in Zuccotti Park and spreading across the nation, though it is clear that a political paradigm shift is taking place before our very eyes. It’s time to begin to name and in naming, to better understand this moment. So let me propose some words: “political disobedience.”

Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Now

NAOMI KLEIN – I was honored to be invited to speak at Occupy Wall Street on Thursday night. Since amplification is (disgracefully) banned, and everything I say will have to be repeated by hundreds of people so others can hear (a k a “the human microphone”), what I actually say at Liberty Plaza will have to be very short. With that in mind, here is the longer, uncut version of the speech.

Peace Lecturer Will Be Famed Palestinian Journalist

PETER BERGEL – Rami Khouri will deliver Salem’s annual Peace Lecture on October 19th at 7:30 p.m. at Willamette University’s Hudson Hall in the Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center. As this year’s Peace Lecturer, Khouri becomes the 22nd speaker in a series which has featured such luminaries as Daniel Ellsberg, Philip Berrigan, Helen Caldicott, Jonathan Schell, Dolores Huertaand many others. The lecture is free and open to the public. His topic is “The Arab Spring: Revolution or Evolution?”

What Needs Changing?

JONATHAN WILLIAMS – How do we win? How do we get our demands met? We need power. But what is power? How do we get it? Simply put, power is the ability to act; the ability to end the wars, the ability to convert our economy, the ability to change the world. But how do we get that kind of power?

Eight Alternatives to Hitting Children

KERBY T. ALVY – Another tragic example of parental corporal punishment that spiraled out of control occurred recently in Phoenix, AZ, when a six-year-old boy named Jacob was beaten severely by his parents. Because of the extent of his injuries (which were likely caused by a belt buckle and possibly a wire hanger according to the police), Jacob isn’t expected to survive.

Who’s Really Writing States’ Legislation?

David Ball – Republican legislators picked up 680 seats in state house and senate chambers in the 2010 elections. “They now hold more state legislative seats than at any time since 1928, the year that Herbert Hoover came to the presidency,” says reporter John Nichols. “They control 25 states [with] both houses of the legislature. There are also 21 states where Republicans control both houses of the legislature and the governorship.

This September 11, Love Your Enemy to Restore Dignity

TODD DIEHL – As September 11, 2001 reaches its 10th anniversary, I would like to propose an alternative: Love Your Enemy. We have all witnessed the actions of a nation focused on hate and revenge. Now it is time to move our hearts and turn our focus to actions based on love, reconciliation, and healing. As Martin Luther King, Jr, said, “It is love that will save our civilization; love even for our enemies.”

Open Government Groups Asked to Rescind Transparency Award Given to Obama

SIBEL EDMONDS & COLEEN ROWLEY – On March 28, 2011, President Obama was given a “transparency award” from five “open government” organizations: OMB Watch, the National Security Archive, the Project on Government Oversight, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and OpenTheGovernment.org. Ironically — and quite likely in response to growing public criticism regarding the Obama Administration’s lack oftransparency – heads of the five organizations gave their award to Obama in a closed, undisclosed meeting at the White House.

Actions You Can Take Toward a Nuclear Weapons Free World

CAMPAIGN FOR A NUCLEAR WEAPONS FREE WORLD – In 2011 we will push the Obama administration and Congress to shift priorities in the nuclear weapons budget, including:

Cutting funding for expensive, unnecessary nuclear bomb production plants.
Preserving and increasing spending to dismantle warheads and secure nuclear material around the world.

Congressional Ds Need to Learn from Wisconsin

BECKY BOND – The contrast between the Democratic state senators from Wisconsin and the Democratic senators in Washington, D.C. couldn’t be starker.

In the face of extreme overreach by Governor Scott Walker and the Republicans in the state house, 14 Wisconsin state senators stood up and fought for almost a month — forcing Governor Walker to resort to a shady, cloak-of-night legislative maneuver which might not even be legal, and which powerfully reveals his commitment to destroying the progressive political base in his state above all else.

Bradley Manning Charged With 22 New Counts, Including Capital Offense

KIM ZETTER – The Army has filed 22 new counts against suspected WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, among them a capital offense for which the government said it would not seek the death penalty.
The charges, filed Tuesday but disclosed only Wednesday, are one charge of aiding the enemy, five counts of theft of public property or records, two counts of computer fraud, eight counts of transmitting defense information in violation of the Espionage Act, and a count of wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the internet knowing it would be accessible to the enemy. The aiding the enemy charge is a capital offense which potentially carries the death penalty. Five additional charges are for violating Army computer security regulations.

Egypt-Like Outrage in Wisconsin

AMERICAN RIGHTS AT WORK ACTION TEAM – Have you heard? 30,000 protesters flooded the Wisconsin state house, and a group of state senators have literally fled the state to fight against the worst union-busting state bill in recent memory.

Governor Scott Walker has proposed a draconian bill of cuts targeted at public workers who make our lives better every day. It’s a bill he says will fix the state’s budget shortfall – but here’s the catch: he himself helped feed that shortfall with a slew of corporate tax breaks in his first months in office!