Category: What’s Happening In the Movement

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!

ReVisioning Value 2011 Conference Set to Take Center Stage March 7th & 8th

DAVID BALL – Those who have followed Oregon PeaceWorks peace visioning will find this event to be a natural tie-in. Often when proponents of social change are asked if they are succeeding, the answer is ambiguous. Identifying a problem is easy…finding a tangible working solution becomes the trick. Amy Pearl, executive director of Springboard Innovation, has been at the forefront of finding alternative ways to create, develop, and fund sustainable solutions to societal ills like poverty, hunger, and homelessness (to name just a few). Included in her work has been the development of the ReVisioning Value conference — held this year at the Gerding Theater in NW Portland March 7-8 — which brings together a host of experts from diverse fields (civil engineering, economics, impact investing, sustainability) to create a unique two-day symposium focused on innovative techniques aimed at producing immediate results.

Why I May Run for Congress

NORMAN SOLOMON – Norman Solomon has been a regular PeaceWorker columnist since the PeaceWorker began in 1988. By then he was already a widely published author, but I had met him more than a decade earlier as an activist in the struggle to stop nuclear power development in Oregon. From that time to this he has never stinted to tell the direct truth as he saw it and to act upon it as he was able. These are qualities we could use a lot more of in Congress. – Editor

One of the most inspiring political leaders in recent decades, Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), famously declared: “I represent the democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” Today we need progressives in Congress who will represent the progressive wing of the Progressive Caucus.

FBI, Police Call Peace Center Presence “a Misunderstanding”

JACKIE OROZCO – It’s just a “misunderstanding.” That’s the F.B.I. explanation about what happened at the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center in Memphis, TN last week. Agents went to the center and the Memphis Police Tactical Squad surrounded the place last night for what they are calling “safety” reasons. F.B.I. agents said they showed up because they thought there was going to be an anti-war protest. They described it as a “courtesy” call and standard procedure to send agents in case things got out of hand.

Act to Prevent Honey Bee Extinction

ADAM KLAUS – Since 2006, U.S. honey bee populations have been in precipitous decline, with some estimates suggesting losses as high as 30% per year.1 While that’s terrible, the problem is far greater than just the loss of a species. Without bees, a big piece of our food supply is in serious danger. Pollination by honey bees is key in cultivating the crops that produce a full one-third of our food.

12 Honor MLK with Arrests at Trident Protest

LEONARD EIGER – Last Saturday, January 15, the Seattle Raging Grannies set the mood for honoring Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday at the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, Washington. Eighty three people from the Center participated in a vigil at the Kitsap Mall in Silverdale with the help of a full scale, 44 foot long, inflatable Trident D-5 missile. Each D-5 missile, deployed on Trident nuclear submarines, carries up to 8 warheads, each with an explosive yield of up to 475 kilotons. Each D-5 missile costs approximately $60 million.

Iran’s Green Movement: Why Peace Activists Should Care

DANNY POSTEL & NADER HASHEMI – We are peace activists and supporters of the Green movement in Iran. We adamantly oppose any military attack on Iran, and we stand in solidarity with the democratic struggle in Iran. We see these positions as inextricably linked, as forming a consistent position based on the principles of peace, social justice, and human rights. But there’s a lot of confusion about this in the peace movement. We offer the following food for thought in hopes of clarifying some of the issues at hand and encouraging peace activists to learn more about the Green movement.

We Are in a Lynch-Mob Moment

TOM HAYDEN – We know that conservatives are extremists for order, but why have so many liberals lost their minds and joined the frenzy over Julian Assange and WikiLeaks? As the secrets of power are unmasked, there is a growing bipartisan demand that Julian Assange must die.

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

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.

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.

Peace Movement Wins a Victory in Court

JOHN DEAR — “Fourteen anti-war activists may have made history last week in a Las Vegas courtroom when they turned a misdemeanor trespassing trial into a possible referendum on America’s newfound taste for remote-controlled warfare.” That’s how one Las Vegas newspaper summed up our stunning day in court on Tuesday, when fourteen of us stood trial for walking onto Creech Air Force Base last year on April 9, 2009 to protest the U.S. drones.

Time to End the Cuban Travel Ban

EPISCOPAL PUBLIC POLICY NETWORK — The Cuba travel ban has done nothing, over the past five decades, to weaken the Cuban government or to prompt reforms in political or human rights. Most importantly, the Cuban people have been harmed by the ban because they have been cut off from the friendship and support of the American people.

Drone Protesters Challenge Genocidal Policy

JASON WHITED —
Fourteen nonviolent direct actionists at Creech Air Force Base in Southern Nevada face charges for entering the base to protest the use of unmanned weapons which kill indiscriminately halfway around the world. These weapons are guided to their targets from air-conditioned trailers at Creech. Trial for the “Creech 14” is set for September 16, but their action has focused UN attention on the issue of drone warfare.

“Americans Don’t Flinch” ­ They Duck!

KATHY KELLY & DAN PEARSON — In accepting General McChrystal’s resignation, President Obama said that McChrystal’s departure represented a change in personnel, not a change in policy. “Americans don’t flinch in the face of difficult truths or difficult tasks.” he stated, “We persist and we persevere.” Yet, President Obama and the U.S. people don’t face up to the ugly truth that, in Afghanistan, the U.S. has routinely committed atrocities against innocent civilians.

Time for Oregon to Ban the Bag

NICOLE FORBES– From 500 miles off the Oregon Coast to Japan, the Pacific Ocean is a toxic soup of plastic. The amount of plastic in our oceans has tripled since the 1980s, and it is now six to 40 times more prevalent than plankton, the fundamental food source of our ocean. It’s time to ban plastic bags.

Environment Oregon Kicks Off Ban the Bag Campaign

ENVIRONMENT OREGON — An island of trash twice the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean is killing more than 1 million seabirds, 100,000 sea turtles and marine mammals, and countless fish each year. Plastic makes up 90 percent of this toxic soup, and four-fifths of that plastic, much of which is plastic bags, floats into the ocean from our rivers and harbors.

If I Had a Trillion Dollars: Youth Video Contest Announced

NATIONAL PRIORITIES PROJECT — The money that is being spent on the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will reach $1 trillion within the next five months. This money could be spent in our communities on many things that now face cuts, like after school programs, art and music programs, and summer jobs. You can spread the word. The American Friends Service Committee and National Priorities Project are sponsoring a youth video project to help young people (high school and college age) enter the cost-of-war discussion. Share your ideas about what you would do – for yourself, your family and your community – with $1 trillion.

Give Peace a Dance 2010 Rocked

PETER BERGEL: Measured by the satisfaction expressed by attendees during the event and afterwards, Give Peace a Dance 2010 – which took place on April 17 — was a grand success. It also raised well over four thousand dollars to keep Oregon PeaceWorks’ projects moving forward.

What the Mayor of One Community Hard Hit by War Spending Is Doing About It

Matt Ryan, the mayor of Binghamton, New York, is sick and tired of watching people in local communities “squabble over crumbs,” as he puts it, while so much local money pours into the Pentagon’s coffers and into America’s wars. He’s so sick and tired of it, in fact, that, urged on by local residents, he’s decided to do something about it.

Tax Day Penny Polls Reveal Desire for Lower Military Budget

EUGENE’S PENNY POLL: Peace Activists gathered at the Eugene downtown Post Office on Tax Day, April 15th, to call for the re-ordering of federal spending priorities from supporting war to meeting human and environmental needs. One hundred sixteen people took the opportunity of voicing how they would spend their tax dollars when they participated in Eugene’s “Penny Poll.”