Category: What’s Happening In the Movement

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!

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.