Tag: Tom H. Hastings

Necessity As the Mother of Prevention

TOM H. HASTINGS – This essay is meant to help those who are especially interested in the court proceedings of nonviolent resisters[1] to anthropogenic climate change. The intended readers would include nonviolent resisters, their lawyers, and those experts in strategic nonviolent civil resistance who may be asked to provide expert testimony validating the use of the necessity defense for resisters. In general, the necessity defense is known as an affirmative defense, a narrative that contextualizes and validates the otherwise apparently illegal actions of the nonviolent resisters.

DOD WOE: The Pentagon’s War on the Earth

TOM H. HASTINGS – We are waging war. We are the Nation of War. We destroy. We kill. Everyone fears us. Fewer and fewer admire us. But our fighting forces—and their attendant industries which manufacture the bombs, bullets, and ballistic delivery devices—also wage a war on the clean air, clean water, and clean soil many Americans falsely regard as protected by legislation fought for by those trying to protect our environment.

Keep Your Guns But Repeal the Second Amendment

TOM H. HASTINGS – My real point on the Second Amendment is that it effectively blocks sane control of weaponry. Repealing the Second Amendment would not affect anything that most gun owners feel is desirable. But the Second Amendment as interpreted by the Supremes does make it possible for the gun industry, through its most powerful lobbyist–the NRA–to claim that laws restricting anything to do with guns are odious and part of an unconstitutional slippery slope. The track record is so clear. The Second Amendment protects the gun manufacturers and sellers at the expense of a lot of lives every year.

Yes to Assertive, No to Aggressive

TOM H. HASTINGS – I teach and write in the field of Peace and Conflict Studies, with a special focus on strategic nonviolence. It is a rich field, growing in its scholarship and its widespread usage. I’m so enthused by this—the more we wage our conflicts with nonviolence the lower the costs. Counting the costs of conflict, we normally think of blood and treasure, of casualties and expense. We are slowly beginning to also count other costs, including our environment, our relationships, our civil rights, our human rights, our metrics of democracy, and more. Nonviolence is superior to violence in every way if we read the research and consider all the costs.

Nonviolence is the Key to Bloodless Occupations

TOM HASTINGS – Video footage of the Oregon State Police shooting of armed occupier LaVoy Finicum following a vehicular chase is so very sad to watch. Finicum may have been quite stupid in his belief that American public lands should belong to private ranchers, but he did not deserve to die. Sadly, he arranged for his own death.

Don’t Try to Overthrow ISIS; Undermine It

TOM H. HASTINGS – Even some of my favorite doves are advocating a mixed military response to ISIS. I can’t agree. The history of our violent response to terrorism began as a trickle, then a stream, then a torrent into Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, and Syria. Each and every time we “won” (deposed the Taliban in Afghanistan, “Mission Accomplished” by knocking over Saddam, the surge), the response from the terror side has gotten worse. Now, for pity’s sake, we see a genocidal terror caliphate. Our game of violence is a loser.

How to Win Hearts and Minds in the Middle East

TOM H. HASTINGS – In the field in which I teach, Peace and Conflict Studies, we examine alternatives to violence or the threat of violence in the management of conflict. We are a transdisciplinary field, that is, we don’t only draw from an interdisciplinary set of research findings–e.g. Anthropology, Economics, Education, History, Law, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Sociology–but we do so with certain provisos. Our stance favors fairness, justice, and nonviolence. Our research examines both why humans use destructive methods of conflict and why and how we use constructive, creative, transformative, nonviolent methods of handling conflict. We look at interpersonal conflict and social (group-to-group) conflict.

Earth Day Means Leave It Better than You Found It

TOM H. HASTINGS – How many holidays do we have? MLK Day in January, Valentines Day in February, Easter in March or April, Earth Day in April, Memorial Day in May, and so forth. Of those few examples, two were declared in my adulthood. New holidays take time to catch on and embed themselves in the culture. They can stray from their roots. Christmas is for consumerism. Veterans Day is to promote war. Thanksgiving is for football. The first Earth Day, in 1970, was the launch of a new holiday with deep challenges and social meaning for many of us.

U.S. Voters Hold Key to Peace in Middle East

DR. TOM H. HASTINGS – More than any other time in the history of the conflict over the tiny ancient land we call Israel and Palestine, voters from a land across the sea hold unused power to change the basic course and outcomes of that conflict. At this time, those voters–who are also largely taxpayers–are keeping the conflict hotter and more bloody by their failure to prioritize the issue.

Will Public Inaction Allow a War With Syria?

TOM H. HASTINGS – How culpable is the person who watches a mugger rob someone and does nothing? What is our social psychology as we bystand silently while our government gears up toward yet another war crime? Lies or misleading information that leads to war should be an enforceable war crime and crime against humanity.

Repeal the Second Amendment

TOM HASTINGS – I’m a peace person, as are my friends. I am striving to be nonviolent and have tried to learn nonviolence for years. I can point to alternatives to guns, I can argue against them, and that’s about it. What we need — what would dramatically change our national discourse on this — is for gun owners to stand up and tell the rest of us, “We no longer want our possessions to be regarded under our Constitution as sacred and above the law. We reject the kneejerk response from the NRA and the gun industry every time there is a tragedy. Not once — never, ever one single time — have they admitted that guns can ever be a problem and are just things that should be subjected to laws like anything else.”

Cost-Benefit Analyses for Open and Closed Fists

TOM H. HASTINGS — Here comes the 4th of July and we are barely done with Memorial Day. The flags of nationalistic patriotic fervor sprout and resprout across the land, in the parks, on the lawns, on billboards, on the Internet, and generally everywhere. Military jets will fly in formation, anthems will fill the air, and military uniforms will be ubiquitous. Little children are getting used to this, and they never see the adults they trust question this, so they come to trust the guns, the songs about bombs, the valorization of violence, and the equation of killing with freedom.

Recovering to Death

TOM H. HASTINGS: If stimulus packages for corporate sinkholes are good enough for the American taxpayer, why can’t we find $5.4 billion to create minimum wage jobs, with full health care benefits, for the 216,000 Americans who lost their jobs in August? Coincidentally, $5.4 billion is the amount the Pentagon will spend next year on unmanned vehicles, such as the Predator, which is killing so many civilians in Pakistan and turning our friends into our sworn enemies.

Global Civil Society Versus Planetary Annihilation: The Chronicle of Challenge

TOM H. HASTINGS: Lawrence S. Wittner embodies two roles to me. First, he is a first-rate academic historian, a scholar whose work defies what academicians call validity threats. That is a good thing, because he needs that in order to continue surviving in his second role that I find especially exemplary; he is a public scholar whose work challenges those who are in power and empowers “and challenges” those who work from the grassroots.