Author: Oregon PeaceWorks

Climate Superfund Law Enacted; Vermont Becomes First State to Hold Big Oil Financially Responsible for a Fair Share of Climate Damages

VERMONT NATURAL RESOURCES COUNCIL – Legislation authorizing the State of Vermont to recoup financial damages caused by climate change from major fossil fuel companies became law today (May 31, 2024) when Governor Phil Scott failed to sign or veto the bill during the constitutionally-mandated five-day consideration period.

Authoritarianism is on the Rise in Many Democracies

MEL GURTOV – Can we draw any general conclusions from these elections? Probably the most important is the authoritarian tendencies of leaders and challengers in these Official corruption, violence against critics, disrespect for domestic and international law, and disregard for public opinion are often features of democratically elected rulers as they are of rulers who are not elected. democracies. We keep learning that winning elections is not the same thing as governing democratically. 

How the Military-Industrial Complex is Killing us All

DAVID VINE and THERESA (ISA) ARRIOLA – Though all too many of us will continue to believe that dismantling the MIC is unrealistic, given the threats facing us, it’s time to think as boldly as possible about how to roll back its power, resist the invented notion that war is inevitable, and build the world we want to see. Just as past movements reduced the power of Big Tobacco and the railroad barons, just as some are now taking on Big Pharma, Big Tech, and the prison-industrial complex, so we must take on the MIC to build a world focused on making human lives rich (in every sense) rather than one focused on bombs and other weaponry that brings wealth to a select few who benefit from death.

Act Now Against These Companies Profiting from the Genocide of the Palestinian People

PALESTINIAN BDS NATIONAL COMMITTEE (BNC) – People of conscience around the world are rightfully shattered, enraged, and sometimes feeling powerless about Israel’s #GazaGenocide. Many feel compelled to boycott any and all products and services of companies tied in any way to Israel. The proliferation of extensive “boycott lists” on social media is a result of this. The question is how to make boycotts effective and actually have an impact in holding corporations accountable for their complicity in the suffering of Palestinians? 

What conflict resolution experts wish universities knew about conflict

MELINDA BURRELL – The protests roiling our campuses reveal a great deal about us as a country. Emotions are easily triggered, many of us are comfortable being angry, and most of us need help to handle conflict constructively. And these emotions are likely to keep running high as we head towards the November election. Understanding the importance of creating forums to listen – and of reaching for help in navigating conflict – are good bets.

UMass Arrests: What Would Daniel Ellsberg Do?

CHRISTIAN APPY – What would Daniel Ellsberg do in the face of the Israel-Hamas war? We can’t know with complete certainty because he died last June at the age of 92. We do know that in the 50 years after he released the Pentagon Papers, he devoted his life to principled nonviolent activism and was arrested more than 80 times for acts of civil disobedience in the struggle for peace and nuclear disarmament. When Christian Appy saw UMass students protest Israel’s way of retaliating against Hamas for Hamas’ October 7, 2023 invasion of Israel, he took up with the students after asking, “What would Daniel Ellsberg do?”

Despite High-Level Encouragement, US-China Student Exchanges Are Diminishing

MEL GURTOV – The tit-for-tat warnings between the U.S. and China reflect the politics of their relations today: the “China threat” being pushed in Congress, and American public opinion now very unfavorable toward China; and Chinese upset with the US “Cold War mentality” and strategic containment of China. Sadly, students and researchers in both countries suffer from this negative dialogue.

War Culture Hates the Ethical Passion of the Young

NORMAN SOLOMON – With transcendent wisdom, this spring’s student uprising has rejected conformity as a lethal anesthetic while the horrors continue in Gaza. Leaders of the most powerful American institutions want to continue as usual, as if official participation in genocide were no particular cause for alarm. Instead, young people have dared to lead the way, insisting that such a culture of death is repugnant and completely unacceptable.

Climate movement elders revive monkey wrench tactics to save an old forest

NICK ENGELFRIED – Earlier this year, seven activists entered the site of a proposed timber sale in Washington State, intent on halting — or at least delaying — the destruction of trees with immense carbon storage potential. Over the course of several hours, they hiked off-trail through the dense understory, removing signs and flagging tape marking the boundaries of the controversial Carrot timber sale. The creative nonviolent direct action seemed to pay off, as a couple days later Washington’s Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, announced it was cancelling the Carrot sale for the time being. The timing seems striking, even though the announcement did not acknowledge the protest. Now, the nonviolent saboteurs hope their actions have bought enough precious time to permanently protect the area.

Interdependency Is the Missing Understanding in International Relations

WINSLOW MYERS – New thinking motivates disarmament and accelerates new forms of sustainable energy. The opportunity is for everyone, citizens and leaders, to say no to obvious dead ends like the arms race and yes to new levels of cooperation—including reaching out with endless patience to our adversaries with a larger vision of self-interest that leads to life for all. 

Human rights violated by Swiss inaction on climate, ECHR rules in landmark case

AJIT NIRANJAN – Court finds in favour of group of older Swiss women who claimed weak policies put them at greater risk of death from heatwaves. In a landmark decision on one of three major climate cases, the first such rulings by an international court, the ECHR raised judicial pressure on governments to stop filling the atmosphere with gases that make extreme weather more violent.

A Class Analysis of the Trump-Biden Rerun

RICHARD D. WOLFF – One crucial lesson of the New Deal will have been learned and applied. Leaving the capitalist class structure of production unchanged—a minority of employers dominating a majority of employees—enables that minority to undo whatever reforms any New Deal might achieve. That is what the U.S. employer class did after 1945. The solution now must include moving beyond the employer-employee organization of the workplace. Replacing that with a democratic community organization—what we elsewhere call worker cooperatives—is the missing element that can make progressive reforms stick

Latest Huge Transfer of 2,000-Pound Bombs from U.S. to Israel Not Newsworthy to the New York Times

NORMAN SOLOMON – The saying that “justice delayed is justice denied” has a parallel for news media and war — journalism delayed is journalism denied. The refusal of the Times to cover the story after it broke was journalistic malpractice, helping to make it little more than a fleeting one-day story instead of the subject of focused national discourse that it should have been.

Biden Is Quietly Funding Nuclear Weapons Upgrades That Could Imperil the Planet

JONATHAN KING and RICHARD KRUSHNIC – The continued funding of nuclear weapons development is a pork barrel of herculean proportions, funneling tax dollars from all Americans into the pockets of the nuclear weapons industry. We suspect that the Biden administration’s silence represents their decision to keep this boondoggle out of public view.

The Double Edge Theater’s Project to ‘Rematriate Land’

APRIL M. SHORT – The Double Edge Theatre, a cultural cooperative and ensemble collective in Ashfield, Massachusetts, offers an example of how artists have successfully reimagined the economy and created networks of mutual support. The company was founded in Boston in 1982, but by the end of the 1980s, gentrification and rising costs in the city made it difficult for the group to enact its creative visions, according to Carlos Uriona, an actor and the theater’s cultural strategist. This economic pressure became the catalyst for a unique model leading to a community-supported economy that has become a successful haven for the arts for decades.

Capitalism Has Left the Building. Enter Technofeudalism

MARK LESSERAUX – Over the last four or five years, like just about everyone else, I’ve been feeling that some kind of huge shift, some sort of sea change has taken place that I haven’t quite been able to define. There were certainly occurrences that stood out. There was the Trump presidency, there was the COVID pandemic, there are the horrible wars in Ukraine, in Gaza and elsewhere, etc.. However, none of these phenomena held up, by themselves or in conjunction with one another, as a satisfying answer to my query — What is Technofeudalism and what are its components that are vanguishing capitalism?

We Need a Plan for the Transition to Renewable Energy

DAVID FRIDLEY and RICHARD HEINBERG – It seems wise to channel society’s efforts toward no-regrets strategies—efforts that shift expectations, emphasize quality of life over consumption, and reinforce community resilience. Even though it may be impossible to envision the end result of the renewable energy transition, we must seek to understand its scope and general direction.

What’s More Powerful Than a Ruling Authoritarian?

WINSLOW MYERS – Everything I do or don’t do affects you, and everything you do or don’t do affects me—authoritarians and would-be authoritarians included. That’s a wrenchingly positive enlargement of our conception of true self-interest. As a Peace Corps volunteer once said, and it cannot be repeated too often: “The earth is a sphere, and a sphere has only one side. We are all on the same side.”

The Tears of War Belong to All of Us

ROBERT KOEHLER – First you call them terrorists. Then you say you’re defending yourself. Moral problem solved! You can kill as many of them as you want. Well, maybe there will be consequences later (and maybe not), but for the moment you have overcome your own moral barriers and can start doing your job as a soldier: killing people. And in the process, you are making the world – your world, not theirs – safe. War is such a paradox: killing one’s way to peace. But apparently it’s humanity’s primary organizing principle. Citizens of America, citizens of Israel, citizens of Russia . . . citizens of the world . . . this has to change! Now is the time to end war, by which I mean transcend war: disarm, demilitarize. 

Empire Decline and Costly Delusions

RICHARD D. WOLFF – The last 40 to 50 years of the economic history of the G7 witnessed extreme redistributions of wealth and income upward. Those redistributions functioned as both causes and effects of neoliberal globalization. However, domestic reactions (economic and social divisions increasingly hostile and volatile) and foreign reactions (emergence of today’s China and BRICS) are undermining neoliberal globalization and beginning to challenge its accompanying inequalities. U.S. capitalism and its empire cannot yet face its decline amid a changing world. Delusions about retaining or regaining power at the top of society proliferate alongside delusional conspiracy theories and political scapegoating (immigrants, China, Russia) below.

Restoring Human Dignity on the U.S. Southern Border

BRAD WOLF – Four hundred years of colonialism— the first 250 by European powers and the last 150 by the United States— left countries throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean broken, bereft of any form of democratic government. Oligarchs and corruption thrived with the support of the U.S. An astounding transfer of national wealth from indigenous lands to U.S. banks and corporations occurred.