Author: Oregon PeaceWorks

Unions as a Pillar of Democracy in 2024

ANDREW MOSS – The three co-presidents (Ada Briceno, Susan Minato, and Kurt Petersen) of UNITE Local 11 stated simply, “As we see it, a strong union does more than negotiate work contracts. It helps workers become active citizens who stand up for their democratic rights.”

Full Speed Ahead on the Global Titanic

NORMAN SOLOMON – Yes, the Doomsday Clock keeps ticking — it’s now at 90 seconds to midnight, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists — but the ultimate time bomb never gets the attention that it deserves. Even as the possibility of nuclear annihilation looms, this century’s many warning signs retain the status of Cassandras.

The Heroes Fighting for Public Education

LAURA PAPPANO – The first thing to reflect on is this: Public schools gather everyone. All are invited. There is no test you need to pass, no amount of money or influence or fame you must possess to be allowed in. Do you know how rare that is in the United States today? This has made public schools the place where people from all backgrounds and circumstances have come together to learn. It is where parents have volunteered and, regardless of their political bent, have worked alongside other parents for a common purpose.

Is North Korea Preparing for War?

MEL GURTOV – Two of America’s most prominent North Korea experts, Robert Carlin and Siegfried Hecker, begin their latest analysis lwith this sentence: “The situation on the Korean Peninsula is more dangerous than it has been at any time since early June 1950.” But US policy on North Korea over the last few decades has changed little.” At the least, the US needs to test Kim’s interest in engagement. Now.

Reviving the Concept of Trusteeship as a Stepping-Stone to Peace in the Middle East

SOVAIDA MAANI EWING – Like it or not, our world has become so interconnected and interdependent that events that have hitherto been regarded as regional in nature now threaten our well-being everywhere. The international community must step up and shoulder a responsibility it has, for too long, abdicated: to maintain and restore peace in the world.

Why conspiracy theories are corrosive to social movements — and what to do about it

SHANE BURLEY – Opposition to the current state of the world is not synonymous with fighting for a liberatory future. And the inability to parse out this reality has revealed instability across a radical left that often clamors after any ally in the struggle against systemic injustice. Without safeguards and clarity on the mission, nearly any voice against the status quo can be mistaken for a friend — including those who want to replace it with something even more deadly or whose analysis relies on conspiracy. The left needs to return to political arguments, reading groups, liberation schools, teach-ins and serious debate hashed out in late night meetings. This is what will move the justifiable instinct that something is wrong to an accurate diagnosis that begs workable action. Without a clear picture of how our world has failed, any demagogue can capture the energy of the disaffected by offering a solution that creates even more profound problems. Our mission is not to simply destroy the old world. It’s to build a new and more just one in its place.

Senior Nonviolent Resister Celebrates Nuclear Ban Treaty the Hard Way

JOHN LAFORGE – A super-majority of UN members finally decided that the nuclear weapons powers must have lied when they promised, in 1970, in Article VI of the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date”, etc., etc. After 57 years, “at an early date” has become the laugh line of international law. The phrase was vague enough for nuclear powers to ignore it indefinitely, while asserting their lawful adherence.

Magical Thinking About Biden 2024 Paves the Way for Another Trump Presidency

JEFF COHEN and NORMAN SOLOMON – Defenders of sticking with Biden glibly dismiss negative poll numbers while noting that polls in January can’t tell us where persuadable voters will end up in November. But there’s a serious problem beyond just polls. It’s the disaffection of activists – pivotal because thousands of talented, hard-working activists are needed to help persuade voters on the fence, and to get-out-the-vote of traditional Democrats who are only “occasional voters.” 

Satyagraha: A Word You Should Know in 2024

ANDREW MOSS – Activists striving for equality and justice, including climate justice, may not necessarily use the word satyagraha, but they are nevertheless engaged in what Gandhi called “experiments with truth,” exploring and advancing each day understandings of the deep interrelatedness of factual and ethical truths.

What If Soldiers Refused to Fight? It Has Happened Before.

ARNOLD J. OLIVER – An iconic song back in the 1960’s addressed the causes of war, and what leads young people to fight in them. Buffy Saint Marie’s Universal Soldier advised that we could end war if soldiers refused to fight. So what if we gave her idea a test this winter? Let’s suggest to the soldiers among the various warring parties from the Middle East to Europe to Africa and beyond that they refuse to kill each other for a while. 

Unchecked Human Activity Is Pushing Ecosystems Toward the Brink

ERIKA SCHELBY – The planet is facing multiple severe challenges that require our immediate attention. Putting an end to the dirty and suffocating fossil fuel emissions may be the most significant global priority, but limiting the misuse of water and restoring degraded land are also essential projects. These two actions could help put the brakes on extreme weather events and slow down mounting losses in biodiversity, biocapacity, and the economy.

How to Make Recyclable Plastics Out of CO2 to Slow Climate Change

ANN LESLIE DAVIS – Chemists are manipulating carbon dioxide to make clothing, mattresses, shoes, and more. These products are already on the market around the world. And others are in the process of being developed. They’re part of a growing effort by academia and industry to reduce the damage caused by centuries of human activity that has sent CO2 and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.

COP28 pledge to triple nuclear energy production: ‘Trumpism enters energy policy’

FRANCOIS DIAZ-MAURIN – Last week, a group of independent energy consultants and analysts released the much-anticipated 2023 edition of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2023 (WNISR). The report provides a detailed assessment of the status and trends of the international nuclear industry, covering more than 40 countries. Now in its 18th edition, the report is known for its fact-based approach providing details on operation, construction, and decommissioning of the world’s nuclear reactors.

The No-State Solution Becomes More and More Real as Israel’s Permanent Nakba Continues

VIJAY PRASHAD – The U.S. veto in the Security Council and the votes against in the General Assembly are effectively votes for the Permanent Nakba of the Palestinian people, the No-State Solution. At least, that is how they will be read across the world, not only in al-Mawasi, as the bombs get closer, but also in the demonstrations from New York to Jakarta.

Election Defenders’ Top 2024 Worry: Online Rumors, Deceptions, Lies Swaying Masses

STEVEN ROSENFELD – Rumors, misperceptions, mischaracterizations, deceptions, lies, and violence in politics are as old as America itself, as political historians like Heather Cox Richardson have noted. There is no simple or single solution, said Starbird. Nonetheless, she ended her Stanford address with a “call to action” urging everyone to redouble their efforts in 2024: “We’re not going to solve the problem with misinformation, disinformation, manipulation… with one new label, or a new educational initiative, or a new research program,” she told trust and safety researchers. “It’s going to have to be all of the above… It’s going to be all these different things coming at it from different directions.”

Return to an Abandoned UN Precedent for an End to the Ukraine War

LAWRENCE WITTNER – Based on both international law and precedent, the UN Security Council has the authority to impose a settlement of the disastrous Ukraine War.  What kinds of international action this would require would need to be determined by the world organization, just as the final terms of a peace agreement would ultimately need to be accepted by the contending parties.  But, given the overwhelming support in the UN General Assembly for the withdrawal of Russian military forces from Ukraine and for a lasting peace agreement, such a peace settlement is likely to be a just one.

Predicting Pestilence in Gaza

KATHY KELLY – Calling the Israeli-Gaza War a war on children, UNICEF spokesperson James Elder warned that “inaction by those with influence is allowing the killing of children.” We, the citizens of the world, are those with influence as well as our elected officials. It is the citizens of the world who came out by the hundreds of thousands in recent weeks that caused the seven day truce to happen. Now we must urgently pay heed to another persecution of Gaza’s children and families, waged by one of war’s more silent partners: disease. 

Parties to Nuclear Ban Treaty Agree Nuclear Deterrence is the Problem

INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO ABOLISH NUCLEAR WEAPONS (ICAN) – The Second Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW has successfully concluded and agreed that nuclear deterrence is a significant security problem, requiring urgent attention by the international community, that more research on the impacts of nuclear weapons is needed, and that the harms caused by nuclear weapons use and testing require ongoing attention.

The Brotherhood of Billionaires

LAWRENCE S. WITTNER – In recent decades, a growing similarity has developed between the Chinese and U.S. economic systems. Despite the Chinese Communist Party’s talk of “socialism,” the rapidly-expanding Chinese economy has become increasingly capitalist, with the private sector accounting for about two-thirds of China’s Gross Domestic Product in 2021. Not surprisingly, then, the two countries currently lead the rest of the world’s nations in their number of billionaires. This March, according to Forbes, the United States had 735 billionaires (worth a collective $4.5 trillion) and China had 562 (worth $2 trillion) out of a global total of 2,640.