Author: Oregon PeaceWorks

How America Undervalues Working People, and How Workers are Fighting Back

ANDREW MOSS – America is one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Yet when compared to other advanced industrialized countries, it fares dismally in national laws and policies affecting workers. This is a major claim of a recent cross-national study sponsored by the humanitarian organization Oxfam America, a report that offers a powerful lens for understanding the major strike activity now underway in the U.S.

Shocking Statistics Cast Doubt on Human Wisdom

TOM H. HASTINGS – But the waste of war, including the massive diversion of the fruits of our labors to the war system instead of health care, education, and infrastructure, seems overwhelmingly stupid and maladaptive. Are we truly Homo sapiens, the self-anointed “Wise ones”? We shall see. It’s looking dubious.

The Pimps of War

CHRIS HEDGES – The same cabal of war mongering pundits, foreign policy specialists and government officials, year after year, debacle after debacle, smugly dodge responsibility for the military fiascos they orchestrate. They are protean, shifting adroitly with the political winds, moving from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party and then back again, mutating from cold warriors to neocons to liberal interventionists. Pseudo intellectuals, they exude a cloying Ivy League snobbery as they sell perpetual fear, perpetual war, and a racist worldview, where the lesser breeds of the earth only understand violence. 

Who Needs Chinese Scientists? America Does

MEL GURTOV – Let’s remember that no one appreciates academic freedom more than visitors from China and other countries under authoritarian rule. When that freedom is violated by harassment and suspicion, word gets back to China very quickly, and the rewards for returning to China, in money and prestige, become tantalizing. 

Sending Cluster Bombs to Ukraine Is a Grave Mistake

PATRICK HILLER – The War Prevention Initiative condemns the decision by the United States government to send cluster bombs to Ukraine in the latest arms shipment package. Cluster bombs kill and maim civilians indiscriminately during and after war. They are also a major threat to the environment, contaminating land for decades after they are used. In short, cluster bombs do not win wars and will only hurt current and future generations of Ukrainians.

It’s Time to Stop the ‘Insect Apocalypse’

ROBERT C. kOEHLER – Back to pesticides then. Back to weed killers. Back to climate change and the apparent inability of the polluters who purport to be in charge of Planet Earth to address it adequately: Superficial change won’t do it. The change has to be cultural. It has to be spiritual. Believe me, if we fail to change who we are and the bees — the pollinators — disappear, we’ll all feel the sting.

Decency Requires a Change in Immigration Policy

DEREK ROYDEN – In the years ahead, as climate change truly takes hold, wealthier nations are going to have to make even more difficult decisions about what to do about those fleeing unlivable situations. Unfortunately, as the story of the SS St. Louis and more contemporary reactions to migration show, we don’t have a very good track record in this regard. Can we repair our historical amnesia enough to not only avoid committing moral outrage, but once again strengthening our societies by welcoming immigrants and refugees?

The Patriotism of Killing and Being Killed

NORMAN SOLOMON – The Fourth of July — the ultimate patriotic holiday — is [here] again. Politicians orate, American Flags proliferate and, even more than usual, many windows on the world are tinted red, white and blue. But an important question remains unasked: Why are patriotism and war so intertwined in U.S. media and politics?

How Daniel Ellsberg Helped End the Vietnam War

RUSSELL VANDENBROUCKE – Daniel Ellsberg, sent to Saigon in 1965 to evaluate civilian pacification programs, would spend 18 months with patrols into towns and villages. His skeptical reports about death and destruction and potential victory by North Vietnam went nowhere. Ellsberg struggled with his knowledge. He was a family man with a brilliant career, all of which would be at risk if he blew the whistle, and he knew it.

The Russian Coup That Wasn’t

MEL GURTOV – Tensions between the Russian defense ministry and the head of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, had been running high for months, mainly because of differences over war strategy and Prigozhin’s accusations of insufficient battlefield support. Last week those tensions reached the boiling point. And now Putin is stuck, a position that the US and NATO can choose either to exploit or, hopefully, to press for peace.

How U.S. and NATO Policies Led to Crisis, War, and the Risk of Nuclear Catastrophe

BENJAMIN ABELOW – I am not anti-American. I see my comments here, as well as my book and my broader efforts regarding the Ukraine war, as an expression of American patriotism—an attempt to help realign U.S. policies with the true interests of the United States as a nation. These are my attempts to peacefully influence policies so that they better reflect the highest ethical values of the United States. To achieve this end, a hope which many share, we must face reality, even if that reality is uncomfortable. We must be willing to speak openly.

De-Escalation of the Ukraine War Can Start with Ending All Nuclear Weapons “Sharing” on Both Sides

JOHN LAFORGE – The important call from Russian President Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko for an end to the stationing of U.S. nuclear weapons in other countries, and its direct reference to the U.S. and its allies, helps clear the air around Russia’s threatened escalation — to deploy nuclear weapons to neighboring Belrus. The only practically workable way to move Putin to reverse his planned deployment, is to offer to reverse the Pentagon’s deployment. Call it a Cuban Missile Crisis Redux. That terrible confrontation was resolved when President Kennedy offered to, and then did, withdraw U.S. nuclear-armed missiles from Turkey. De-escalation works, and it can lead to further breakthroughs.

The Power of Nonviolence: Myths and Reality

HALEY MORROW – A commonly held myth is that war concludes well with peace. In fact, conflict research shows that the losing side may accept defeat in a public-facing manner, only to fester and plot to get revenge later. Violence and war generally lead to further violence and war. Although it may lead to short-term “peace,” violent conflict rarely works to build sustained peace.

Disconnecting War from Its Consequences

ROBERT C. KOEHLER – Twenty-two years ago, Congress put sanity up for a vote. Sanity lost in the House, 420-1. It lost in the Senate, 98-0. Barbara Lee’s lone vote for sanity — that is to say, her vote against the Authorization for the Use of Military Force resolution, allowing the president to make war against . . . uh, evil . . . without congressional approval — remains a tiny light of courageous hope flickering in a chaotic world, which is on the brink of self-annihilation. 

Banning Books to be Banned in Illinois

JUDD LEGUM – Across the country, right-wing activists are seeking to ban thousands of books from schools and other public libraries. Those promoting the bans often claim they are acting to protect children from pornography. But the bans frequently target books “by and about people of color and LGBTQ  individuals.” Many of the books deemed pornography by activities are actually highly acclaimed novels. Now, one state is fighting back.

Oregon Nonprofit Returns Wallowa Land to Nez Perce Tribe

LAUREN PATERSON – Kathleen Ackley is the executive director of the Wallowa Land Trust. As more Northwest lake communities are being developed with vacation homes and Airbnbs, she says her organization’s focus is protecting natural areas, open spaces and farms in Northeast Oregon. The nonprofit recently gifted 30 acres of undeveloped land near the lake to the Nez Perce Tribe.

Looking Beneath the Sabre-Rattling: U.S. Interests in Taiwan

VIJAY PRASHAD – Jared M. McKinney and Peter Harris, in s widely circulated paper from the U.S. Army War College, published in November, 2021, wrote, “The United States and Taiwan should lay plans for a targeted scorched-earth strategy that would render Taiwan not just unattractive if ever seized by force, but positively costly to maintain. This could be done effectively by threatening to destroy facilities belonging to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, While Taiwan’s minister of defense Chiu Kuo-cheng responded to Moulton’s statement about a military strike on TSMC, in fact, the U.S. government has already attacked the ability of this Taiwanese company to remain in Taiwan.

How Workers in the South Are Defying History

TOM CONWAY – Workers at Blue Bird Corporation in Fort Valley, Georgia, launched a union drive to secure better wages, work-life balance, and a voice on the job. The company resisted them. History defied them. Geography worked against them. But they stood together, believed in themselves, and achieved a historic victory that’s reverberating throughout the South.

Understanding the Debt Ceiling Crisis and the Way to Avoid Disaster

BERNIE SANDERS – The debt ceiling is about paying money that has already been appropriated and spent. It has nothing to do with future budgets and future spending. Yet, Republicans have hijacked the debt ceiling process to impose savage cuts on the needs of working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor. President Biden has the authority and the responsibility under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution to make sure that we continue to pay our bills.

How Corporate Greed Leads to War

BRAD WOLF – Today, the actual and still-flourishing and prospering Merchants of Death thrive behind a veil of duplicity and slick media campaigns. They have assimilated mainstream media and academia into their conglomerate. But their crimes are clear, and the evidence is overwhelming. Wherever they go, suffering and death, war crimes and atrocities, profits and stock buybacks follow.

Why Julian Assange Is at the Vanguard for World Press Freedom

PRABIR PURKAYASTHA – We celebrate World Press Freedom Day in May as a reminder that the role of news organizations is to speak truth to power. Not for manufacturing consent—to use Chomsky’s famous words—for the government and the ruling classes. It’s an occasion to remember three people who exemplify the need to speak the truth: Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame and Julian Assange of WikiLeaks; and also of Chelsea Manning, without whom we would not have the proof of what the United States was doing, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but all across the globe. In doing so, I will also deal with the changing nature of government “secrets”, what outing them means then and now.

Ukraine, the Deepening Euro-Atlantic Crisis, and Common Security Possibilities

JOSEPH GERSON – The Ukraine War is about far more than Ukraine. It’s not simply a criminal Russian war of aggression, which it is. But as the recent U.S. National Security Strategy informs us, “The post-Cold War era is definitely over, and competition is underway between the major powers to shape what comes next.” The war, its devastations and nuclear threats, and its catastrophic climate fallout are major elements of the collapse of the bi-polar world disorder, the birthing of a new multi-polar order, and the resulting global competition for power and privilege.

Governments alone will not deliver us peace, nuclear disarmament, or deeper international cooperation and unity. Those goals can only be achieved with pressure from below.

Violence and Nonviolence in Sudan: Democracy Under the Knife

HALEY MORROW and TOM H. HASTINGS – The peace movement in the US lobbies for a cessation of military aid, including to the current Sudanese combatants. Lethal aid, paid for by our taxes, is sold or given away, the profits go to military corporations, and the regular tax-paying citizens pay to be part of the bloody business overseas. To the extent we can stop this flow of deadly force, we can help empower nonviolent people power and increase the chances for peace and democracy.