How to Revive the Peace Movement in the Trump Era

https://www.thenation.com/article/how-to-revive-the-peace-movement-in-the-trump-era/

Over the past 75 years, the United States has built the greatest war-making force the world has ever known. Today, our country boasts an infrastructure of global surveillance, flying killer robots, and floating aircraft carriers, all administered from a network of more than 800 military bases in over 70 countries. In recent decades, we decided to erase from that infrastructure any semblance of democratic accountability, allowing the president to make war almost anytime, anywhere, for any reason.

This year, we put at the helm of this global killing regime a reality-TV star who has promised to “bomb the shit” out of our enemies, attack the families of terrorists, and reinstitute torture—and who, in February, proposed increasing the already bloated military budget by $54 billion. Imagine the response of this president to a significant terrorist attack, the damage to our democracy and our world that he might unleash. It helps clear the mind.

In the face of such a nightmare, how do we build the peace movement we need?

Read the full article

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50 years later, still at war

On April 4th 1967 Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech, Beyond Vietnam: A time to break Silence, condemning the Vietnam War. 50 years later, we are still at war.

 
Come out and help us to break the silence and rally for peace.
 
Tuesday, April 4 at 5 PM – 8 PM
 
Benton County Courthouse (Corvallis, Oregon)
205 NW 5th St, Corvallis, Oregon 97330
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Reiner Braun and Kevin Martin in Corvallis Tuesday, March 14

Image | Posted on by

How Norway Avoided Becoming a Fascist State

yesmagazine.org

How Norway Avoided Becoming a Fascist State by George Lakey — YES! Magazine

George Lakey posted Feb 16, 2017

Donald Trump’s obvious affection for authoritarians is prompting worried comparisons of our polarized country to the polarized Germany of the 1920s and ’30s. Since I’m known to see in polarization both crisis and opportunity, my friends are asking me these days about Hitler, the worst-case scenario.

From the Spring 2017 Issue

Why Science Can’t Be Silent

Issue cover

I grant the possibility of the United States going fascist, but argue that will not happen if we choose the practical steps taken by progressive Nordic social movements when they faced dangerous polarization. Consider the Norwegians, who experienced extreme polarization at the same time as the Germans did.

The Norwegian economic elite organized against striking laborers and produced a polarized country that included both Nazi Brown Shirts goose-stepping in the streets and Norwegian Communists agitating to overthrow capitalism. Many Norwegians were flattered by the Nazi belief that the tall, blue-eyed blonde was the pinnacle of human development. Others vehemently denounced the racism underlying such beliefs.

The politician Vidkun Quisling, an admirer of Hitler, organized in 1933 a Nazi party, and its uniformed paramilitary wing sought to provoke violent clashes with leftist students. But progressive movements of farmers and workers, joined by middle class allies, launched nonviolent direct action campaigns that made the country increasingly un-governable by the economic elite.

Quisling reportedly held discussions with military officers about a possible coup d’etat. The stage was set for a fascist “solution.”

Instead, Norway broke through to a social democracy. The majority forced the economic elite to take a back seat and invented a new economy with arguably the most equality, individual freedom, and shared abundance the developed world has known.

The key to avoiding fascism? An organized left with a strong vision and broad support.

The key to avoiding fascism? An organized left with a strong vision and broad support.

In some ways Norway and Germany were similar: predominantly Christian, racially homogeneous, and suffering hugely in the Great Depression. But Germany’s workers movement failed to make common cause with family farmers, unlike Norway’s alliance. The German left was also split terribly within itself: Communist vs. Social Democratic.

The split was over vision for the new society. One side demanded abolition of capitalism, and the other side proposed partial accommodation. They were unwilling to compromise, and then, when the Social Democrats took power, armed rebellion and bloody repression followed. The result was the Third Reich.

Meanwhile in Norway, the Norwegian Workers’ Party crafted a vision that seemed both radical and reasonable and won majority support for their view despite the dissent of a very small Communist Party. Grassroots movements built a large infrastructure of co-ops that showed their competency and positivity when the government and political conservatives lacked both. Additionally, activists reached beyond the choir, inviting participation from people who initially feared making large changes.

Norwegians also took a different attitude toward violence. They chose nonviolent direct action campaigns consisting of strikes, boycotts, demonstrations, and occupations—a far less fearsome picture than Nazi Brown Shirts and street fighting. Norway therefore lacked the dangerous chaos that in Germany led the middle classes to accept the elite’s choice of Hitler to bring “law and order.”

The Norwegian set of strategies—vision, co-ops, outreach, and nonviolent direct action campaigns—is within the American skill set.

The Movement for Black Lives recently proposed a new vision for the United States that is attracting attention for the scope of its agenda, its commitment to inclusion, and fresh strategic thinking. The Black Lives movement showed its commitment to coalition-building when it gathered in solidarity at Standing Rock this fall, connecting two massive progressive movements. Standing Rock showed the world march by march how nonviolent direct action campaigns win hearts and minds. And Bernie Sanders’ gift to electoral politics is an inspired, energized, unified movement built around the desire for economic equality and opportunity. He pulled people from the right as well as the left. The election is spurring many more people to be involved in struggle, and infrastructure like co-ops are prospering. Polarization is nothing to despair over. It’s just a signal that it’s time for progressives to start organizing.

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Inaugurate Social & Eco Justice!

Hello friends, community members, activists, social justice and environmental groups, service organizations, people of faith, families and students,

You are invited to join us on Jan 20 for Inaugurate Social & Eco Justice! We are pushing back against the politics of fear and instead wish to convey that 1- we are an inviting, inclusive and welcoming city, 2 – we intend to protect ourselves, our neighbors and our natural environment, and 3 – that we are building the community and the Oregon we want for all.  This is a family-friendly event and an opportunity for us all to find new friends & allies in our community.
Kicking it off at 3pm, students & others march from SEC Plaza on OSU campus, join with community members for Rally at 3:30pm at Central Park, and then march together through downtown, ending at the Corvallis Riverfront Park. From there, everyone is welcomed to the Odd Fellows Hall for a People’s Gathering with hot drinks, snacks and goodies, conversation, networking and planning for the future.
Groups are invited to march with their banners & signs; artists, musicians, performers and activists are invited to bring their imagination and creativity to this collective action; and you are invited to bring your signs, messages, voices, drums, determination, energy, children, friends and allies!  We intend our March to be bright, bold, noisy and powerful! 

Below is the Facebook event page:

And an event webpage for those that don’t use social media:

 
And the Facebook event page for the OSU Campus Walkout!

https://www.facebook.com/events/721031908062544/

Spread the word and join us!  May our coming together on Jan 20 be the next step is building a stronger or more resilient community!
RISE!*LOVE!*RESIST!*CREATE!
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Sign the Peace Pledge

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Linda Richards’ speech at the Hiroshima-Nagasaki commemoration

Hiroshima Day, August 6, 2016 at Riverfront Park, Corvallis

 

I am so grateful to the organizers and all of you for allowing me to share this space with you.  

As a historian of science at Oregon State I research the intersection between human rights, radiation exposure and nuclear history, but my life’s goal is to see global nuclear disarmament before I die. I hope all of you here will help me, because sometimes it seems we are moving farther and farther away from what we need to do to get there.

But I know in my heart it is what we must do to survive climate change and create a world we all want to live in, where resources are used for human needs and sustainability, not preparing for war and destroying the planet in the process.

Unbeknownst to many Americans we are standing at the precipice of a $1 trillion dollar modernizing plan for nuclear weapons with new air, sea and land delivery systems. We are in a new nuclear arms race and these weapons are still on hair trigger alert.  It is important to inform each other as this news is not being well televised. This year the leadership of Senators Wyden and Merkley to cut some of this nuclear weapons budget might make a real difference, and I want to encourage all of you here to write letters to the editor and to them and to do what you can to support disarmament.

Another thing many Americans are not aware of is the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons based on their catastrophic humanitarian threat. A new nuclear weapons ban has international momentum. When I saw the ban introduced to the NonProliferation Treaty Prep Com in 2012 in Vienna there were only a handful of countries that endorsed it. Now there are over 127 countries and 440 non-governmental organizations working at the UN to ban nuclear weapons.

The need for the ban is due to the lack of progress by nuclear weapons states to reduce their arsenals to absolute zero, as previously agreed in the Nonproliferation Treaty of 1968. To learn more about what you do to support a nuclear weapons ban see the website ICANW.org and sign up for their newsletter.

Learning more and sharing peace literacy and nonviolence is imperative to create a more just world. This year at OSU there will be a year of peace literacy events including Paul Chappell, a veteran who teaches ways to wage peace, who will be speaking on campus November 16.

We all must learn more, and we must help our neighbors and politicians see as clearly as Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King saw a continuum of violence, as he explained in his Nobel Peace Prize lecture of 1964. For him, nuclear weapons were intimately connected to injustice and poverty. Resources going to nuclear weapons and war creates poverty and injustice, compounded by deficits in education and peace literacy as resources are diverted from what humans need to thrive.

And then there is the question of leadership. What does it mean to lead with nuclear arms?  

Vice President Jo Biden implored this summer that it is time for “profound introspection and dialogue” about violence in America in the wake of the Orlando shootings, disproportionate police killings of African Americans and the murders of Dallas police officers. Where does our countries own leadership with nuclear weapons fit in the conversation about violence? What does it mean when the country that you love can destroy the world, several times over?

Two weeks ago I visited one of our three new National Parks, the Hanford B-Reactor. In 2014 the US created the Manhattan Project National Historic Park. The park is composed of the B-Reactor and two additional sites so far, Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Oak Ridge Tennessee. The B-Reactor is about five hours northeast of us, near Richland Washington.

The B-Reactor created the plutonium used for the Nagasaki bomb.

Because of creating plutonium, Hanford is one of the most contaminated places in the world, with a 150 billion dollar intergenerational cleanup effort.  I call it a nukescape. I cannot possibly list all of the human rights violations that have been involved with nuclear weapons, extending from the bombings to the uranium miners, atomic soldiers, human radiation experiments and those contaminated and neglected by the nonsensical quest for nuclear security, but I mourn for all these wrongs done in my name here today.

My precious friend Hideko Tamura Snider on this day seventy-one years ago lost her mother, her best friend, her best friend’s mother, her cousin Hideyuki, other relatives and the entire city she knew and loved. Hideko is one of only 120 surviving American Hiroshima victims. She is in despair over these new Manhattan Project parks.  

She wonders what this enshrinement of the places that created the bombs used to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki means about our country. It seems we have an obsession with erasing our own nation’s history of violence from the many genocides of indigenous people as I stand and speak on Kalapuya land to genocidal weapons. We must without distortion face history to repair our relationships with each other and the earth.  

Hideko spoke here at OSU this past fall. She gave an amazing message of resilience. In so many words, she explained she had survived an atomic bomb, losing her loved ones and her whole world. Dig deep within yourselves, she said, not only can we work together to ban nuclear weapons, but we can survive the things that seem like we cannot survive them. She will be sharing her survivor story on Tuesday evening in Portland on Nagasaki day at Waterfront Park.  

Tonight I am very honored to share with you her poem One Sunny Day, but before I do I want to set the stage. The night before the Hiroshima bombing, Hideko had just returned from the country.  She was only ten years old. During the war many Japanese children were sent out of the cities away from their families to rural areas to be safer during the war. She was so happy to be back at home the morning of August 6.

OSD poem 1

 

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