Saturday, May 31, 2014

Baltimore Activist Alert - June 1 - Aug. 10, 2014

51] “Do You Haiku? – June 1
52] Peace and Pancakes – June 1
53] Learn how to effectively canvass, testify, use social media strategy, and other tangible skills – June 1
54] Hiroshima-Nagasaki meting – June 1
55] Chicana novelist Ana Castillo at Red Emma’s -- June 1
56] “Do You Haiku? – June 1
57] Pentagon Vigil – June 2
58] See the film EVEN THE RAIN – June 6
59] Save the date! - Aug. 10
60] Support a Peace Camp
61] Max is seeking a place to live
62] Ronda Cooperstein on social media
63] Sign up with Washington Peace Center
64] Join Fund Our Communities
65] Donate books, videos, DVDs and records
66] Do you need any book shelves or file cabinets?
67] Join Global Zero campaign
68] War Is Not the Answer signs for sale
69] Join Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil
51] - Usually, the Baltimore Ethical Society, 306 W. Franklin St., Suite 102, Baltimore 21201-4661, meets on Sundays, and generally there is a speaker and discussion from 10:30 AM to noon. On Sun., June 1, the platform address is “Do You Haiku?” with Karen Elliott. Many people know that haiku is a Japanese poetic form. Quite a few know that is has a set number of syllables (17: five plus seven plus five) and lines (three). A fair number know that it usually references nature and implies a season. Come and learn a few more things about the haiku form and its history, listen to some traditional and not-so-traditional examples of it, and spend a little time writing one or two yourself with Elliott, whose poetic goal for 2014 is to write a haiku for each day. Call 410-581-2322 or email

52] - Join the Kadampa Meditation Center for Peace and Pancakes on Sundays at 10:30 AM at KMC Maryland, 2937 North Charles St. All are invited to participate in guided meditation and chant praying for world peace. There will be a talk based on Buddhist thought followed by brunch. Call 410- 243-3837. Brunch is $5.

53] – On Sun., June 1 from 1:30 to 4:30 PM at Shepherd Park Library, 7420 Georgia Ave. NW, participate in Hard Skills Training: Learn how to effectively canvass, testify, use social media strategy, and other tangible skills you'll need to organize successfully. After a busy year winning two campaigns in D.C. and Maryland, Jews United for Justice is holding in May and June a series of trainings in activism skills. Folks are asked to commit to coming to at least two of the three sessions (though all three are recommended), since the trainings build on each other. The suggested donation is $18. Feel free to pay what you can. Visit

54] – There is an important meeting on Sun., June 1 from 4 to 6 PM at 9612 Wire Ave., Silver Spring. Help finalize the schedule for the guests from Japan, and make a final decision on the youth delegate to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There will also be a discussion on volunteer schedules, and new volunteers are welcome. All are encouraged to attend, especially if you can volunteer to drive the Hibakusha or to serve as interpreters. Call John Steinbach at 703-822-3485.

55] – Chicana novelist Ana Castillo will present her new book "Give it To Me"! on Sun., June 1 at 4PM @ Red Emma's, 30 W. North Ave., Baltimore 21201. Recently divorced, Palma, a forty-three-year-old Latina, takes stock of her life when she reconnects with her gangster younger cousin recently released from prison. Her sexual obsession with him flares as she checks out her other options, but their family secrets bring them together in unexpected ways. In this wildly entertaining and sexy novel, Castillo creates a memorable character with a flair for fashion, a longing for family, and a penchant for adventure. She is a celebrated poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, editor, playwright, translator and independent scholar. Call 410-230-0450. Go to

56] – On Sun., June 1 celebrate the first day of LGBTQ Pride Month with SPARKLE at Busboys and Poets, 14th & V Sts., from 8 to 10 PM. This is an open mic poetry evening, queer-friendly and featuring an array of LGBT-dedicated poets. Hosted by Regie Cabico and Danielle Evennou, SPARKLE is held on the 1st Sunday of every month at Busboys and Poets. Tickets are $5. See

57] -- There is a weekly Pentagon Peace Vigil from 7 to 8 AM on Mondays, since 1987, outside the Pentagon Metro stop. The next vigil is Mon., May 26, and it is sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. Email or call 202-882-9649.

The vigil will be outside the Pentagon's south Metro entrance and in the designated "protest zone" behind bicycle fences across from the entrance to the Metro. By Metro, take Yellow Line and get out at the "Pentagon" stop. Do not go to the Pentagon City stop! Go up south escalators and turn left and walk across to protest area.

By car from D.C. area, take 395 South and get off at Exit 8A-Pentagon South Parking. Take slight right onto S. Rotary Rd. at end of ramp and right on S. Fern St. Then take left onto Army Navy Dr. You can "pay to park" on Army Navy Dr., and there is meter parking one block on right on Eads St. Payment for both of these spots begin at 8 AM. No cameras are allowed on Pentagon grounds. Restrooms are located inside Marriott Residence Inn on corner of S. Fern and Army Navy Dr.

58] -- The Hiroshima-Nagasaki Commemoration Committee, Baltimore Quaker Peace and Justice Committee of Homewood and Stony Run Meetings and Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility are concluding the latest FILM & SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS DVD SERIES. The DVDs are shown at Homewood Friends Meetinghouse, 3107 N. Charles St., Baltimore 21218, on the First Friday. After the peace vigil, there will be a potluck dinner. At 7:15 PM on June 6, see a DVD of EVEN THE RAIN, followed by a discussion. There is no charge, and refreshments will be available.

The series theme is THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED! EVEN THE RAIN [Spain, 2010] is a brilliant movie. At a time when the poor of the world seem to be rising up, I found myself deeply moved and completely enthralled by this film. I encourage everyone in search of a great movie to go see EVEN THE RAIN." —Michael Moore

Directed by Iciar Bollain ("Take My Eyes") and written by long-time Ken Loach collaborator Paul Laverty ("The Wind That Shakes the Barley"), the story finds a Spanish film crew helmed by idealistic director Sebastian (Gael García Bernal) and his cynical producer Costa (Luis Tosar) in Bolivia to make a revisionist epic about the conquest of Latin America - on the cheap. Carlos Aduviri is dynamic as “Daniel,” a local cast as a 16th century native in the film within a film. When the make-up and loin cloth come off, Daniel sails into action protesting his community’s deprivation of water at the hands of multi-national corporations. When riots break out in Cochabamba, protesting excessive fees for water, production is interrupted and the convictions of the crew members are challenged. Sebastian and Costa are forced to make an unexpected emotional journey in opposite directions. Call 410-366-1637 or email mobuszewski [at]
59] – SAVE THE DATE!!!!! Get over to "Family Fun" night to raise funds for Dr. Mutulu Skakur and the development of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to free our Political Prisoners/Prisoners of War. It will take place at Skateland North Point, 1113 Old North Point Rd., Baltimore 21222, on Sun., Aug. 10 from 4:30 to 7:30 PM. Admission is $10 which includes skate rental. Contact Abdul-Jabbar at 610.621.0699 (Maryland State Jericho). Go to

60] – Can you help out the Nawal G. Rajeh Peace Camp? Nonviolence and positive conflict resolution is taught to children while providing them a summer camp, fun experience. This year's camp is for four weeks at the 29th Street Community Center in the Harwood neighborhood and three weeks at the Drs. Camille and Bill Cosby Community Center at St. Frances Academy in Johnston Square, both East Baltimore neighborhoods.

There will be morning classes to help the young persons, ranging in age from 5 to 12 years old, retain their school based skills writing about "peace heroes" and reading books that encourage positive communication. The afternoons will be filled with activities such as swimming, art, music and free time in the gyms. Some 70 children will attend the camp. Can you make a contribution to support the Nawal G. Rajeh Peace Camp of 2014 and reach out to your network of friends? Funds will be used toward instruction in yoga, drumming, dance and art.

Greater Homewood Community Corporation will serve as the fiscal agent for Peace Camp. Checks should be made out to By Peaceful Means and mailed to GHCC, 3503 N. Charles St., Baltimore 21218. Help keep children out of the extreme heat of the summer sun and from the dangerous bullets flying freely in our inner-city neighborhoods. Help make peacemakers, while keeping them safe.

61] -- Max is seeking a place to live. Let him know of any possibilities. He can be reached at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at net.

62] -- Ronda Cooperstein has taken to social media, and is recording her opinion pieces on You Tube. Check out her latest essay - THE WASHINGTON POST WITH TOAST:

63] -- The Washington Peace Center has a progressive calendar & activist alert! Consider signing up to receive its weekly email:

64] -- Fund Our Communities campaign is a grass roots movement to get support from local organizations and communities to work together with their local and state elected officials to pressure Congresspersons and senators to join with Congresspersons Barney Frank and Ron Paul, who have endorsed a 25% cut to the federal military budget. Bring home the savings to state and county governments to meet the local needs which are under tremendous budget pressures. Go to

65] -- If you would like to get rid of books, videos, DVDs or records, contact Max at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at

66] -- Can you use any book shelves? Can you use any file cabinets? Contact Max at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at

67] -- Join an extraordinary global campaign for the elimination of nuclear weapons: A growing group of leaders around the world is calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons and a majority of the global public agrees. This is an historic window of opportunity. With momentum already building in favor of Zero, a major show of support from people around the world could tip the balance. When it comes to nuclear weapons, one is one too many.

68] -- WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER signs from Friends Committee on National Legislation are again for sale at $5. To purchase a sign, call Max at 410-366-1637.

69] – A Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil takes place every day in Lafayette Park, 1601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 24 hours a day, since June 3, 1981. Go to; call 202-682-4282.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better" - Daniel Berrigan

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Impossibility of Growth Demands a New Economic System

Monbiot writes: "To succeed is to destroy ourselves. To fail is to destroy ourselves. That is the bind we have created. Ignore if you must climate change, biodiversity collapse, the depletion of water, soil, minerals, oil; even if all these issues were miraculously to vanish, the mathematics of compound growth make continuity impossible."

George Monbiot. (photo: Alicia Canter/Guardian UK)

The Impossibility of Growth Demands a New Economic System

By George Monbiot, Guardian UK
28 May 14

Why collapse and salvation are hard to distinguish from each other.

Let us imagine that in 3030BC the total possessions of the people of Egypt filled one cubic metre. Let us propose that these possessions grew by 4.5% a year. How big would that stash have been by the Battle of Actium in 30BC? This is the calculation performed by the investment banker Jeremy Grantham.

Go on, take a guess. Ten times the size of the pyramids? All the sand in the Sahara? The Atlantic ocean? The volume of the planet? A little more? It’s 2.5 billion billion solar systems. It does not take you long, pondering this outcome, to reach the paradoxical position that salvation lies in collapse.

To succeed is to destroy ourselves. To fail is to destroy ourselves. That is the bind we have created. Ignore if you must climate change, biodiversity collapse, the depletion of water, soil, minerals, oil; even if all these issues were miraculously to vanish, the mathematics of compound growth make continuity impossible.

Economic growth is an artefact of the use of fossil fuels. Before large amounts of coal were extracted, every upswing in industrial production would be met with a downswing in agricultural production, as the charcoal or horse power required by industry reduced the land available for growing food. Every prior industrial revolution collapsed, as growth could not be sustained. But coal broke this cycle and enabled – for a few hundred years – the phenomenon we now call sustained growth.

It was neither capitalism nor communism that made possible the progress and the pathologies (total war, the unprecedented concentration of global wealth, planetary destruction) of the modern age. It was coal, followed by oil and gas. The meta-trend, the mother narrative, is carbon-fuelled expansion. Our ideologies are mere subplots. Now, as the most accessible reserves have been exhausted, we must ransack the hidden corners of the planet to sustain our impossible proposition.

On Friday, a few days after scientists announced that the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is now inevitable, the Ecuadorean government decided that oil drilling would go ahead in the heart of the Yasuni national park. It had made an offer to other governments: if they gave it half the value of the oil in that part of the park, it would leave the stuff in the ground. You could see this as blackmail or you could see it as fair trade. Ecuador is poor, its oil deposits are rich: why, the government argued, should it leave them untouched without compensation when everyone else is drilling down to the inner circle of hell? It asked for $3.6bn and received $13m. The result is that Petroamazonas, a company with a colourful record of destruction and spills, will now enter one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, in which a hectare of rainforest is said to contain more species than exist in the entire continent of North America.

The UK oil company Soco is now hoping to penetrate Africa’s oldest national park, Virunga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo; one of the last strongholds of the mountain gorilla and the okapi, of chimpanzees and forest elephants. In Britain, where a possible 4.4 billion barrels of shale oil has just been identified in the south-east, the government fantasises about turning the leafy suburbs into a new Niger delta. To this end it’s changing the trespass laws to enable drilling without consent and offering lavish bribes to local people. These new reserves solve nothing. They do not end our hunger for resources; they exacerbate it.

The trajectory of compound growth shows that the scouring of the planet has only just begun. As the volume of the global economy expands, everywhere that contains something concentrated, unusual, precious will be sought out and exploited, its resources extracted and dispersed, the world’s diverse and differentiated marvels reduced to the same grey stubble.

Some people try to solve the impossible equation with the myth of dematerialisation: the claim that as processes become more efficient and gadgets are miniaturised, we use, in aggregate, fewer materials. There is no sign that this is happening. Iron ore production has risen 180% in ten years. The trade body Forest Industries tell us that “global paper consumption is at a record high level and it will continue to grow.” If, in the digital age, we won’t reduce even our consumption of paper, what hope is there for other commodities?

Look at the lives of the super-rich, who set the pace for global consumption. Are their yachts getting smaller? Their houses? Their artworks? Their purchase of rare woods, rare fish, rare stone? Those with the means buy ever bigger houses to store the growing stash of stuff they will not live long enough to use. By unremarked accretions, ever more of the surface of the planet is used to extract, manufacture and store things we don’t need. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that fantasies about the colonisation of space – which tell us we can export our problems instead of solving them – have resurfaced.

As the philosopher Michael Rowan points out, the inevitabilities of compound growth mean that if last year’s predicted global growth rate for 2014 (3.1%) is sustained, even if we were miraculously to reduce the consumption of raw materials by 90% we delay the inevitable by just 75 years. Efficiency solves nothing while growth continues.

The inescapable failure of a society built upon growth and its destruction of the Earth’s living systems are the overwhelming facts of our existence. As a result they are mentioned almost nowhere. They are the 21st Century’s great taboo, the subjects guaranteed to alienate your friends and neighbours. We live as if trapped inside a Sunday supplement: obsessed with fame, fashion and the three dreary staples of middle class conversation: recipes, renovations and resorts. Anything but the topic that demands our attention.

Statements of the bleeding obvious, the outcomes of basic arithmetic, are treated as exotic and unpardonable distractions, while the impossible proposition by which we live is regarded as so sane and normal and unremarkable that it isn’t worthy of mention. That’s how you measure the depth of this problem: by our inability even to discuss it.

© 2014 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Snowden Would Not Get a Fair Trial - and Kerry Is Wrong

Ellsberg writes: "Snowden would come back home to a jail cell - and not just an ordinary cell-block but isolation in solitary confinement, not just for months like Chelsea Manning but for the rest of his sentence, and probably the rest of his life."

Edward Snowden speaks via videoconference at the 'Virtual Conversation With Edward Snowden' during the 2014 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at the Austin Convention Center on March 10, 2014 in Austin.

(photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images for SXSW)

Snowden Would Not Get a Fair Trial - and Kerry Is Wrong
By Daniel Ellsberg, Guardian UK
30 May 14

Edward Snowden is the greatest patriot whistleblower of our time, and he knows what I learned more than four decades ago: until the Espionage Act gets reformed, he can never come home safe and receive justice

John Kerry was in my mind Wednesday morning, and not because he had called me a patriot on NBC News. I was reading the lead story in the New York Times – "US Troops to Leave Afghanistan by End of 2016" – with a photo of American soldiers looking for caves. I recalled not the Secretary of State but a 27-year-old Kerry, asking, as he testified to the Senate about the US troops who were still in Vietnam and were to remain for another two years: How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

I wondered how a 70-year-old Kerry would relate to that question as he looked at that picture and that headline. And then there he was on MSNBC an hour later, thinking about me, too, during a round of interviews about Afghanistan that inevitably turned to Edward Snowden ahead of my fellow whistleblower’s own primetime interview that night:

There are many a patriot – you can go back to the Pentagon Papers with Dan Ellsberg and others who stood and went to the court system of America and made their case. Edward Snowden is a coward, he is a traitor, and he has betrayed his country. And if he wants to come home tomorrow to face the music, he can do so.

On the Today show and CBS, Kerry complimented me again – and said Snowden "should man up and come back to the United States" to face charges. But John Kerry is wrong, because that's not the measure of patriotism when it comes to whistleblowing, for me or Snowden, who is facing the same criminal charges I did for exposing the Pentagon Papers.

As Snowden told Brian Williams on NBC later that night and Snowden's lawyer told me the next morning, he would have no chance whatsoever to come home and make his case – in public or in court.

Snowden would come back home to a jail cell – and not just an ordinary cell-block but isolation in solitary confinement, not just for months like Chelsea Manning but for the rest of his sentence, and probably the rest of his life. His legal adviser, Ben Wizner, told me that he estimates Snowden's chance of being allowed out on bail as zero. (I was out on bond, speaking against the Vietnam war, the whole 23 months I was under indictment).
More importantly, the current state of whistleblowing prosecutions under the Espionage Act makes a truly fair trial wholly unavailable to an American who has exposed classified wrongdoing. Legal scholars have strongly argued that the US supreme court – which has never yet addressed the constitutionality of applying the Espionage Act to leaks to the American public – should find the use of it overbroad and unconstitutional in the absence of a public interest defense. The Espionage Act, as applied to whistleblowers, violates the First Amendment, is what they're saying.

As I know from my own case, even Snowden's own testimony on the stand would be gagged by government objections and the (arguably unconstitutional) nature of his charges. That was my own experience in court, as the first American to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act – or any other statute – for giving information to the American people.

I had looked forward to offering a fuller account in my trial than I had given previously to any journalist – any Glenn Greenwald or Brian Williams of my time – as to the considerations that led me to copy and distribute thousands of pages of top-secret documents. I had saved many details until I could present them on the stand, under oath, just as a young John Kerry had delivered his strongest lines in sworn testimony.

But when I finally heard my lawyer ask the prearranged question in direct examination – Why did you copy the Pentagon Papers? – I was silenced before I could begin to answer. The government prosecutor objected – irrelevant – and the judge sustained. My lawyer, exasperated, said he "had never heard of a case where a defendant was not permitted to tell the jury why he did what he did." The judge responded: well, you're hearing one now.

And so it has been with every subsequent whistleblower under indictment, and so it would be if Edward Snowden was on trial in an American courtroom now.

Indeed, in recent years, the silencing effect of the Espionage Act has only become worse. The other NSA whistleblower prosecuted, Thomas Drake, was barred from uttering the words "whistleblowing" and "overclassification" in his trial. (Thankfully, the Justice Department's case fell apart one day before it was to begin). In the recent case of the State Department contractor Stephen Kim, the presiding judge ruled the prosecution "need not show that the information he allegedly leaked could damage US national security or benefit a foreign power, even potentially."
We saw this entire scenario play out last summer in the trial of Chelsea Manning. The military judge in that case did not let Manning or her lawyer argue her intent, the lack of damage to the US, overclassification of the cables or the benefits of the leaks ... until she was already found guilty.

Without reform to the Espionage Act that lets a court hear a public interest defense – or a challenge to the appropriateness of government secrecy in each particular case – Snowden and future Snowdens can and will only be able to "make their case" from outside the United States.

As I know from direct chat-log conversations with him over the past year, Snowden acted in full knowledge of the constitutionally questionable efforts of the Obama administration, in particular, to use the Espionage Act in a way it was never intended by Congress: as the equivalent of a British-type Official Secrets Act criminalizing any and all unauthorized release of classified information. (Congress has repeatedly rejected proposals for such an act as violating the First Amendment protections of free speech and a free press; the one exception to that was vetoed by President Clinton in November 2000, on constitutional grounds.)
John Kerry's challenge to Snowden to return and face trial is either disingenuous or simply ignorant that current prosecutions under the Espionage Act allow no distinction whatever between a patriotic whistleblower and a spy. Either way, nothing excuses Kerry's slanderous and despicable characterizations of a young man who, in my opinion, has done more than anyone in or out of government in this century to demonstrate his patriotism, moral courage and loyalty to the oath of office the three of us swore: to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

© 2014 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Baltimore Activist Alert - May 30 -June 1, 2014

34] Vigil for peace at White House – May 30
35] Vigil for Justice in Palestine – May 30
36] Myth and Rhetoric of the Turkish Model – May 30
37] Silent peace vigil – May 30
38] Trifecta Resista – May 30 – June 1
39] From the Streets to the Rooftops – May 30
40] Ballroom Dancing – May 30
41] D.C. Green Festival – May 31 – June 1
42] Olney Peace vigil – May 31
43] West Chester, PA demo – May 31
44] Charles Village Festival --- May 31 – June 1
45] Silent peace vigil – May 31
46] Remember John Patrick Judge – May 31
47] Stop the Drone War Command Center – May 31
48] Speak out against Cove Point – May 31
49] 3rd Annual Charm City LGBT Film Festival – May 31 – June 1
50] Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense -- May 31

34] – On Fri., May 30 from noon to 1 PM, join the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in a vigil urging the powers that be to abolish war and torture, to disarm all weapons, to end indefinite detention, to close Guantanamo, to establish justice for all and help create the Beloved Community! The vigil takes place at the White House on Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Contact Art @ or at 202-360-6416.

35] – A vigil for Justice in Palestine/Israel takes place every Friday from noon to 1 PM at 19th & JFK Blvd., Philadelphia, across from Israeli Consulate. It is sponsored by Bubbies & Zaydes (Grandparents) for Peace in the Middle East. Email Go to

36] – Myth and Rhetoric of the Turkish Model: Changing Notions of Marginality in Turkey is the topic at the Elliot School, Voesar Conference Room, Suite 412, 1957 E St. NW on Fri., May 30 from 3 to 4:30 PM. Dr. Sengupta will discuss the Turkish Model or the Turkish Developmental Alternative, which was promoted in the Central Asian Republics immediately following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Model emphasized the ideal of a "secular, democratic, liberal society" as a model for the post-Soviet Turkic world and in the process encouraged a "Turkic" rhetoric that emphasized connection between the two regions based on a common ancestry. This presentation questions the myth and rhetoric of a model that emerges in the face of transitions and recedes as alternatives emerge from within. See

37] – There is usually a silent peace vigil on Fridays, from 5 to 6 PM, outside the Cathedral of the Incarnation, University Parkway and St. Paul St. The vigil, sponsored by Homewood Friends and Stony Run Meetings, reminds us that War Is Not the Answer and that there is the need to stop torture. However, on May 23 the focus will be on closing Guantanamo.

38] – Join Trifecta Resista, 3 days, 3 sites, 3 issues. See From 5:30 PM on Fri., May 30, through Sun., June 1help create a climate of peace and resist a climate of fear. On Friday, the home base will be DeLaSalle Education Center, 3737 Troost, Kansas City, MO., where there will be a gathering for supper, training and input. On May 31, at 10 AM, call for a pardon for whistle-blower Chelsea Manning at Fort Leavenworth, where she’s serving a 35-year sentence. At 3 PM, resist the making of nuclear weapons parts and the resultant contaminants at Bannister Federal Complex in Kansas City. On Sunday resist drone warfare at the entry to Whiteman AFB near Knob Noster, MO. Gather at nearby Knob Noster State Park at noon before holding a rally from 1 to 3 PM. Participants will include three leaders of Voices for Creative Nonviolence: Kathy Kelly, Brian Terrell, and (from the UK) Maya Evans. RSVP to Peace Works-KC at 816-561-1181.

39] – From the Streets to the Rooftops: Resistance Past and Present will be examined at the New Community Church, 614 S St. NW on Fri., May 30 at 6 PM. This panel-discussion will showcase past and present efforts to fight displacement, with an emphasis on local struggles in DC. Panelists will use video, presentations, and storytelling to give insights into their organizing successes and lessons. Go to

40] – There is an opportunity to participate in ballroom dancing, usually every Friday of the month, in the JHU ROTC Bldg. at 8 PM. Turn south on San Martin Dr. from the intersection of Univ. Parkway and 39th St. Drive on campus by taking the third left turn. The next dance will be May 30. Call Dave Greene at 410-599-3725.

41] – Get over to the D.C. Green Festival on Sat., May 31 & Sun., June 1 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mt Vernon Pl. NW, WDC 20001. This is Green Festival's ten-year anniversary in D.C., with hundreds of the country's premier green businesses and organizations under one roof. Order your tickets at Inspiring speakers will include Alisa Gravitz, Amy Goodman, Washington Post food editor Joe Yonan, and Justen Garrity of Veteran Compost. Local fermentation experts "Number 1 Sons" will bring vegetables from the Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market to create a special Green Festival pickle.

And at the Green America booth, campaigns director Elizabeth O'Connell will hold special screenings of "Who Pays the Price? The Human Cost of Electronics," the film behind a new campaign to stop Smartphone sweatshops. You'll find organic food and drink, live music and performances, green fashion shows, a yoga pavilion, fun activities in the Green Kids' Zone, and more.

42] – Friends House, 17715 Meeting House Rd., Sandy Spring, MD 20860, hosts a peace vigil every Saturday, 10:30 to 11:30 AM, on the corner of Rt. 108 and Georgia Ave. [Route 97] in Olney, MD. The next vigil is May 31. Call Chuck Harker at 301-570-7167.

43] – Each Saturday, 11 AM – 1 PM, Chester County Peace Movement holds a peace vigil in West Chester in front of the Chester County Courthouse, High & Market Sts. Go to Email

44] – The 18th Annual Charles Village Festival will be held Sat., May 31 and Sun., June 1 at the Wyman Park Dell, Charles and 29th Sts., Baltimore. Max will be there selling books, buttons, bumperstickers, vinyl, videos, DVDs and CDs. Email mobuszewski at or call 410-366-1637.

45] – There will be a peace vigil on the West Lawn of the Capitol at noon on Sat., May 31. Look for the blue banner with the message, "Seek Peace and Pursue It.--Psalms 34:14." The vigil lasts one hour and is silent except when one responds to the occasional questions. Go to or email

46] – Remember John Patrick Judge, who passed at the age of 66, just as he had lived – with courage in the midst of pain. An internationally acclaimed researcher, writer and speaker, as well as a lifelong anti-militarist anti-racist activist, and community organizer, Judge died on April 15 due to complications from a stroke suffered in early March. He will be remembered at the National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW on Sat., May 31 at 1 PM. REMARKS will be made by Philip Fornaci, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Patti Ambers Crawford, Paul Magno, Patrick Elder, David Ratcliffe and others; and musical tributes will be performed by Richard Ochs, Barry Kissin and others. RSVP to Marilyn Tenenoff at

47] – What if it was YOUR CHILD killed in a drone strike? Stop the PA Drone War Command Center at the Horsham Air Guard Station, Route #611/Easton Road & County Line Road, Horsham, Montgomery County, PA. The demonstration takes place on the last Saturday of the Month. The next demo is on Sat., May 31, noon to 2 PM. Stand-up, Speak-Out, Continue the Demand! It is your choice: Schools or Million$ for PA Drone War Command Center. Contact the Brandywine Peace Community at 610-544-1818 or

48] – On Sat., May 31 from 1 to 6 PM, speak out against Cove Point at Patuxent High School, 12485 Southern Connector Blvd, Lusby, MD. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released its draft Environmental Assessment of the proposed liquefied natural gas export facility at Cove Point. We know that the facility would endanger communities, increase climate pollution, and drive "fracking" for natural gas across Maryland, but — incredibly — the assessment finds that the mammoth project would have no "significant" impacts on the environment or human health. Testifying will be a key way to show FERC the widespread, deep opposition to Dominion's fracked gas export plan. Email

49] – As part of the 3rd Annual Charm City LGBT Film Festival at the Creative Alliance at The Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave., Baltimore 21224, on Sat., May 31 at 4 PM see a film “Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia.” The cost is $12, but members get in for $7. Director Nicholas Wrathall did this 2013 documentary, 89 mins., about a 20th century figure who had a profound effect on literature, film, politics, historical debate, and the culture wars. Anchored by intimate one-on-one interviews with the man himself, this film is a fascinating and wholly entertaining portrait of the last lion of the age of American liberalism. Commentary by those who knew him best blends with footage from Vidal's legendary on-air career to remind us why he will forever stand as one of the most brilliant and fearless critics of our time. Gore Vidal's professional life spans more than 50 years of American politics and letters. Email

As part of the 3rd Annual Charm City LGBT Film Festival at the Creative Alliance at The Patterson, 3134 Eastern Ave., Baltimore 21224, on Sun., June 1 at 4 PM see a film "Fire in the Blood." The cost is $12, but members get in for $7. This intricate tale of "medicine, monopoly and malice" tells the story of how Western pharmaceutical companies and governments aggressively blocked access to affordable AIDS drugs for the countries of Africa and the global south in the years after 1996 - causing 10 million or more unnecessary deaths. The director of this 2013 film, 87 mins., is Dylan Mohan Gray from India. It is also the inspiring story of the improbable group of people who decided to fight back. Shot on four continents and including contributions from global figures such as President Bill Clinton, Bishop Desmond Tutu and economist Joseph Stiglitz, this film is the never-before-told true story of the remarkable coalition which came together to stop 'the Corporate Crime of the Century' and save millions of lives. Email

50] – On Sat., May 31 at 8 PM, join Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America in Kensington for a house party in Montgomery County! Learn how you can be a part of this incredible movement of women bringing about real gun sense! It’s also a great opportunity to get to know other women in the chapter. RSVP to for more details.

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pure Poison: The UCSB Shooting, Ray Rice and a Culture of Violence Against Women

Published on Portside (

Pure Poison: The UCSB Shooting, Ray Rice and a Culture of Violence Against Women

Dave Zirin

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
The Nation

If a mass killing perpetrated by a deeply disturbed misogynist does not make us look at how our society promotes and perpetuates violence against women, I am not sure what will. Our culture has always looked the other way or even validated gendered violence, particularly against African-American women [1]. Yet in an era of lightning-fast cultural transmission, this historic violence seems to be both mutating and becoming more perniciously commodified before our eyes. It’s a violence that seems to exist in its own cultural category, where it is not only excused but also treated as deeply humorous [2]—and woe to anyone who says otherwise. It’s a violence that has become so normalized, so all encompassing, that it often feels that saying or doing nothing becomes an act of complicity.

It does not take any sort of genius to draw a line in between the weekend’s shooting, the torments faced by Marissa Alexander [3] or other women who defend themselves, and the fact that the quickest way to invite a barrage of social media hate is to say something as simple as, “I don’t think rape jokes are funny.” These dots connect to create a gun pointed at the ability of women to possess the most elemental human right in what is supposed to be a free society: the right to be left alone.

As a sportswriter, I try to look at the ways in which violence against women is excused and glossed over in professional sports, sending messages to their young, male audiences that this is somehow just part of being like their game-time heroes. This weekend, the day before the shooting, saw yet another one of those moments that should make the National Football League burn with shame, and take account for the role they play in creating this culture.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his wife Janay Rice held a press conference to apologize and explain why Rice was caught on camera dragging his wife by the hair from a casino elevator after punching her into unconsciousness. The Rices were basically throwing themselves on the mercy of the court of public opinion. That is nothing new, and we have seen male athletes and their wives do this in the past. What was different, at first bizarre and then obscene, was when it became clear that whoever controlling the Ravens official twitter account was live-tweeting the press conference. What they chose to tweet speaks volumes. After sending out a series of 140-character banalities to their half-million followers about how sorry Ray Rice was that he let down the organization and how he was going to come back better than ever, the Ravens official twitter account sent out the following: “@Ravens [4] Janay Rice says she deeply regrets the role that she played the night of the incident.”

Yes, she really did communicate this and, yes, it is tragic that a woman knocked unconscious and dragged by her hair by a heavily muscled pro athlete felt compelled to effectively say that she was in any way at fault. It is even worse that the team live-tweeted such a comment, attempting to do its part to shape public opinion and encourage “Ravens Nation” to welcome Ray Rice back into the fold. This is the Ravens not seeing that maybe there are things more important than defending their product. This is also of course, as I’ve written [5], far more than a Ravens issue but symptomatic of a league-wide problem in the way the NFL disregards violence against women. Or, as Tomas Rios wrote for Sports on Earth [6], “A woman has publicly sided with her abuser before, but the collusion between athlete and team to impose a feel-good narrative of personal redemption on the public sends a horrifying message. “

That tweet, and the NFL's entire approach to this question, demonstrates the difference between violence against women and what it means to have a culture of violence against women. The violence is what Ray Rice did to Janay Rice. The culture is a team—and a league—that thinks rehabbing the images of players who project the violence of their game onto women is no more than a public relations problem. This is no different than the connective tissue between the act of rape and rape culture. Just as "rape" is a crime and "rape culture" is when the crime is disregarded and mocked, violence against women excused is ensuring that violence will occur again. This is also why people who say “not all men” commit rape or violence against women don’t understand what it will actually take to resign these pathologies to the dustbin of history. It is a collective responsibility that men either take seriously, or risk becoming part of the problem.

The high rates of violence against the wives and girlfriends of pro athletes have a multiplicity of causes, but when the league institutionally either ignores it or provides set pieces to somehow justify it, this ceases to be an individual or athletic problem and becomes one that seeps into our pores and poisons every part of our culture. We saw what happened over the weekend, when that poison is weaponized.

Copyright c 2014 The Nation. Reprinted with permission. May not be reprinted without permission [7]. Distributed by Agence Global [7].

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Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

New Document Details Obama's Contractor War in Afghanistan

Shorrock writes: "In his remarks at the White House, the president didn't say that the nearly 10,000 U.S. troops he's asking to remain in an 'advisory role' will be augmented by a huge army of private contractors. As they have in Iraq, contractors will vastly outnumber the U.S. uniformed forces training Afghan troops as well as the special operations forces providing counterterrorism operations against what the president called 'the remnants of al-Qaida.'"

A U.S. soldier stands at the site of a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul on February 10, 2014. (photo: Reuters/Mohammad Ismail)

New Document Details Obama's Contractor War in Afghanistan
By Tim Shorrock, Salon
28 May 14

What is a huge army of private contractors secretly doing in Afghanistan? A leaked PowerPoint presentation explains

On Tuesday, following his surprise Memorial Day visit to Bagram Air Force Base outside Kabul, President Obama announced that the United States plans to keep at least 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan until 2016, further delaying the end of what he calls “America’s longest war.”

But in his remarks at the White House, the president didn’t say that the nearly 10,000 U.S. troops he’s asking to remain in an “advisory role” will be augmented by a huge army of private contractors. As they have in Iraq, contractors will vastly outnumber the U.S. uniformed forces training Afghan troops as well as the special operations forces providing counterterrorism operations against what the president called “the remnants of al-Qaida.”

The role of contractors in the Afghanistan war is spelled out in a document obtained by Salon from SAIC, one of the nation’s largest military and intelligence contractors. The document, an unclassified PowerPoint presentation, shows exactly how contractors have been used in that war since 2009, when Obama endorsed a surge of 33,000 troops and a counterinsurgency strategy in the war against the Taliban. Those policies increased the U.S. presence in Afghanistan to more than 100,000 troops.
One of the PowerPoint slides defines the four “mission areas” of the company’s five-year, $400 million contract with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, which provides contracted services to other combat commands, special forces and other parts of the U.S. military. They are “Expeditionary Warfare; Irregular Warfare; Special Operations; Stabilization and Reconstruction Operations.”

There, in black and white, is proof positive of how deeply contractors have penetrated the U.S. war machine.

“We’ve already taken public functions and privatized them,” said Lawrence Wilkerson, a retired U.S. Army colonel who was the chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell during the Bush administration, in a recent interview with Salon. “But this is an example of privatizing the ultimate public function, war.”

The PowerPoint was created by SAIC to help its subcontractors understand the Army’s needs in the contract, which was signed in 2010. The ARL, which is based in Adelphi, Maryland, just outside of Washington, provides the “underpinning science, technology, and analysis that enable full-spectrum operations” by the U.S. military, its website says.

According to SAIC, the ARL is the “execution agency in support of” all U.S. combatant commands, the United States Special Operations Command as well as the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, which funds much of the U.S. military’s high-tech wizardry. “It is an SAIC contract vehicle to support COCOMs, DARPA and SOF, yet it can and has gone beyond this market as approved by ARL,” one slide states. It adds: “SAIC staff is very well matched with ARL counterparts.”

An ARL spokesperson confirmed that the PowerPoint presentation was authentic. A spokesperson for SAIC, which recently changed the name of its national security division to Leidos, would not comment, and directed my questions to the Army.
In addition to SAIC, the “ARL III” contract has 11 primes and more than 180 subcontractors, according to a project manager for the project. The primes include such well-known providers of weapons and intelligence as Raytheon, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and ManTech. Another major prime is General Atomics, which manufacturers the drones used extensively in Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa, including the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper (it tags its ads with the slogan “dwell, detect, destroy”).

The SAIC document was obtained from a source working for one of the subcontractors on the ARL project who asked that his identity, and the name of his employer, be kept secret. He also provided a copy of his company’s teaming agreement with SAIC for its work in Afghanistan with DARPA under the ARL contract. It states that “the Army Research Laboratory is planning to issue a solicitation for classified work in support for DARPA requirements … The parties wish to establish a team arrangement in the form of a prime contractor/subcontractor relationship pursuant to which SAIC will act as the prime.”

Under the contract, the primes and their subcontractors provide typical technologies used by U.S. forces, including electronic and electro-optic equipment, systems integration software, energy generation and storage, as well as body armor and cold weather gear. But it also calls for contractors to provide software for “data analysis and intelligence tools,” as well as “individual and platform lethality.” The latter should be designed for “enhanced lethality, including accuracy, destructive capabilities, and speed of engagement for U.S. Army and USSOCOM individuals and platforms (air, land, sea).”

The contract ends in 2015, and “is being prepared now for recomplete,” the SAIC document says.

Using contractors to supply or enhance weapons is not unusual. But expeditionary warfare, stabilization and reconstruction operations, and intelligence services are tasks that most Americans believe are the sole job of the government or the military.
Thomas A. Moyer, ARL’s public affairs director, told me that those areas don’t fit the legal definition of “inherently governmental,” the term for functions reserved only for men and women in uniform or government employees. “These type [of] activities do not require either the exercise of discretion in applying government authority, or the making of value judgements in making decisions for the government,” he said in an email.

I passed this exchange by a former high-ranking general who served in Afghanistan and later worked as a U.S. diplomat. “That makes my eyes water,” he said. The companies involved in the ARL contract, he explained, represent “an entirely new set of actors” who have come to prominence during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Under the new plan for Afghanistan, which the president is outlining in a speech Wednesday at West Point, U.S. forces will no longer be involved in direct combat after 2015 with the exception of counterterrorism operations directed against the Taliban and remnants of al-Qaida. Those operations would undoubtedly be led by the U.S. Special Forces Command, which is expected to retain a large presence in Afghanistan long after the last regular troops have left.
And, clearly, thousands of contractors.

© 2014 Reader Supported News

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

John LaForge: Uranium Weapons Still Making Money, Wreaking Havoc

Rise Up Times
John LaForge: Uranium Weapons Still Making Money, Wreaking Havoc

May 19, 2014 • by Rise Up Times • in Militarism, U.S. Foreign Policy • Leave a comment
Depleted Environment, Depleted Lives

By JOHN LAFORGE May 15, 2014

The US Army has awarded General Dynamics a $12 million contract to deconstruct and dispose of 78,000 depleted uranium anti-tank shells. The Pentagon’s May 6 announcement calls for “demilitarization” of the aging shells, as newer depleted uranium rounds are added to the US arsenal.
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In the perpetually profitable business of war production, General Dynamics originally produced and sold some of the 120-millimeter anti-tank rounds to the Army. One of the richest weapons builders on earth, General Dynamics has 95,000 employees and sells its wares in 40 countries on six continents.

The International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons in Manchester, England, reports the armor-piercing shells to be disassembled are thought to be the large 105-millimeter and 120-millimeter anti-tank rounds.
Depleted uranium, or DU, weapons are made of extremely dense uranium-238. More than 700,000 tons of DU has been left as waste in the US alone from the production of nuclear weapons and nuclear reactor fuel rods. The urankum-238 is left when fissionable uranium-235 is separated for H-bombs and reactor fuel. DU is only ‘depleted’ of this U-235. It is still a radioactive and toxic heavy metal. A tax and ecological liability, DU is given away free to weapons builders.

The Pentagon is replacing older DU shells in spite of international appeals for a moratorium on their use. The military is set to buy 2,500 large anti-tank rounds just this year at a cost of $30 million or over $10,000 each from Alliant Tech Systems, formerly of Minneapolis.
In 1991, during its 40-day, 1,000-sorties-per-day bombardment, between 300 and 800 tons of DU was blasted into Iraq by US forces. Another estimated 170 tons were used in the 2003 bombing and annexation. Toxic, radioactive contamination left from the use of these weapons (the DU burns and turns to dusty aerosol on impact) has been linked to the skyrocketing incidence of birth abnormalities in southern Iraq and to the Gulf War Syndrome among tens of thousands of US combat veterans.

After the US/NATO bombardment of Kosovo in 1999, our DU weapons were discovered to be spiked with plutonium and other isotopes. This news created a political uproar in Europe and led to the admission by the US Energy Department that “the entire US stock of depleted uranium was contaminated” with plutonium, americium, neptunium and technetium. United Nations investigators in Kosovo found sites hit with DU to be poisoned with all four isotopes. The Nation magazine reported that about 150,000 tons uranium-238 was dirtied with plutonium-239 and neptunium-237 and that “some apparently found its way to the Persian Gulf and Balkans battlefields.” (Robert Alvarez, “DU at Home,” The Nation, April 9, 2001, p. 24)

European papers shouting “Plutonium!” in headlines saw US and NATO officials rushing to microphones to claim with straight faces that their shells contained “mere traces of plutonium, not enough to cause harm,” and that the highly radioactive materials “were not relevant to soldiers’ health because of their minute quantities.” But plutonium is 200,000 times more radioactive than U-238 and ingesting less than 27 micrograms of plutonium-239 a millionth of an ounce — will cause lung cancer.

(One indication of just how poisonous these weapons are is that in 30 years of resisting nuclear weapons and the war system, the only ‘not guilty of trespass’ verdict I ever won from a jury followed a protest at Alliant Tech over its DU program. The jury agreed with four of us that since poison weapons are banned by the Geneva and Hague Conventions our action was an attempt at crime prevention.)

Long-term disposal plans for the uranium from 78,000 shells were not outlined by the Army. Uranium in the shells is often alloyed with titanium or molybdenum, and if these metals are not recycled, they could become part of our vast stockpile of DU, requiring indefinite storage as intermediate-level radioactive waste. Other parts of the munitions are currently disposed of as low-level rad’ waste in spite of the plutonium content.

John LaForge works for Nukewatch, edits its Quarterly, and lives at the Plowshares Land Trust out of Luck, Wisconsin.


European Parliament urges progress on depleted uranium munitions.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Global Climate Change and Nuclear Abolition

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only.

MAY 26, 2014

One Urgent Issue

Global Climate Change and Nuclear Abolition


The Marshall Islands are filing lawsuits against the nine nuclear powers to get them to step up to their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to negotiate total nuclear disarmament. Meanwhile Bill McKibben is gathering citizens for a rally in support of urgent action on climate change in New York on September 21st and 22nd, where the next climate summit will be held.

No two trans-national issues are more closely related than the abolition of nuclear weapons and global climate instability, for three reasons: first, nuclear war is the biggest potential accelerant of life-threatening climate change; second, the resources desperately needed to address climate issues continue to be poured into nuclear weapons and their delivery systems; and third, the solution to both challenges depends upon the same new way of thinking based in the reality that national and international self-interests have merged.

If India and Pakistan, or the U.S. and Russia, should back into a nuclear war, the glare of the explosions will vaporize our most cherished assumptions along with the victims. Survivors will ask, how was it that we ever thought that we could achieve security with these infernal machines? What were we all thinking, national leaders, the thousands of workers who build them, the lawmakers who finance them by siphoning tax dollars away from schools and mass transit, the coolly rational generals who seek budgetary increases for ever shinier toys? Their moral authority will be as devastated as the cratered moonscapes left by the destruction.

In 2007 the late Jonathan Schell spoke presciently about the relationship between nuclear weapons and climate change: “When I wrote The Fate of the Earth in 1982, I said that, first and foremost, nuclear weapons were an ecological danger. It wasn’t that our species could be directly wiped out by nuclear war down to the last person. That would only happen through the destruction to the underpinnings of life, through nuclear winter, radiation, ozone loss. There has been an oddity of timing, because when the nuclear weapon was invented, people didn’t even use the word “environment” or “ecosphere.” The environmental movement was born later. So in a certain sense the most urgent ecological threat of them all was born before the context in which you could understand it. The present larger ecological crisis is that context. In other words, global warming and nuclear war are two different ways that humanity threatens to undo the natural underpinnings of human, and of all other, life . . . we may be in a better position today, because of global warming, to grasp the real import of nuclear danger.”

The second way that global climate change and nuclear weapons are intertwined is through how we allocate our money and creativity. While President Obama has paid lip service to abolition, the U.S. government has continued to modernize existing weapons at grotesque expense, and other nuclear nations are following suit. The Ploughshares Fund estimates that in the maintenance and development of nuclear weapons, America will spend approximately 640 billion dollars over the next decade.

Not only all this money, but scientific expertise as well, will be focused upon obsolete defense strategies whose endgame is inevitably suicidal—when doing too little about climate change is equally suicidal, just gradual rather than sudden. Many heads of multinational corporations and their minions in national legislatures deny the climate crisis because they fear their bottom line will be threatened by sensible solutions like a carbon tax. Security, economic growth and full employment will best be achieved, in their view, if we base our economy upon building more ships, planes and weapons rather than solar panels and super insulated buildings.

Citizens everywhere are waking up to the opportunity costs of this paradigm, because even greater threats to each separate nation’s security loom if we do not use the international economic system to transition out of fossil fuels into clean, renewable sources of energy. This massive fortune, 640 billion dollars, would be more than enough to help not only the U.S. but also the planet move into a green economy based upon building windmills not missiles, solar panels not submarines.

What will awaken the political will to enact this global shift? The answer is in the third way that nuclear weapons and climate change are connected.
Everything changes when we change our minds. We have been stuck in an old mode of self-interest based on the nation-state and military threat. No victory is possible from a nuclear war, only nuclear winter; similarly, no victory is possible if the forces of international competition devour our planetary resources to the point of no return. A vision beckons of security based in mutually verifiable treaties leading to zero nuclear weapons, and an economy unleashed by building the infrastructure that will stabilize our climate with green energy.

The language of international politics and diplomacy caters to obsolete competitive notions of self-interest meant to soothe domestic national fears. Sadly, much that governments do in the present paradigm— games of chicken, enemy-stereotyping, endless jockeying for advantage—increases both the likelihood of nuclear war somewhere down the time-stream and does nothing to mitigate growing climate instability.

The two-in-one of climate change and nuclear abolition is not something to be addressed after supposedly more immediate brush-fires are extinguished; by viewing it instead as a single challenge, an opportunity for cooperative prevention based in planetary self-interest, success will become a model for resolving more local conflicts without violence.

The Marshall Islands, which endured open-air atomic testing, are courageous to speak for the powerless in bringing suit against the mighty nuclear powers. In 2013 they appealed to the U.N. for more help with climate change, already a life-and-death issue for these low-lying atolls, but soon enough for all of us.

Winslow Myers, the author of “Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide,” serves on the Board of Beyond War (, a non-profit educational foundation whose mission is to explore, model and promote the means for humanity to live without war.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Memorial Day: walk lonely, but message powerful

Published on National Catholic Reporter (
Memorial Day: walk lonely, but message powerful

Thomas C. Fox | May. 27, 2014 NCR Today

I walked ten miles yesterday with a dozen, spirited peace activists. We trekked from an obsolete, contaminated nuclear weapons assembly plant in Kansas City to a new, clean one, resting on an area the size of 14 football fields. The new weapons plant is being readied at the cost of $1.2 billion.

In 1984 Orwellian speak, the new facility is called a “National Security Campus," and it highlights its care for health concerns. A sign outside boasts a "smoke free campus." Reports, meanwhile, have linked 154 mostly cancer related staff deaths to toxin contamination in the old plant. The entire area around the old plant is toxic. A government study places the clean up cost at a quarter of a billion. A river winds its way a few hundred feet from the plant. Signs warn against fishing. But that doesn't seem to stop some eager sportsmen.

“At least 154 persons have died from contaminants at the old Bannister Federal Complex,” said Henry Stoever, board chair of a local walk sponsoring group, PeaceWorks-KC . “We’re remembering those workers and their families, and others who’ve died from producing nuclear weapons. We’re remembering the more than 200,000 who died from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. And we’re demanding an end to the outrageous practice of increasing funds to make nuclear weapons while cutting funds for housing and education.”

The Memorial Day walk was the fourth of its kind. Call it a cry from the Heartland of America. The activists said they wanted to send out a message that Kansas City residents have not been anesthetized to the threats posed by nuclear weapons, and that deterrence is a form of terrorism.

The soon to close plant, operated by Honeywell for the National Nuclear Security Administration, makes or procures 85 percent of the non-nuclear parts of U.S. nuclear weapons—parts including radar, fuses, firing mechanisms (triggers), guidance systems, tritium containers—parts to turn plutonium and uranium into weapons. Located on the south side of the city since 1949, production is being moved even further south onto lands grazed recently by cattle.

The peace activists, ranging in age from late 20s to mid-70s, talked along the way.

Here's to essence of their message to anyone who will listen.

It was on April 5, 2009 President Barack Obama excited an audience in Prague by declaring the U.S. government “will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons.” As the only nuclear power to have ever used a nuclear weapon, he said, the United States had a moral responsibility to act.

Fast forward five year: In the budget for fiscal 2015 released in mid-March Obama asked for a substantial increase in funding to support nuclear weapons research and production programs under the Department of Energy’s semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration.

The proposal – from the Nobel prize winning president -- includes a seven percent increase in the nuclear warhead budget from $7.7 billion in FY 2014 to $8.3 billion in FY 2015, setting a new record for DOE nuclear weapons spending, exceeding even the Cold War high point in 1985 under President Reagan’s military buildup.

The plan, moreover, is to increase the military budget to $9.7 billion by FY 2019, 24 percent above FY 2014. A large proportion of these costs are for “modernizing” warheads and delivery systems.

Among the priorities is the B61 Life Extension Program, designed to extend the life of B61 nuclear bombs by an additional 20 to 30 years. The B61 is a variable yield bomb designed by high-speed aircraft and streamlined to withstand supersonic flight speeds. The Obama Administration is requesting $634 million, up 20 percent from FY2014, for this program, which has already grown from an original estimate of $4 billion to more than $10 billion. Currently the Department of Defense spends about $30 billion annually on nuclear weapon delivery systems—by air, land, and sea.
Just as the new plant is a “campus,” the U.S. government claims no new weapons are being built, old ones are just being “modernized.”

Much of what happens inside the Kansas City plant is secret. It is known, however, the plant is producing new arming, firing, and fusing sets with new “heights of burst” for W76 warheads on Trident submarines.

“If you get burst above the surface of the earth, you get more destruction,” explained Jay Coghlan, Executive Director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico when he spoke in Kansas City earlier this year “The DOE says, ‘We are the We-Be’s. We be here before you, and we be here after you,’ irrespective of who is president.”
Admitting he’s not an overnight abolitionist, Coghlan said abolishing nuclear weapons has to be done progressively, verifiably. Until extinction, the weapons should be maintained by replacing “limited life components” for safety’s sake.

But the life extension programs that are now the backbone of the KC Plant’s work, said Coghlan, typically go far beyond maintenance and lead to new-fangled nukes. “DOE comes up with ever wilder schemes,” he said. Projections indicate the life extension programs from now to 2038 could cost $60 billion.

According to a report, The Trillion Dollar Nuclear Triad: U.S. Strategic Modernization Over the Next Thirty Years, published in January 2014 by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, ‘Over the next thirty years, the United States plans to spend approximately $1 trillion maintaining the current arsenal, buying replacement systems, and upgrading existing nuclear bombs and warheads.’
Meanwhile, as the U.S. plows forward building new nuclear weapons, it is demanding that North Korea and Iran give up their nuclear programs. It is not surprising, therefore, that other nuclear power nations such as Russia, China, England and France are also adopting similar policies to “modernize” their own nuclear weapons.
There is now nearly global consensus that the use of nuclear weapons in any form is a crime against humanity. At the same time, nuclear buildup protesters maintain, the possession of a nuclear deterrent equates to preparation for the use of nuclear weapons and, therefore, is a crime against humanity. This was the argument one of the 1983 U.S. Bishops' Peace Pastoral composers, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, made at the time. He was a minority voice and the pastoral was published, giving "limited" more support for deterrence as long as concrete steps toward total nuclear disarmament were going forward.

The current “modernization” moves, into the billions of dollars, undercuts the moral premise of "limited" acceptance. However, the bishops have yet to follow through with a condemnation of nuclear deterrence.

And so the peace walkers continue to walk, remembering the dead and asking motorists on Holmes road and Highway 150 to “honk” for peace. They made it from plant to plant, wiery, in less than four hours. It was muggy. Police and plant security followed and watched the group and were on hand when they arrived at the new plant. All were friendly.

After the walk, the group said some prayers and remembered the dead. Little doubt, they will be back next year. One day, they hope, enough people will stand up, like them, and say "no" to nuclear madness.

Activists gather outside soon to close plant (photos by Tom Fox)

Walking along Wornall in southern Kansas City

Peaceworks KC board chair Henry Stoever and Colleen Simon

Jane Stoever asks for motorists support

New weapons plant on Highway 150 in southern Kansas City

Sign at entrance to plant

Sign at plant entrance

Upon completion of walk, activists gathered for a photo at plant entrance
Source URL (retrieved on 05/28/2014 - 07:28):

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Memorial Day: Remembering 70 U.S. Wars, Big and Small

Published on Alternet (

AlterNet [1] / By Clancy Sigal [2]
Memorial Day: Remembering 70 U.S. Wars, Big and Small
May 23, 2014 |

Except for mourning family members and Boy Scouts loyally placing tiny flags on veterans’ gravestones, hardly anyone knows anything about Memorial Day except that it’s a day off. It’s the saddest of the military holidays, invented after the Civil War, supposed to help us honor, or at least pause to remember, all the American dead from all our wars. That’s a lot of men and some women to remember going back, well, how far?

Big and small, we’ve “done” about 70 wars starting with the mid-18th century so-called French and Indian wars where George Washington was blooded and when we got our first taste of industrially massacring Native Americans, mainly Ojibwas and Algonquins who sided with the French against our British masters.

Before penicillin, it’s hard to get an accurate sum total figure of all those combat deaths because so many men died of disease and what was later called shell shock.

In our thirteen major and 60 or so “minor” wars, let’s call a round figure of one and a half million dead. Compared to the mass war slaughter in, say, Russia or China, that’s small potatoes, but big potatoes for us. Our dead include wars you never heard, such the “Quasi War” with the French, the First Sumatran Expedition and Sheepeater Indian War plus, of course, both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan. A large number of U.S. wars were fought against our own Native Americans (Modocs, Nez Perce, serial Seminole wars etc.) and other “colored” peoples in China, the Philippines, Haiti, central America, Mexico etc.

This doesn’t and shouldn’t take away from the genuine valor of so many American soldiers who fought, died, massacred others and were scalped in return.

Sadly or inspiringly, the truth is men and now women sometimes like to go to war. To do one’s patriotic duty can be exciting as well as deadly. You get a sense of purpose and usefulness, possibly your own worth by being in uniform. Personally, I liked being in the military including its chicken****.

It’s also thrilling to watch war movies. To “celebrate” Memorial Day, Turner Classics on TV is throwing shot and shell at us for a solid four-day, 72-hour marathon starting Saturday. The lineup includes 34 “classics” from the Civil War on. Unless my eyes deceive me Turner is not showing, or avoiding, some fine anti-pro-war films, Renoir’s Grand Illusion and Kubrick’s Paths of Glory as well as All Quiet On The Western Front and Howard Hawks's The Road To Glory (co-written by William Faulkner). Turner’s bias is toward blood-and-guts “combat” stories, comedies and “touching stories of the families who wait at home”.

In the midst of all the testosterone-laden, gut-wrenching 'kill, kill, kill' is some real quality that fails in the mission of sending men off to war. If you can make your way past The Dirty Dozen and Kelly’s Heroes, there’s The Best Years of Our Lives, the Quaker-friendly Friendly Persuasion, Sidney Lumet’s brilliant exposure of military sadism in The Hill, the German-made Westfront 19l8, and John Huston’s butchered but decent The Red Badge of Courage.

Missing, thank heaven, are Ronald Reagan’s favorite Patton and Katherine Bigelow’s “ballsy” recruiting poster The Hurt Locker. But I’m sorry we won’t see Clint Eastwood’s Letters From Iwo Jima, a surprise masterpiece telling the battle from a Japanese point of view.

What’s not to love about war movies? Vivid images of men shooting the crap out of each other heats my blood. The gore of “this is how it is” is ultimately romantic and seductive. Most war movies can’t help but call us to arms. Rat tat tat to Black Watch bagpipe music.

Some movies, likeCatch-22, M*A*S*H*and Tony Richardson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade, which also are not on Turner’s list, make an attempt to lower the testosterone level with some humor and cynicism. But in the end it’s almost impossible to outshout Objective, Burma, The Dawn Patrol, Where Eagles Dare and Twelve O’Clock High.

It’s a dilemma. How to pay tribute to the war dead while giving pause to young men and women who may be thinking about stepping into the dead soldiers’ combat boots?

Source URL:

[3] on Memorial Day: Remembering 70 U.S. Wars, Big and Small

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Baltimore Activist Alert - May 28-29, 2014

19] Kogi sacred sites – May 28
20] Life and work of Hisham Sharabi – May 28
21] Call for fair wages – May 28
22] Electoral Process Forum – May 28
23] GreenScape 2014 – May 28
24] Film “Years of Living Dangerously” – May 28
25] Jeremiah Fellows Graduate – May 28
26] Music for Peace – May 28
27] Book talk I MADE IT – May 28
28] Mass will be offered for immigrants – May 29
29] Affordable Housing Hearing – May 29
30] Protest Starbucks – May 29
31] Yoga opportunities – May 29
32] Lisa Sullivan in Howard County – May 29
33] Dave Zirin at Red Emma’s – May 29
19] – Amazon Watch and Amazon Conservation Team invite you to a "Green-Bag Lunch" presentation on Kogi sacred sites of the Sierra Nevada, Colombia, featuring Kogi mamo Pedro Juan Nuevita and Kogi Governor Jose de los Santos, on Wed., May 28 from noon to 1:30 PM at Amazon Watch / CIEL conference room, 1350 Connecticut Ave. NW, #1100, (south of Dupont, above Panera / Cosi). Kogi mamo Pedro Juan Nuevita and Kogi Governor Jose de los Santos will speak on the quest of the four indigenous groups of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta to regain control of their sacred sites. They come to celebrate the successful acquisition and protection of the first site – Jaba Tañiwashkaka, one of the four pillars that sustain the Sierra - and to encourage other to join their efforts.

The ancient world understood long before the advent of modern conservation that certain spots on the Earth were especially important to the preservation of life. Over time, these places were declared sacred sites by the spiritual leaders of local tribes, and their cultures evolved to safeguard them. The sites frequently coincide with areas of exceptionally high biodiversity. They are often located at the headwaters of rivers, in fragile transitional zones, or in areas of vital habitat for endangered species. The Kogis are living exemplars of this tradition and will talk about their progress to date and their unique vision for the future. Juana Londoño and Liliana Madrigal will accompany the Kogi and talk about the relationship between Organizacion Indigena Gonawindua Tayrona, the Amazon Conservation Team and other partners.

20] – Ambassador Clovis Maksoud will discuss the life and work of Hisham Sharabi, his dedication to precision, and will also address how he believes Sharabi would view the current state of the question of Palestine and the broader Middle East today. It will take place at the Palestine Center, 2425 Virginia Ave. NW, WDC 20037, on Wed., May 28 from 12:30 to 2 PM. Call 202.338.1290. Visit

21] – Join UFCW LOCAL 1994 MCGEO, A VOICE FOR WORKING AMERICA, and tell Park and Planning: Stop trying to mow us over! Show the Commission that you care about fair wages by coming to the Sheraton, 4095 Powder Mill Road, Beltsville 20705, on Wed., May 28 from 4:30 until 6:30 PM. Members at the Park and Planning Commission are struggling for a fair and equitable wage package, but the Commission is playing hardball. Bargaining has reached impasse. RSVP to Alicia Valentin at

22] – On Wed., May 28 from 6 to 8 PM, catch the panel for the Electoral Process Forum. It will discuss options for improving the electoral system to encourage greater involvement by citizens and to provide a voice to all. Only 25% of registered voters cast a ballot in the April 1, 2014 primary, down from the 37% who voted in the September 2010 primary. Join the League of Women Voters, DC, DC Appleseed, DC Vote and the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law for a forum on election reform with a reception to follow. Get over to the 5th Floor Moot Court Room, UDC Clarke School of Law, 4340 Connecticut Ave. NW to hear the panelists, including Rob Ritchie of Fair Vote, DC Councilmember David Grosso and Peter Rosenstein. Go to

23] – GreenScape 2014: Baltimore’s Green Schools Summit is hosted by the Baltimore Office of Sustainability, Baltimore City Public Schools, the Baltimore Community Foundation, and Constellation Energy, along with the Student Environmental Leadership Action Team (SELAT), a committee of the Baltimore Green Schools Network. SELAT involves students, teachers, parents, and other supporters from all over Baltimore in giving youth a voice in environmental policy. It will take place on Wed., May 28 from 6 to 9 PM at the National aquarium, 501 E. Pratt St., Baltimore 21202. Contact Abby at or 410-396-1670.RSVP at

24] – Join the Baltimore Ethical Society and the Rainforest Action Network for a potluck dinner and film screening on Wed., May 28 at 6:30 PM for dinner. At the Baltimore Ethical Society, 306 W. Franklin St., Suite 102, see at 7:30 PM the first episode of a new TV program on Showtime called “Years of Living Dangerously.” The show features a star-studded cast and focuses on the devastating social justice impacts that will occur from climate chaos. It touches on one major issue which is harming the environment – clear cutting the rainforest for palm oil production. View the trailer: Go to Sign up to bring a potluck dish:

25] – For the past year, Jews United for Justice's 16 Jeremiah Fellows have been meeting twice a month to learn different models of putting ethics and values into action, for intimate conversations about urgent local issues with local leaders, and for intensive study of Jewish texts and traditions. As they graduate from the program, you are invited for dessert and inspiring stories from the Fellows as they share how the training has changed them. It is happening on Wed., May 28 from 7to 9 PM at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. A reception (kosher-certified) will follow. RSVP at

26] – Music for Peace takes place at 7:30 PM on the last Wednesday of the month at HI Baltimore Hostel, 17 W. Mulberry St. Discover music as a means to communicate and connect across cultures. Listen, play, or learn. The event will feature an open mic forum, guitar lessons, and the chance to meet and connect with other musicians in the city. Call 410-576-8880 or check out

27] – Vance Benton presents "I Made It! How Not Achieving Your Dream Can Lead to Ultimate Success" on Wed., May 28 at 7:30 PM @ Red Emma's. "Even though all dreams don't come true, the effort and experiences an individual has in pursuit of their dream will ultimately open the door for other aspirations to reveal themselves." The author overcame personal tragedy in pursuit of his one, true dream. Against all odds, Vance was determined to become an NFL superstar. With that dream well within his grasp, his hopes of football superstardom came crashing down.

28] – On Thurs., May 29 at 8:30 AM, a Mass will be offered for immigrants and their families who are being subjected to separation because of our broken immigration system. Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski (Miami), Bishop Eusebio Elizondo (Seattle), Bishop Oscar Cantu (Las Cruces, NM), Bishop Gerald Kicanas (Tucson) and Bishop John Wester (Salt Lake City) will preside at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, (Capitol Hill neighborhood), 313 2nd St. SE, WDC 20003. Contact Christine Donnelly – Communications Manager, USCCB – at or (202) 541-3064.

29] – Are you a member of the LGBTQ community and have had difficulty finding stable housing? Have you felt unsafe, been bullied, and/or harassed at homeless shelters? Are you homeless and have little to no support to sustain stability? Do you know your voice matters? It DOES! Testify at 10 AM on Thurs., May 29th at the Affordable Housing Hearing at the John A. Wilson Building, Room 120, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Speak for more funding and shelters for homeless people who identify as LGBTQ. Write your testimony. Say your testimony. Let your struggle be heard! Contact Maria Laughinghouse at

30] – From noon to 1 PM, join Organic Consumers Association political director, Alexis Baden-Mayer, at the "What the Starbucks?!" protest on Thursday, May 29! There will be speakers, a cow costume, signs, banners, and lots of fired-up consumers! Green America, through its GMO Inside campaign, are putting pressure on Starbucks to provide organic dairy milk from cows not fed GMOs.

After sending several letters and more than 80,000 petitions to Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz, Green America has received no real response from executives in their offices in Seattle. So, take the message directly to a local store manager in Washington, D.C. to encourage a bottom-up approach. Show Starbucks you’re serious about boycotting Starbucks products until the company takes the lead on organic milk! Email

31] – Shanti Yoga Ashram will be starting a new session of two very special classes: Foundation of Yoga (FOY), and Shanti Marga (The Road of Peace.) Both are taught by Vyasa Deva (Victor Landa), founder and director of SYA. They lead to a clear understanding of the Spiritual Science of Yoga. FOY is a 5 week course that combines asanas (postures) with Yoga Theory and puts the asanas practice in proper context. A complete classical yoga routine is taught step by step. It begins with a free lecture on Thurs, May 29 from 7 to 8:30 PM.

Shanti Marga is an in-depth study of yoga philosophy for the purpose of learning to live according to the spiritual and practical principles of yoga. This program comprises beginner through advanced levels, and is open to those who have taken FOY, or, who have sufficient background (decided by the Teacher.) Finally, those who enroll in Shanti Marga also become eligible to join the School of Life, which provides even greater opportunities to make the spiritual practice a preparation to attain a real philosophy of life and part of daily life. Please reply to this email to learn more about these options. Email

32] – Guest speaker Lisa Sullivan will present "What I will share is what this reality looks like from the perspective of the poor, with whom I have lived and worked for over 30 years” at the Miller Branch Library, Patapsco Room, 9421 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City on Thurs., May 29 at 7 PM. Sullivan is the Latin America Coordinator for the School of the Americas Watch, a nonviolent grassroots movement that works to stand in solidarity with the people of Latin America, to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA). This event is sponsored by Howard County Friends of Latin America. Call Leslie Salgado at 410-381-4899.

33] – On Thurs., May 29 at 7:30 PM @ Red Emma's, 30 W. North Ave., Baltimore 21201, Dave Zirin will discuss his book “Brazil's Dance with the Devil The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Struggle for Democracy.” The people of Brazil celebrated when it was announced that they were hosting the World Cup and Olympics. Now they are protesting in numbers the country hasn't seen in decades. This book, relying on field work from the most dangerous corners of Rio to the halls of power in Washington DC examines how sports and politics have collided in spectacular fashion. Named one of the UTNE Reader's "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World," Zirin writes about the politics of sports for the Nation Magazine. He is their first sports writer in 150 years of existence. Call 443-602-7585. Go to

To be continued.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DePaul students vote for divestment despite Israeli government interference

DePaul students vote for divestment despite Israeli government interference

Submitted by Ali Abunimah on Fri, 05/23/2014 - 21:20

Students celebrate victory of DePaul divestment resolution.
(DePaul Divest)

Students at DePaul University in Chicago have voted by 1,575 to 1,333 (54% to 46%) in favor of a referendum calling for divestment from companies “that profit from Israel’s discriminatory practices and human rights violations,” the campus student government announced today.

The question approved by students calls on the university to divest its funds from “corporations that manufacture weapons and provide surveillance technology to the Israeli government, army and prison services,” including Hewlett-Packard, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Caterpillar.

These companies, the question states, “profit from Israel’s violation of the human rights of Palestinians and minorities within Israel” and help “violate people’s rights to life, movement, healthcare, education and freedom.”

“It is clear that Palestinian human rights, the rights of minorities within Israel and ethical investment are issues that concern the DePaul student body,” DePaul Divest, the student coalition supporting the initiative, state in a press release sent to The Electronic Intifada.

“This victory did not come without immense outside interference by pro-Israel lobbyist group StandWithUs, whose paid staff frequently presented themselves as individuals affiliated with DePaul University, canvassed the student body in a counter campaign to DePaul Divest,” the release states.

“Scare tactics were used to deter the student body from voting to affirm the human rights of Palestinians, but our victory today is evidence that this was not enough to stop DePaul students from standing on the side of justice,” campaign organizer and DePaul Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) member Areej Hamdan is quoted as saying in the release.

As part of the counter campaign, the Israeli consulate general in Chicago actively worked and organized against the referendum question.

on Twitter

DePaul SJP member Hanna Alshaikh explained in an op-ed for The Electronic Intifada last month that activists had decided to go for a campus-wide referendum precisely because they thought that such lobbying would be less effective on the student body as a whole than it has been on student legislatures on other campuses.

It appears that student activists at DePaul got it right.
SJP DePaul press release

Student coalition DePaul Divest declares victory in campaign calling for student support to divest from corporations that profit off of human rights abuses against Palestinians.

CHICAGO – Following two months of campaigning at DePaul University, student coalition DePaul Divest declares victory in a campaign to divest from corporations that profit off of human rights violations perpetrated against Palestinians via the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.

While a majority of divestment campaigns have been carried out through student government resolutions, DePaul Divest opted to pose the question of divestment to the entire DePaul student body through a Student Government Association (SGA) referendum this week.
With a majority of 1,575 votes in favor and 1,333 against, it is clear that Palestinian human rights, the rights of minorities within Israel and ethical investment are issues that concern the DePaul student body.

This victory did not come without immense outside interference by pro-Israel lobbyist group StandWithUs, whose paid staff frequently presented themselves as individuals affiliated with DePaul University, canvassed the student body in a counter campaign to DePaul Divest.

“Scare tactics were used to deter the student body from voting to affirm the human rights of Palestinians, but our victory today is evidence that this was not enough to stop DePaul students from standing on the side of justice,” said campaign organizer Areej Hamdan.

In the days leading up to the student vote, members of the opposition circulated false rumors and misinformation about the DePaul Divest campaign, despite the clarity and transparency of the movement’s goals.
This misinformation was addressed in an 18 May DePaulia article, “DePaul Divest speaks out: No more intimidation, no more misinformation.”

These tactics were not enough to halt the momentum of the divestment movement, whose actions this week grabbed the attention of the university community through a sit-in, flag drop and rally.

The presence of the Israeli consul general on campus during the last full day of voting did not silence DePaul Divest supporters, who rallied on campus under his gaze. Harassment and intimidation tactics used by the anti-Divestment canvassers (many of whom are admittedly trained by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or work as StandWithUs employees), like taking photographs of student organizers, proved incapable of impeding the success of the DePaul Divest campaign.

“We have proven that the DePaul student body is a socially conscious community, one that recognizes the humanity of the Palestinian people and how their basic human rights have been denied at the hands of the Israeli government and these corporations we target” said student organizer Hamdan.

While the passage of this referendum is not binding on the administration, the SGA is prohibited from passing resolutions in the upcoming school year that contradict the results of the referendum.

DePaul Divest organizers will now turn their attention to working with the DePaul administration in moving forward with implementing divestment from these corporations. Working with the Fair Business Practices Committee, DePaul Divest organizers will encourage the university administration to establish investment screens. This will require that the human rights record of each potential investment is investigated, making ethical investment a priority and requirement for the university’s money managers.

“It is clear that DePaul students do not wish to have their tuition dollars invested in weapons manufacturers,” said student organizer Roya Naderi. This has generated discussion on ethical investment on campus, with students in agreement that DePaul University should not be invested in war profiteers.

While campaigning at the university is now over, divestment does not end here. This is a moment in which the student body has taken a stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, long denied of their basic human rights. The passage of this divestment referendum is a step towards removing the university’s complicity in the occupation of Palestine, and is a step towards establishing a standard of ethical investment practices at DePaul University.

DePaul Divest is a coalition of students, student organizations, staff, faculty and alumni that call on the DePaul University administration to pull its investments from corporations that profit off of the illegal occupation of Palestine and the human rights abuses these companies help perpetuate. For more information, visit

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs