Sunday, January 25, 2015

Peace Activists Aging As Manufactured Consent For Endless Wars Rolls On

At times the aging activists, mostly baby boomers, who still turn out to protest the endless, endless wars of empire get a bit discouraged. We look around at the handful of white-haired peace demonstrators (ok, I color my hair but you get the idea) and wonder: What happens to the antiwar movement when we're all gone?

Sure, there are a handful of young people who are passionate about this issue. Youth Rise Up, a manifesto was issued in 2014 by young people expressing their sense that There Is No Future In War. It's a strong statement and I encourage you to read it.

Plus I know that there are millions of young people who are passionate about important issues that tug at their heart strings. 
Source: Portland Press Herald, "Huge crowd turns out to denounce possible transport of tar sands in region"
Saving humanity from environmental disaster is a big one. 
Standing up to racist police brutality and the savage inequalities that spring from white privilege has also attracted many generations to its urgent truths.

Reproductive freedom and other issues of feminism also stir many of the younger activists I admire. Ditto access to quality affordable education without incurring a lifetime of debt.

So I'm not putting down younger generations or saying they don't care about important things. Still, I continue to wonder why we oldsters join their march of thousands against tar sands but youngsters don't join our march of lucky-if-we-get-into-double-digits-sometimes-in-Maine against the war machine. (Yes, we use social networking to get the word out.)

This morning I was reading my personal digest of news recommended by people, not corporations, and saw a review of a book about how waging wars via robots has been and will continue to be a game changer. From Neve Gordon in Counterpunch, "Drones And The New Ethics Of War": GrĂ©goire Chamayou argues in his new book, A Theory of the Drone... drones are a technological solution for the inability of politicians to mobilize support for war.   
In the future, politicians might not need to rally citizens because once armies begin deploying only drones and robots there will be no need for the public to even know that a war is being waged.
"No need for the public to even know that a war is being waged." That phrase fairly leapt off the page at me. 

Indeed, high school and college students today barely know where myriad wars are waged in their name with the money we should have spent on their tuition. War in Afghanistan -- Obama ended that, didn't he? War in Iraq and Syria -- but Obama's State of the Union address assured us there were no more U.S. grounds wars in the Middle East, right? Troops to Ukraine? Hundreds of U.S. bases in the continent of Africa, what? Jeju Island, where?

But younger generations should care. And in the end, like all civilian populations in empires that run out of resources waging endless wars of expansion, they will care. Because the consequences will be so far reaching for their planet, their families and their health that they will be forced to care.

A nationwide mobilization against endless U.S. wars is being called for spring. In Maine we will observe Saturday, March 21 at General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works shipyard where nuclear-equipped Zumwalt destroyers and other battle weapons are manufactured. (More info here.)

Whatever your age, join us! Come to the microphone and tell us why you care that more than half the federal budget goes to the Pentagon and nuclear weapons each year. Sing us a song, read us a poem, paint us a banner. We need your intelligent heart. You're welcome.


Ken Jones said...

Lisa - Thanks for this. I feel it too. The masters of war have figured out how to wage war without much protest, haven't they? No draft, use volunteers, mercenaries, and proxies instead. Control media coverage & analysis. Nail whistle blowers. Use robots & drones. I feel like John the Baptist sometimes, crying out from our aging wilderness for repentance.

Lisa Savage said...

Ken, keep crying out! Your eloquence is needed.