Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mothers Lead, U.S. Congress Wants To Draft Them: Happy #MothersDay

Photo source: Myles Grant on flckr
Mother's Day has long since been hijacked by consumerism and now is just one among many opportunities to feel guilty for not buying things e.g. Administrative Professionals' Day, Valentine's Day, and so on.

Mother's Day was originally established by an anti-war, pro-peace contingent of female elders. In 1870 abolitionist Julia Ward Howe sent out a call to mothers all over the planet. Her Proclamation began, “Arise, then, women of this day!” and contained the pledge: “I will not raise my children to kill another mother's child.” Mothers on both sides of the U.S. Civil War had been horrified at the violence and suffering they witnessed. 

I know that mothers on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line had long been horrified by the violence and suffering they witnessed under slavery and Reconstruction, too. Economic injustice is also a form of violence. However, I am with the mothers in believing that war is never the answer.

Nazi-era poster urging support for the effort to increase the birthrate in Germany.
More cannon fodder was needed!
But here comes the violent patriarchy I live under claiming that war rid the world of the menace of fascism in the guise of the Nazi party. We liberated the concentration camps thus ending the Holocaust! they will say, and nearly every history textbook in use will parrot this claim. 

I won't go into a lengthy examination of the falsehood of that history right now. Rather, let's look at current events: the leadership of the mothers of Odessa in the ongoing struggle there against U.S.-sponsored fascism.

Two years ago, neo-Nazis in Ukraine murdered and burned alive pro-democracy activists who had taken refuge in the Odessa Trade Union Hall. Many of these victims' female parents formed the Mothers' Committee which issued a public call you can join asking the United Nations Human Rights Committee to arrange an impartial investigation into the events of May 2, 2014.

A delegation from Maine was in Odessa this week and they reported back:
...the day [May 2, 2016] was peaceful when up to 10,000 people gathered near the Trades Union Hall to place flowers and stand with the Mothers Committee in a makeshift memorial. 
The public was blocked from having direct contact with the Trades Hall by huge numbers of local police, national security services and fully armed neo-Nazi Azov battalion members who have been incorporated into the newly formed 'National Guard' in Ukraine (equipped and trained by US Special Forces troops at a base in western Ukraine)....
The irony is that the neo-Nazis were now guarding the very grounds were those of their political ideology had committed the unpunished crimes of May 2, 2014.  The people, including the mothers of the dead, were not allowed to lay their flowers at the scene of the crime. 
Survivors describe the events of May 2, 2014 that Mothers Committee wants investigated:
On that occasion local activists were gathering petition signatures on the Kulikovo Square that fronts the Trades Hall seeking a local referendum supporting local autonomy for the people after the US created coup d'etat in Kiev.  When they were attacked by a huge horde of Nazi activists they ran inside the hall.   
The Nazis then began throwing Molotov cocktails at the hall which quickly caught fire.  As the smoke made it impossible to breathe inside the building people climbed onto the window ledges but were shot at by Nazis on the ground.  Some jumped down and were beaten to death with bats.  Many died inside the hall from smoke inhalation and burns.  Only a few safely escaped that day.
Mothers who have suffered the loss of a child are a potent force for change.

Mothers who continue to pay taxes supporting the neo-fascists of Ukraine while being kept ignorant of this fact by corporate media hyping the Russian threat are not a potent force.

I can't help but connect this fact with news that an amendment on the Pentagon budget authorization bill would require women to register for the draft for the first time in U.S. history. From Courage to Resist:
On April 27th, the House Armed Service committee voted to extend the draft to women as well as men. Their vote attached an amendment to a “must-pass” annual military spending authorization bill (HR 4909).
I'm not sure whether to interpret this as the further creep of Israel's influence in Congress, as a harbinger of a coming world war (line up that cannon fodder now), or as a sneaky maneuver to derail the massive spending bill that props up the Pentagon and its many contractors.

In any case, I can't think of a better way to observe Mother's Day this year than objecting to the effort to train our daughters to kill. Here are suggestions for action from Courage to Resist:

  • Contact your representative in Congress today and urge them to remove the amendment to H.R. 4909 to extend draft registration to women. Tell Congress that resistance will make draft registration of women unenforceable, as it has for men
  • Encourage your representative to sponsor H.R. 4523, a separate bi-partisan bill that would end draft registration entirely and abolish the Selective Service System
  • Sign the petition in support of H.R. 4253, the bill propsed to abolish the military draft
  • Spread the word to family and friends with this printable leaflet
  • Women aged 18-26 can send “I Won’t Go” or “We Won’t Go” statements for publication on with their name or anonymously.

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