Saturday, August 4, 2018

Chicago Committee Against War And Racism: In Many Respects We Are Confronting Worse Evils Today Than We Were 50 Years Ago

Guest post today by Rich Whitney, reposted with permission.
Protest War and Racism, In Chicago, On August 25th!
Commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Democratic National Convention Protests
 The following is the prepared text of remarks I made on behalf of the Chicago Committee Against War and Racism at a press conference on July 24th, 2018 in Grant Park in Chicago, near the statue of John A. Logan, General John Logan Statue in Grant Park, scene of one of the most iconic protests against the Vietnam War during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The CCAWR has issued a Call for a demonstration against war and police violence on August 25th, marking the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, when the movement against the Vietnam War was suppressed inside the convention hall, and brutally attacked by Mayor Richard Daley’s police on the streets of Chicago. If you can, won’t you please come to Chicago, and help change the world, on August 25th!
In calling for this demonstration, the Chicago Committee Against War and Racism declares that in many respects we are confronting worse evils today than we were 50 years ago — but we are still confronting the same institutional barriers to peace and progress.
Just 11 days ago, U.S.-led coalition warplanes in Syria conducted intensive airstrikes near Abu Kamal in the Deir ez-Zor province, with estimates of civilian casualties ranging from 30 to 54, the higher estimate coming from The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. All too typically, this received little media attention. It was not part of the so-called “national conversation.” But acts like these, occurring on a regular basis, need to become part of the national conversation, and that is part of what motivates us to call for this protest. These acts of aggressive war are not somehow magically transformed into moral acts simply because relatively few U.S. personnel are at risk of harm.
In 1968, the U.S. government was engaged in one illegal war. Now the U.S. illegally bombs, drone-strikes and/or occupies territory in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen. It is responsible for millions of casualties, horrific devastation and suffering, and the displacement of millions of refugees. It has also been financing covert destabilization, “regime change” and support for repressive governments in much of Central and South America –and then it cruelly imprisons and punishes the hundreds of thousands of refugees who come to this country seeking safety and the opportunity to work. It spends $10.3 million a day of our tax dollars in military support for the repressive, now officially apartheid regime in Israel.
Every single one of these attacks on countries that never attacked the United States are illegal under established international law, including the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the Nuremberg Charter and the United Nations Charter. As in 1968, we have no right to attack other nations that never attacked us.
Let us be clear. These wars are not only thoroughly immoral and illegal in their direct impacts, they are also part of a war at home against the American working class, and especially its most oppressed members, people of color. We spend over $1.3 trillion a year on wars and maintaining a military machine, including about 1,000 military bases in about 135 different countries — while working people and students are being driven into poverty and debt, and while millions of people go without access to health care, decent schools, higher education, decent and affordable housing, safe drinking water, decent public transportation and other necessities. And our government spends these colossal sums on what amounts to corporate welfare, to help ensure the continued profits of giant energy corporations, weapons manufacturers and others, to maintain an empire and continue policies of global domination that actually make us all less safe.
Today’s peace movement is not as large and visible as it was in 1968 and the years that followed, but we are trying to change that. In some respects, though, today’s anti-war movement is a little bit ahead of where it was in 1968. We now have a clearer understanding that, as in 1968, these policies are the product of a bi-partisan consensus. The Democratic Party leadership is every bit as supportive of illegal wars and interventions as it was in 1968. Its members in Congress regularly vote with their Republican colleagues to fund wars and a foreign policy aimed squarely at global domination. Instead of a system of “checks and balances,” they just write the checks. As in 1968, its leaders stifle those who support more progressive candidates — witness the debacle of 2016. The Party and its Chicago machine remain entrenched supporters of an unjust system, protecting corporate profits and power no less than their Republican counterparts.
More than in 1968, we have a clear understanding that the issues of war abroad and the struggles against racism, police violence, privation and poverty at home are all related — they are one struggle. Today we understand that all of these evils are rooted in a class-ruled economic system, in which the dominant class uses its wealth and power to control the political process, buy political results, and advance its inhumane agenda — all to benefit itself, with reckless disregard for the consequences to the rest of us, and to all life on the planet. Today’s anti-war movement will assert its right to use peaceful, legal protest, but we understand that we must organize against the institutions that generate war and racism, and not juts protest their effects. Some of us may be from that generation, but this is not your grandparents’ peace movement.
Rich Whitney is an attorney, actor, disk jockey, environmental and peace activist, and former Green Party candidate for Illinois governor — among other things.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Maine Natural Guard At Peace Hub In Portland Climate Action Saturday, September 8 Noon

Calling all Maine Natural Guard members to help bring the essential message that the Pentagon is the biggest polluter on the planet to a climate action being organized by 350 Maine:

RISE for Climate, Jobs and Justice
Saturday Sep 8 -- noon
Portland, Maine

The Maine Natural Guard will display our MNG t-shirts and messaging:

Click here to order your shirt

or other costumes:

That's Natasha Mayers holding her giant (cardboard) carbon footprint

That's Cynthia Howard as a polar bear who recognizes the largest cause of carbon polluting

We will carry signs such as:

​image: Suzanna Lasker
Image: Lisa Savage

Image: Jason Rawn 
Bruce Gagnon in action for life on the planet
Last Run (serigraph by Kenny Cole)
Also, since part of the call by organizers is for jobs (i.e. RISE for Climate, Jobs and Justice) messages about the urgent need for conversion of the military-industrial mess we're in would also be a great fit. For example:

Mary Beth Sullivan showing that public transportation light rail could be built at Bath Iron Works instead of warships.
Jenny Gray sharing her conversion vision

You can join the Natural Guard campaign by signing the pledge here.

Be a communication worker and help bring news of the path of real resistance to people befuddled by corporate media messaging.

Add your name to join the Natural Guard effort from wherever you are!

I pledge to speak out about the effects of militarism on our environment, because the commons we all share that sustain life are valuable to me. 

In discussions about security and safety, I will remind others of the need to count in the cost in pollution and fuel consumption of waging wars all around the planet.

In discussions about acting soon to protect our loved ones from the effects of climate chaos, I will remind others of the need to examine the role of the Pentagon and its many contractors in contributing to planetary warming.

Mark Roman, Ridgely Fuller and other climate activists at Bath Iron Works bridge banner drop
We welcome all who want to help bring this important message on September 8, one which is very often omitted from climate events.  FMI call me at 399-7623

For more information on the September 8 event:

This is our invitation to participate in a joint action as part of the global RISE for Climate, Jobs and Justice  in Portland on Saturday, September 8th beginning at noon. It’s  part of a worldwide mobilization taking place four days before the  Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. 350 Maine is  coordinating the event focused on the rising and warming waters of  the Gulf of Maine, but we expect the Maine Chapter of the Sierra  Club to join us as co-sponsors. Our goals for the event are to move the state legislature toward  climate action; get voters to ask what candidates in the November  election are going to do to take action on climate change; and to  register new voters. We want people to see and understand how much is at stake and how important it is to elect people willing to  work seriously on environmental issues as well as jobs and justice.    

The New Orleans Style Funeral procession we are planning will  pass through the center of town and end at a point currently being  determined, but at a place where a modest and active rally can take  place combined with voter registration.  We want as many people  as possible to be involved in the action with individual groups  taking responsibility for a specific components of the overall  program.  This should be a fun event that carries a serious message  and purpose.      Accordingly, some of the ideas being considered include:  ● The Leftist Marching Band to lead the funeral procession  ● A coffin containing a Gulf of Maine codfish and/or other  endangered species inside   ● Puppets, cheerleaders and dancers  ● People in costumes that emphasize mourning or sea level  rise  ● Floats or similar (e.g. Noah’s Ark, a giant lobster, fishermen  with empty nets, etc.)  ● Fishermen & lobstermen with empty traps and nets (income  & job loss)  ● Symbols of rising, warming seas (e.g. blue ribbon)  ● Children, teens, college students participating in any way  they see fit  ● Rally point activities that are lively and active:  o With local performers (singers, dancers, band)  o Limited talks that include funeral orations or memorial  addresses  o Tables with displays of Portland areas likely to be  flooded, climate action plans (simple, easy things  everyone can do), Children’s Trust, etc.  o Voter registration  ● YOUR IDEA PLEASE

The event wants to be big and memorable.  Would you be  interested in helping us pull it off?  Will you get involved and help  make it happen?    You, ------, are invited to play an active role in the overall  planning and event coordination and/or to simply take an active role  in the event itself.  Since we are working on a tight schedule, we’d  like to hear from you a.s.a.p. one way or another.     Let us know what you think.
With best regards, Espahbad Dodd & Chuck Spanger, 350 Maine 

to connect the dots between 
militarism and environmental harm.