The people of Durham, N.C., have the right idea. Not only have they taken down a Confederate war statue themselves, but they’ve lined up en masse to turn themselves in for that crime, overwhelming the so-called justice system.
Remarks at United National Antiwar Coalition in Richmond, Virginia, June 17, 2017
Did you hear about Trump calling up the mayor of Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay and telling him that, contrary to all appearances, his island is not sinking? I want to focus on one element of this story, namely that the guy believed what he was told, rather than what he saw.
Curse the war culture! It leaves us at a loss for words, bereft of metaphors to describe our situation. Our minds become blank slates, unable to recognize dangers at the door unless they carry assault weapons or drop bombs on our heads.
There are those who would have us fold up our banners and take down our protest signs. They urge us to be reasonable and polite. They expect us to cram our dissent into narrow boxes of occasional grumbling comments and take our frustration out at the election box once every few years. These people write letters to the editor of small town newspapers claiming that the visible signs of dissatisfaction – pickets, protesters, political signs – are bad for business and distasteful.
Politicians have devolved into nothing more than schoolyard bullies stealing lunch money from small children, harassing the defenseless, and expecting to receive rewards and gold stars of approval.
A silver lining of action and fury is bubbling inside the prevailing gloom that is the election of Donald Trump.
His presidency may prove to be the final straw in the decades long assault on brotherhood, human kindness, cooperation and society inculcated during the Thatcher/Reagan era; the ultimate action that triggers an unstoppable popular uprising, uniting people in common cause against the abhorrent ideals that are causing despair and anger amongst millions of people. A global campaign, based on and calling for unity, tolerance, cooperation and social responsibility.
A self-organizing movement like the Dandelion Insurrection relies on the collective and individual capacity of our participants. We are only as strong as the synergistic sum of our parts. The weaknesses of each person affect the effectiveness of the whole movement. The wisdom or folly of every individual contributes to either the intelligence or foolhardiness of our shared strategies and decisions.
with Chris Hedges
truthdig on Jan 22, 2017
Truthdig correspondent Donald Kaufman met up with columnist Chris Hedges on Saturday at the Women’s March on Washington and discussed the significance of the event and the challenge of creating meaningful dialogue between supporters and opponents of President Trump. Drawing in part on his experience as a journalist covering resistance movements abroad, Hedges also commented more generally about the nature and birth of nonviolent revolutions and how they can sometimes begin with relatively little in the way of specific agendas.
The challenges that confront us loom imminent, yet still unknown. Like dangers in the dark, we can sense but not clearly see them. Our government is preparing new assaults upon our rights and maneuvering more regressive unjust legislation through the machine of the political apparatus. The wealthy scheme up new ways to rob and impoverish us. Corporations craft increasing ways to profit, even if it means destroying our water, air, land, and health. We are facing dangers on all sides, in shapes and sizes we can barely imagine.
In 1933 Dorothy Day, a progressive journalist and Catholic convert, and Peter Maurin, a French peasant and philosopher, founded an anarchist-pacifist movement and newspaper they called the “Catholic Worker.” The paper was meant to be the Christian answer to the Communist Party paper, “The Daily Worker.” Not affiliated with the Catholic Church, the movement aimed to follow the Christian gospels by promoting peace—nationally and internationally—and serving the poor and homeless. It urged a culture where the scholar could be a worker and the worker a scholar. It advocated non-violent changes in the very structure of society, based on social justice and economic equality.
Today, Pope Francis released the annual World Day of Peace Message for January 1, 2017, called “Nonviolence—A Style of Politics for Peace.” This is the Vatican’s fiftieth World Day of Peace message, but it’s the first statement on nonviolence, in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—in history.
A smoothly functioning society is created and maintained by the people. Children go to school, workers show up at their jobs, shipments are made, groceries and purchases are bought, bills are paid, goods and services are delivered; and so on. In times of justice, when the workings of society are fair, respectful, and uphold the rights and dignity of humanity, then the people have every reason to collectively maintain functional workplaces, schools, roads, social events, and so on.
For too long, the women of this nation have been complacent while our brothers, sons, husbands, and fathers are sent to kill, maim, brutalize, destroy and even die in defense of our alleged liberty.
After 1700 years, the Catholic Church is turning against the idea that there can be a “just war.” We speak with John Dear.
John Dear is an internationally recognized voice for peace and nonviolence. A priest, pastor, retreat leader, and author, he served for years as the director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the largest interfaith peace organization in the U.S. After September 11, 2001, he was a Red Cross coordinator of chaplains at the Family Assistance Center in New York, and counseled thousands of relatives and rescue workers. John has traveled the war zones of the world, been arrested some 75 times for peace, led Nobel Peace prize winners to Iraq, recently visited Afghanistan, given thousands of lectures on peace across the U.S., and served as a pastor of several churches in New Mexico.
One day, my business partner leaned over to me and said, “Remember, we are so rich because they are so poor.” That is how he patiently explained to his younger partner why our workers should not get a raise above minimum wage. He could just as well have said, “They are so poor because we are so rich.” We were farming thousands of acres, had whole communities that worked for us and were making money faster than we could have ever dreamed. The plight of the workers just didn’t matter. What was important to my partner was that we lived in houses with marble floors while our farmworkers lived on dirt.