A Report from the DC Peace Congress
But first, I’d like to say a few words about war and militarism.
This nation was founded on the original sins of genocide and slavery. In 1967 at Riverside Baptist Church Martin Luther King, Jr. later called the US the largest exporter of violence on the planet, and had called out Amerika for its triple evils of militarism, racism, and capitalism.
NATO and Africom are both really the US, with the NATO think tank the Atlantic Council working with Facebook and likely Google to jettison information that might be anti-war, anti-Imperialist, anti-capitalist, or otherwise not faith-promoting for the War Machine.
This nation is steeped in violence. There are young adults who’ve never experienced a day when the US wasn’t involved in multiple wars. The police have been fully militarized (at no cost to them), and are locked and loaded to fire on resistors of any stripe; police kill citizens, even unarmed ones, with almost total impunity. The NYPD po-po have been trained by the IDF for so long that they finally said ‘the heck with it’, and got their own offices in Tel Aviv.
Kids are often raised watching killing cartoons, playing Killing X-box games, and are taught in school and at home to Compete, not Cooperate. Life’s Zero-sum, baby…and ya better get ready for it early!
‘Diplomacy’ is now all Authoritarian Gunboat Diplomacy, and ‘diplomatic parties’ in Deecee are all about selling weapons of war, often to the worst of the worst criminal regimes on the planet, for instance to Saudi Arabia and Likud Israel, increasingly to Ukraine (both Israel and the US) and Georgia (Montenegro next?) in the proxy wars against…Russia. And John Bolton recently received a ‘Defender of Israel’ award from the Zionist Organization of America…
The US political class genuflects before Zionism in the most despicable ways, and yes, even Liz Warren (the mid-tem scoreboard reveals massive pro-israel influence on congress-critters). One begins to wonder who’s the client, who’s the state with regard to Amerika and Israel, under Trump: Amerika and KSA.
And then there are the ‘peace-loving’ DSAs like Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez lavishing praise on war criminals like John McCain posthumously. Pardon Me?
The publicly stated military budget for 2019 requested by Trump’s Pentagon was $639 billion, yet 40 Senate Dems provided their power of the purse to raise it to $716 billion. The legislation—formally titled the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019’.
Past investigations by Nick Turse have found that hidden in other parts of the budget almost double that budget. The U.S. Department of Defense spent at least $68,624,394,000 on 689 individual contracts during September 2018. Operating over a thousand known bases globally, the US military’s carbon footprint is vast, although I wasn’t able to find current information as to ‘how vast’ in a quick Bingle.
But no, our Elected Leaders, neither Blue nor Red, seldom even ask how ‘we’ll’ pay for the military budget. There’s always money for war, but then what’s left of the social safety net is shredded, whether by Grand Bargains or Presidential Edict. Homelessness is rampant, as are hunger, poverty, and depression in Amerika. Medicare/Medicaid for all just costs too much, in some cities, even feeding the homeless is illegal, as is scavenging food behind grocery stores. Increasingly cities and states are enacting anti-BDS Israel as criminal.
Vets with PTSD commit mass murders, commit suicide in horrific numbers. Some mass killers act out their own urban commando dreams (that psychological narrative I’ll leave to Alice Miller and ‘the roots of violence’), proxy wars by the US and arms sales are ubiquitous, there is always a new enemy besides: Russia, which has become a punch-line in jokes.
And of course, NATO was formed first to ‘fight the Soviet menace’, and after the dissolution needed to reform/save itself as ‘Saving the World from the Russian Menace’, as against all sanity and former promises, NATO bases crowd the borders of Russia, and more and more nations are awarded almost-NATO status.
Sorry for the long preface, but before I proceed to the report, I’ll ask: When was Amerika NOT waging war over the last millennium? I’d also like to offer this from John Gorka; he says it right, I think.
From Popular Resistance: ‘Peace Congress Calls For Unity Around April 4 NATO Protests’, Nov. 12, 2018 (some outtakes):
“Washington, DC – The Peace Congress, held in place of the Trump Military Parade, brought together more than 100 people seeking to build a more effective peace and justice movement to end the wars at home and abroad. The Peace Congress celebrated their success in helping to stop the Trump military parade and used the opportunity to hold a general assembly to develop a strategy, goals and next steps for action to strengthen the peace and anti-imperialist movement.
The unifying principles of the Peace Congress are:
- End U.S. wars at home and abroad.
- Create a peace economy that meets the necessities of people and protects the planet.
- Respect the self-determination of all people and nations.
- Create transformative change by building a movement of movements.
One of the next steps was a call for a unified mobilization around the April 4, 2019 70th Anniversary NATO conference being held in Washington, DC. The Congress called for not only bringing together peace organizations, but also those opposed to racism and oppression and for economic democracy and environmental justice.
April 4 is the anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by the government in 1968 and his Beyond Vietnam speech given one year before his death. Beyond Vietnam called out the triple evils of militarism, racism and capitalism. The Peace Congress unanimously urged groups to put aside their differences and come together to highlight that message, just as we did to stop the Trump military parade.
The Peace Congress endorsed the calls to action issued by Black Alliance for Peace, the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) the No Foreign Bases Coalition and World Beyond War. These include educational forums, protests the weekend before the NATO meeting, strategic, confrontational, nonviolent protests on April 4 and a peace festival.
The Peace Congress will work to build a movement of movements to provide a strong response to the militarism of NATO and call for the abolition of this military alliance, which has turned into a tool of offensive military actions rather than one of joint defense.” [snip]
“The Peace Congress agreed that we must build a broad movement of movements that represents the multiple issues impacted by militarism. As annual military spending is now more than 60% of discretionary spending, it impacts all aspects of our lives. The budget should serve the essential needs of the civilian population for health, education, housing, jobs, and income, as well as protect the planet with a transition to a clean energy economy and infrastructure that is more efficient.
In addition to diversity of issues participating in the peace and justice movement, the Peace Congress is going to prioritize the need for racial and age as well as gender diversity. This means empowering youth to be the next generation of leaders and supporting them, particularly when they face oppression as student groups advocating for Palestinian rights are experiencing.
Solemn March Though DC Memorials to Reclaim Armistice Day
In addition to the Peace Congress, veterans groups and military families led a solemn march through the memorials on the mall. They began near the World War II memorial and went to memorials for the Korean War, Vietnam War and World War I. At each memorial, the group placed a wreath. The march showed opposition to war on a day when many people will be visiting memorials commemorating wars on Veterans Day.
Before the march, veterans who served in various wars and military families who have been impacted by war spoke at a rally. They invited allies of these groups who are working for peace to speak as well. Then, the march was led by a single file procession of veterans wearing signs that described the reality of war. There was one person for each of the 20.6 veterans, mostly under 35, who commit suicide each day.
The veterans called for reclaiming the day as Armistice Day, a day to remember the horrors of war and the need for peace.
This is a video of Stacy Bannerman giving her ‘Freedom Medal’ back to George W. Bush at the big doings in Philadelphia to honor…Dubya.
“After the events in DC, some participants went to Philadelphia to join in protests against former President George W. Bush who was receiving an award from former Vice President Joe Biden for his work with veterans. About Face, formerly Iraq Veterans Against the War, organized a protest outside the event, which was joined by other peace activists.”
??? ‘Documents Show the VA Debacle Began Under George W. Bush; The Bush administration was aware of the backlogs and secret waiting lists but failed to fix the problem, mother jones, may 30, 2014
Is it any wonder that so many around the world are experiencing Vertigo?
Now the newsletter hadn’t mentioned nuclear war per se, but that’s the most worrisome form of war to me. As the bellicosity levels are increasingly ratcheted up toward Iran, North Korea, China, and Russia, NATO and US war games are increasing all over the globe, given the realignments of nations (many nuclear) into defense and trading blocks, plus the fact that Trump pulled the US out of the INF treaty…and Herr T having doubled down on Obomba’s increase of ‘tactical, small-yield survivable’ nuclear warheads…oh, my how fraught the nuclear tensions in the world are now! (please feel free to nuke that run-on sentence.)
And yet the US and NATO seem to be ground-zero for most of the global nervous breakdowns and vertigo, including the vast numbers of those in diaspora fleeing their home nations from war, starvation, and other US-created hells in ‘our backyard’. Or is that my bias speaking?
Peace when you can find it; make community with all you can. Love, respect, and solidarity is all we have to get us through the dark days ahead.
(cross-posted from Café Babylon)