Sanders, Hoh, and Finding The Ability to Act
Hey, happy saturday !
This video was suggested by Mathew Hoh, who I will feature below.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
The Divine in the Resistance
The fight to end racism, greed and militarism that foster America’s wars at home and abroad.
Matthew Hoh https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/09/12/divine-resistance
But first a few thoughts/observations I would like to share.
We live in an error/era where speaking out has increased risks.
We spend a great deal of time here analyzing history, current reality, and futuring, which often leaves us with little hope for the future.
This can be debilitating. As jakkalbessie and I were told in the 80's during a personal growth training by an Israeli immigrant: "There is no hope, so fck it and let the good times roll.' He also posited that the Universe rewards Action, Not Thinking.
In some respects are we not a little like the end of the worlder that says this is it, this weekend? Nah. Not that bad.
But I think some might agree that it is a depressing way to live, this life of the 'realist' .
Sometimes I long for the heady days of my youth, back in the 60's where we knew war was wrong and though we were up against unimaginable odds, we had a vision and a song for the future and we acted. Ah well.
So much for 'my thoughts.'
Run Bernie Run? Bernie Sanders Hires a FP Advisor
Today I went back and looked at the comments in gjohnsit's essay on Bernie Sander's foreign policy speech.
Sanders disappointed many with his lack of FP emphasis during the primary and disgusted many with his support for warmonger Clinton afterward.
Still I find myself feeling glad that he made this speech. I found myself musing, 'If he is doing this in the lead up to another run would I vote for him? '
If you have not already done so, would like to recommend this The Intercept article:
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) September 22, 2017
His discomfort with the topic is palpable, but the truth is that the 76-year-old Sanders is far from a foreign policy neophyte. In the 1980s, as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, he was an outspoken critic of U.S. interventions in Latin America, becoming the highest-ranking elected U.S. official to visit Nicaragua and meet with President Daniel Ortega (which earned him the soubriquet “Sandernista”). He even went on honeymoon to the Soviet Union in 1988, as part of his effort to establish a sister city program between Burlington and Yaroslavl.
Since 1991, Sanders has served in Congress, as a member of the House and then the Senate, debating and voting on military action, foreign treaties, trade deals, arms sales, international aid, and climate change agreements. Few critics have paused to consider the fact that a President Sanders would have arrived in the White House in January 2017 with far more foreign policy experience under his belt than Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. (Oh, and of course former reality TV star Donald J. Trump.)
Nevertheless the impression persists that Sanders is out of his depth when it comes to the outside world. Perhaps in anticipation of another presidential bid in three years time, the Vermont senator has been taking steps to correct that impression. So far this year, Sanders has hired Matt Duss, a respected foreign affairs analyst and former president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP), as his foreign policy adviser, and has given speeches at the liberal Jewish lobbying group, J Street, where he condemned “Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian territories” as being “contrary to fundamental American values,” and at the centrist Carnegie Endowment of International Peace, where he rebuked Russian President Vladimir Putin for “trying to weaken the transatlantic alliance.”
The interview the day before his FP speech is complete with interesting links and well worth the read imo.
So Sanders goes there, calls out US regime change history and argues for diplomacy going forward except in cases of genocide.
Have to hand it to Sanders, that took some courage imo.
The Republicans have already chosen Sanders at the new whipping target after Obama for introducing improved Medicare for All. They are probably now jumping for joy that he has had the audacity to publicly challenge the duopoly's endless war paradigm. How many have done that? Does it matter that Sanders did?
Hopefully he stays safe!
"The Divine in the Resistance"
Several years ago I remember being surprised and then elated to read that a State Department official resigned over Obama's surge in Afghanistan.
Matthew Hoh is a member of the advisory boards of Expose Facts, Veterans For Peace and World Beyond War. In 2009 he resigned his position with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of the escalation of the Afghan War by the Obama Administration. He previously had been in Iraq with a State Department team and with the U.S. Marines. He is a Senior Fellow with the Center for International Policy.
Climate change, kleptocracy, you name it, there is much to be cynical, depressed and feel hopeless about.
So for me it's good to read about people like Sanders and Ho who continue to take action rather than just giving up on the future.
This past year, through my work with Veterans For Peace I was given the opportunity to stand in solidarity with resistance movements in Okinawa, at Standing Rock and in Palestine. Veterans For Peace sends delegations of former military members, including combat veterans like myself, to stand with, learn from and assist indigenous movements that are struggling and fighting back, non-violently, against the policies, occupations, degradations and attacks that are the consequences and realities of American militarism and imperialism, both in the United States and abroad. Where, as veterans, we once worked on behalf of the United States military and government, enforcing its claims, policing its overseas possessions and conquests, and violently subjugating those unwilling to submit, we now seek to add our voices and bodies to those who, undeterred and in pursuit of their own self-determination and dignity, are challenging the American Empire, its war machine, and its allies and proxies.
For someone like me, who had professionally studied war and insurgencies for years, and then executed such knowledge on behalf of the US government in support of the occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq, being on the other side of the rifle was heartbreaking and difficult, as seeing the military and police enforcing the racist occupations, political oppression and environmental destruction in Okinawa, at Standing Rock and in Palestine was a mirror held up to me, reflecting my own past, my own mistakes, my own collaboration with greed, hate and subjugation. Being allowed the opportunity to stand with these resistance movements was rewarding and it was healing, as it was a form of recovery for my moral injury and guilt from the wars. I can never undo or repair what I took part in in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I can, going forward in my life, live a life working with others for peace and justice, both at home and abroad.
The commonness and similarities that exist between these resistance movements are many: a firm belief in and understanding of non-violence; the use of music and song; and the graciousness and openness to outsiders, like myself and other white veterans of the American military whose relationship to the occupation forces and powers cannot be ignored or dismissed, but are understood by those resistance communities as the actions of the colonial and imperial powers and not the actions, will or soul of the individual soldier.
However, there is also something that runs very deep and very true, and that exists within all these resistance movements. Something prime and underlining, a force, one that is infinite and enduring, is the intangible reality that exists in all of the men, women and children who are struggling for their society’s freedom, for the preservation of their land, water and air, and for the chance for their children and their children’s children to live lives not held in obeyance to the guns and violence of a foreign power. I have no other choice for my description of what I witnessed and stood among than to use the word divine to explain what it is that moves, sustains and carries forward these movements and people. Words like justice, peace, freedom, and safety have their well deserved places as descriptions of what these movements strive for, but it is the word divine that I come back to when I think of what it is which motivates, maintains and upholds these movements and what it is that links them together across continents, religions and races, and, ultimately, time.
I have stepped out there a bit from time to time in my life. During the Cold War I quit teaching for a few years and with my wife jakkalbessie's support promoted and helped to organize US/USSR citizens diplomacy projects on trips to Russia, Ukraine. Volunteered with Beyond War. Got involved with Model United Nations when I had relatives who believed that the UN was coming for them. Served on the teacher's union board. Worked on education projects with the Center for Non-proliferation Studies of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Marched with Occupy Santa Fe.
Little things, really, compared to Bernie Sanders and Matthew Hoh.
Still, taking action, even though seemingly futile, has been good for my soul.
As I struggle with current reality and the bleakness of the future, it seems to help me keep on keeping to read of others taking bold action.