Sunday, April 2, 2017

Acting Up for Peace

Now that this administration in all its wisdom has reallocated $54 billion away from services and entitlements to increased military activity and swung a wrecking ball against the Paris climate agreement, it’s time to take a serious, informed look at the role militarism, and warfare play in contributing to climate collapse and ending life on this, Our Earth.

The word Peace may evoke passivity, but Acting Up for Peace prompts engagement. Until we reach critical mass awareness that PEACE is an ACTIVE force for reversing climate change, we will continue turning out for the climate, and staying  home for peace. We need to highlight this life-affirming linkage as part of the April 29 nationwide climate mobilization.

“Peace” is not the opposite of war.

The opposite of war is Acting Up for Peace. Acting Up for Peace means de-militarization, de-militarization of both our national obsession, and our Western state of mind, the state of mind that systematically kills all living things on our Earth. But without looking an opponent in the face, it’s impossible to know how to resist his advances. Here then is militarism’s facial recognition:

•The Pentagon releases more CO2 than the next 153 countries on the list. Only 32 countries release as much or more CO2 than the US military. Through the use of pressure politics, the US horse-traded to remove from international climate discussions any records of fossil fuel consumption resulting from the US war machine.

•While making war to gain control of more oil resources, the Pentagon creates a spiraling vicious circle by burning 340,000 barrels of oil a day, 80 percent of the US Federal energy demand.

•Like all corporations, the military privatizes profit, while socializing cost to the planet by dumping barrels of nuclear waste in the oceans, and toxic chemicals into the soils and water table, both at home and abroad, while avoiding any cleanup responsibility.

•US wars create sacrifice zones in the U.S. and worldwide, contaminated by the use of depleted uranium, land mines and cluster bombs. Of 100 live births in areas of Iraq contaminated with DU, 15 are born severely deformed. Life on the planet cannot survive continued conventional war making, let alone nuclear war.

•The U.S. military is an agent of environmental degradation. An example is its plan to destroy 70 acres of Guam’s Apra Harbor coral reef  to build a naval base.

Art credit: Russell Wray
• With its use of sonar, the U.S. Navy is accountable for the deaths of whales and dolphins, all animals which depend on their own sonar for survival. By sounding and breeching, whales and other sea animals agitate the waters, providing life-sustaining recirculation of nutrients and minerals vital to the oceans and to all life on Earth.

• Instead of making more jobs available for marginalized people, militarization reduces the number of jobs available in all other sectors, including teaching.

• While profiting from its wars, the U.S. bankrupts other countries. The U.S. made $53 million on Gulf War I while costing Jordan a whopping 25 percent, Yemen, 10 percent and 40 low and middle income countries 1 percent of their GDP.

• Militarization is not good for kids, worldwide 33% of them live in poverty (that includes in the U.S.), while the U.S. spends 60% of its budget on militarization.

Three U.S. communities, New Haven, CT, Charlottesville, VA and Montgomery County, MD, have passed resolutions opposing the Trump budget’s reallocation of money away from everything else to the benefit of the military, urging that those budget reallocations be reversed. Your community can, too, by contacting World Beyond War.

Listen to Janet Weil and Cecile Pineda address this issue on Post-Carbon Radio.


Rosalie Bertell: Planet Earth

And Some Good News This Week:

Ooops!  Dissention in the ranks: The Wall Street Journal newsroom goes rogue.
El Salvador first nation to impose a blanket ban on metal mining.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, workers take over failing restaurant and run it as a worker-owned cooperative by leveraging their months of unpaid wages.

Guess what? Clean energy provides 2.5 more jobs than the fossil fuel industry. GO CLEAN!

Canadian study reveals that transition to renewables is ‘irreversible’ no matter what!

One more for the climate: As part of VW’s settlement with the State of California, Air Resources Board and the EPA, VW is pledged to build 400 electric vehicle fast charging stations

Earthjustice sues the Trump administration opposing executive order opening tens of thousands of public lands to coal exploitation.

Toshiba/Westinghouse bankruptcy signals death knell of nuclear contamination industry, halting four behind schedule and over budget reactor construction projects in Georgia and So Carolina.

Seattle sues Trump, Sessions and Homeland’s John Kelly calling threat to strip cities of billions for offering sanctuary unconstitutional.

Trump, Sessions, and Kelly

Following pressure from activists, ING Bank divests its DAPL financing.

People’s Filibuster turns out in 14 cities urging that Gorsuch be deep-sixed.

Forming powerful coalition: On the anniversary of Dr. King’s murder by the state, the nation’s two most powerful social movements unite to protest GOP crackdown on protest.

When individuals make a difference: Son of immigrant father rallies peers, linking poverty, climate change and social challenges.

When individuals make a difference: Solar business expands horizons to bring more solar-related jobs to West Virginia’s unemployed miners.

Americans significantly reduced their consumption of beef 19% from 2005 to  2014.

Global coal boom took a nosedive in 2016, with power-plant construction falling nearly two-thirds from 2015 levels.

Green Republicans (that’s not an oxymoron) recognize the science of climate change and hope to wrest the initiative for change from Democrats.

Facebook new feature allows users to contact local government officials (hoodlums).

New Haven, CT, Charlottesville, VA, and Montgomery County, MD, have passed resolutions opposing the Trump budget’s moving of money from everything else to the military, urging that money be moved in the opposite direction.
Your town or city or county can do the same.
Steps you can take:
  1. Contact to ask for help
  2. Form a coalition of local groups concerned about the cuts, the military increase, or both
  3. Find out how to speak publicly at local government meetings and how to submit a proposal or get one on the agenda for a vote; or ask council members/ aldermen / supervisors to sponsor it.
  4. Collect organizations’ or prominent people’s or lots of people’s names on a petition
  5. Hold rallies, press conferences
  6. Write op-eds, letters, go on radio, tv
  7. Use to calculate local trade-offs
  8. Revise the draft below:
Resolution Proposed for __________

Whereas President Trump has proposed to move $54 billion from human and environmental spending at home and abroad to military spending[i], bringing military spending to well over 60% of federal discretionary spending[ii],

Whereas part of helping alleviate the refugee crisis should be ending, not escalating, wars that create refugees[iii],

Whereas President Trump himself admits that the enormous military spending of the past 16 years has been disastrous and made us less safe, not safer[iv],

Whereas fractions of the proposed military budget could provide free, top-quality education from pre-school through college[v], end hunger and starvation on earth[vi], convert the U.S. to clean energy[vii], provide clean drinking water everywhere it’s needed on the planet[viii], build fast trains between all major U.S. cities[ix], and double non-military U.S. foreign aid rather than cutting it[x],

Whereas even 121 retired U.S. generals have written a letter opposing cutting foreign aid[xi],

Whereas a December 2014 Gallup poll of 65 nations found that the United States was far and away the country considered the largest threat to peace in the world[xii],

Whereas a United States responsible for providing clean drinking water, schools, medicine, and solar panels to others would be more secure and face far less hostility around the world,

Whereas our environmental and human needs are desperate and urgent,

Whereas the military is itself the greatest consumer of petroleum we have[xiii],

Whereas economists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have documented that military spending is an economic drain rather than a jobs program[xiv],

Be it therefore resolved that the ____________ of ___________, ________, urges the United States Congress to move our tax dollars in exactly the opposite direction proposed by the President, from militarism to human and environmental needs.

[i] “Trump to Seek $54 Billion Increase in Military Spending,” The New York Times, February 27, 2017,
[ii] This does not include another 6% for the discretionary portion of veterans’ care. For a breakdown of discretionary spending in the 2015 budget from the National Priorities Project, see
[iii] “43 Million People Kicked Out of Their Homes,” World Beyond War, / “Europe’s Refugee Crisis Was Made in America,” The Nation,
[iv] On February 27, 2017, Trump said, “Almost 17 years of fighting in the Middle East . . . $6 trillion we’ve spent in the Middle East . . . and we’re nowhere, actually if you think about it we’re less than nowhere, the Middle East is far worse than it was 16, 17 years ago, there’s not even a contest . . . we have a hornet’s nest . . . .”
[v] “Free College: We Can Afford It,” The Washington Post, May 1, 2012,
[vi] “The World Only Needs 30 Billion Dollars a Year to Eradicate the Scourge of Hunger,” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,
[vii] “Clean Energy Transition Is A $25 Trillion Free Lunch,” Clean Technica, / See also:
[viii] “Clean Water for a Healthy World,” UN Environment Program,
[ix] “Cost of High Speed Rail in China One Third Lower than in Other Countries,” The World Bank,
[x] Non-military U.S. foreign aid is approximately $25 billion, meaning that President Trump would need to cut it by over 200% to find the $54 billion he proposes to add to military spending
[xi] Letter to Congressional leaders, February 27, 2017,
[xii] See
[xiii] “Fight Climate Change, Not Wars,” Naomi Klein,
[xiv] “The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities: 2011 Update,” Political Economy Research Institute,

9. Be prepared for the argument that a national issue is not your locality’s business:
The most common objection to local resolutions on national topics is that it is not a proper role for a locality. This objection is easily refuted. Passing such a resolution is a moment’s work that costs a locality no resources.

Americans are supposed to be directly represented in Congress. Their local and state governments are also supposed to represent them to Congress. A representative in 
 Congress represents over 650,000 people — an impossible task.Most city council members in the United States take an oath of office promising to support the U.S. Constitution. Representing their constituents to higher levels of government is part of how they do that.

Cities and towns routinely and properly send petitions to Congress for all kinds of requests. This is allowed under Clause 3, Rule XII, Section 819, of the Rules of the House of Representatives. This clause is routinely used to accept petitions from cities, and memorials from states, all across America. The same is established in the Jefferson Manual, the rule book for the House originally written by Thomas Jefferson for the Senate.

In 1798, the Virginia State Legislature passed a resolution using the words of Thomas Jefferson condemning federal policies penalizing France.

In 1967 a court in California ruled (Farley v. Healey , 67 Cal.2d 325) in favor of citizens’ right to place a referendum on the ballot opposing the Vietnam War, ruling: “As representatives of local communities, board of supervisors and city councils have traditionally made declarations of policy on matters of concern to the community whether or not they had power to effectuate such declarations by binding legislation. Indeed, one of the purposes of local government is to represent its citizens before the Congress, the Legislature, and administrative agencies in matters over which the local government has no power. Even in matters of foreign policy it is not uncommon for local legislative bodies to make their positions known.”

Abolitionists passed local resolutions against U.S. policies on slavery. The anti-apartheid movement did the same, as did the nuclear freeze movement, the movement against the PATRIOT Act, the movement in favor of the Kyoto Protocol (which includes at least 740 cities), etc. Our democratic republic has a rich tradition of municipal action on national and international issues.

Karen Dolan of Cities for Peace writes: “A prime example of how direct citizen participation through municipal governments has affected both U.S. and world policy is the example of the local divestment campaigns opposing both Apartheid in South Africa and, effectively, the Reagan foreign policy of “constructive engagement” with South Africa. As internal and global pressure was destabilizing the Apartheid government of South Africa, the municipal divestment campaigns in the United States ramped up pressure and helped to push to victory the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986. This extraordinary accomplishment was achieved despite a Reagan veto and while the Senate was in Republican hands. The pressure felt by national lawmakers from the 14 U.S. states and close to 100 U.S. cities that had divested from South Africa made the critical difference. Within three weeks of the veto override, IBM and General Motors also announced they were withdrawing from South Africa.”

10. Remember that Trump has not proposed a smaller or larger budget. When people only oppose the “cuts,” as the cities of Pittsburgh and Ann Arbor have done, others will reflexively argue against “big government.” But that whole tired debate has nothing to do with Trump’s budget proposal, which is for the same sized budget as last year — except with $54 billion moved from everything else to the military. So you have to oppose the military increase as well as the cuts to everything else, if you want anyone to understand what’s going on — and if we hope to stop it.

11. Use this action to form a new World Beyond War chapter.


No comments:

Post a Comment