Medea Benjamin, the co-founder of Code Pink, sits down with Dennis Trainor, Jr. of Acronym TV on the eve of the largest Climate march in history to discuss the climate justice. “”If you care about the planet, you care about people, workers, immigrants, and you care about whether we are destroying the planet whether by polluting or by polluting through war, says Benjamin, who went on to describe the founding of Code Pink as a climate Justice group. “We started as a group of women who came together around the environment. We were called Unreasonable Women for the planet.” Benjamin and Code Pink have regularly disrupted Senate hearings on ISIS/ ISIL of late, but being part of the People’s Climate March is not something she would miss: “It is all interconnected,” she told me “and I don’t think we have the ability anymore to divide ourselves into these (separate) silos.”
More than 40 actions will take place in several countries. Founded at an international meeting in Berlin in December, Global Action Day is working together with the USNetwork to Stop Drone Surveillance and Warfare, the UK Drone Campaign Network’sWeek of Action and the Global Network’s Keep Space for Peace Week. Both action weeks begin on October 4th. The locally initiated actions will take many forms: “Fly Kites Not Drones” events inspired by drone resistance in Afghanistan; demonstrations at drone warfare US military bases in the US, the UK and Germany; actions at businesses working with Israeli weapons manufacturers; and the initiation of an international consumer boycott against the Honeywell firm, which provides key parts for the armed US Reaper drones as well as for Apple computers. Lectures and conferences are also planned.
A day before the People’s Climate March drove 400,000 people into the streets of New York City, Jill Stein sat down with Dennis Trainor, Jr of Acronym TV and outlined what she sees as the coming green revolution. “The U.N. has sold us out,” says Stein “The UN has become the apologists for false solutions (like) nuclear power, fracking, and so-called clean coal,” says Stein. “The U.N. has sold us out, and it is really important that we take a new direction, with a very clear goal (…) one which puts people, planet and peace over profit.”
An honest person would have described all these events very differently, including what “America stands for.” There could have been at least some acknowledgement of how the United States in the post-World War II era has often relied on “the barrel of a gun” – or cruise missiles and smart bombs – to impose its will on other countries, including “regime change” in Iraq in 2003 and in Libya in 2011. Obama could have acknowledged, too, that the United States has often used coups d’etat to unseat governments not to its liking, even when the leaders have been popularly elected. A partial list would include Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, Allende in Chile in 1973, Aristide in Haiti twice, Chavez in Venezuela briefly in 2002, Zelaya in Honduras in 2009, Morsi in Egypt in 2013, and now Yanukovych in Ukraine in 2014. But instead Obama chose to present a simplistic, propagandistic version of what has transpired in Ukraine.
Whether it was justice only for the benefit of the victors is our challenge. Will we let international law be a tool only for the powerful? Or will we use Nuremberg as a tool for “Reason over Power”? If we let the Nuremberg Principles be used only against the enemies of the powerful it will have been victor’s justice and we will be “putting the poisoned chalice to our own lips.” If instead we, we the people, work, demand and, succeed in holding our own high criminals and government up to these same laws it will not have been a victor’s court. Justice Jackson’s words are an important guide today, “The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must also reach men who possess themselves of great power and make deliberate and concerted use of it to set in motion evils.”
The answer is social justice and reparations, which can only be achieved by resistance to oppression and winning power to the people. Those who are genuinely concerned with peace must fight for it. A real desire for peace is a desire for social justice and reparations. Those who want peace must take a genuine stance for social justice. We must distinguish ourselves from those who would settle for an imperialist peace that does nothing but protect the status quo. Let us say what we know to be the truth: the only real peace is peace through revolution! This is not to say that all the conditions have ripened for revolution. This is not a call for revolution on this day or at this moment. It is a demand that we advance to contend with those who would have us accept an imperialist peace that keeps us forever oppressed and exploited.
My support for the Syrian revolution is unconditional and for that reason I am opposed to the U.S. intervention. The United States and its regional allies have done everything to undermine the Syrian revolution. Most importantly they have done so by supporting the Syrian National Coalition against the grassroots movements. U.S. allies such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar initially backed Assad and later funded and equipped the most reactionary forces in the opposition. These same powers (plus Iraq) are now forming a coalition to fight ISIS. But these countries played a major role, directly and indirectly, in making ISIS a regional power. The United States and Saudi Arabia were instrumental in the creation and funding of global jihadism since the 1980s to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. The 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq led to the emergence of al Qaeda in Iraq. Qatar is helping Jabhat al-Nusra while Turkey was, until recently, allowing ISIS to operate freely and cross its borders unchecked. The U.S. intervention in Syria (and Iraq) will kill many innocent civilians. It will also fulfill ISIS’s wish to become the primary anti-American force in the region and thereby help the terrorist organization recruit more fighters.
On September 26 in Melbourne, Australia a group of anti-war and pro Palestinian activists shut down two buildings of the global arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin. The action is on going at the time of this release with the activists locking down Lockheed Martins access gates and dropping a banner off one of their buildings stating ‘Medicare Not Warfare. Scrap the F35 Deal’. Another banner is attached to their fence and can be seen from the Princess Highway, it reads ‘War Profiteers – Your Tax Dollars Making a Killing’ Kaz Cochrane, co-founder of Whistleblower, Activists & Citizens Alliance (WACA) stated: “As Australia embarks on yet another violent military campaign in the Middle East we’re asked to accept the justification of moral imperative to rescue ‘desperate people’; the same people our political class dismissed through the cynical euphemism of ‘collateral damage’, when they were killed in the 100’s of thousands by our allied forces over the last 10,” she said, adding “given the Federal cabinet have committed us to this destructive and inept war campaign the Whistleblower, Activists & Citizens Alliance are determined to expose the real motivation to perpetual war – Perpetual Profit.”
A few dozen proponents of nonviolence demonstrated in front of the White House the morning after U.S.-led airstrikes on targets in Syria. They attempted to deliver a letter to President Obama calling for drastic changes in policy regarding militarism, poverty and the environment, and they engaged in a civil disobedience action by blocking a White House entrance. Five were arrested. At the same time, President Obama delivered remarks about the airstrikes in front of Marine One on the White House lawn, touting the strength of a multinational coalition. He then departed for the United Nations in New York. Signs at the protest said things such as “No U.S. Military Intervention in Syria,” “Reparations Not More Bombs,” and “There Is No Military Solution.” Three demonstrators wore orange jumpsuits and black hoods and carried a banner protesting Guantanamo Bay prison. Several wore blue scarves, symbolizing their identification as global citizens, and expressing solidarity with women and youth in Afghanistan, where the blue scarf movement originated.
The New York Times reports that the Obama administration is planning a massive increase in nuclear arms spending: A sprawling new plant here in a former soybean field makes the mechanical guts of America’s atomic warheads. Bigger than the Pentagon, full of futuristic gear and thousands of workers, the plant, dedicated last month, modernizes the aging weapons that the United States can fire from missiles, bombers and submarines. It is part of a nationwide wave of atomic revitalization that includes plans for a new generation of weapon carriers. A recent federal study put the collective price tag, over the next three decades, at up to a trillion dollars. This expansion comes under a president who campaigned for “a nuclear-free world” and made disarmament a main goal of American defense policy. Instead, because of political deals and geopolitical crises, the Obama administration is engaging in extensive atomic rebuilding while getting only modest arms reductions in return.
President Obama’s decision to bomb Syria stands in stark violation of international law, the UN Charter, and the requirements of the U.S. Constitution. It contradicts his own commitment, stated a year ago in the UN General Assembly, to reverse Washington’s “perpetual war footing.” And it portends disaster for the people of Syria, the region, and much of the world. The White House stated goal is to destroy the headquarters of the violent and extremist ISIS militia. But you can’t bomb extremism out of existence. The U.S. bombs do not fall on “extremism,” they are falling on Raqqah, a 2,000 year-old Syrian city with a population of more than a quarter of a million people – men, women and children who had no say in the take-over of their city by ISIS. The Pentagon is bombing targets like the post office and the governor’s compound, and the likelihood of large number of civilian casualties as well as devastation of the ancient city, is almost certain.
The historic People’s Climate March drew more than 300,000 people to call for action to deal with climate change on September 21, 2014. The march included people from a variety of issues who understood how climate change impacts a wide range of actions. Veterans and peace activists recognized that the US military is the largest institutional climate polluter in the world and continues to fight wars for oil and gas. Critics of the economy — including anti-capitalists, socialists, those advocating a green economy and others. Indigenous peoples who know see their lands are destroyed from climate polluting fuels, students and youth who see their future at risk, survivors of storms like Sandy and so many others came together to tell the UN the world needs to act to transform the economy and lifestyles, especially of the wealthiest who use the most carbon-based fuels. The march precedes the UN coming to New York City this week. The UN will be met by further protests which will be kicked off tomorrow with Flood Wall Street.
World War II was the last time Congress officially declared war. Since then, the conflicts we’ve called “wars” — from Vietnam through to the second Iraq War — have actually been congressional “authorizations of military force.” And more recently, beginning with the War Powers Act of 1973, presidential war powers have expanded so much that, according to the Congressional Research Service, it’s no longer clear whether a president requires congressional authorization at all. The recent US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will likely be the last time, in the foreseeable future, that the United States wages war in the way that’s most familiar to us: a lot of combat troops on the ground in a foreign country with lots of money and support and an ostensibly achievable objective.