War with China: A Propaganda Delusion

A dangerous delusion has taken hold in US political and media circles regarding the prospect of a war with China. In order to avoid the calamitous outcome that would ensue from such a war, the public should be aware of the historic and technical facts that argue against such folly. The following discussion will provide this information and explain the perverse incentives motivating US business, political, military, and media elites in their efforts to present China as a hostile power that must be confronted militarily.

Historical Background

China emerged as a powerful modern state after a long period of suffering at the hands of exploitative foreign powers (1840-1945) followed by a bitter civil war (1937-1949), and a major war against the US in Korea (1950-1953). Adding to the challenges of repeated warfare was the internal political turmoil of Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward (1958-1962) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Only after the death of Mao in 1976 did China adopt a political system that enabled rapid modernization and economic growth, resulting in China’s emergence as a major world power.

Unlike the United States, which has not experienced the suffering of war on its own soil since 1865, the Chinese have a long history of episodic bloody conflict, external and internal, covering the last century, including border wars with Russia, India, and Vietnam. China is not a nation that backs down from war if its vital interests are threatened.

The large and rapidly growing Chinese economy, which is on course to surpass the GDP of the United States within the next 10 years, has enabled China to modernize its armed forces. China has a small but potent nuclear deterrent, a Navy with more ships than the US, and a large, well-equipped standing army double the size of that of the US. Although the US military has many high-tech advantages, such as stealth technology and naval aviation, the Chinese have developed offsetting advanced weapons systems, such as precision-guided ballistic missiles capable of sinking warships.


Chinese DF-26 “Carrier Killer” missiles – Est. unit Cost: $2 million

China views the reunification of Taiwan with the mainland as the most important unfinished business of the restoration of China to its historic position as the dominant power in Asia. US support of Taiwan, the break-away state established by the defeated faction in the Chinese Civil war, is a major point of contention between the two nations, and a possible cause of armed conflict. The other likely cause of conflict is territorial claims over the waters of the South China Sea, an area encompassing strategic waterways and rich with natural resources. Forcible attempts by the US to block Chinese unification with Taiwan or occupy islands claimed by China in the South China Sea would likely trigger a war. What would this war look like?

The Realities of War with China

Americans have grown accustomed to swift initial victory in warfare against weak adversaries, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, but the US has not fought a war with a peer power armed with equivalent weaponry since 1945. Thus, the US risks encountering serious unfavorable technical and operational surprises should it undertake a war with China. Although military planners make estimates of adversary capabilities in simulations and exercises, the test of combat is the final determinant of outcomes. No one in the US military knows if the Chinese missiles designed to sink US aircraft carriers can do so in a shooting war, and no one knows if the complex logistics infrastructure required by US high-tech weapons deployed in the Western Pacific can survive in a high-tempo combat environment. Why, then would US leaders contemplate such a war?


USS Nimitz Aircraft Carrier – Est. cost: $13 Billion

There have been many historical instances of outdated military thinking leading to catastrophe. Perhaps the most terrible is that of WWI, a conflict that resulted in far more carnage than political and military leaders expected. On the eve of WWI, there was enthusiasm on all sides for what was expected to be a short and decisive war. The opposing generals has clever plans for swiftly defeating their adversaries. What they failed to understand was the radical transformation of the battlefield that advances in antipersonnel weaponry would cause. The devastating effects of massed artillery and machine gun fire would result in infantry casualties in the millions and a bloody, exhausting war of attrition that left deep scars in European politics and created the conditions for WWII.

What is known about a potential war with China is that the logistical constraints imposed by geography overwhelmingly favor the Chinese in a war fought off their coast against an adversary from other side of the Pacific. In such a war, the US would be heavily reliant on a small number of Western Pacific bases such as Guam and Okinawa. These bases are likely to be attacked and destroyed in the early days of hostilities, leaving US naval forces stranded with uncertain prospects of support from nervous Asian allies. Long-range stealth bombers flying from the US could inflict some damage on China, but the sortie rate (the number of strike missions flown) would be too low to be decisive.

The Chinese, on the other hand, could swarm Taiwan and the South China Sea with naval and aviation assets, absorbing heavy losses and still sweep US forces out of the theater. At that point, escalation to a nuclear exchange would be the only remaining military option for the US, but the relatively small Chinese nuclear force would still be capable of destroying dozens of US cities, an unacceptable outcome for any sane US President.

The general public is poorly informed regarding the characteristics of modern missile warfare. Despite decades of costly efforts to develop missile interceptors, the US has not been able to overcome the basic problem of missile defense. The defender must protect all vulnerable assets with costly systems that can intercept a high percentage of incoming missiles, but the attacker can make concentrated attacks selectively, using surprise, decoys, and overwhelming numbers, to score precise hits that damage or destroy targets. (This imbalance was demonstrated recently in successful missile attacks on Saudi petroleum facilities and US airbases in Iraq.) The US simply lacks the resources to put an impenetrable missile defense umbrella over every vulnerable ship, airbase, and supply depot in the Western Pacific, and the Chinese have a lot of missiles to throw against these targets.

The damage to the US from defeat in a war with China would be far-reaching. Apart from the military casualties and material losses, the economic impact of disrupting trade and communications in Asia would be enormous, probably triggering a global recession. The diplomatic impact would likely be the destruction of long-standing US alliances with other Asian powers, including India, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philipines, and the Southeast Asian nations

The US Military has conducted many simulations of an armed conflict with China involving Taiwan and the South China Sea, and China wins (at a heavy cost) in most of these exercises, mainly because of geographical and logistical advantages. If war with China is a losing proposition from an analytical perspective, what sustains the delusion?

Cui Bono

The Latin expression “Cui Bono” (To whom is it a benefit?) is the name of a method that has been used since ancient times to analyze motives behind political actions. Consider who benefits from sustaining the propaganda delusion of war with China:

Defense Contractors benefit from the incessant arms purchases associated with preparations for war. Because the Chinese can afford to steadily modernize their armed forces, the US defense industry can successfully market new weapons to counter actual and perceived advantages in Chinese weaponry. The US defense industry has enormous political influence because of large campaign donations and support for institutions and academics promoting bellicose foreign policies.

Military Professionals benefit from improved opportunities for command and promotion in growing organizations, such as the newly established Space Force. More surface ships and aircraft squadrons require more officers and commanders. New high-tech weapons projects require military managers who can look forward to high-salaried jobs with defense contractors after taking early retirement.

Politicians benefit from Xenophobia and war fever, particularly if there is a racist component involved. In WWII, the US had no compunction in putting Japanese Americans into internment camps, while German Americans were left unmolested. By depicting the Chinese as totalitarian Communists bent on world domination, politicians can easily whip up war fever among a large segment of the electorate. President Trump has already begun building up anti-Chinese sentiment by referring to COVID-19 as the “China Virus.”

Media Corporations benefit by generating Internet clicks and TV ratings from an audience excited by wars and rumors of wars. Danger and violence sell, and tensions threatening a major war are a sure winner for elevating viewership. The concentration of US media power in a handful of major corporations makes it easier for governments and arms makers to influence “news” coverage in a bellicose manner. Government-friendly US media companies now routinely employ ex-military and former intelligence agency personnel as commentators on foreign affairs, thus strengthening what is effectively a pro-war propaganda collaboration with the national security establishment.

The above players are engaged in an alliance of convenience to promote a war that cannot be waged successfully. Nevertheless, by keeping the danger of this delusional war before the public, they succeed in selling costly weapons, advancing military careers, winning elections, and earning media profits.

Conclusion

The rational arguments against the US engaging in a war with China are overwhelming, and it is only the power of the US political/media propaganda apparatus that has given this idea public credibility. Perverse incentives motivate arms makers, politicians, the military, and media leaders to sustain this delusion and run the risk of the accidental or intentional outbreak of a war which would have ruinous consequences for the US. Citizens should act to persuade their leaders to stop the drum beat of war before a propaganda delusion turns into a military disaster.

Haig Hovaness
GPAX Secretary
September 3, 2020

Hiroshima/Nagasaki Bombings Student Resources

Student Resources about the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima/Nagasaki (H/N)

By Dianne Blais for the GREEN PARTY PEACE ACTION COMMITTEE (GPAX)

These Resources include: 

Intro – info about the H/N bombings

Aug. 6-9, 2020 EVENTS

Anti-Nuclear Organizations that include H/N bombings remembrance

Webinars about the H/N bombings

Books about the bombings

Articles about the bombings

Films about the bombings

Miscellaneous:  Photos,  Sample Program to Remember H/N and petition

 

A good intro to the H/N bombings is “The Untold History of the U.S.”

Oliver Stone’s 2012 12-part series (free on Netflix and supplemented by a 750-page companion book) is a condensed analysis of WWII and the H/N bombings.

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) – US section created this online 1945 timeline. https://www.vtwilpfgathering.com/timeline

WebsiteUN Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)

https://www.un.org/disarmament/education/slideshow/hibakusha/ Links to many resources, including Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs collection of testimonies from Hibakusha

https://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/un/disarmament/arms/testimony_of_hibakusha/index.html

 

Hiroshima – “Original Child Bomb” by Thomas Merton (1961 poem has 41 sections) https://inaspaciousplace.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/hiroshima-original-child-bomb-by-thomas-merton/

 

 

FOR AUGUST 6-9, 2020

https://www.hiroshimanagasaki75.org/  more than 160 organizations working together to create 18 hours of video streaming on August 6 and 9

 

From August 6 at 8:15am, the time that the nuclear bomb was detonated over Hiroshima, until August 9 at 11:02am, the time the nuclear bomb was detonated over Nagasaki, peace activists around the world will undertake individual and/or group actions as part of a ‘Peace Wave’

ReThinkMedia.org is a media company that is a gathering place for organizations to share resources for the 75th Anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

75 Years and Counting: From Hiroshima to Hope –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RE6hCc6Mo2Q&feature=youtu.be

film featuring performances and readings, interviews with hibakusha, and traditional koto and shakuhachi flute along with beautiful images of candle-lit lanterns floating on Green Lake (Seattle, Wash).

 

Groups against nuclear weapons that support remembering the H/N bombings.

Go to these groups’ web-sites for videos, articles, and links to further information.

From Wikipedia:  Nuclear disarmament groups include the Campaign for Nuclear DisarmamentPeace ActionPugwash Conferences on Science and World AffairsGreenpeaceSoka Gakkai InternationalInternational Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear WarMayors for PeaceGlobal Zero, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

U.S. elder statesmen Sam NunnWilliam PerryHenry Kissinger, and George Shultz have called upon governments to embrace the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons & have created the Nuclear Security Project to advance this agenda. Organizations such as Global Zero, an international non-partisan group of 300 world leaders dedicated to achieving nuclear disarmament, have also been established.

 

Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons www.abolition2000.org

 

PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY (PSR) mobilizes physicians and health professionals to advocate for climate solutions and a nuclear weapons-free world.  Is local /state/national/international organization.,

The Council for a Livable World promotes policies to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons and to minimize the risk of war through lobbying and by helping elect and support Members of Congress who share our goals.

 

United for Peace & Justice www.unitedforpeace.org a multi-issue network that takes nuclear weapons dangers seriously

 

Prevent Nuclear War.org Back from the Brink: The Call to Prevent Nuclear War is a national grassroots campaign seeking to lead us away from the dangerous path we are on – lays out five common-sense steps that the United States should take to reform its nuclear policy.

 

UNFOLD ZERO is a platform for United Nations (UN) focused initiatives and actions for the achievement of a nuclear weapons free world. UNFOLD ZERO aims to unfold the path to zero nuclear weapons through effective steps and measures facilitated by the UN General Assembly, UN Security Council, UN Secretary-General and other UN bodies.

 

Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) has info & documentary films   https://www.nti.org/

 

The World Peace Council (WPC) is an international organization that advocates universal disarmament,  The U.S. Peace Council  represents its American section.

 

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is a coalition of non-governmental organizations promoting adherence to and implementation of the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty.

 

World BEYOND War is a global nonviolent movement to advance the idea of not just preventing any particular war but abolishing the entire institution (2014).

Mayors for Peace “No more Hiroshima! No more Nagasaki!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03aRCUSsyCg

 

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

WILPF was founded in 1915 during World War I, with Jane Addams as its first president.

 

LOCAL GROUPS

Tri-Valley CAREs Communities Against a Radioactive Environment From Hiroshima to a Healthy Tomorrow: Embracing Our Common Humanity —Annual protest and rally held at the gates of Livermore Laboratory,

 

Since 1982, the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Committee of the National Capital Area has been organizing for the abolition of nuclear weapons and power and in support of nuclear victims.

 

Prevent Nuclear War.org Back from the Brink: The Call to Prevent Nuclear War is a national grassroots campaign seeking to lead us away from the dangerous path we are on – lays out five common-sense steps that the United States should take to reform its nuclear policy.

 

Hiroshima City University (HCU) contains the affiliated Hiroshima Peace Institute (HPI)

 

Minneapolis St. Paul Hiroshima Nagasaki Commemoration Committee (HNCC)

No More Bombs based in Washington state

Webinars about the H/N bombings

7/25/2020 – Four historians explained that the US didn’t need to drop the bomb, we’ve been told a myth.   https://youtu.be/7hJVHsQ7f0k   What Every Global Citizen Needs to Know About the Decision to A-Bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Hiroshima Symposium Hibakusha Testimony: Hiroshima 1945 to the U.S. 2020  (March 5, 2020). Recording available to watch online.  Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis  https://iu.mediaspace.kaltura.com/playlist/details/1_k83bkcoj

IUPUI’s Japanese Studies Program hosted “Hiroshima Nagasaki A-bomb Poster Exhibition,” which includes the testimony of Dr. Hideko Tamura, an A-bomb survivor and Hiroshima Peace Ambassador, followed by a symposium with guests, Dr. Roy Tamashiro, Professor Emeritus from Webster University and specialist in Peace Studies, as well as Ari Beser, the grandson of the only crew member who participated in both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

Books about the bombings

One Sunny Day by Atomic bomb survivor Dr. Hideko Tamura Snider (1996)

Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War by Susan Southard (Viking 2015) — tells the story of five survivors, all of whom where teenagers in 1945, and the life of the entire city, over the next 70 years. Documents the enduring impact of nuclear war. www.susansouthard.com

Choosing Life: My father’s journey from Hollywood to Hiroshima by Leslie A. Sussan https://hiroshima-choosinglife.com/  The ripples of one bomb on four generations and two continents seen at a level of human compassion.

 

African Americans Against the Bomb

Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement

By Vincent Intondi   https://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=23490

The Atomic Bomb on my Back.  Hibakusha (atomic bomb sufferer/survivor), Taniguchi, at age 16, was badly burned by the blast, and spent ten years in recovery. This account of his life, during which he lived with “the atomic bomb on his back,” is a moving tale of survival and activism, as he dedicated his life to the abolition of nuclear weapons.  https://www.rootstockpublishing.com/rootstock-books/the-atomic-bomb-on-my-back he would often show the photo of his burns to illustrate the intense suffering that resulted from the bombings. He spent a total of more than three-and-a-half years in the hospital after the bombing.

Dr. Joseph Gerson is Executive Director of the Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security and Vice-President of the International Peace Bureau. His most recent book is Empire and the Bomb: How the US Uses Nuclear Weapons to Dominate the World. His previous books include The Sun Never Sets and With Hiroshima Eyes.

 

Articles about the bombings

“Intersectionality of the bomb” https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2020-07/features/reflections-injustice-racism-bomb

 

Films about the bombings

Hibakusha, Our Life to Live and Article 9 Comes to America by David Rothauser
Hibakusha
https://youtu.be/goiKsKgsYdM
Article 9
https://youtu.be/yui6xLdX3Aw

The Moment in Time: The Manhattan Project | 2000 | 56min | Directed by John Bass |
This Library of Congress and Los Alamos National Laboratory co-production uses interviews and oral histories with many of the key Manhattan Project scientists who helped build the bomb. The film charts the fear that the Nazis were working on an atomic bomb, and follows its development up to the explosion of the ‘Trinity” bomb on July 16, 1945 with scarce consideration given to the population living in the vicinity.

 

ICAN Film: The Beginning of the End of Nuclear Weapons http://theendofnuclearweapons.com

This documentary film about the efforts to bring about a nuclear weapon ban treaty into international law and the role of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is told through the voices of leading activists that are part of the coalition of ICAN. This 56 minute documentary is available by contacting the producer through the website listed. It includes a brief history of the bomb and anti-nuclear activism and moves to the historic steps taken since 2010 to turn the treaty from a dream into a reality.

Hiroshima: BBC History of World War II  https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0475296/

The docudrama recounts the world’s first nuclear attack and examines the repercussions. Covering a three-week period from the Trinity test to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the program chronicles America’s political gamble and the planning for the momentous event. Archival film, dramatizations, and special effects depict what occurred aboard the Enola Gay and inside the nuclear blast.

 

White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (2007) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0911010/ Using extensive interviews with survivors and archival footage, an examination reveals the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

 

MISCELLANEOUS:  Photos,  Sample Program  & petition

Photo Essay

https://time.com/after-the-bomb/  Powerful Photos of Survivors paired with their personal stories.  A selection of the work of Photographer Haruka Sakaguchi.  Suitable for posters, handouts, display and readings.

 

Sample Program to raise awareness of Hiroshima/Nagasaki w/ Readings, Songs & Film

Hiroshima Day  (original by Barbara Taft, Greater Phoenix AZ)

7:00     Program begins with Song – “Blowin’ in the Wind”,  “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”

Film Excerpts: “White Light, Black Rain :

7:20     Slide Show on Hiroshima, until mostly finished, then begin:

Songs:  “Song of Peace (Findlandia),  “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream”

Poem:  “I Come and Stand at Every Door,” by Nazim Hikmet

7:40     Reading of Toyomi Hashimoto from play “Most Dangerous Women” written by Jan Maher

VOICE  (Narrator)
August 6, 1945.  Hiroshima.  Perhaps the darkest day in a dark decade. Three days later the United States drops a second bomb on the city of Nagasaki.

Toyomi Hashimoto remembers that day: Though at each anniversary the skies over our city are blue and peaceful, the memory of that day in 1945 still troubles my body and soul. In spite of the wartime conditions, my husband and our little son and I lived a happy life. On the morning of August 9, 1945, I walked to the gate to see my husband off to work.  My three-year-old boy, Takashi, went out to play. I was alone in the house when, in the distance, I heard an approaching airplane. “Japanese?” I wondered.  I stepped outside to see my son running to me, calling, “Airplane! Airplane!”

The moment we reentered the house, there was a blinding flash followed by a tremendous explosion.  The roof of the house caved in, pinning us under a mountain of debris.  Hours passed.  I do not know how many.

Then I heard my son crying softly and calling for mother and father.  He was alive.  I tried to reach for him, but a huge beam immobilized me.  I could not break free. Though I screamed for help, no one came.

Soon I heard voices calling names of neighbors. My son was bravely trying to crawl from under a heap of clay that had been one of the walls. When he turned and faced me, I saw that his right eye was obliterated with blood.  Once again, I tried to move, but the beam would not budge. I screamed so loud and long that I must have lost my voice.  I called to the people I could see scurrying about, but they did not hear me.  No one answered until the lady next door finally pulled my son out of the wreckage.

I suddenly became aware of a sharp pain in my breast, left hand, and stomach. As I tried again to crawl out, I saw that a huge nail was stuck in my stomach. “Fire! Fire!” I could hear people shouting around me. It was either break free or burn to death. With a violent wrench, I pulled myself from under the beam.  In doing so, I ripped the flesh of my stomach. Blood spurted from an agonizing gash in my body.

I was at last out of the ruined house.  Still, my son was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps the kind lady next door had led him to safety. I had to search for him, but I could only limp slowly because of the pain in my stomach. As I crept slowly along, people more seriously injured than I clutched at my feet and pleaded for help and water. I heard loud voices shouting, “Leave the old people!  Help the children first!”  All I could do was promise to come back with water, if it was possible.

“Thank heaven you’re alive!” I heard a familiar voice saying.  Turning, with intense happiness, I saw my husband, who was holding our son in his arms. We climbed to the top of a hill together, walking among countless corpses.

On the hilltop, a kind man gave us bed sheets, candles, sugar, and other useful things. At once we began to try to do something for Takashi, who had lost consciousness.  After a while, as we dripped sugar water into his mouth, he awakened.  He had already lost the sight of his right eye. Myriad slivers of        glass were embedded in his head, face, body, arms, and legs. An air-raid alarm, still in effect, prohibited lighting candles. In the pitch darkness, my husband and I picked out as many pieces of glass from his body as we could find.  So full of life and energy until that moment!  Now blind in one eye and covered with blood and dirt!

Still he bore everything bravely and only asked, “Am I being a good boy?”

SHE stands quietly, head bowed.

 

Petition:  Join the Hibakusha in calling for an end to nuclear weapons by signing their petition here: https://www.hiroshimanagasaki75.org/hibakusha-appeal

 

 

 

Kent State Shootings

Anti-draft Action Day, Miami University, and the Rebellion that led to the Kent State Shootings.    …Logan Martinez

“May 4th is the 50th Anniversary of the shootings at Kent State University.  We are asking people here in Ohio and across the country join in 4 minutes of silence at noon on May 4th to remember Kent State, Jackson State, and all the victims of our unjust wars.” (Please share with the attachment. Thanks.)

April 15, 1970 was a nationwide anti-draft action day.  Here in Dayton there was a sit-in at the local draft board of about 35 people.  At Miami University in Oxford, OH there was an anti-draft peace rally.  At the end of the rally a student spoke “it was not enough to protest the war, people have to take action.” At that point, they marched over and occupied the Navy ROTC building.  Later the black students who were organizing for a black studies program and an increase in black enrollment joined the occupation.  Over 300 students were arrested making national news and rocking Ohio.

With the announcement of the invasion of Cambodia, protests occurred across the country with major protests at Ohio State and Ohio University.  The week before Kent State, over 1,000 students were arrested at Ohio State protesting the war and black students there were also demanding a black studies program.

During the spring of 1970, the Nixon administration orchestrated the overthrow of the Cambodian government, setting up a military dictatorship and paving the way for a US invasion.  After 11 years of war in Vietnam, the American people were growing weary of the cost in lives and money. Across the country student protests had increased both in numbers and militancy.

At Kent State there was a sharp confrontation between police and student protestors.  On Saturday night May 2nd an unknown arsonist burned the Army ROTC building to the ground. Governor Rhodes called out the National Guard and on May 4 they fired into unarmed protesters killing 4 and wounding 9. Across the US, campuses and communities erupted into massive protests against the war, the draft, and the shootings at Kent State. Hundreds of college campuses were shut down as students went on strike, the largest student strike in US history.

In Mississippi, two black students were killed the next week. Black and white students united in calling for black studies courses, more minority enrollment at colleges, and opposition to the war.

US Wars continue throughout the Middle East and Africa. Billions of dollars are being squandered in this quagmire.  Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, two of the longest wars in our history. American foreign policy is aimed at making the world safe for US corporations.

May 4th is the 50th Anniversary of the shootings at Kent State University.  We are asking people here in Ohio and across the country join in 4 minutes of silence at noon on May 4th to remember Kent State, Jackson State, and all the victims of our unjust wars. People can make a peace poster to hold or place in front of their home or apartments. Creative art projects for peace are needed.  Please help spread the word on this important effort and join online in the many efforts to end our current wars. Join us on May 4th.

We need to build a massive peace movement to stand up to Trump and the WAR Machine.

For Jobs and Peace,

Logan Martinez

Green Party of Ohio—Dayton
937-260-2591 /  loganmartinez2u@yahoo.com

STOP USA’s Global Gangster Terrorism

For decades the U.S. government and its European allies have been illegally using unilateral economic sanctions (“Unilateral Coercive Measures”) as a weapon of war and mass destruction to topple governments that do not submit to the U.S. and European states’ domination of their country. The main objective of these unilateral sanctions is to destroy those small countries’ economies and bring their people to their knees through mass starvation so they will be left with no choice but to revolt against their own government.

This criminal, anti-human policy of targeting defenseless populations, which is in clear violation of United Nations Charter and international law, has now become the new weapon of choice for these powerful states since they are faced with strong opposition from the majority their own population to the endless wars of occupation that they are already involved in. Through these illegal sanctions, these powerful states hope they can achieve their imperialistic goal of “regime change” and domination in a silent, calculated manner without arousing the wrath of their own and international public opinion.

According to some UN reports, there are currently over 33 countries (15 percent of all countries of the world) and dozens of non-state entities that are targeted by these illegal sanctions. Among them are Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, Belarus, and many others, whose population are suffering from hunger, lack of medicine, homelessness and disruption of their educational system and other vital social services. Prior to the invasion of Iraq in 1991, fifteen years of U.S. economic sanctions led to the death of half a million Iraqi children. In Venezuela today, over 40,000 people have died as a result of illegal sanctions and the number is rising daily.

In response to these blatant criminal acts, which are nothing but crime against humanity, the Group of 77 countries + China is submitting a resolution to the General Assembly of the United Nations, which, among other measures:

1. Urges the international community to adopt urgent and effective measures to eliminate the use of unilateral economic, financial or trade measures that are not authorized by relevant organs of the United Nations, that are inconsistent with the principles of international law or the Charter of the United Nations …;

2. Calls upon the international community to condemn and reject the imposition of the use of such measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries …;

To read the full text of the draft resolution click here

This proposed resolution is currently being discussed at the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly and the Second Committee will be taking the final vote on it on November 14. We consider it our paramount responsibility to mobilize massive support for the passage of this resolution by the UN General Assembly. To this end, we have drafted a public letter of support for the resolution to be signed by a massive number of organizations and individuals in the U.S. and around the world to be delivered to the voting session of the UN Second Committee on November 14. We urge all defenders of peace and justice to sign this letter. We need to collect a large number of signatures in a short period to time. We request that you act urgently.

* To add the name of your organization, please CLICK HERE.

* To add your name as an individual, please CLICK HERE.

READ THE LETTER:

To the Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee)
of the United Nations General Assembly

Dear Committee Members,

We, civil society organizations and advocates for peace and justice, write to express our support for the resolution introduced by the Group of 77 + China [Agenda Item 17 (a)] that:

1. Urges the international community to adopt urgent and effective measures to eliminate the use of unilateral economic, financial or trade measures that are not authorized by relevant organs of the United Nations, that are inconsistent with the principles of international law or the Charter of the United Nations …;

2. Calls upon the international community to condemn and reject the imposition of the use of such measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries …; (to read the full text of the draft resolution click here)

We recognize that unilateral coercive measures are being used to wage economic war and as tools for regime change efforts by the United States and its junior partners in violation of the United Nations Charter. These measures have devastating impacts on the countries that are targeted.

For example, Cuba, a country that has been under an economic blockade for over 60 years, reported this year that the blockade has cost their economy close to $1 trillion since its inception when devaluation of the US dollar compared to gold prices is taken into account. Recent reports find unilateral coercive measures have contributed to 4,000 deaths in North Korea over the past year and over 40,000 deaths in Venezuela in 2017 and 2018.

The US has imposed unilateral coercive measures against Iran since the revolution in 1979, and now adds secondary measures against states that do business with Iran. Zimbabwe has been targeted by unilateral coercive measures since 2002. In both these countries, and all countries targeted by unilateral coercive measures, the results are hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicines.

Economic warfare by the United States and its allies is increasing in both intensity and the number of countries that are impacted. This economic war harms those who are most vulnerable and who bear no responsibility for relations between countries.

We urge the United Nations General Assembly to support the proposed resolution cited above and to take all steps within its authority to end the use of unilateral coercive measures by any state, or a group of allied states, against another.

* To add the name of your organization, please CLICK HERE.

* To add your name as an individual, please CLICK HERE.

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Such is the daily life for many Palestinians

Image by Kevin Snyman from Pixabay

He and I decided to go into the old city of Jerusalem yesterday.  Because Yasser and his cousin, Lama, were both at work we went via the bus system.  From Al-Ram, where Yasser and Lama live, there is no route to Jerusalem without having to pass through the Israeli military checkpoint located near the Qalandiya refugee camp, a well-known center of Palestinian resistance to Israel’s illegal occupation.

The distance between Al-Ram and Jerusalem is about 6 miles.  Our journey took us nearly 2 hours.  What we experienced is common for Palestinian people without cars.  And on that day there were no additional delays imposed by the Israeli military at the checkpoints— just the “usual” waiting in long lines.

We left Yasser’s at around 9:00 am and were walking down the hill to the bus stop located on the town’s main street when a man in a car stopped and asked us where we were heading.  We told him, he beckoned us to get in, we did, and he drove us to the bus stop, only a short distance away.  A small bus was waiting, and once we learned it was heading to Qalandiya checkpoint, the first leg of our journey, we got on.

The buses that take passengers to the checkpoint are yellow mini-vans that hold up to 7 people. Like the majority of vehicles in the smaller towns in the West Bank, they tend to be battered—dusty inside and out, worn shocks, the upholstery clean but stained.  Sometimes there are seatbelts, sometimes none are apparent or are broken or ripped.  I never saw anyone wear one.

The driver (who was maybe in his 40’s) didn’t interact with his passengers, except to collect the bus fare and return any change to a hand at the front that passed it back to the paying passenger.  Because I had a good view of the driver in the rear view mirror, I could see his face—I thought his dark eyes and face looked worn and tired, maybe bored, too, with deep creases across his forehead and along the sides of his cheeks and mouth.  The exception was when a small child got on at one of the stops. His face brightened, his eyes lit up, and a small smile formed at the corners of his mouth.  As everywhere, children here offer a spark of life—perhaps it’s even such momentary joy a child’s presence brings that helps keep total despair at bay.

For some unknown reason, the driver didn’t drop He and me off until we were about a ¼ mile past the checkpoint.  He asked a man in one of the many shops on the street for directions. With the help of his Arabic phrase book, He managed to ask “How do we to get to Qalandiya checkpoint?”, and with hand gestures waving and pointing, the man directed us.

We turned back and headed down the shop-lined road, crowded with cars, vans, buses and pedestrians. But for one bright splash of a rose bougainvillea, it was dusty and bleak—stone rubble and trash on both sides of the road, a cement-block building with a demolished second floor, exposed rusted spines of steel holding the carcass together.  We soon saw many other people heading in a particular way, so we followed.

At first we walked on the right side of the road, directly towards the gates where cars pass, but we heard a sharp whistle to get our attention, and a female soldier waved at us to move to the left side of the area.  We climbed over and around temporary cement blocks and barriers and met another soldier—a young man, dark-skinned, small in stature, with a smile that softened the effect of his being fully equipped with weapons used to threaten, wound or kill.  He gave us additional directions to the pedestrian Qalandiya checkpoint.

Later I remembered that not so long ago (September 2019) at this same checkpoint, a young Muslim woman had similarly seemed confused about where to go to reach the bus section. Apparently she did not turn back when warned, and so the private security guards hired by Israel chased her, shot her several times and then left her bleeding—medics of the Palestinian Red Crescent were prevented from getting to her to provide first aid. She later died in an Israeli hospital in East Jerusalem. Israel claimed she was carrying a knife.

We continued on to an official looking one-story white building with two Israeli flags flying from the flat roof—the location of the Qalandiya checkpoint that demarcates a boundary between the West Bank and East Jerusalem.  With many others, mostly young or old and seemingly poorer Palestinians, we walked up the steps and into the front entrance.  We then needed to pass through a winding and walled, single-person-width passageway into a large room that branched into three separate smaller rooms.  We stayed in the middle room designated for people going to Jerusalem.

An elderly couple with a battered piece of luggage and large black plastic bags looked around, clearly uneasy, and uncertain about where to go. The woman in traditional Muslim dress with a hijab (headscarf that covers the head and neck) and brown, unadorned thob (a long, full robe-like dress) took the lead and walked around examining the rooms and signs. After a brief and quiet discussion with her husband, the couple moved to the room on the right.

The next step in passing through the checkpoint was to go through a floor-to-ceiling metal turnstile big enough for one person at a time that allowed only a certain number of people to pass through before it stopped turning. As we exited, we were directed to another turnstile (similar to those for getting onto a train in a subway) where we were required to show our passport to an armed guard.  Palestinians were required to show their ID card.

We moved through yet another floor-to-ceiling turnstile before we were required to put our backpacks, jewelry and other metal items onto an airport-type conveyor belt that moved through a machine checking for dangerous items stowed in the bags.  And we, too, had to walk through a metal-detecting device so the Israeli guards could be ensured that we posed no security threat.

From that point, we were allowed to exit the building and go to the bus station, a large dirt-packed parking area with white coach-sized buses for passengers wanting to travel to the East Jerusalem bus station.  Two full buses later, we were able to get onto a bus with vacant seats. And at 11:00 we arrived at the East Jerusalem bus station, 2 hours after leaving Yasser’s.

Such is the daily life for many Palestinians.

Sending this with love and with the commitment to work for the freedom and human rights of the Palestinian people,

Kevin Zeese: Greens Show Leadership Against US Coup In Venezuela

By Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance

Above photo: Embassy Protection Collective members before they were arrested: Margaret Flowers, Kevin Zeese, Adrienne Pine and David Paul from the People’s Dispatch. All four voted for Stein-Baraka in 2016.

One of the things the final four people in the Venezuelan Embassy who were arrested had in common was that they all voted for Stein-Baraka in 2016. Two of us were Greens (Margaret Flowers and me) and two were independents. The participation of Greens in the Embassy Protection Collective once again shows how the Green Party of the United States is the party of the popular movement in the United States.

The Embassy Protection Collective was a unique event in US history. US peace activists going into a foreign embassy in Washington, DC to protect Venezuela from a US coup. We issued a Declaration of the Embassy Protection Collective that explains why we took the actions we did. Three days before the police violated international law to illegally evict and arrest us we told the State Department there was a legal path to resolving this dispute, i.e. mutual Protecting Power Agreements between the US and Venezuela to allow a third country to protect the vacant US embassy in Caracas and the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC. We still hope such a mutual agreement will be put in place.

Margaret is a co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and ran for US Senate in 2016. I have been a Green since 2000,  a member of the Coordinating Committee of the Green Party and a Green Party US Senate candidate in 2006.  Margaret and I were not the only Greens involved in the Embassy Protection Collective. Many Greens were involved both inside and outside of the embassy. The Collective included Greens and non-Greens, often the role of Green Party activists goes unnoticed in the media, so I want to highlight some of the work of Greens in this initiative.

The Secret Service allowed a pro-coup mob to surround the embassy, assault, threaten and try to intimidate members of the Collective into leaving, and let them block food entering the embassy.  During this siege I noticed there were Greens from multiple states including Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, Greens joined us outside from Connecticut, DC, and Virginia.  We were not there as Greens but as people who are part of the movement for economic, racial and environmental justice, as well as peace. The Green Party takes strong positions against militarism and anti-imperialism and many of its members are part of peace and justice movements.

Poor Peoples Army called for water turned to be back on the embassy as well as sought to deliver food and flowers to Embassy Protectors from Poor Peoples Economic and Human Rights Campaign.

Past Two Vice Presidential Candidates Show Up to Provide Food, Water and Flowers

In fact, both Green Party vice presidential candidates in the 2016 and 2012 elections, Ajamu Baraka the national coordinator of the Black Alliance for Peace and Cheri Honkala of the Poor People’s Economic and Human Rights Campaign, played leadership roles in the Collective outside of the embassy.

Honkala came with the Poor Peoples Army and attempted to get food into the embassy as well as bring us flowers on Mother’s Day. They attempted to put food in a bag we had thrown from a second-floor window. The rope was grabbed by both the pro-coup protesters and the police. The police cut the rope and the food was not able to be delivered. After the attempt, the Poor People’s Army had a confrontation with police outside the embassy where they accused them of violating the human rights of Embassy Protectors. They argued that denial of food, water and electricity was putting people at risk, many of the same challenges poor people face every day.

In addition, the Poor People’s Army protested at PEPCO, the DC power company that shut off the electricity in the embassy, which also resulted in the electric pumps needed for water being unable to operate. The people inside the embassy noted the aggressive action of Honkala and her team. On the morning we were arrested, we heard the Poor People’s Army was making a return visit and we were looking forward to seeing their support and showing our love for their efforts on our behalf. Unfortunately, we were arrested before they arrived.

The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) played an integral role in the Collective. In the early phases of our living in the embassy when we are holding nightly forums and cultural events, members of the Black Alliance for Peace who are members of Pan-African Community Action(PACA) joined us for a forum on the militarization of Africa and then need to end Africom, the US Africa Command.

Embassy Protection Collective, Black Alliance for Peace members at the White House after marching from the Venezuelan embassy.

Members were regular attendees at the forums and also were part of the outside Collective. They consistently joined activists on a daily basis to show support for stopping the US coup and protecting the Venezuelan Embassy from takeover.

Earlier this year we traveled to Venezuela with Ajamu Baraka as part of a peace delegationorganized by the US Peace Council. Ajamu is a close ally and advisor to Popular Resistance who has been integral in our work that led to stopping the Trump Military Parade, developing the Peace Congress, building the US Coalition Against Foreign Military Basesand with the United National Antiwar Coalition.

Baraka was at the embassy the day that Rev. Jesse Jackson came to support us. Baraka knows Jackson from his two presidential runs and joined him and other members of the Collective in helping to deliver food to the embassy. As you can see in the video below, there was a scuffle with a pro-coup supporter who tried to pull a bag of food out of Jackson’s hands as well as wrapped the rope to pull the bag to the second floor around his arms. Baraka can be seen battling with the pro-couper along with another Maryland Green Party member, Paul Pumphrey of Friends of the Congo, and others in order to successfully deliver four bags of food into the embassy.

Colorado Green, Andrea Mérida Cuéllar, who is also a co-chair of the Green Party of the United States, summarized the role of Greens and our former vice presidential candidates in a Facebook post, writing:

“It was Greens from all over the eastern seaboard who held space outside and fought the police and the Venezuelan expatriate gusano fascists to bring food to the defenders. It was a Green Vice Presidential candidate who fought with the power company to turn the electricity back on. It was another Green Vice Presidential candidate who dragged the fascists away so that Jesse Jackson could deliver sustenance to our defenders.”

Hawkins speaking at No To NATO protest at the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on April 4, 2019.

Green Presidential Nominee Front-Runner, Howie Hawkins, Speaks Out Against US Imperialism

One of the founders of the Green Party, Howie Hawkins, who is currently exploring a run for president in 2020, wrote three blog posts on his website supporting the Embassy Protection Collective and opposing the US coup in Venezuela.

On April 24, two weeks after we entered the embassy, Hawkins, who is known for being the first candidate to run on a full-fledged Green New Deal, wrote about how the US should not be threatening war against Venezuela for oil especially during a time of climate crisis. Hawkins wrote more clearly than any presidential candidate about the US economic war, theft of Venezuela’s wealth, the impact of sanctions, opposition to the US coup as well as US threats of war. Hawkins strongly opposed US imperialism against Venezuela which he correctly described as bi-partisan.  He described Trump’s open comments about stealing Venezuelan oil from early in his presidency and put his false comments on Venezuela in context, writing:

All Trump talk about restoring human rights and democracy in Venezuela are just more lies. Trump doesn’t support them in the US. He orders the violation of human rights against asylum seekers at the US border. He constantly spouts racist tropes and incites violence against minorities and political opponents. He supports voter suppression and opposes verifiable vote-counting laws.

The next day, Hawkins highlighted a study released by the Center for Economic and Policy Research that found that there were 40,000 deaths from 2017 to 2018 as a result of US economic sanctions which are illegal under international law.

The day we were arrested, April 16, Hawkins put out an excellent statement describing how international law had been violated by the US invading the embassy. He mentioned Margaret Flowers and me since we are both volunteering for his exploratory campaign, and put the US action in historical context writing;

The arrests show that the US is a rogue state. Violating the diplomatic immunity of the Venezuelan embassy takes the US back before the 1200s, when Genghis Khan’s Eurasian empire brought the notion of inviolable diplomatic immunity to a West that was riddled at the time with endemic warfare and banditry among the feuding feudal fiefdoms. Trump—and his Republican and Democratic minions alike—have taken us back nearly a millennium to the Dark Ages.

We are grateful that the Green Party is likely to have a nominee in the 2020 election cycle who understands the importance of international law and stands against US imperialism and empire.

In 2020 We Must Make US Regime Change Unacceptable and Work To End US Empire

We intend to build on the action at the embassy so that the political consensus in the United States opposes the US coup and threats of military action against Venezuela. The Green Party will be speaking out in 2020 as they always have been against war, militarism and regime change. We will be calling for cuts to the military budget and putting the necessities of the people and planet before war.

The Embassy Protectors and our allies intend to build a movement that will make it impossible for any candidate of any party to support the US coup in Venezuela. We will be escalating our actions against the US coup and organizing national and international days of action leading to a mass protest on September 21 in New York City when the UN General Assembly is meeting.

This campaign against the Venezuela coup and threats of militarism around the world is part of an ongoing effort to end US empire as quickly and responsibly as possible so the US stops creating global chaos and destruction. The people of the United States need to understand that the Empire Economy does not work for them or the people of the world and needs to come to an end.

Original post: https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2019/05/greens-show-leaderhship-against-us-coup-in-venezuela/

Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence

Fifty-two years ago, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered one of his most important speeches at Riverside Church in New York City.  It was a big boost to the peace movement but divided the civil rights movement between the hawks and the doves. It is still important today as the US is involved in another endless war. King was assassinated exactly one year later in Memphis, TN.

Declaration of Independence from the War in Vietnam

Speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church in New York City:

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join with you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

Dr. Martin Luther King at Riverside Church, New York City, April 4, 1967 

Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement well and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil rights don’t mix, they say. Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people, they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.

In the light of such tragic misunderstandings, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church — the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate — leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.

I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia.

Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they can play in a successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reason to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.

Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the NLF, but rather to my fellow Americans, who, with me, bear the greatest responsibility in ending a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents.

The Importance of Vietnam

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor — both black and white — through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

For those who ask the question, “Aren’t you a civil rights leader?” and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: “To save the soul of America.” We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:

O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath– America will be!

Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission — a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for “the brotherhood of man.” This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men — for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the “Vietcong” or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?

Finally, as I try to delineate for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.

This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

Strange Liberators

And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond to compassion my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them too because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.

They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation, and before the Communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony.

Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not “ready” for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination, and a government that had been established not by China (for whom the Vietnamese have no great love) but by clearly indigenous forces that included some Communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.

For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam.

Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of the reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.

After the French were defeated it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva agreements. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators — our chosen man, Premier Diem. The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly routed out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords and refused even to discuss reunification with the north. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by U.S. influence and then by increasing numbers of U.S. troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem’s methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictatorships seemed to offer no real change — especially in terms of their need for land and peace.

The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received regular promises of peace and democracy — and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us — not their fellow Vietnamese –the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move or be destroyed by our bombs. So they go — primarily women and children and the aged.

They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals, with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one “Vietcong”-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them — mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children, degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.

What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?

We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation’s only non-Communist revolutionary political force — the unified Buddhist church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men. What liberators?

Now there is little left to build on — save bitterness. Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call fortified hamlets. The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these? Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These too are our brothers.

Perhaps the more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies. What of the National Liberation Front — that strangely anonymous group we call VC or Communists? What must they think of us in America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the south? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of “aggression from the north” as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.

How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent Communist and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will have no part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them — the only party in real touch with the peasants. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again and then shore it up with the power of new violence?

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.

So, too, with Hanoi. In the north, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which would have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again.

When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered. Also it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva agreements concerning foreign troops, and they remind us that they did not begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.

Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard of the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the north. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor weak nation more than eight thousand miles away from its shores.

At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless on Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called enemy, I am as deeply concerned about our troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create hell for the poor.

This Madness Must Cease

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words:

“Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism.”

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. It will become clear that our minimal expectation is to occupy it as an American colony and men will not refrain from thinking that our maximum hope is to goad China into a war so that we may bomb her nuclear installations. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horribly clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play.

The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways.

In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war. I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do immediately to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:

  1. End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.
  2. Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.
  3. Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.
  4. Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and in any future Vietnam government.
  5. Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva agreement.

Part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We most provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country if necessary.

Protesting The War

Meanwhile we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative means of protest possible.

As we counsel young men concerning military service we must clarify for them our nation’s role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. I am pleased to say that this is the path now being chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. Moreover I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors. These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.

There is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter the struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy- and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of U.S. military “advisers” in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and green beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken — the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and through their misguided passions urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not call everyone a Communist or an appeaser who advocates the seating of Red China in the United Nations and who recognizes that hate and hysteria are not the final answers to the problem of these turbulent days. We must not engage in a negative anti-communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.

The People Are Important

These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression and out of the wombs of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.” We in the West must support these revolutions. It is a sad fact that, because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has the revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgement against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores and thereby speed the day when “every valley shall be exalted, and every moutain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain.”

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept — so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force — has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John:

Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says : “Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word.”

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The “tide in the affairs of men” does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on…” We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.

We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world — a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter — but beautiful — struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:

Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth and falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God’s new Messiah,
Off’ring each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever
Twixt that darkness and that light.

Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet ’tis truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong:
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow
Keeping watch above his own.

And if we will only make the right choice, we will be able to transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of peace. If we will make the right choice, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our world into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. If we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America and all over the world, when “justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other nonviolent means. By the time of his death in 1968, he had refocused his efforts on ending poverty and stopping the Vietnam War.  King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.

Original Post: https://www.commondreams.org/views/2012/01/16/beyond-vietnam-time-break-silence

Statement of support for Nicolás Maduro and against intervention in Venezuela

The Executive Secretariat of the São Paulo Forum expresses its profound rejection of the decision of the Government of Donald Trump, of Canada and of several Latin American countries to support the illegitimate presidency of the opposition Juan Guaidó in Venezuela, contrary to the popular decision expressed in May 2018, when the people democratically elected compañero Nicolás Maduro for the presidency of the country.

The elections of 2018 were legitimate and recognized by various sectors of Venezuelan society, including the opposition. The Venezuelan political-electoral system assures the population a broad voting right and has transparency and verification mechanisms. He was praised by the former president of the United States, Jimmy Carter, and now by the former president of the Spanish government, José Luís Zapatero, who joined the delegations of international electoral accompaniment.

The group that now wants to assume the command of the country is a minority group and does not accept the popular demonstration. This group uses the support of the Trump Government and its puppet governments in the region. Trump has already demonstrated on several occasions that he does not respect the sovereignty of other countries and international agreements, in addition to having attitudes that are openly opposed to peace and dialogue for the resolution of conflicts.

We call the countries of the continent to respect the sovereign decision of the people and the principle of nonintervention.

Together in the São Paulo Forum, we will fight for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to reach their full sovereignty and independence!

Monica Valente
Executive Secretary
São Paulo Forum