A workshop presented by Margaret Flowers, Rich Whitney and Kevin Zeese at the 2020 Green Party Annual National Meeting
THE GREEN PARTY’S WORLD PEACE PLATFORM PROPOSED FOR 2022 ADOPTION
ENDORSED BY THE GREEN PARTY PEACE ACTION COMMITTEE (GPAX)
ON JULY 6, 2020
GREEN PARTY’S FOUR PILLARS
Democracy, Social & Economic Justice, World Peace, Ecology
WORLD PEACE POLICY STATEMENT
The Green Party believes that economic development is only environmentally sustainable globally when it’s rooted democratically in social and economic justice. As a superpower, our government’s domestic militarism is tied to international militarism. Thus, our foreign policy of attacking, through overt and covert warfare, the sovereignty of nation-states to acquire their natural, financial, and human resources to maintain geopolitical supremacy must end if we are to protect ourselves and the people of the world against the corporate hijacking of our foreign policy. Our interests are best served in respecting international law and the fundamental United Nations principles of non-aggression and self-determination.
I. WARFARE – OVERT
A. Armaments & Weapons of Mass Destruction
Our government’s use of armaments and weapons of mass destruction not only places our country in violation of international and humanitarian law but also makes the military-industrial-complex the largest polluter on the planet through its production, transport, and deployment of armaments and weapons of mass destruction – putting all life on earth at the edge of environmental extinction.
Despite the United Nations call for a global ceasefire during the Covid-19 world-wide pandemic, our government has instead deployed 20,000 troops to Europe to encircle Russia, and has sent warships to threaten Venezuela, Iran, and China. Our government’s misguided quest to control the world’s largest oil supply puts us in direct opposition with the world’s other superpowers. Further, our country’s interventions in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East have left us mired in endless wars that have weakened our country’s economic vitality and decreased opportunities for our children.
B. Nuclear Weapons
Nuclear weapons are the most devastating weapons of mass destruction in existence. Not only has the U.S. nuclear weapon programs consumed vast resources, generated toxic pollution, and spread global fear of apocalyptic destruction but the Trump administration seeks to restart the nuclear arms race. The large stockpiles of these weapons, and their proliferation into a growing number of nations, pose a clear and present danger to humankind.
Apart from the immediate potential for the massive loss of life and destruction of societies in a nuclear war, the widespread use of nuclear weapons risks global ecological catastrophe in a nuclear winter, a long period of reduced sunlight that would cause crop failure and result in famine. This raises the danger level of nuclear war to an existential threat.
C. Drone Warfare
Armed drones are deployed in both overt bombing campaigns as well as in covert warfare such as assassination attempts and biowarfare. Not only are these attacks in violation of domestic, international, and humanitarian law and violate the sovereignty of nation-states, but errors in intelligence and targeting result in the killing of civilians including medical professionals, journalists, and children.
D. Cyber Warfare
Software hacking by U.S. government agencies against targeted nation-states poses serious risks to global security and peace especially when it conducts false flag attacks. Cyberwarfare tools are now capable of disrupting power grids, damaging public health facilities, and triggering armed conflicts.
E. Weaponization of Outer Space
In support of our government’s quest for full-spectrum dominance, the Pentagon has been directed to establish a sixth branch of the armed forces called the Space Force. Our government is seeking to resurrect some version of the largely defunct 1980’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). The SDI called for the development of a system that could intercept nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Our government already uses space-based technology, such as satellites, to conduct espionage and disrupt the computer, communication and power systems of sovereign nation-states, and its military has polluted space with toxic orbital debris from broken satellites, spent rocket bodies, etc. which may collide with each other and already fall back to earth daily.
Green Position Against Overt Warfare
1. The Green Party calls for the observance of international law, treaties and charters, and foreign geographical boundaries and airspace and seeks a comprehensive review of treaties the U.S has either not signed or not ratified, covering every area of international relations, to bring the U.S. into compliance with the legal commitments assumed by the majority of U.N. member countries. This is especially important with the proliferation of nuclear, biological, chemical, and nanotechnological weapons and in the regulation and control of existing weapons. This is also highly relevant in climate change accords.
2. The Green Party calls for respecting the sovereignty of all countries and their right to autonomous self-determination. Since 2000, except for Yugoslavia, the U.S. and its adjuncts have toppled governments in Afghanistan, Bolivia, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Ukraine. The U.S. has attempted to destabilize and/or topple the governments in Iran, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Zimbabwe. This demonstrates that both the corporate Republican and Democratic parties are pro-war and anti-peace.
3. The Green Party calls for the repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) which was passed by Congress in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, and any other measure purporting to authorize preemptive or illegal military action. In passing the AUMF, Congress abdicated its exclusive authority under the Constitution to declare war. Further, it betrayed its responsibility to the American people by delegating to the president virtually dictatorial power to commit acts of war.
4. The Green Party calls for the abolition of nuclear weapons through legislative and diplomatic means. Until that goal can be accomplished, our government must adopt a no-first-strike policy and no-preemptive strike policy. Our government must abide by all nuclear arms control treaties that limit proliferation, improve safeguards, and reduce sizes of nuclear arsenals leading to elimination such as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NTP), the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM), the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty (INF) and the Treaty on Open Skies to prevent the nuclear arms race. Our government must honor its commitments to end the research, testing and stockpiling of all nuclear weapons of any size; and dismantle all nuclear warheads from their missiles.
5. The Green Party calls for the abolition of all research, stockpiling, and sale of chemical, and biological weapons. Our government must comply with the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological Weapon and Toxin Convention (BWC). Our government must cease all research involving gain-of-function genetic engineering (intentionally making viruses more contagious and deadly to humans) and dual-use research of concern, the creation of viruses that also have bioweapon potential. Our government must allow foreign teams to visit the U.S. for verification purposes at least annually.
6. The Green Party calls for the abolition of the use of drones, nanotechnology, and other robotic weaponry for illegal aggressions, targeted assassination campaigns, and the transmission of bioweapons. The U.S. must enter into international treaties to regulate the use of these weapons, including both remote controlled and autonomous systems. The U.S. must provide full disclosure and transparency in the investigation of drone strikes that result in human casualties.
7. The Green Party calls for the abolition of cyber warfare as it targets civilians through the potential disruption of critical infrastructure and services in violation of domestic, international, and humanitarian law.
8. The Green Party calls for the abolition of all activities and funding that support the weaponization of outer space.
9. The Green Party calls for those guilty of misleading our country into invasions, occupations, and acts of aggression by falsifying information to be held accountable for violations of domestic, international, and humanitarian law. For example, former President George Bush and members of his administration were found guilty of war crimes by Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission.
10. The Green Party calls for the reduction of our Military and Intelligence Community budgets to half of its current size. The Military and Intelligence Community’s 2019 budgets were $686.1 billion and $81.7 billion respectively. For comparison, in the same period, the military budget for China and Russia was $177.6 billion and $46.4 billion respectively.
11. The Green Party calls for the phasing out of all military bases and installations not specifically functioning under a U.N. resolution for peacekeeping and the bringing home of troops stationed abroad, except for troops assigned to protect U.S. embassies. As of 2020, the U.S. has over 1,000 foreign military bases and installations. In particular, we join the call of the Black Alliance for Peace to shut down the military bases that constitute Africom.
12. The Green Party calls for the closure of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas, in Ft. Benning, Georgia which is notorious for teaching torture techniques to foreign military personnel to use in terrorizing their people into submission.
13. The Green Party calls for the ending of arms sales to foreign nations and the shifting of our export market to peaceful technology and services. The United States is the largest arms seller and dealer in the world.
14. The Green Party calls for the signing of the Ottawa Treaty (the Anti–Personnel Mine Ban Convention) which prohibits the production, stockpiling, use, and sale of land mines and assists other nations in unearthing and disabling land mines buried in their lands.
15. The Green Party supports disinvestment campaigns against arms manufacturers, transporters, financiers, and dealers.
II. WARFARE – COVERT
A. Intelligence Community
Our government uses covert warfare and psychological operations (PSYOP) to install coup d’états in autonomous countries – thereby replacing indigenous elected leaders with oppressive puppet regimes inimical to their people and beholden to U.S. finance capital. These regime change wars are planned, coordinated, and executed by the Intelligence Community (IC) – whose main mission, as described by former CIA agent, Philip Agee, “is to guarantee a favorable investment climate for U.S. industry.” To this end, the IC directs its military contractors/mercenaries to carry out shock-troop campaigns, false flag attacks, assassinations, and the sabotage of key infrastructures such as electrical grids and water treatment plants. Theoretically, this is done to create human suffering so intolerable that it causes civil unrest leading to revolution. However, the reality is that heinous violence and prolonged deprivation causes hatred for our government and destabilizes countries and regions just as depicted in the declassified KUBARK torture manual that specifies how to “create a world of fear, terror, anxiety, dread.”
U.S. taxpayer dollars also fund Astroturf opposition parties, fake news organizations, and subservient Non-Governmental and Human Rights Organizations. As a result of these efforts, biased reports from captive Human Rights Organizations are generated to wrongly justify our government’s misuse of the United Nations Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine to seize assets and install regimes favorable to U.S. corporations. However, regime changes are not sustainable and often lead to power vacuums and greater regional instability as evident with Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Syria.
Green Position Against Covert Warfare – Intelligence Community
1. The Green Party calls for the end of all covert actions used to influence, destabilize, or usurp the governments of other nation-states and prohibits assassination in any form.
2. The Green Party calls for the closure of all overseas prisons which are often referred to as Black Sites. At these compounds, the Intelligence Community presides over the torture and interrogation of prisoners outside the scope of the American judicial system. The most infamous of these Black Sites are Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, Abu Ghraib in Iraq, and the Detention Site Cobalt in Afghanistan. Information regarding the exact number and location of secret prisons is classified. Other countries with known U.S. Black Sites are Lithuania, Romania, Poland, and Thailand.
3. The Green Party calls for the release of all foreign political prisoners and those held without criminal charges or violent convictions.
4. The Green Party defends the rights of whistleblowers, journalists, and news media outlets that revealed U.S. war crimes, human rights violations, and corruption, to exist without the threat of persecution, extradition and arrest by the U.S. government – as shown in cases against Philip Agee, John Kiriakou, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and Wikileaks.
5. The Green Party calls for those guilty of ordering or conducting torture, executions, and assassinations to be held accountable for violations of national, international, and humanitarian law. For example, former President George Bush and members of his administration were never charged for their role in the torture of detainees.
6. The Green Party calls for the framing and enforcement of legislation that will hold U.S. citizens who profit from misusing their public positions in foreign countries accountable for their corrupt practices. Recent examples are the Biden family in their dealings with Ukraine and the Clinton family in their dealings with Haiti.
7. The Green Party calls for the elimination of the ideologically driven misuse of criminal and judicial procedures by U.S. authorities to falsely accuse politicians like Lula da Silva, Cristina Fernandez, Jorge Glas, Rafael Correa and Evo Morales of crimes to persecute them via “lawfare”.
8. The Green Party calls for the elimination of the ideologically driven misuse of U.S. narcotics policy and enforcement by its Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in foreign countries. In countries the U.S. government targets for regime change, it invents spurious charges that justify the arrest of democratically elected officials and the imposition of unilateral economic sanctions, and in countries it favors it turns a blind eye to drug trafficking at best and facilitates the protection of criminals and drug activity at worst. For example, Venezuela is unfairly targeted for drug trafficking penalties because the U.S. government is engaged in regime change efforts, while Colombia is not – even though Colombia is the world’s top producer of cocaine. Because of the dark alliance between the U.S. government and President Ivan Duque of Colombia, not only does the narcotics trade continue unabated, but the hard-won Colombia Peace Accords signed in 2016 lies in tatters and Duque is not held to account for the hundreds of murders of social, community, environmental and indigenous leaders. The U.S. routinely allies with leaders known to be involved in narcotics and related organized crime like Juan Orlando Hernandez, and Alvaro Uribe which remains a hindrance to world peace.
B. Economic Sanctions
Our government uses unilateral coercive economic sanctions as covert warfare. Economic sanctions negatively impact one-third of humanity in 39 countries and cause death and devastation by denying targeted countries access to U.S. dominated markets, finance, and transactional systems. Additionally, our government uses secondary sanctions to force third parties, such as foreign governments, financial institutions, and individuals, to adopt U.S. sanctions against targeted countries. Penalties for conducting business with a sanctioned country range from military aggression, arrest, fines and property seizures to being cut off from the US financial system and markets – whether or not the activity engaged in impacts the United States directly. Thus, economic sanctions restrict a targeted country from generating wealth, stabilizing its currency against price fluctuations, and providing its people with critical services and resources. Because economic sanctions also interfere with the functioning of essential infrastructure, e.g. electrical grids, transportation and communication systems, and water treatment & distribution facilities, by blocking access to key industrial inputs, such as fuel, raw materials, and replacement parts, they lead to drought, famine, disease, and abject poverty.
Economic sanctions also block health care facilities from obtaining lifesaving supplies and equipment which is even more deadly in times of pandemics, national disasters, and war. In total, economic sanctions result in the death of millions of impoverished people of color in what can only be described as class & race warfare and it puts the United States squarely in violation of the Geneva Convention, the Genocide Convention and Nuremberg Charter amongst others. Yet, sanctions are slyly marketed by our government as a “more peaceful way to make the world safe for democracy.” This lie allows the United States to implement, with impunity, economic sanctions that devastate the most vulnerable people in the countries it hypocritically claims it’s seeking to protect. Economic sanctions are also used to justify and conceal the appropriation of foreign public funds by the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve through asset freezes and seizures.
Green Position Against Covert Warfare – Economic Sanctions
1. The Green party calls for the abolition of all U.S. unilateral coercive economic sanctions.
C. Global Lending Institutions & Trade
Our government’s dominance over global lending institutions, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), facilitates the destruction of foreign economies through usury and by forcing the adoption of structural adjustments (austerity measures) which end life-saving public benefits to repay these loans, and displaces local industries and farming, allowing U.S. vulture capital to more easily capture foreign vital resources.
Our government’s trade policies and agreements are unfavorable to developing countries and structurally maintain imbalances that date back to colonialism. Policies aimed at unduly protecting multinational corporations from legitimate claims by sovereign countries have enabled environmental and humanitarian disasters such as Union Carbide in Bhopal, Chevron in Ecuador, Shell in Nigeria, and multiple corporations mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Green Position Against Negative Global Lending Practices & Trade Policies
1. The Green Party calls for the redrafting of policies and practices of U.S. led global institutions, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB), to protect human rights, the environment, and domestic industry & agriculture. To ensure compliance, the WTO, IMF, and World Bank’s operations must be transparent, and the institutions must be held accountable to all nations, not just donors.
2. The Green Party calls for the redrafting of all international trade and commerce agreements such as the Central American Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) as they sustain underdevelopment through unfair terms and conditions.
2. The Green Party calls for U.S. corporations, that operate in other countries, to adhere to the core labor standards established by the International Labor Organization (ILO) Declaration of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
3. The Green Party calls for the granting of states and municipalities’ rights to refuse to invest in foreign businesses that do not abide by their standards for imported goods, fair trade, and environmental protection.
4. The Green Party calls for the revocation of laws that unduly protect transnational corporations from legitimate claims by sovereign countries. Trade policies must include clauses guaranteeing trade partners access on equal terms to impartial arbitration. In particular, our government must make clear it will not protect corporate offenders responsible for mass harm cases as referenced above. Further, our government must not act to defend corporate pharmaceutical and other interests unjustly seeking to extend patents unreasonably against the interests of both vulnerable populations overseas and of the majority of people in the U.S.
D. Department of State and USAID
Our government uses its Department of State as an adjunct to its Intelligence Community. While the Department of State provides diplomatic services to U.S. citizens abroad and foreign heads of state, it also serves as an effective vehicle for intelligence gathering as well as providing cover for U.S. personnel engaged in espionage. Overall our government’s foreign aid program serves to enrich and protect U.S. transnational corporations by creating, sustaining, and defending foreign markets and policies for its products and services. Additionally, it uses military, economic, and humanitarian aid to compel and/or reward foreign governments for taking actions favorable to U.S. corporate interests. In the Middle East, foreign aid can be considered little more than a conduit used to subsidize U.S. arms manufacturers – as it financially seeds theater wars that expend munitions on all sides of a given conflict. Further, even economic aid can be indirectly used as military aid since it frees up committed funds enabling countries to purchase weaponry.
The Budget Request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 for the U.S. Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is $41 billion. In 2018, the top five foreign aid recipients were: Afghanistan ($5.1 billion – 80% military aid); Israel ($3.1 billion – 100% military aid); Jordan, ($1.4 billion – 37% military aid); Egypt ($1.2 billion – 87% military aid); and Iraq ($1.2 billion – 39% military aid).
Green Position on Foreign Aid
The Green Party calls for the end of foreign aid that is used covertly to wage regime change wars in non-compliant autonomous nation-states, and that functions as socialism for U.S. transnational corporations and its products – especially when its failing products are tied to “aid” packages. Often aid packages include commitments involving genetically modified organisms (GMO), toxic/carcinogenic pesticides like glyphosate, fertilizers, and growth hormones laced products that are banned from sale in European countries and Japan and disrupt local economies. Additionally, the State Department and its related agencies’ budgets should be cut in half as proposed for the Defense and Intelligence Community budgets.
E. Palestine and Israel
Our government continues to supply Israel with military aid despite Israel’s discriminatory and racist laws, policies, and practices towards the Palestinian people that violate international and humanitarian law and result in apartheid and displacement. Israel is the second-highest recipient of foreign assistance and 100% of it is military aid. This is done not only because Israel is a strategic ally in the Middle East but also because Israel tests U.S. made weaponry out on foreign countries as well as on the people in the territories it occupies. Further, through collaboration between the U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies (CIA and Mossad), Israel funnels U.S. arms to third countries that our nation is unable to because of congressional restrictions. On behalf of U.S. arms manufacturers and dealers, Israel has sold weapons to the South Africa government during apartheid; the Contras in Nicaragua to allow the Reagan administration to circumvent the Boland Amendments; the military junta of Guatemala; and Iran, during the Iran/Iraq war while the U.S. was simultaneously selling weapons to Iraq, etc.
Green Position on Israel and Palestine
1. The Green party supports the formation of one democratic state in all of historic Palestine – the shared homeland of two peoples – with equality before the law.
2. The Green Party supports the international Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement as a non-violent way to end occupation, apartheid, and allow refugees to return home, in following the example of the divestment campaigns instrumental in ending South African apartheid.
F. Immigration Policy & Detention
Our government’s unquestioned support for the overseas activities of U.S. transnational corporations has not only contributed to the structural underdevelopment of these countries, but also the growth of thriving black markets. As a result, workers are often displaced from their jobs and communities and subjected to drug, weapon, and sex trafficking violence. This has led to caravans of Central American migrants seeking asylum in the United States, believing it to be a land of safety and opportunity. However, upon arrival, immigrants are instead seized and held captive in our government’s detention system – a system that imprisons over 50,000 adults and children in facilities that are so lacking in basic human services that they are largely referred to as concentration camps. Even worse, children are separated by force from their families by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents rendering them more vulnerable to assault, sexual abuse, and psychological trauma. Economic refugees and asylum seekers in Europe are also a result of proxy wars set in the Middle East and Africa that involve the United States military and/or CIA.
Green Position on Immigration and Detention
1 The Green Party calls for the end of unfair and unequal finance & trade agreements and its military and Intelligence Community’s intervention in the politics of developing countries in support of U.S. transnational corporations. These policies have made developing countries inordinately dangerous and unlivable, and increased the need for migration. Therefore, policies to stem the flow of immigrants must first be centered on rebuilding these countries in a way that sustains the health and welfare of their people to reduce incentives to leave.
2. The Green Party calls for a more humane and open immigration policy that’s free of racism and prejudice, and better allows for family reunification, the nationalization of existing immigrants and asylum.
3. The Green Party calls for the release of all immigration detainees that are not criminal fugitives, the closure of all internment facilities, and compliance with our Constitution and universal human rights principles in its treatment of immigrants.
Our government holds three territories, American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands; and two commonwealths, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands. Although all people born in territories/commonwealths are U.S. citizens (except for American Samoa), they lack the right to vote in federal elections and have no elected representatives in Washington, this renders them at best second-class citizens. Additionally, these territories/commonwealths receive less funding for social and economic programs than those received by the states. Also, since trade and finance are controlled by the U.S., they are prevented from taking initiatives that may be in their best interest for development.
Green Position on Territories/Commonwealths
The Green Party supports the people of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands in their respective decisions to either remain U.S. territories/commonwealths, or to petition congress for statehood, or to declare independence as sovereign non-aligned nation-states.
#NoWar2020 is going online this May 28-30, 2020! Due to the cancellation of CANSEC and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we’re turning #NoWar2020, World BEYOND War’s 5th annual global conference, into a series of online sessions.
On Day 1 on May 28 at 12pm-2pm Eastern Time, Mary-Wynne Ashford will lead a virtual workshop on “Nonviolence Strategies – 101 Solutions to Violence, Terror, and War”. Click here to register for the workshop!
Day 2 on May 29 will include 2 online panel presentations. From 3pm-4:30pm Eastern Time, Te Ao Pritchard, Siana Bangura, Richard Sanders, and Colin Stuart will speak about how to shut down a weapons expo. Then from 4:30pm-6pm Eastern Time, we’ll hear from Tamara Lorincz, Brent Patterson, and Simon Black about conversion from a war to peace economy. Click here to register for Day 2!
Day 3 on May 30 from 3pm-5pm Eastern Time will be a virtual anti-war activists open mic session. We’ll hear live music from the Ottawa Raging Grannies and Sandy Greenberg, along with reports from World BEYOND War chapter coordinators around the world. Come to listen and to share your music, poetry, activism, and more. Click here to register for the open mic session!
Then join us in-person next year from June 1-6, 2021 in Ottawa for #NoWar2021 to protest CANSEC 2021 and participate in World BEYOND War’s 6th annual global conference!
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,
Green Party of Ohio—Dayton
937-260-2591 / firstname.lastname@example.org
LETTER FROM PRESIDENT MADURO
– Coat of Arms –
Caracas, 29th March 2020
To the Peoples of the World
In greeting you, with affection, I take the liberty of addressing you on the occasion of denouncing the severe events taking place against the peace and stability of Venezuela, at a time when the concern of the States and Governments should be focused on the protection of the life and health of their citizens, due to the acceleration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As it is publicly known, last March 26, the government of the United States announced a very serious action against a group of high officials of the Venezuelan State, including the Constitutional President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro.
This action consisted in the presentation of a formal accusation before the American judicial system, which is not only by illegal in itself, by also seeks to support a false accusation of drug trafficking and terrorism, with the sole objective of simulating the alleged judicialization of the Venezuelan authorities.
This American performance includes the unusual offer of an international reward to anyone who provides information about the President and the high Venezuelan officials, leading to a dangerous moment of tension in the continent. I therefore consider it necessary to make an account of the facts, which reveal the perverse plot behind the accusations of the Department of Justice.
Just one day before, on March 25, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela denounced before national and international public opinion the development in Colombian territory of a operation aimed at attempting against the life of President of the Republic, Nicolás Maduro Moros, his family members and high State officials; as well as attacking civil and military objectives in our country, accusing Mr. Clíver Alcalá, a retired general of the Venezuelan armed forces, of being the military chief of that operation.
This denounce was made with all responsibility, after a control operation in the road to the north of Colombia, near the border with Venezuela, was announced on March 24, in which the police of that country captured a batch or war weapons in a civilian vehicle.
The investigations revealed that it was a sophisticated arsenal aimed at a group of former Venezuelan and Colombian military and paramilitary personnel who were training in camps located in Colombian territory.
On March 26, the aforementioned Clíver Alcalá, gave a statement to a Colombian media outlet -from his residence in the city of Barranquilla, Colombia- in which he confirmed his participation in the reported events, confessing to being the military leader of the operation and revealing that the weapons were purchased by order of Mr. Juan Guaidó, national deputy, who calls himself interim President of Venezuela and serves as Washington’s operator in the country. He also confirmed that the weapons were intended to carry out a military operation to assassinate senior members of the Venezuelan State and Government and to produce a coup d’état in Venezuela.
Mr. Alcalá clarified that the weapons were purchased through a contract signed by himself, Mr. Juan Guaidó, U.S. advisors and Mr. Juan José Rendón, political advisor to President Iván Duque, and carried out with the knowledge of Colombian government authorities.
In the face of this confession, the unusual response of the United States government has been the publication of the accusations mentioned at the beginning of this letter, with the extravagant inclusion of the name of Mr. Alcalá, as if he were part of the Venezuelan aucthorities and not a mercenary hired by the United States to carry out a terrorist operation against the Venezuelan government.
As a demonstration of this statement, I need no more proof than to mention the alleged capture of Mr. Alcalá by Colombian security forces and his immediate surrender to U.S. DEA authorities, in a curious act in which the prisoner, without handcuffs, was shaking hands with his captors, right in front of the stairs of the plane that would take him on a special VIP flight to the United States, which shows that in reality this whole set-up is about the rescue of someone they consider a U.S. agent.
It must be stressed that the unsuccessful armed operation was originally designed to be executed at the end of this month, while all of Venezuela is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Actually, this is precisely the main battle that concerns humanity today.
A battle that our nation is successfully waging, having managed to stop the contagion curve, reinforcing health provisions and keeping the population in a massive quarantine, with a low number of positive cases and deaths.
For all these reasons, the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela alerts our brothers and sisters of political organizations and social movements around the world about the reckless and criminal steps being taken by the administration of Donald Trump which, despite the frightening acceleration of the growth of COVID-19 affecting the American people, seems determined to deepen its policy of aggression against sovereign states in the region, and especially against the Venezuelan people.
During the pandemic, the U.S. government, instead of focusing on policies of global cooperation in health and prevention, has increased unilateral coercive measures, has rejected the requests from the international community to lift or make flexible the illegal sanctions that prevent Venezuela from accessing medicines, medical equipment and food.
At the same time, it has banned humanitarian flights from the United States to Venezuela to repatriate hundreds of Venezuelans trapped in the economic and health crisis in the northern country.
By denouncing these serious facts, Venezuela ratifies its unwavering will to maintain a relationship of respect and cooperation with all nations, especially in this unprecedented circumstance that forces responsible governments to work together and put aside their differences, as is the case with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under such serious circumstances, I request your invaluable support in the face of this unusual and arbitrary persecution, executed through a new version of that rancid McCarthyism unleashed after World War II. At that time, they willingly labeled their adversaries as Communists in order to persecute them; today they do so by means of the whimsical categories of terrorists or drug traffickers, without having any evidence whatsoever.
Condemning and neutralizing today these unjustifiable attacks against Venezuela will be very useful to prevent Washington from launching similar campaigns against other peoples and governments of the world tomorrow. We must all adhere to the principles of the United Nations Charter, to prevent excessive unilateralism from leading to international chaos.
Brothers and sisters of the world, you can be absolutely sure that Venezuela will stand firm in its fight for peace and that, under any circumstances, it will prevail. No imperialist aggression, however ferocious it may be, will divert us from the sovereign and independent path that we have forged for 200 years, nor will it distance us from the sacred obligation to preserve the life and health of our people in the face of the frightening global pandemic of COVID-19.
I take this opportunity to express my solidarity and that of the people of Venezuela to all the peoples who today also suffer serious consequences from the effects of the pandemic. If we are obliged to draw any lesson from all this difficult experience, it is precisely that only together we can move forward. The political and economic models that advocate selfishness and individualism have demonstrated their total failure to face this situation. Let us firmly advance towards a new World with justice and social equality, in which the happiness and fullness of the human being is the center of our actions.
I appreciate the solidarity that you have permanently expressed towards my country and my people, denouncing the criminal blockade to which we and many other nations are subjected. I take this opportunity to reiterate my respect and affection, and to invite you to continue united, plowing a future of hope and dignity.
– Seal of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela –
Nicolás Maduro Moros
The Great Pandemic Awakening:
How the Coronavirus Epidemic Should Reorder National Priorities
Historians may record the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020 as a turning point in the ordering of priorities of the world’s nations. The stark reality of a global epidemic that sickens millions and kills tens of thousands may jolt the people of all nations into awakening to the difference between real and imaginary threats to their safety. This may lead to a long-overdue retreat from militarism and xenophobia, social maladies that have caused the squandering of vast resources better applied to legitimate human needs.
Ever since the invention of nuclear weapons at the end of WWII, large-scale warfare between advanced nations has been a political impossibility. The response to any large conventional attack would entail the use of devastating nuclear weapons in an exchange that could culminate in a global catastrophe. No regime could survive, politically or physically, such an outcome. Nevertheless, most large nations have persisted in building up enormously costly military establishments in anticipation of a fantasy of large-scale conventional warfare. This fantasy presumes that combatants would limit their hostilities to bloody conventional warfare and never resort to their most powerful weaponry. Post WWII History has repeatedly proven that nuclear-armed nations will not fight large conventional wars, but the irrational preparations for such fighting persist.
Although nuclear weapons have rendered large-scale conventional war infeasible, they have also become the object of irrational expenditure. Ill-founded theories of nuclear war strategy have resulted in grossly excessive spending on weapons that can never be used. The pernicious phenomenon of an arms race, once limited to competitive accumulation of guns, tanks, planes, and ships has taken hold in the development and stockpiling of nuclear weapons. Perversely, the more nuclear weapons are designed and deployed, the less secure the world becomes. Not content with devising ever more deadly and accurate offensive nuclear weapons, major nations are expending huge sums on developing and deploying missile defense systems, a futile undertaking that continues because of an irrational belief that enough spending can overcome intractable technical problems.
How much spending for military fantasies are we talking about in in the United States?
The current annual allocation in the US government budget for all defense-related expenditures is over one trillion dollars. This is over half of the discretionary budget. The cost of a single F35 jet fighter ($110 million) could buy 2,200 hospital ventilators, desperately needed in the Coronavirus pandemic. By comparison, the US government’s discretionary spending on Federal health institutions for the same period amounted to about $90 billion, a tenth of what is spent for “national security.” In short, the US is spending 10 times more to defend against imaginary threats than it is to contend with real threats to public safety.
Consider the clear and present danger of COVID-19. There is nothing imaginary or speculative about the mounting toll of this pandemic virus. Apart from the terrible spread of infections and fatalities, the economic damage inflicted on the world is staggering, leading some economists to predict a worldwide depression. Current projections anticipate over 100,000 fatalities in the US resulting from COVID-19. This is more than all US deaths caused by military action since WWII. Yet because of grossly misallocated resources, many of these pandemic victims will die needlessly. They will have perished because a nation obsessed by fantasies of endless warfare did not address the real dangers facing the country. There will be more pandemics after COVID-19 because evolution of viruses never stops, and it is just a matter of time before the next wave comes. Even if all viruses are defeated by medical science, the global danger of climate change is worsening inexorably and posing an even more challenging test of rational allocation of national resources.
We must awaken from a nightmare of imaginary military threats and horrific war plans to the grim reality of our neglected protections from the true global dangers of disease, climate disruption, poverty, and xenophobia. Such an awakening will be an ample recompense for the suffering endured by the world’s people in the Coronovirus pandemic of 2020.
The Green Party of the US has consistently advocated the redirection of US national resources away from excessive military spending and toward social needs. Citizens who wish to restore sanity to the allocation of our government’s resources and reorder national priorities to serve the common good should vote for Green Party candidates for local and national office. The Green Party is the party of peace and social justice. It is the party that is ready to serve an American public awakened to our true national priorities.
By Haig Hovaness
In the early 20th century, the development of mass communications propaganda enhanced the ability of governments to secure public support for waging war. In America, WWI was “sold” to the public by a carefully planned public relations campaign directed by early pioneers of opinion manipulation, such as Edward Bernays. In 1928 Bernays published a definitive book, “Propaganda,” on the new science of influencing the public. In this book, he declares the purpose of this science bluntly:
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, and our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of…. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.
Soon thereafter European dictators, like Hitler and Mussolini, used the tools of propaganda to rise to power and launch a terrible war. What the early students of propaganda did not foresee was that a time would come when the mechanisms of propaganda would no longer be subservient to the national objectives of powerful leaders but would become a dominant influence on the conduct of nations. This inversion of policy and propaganda is a fundamental reason why America’s “War on Terror” has become detached from rational policy objectives and serves as a kind of theater of cruelty for the amusement of the public, much like the bloody spectacles of the ancient Roman arena. In short, propaganda, which was invented as a tool to serve powerful leaders now dictates the actions of the leaders. Americans have become trapped in a world in which the propaganda of inciting irrational fear and hostility has become self-perpetuating, leading to an endless public spectacle called a war.
The German military theorist Clausewitz called war “a continuation of politics with the admixture of other means.” By this he meant that after exhausting the resources of diplomacy nations may turn to war, but war should serve a nation’s interests. Today’s American War on Terror defies logical connection to any sound national interests. America’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq are widely considered disastrous failures, and our military interventions in Libya, Syria and several other troubled nations have spread chaos and anarchy. These military adventures do, however, entertain the public. The evidence for this entertainment mechanism is the repeating patterns of the propaganda spectacles that are presented. Here are some examples:
Humiliating the captives – Guantanamo
In ancient Rome the parading of defeated captives was a part of the marches of triumph that celebrated victorious military campaigns. The triumphal procession would include caged or shackled captives, whose humiliation excited and pleased the Roman crowds. The US imprisoned suspected terrorists at Guantanamo, a military base in Cuba, presumed to be outside the legal jurisdiction of US Courts. Pictures of the shackled kneeling prisoners were widely publicized, as were descriptions of the harsh conditions of confinement and interrogation at Guantanamo. This pleased a public hungry for revenge after the shock of the 9/11 attacks. The crucial distinction between the practice of the Romans and the US in the display of captives is that the Romans did so after securing strategic triumphs like the conquest of Gaul. There has been no equivalent triumph in the open-ended US global War on Terror. It is widely believed that the abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo and other sites has helped recruit Islamist militants worldwide. Even as a legal stratagem for punishing accused terrorists, Guantanamo has been a failure, since the maltreatment of the prisoners renders their prosecution untenable, leaving many of these prisoners in a legal limbo, possibly for the remainder of their lives.
Although President Obama campaigned on a promise to close the Guantanamo prison, he was unable to persuade Congress to do this. I believe the only credible explanation for this recalcitrance was the desire to maintain the public propaganda benefit of ritual humiliation of (suspected) terrorists: propaganda driving irrational policy.
Brandishing the weaponry – Shock, Awe, and MOAB
A U.S. aircraft dropped a GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, also known as a MOAB or ‘mother of all bombs’, on an area in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, on April 13, 2017. The MOAB is a ten-ton bomb, the largest conventional weapon in the US arsenal. The dropping of this bomb had no effect whatever on the strategic situation of the US military intervention in Afghanistan, now in its 19th year. America lacks the military resources to fully suppress the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan which controls about two-thirds of the population and continues to inflict defeats on the US-backed Afghan government. The bomb did have significant propaganda value, however, because the images and videos of the effects of this weapon were widely reported.
The great danger of reliance on super weapon propaganda is that leaders may come to believe it. The use of super weapons to bolster public morale in a losing war was notable in WWII Germany. The German V1 cruise missile and V2 ballistic missile were revolutionary pilotless bombs that Hitler mistakenly believed would win the war. President Trump has boasted that he could win the war in Afghanistan by killing millions of Afghans, presumably with indiscriminate use of advanced American weaponry. Our super-weapons pose a greater threat to us than to our enemies: propaganda driving irrational policy.
Killing the Supervillains – Bin Laden, Al Baghdadi, and Soleimani
In Orwell’s prescient dystopian novel, “1984,” a key tool of state propaganda is focusing public rage on an archvillain who is responsible for all the evils of the nation’s enemy. In the novel, there is a daily assembly in which members of the public witness a video depiction of Emmanuel Goldstein, the leader of the enemy state. For two minutes, the audience is whipped into a frenzy of hatred that sustains their war fervor. In America’s War on Terror, a succession of supervillains has served a powerful propaganda purpose: Bin-Laden, Al-Baghdadi, and most recently Soleimani have been killed to symbolically defeat an ill-defined adversary power (terrorism). Yet the endless war continues.
From a strategic perspective, the killings of Bin-Laden and Al-Baghdadi, founders of Al Qaeda and ISIS, were irrelevant because these leaders had fled into hiding and no longer commanded significant forces. Killing Soleimani, the Iranian general aiding anti-American forces in the Mideast, was a strategic disaster because it brought the US and Iran to the brink of a full-scale war and persuaded the Iraqi parliament to request the departure of the remaining US troops in Iraq. Nonetheless, Trump is milking the propaganda value of the Soleimani assassination at political rallies, irrespective of the negative consequences for the US position in the Mideast: propaganda driving irrational policy.
The failures of US foreign policy in the global War on Terror have become so conspicuous that there is growing organized criticism of this reign of misrule. Recently the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft was formed by support from wealthy activists from opposite ends of the political spectrum (Charles Koch and George Soros). The first paragraph of the institute’s charter addresses the problem succinctly:
The foreign policy of the United States has become detached from any defensible conception of U.S. interests and from a decent respect for the rights and dignity of humankind. Political leaders have increasingly deployed the military in a costly, counterproductive, and indiscriminate manner, normalizing war and treating armed dominance as an end in itself.
I assert that a main reason why military conflict has become an end in itself is that the propaganda associated with the War on Terror is out of control and is now dictating irrational and counterproductive actions. War propaganda, once a servant of American politicians, has now become a master. Taming this monstrous former servant will be a crucial challenge for American democracy.
Interview with a Political Activist in El Alto
[Note: The following interview with a Bolivian activist in El Alto, whose name is being withheld for obvious security reasons, was conducted by The Organizer editorial board member Alan Benjamin on Sunday, November 17. The interview is reprinted from the November-December 2019 issue of The Organizer.]
Question: What is the situation in Bolivia in the aftermath of the coup? How is the resistance to the coup being organized?
Answer: After the conspiracy of the police, the military, and the right-wing leaders that led to the November 10 resignation of Evo Morales and placed the coup-plotters in the governmental palace, their first measure was to burn the Whipala, the flag that represents the Quechua-Aymara peoples and that is recognized as one of the nation’s two flags in the 2009 Political Constitution of the State.
The burning of the Whipala means the return to the heinous racism and discrimination by the traditional right wing. This action by the coup government, together with the self-proclamation by supposed “president” Jeanine Añez, has triggered the mobilization of scores of popular sectors, neighborhood councils, and youth from the city of El Alto, the main bastion of the struggles of October 2003 and 2005 that succeeded in ousting then-president Gustavo Sanchez de Lozada, known as the “Gringo Goni.” Workers and youth at that time had mobilized against Goni’s Hydrocarbons Law with protests that were met with large-scale repression, resulting in 60 deaths.
Since Monday, November 11, massive marches of people have descended every day from the city of El Alto to the seat of government in La Paz. Hundreds of police, military and armored cars have sealed off the Plaza Murillo (where the government palace is located), repressing the population with tear gas and arresting people who were not even participating in the mobilizations. People have been apprehended just for carrying a Whipala.
Likewise, the peasants and neighbors of the poorest areas around the southern zone of La Paz have been repressed savagely. Two people have been killed, as the local authorities have had to acknowledge.
Relatives of the killed activists have reported in the social media how the military are breaking into people’s homes and beating the activists and their families indiscriminately.
The media are silent, but the social networks are flooded with videos and images that show the savagery that has been unleashed against the population.
The most recent repression occurred on Friday, November 15, when peasants from the Cochabamba region were heading towards the center of that city in a peaceful march, but were intercepted at the Huayllani Bridge, in the Sacaba region, by the military and police forces, which fired lethal weapons at the unarmed population.
The result of this police-military operation was nine deaths and hundreds of wounded and arrested. The media have sought to present this as an “armed confrontation” between the military and the demonstrators — but the fact is that not a single police officer, not a single soldier, was killed.
The media have ignored the statement by Cochabamba public defender Nelson Cox, who declared: “Visiting the hospitals, we have not found a single wounded policeman or soldier. There can be no talk of confrontation when what occurred was an action by the military and police that harmed the lives of the civilians who were mobilizing peacefully.” (statement posted on the website of Chasqui Clandestina)
On the following day, Saturday, November 16, a widely attended Cabildo [a town-hall meeting, or popular assembly – Tr. note] took place in the city of El Alto. Neighbors, workers, and young people gathered behind the Whipala with a black emblem attached to it, to signify the people’s outrage over the repression by the military and police forces which, so far, has taken the lives of 23 people, with hundreds of people seriously wounded and/or arrested.
All 14 districts that make up the city of El Alto were represented at the Cabildo. Peasant representatives from the 20 provinces of the department of La Paz were also present, as were rural teacher delegations from Alto Beni (which is the eastern sector of Bolivia), among other sectors.
The leaders of the Federation of Neighborhood Councils (FEJUVE) of El Alto were disavowed on the grounds that they are corrupt and do not represent the interests of the people of El Alto. As a consequence a new leadership of the FEJUVE has been formed.
Among its main decisions, the Cabildo called for the resignation of self-proclaimed president Jeanine Añez and the immediate release of all detainees nationwide. It also declared an indefinite strike with the blockade of 1,000 street corners.
As the workers and people were gathered in the Cabildo in El Alto, the so-called president issued Supreme Decree 4078, which authorizes the armed forces and police to “restore internal order” without having to be held accountable for their criminal actions. This is nothing but a license to kill.
As we speak [Sunday, November 17] popular sectors, carrying out the decisions of the Cabildo, are currently taking up their positions at the designated blockade points. We don’t yet have information about what is happening with the blockades. We are certainly not going to get reports from the national media, which has been assigned the task of turning a blind eye to the savage repression and making the anger of the population at the measures of the so-called president Jeanine Añez invisible.
Question: What has been the policy of the Bolivian Workers Central — the historic COB confederation — in relation to the recent coup, and, more recently, to the resistance? Have there been discussions within the COB and/or its affiliates regarding the November 10 COB statement, which we in the United States found shocking, calling for Evo’s resignation “for the sake of the health of the nation”?
Answer: On November 10, as you point out, the main leader of the COB, Juan Carlos Guarachi, called for the resignation of Evo Morales in the name of “preserving the peace in the country.” A similar statement was issued by Orlando Gutierrez, leader of the National Mineworkers Federation (FSTMB), the backbone of the COB. This marked a right-wing break by the COB and its main affiliate with the government of Evo Morales.
In the aftermath of the resignation of Morales and in response to the ongoing popular mobilizations, the COB issued a resolution dated November 12 stating that the powers-that-be had 48 hours to come up with a “constitutional solution,” otherwise they would declare an indefinite general strike.
But what kind of “constitutional solution” can be reached when you have a self-appointed president, supported by the armed forces, who has trampled upon the Constitution? She cannot even muster a sufficient quorum in the Congress to have herself declared a rightful president. The COB has remained silent until now, even though the 48-hour deadline has come and gone.
Having said that, there is growing dissension in the union ranks.
Prior to the coup, mineworkers in the State sector — in Huanuni, Vinto, Coro Coro, and Colquir — denounced the fact that behind the “Citizen Mobilizations” lurked the old right-wing parties.
Recently, on November 12, the most combative union of the FSTMB — the mine workers’ union in Huanuni — adopted a resolution denouncing all those who have lent a hand to the right wing, highlighting the leader of Santa Cruz Civic Committee billionaire Luis Fernando Camacho as a racist. The resolution affirms that, “the struggle has begun” and that “a state of emergency has been declared in Huanuni” — but to date the union has not called for mobilization.
Question: Any further comments?
Answer: At this moment, the main demand of the mobilized sectors of the population — a demand with which I concur fully — is the resignation of Jeanine Añez, who symbolizes the return of the gorilla and racist right wing. If the COB and FSTMB were to join the mobilizations, this would mark a real show of strength by the workers’ and people’s organizations against the perpetrators of the coup.