In the last Drone Organizers Bulletin (September 24, 2018) I referenced an article that appeared in Buzzflash http://buzzflash.com/commentary/hurricane-florence-delivers-a-stark-antiwar-message, and I asked: “Can we build an anti-war alliance with foes of climate change?”
As you will see below, readers who responded to that question believe we need to approach climate change organizations such as 350.org and Greenspeace, calling on them to publicly take anti-war positions.
Would any of you be willing to help to undertake that outreach? This is essential work, but it is work that is too much for one person. Please let me know if you are interested at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are the responses to the survey that was circulated last month. Part A. gives relatively short answers that were entered into the Survey Monkey form. Part B. gives longer email narratives, by Barbara Kidney and Joy First.
A. SURVEY MONKEY RESPONSES
1. Do you think climate change/environmental movement leaders are avoiding the issue of resource wars?
- Don’t know/unsure.
2. Why or why not?
- They are unwilling to “go the distance” (Field of Dreams) and recognize that capitalism is incompatible with human survival. That is the bottom line.
- Have not seen much discussion.
3. What can we anti-war organizers do to persuade climate change/environmental leaders to condemn resource wars and actively oppose them as part of their action agenda?
- Confront them head on!!! (duh!) Picket their offices. Use persuasion at first, and then confrontation and last humiliation. It is the foundation-dependent leadership that is the problem, not the mass of followers, who would be ready to drop that obstacle and forge ahead.
- Show the costs plainly…human and financial.
4. The August 9, 2018 Drone Organizers Bulletin raised the question of whether we are getting our anti-war/anti-drone message into high school classrooms. What message(s) should we want to bring into the classrooms and other public forums, what points made in the Buzzflash article should be part of our message(s)?
- As the Doors’ Jim Morrison sang, in “Light My Fire”…”The time to hesitate is through! No time to wallow in the mire”. The message is: Either act now to survive or continue the myth of perpetual growth under capitalism. Your move, buddy.
- Bring the truth. Do not white wash. Encourage action.
B. EMAIL SURVEY RESPONSES
Question 1. - Yes.
Here are some factors that I think caused this-note that I do not say "reasons" as I do not think these factors are necessarily reasonable:
Ever since dark-skinned Democrat President Obama was elected, many people who voted for him entered a state of denial about the Mideast Wars, as if a non-White Democrat could do no wrong, regardless of how many wrongs he did. Obama continued the Mideast wars, majorly increased the Drone Wars -like I need to tell you that - yet it was no longer fashionable for the average American so-called Progressive to be against the wars apparently. Suddenly it became the trend for all Americans to support our troops, gag me with a spoon, and to enter the La La Land of stupidly believing that the drones only hit the bad guys, and so are actually a way of curtailing unnecessary blood- shed.
So, I suspect a lot of climate and planet activists also have been holding the belief that Democrats can do no wrong and that Obama was trying to get us out of the Mideast and that we all need to support our troops, ad nauseam. I also think that those climate activists who did not hold those views, saw the war thing as "divisive" and or requiring courage to confront, which they themselves may have lacked.
Another factor I believe are the approaches of some of the anti-war groups. If I remember correctly it was Answer who seemed to be holding the position that Russia and Putin could do no wrong no matter how many wrongs they do.
Some of the anti-war groups were also coming across as having all the answers and ready to pump the ears of any listener with all their answers, and as having attitudes of expecting everybody to simply agree with every word that comes out of their mouths without showing any interest whatsoever in the perspective of their listeners.
I remember this phenomenon happening during some of the latter phone calls that (you) Nick organized on Wednesday nights, at the time that we were discussing the Syria tragedy some years ago. Here's me, a real peacenik, being quite turned off really, by the attitudes coming from some of the other folks on the conference call. They were with some peace organization, I forget which one, but my God they had all the answers, more than did the Baltimore catechism. What a turn off. And if they're turning me off, I can only imagine what they're doing for someone who was less pro peace than I.
2. Do whatever we can to get the information out there about the connection between toxic fuel companies and planetary devastation, including how electronic devices require rare minerals that are only found in certain places, said certain places coincidentally being hot spots for wars, terrorism and other US military activity.
The new movie Sorry to Bother You which has now become one of my top favorite movies of all time, makes that point in kind of a throwaway manner. But nonetheless the point is made. In one brief scene, our protagonist is told how the evil corporation he works for is making money hand-over-fist selling drones and drone bombs, and another major character, the protagonist's artist girlfriend, has a big scene in which her art installation is all about how those rare minerals in Africa are causing imperialistic powers to pillage and rape Africa. Perhaps we could build on the message in that movie in some ways to reach the more general public, and of course our friends the climate activists. As I consider myself to be a climate and planet activist, I am not being particularly snarky here. I am just rather frustrated with those who refuse to make the obvious connection between peace and planet.
We can also build on the awareness that Occupy created in helping people to get the big picture, namely that greed is an addiction and a driving force in our culture and economy, and that it kills....everything.
I think one thing we certainly could and should do is to fully support political parties that see the light on these issues, such as Socialists and Greens, and support them and their candidates. Here in NYS we have the opportunity on Election Day to vote for toxic fuel pushing Andrew Cuomo (D), toxic fuel pushing Marc Molinaro (R), or green renewable energy supporting Howie Hawkins (G) for governor. Howie’s amazing biography of life life-long activism for peace, people, and planet can be found on Wikipedia. He lives near Syracuse and has been an anti-drone-war protestor at Hancock Air Force Base. The Green candidate for NYS Comptroller Mark Dunlea stands for peace and planet, and has been a major player in 350.org. He would have NYS employee pension funds divest from fossil fuels, unlike incumbent Dem Thomas DiNapoli who publicly states that NYS funds should NOT divest from Exxon Mobile. Also in NYS, Steve Greenfield (G) is running for Congress in Congressional District 19. Steve’s platform is entirely pro people, peace, and planet. In contrast, the Dem CD 19 candidate, Antonio Delgado, has taken no position whatsoever that I can find (and I have looked) on peace or foreign policy issues.
So, one thing we can do is support and donate money to the campaigns of candidates who actively support peace and planet and already have gotten the connection between climate/environment and peace issues. And we can vote for them!
We can also point out the obvious but so-seldom-commented-on hypocrisy of so-called progressives supporting Democrats like Andrew Cuomo, Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, Joe Biden, et al., who support toxic fuels of all kinds and the war machine. Anyone who calls themselves progressive and supports politicians like these is lying and really should be called out. Of course, I suspect many such people are lying to themselves and are in a state of denial. But politely going along with their denial and thus enabling this level of Earth-killing dysfunction does no one any good at all. We need to be pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes, so to say.
Speaking of this, Josh Fox is touring with his new theatrical production about the Truth Can't Change and, wouldn’t you know, in it he has deviated from the truth. In it he complains bitterly and theatrically about how after Gasland, he was smeared by big corporations, and then he goes on to repeat a smear that big corporations conducted against Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein - as if that smear were factual! Then he goes on to relate how because of that smear, which he naively took to be true, he could not back Jill Stein and so instead went forth to promote fracking-as-a-transition-fuel, drone-war-mongering Hillary Clinton, of all people, in 2016, after she played dirty with Bernie (for whom Josh had been campaigning). So, one thing we can do is to take vociferous issue with Josh Fox via a social media and directly in the audience when he comes to our towns with his production, for having supported fracker hawk Hillary over peace and planet candidate Jill.
(I think the Hillary machine and the DNC may have seduced Josh by giving him a (false) sense of power and limelight. Josh is still supporting Dems who support fracking and dissing Greens - dissing Greens who would support peace and ban fracking forever- it just makes no sense!).
I have contributed a chapter to a book entitled The Psychology of Peace Promotion, edited by peace activists and scholars Sister Mary Gloria Njoku (recently deceased) and Leonard Jason. This book is due to be published by Springer in Spring 2019. My chapter is entitled "Promoting Peace: Some Perspectives from Counseling Psychology." I start out the chapter by inviting readers to engage in a thought and feeling exercise to help them develop their own awareness of peace and what peace means, and how we as individual regular people, so to speak, can contribute to making peace. In the chapter I also specifically point out the connections among issues of peace and climate, plutocracy, toxic fuel, drone warfare, etc. I am potentially available to lead these workshops to groups of interested people; please reach out to me (Nick can give you my contact info) if you have potential interest. And, of course, one can participate by reading the chapter once the book is published- and the rest of the book, which includes chapters on peace and climate change, and on peace and community gardens.
(My answers here to Question 2 are more focused on "regular" people who consider themselves to be climate activists or otherwise pro planet and ecology people, rather than on identified leaders of big climate organizations. To quote "Stairway to Heaven": "It's whispered that soon, if we all call the tune, then the piper will lead us to reason."
Where the people lead, the leaders follow).
3. I do not feel especially expert myself on how to effectively get the message out to the high school student population. (Would public high school administrations even allow peace activists to enter the door?) But here are a few thoughts:
Certainly, whenever we see young people in rallies, relevant workshops and conferences, public lectures in our community, etc. we can engage them in conversation respectfully and support their awareness. And perhaps also learn from their greater awareness ourselves.
We might want to make connection with the Earth Guardians movement, which focuses on the middle and high school aged population.
We could put heads together with any high school teachers we know who see the light regarding peace and planet or at least somewhat do.
And we would do well to reach out to middle schoolers and even younger kids and teachers of younger kids. Those kid populations are typically so readily moral and able to see right through the BS. We could build on the anti-bullying programs and culture, and the ecology programs, to support peace/planet efforts, and maybe some of us in the peace movement who are knowledgeable about pedagogy could point out and or develop simple and effective programs to help these younger populations make connections about how caring for each other and caring for the planet go hand-in-hand.
By the way, I will take this opportunity to say that members of American Psychological Association's Division 48 Peace Psychology
more than tend to "get" all these connections and to take stands about these issues in a variety of ways, including as a Division making public statements, via books and curricula, research, and as private citizens working with activist groups and so on. Likewise, for the even larger organization Psychologists for Social Responsibility. As a member of the Peace Psychology Division of APA, I would invite any non- psychologist pro peace and planet people to feel free to reach out to those organizations (Peace Psychology and PSR) in solidarity. You would be welcomed, and you might find some of their materials useful to your endeavors. And you do not have to be a psychologist or an American Psychological Association member in order to join Peace Psychology. If you join, you can get on their listserv and have email conversations with renowned peace scholars, and you can ask them burning questions! Like these!
Thanks, Nick, for putting this out there!
To peace, planet, and sanity,
Thank you for your latest thought-provoking Drone organizers bulletin. I have been wanting to respond, but have been getting ready for a trial that was scheduled to begin tomorrow. We found out late last week that the government is dismissing all charges. This was for an action in Steny Hoyer's office regarding his work to stop a house bill that could have helped to end our involvement in the war in Yemen. Now I have the gift of a free week with nothing on my calendar.
NCNR has held at least a couple of actions where we tried to get people involved from the environmental movement and connect the wars with environmental ecocide. We failed miserably each time. Though we put a lot of time and energy into contacting leaders, we did not get any response.
I remember one of our actions began at the EPA, and we then moved to the Pentagon where we risked arrest.
People in that movement just don't want to connect the dots between the military and the destruction of the environment. In this old, but still important article, it lays out a good case. Greenwashing the Pentagon - https://www.commondreams.org/views/2010/06/14/greenwashing-pentagon
We see today that so many social movement groups are not interested in addressing the wars. If you remember the women's march the day after Trump's inauguration refused to allow the anti-war movement to have a place there. I don't know if our world is in such a sorry state that people can only see the harm that is affecting them, and aren't able to see that when we kill and cause suffering to children overseas it really does have an impact on our lives. Most fundamentally and rather selfishly, it should at least be obvious that if we spend billions of dollars on our military that causes immense suffering to families in the Middle East, we won't have the money we need to solve our problems here at home. But that connection does not seem to be made by many people in this country, whether the environmental movement or other social movements.
I feel like we at NCNR have really tried, and not sure what more to do at this point. Thank you for opening this conversation. I hope you have gotten some insightful responses that can help with this issue.
IN THE NEXT BULLETIN
Reports on anti-drone war protests at Creech Air Force Base and Air National Guard bases in Des Moines, Iowa and Horsham, Pennsylvania.