Thursday, June 16, 2011

Uprising for a new world

Rep. Kucinich and eight other brave members of Congress are currently suing President Obama for Peace. Their case states that the commander-in-chief is in violation of the War Powers Act when it comes to the War on Libya. Obama absurdly contends that our military is not engaged in "hostilities" when it bombs buildings and kills people in this North African nation. Therefore, the pres claims the law does not apply. The War Powers Act was passed in order to further clarify Article 1 of our Constitution (that Congress and the President need to make such war-making decisions jointly). Passed in 1973, it was designed to check unlimited presidential military actions. Sadly, it has been ignored by presidents and Congress for at least a couple decades now.

I doubt this lawsuit, although a very honorable step, will gain much ground. If folks haven't noticed things have not gone well for the peace and justice movement for the last few years... The American people, however, are getting increasingly angry with the lack of jobs, the continued bailout of bankers and the wealthiest of the wealthy, and endless wars which cost us trillions of dollars we simply do not have.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. Government has spent more than $1.2 Trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. If we break that down for Fiscal Year 2011 alone, that sum of money could have been used to provide healthcare for 86.8 million low income children, or 73.7 million households with renewable electricity (wind power), or 15.5 million one-year university scholarships for one year. Where are our priorities?

On October 6th of this year my affinity group will be gathering in downtown DC and then marching to the huge mobilization at Freedom Plaza. The organizers of this mobilization intend for the mass of peace and justice loving people to not leave until some demands are met. Chief among those demands are to remove U.S. forces from Afghanistan, which will be entering its second decade (the longest U.S. war ever) that month, and redistribute these funds into relief for the poor and programs to protect our fragile environment.

We, the people, can change the direction of our country. We need to have faith in our own power. Just as the people in Tahrir Square, Cairo had faith in their own collective power. We must remain united and strong and beautifully nonviolent, but not passive. Yes, positive social change can happen in our lives. Are you ready to be a part of it?

My affinity group will be taking the name Camp Agape. You can join if you are committed to nonviolence, and are willing to put the groups needs above your own during your time at Freedom Plaza. We need to look out for one another, comfort one another and share food and water with one another. We also hope to be a place of hospitality to those more vulnerable than us who typically make the streets of downtown DC their homes. We hope to share some of our food and water with them.

Camp Agape also hopes to be a place of listening, sharing wisdom, and supporting one another during some stressful days. If you want to play a part in a great change with other people who believe (and live) in love of their fellow humans, join us.

Here's some more information on this massive mobilization!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

What will happen in DC in October?

There has been a call put out to the entire peace and justice movement to assemble in Freedom Plaza (downtown DC, along Pennsylvania Avenue), and to not leave until the U.S. Government begins withdrawing all it military forces from Afghanistan (this will be at the same time our nation completes a decade of war in this Third World country) and begins to redirect war funds to desperately needed social programs and protections for the environment. The original organizers are encouraging people not to leave until the demands are met. I think this does need to happen. But I also realize that those leaving their homes and camping out on the concrete slabs of Freedom Plaza will need support. They will need food and water brought into them. Folks will need to begin to organize themselves, as did the courageous protesters in first Egypt and Tunisia, and now currently in Spain.

So will it last longer than a couple days, will the mass media largely ignore us? Again, I will repeat, this needs to happen. The U.S. Government no longer truly represents the people -- it represents Wall Street's interests and private companies. It continues to pursue endless wars, while now embracing austerity measures. Will the American people finally stand up for themselves and speak out loud and clear, saying "Enough is enough -- bring the war dollars home!"?

I am laying the groundwork (Alice G. is the first one to join me!) for my own affinity group for October 6, 7 and 8. I do have tentative plans to fly out of DC on Oct. 9 with my college buddy Matt. I will finally visit the great state of Arizona and visit Sedona and the Grand Canyon. If the people's revolt continues until the time I fly out of town, I will consider this action a success. Because by then, it can't simply be ignored. The people's voices will be heard in the halls of power.

It will be a positive experience, and I want to organize my affinity group around positivity; around the creative powers of love and the full commitment to community. Even if the revolt's demands are not met, people will begin to notice that people are exercising their own power, and more will be inspired to follow suit. This could be the beginning of something great and long-lasting.

My two suggestions leading up to Oct. 6 is that we reach out to Unions -- such as what we saw in Madison. That we in the peace and justice movement fully embrace those struggling for labor rights. That we accept that there can be no lasting peace without justice. I would also like to see us embrace and highlight local causes -- such as DC Statehood (Taxation Without Representation) and the hospitality of the homeless we will encounter in DC. We need to follow the lead of our brave brothers and sisters in Food Not Bombs, and provide food for free. This is a part of the world we want to create.

Are we ready? I hope so. It's going to be an exciting time in DC by the time October rolls around. Let's make a difference in our lives and communities, let's be part of a paradigm shift away from violence and uncontrolled consumerism, toward peace, justice and a greater sense of responsibility to our communities.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Start of Summer Update

I have neglected my blog for too long. Work at the LoC is going well, although not very exciting. I did pass the criminal background check during the last month, and they know all about my past arrests and convictions. Here is a pic of a lotus at Lake Artemesia where I walk Bruno nearly every day.

My current activism remains almost exclusively focused on courageous whistle blower, Bradley Manning (now moved from Quantico to more humane Leavenworth). The prosecution and persecution of Bradley and other whistle blowers reveals the repressive nature of Barack Obama’s presidency. Although he claimed “hope” and even pushed “government transparency” during his campaign, the reality of his time as president has proven to be the opposite.

We (the Bradley Manning Support Network) had a tele-press conference for Bradley (exactly one year after his arrest) recently which featured Pentagon Papers’ Daniel Ellsberg and WikiLeak’s Julian Assange. It proved to be wildly successful. Here are a couple news stories that emerged from it:


Economic Times

I promise to write more very soon. This week will be Ray’s birthday! He’s a wonderful guy who is now in my life. And on Monday announcements will be made about a very important action taking place in downtown DC in October…

So, I promise, more very soon. Right now I’m dealing with a severe toothache that the dentist will help take care of Monday morning. Bruno is doing well, but kind of detests the heat and humidity.