The Peace Vision & A Youth Disarmament Camp

August 11th, 2010 - by admin

Peter G Cohen / OpEdNews & Think Outside the Bomb – 2010-08-11 21:42:11

The Peace Vision
Peter G Cohen / TruthOut & OpEdNews

(August 11, 2010) — We are losing the war. Not just the War in Afghanistan, but the war against war itself — The Peace War.

The very idea of “Global Dominance” is obscene. The idea that any one country should dominate the Earth is dangerous hubris — a sick fantasy that is being proved wrong in Central Asia and is squandering the future of our nation.

Pentagon spending has run up a debt that will burden our grandchildren. In towns and cities across the nation we are cutting back on health, education, libraries, maintenance and infrastructure, which means that we are stealing from our children and their future to pay for the effort of dominance.

Who benefits, if the Afghanistan War were to succeed? The international corporations and their free market access, the same elite that has discarded our workers and emaciated the Great American Market. I sometimes think of the United States as a Thanksgiving pumpkin with a fierce face, but the inside hollowed out to make juicy pies for the military, corporations and the wealthy.

Ending the wars and the giant Pentagon budgets they encourage, must be the first priority of every concerned American. We must stop the killing of Americans and Afghanis and end the flow of dollars that increases the corruption of their society and ours.

We need to focus our energies on limiting the increasing dangers of climate chaos; and create jobs building the neglected and half-starved future of the United States. If we are to burden our children with weight of debt, let it at least be created by investments to improve their lives and our national future.

114 congress people voted against the Afghanistan supplement. To secure the end of these unnecessary wars we must change that number to a majority in the House of 218. The others who voted billions for more war will be encouraged by campaign contributions from individuals and corporations that benefit from the war budget and the spending it makes possible.

Many incumbents run unopposed. Their challengers must come from the people they are supposed to represent, the people of their election districts.

Every single one of those who have voted for the wars should be challenged in elections until they are defeated.

The Vision Recent surveys show that the War in Afghanistan is not an important issues with those who plan to vote in November. We are accustomed to being at war and are far more concerned with the state of the economy. This is a terrible insult to those who fight and die. It is up to the peace movement to make the war an issue at least the equal of the economy, and to show the connection between them!

The whole peace movement needs to be far more active, visible and vocal, while reaching out to the unemployed, to all who are being cut back, threatened and laid off as a result of this huge military boondoggle. We must work far more diligently to form coalitions that enhance our clout and our partners.

I Imagine a peace movement that is as influential as AIPAC or the NRA. A movement that can remove the hawks from Congress and prune the military budget down to a basic defense budget.

I imagine a peace movement that works in every community to reshape the Congress to better serve the American people and their needs, not corporate greed — a transformation that is absolutely essential for the preservation of democracy.

I imagine a peace movement that is regarded as an essential partner of the environmental movement, because in addition to depleted uranium and other extensive military pollution, we urgently need the money that is now being lavished on missile defense, weapons and foreign conquests to be invested in greater energy efficiency, a smart grid and alternative sources of clean energy to bring our atmosphere below 350 parts per million of CO2.

A peace movement that is a friend of labor because we must invest in jobs, in our people and their education, our roads and bridges, our water supply and the future of our industry. The rising cost of fossil fuels will make the transportation of foreign manufacturing too costly and risky for future needs. Our future security lies in being as self-reliant as possible for our needs.

A peace movement that encourages the development and effectiveness of the United Nations. Recently the US has relied upon NATO to support its international activities. The expansion of NATO is a shortcut to legitimize questionable operations and increase our arms sales, while avoiding the censorship of the far
broader United Nations. As the GDP of the European NATO nations now exceeds that of the US, it is irrational for the US to continue to be the main support of European security.

A peace movement whose actions are not limited to the East Coast, but can organize a Peace Day Strike across the nation, when the issue deserves such action.

How to Build the Peace Movement
The key to building the peace movement is for everyone to focus on the top priority of ending the war and pruning the Pentagon budget. What is required to accomplish this goal? Local social- activist organizations, peace clubs that encourage their members, develop strategies and whose members support the best available candidates.

We believe that supporters and volunteers will respond to an ambitious, active, well-reasoned program. The slow advance of the Congress to 114 anti war votes is encouraging, but no substitute for a movement that reaches out to the public with a renewed sense of vigor and possibilities.

Most national peace organizations urge their members to send money and occasional signatures on petitions and letters. They seldom introduce their local members to each other. We can build a far more powerful peace movement by inviting all peace people to join a local Peace Club.

It is encouraging to work and socialize with people of similar attitudes. Peace clubs can overcome the sense of isolation that results from being critical of our government. Through outreach local peace clubs can expand their memberships to the point of influencing elections and nominating peace candidates.

They can also do outreach and fundraisers to support national peace issues. Looking at the national picture, we believe that the combination of national organizations and local clubs can deliver the one-two punch that magnifies the influence of the peace movement.

Is Now The Time?
In spite of disappointment with the Obama administration, the current scene provides ample evidence of the failure of militarism and the misguided attempt to dominate the Earth. People are outraged by untouchable war budgets that cause cutbacks in our educational system and pricing many out of attending college.

They are outraged by shoveling money into Afghanistan, while millions of Americans lose their jobs and homes. Now is an excellent time to be reaching out for more members, sympathizers and supporters of the peace movement.

We must ask all peace people to do more. We need to connect the dots for people who read the major newspapers and watch TV. These media are not going to say that war and military spending are stealing tax dollars from the education and other needs of our children. They are not going to encourage community action.

They are not going to search for progressive candidates who can’t be bought. They are not going to encourage people to join organizations and work for a significant change in national priorities, Which means that our members have to educate their neighbors with meetings and door to door contacts, explain the situation and create peace events that are appealing as well as educational.

This is by no means the classic version of the Peace Vision. It is a beginning, a reveille, a first draft of what is so urgently needed. My hope is that this simple outline will be developed by peace leaders and organizers, who are working every day to save lives and preserve the battered soul of America.

Peter G Cohen, artist, activist and WWII veteran, has been working for peace for over fifty years. He designed maps for SANE, buttons for the Vietnam mobilization, kiosks for the McGovern. campaign. He was an independent peace candidate for Representative in the Lehigh valley of PA in 1968 and Director of the New Democratic Coalition of PA in 1969-’70. Peter is the author of www.nukefreeworld. com and other internet writings. He can be reached at

Young People Construct an
Alternative to Nuclear Destruction
At Disarmament Summer Encampment

Think Outside the Bomb

CHIMAYO, NM — Young people from across the country [gathered at] the Disarmament Summer Encampment to spend an exciting 10 days organizing for a nuclear-free world. Think Outside the Bomb (TOTB) — the nation’s largest youth-led network working for nuclear abolition — is hosting about 150 youth who have joined together to observe and oppose the complex landscape of the far reach nuclear-industrial-complex.

The encampment comes as the culmination of TOTB’s Disarmament Summer Campaign, which has come at a time when the nation is spending more on the nuclear complex than ever before, including budgeting seven billion dollars to modernize facilities in New Mexico, Kansas City, and Tennessee — a series of projects that would give the US the capability to make new new nuclear weapons. Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), in Los Alamos, New Mexico, stands to play a major role in this nuclear relapse as plans are advanced to construct a new Chemical Metallurgy Research and Replacement (CMRR) facility.

The CMRR facility holds potential to increase LANL’s ability to construct new plutonium pits—the core and trigger mechanism of high-powered nuclear weapons. At a time when budget crises and funding cuts are all too familiar, the nation cannot afford to continue building these incredibly costly and potentially destructive weapons.

“It’s time for our country to begin stepping toward real change, which cannot be done as long as we are throwing billions of dollars into the furnace that is the nuclear-industrial-complex,” said Jono Kinkade, TOTB media contact. “People are demanding better jobs and renewable energy, and in order to head in that direction we need to send our policy makers a sobering wake up call.”

During the encampment, participants painted the expansive picture of the nuclear-industrial-complex through workshops, informative first-hand stories, and an ongoing discussion about why nuclearism still plagues this country and how we can put an end to it.

“We came to terms with assortment of expensive and toxic problems of nuclear weapons and nuclear power decades ago, and yet the industry is pushing like never before to take us into a nuclear relapse,” said Liz Woodruff, TOTB media contact and organizer with the Snake River Alliance in Boise, Idaho. “We can do so much better than to waste billions of dollars on a dangerous and obsolete energy source.”

Attendees of the encampment hailed from all over the map — spanning from Washington State to South Carolina, as well as the Marshall Islands to right here in New Mexico. The diversity of geographical origins and the wide array of backgrounds makes Think Outside the Bomb truly unique, and creates a rich atmosphere for better understanding how interwoven nature of the nuclear-industrial-complex.

Uranium mining, enrichment, nuclear power, weapons, waste and haphazard disposal are all on TOTB’s map, and throughout the week we will be highlighting each one of these stages in more detail.

“This encampment is the active creation of a nuclear weapons free world,” explained Steve Stormoen, a member of TOTB and a leader in the construction of the encampment. “It would be shortsighted to base our resistance only on opposition to bombs. Instead, we are focused on building a culture to combat the bomb-making mentality. A nuclear-free future is possible today, here and now, by building community, creating a space for sustainable living, and engaging in direct acts of resistance to nuclearism.”

The encampment infrastructure was built by TOTB and local allies, including students from Northern New Mexico College; residents of Santa Fe and Pojoaque; and members of TEWA Women United. After spending a few days addressing the slew of nuclear topics, participants will head into Los Alamos, NM on Friday, August 6, to commemorate the US attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. After a rally at Ashley Pond in downtown Los Alamos, TOTB will march toward the entrance of Los Alamos National Labs.

• More more information, visit

Who We Are:
Think Outside the Bomb is a cross-cultural alliance of youth working together to reignite hope from below and build a grassroots, consensus-based, nonviolent direct action movement. In partnership with the Tribal Environmental Watch Alliance, TEWA Women United, the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment, Products of Atzlan youth group, and the Southwest Indigenous Uranium Forum, we are committed to collective liberation, a sustainable future, and an end to the cycle of nuclear violence.

For too long, the US government and corporations have sacrificed the environmental integrity, the health, and the well-being of indigenous and poor communities to secure access to resources through the threat and use of force. We cannot reverse the course of a nuclear future unless we undo the legacy of racism and violence.

Jono Kinkade (505) 614-6967,
Liz Woodruff (505) 614-6982,