David Swanson / David Swanson.org & World BEYOND War
- Reports on the climate collapse have stopped in some cases the nonsense talk about needing the United States to “lead,” and even gone beyond urging it to get out of last place, and begun demanding that it do its fair share to undo its share of the damage. That’s the same thing we need on militarism, when US weapons are on both sides of most wars, almost all foreign bases are US bases, and most people in the US can’t begin to name its current wars, drone murders, or nations with US troops in them.
We saw this past year that moving even 10% out of militarism — even explicitly to address a health crisis killing huge numbers of people in the United States — was too great a blasphemy. The biggest chance of reducing militarism, winding back the nuclear Doomsday Clock, and funding a serious Green New Deal is to make demilitarization part of a Green New Deal. That means telling your misrepresentative and senators that, and telling every environmental organization that. Here are some resources to help:
2. At the time of the failure to move 10% out of militarism, Congress Members Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan announced the formation of a so-called “Defense” budget reduction caucus. Here’s a petition encouraging them to follow through on that. Sign and share it:
3. The biggest enemy of the Pentagon is not some foreign nation spending 8% what it does on militarism. The biggest enemy is free college, or the inclusion of college in public education. Demanding that the United States join other wealthy nations in making education accessible to its residents is a tremendous good in itself. Many organizations will be promoting this in the coming months. It starts with ending student debt. One group working on this is:
4. During the four years of Trump, Congress for the first time used the War Powers Resolution to end a war — the war on Yemen — but Trump vetoed the bill. Congress also for the first time adopted the practice of forbidding a president to end a war or a post-war occupation — specifically the war on Afghanistan, the Korean War, and World War II.
Senator Rand Paul raised hell about this a couple of days ago, and the war supporters said little, while liberals denounced him for recklessly suggesting that Trump could be permitted to end the war on Afghanistan in under two decades.
We need to put everything we can into getting a repeat vote of the ending of the war on Yemen, and into undoing and ending the practice of allowing presidents to start dozens of wars but forbidding them to end them. Many groups will be working on at least part of this, including:
5. Building on ending the war on Yemen, we should insist that Congress end additional wars, starting with the war on Afghanistan. And we should insist on an end to weapons sales, military training, military funding, and military basing in Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. We should, in fact, extend that to support the reintroduction of Congresswoman Omar’s Stop Arming Human Rights Abusers Act, and eventually end the trading of weapons that cannot actually be used without abusing human rights.
Contact your Congress Members at
6. We should organize a major coalition to support the reintroduction of all of Rep. Omar’s peace bills, including the Global Peacebuilding Act, the Global Migration Agreement Act, the Congressional Oversight of Sanctions Act, the Youthbuild International Act, the Resolution on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Resolution on the International Criminal Court. See:
7. Sign and share the petition asking President-Elect Biden to end Trump’s sanctions against the International Criminal Court:
8. Peace activists stopped a particularly egregious contender for Secretary of so-called “Defense” in Michèle Flournoy. Review what worked and get ready for the next one here:
9. Make sure everyone you know is on board with what is coming at us in a Biden regime that had no foreign policy on the campaign website and no foreign policy task force, but made a top-priority for the transition to nominate numerous warmongers from the boards of weapons companies, with an inauguration being funded by weapons companies.
We should see if we can’t shame the shameless over the inauguration funding of yet another presidency brought to you by the war profiteers.
10. Make sure everyone you know understands what happened in the Trump regime now ending, that Trump started no big new wars other than a cold war with Russia, but escalated existing wars, moved them more to the air, increased civilian casualties, increased drone murders, built more bases and weapons, tore up key disarmament treaties, openly threatened to use nuclear weapons, and dramatically increased military spending.
Trump both bragged about selling weapons to brutal dictatorships and denounced anyone bowing before the military industrial complex. No other presidents will do either of those things. But they will follow in the footsteps of his actions, which followed those of his predecessor — unless we change things. That means undoing much Trump damage (including policies on Iran, Cuba, Russia, etc.), even while insisting on following through on a few things Trump suggested (such as withdrawing a few troops from Afghanistan and Germany).
Email your Congress Member about Afghanistan here:
11. There is a brief opening to undo the Trump damage and the damage of decades of US conduct on Iran, before the Iranian elections in June 2021. Learn more, sign the petition to Biden, and inform others here:
12. Biden has committed to restoring at least somewhat better relations on Cuba. Let’s hold him to that and insist on an end to the whole blockade. Let’s even build on that to demand an end to deadly and illegal sanctions against other nations. Use these fact sheets on the sanctions now imposed on various countries:
13. Another novelty in the Trump years is corporate media outlets calling a president a liar and fact-checking him. Sometimes their own facts are wrong, too. Sometimes they still fail to call the president on lies. But if this new policy were upheld consistently, war would be over. Take a look and spread around my book, War Is A Lie. Also check out the debunking of war myths and the case for war abolition on the homepage of World BEYOND War.
14. Another novelty is military officials proudly bragging about having tricked a president into thinking he was withdrawing more troops from a war (Syria) than he was. This is just as dangerous a power-balance development as Congress forbidding presidents from ending wars. We need to be prepared to spot this maneuver the minute it next happens.
15. Another odd twist in these past 4 years is the development of great liberal affection for a new cold war with Russia, for building up NATO, for keeping troops in Germany and Korea and Afghanistan, and for supporting the CIA and the so-called intelligence so-called community.
When Trump talked this week of stripping the CIA of support from the military, good liberals were outraged. The world is now seen as unsafe if it lacks sufficient hostility toward Russia and blind support for militarism and lawless secret agencies.
I really cannot gauge how long this will last or how hard it will be to undo the damage, but we have to try. We have to confront true believers with all of Trump’s anti-Russian behavior, with the US government’s longstanding support for most of the world’s oppressive governments, with the abuses and counterproductive activities of the spies and killers on whom is bestowed the euphemistic label “intelligence.”
16. When nuclear weapons become illegal in over 50 countries on January 22, 2021, we need to celebrate globally, hold events, put up billboards, petition the nuclear nations, etc. A whole toolkit of resources is online here:
17. We need to get organized, build community, build power, win local victories, and connect local allies and individuals with a global movement. One way to do that is to form a World BEYOND War chapter. Try it here:
18. We need to take advantage of the fact that real-world events no longer compete with online events, and create larger, more global, more effective and persuasive webinars and actionars. World BEYOND War can help with this. Here are numerous upcoming webinars already planned, and videos of many that have already happened:
19. Campaigns we can work on locally with likely success and global support, with educational and organization benefits, include divestment, base closures, and demilitarization of police. With even the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff talking about closing foreign bases, we darn well should be. See:
20. Take advantage of the existence of tons of great books. Read them. Get them into libraries. Give them to elected officials. Organize reading clubs. Invite authors to speak. Check out these lists of books, films, powerpoints, and other resources for events, and this list of available speakers:
21. Take advantage of online courses, for yourself, and to recommend to others:
22. Make use of this collection of resources to celebrate and educate about the Christmas Truces:
23. Nip in the bud this insane idea that extending draft registration to women is feminist progress. Overcome the twisted idea that a draft is good for peace. And join the coalition working to abolish the so-called selective so-called service:
24. Help halt the extradition of Julian Assange and the criminalization of journalism, despite all your completely justified complaints with Assange:
25. Email Congress to stop impeding peace-making in Korea:
26. Those of you I’m talking to on December 12 from Ohio, elect Nina Turner!
27. Wear your damn mask!
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