Call to courage

“Our bravest agents of change put their bodies on the line in civil disobedience, and some are arrested, beaten or abused by the police.  When that happens to an older person (like me) with white hair, Americans care about that. Age can be a big advantage. It gives you a tool you can put into play.  They’re not going to kill you, mostly. They’re less likely to break your arm. So you have this advantage over young people — There’s a human instinct that says “Don’t beat up babies and don’t beat up old people.  So if someone needs to lie down in front of these bombers, if someone needs to bear witness at the meetings where obscene violence is rationalized, it’s us old people – we should do it!”

Ray McGovern is a veteran CIA officer who once gave Ronald Reagan his daily intelligence briefing, now turned whistleblower and political activist.

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Evidence that Nonviolence Works

The data are clear: When people come together in acts of civil non-violence, governments are forced to change. This is true in dictatorships as well as democracies. 3.5% is enough. Every time 3.5% of a population has joined a non-violent protest movement, a government has fallen. (Sometimes they have been successful with even smaller numbers.) That’s just 12 million Americans. Those people are already in our camp, already taking action. All we need is coordination.Nonviolent movements have been twice as successful as violent wars over 100 years.


Comparison of Violent and Nonviolent Movements, 1900-2006
(Image by Erica Chenoweth)
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We know that violence is wrong, but we fear that nonviolence will always be squashed by those who are more ruthless. Chenoweth has demonstrated that, historically, this fear is groundless.

Erica Chenoweth at TEDx Boulder.
David Swanson destroys war in 2 minutes

 

World Travel ==> World Peace

For a long time, an increase in global interconnectedness has been paralleled with the creation of a more peaceful world. The more we interact with each other, the more we’ll care about each other, and the less we’re inclined to hurt one another.

The link between global connection and peace isn’t a perfectly straight line, but it makes sense that these adventurous travelers have an immense potential for creating good in the world just by visiting new places and building cultural bridges that increase understanding.

— Pippa Biddle article

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To stop celebrating military victories

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The Fourth of July is a good time to recommit ourselves to peace as the first priority in politics.  If we read the papers, if we follow the political candidates, D and R, liberal and conservative, established and ‘outside’, if we fill out the questionnaires supplied by our representatives to poll us on the Important Issues Of The Day, then we have the impression that questions of war and peace are irrelevant.  They are not part of the mainstream discourse.  There’s not enough of a constituency to make it worth talking about.

Bombing civilians.  Sending drones to kill ‘terrorists’ that land up in wedding parties. Embargos that deny medical care and food to millions of children.  Hundreds of military bases spread all over the world.  15,000 nuclear weapons at the ready, together with anti-missile technology that tempts our military and our president to try using them first, in the hope that we can destroy Russia’s arsenal and China’s, and prevent retribution.

Bernie Sanders is the biggest disappointment.  Hillary Clinton is on the wrong side of this issue.

Maybe we have to tell our politicians we won’t talk about anything else until America’s military exploits come to an end.  (We did this once in the 1980s, putting the nuclear arms race on the political map at a time when neither news organs nor politicians wanted to talk about it.)

WaPo: The United States is stumbling into another decade of war…