Around the world, nations are signing onto a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. Even major weapons dealing nations are ending weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. Even the world’s biggest war maker is taking positive steps. The U.S. Congress is closer than it’s ever been to ending a war, the war on Yemen. Meanwhile, Trump is proposing to pull the U.S. military out of Syria and to reduce its presence in Afghanistan. And Iraqi legislators are demanding that the U.S. military finally get out of Iraq.
These are all partial steps that need to be built on. And they stand out in contrast to all the negative developments: increases in military spending, base construction, drone use, nuclear weapons production, threats of new wars, increased hostility between the world’s biggest nuclear governments, a rise in racist and xenophobic hatred that fuels and is fueled by war, the ongoing normalization of militarism, and climate and environmental collapse.
The coming year is going to be a major challenge. It offers numerous opportunities and pitfalls. The same nations and political parties and politicians will be on the right side of one question and the wrong side of another, as well being in one place rhetorically and another in less heralded actions, presenting hurdles for the struggle to inform, educate, and place peace, justice, and sustainability above patriotism, party, or personality.
Here is a statement from World BEYOND War on Syria that tries to sort through some misunderstandings.
We expect big developments in 2019 in our campaigns to close bases and to divest from weapons dealers. Read about a recent No Bases action here: Tokyoites Stand with Okinawans as the Final Stage of the Killing of the Henoko Coral Begins by Joseph Essertier.
We can nudge people in the right direction. We asked 100 prominent people to sign an open letter to U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders urging him to address military spending. Over 13,000 more people signed it. Sanders has now produced a video of himself quoting the famous Eisenhower statements on the topic. Will he build on that? Will the Women’s March support peace? Will proponents of a Green New Deal not give the usual environmentalist waiver to militarism? Much remains to be seen, and more than seen: to be done!
New chapters of World BEYOND War will be starting up around the world in the coming weeks. One just began this month in Philadelphia. Find or create a local chapter here.
More billboards are going up. We’re looking into messages of peace for billboards in Iran, and in Washington D.C. in April for the NATO event. Check out where some billboards have just gone up and where some have been refused as unacceptably peaceful.
Kick off the New Year with our next webinar!
SAVE THE DATE: Militarism in the Media Webinar on January 15 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Militarism is the “elephant in the room,” says FAIR founder Jeff Cohen.
Former TV pundit for MSNBC, CNN, and Fox, Jeff was fired for shedding
light on the perils of U.S. interventionism and in particular, for
opposing the invasion of Iraq on the air. Rose Dyson,
President of Canadians Concerned About Violence in Entertainment,
expresses concern about the culture of war that is perpetuated by TV,
music, video games, and social media. Tune in to our Militarism in the Media webinar with experts Rose Dyson and Jeff Cohen to discuss the role of media in promoting war and violence.
New Online Course: War Abolition 101: How we Create a Peaceful World: February 18 – March 31, 2019
How can we make the best argument for shifting from war to peace? What
must we understand and know about the war system if we are to dismantle
it? These questions and more will be explored in War Abolition 101, a 6-week online course starting February 18. Each week will feature a guest expert who will help you explore
weekly topics through an online chat room. Weekly content includes a
mix of text, images, video, and audio. We’ll dismantle the myths of war,
and delve into its alternatives, concluding the course with organizing
and action ideas. Learn more and reserve your spot.
No to NATO — Yes to Peace FESTIVAL
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is coming to Washington, D.C., on April 4. We’re organizing a peace festival to unwelcome them.
Wednesday, April 3 at St. Stephen’s Church, 1525 Newton St NW, Washington, D.C. 20010:
12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Art-Making Workshop, and Nonviolence Protest/Activist Training (munch on vegan snacks, make art, and plan for the April 4 protest)
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.: Art-Making & Exhibits, Interactive Booths, Vegan Food & Drink (food & drinks available throughout the evening)
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.: Keynote Speeches
8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.: Concert
Lodging for the night is available.
Thursday, April 4
Plans to include a procession from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial to a rally at Freedom Plaza, and nonviolent demonstrations outside the NATO meeting. Details TBA.
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