FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Walk to the NATO Summit

by BUDDY BELL

On what is now the 17th day of our walk from Madison to Chicago, the
number 165 does not seem to encapsulate all the progress we have made.
We are 17 days and 165 miles away from the day I drove into Madison,
 where news arrived that Air Force One had descended on pre-dawn Kabul
 for the forging of the Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement.

When I spoke at the May Day rally later the same day, I denounced what
 all indications show to be Obama’s continuing-for-another-decade war
 in Afghanistan. Almost immediately a lone man in the dwindling crowd
 started shouting vulgar slurs at me, with a lack of decency that was
amazing considering young kids were present.

The psychology of the moment is worth some analysis. What of the
 people who approached me and thanked me for my speech after I
 finished— what stopped them from shouting some slogan of affirmation 
to counter the trash talk? Maybe it was a lack of preparedness to 
respond, maybe a reluctance to be the first one to take a risk.

An analogy can be made for the United States government, although of
 course the stakes are infinitely higher. The powerful do hope people
 will be uninformed and ill-prepared, about NATO or any other pressing 
issue of justice. They certainly want complacency to carry the day, so
no one will jump-start a movement to reject the belligerent, fake
 virtues of poverty and war.

The miles go by, and we’ve now passed through more than 20 cities and 
had 5 formal speaking stops. Since this campaign started I’ve heard
from people who didn’t even know NATO was in Afghanistan— they now 
know how the two are linked. Many others have come away with useful 
new information about NATO and about people in Afghanistan, Iraq,
 Pakistan, Bahrain. All people not fundamentally different from
ourselves, who wish and hunger for peace and friendship.

Others expressed disbelief that protest can be effective. I maintain 
that first off, if we suppose it already has made a huge difference,
it won’t necessarily be obvious what that difference is. It can mean
we don’t yet have another war. Secondly, it’s not necessary to recruit
 51% of the public to our ranks, only a critical mass of people to
 start a chain reaction. Two becomes 4 becomes 8 becomes 16, and after 
a while, a bigger group offers some anonymity, making it easier to 
join. A politician can usually live with one act of protest, and the
 higher up you go, that politician can easily weather multiple
 protests. But none can survive opposed to a movement that is growing
exponentially.

This walk has been a movement-builder. We’ve informed and motivated
 people, and we have received information and motivation from folks
along the way— not to mention all the other kinds of physical
sustenance we have been given, for which we are very grateful.

We’ve recently been joined by a group of walkers from New York State,
 who brought enlarged pictures of some of the kids we know in 
Afghanistan to tape onto our placards. These young peacemakers are 
wearing blue scarves, which invoke the blue sky as a common symbol of
 comfort and peace. No one can buy and sell it, and it touches all
 nations and cultures. I’m glad the kids will be present with us on the 
walk in this small way because I know they will move more people to take new steps, commit acts of protest in favor of peace.

Let’s hop to it … because Uncle Sam isn’t known for his decency.

Buddy Bell is co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Non-Violence.

 

Buddy Bell co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

December 07, 2016
Michael Schwalbe
What We Talk About When We Talk About Class
Karl Grossman
The Next Frontier: Trump and Space Weapons
Kenneth Surin
On Being Caught Speeding in Rural America
Chris Floyd
In Like Flynn: Blowback for Filth-Peddling Fascists
Serge Halimi
Trump, the Know-Nothing Victor
Paul DeRienzo
Flynn Flam: Neocon Ex-General to Be Trump’s National Security Advisor
Binoy Kampmark
Troubled Waters: Trump, Taiwan and Beijing
Tom Clifford
Trump and China: a Note From Beijing
Arnold August
Fidel’s Legacy to the World on Theory and Practice
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix a ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
John Kirk
Cuba after Fidel: Interview with Professor John Kirk
Jess Guh
Repeal of Affordable Care Act is Politics Playing with the Wellbeing of Americans
Eric Sommer
Team Trump: a Government of Generals and Billionaires
Lawrence Davidson
U.S. Reactions to the Death of Fidel Castro
John Garvey - Noel Ignatiev
Abolitionism: a Study Guide
Clancy Sigal
Caution: Conspiracy Theory Ahead!
December 06, 2016
Anthony DiMaggio
Post-Fact Politics: Reviewing the History of Fake News and Propaganda
Richard Moser
Standing Rock: Challenge to the Establishment, School for the Social Movements
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
Warmongering 99 – Common Sense 0: the Senate’s Unanimous Renewable of Iran Sanctions Act
Norman Solomon
Media Complicity is Key to Blacklisting Websites
Michael J. Sainato
Elizabeth Warren’s Shameful Exploitation of Standing Rock Victory
David Rosen
State Power and Terror: From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock
Kim Ives
Deconstructing Another Right-Wing Victory in Haiti
Nile Bowie
South Korea’s Presidency On A Knife-Edge
Mateo Pimentel
Some Notes and a Song for Standing Rock
CJ Hopkins
Manufacturing Normality
Bill Fletcher Jr – Bob Wing
Fighting Back Against the White Revolt of 2016
Peter Lee
Is America Ready for a War on White Privilege?
Pepe Escobar
The Rules of the (Trump) Game
W. T. Whitney
No Peace Yet in Colombia Despite War’s End
Mark Weisbrot
Castro Was Right About US Policy in Latin America
David Swanson
New Rogue Anti-Russia Committee Created in “Intelligence” Act
George Ochenski
Forests of the Future: Local or National Control?
December 05, 2016
Bill Martin
Stalingrad at Standing Rock?
Mark A. Lause
Recounting a Presidential Election: the Backstory
Mel Goodman
Mad Dog Mattis and Trump’s “Seven Days in May”
Matthew Hannah
Standing Rock and the Ideology of Oppressors: Conversations with a Morton County Commissioner
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
#NoDAPL Scores Major Victory: No Final Permit For Pipeline
Fran Shor
The End of the Indispensable Nation
Michael Yates
Vietnam: the War That Won’t Go Away
Michael Uhl
Notes on a Trip to Cuba
Robert Hunziker
Huge Antarctica Glacier in Serious Trouble
John Steppling
Screen Life
David Macaray
Trump vs. America’s Labor Unions
Yoav Litvin
Break Free and Lead, or Resign: a Letter to Bernie Sanders
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail