FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Fighting for the Change that Never Happened

by VINCENT WARREN

Two big things happened in the last week, and they’re both going to require our attention for the next four years and beyond: the national election repudiated religious conservatives and handed Obama a second term, and Hurricane Sandy destroyed many thousands of lives.

Our allies in New Orleans and Haiti taught us the aftermath of a disaster like Sandy will last a long, long time and have far-reaching impact on things like public housing, privatization of government, and civil and human rights. We need to look ahead to hold the government accountable to a people’s recovery that meets people’s needs and is driven by a people’s agenda guided by the principles of human rights.

Meanwhile, Obama’s re-election means we need to hold the president accountable for the change we want to see. Here are the changes we will keep fighting for in Obama’s second term:

* Close Guantanamo, and end torture through indefinite detention. Repatriate or resettle the men the government does not intend to prosecute, and provide fair trials for the rest

* End the use of solitary confinement in prisons across the country

* End unlawful “targeted killings” and the expansion of the Orwellian “disposition matrix.” Acknowledge, investigate and provide reparations for unlawful civilian killings

* End the war in Afghanistan and pull all private military contractors out of Iraq and Afghanistan

* Abandon the endless global war paradigm as the basis for abusive national security policies and end the use of war force outside of war zones

* Investigate and prosecute former high-level U.S. officials who bear responsibility for torture and war crimes committed in Afghanistan, Iraq and the “black sites”

* Provide medical treatment and compensation to people subjected to torture in U.S.-run detention facilities, including in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Guantánamo, and provide war reparations to communities in Iraq and Afghanistan for harms done to the people and the environment

* End the persecution of whistleblowers and journalists like Julian Assange, Wikileaks and Bradley Manning for protected First Amendment activity

* Increase transparency, sunshine and freedom of information in federal law enforcement and prisons and end overclassification of unlawful or embarrassing government conduct

* Stop the criminalization of dissent: end the stifling of activist expression under the anti-free-speech National Defense Authorization Act and the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and end overbroad prosecutions for terrorism under material support laws

* Stop the criminalization and profiling of communities based on race and religion: end the devastating Secure Communities program that destroys families and spreads fear in immigrant neighborhoods

* End warrantless surveillance and stop the indiscriminate targeting and surveillance of Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities under the guise of national security

* Support human rights internationally: stop funding and training police and militaries abroad implicated in human rights abuses in places like Honduras

* Center women’s equality in all policy and legislative initiatives concerning their bodily autonomy and right to health

We know that we cannot rely on politicians or even the courts: only people can make meaningful change. This is a critical time for all of us to act to change the course of history and build a unified vision for a society guided by human rights. Hope only gets you so far.

Let’s get to work.

Vincent Warren is Executive Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail