FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Unifying Force of War Abolition

It’s not unusual for an activist, focused on one of the millions of worthy causes out there, to try to recruit other activists to that particular cause. That’s not exactly what I want to do. For one thing, if we are going to succeed we are going to have to recruit millions of new people into activism who are not now active at all.

Of course I do favor types of activism that eliminate the need for more activism, such as campaigns to make voter registration automatic or to index the minimum wage to the cost of living. But for the most part I want everyone to keep doing what inspires them. Only, I think I know a way to shift our emphases and unite out movements, a way that doesn’t usually occur to us.

It’s not unusual for an activist to think that their particular field is the unifying top priority.

For example:

If we don’t get the money out of politics how can we enact or enforce any laws not favored by money? We’ve legalized bribery for godsake! What else matters until we fix that?

Or:

If we don’t create credible democratic independent media, we can’t communicate. Door knocking can’t defeat television. We only know that Cindy Sheehan went to Crawford or Occupyers went to Wall Street because corporate television chose to tell us. Why have elections if we can’t tell the truth about the candidates?

Or:

Excuse me, the earth is cooking. Our species and many others are losing their habitats. If it’s not already too late, now is the time to decide whether we will have great grandchildren at all. If we don’t have any, what will it matter what kind of elections or television networks they have?

One can go on and on in this vein, as well as in claiming that one societal evil precedes and causes another. Racism or militarism or extreme materialism is the disease and the others are the symptoms.

All of this is also not exactly what I want to do. I want us to work on everything and use every means of unifying. I want us to recognize how each problem contributes to others and vice versa. Hungry scared people can’t end climate change. A culture that puts a trillion dollars a year into mass-killing of distant dark-skinned people can’t build schools or end racism. Unless we redistribute wealth, we cannot redistribute power. We can’t create media unless we have something important to say. We can’t protect the earth’s climate while steadfastly ignoring the top consumer of petroleum on earth because criticizing the military would be inappropriate. But we will go on ignoring it if we don’t create good media. We have to do it all, and there are various ways in which we can become more united, more strategic, and potentially more effective.

The way that I think we don’t pay enough attention to lies in developing a focus on complete and total war abolition, elimination of all weapons and militaries, all bases, all aircraft carriers, missiles, armed drones, generals, colonels, and if necessary all senators from Arizona.

Why war abolition? I’ll give you 10 reasons.

1. It actually makes sense. The reasonable position of opposing some wars and cheering for others, but cheering for the troops even in the bad wars doesn’t attract a lot of energy because it doesn’t make any sense. Jeremy Corbyn just won votes by pointing out that wars generate terrorism, they are counter-productive on their own terms, endangering us rather than protecting us. They need to be replaced with diplomacy, aid, cooperation, the rule of law, the tools of nonviolence, the skills of de-escalation of conflict. Claiming that wars are sort of good but shouldn’t be overdone makes no sense at all — what is the point of them if not to win them? And if wars make murder OK, why is torture so unacceptable? And if bombs dropped by piloted planes are OK, what’s wrong with drones? And if Anthrax is barbaric, why are White Phosphrous and Napalm civilized? None of it makes any sense, which is one reason the top killer of U.S. troops is suicide. You know how to properly love the troops, end all war and give them life options that don’t make them want to kill themselves.

2. Nuclear apocalypse is a growing danger on a par with climate chaos and will continue to grow unless war abolition succeeds.

3. The biggest destroyer of water, air, land, and atmosphere that we have is militarism. It’s war or planet. Time to choose.

4. War kills first and foremost by removing resources from where they are needed, including from famines and disease epidemics created by war. Any activism that seeks funding for any human or environmental needs has to look to ending war. It is where all the money is, more money every single year than could be taken once and only once from the billionaires.

5. War creates secrecy, surveillance, classification of public business, warrantless spying on activists, patriotic lying, and illegal actions by secret agencies.

6. War militarizes local police, making the public into an enemy.

7. War fuels, just as it is fueled by, racism, sexism, bigotry, hatred, and domestic violence. It teaches people to solve problems by shooting guns.

8. War divides humanity at a time when we must unite on major projects if we are to survive or prosper.

9. A movement to abolish all war, all weapons, and all atrocities that flow out of war can unite opponents of the crimes of one government or group with the opponents of the crimes of another. Without equating all crimes with each other, we can unite as opponents of war rather than of each other.

10. War is the primary thing our society does, it sucks down the majority of federal discretionary spending, its promotion permeates our culture. It is the very foundation of the belief that ends can justify evil means. Taking on the myths that sell us war as necessary or inevitable or glorious is an ideal way of opening our minds to rethinking what we’re doing on this little planet.

So let’s not work for an environmentally sensitive military into which women have the equal right to be drafted against their will. Let’s not oppose the weapons that are wasteful or don’t kill well enough. Let’s build a broad multi-issue movement in which one of the unifying factors is the cause of eliminating in its entirety the institution of organized mass murder.

More articles by:

David Swanson wants you to declare peace at http://WorldBeyondWar.org  His new book is War No More: The Case for Abolition.

June 25, 2018
Daniel Falcone
A Reporter’s Reporter: a Conversation With Seymour Hersh
Gerald Sussman
America’s Cold War “Tugboat”
Jonathan Cook
The Defiance that Launched Gaza’s Flaming Kites Cannot be Extinguished
P. Sainath
A Long March of the Dispossessed to Delhi 
Sheldon Richman
What Does Trump Have Against Children?
Lance Olsen
Caught in a Trap of Our Own Making: Climate Change, Blame, and Denial
Seth Sandronsky
A Safe Black Space
Kary Love
Crying Children and Due Process of Law
Gary Leupp
Why It Just Makes Sense for the U.S. to Withdraw from the UNHRC
John Laforge
Kings Bay Plowshares Action Names the Trident with Blood
Mel Gurtov
After Singapore, Is Iran the Next US Target?
Kent D. Shifferd
A Different Perspective on Peace
Uri Avnery
Two Souls
Laura Flanders
National Suicide Point?
Ludwig Watzal
The Death of Felicia Langer
Weekend Edition
June 22, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Karl Grossman
Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force
Andrew Levine
Strange Bedfellows
Jeffrey St. Clair
Intolerable Opinions in an Intolerant Time
Paul Street
None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained
Edward Curtin
Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World
Celina Stien-della Croce
The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People 
James Bovard
Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood
Louisa Willcox
My Friend Margot Kidder: Sharing a Love of Dogs, the Wild, and Speaking Truth to Power
David Rosen
Trump’s War on Sex
Mir Alikhan
Trump, North Korea, and the Death of IR Theory
Christopher Jones
Neoliberalism, Pipelines, and Canadian Political Economy
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Why is Tariq Ramadan Imprisoned?
Robert Fantina
MAGA, Trump Style
Linn Washington Jr.
Justice System Abuses Mothers with No Apologies
Martha Rosenberg
Questions About a Popular Antibiotic Class
Ida Audeh
A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’
Edward Hunt
The Afghan War is Killing More People Than Ever
Geoff Dutton
Electrocuting Oral Tradition
Don Fitz
When Cuban Polyclinics Were Born
Ramzy Baroud
End the Wars to Halt the Refugee Crisis
Ralph Nader
The Unsurpassed Power trip by an Insuperable Control Freak
Lara Merling
The Pain of Puerto Ricans is a Profit Source for Creditors
James Jordan
Struggle and Defiance at Colombia’s Feast of Pestilence
Tamara Pearson
Indifference to a Hellish World
Kathy Kelly
Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament
Jessicah Pierre
Celebrating the End of Slavery, With One Big Asterisk
Rohullah Naderi
The Ever-Shrinking Space for Hazara Ethnic Group
Binoy Kampmark
Leaving the UN Human Rights Council
Nomi Prins 
How Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Robert Fisk
Can Former Lebanese MP Mustafa Alloush Turn Even the Coldest of Middle Eastern Sceptics into an Optimist?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail