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Fear, Itself and Other Dangers
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War
Earlier in my lifetime, Americans had an affinity for memorable statements of their elected leaders. In spite of philosophical, political, and religious differences, we could be inspired by catch phrases, warnings, and imperatives like Kennedy’s, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Eisenhower’s great popularity was no match for the spiraling power of the military-industrial complex, but we certainly remember his warning, today.
In the 21st Century, the messenger may have brilliant rhetoric and universal insight and still fall flat with a jaded and cynical public. Obama has electrified his fan base with his words and delivery, over and over, but he can’t find resonance with critics who are hung up on one or two issues that make him the enemy. We’ll go back decades, at least, for a presidential quote or go with a contemporary outsider.
It’s not surprising that Franklin Roosevelt, with four terms, is remembered for more presidential zingers than anyone else. FDR was an orator in the golden radio years, and he seems to have struck a chord, as the U.S. entered World War II, with his declaration that, “The only thing we have to fear is fear, itself.” It’s a legendary line, and most of us have taken it for granted as a wise slogan from a president determined that his country, his people will not tremble in the face of powerful enemies, hardship and sacrifice. I invite you to be a little cynical about the famous sentence. Read more »
We stood strong: “Invest in People –Not the Pentagon!”
A dedicated team of PJALS members gathered on Tax Day to make our values visible:
When we spend more than half of our federal budget on the Pentagon, it doesn’t make us more secure. Let’s stop pouring money into defense contracting, and look for comprehensive solutions that address the root causes of conflict. Our security requires investment in education, good jobs, infrastructure, nutrition, health care, affordable housing and other services that provide economic security to our families and a brighter future for our children.
On Iran: Say “Yes” to Peace!
Finally some good news! After a marathon of diplomatic efforts from seven nations, a Framework Agreement on Iran’s nuclear program has been reached. This opens the door to further non-proliferation efforts and to a dramatic improvement in US-Iranian relations, after decades of frozen enmity. Most Americans desire a diplomatic solution to the conflict with Iran. But without significant grass- roots mobilization, that aspiration will be thwarted.
[a message from our friends at United for Peace & Justice]
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War: Trying to Support the Troops
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War: Trying to Support the Troops
It must have been several years ago because the signs we held said “Free Bradley Manning,” and we Vets for Peace didn’t have to defend Chelsea Manning’s transgender rights while bringing attention to the persecuted, military whistle-blower Americans were trying to ignore. At an event in Riverfront Park, I was approached by two burly young men who said they were active duty military and considered Manning to be a traitor. They thought the army intelligence analyst’s reporting a massacre by U.S. helicopter crews was insignificant compared to the release of other classified information to Wikileaks. At least they knew something about the case. But then, they issued a challenge they might like to have back, now. “If you want to do something for an American soldier, put our government to work to free Beau Bergdahl.”
How things change. Private Manning, known now as Chelsea, is serving a 45-year prison sentence while the soldiers she reported remain uncharged and unpunished. Sgt. Beau Bergdahl is back in the U.S. after a controversial hostage/prisoner exchange, awaiting a decision on whether he will be charged with a crime. The story is different from the one several years ago, and several men from his unit want to see Bergdahl punished for being a deserter and putting them at risk. Read more »
Director’s reflection: How to build peace
This spring, as we sat down with our 2013-2014 community organizing interns to talk about their experience with us, we realized that somehow none of them had led chants into a bullhorn, none of them had held banners while we marched, none of them had managed sign-in at a rally. We were shocked when we realized we hadn’t held a major march or rally since our rapid response in September which was part of the successful national push-back against US war on Syria.
This summer has looked far different! Starting with a Global Day Against Military Spending action, we’ve mobilized in April rain, May sun, June heat, July 4th weekend traffic, and late July wildfire smoke for actions calling to “End the Spiral of Violence: End these Endless Wars” with a focus on opposing increased US military presence in Iraq, extending our occupation of Afghanistan into 2016, and US-funded military attacks on Gaza.
Repeatedly as we get ready to mobilize, I look for the writings of thought-leaders and opinion-makers on what to call for instead of the latest proposal to bomb. This is especially necessary because the pro-war extremists have been pretty consistent about adding a humanitarian talking point to their list of reasons war is the answer, and that talking point is effective. Read more »
US fighter jets have begun airstrikes on Iraq and bombs are falling. Here’s some informative coverage from Democracy Now featuring Phyllis Bennis.
What can you do? Here are 6 things we can do together!
1 Call the White House at 202-456-1111 to say: Don’t Bomb Iraq! There is no military solution. Instead, prevent further humanitarian crisis with aid. No new Iraq war!
2 Call our own representatives to urge them to speak out against military intervention in Iraq! A strong reaction from Congress now could put the brakes on the intervention and prevent an escalating involvement.
- Senator Patty Murray: 624-9515
- Senator Maria Cantwell: 353-2507
- Representative Cathy McMorris-Rodgers: 353-2374 — thank her for voting to require Congressional authorization!
5 Join our Rapid Response “No War on Iraq!” on Tuesday Aug 12 at the Riverfront Park Fountain!
From 4:45 to 6:15, we’ll hold signs and share fliers along Spokane Falls Blvd and at Stevens and Washington, to make our opposition visible, share information, and encourage others to act.
6 Get your very own No War sign for your lawn or window!
Come pick one up from the Sign Table in our hallway at 35 W. Main, now available 10a-5p Monday through Saturday whether we’re here or not. We’ll also bring signs to take home from our Rapid Response rally. H-frame wire stands are available too. We suggest a $5 donation but the most important thing is to get these signs visible in every neighborhood!
People like you turned the tide against US war on Syria. Let’s put the pressure on, right now, to say no to war on Iraq again as well!
“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world!” — Howard Zinn, people’s historian
Stopping the Spiral of Violence: PJALS’s Shar Lichty on Praxis Radio
“Host Taylor Weech talks with Shar Lichty, organizer at the Peace and Justice Action League, about the upcoming rally and march “Stop the Spiral of Violence: End These Endless Wars” in Spokane and the issues of U.S. imperialism and cultural violence that will be addressed there. In the second half of the hour, they are joined by phone by Hakeem Bashir, a Gazan PhD student at Washington State University, who shares his perspective on the current violence directed at Gaza and how it fits into the overall story of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.” (Praxis Radio)
What’s in your window?
You too can show your values in your window! Peace is deep patriotism in action.
Activist in Residence: PJALS reaching EWU students on campus
Over 200 students learned about PJALS, social justice campaigns, being allies to each other, nonviolence, and more through workshops & class presentations by PJALS director Liz Moore.
Participants who completed all 4 Activist in Residence workshops received certificates in Social Justice Leadership.
The US and Syria: Sometimes Peace Wins!
This summer, PJALS members like you stood together for peace and against war on Syria. Headlines predicted US missile strikes were just days away. But because of people like you taking action together, the story began to change!
Together, PJALS members like you deluged our then-undecided Senators and Representative with calls and emails with reasons to oppose war. Read more »
“From Spokane With Love” World Premiere to benefit PJALS
Thursday Oct 17
Magic Lantern Theater, 25 W. Main
7pm reception; 7:30 showing
Come for the reception at 7:00 with finger foods handmade by Shahrokh Nikfar!
“From Spokane With Love” is a heart-warming, entertaining and informative movie about the Friendship Delegation from Spokane who went to Iran to try and bridge the gap of stereotypes and misinformation and bring their two peoples together.
Shahrokh says it is the BEST DOCUMENTARY EVER.
Tickets are $20
or call 838-7870, or purchase at the PJALS office or at the door.
Time is Now to Say No War on Syria
and Yes to Practical Peace-Building Actions
With all three of our Congressional delegation saying they are “undecided” on authorization of military intervention in Syria, THIS IS THE WINDOW for us to act! All are hearing from constituents, and all need to hear from YOU!
The full Senate will vote this week; the House vote is not yet scheduled.
When you call, or when you talk to friends, here are the best resources I’ve seen about why we MUST say no to war with Syria and the practical peace-building actions we can take instead. Read more »
Talking to Electeds: No War on Syria
On Thursday a multi-generational delegation including PJALS members, Veterans for Peace, and clergy visited Rep. McMorris Rodgers’ office where we met with her District Director Louise Fendrich and Senator Cantwell’s office where we met with her Eastern Washington Representative Bryan Raines. Both said their offices had received many calls–keep ‘em coming! Here’s our quick debrief of our first meeting:
Each person shared his or her own story and most important reasons to vote NO on any authorization of military intervention in Syria: Read more »
Local protestors voice concern over possible U.S. attack in Syria
by JENICA VILLAMOR & KREM.com
SPOKANE, Wash. — A group of local protestors gathered Downtown to voice their concerns over President Obama’s plan to seek military action in Syria.
“We’ve just been through two wars that is killing this country and this is insane,” said Michael Beasley with Spokane Coalition Builders.
Beasley and dozens of other protestors from organizations around Spokane gathered Saturday to stand against any possible violence.
“The civilian population will suffer the heaviest toll, so we will just be adding to it,” added Veterans for Peace protestor Arthur Hathaway. Read more »
The Unknown Peace Pact
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War
Why is it that we – humans, Americans, patriots, progressives, veterans, educators and educated, thinkers and doers – have never been able to get violence out of our system? This question screamed at me, again, as I pondered the unlikely existence of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, signed by most of the world’s nations in 1928. Read more »
by Sheila Fox
I identified with Moji Agha, the Iranian-American poet/writer and peace, human rights and Earth activist that PJALS sponsored recently. Thank you PJALS!
It got me going…..wheels turning….. Moji, a cultural psychologist described himself as having a unique psycho-culturally informed perspective, a Sufi orientation and a “wisely humble” approach to “the nonviolent global struggle against injustice, war and suicidal destruction of human civilization and the planet we share. “ He used language like the “integrated good” “civil spirituality” and “understanding the oneness of all beings.”
This approach speaks to me. It is a somewhat unique perspective and fosters a conversation I feel is crucial to nonviolent resistance, the redefinition of power. Read more »
Peace & Justice Action Committee: A new model to advance our work
by Shar Lichty
After a summer off, our Peace & Justice Action Committee (PJAC) will be resuming our meeting schedule on Sept. 19th with a new approach: leadership development and campaign-specific organizing. Read more »
The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. … If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, … want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. …. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will.
Fretting about Fairchild …and other chronic ills
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War
Long ago, in a time of relative innocence and prosperity, the people of the Spokane area hitched themselves to the star of the U.S. Air Force. It didn’t take much reflection or study, just a simple faith that our country and it’s military establishment had always been noble and right and would never betray our confidence that Fairchild Air Force Base would make us all safer, prouder, and wealthier.
As the USAF celebrates 65 years, many of us have been cynical for a long time, especially we who have done horrible things under military orders and then watched as our safety, pride and wealth are stripped from people and bestowed upon corporations. In spite of hard numbers and unresolved superfund sites, we are expected to believe that Fairchild is the best thing that ever happened to our area’s economy. Read more »
Genocide in Guatemala: Another Consequence of U.S. Policy?
by Mike Nuess
The May 10, 2013 conviction of former Guatemalan dictator and School of the Americas attendee, Efraín Ríos Montt, for genocide and crimes against humanity sets a major milestone along the long path toward justice on this earth, marking the first time a head of state has been convicted of genocide by his or her own country, and clearly testifying to the extraordinary and courageous perseverance of thousands of persecuted Guatemalans who toiled to bring the truth to light.
But the path toward justice leads further, continuing both within Guatemala and beyond it, too—perhaps especially to the U.S. Read more »
Our Community of Action Going Forward Together
by Liz Moore, PJALS Director
What I love most about PJALS is being part of a community of people who take action together based on the connections between human rights, economic justice, & peace.
Our Steering Committee asked you, PJALS members, to guide strategic planning for 2013-2014. We learned that you overwhelmingly support organizing to raise revenue & reject cuts as well as to counter the costs of militarism and to demand money for people, not for war. You’re also passionate about alternatives to incarceration & police accountability. You value that we create community together through our events & campaigns. You strongly support our Young Activist Leaders Program & our interns. You love our Action Conference. You want PJALS to continue to strengthen our connections with communities of color & with rural people.
Why prioritize those areas? Read more »
pulling at the threads of our culture of violence
by Liz Moore, PJALS Director
I hope you will join us on Thursday February 7, in the Community Building Lobby, 35 W. Main from 5:30-8pm for our panel discussion of the culture of violence
Like you, my thoughts, heart, and sorrow have been with the families, children, teachers, and entire community of Newtown, CT, in the wake of the devastating tragedy of 28 people, including 20 children, shot and killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School. I have felt the need not to engage with much media coverage of this heartbreaking event, but I do feel the need to share some reflection and thoughts with you here.
This horrible atrocity is part of a pattern of violence in our country. A timeline of most deadly mass shootings from 1989 to the present is a shocking and saddening set of information, showing increasing frequency in more recent years. And at the same time, our federal budget puts 47% of our national budget into past and current Pentagon spending, Read more »
What I wanted to say…
“If corporate interests cared about ‘creating’ jobs in the U.S., NAFTA and subsequent greased skids for ‘Made in the USA’ would be dismantled, and Americans would be building solar and wind power components for global energy needs.”
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War
It’s exciting to watch PJALS cram meaningful meetings, public events, and activist opportunities into your monthly schedule. It reminds me that, halfway through our tenure at PJALS, Nancy and I realized Spokane had undergone drastic changes regarding things to do, places to be, and live and interactive education and information. These days, of course, I have options. Sometimes, I feel free to simply stay home or even be detached about significant issues. But there are times I miss the action, being in the trenches or on the street.
One week in December, there were two opportunities I couldn’t resist. Read more »
Spokane’s Pax Christi Engages the New National Strategic Narrative
By Mike Nuess
Capt. Wayne Porter, USN, proposes that a new world vision and strategies for strategic security and prosperity that he presents in Mr. Y: A National Strategic Narrative (NSN) should replace those presented in George Kennan’s 1946 document, Mr. X: The Sources of Soviet Conduct, which defined the U.S. government’s Cold War vision, strategies and tactics still in place today.
Last April Pax Christi-Spokane and Gonzaga University’s Departments of Political Science and Religion hosted Capt. Porter in a one-day conference. Porter explained the new vision in terms of the need to respond to new threats requiring new ways of thinking. For examples, we are confronted by a global resource crisis where shortages of food supplies, water and the impending demise of fossil fuels challenge us to think of sustainable solutions that bring security; we must understand and adapt to an extremely turbulent change in climate, which will likely affect large populations around the planet, further impacting strategic and economic security. Read more »
PJALS Tells Senators Murray and Cantwell, “Money for People, Not for War!”
by Josh Neil
The fight over the fiscal bluff continues to heat up. Members of PJALS, Veterans for Peace, the Progressive Democrats, the EWU chapter of MEChA, and leaders in the faith community came together to lift our collective voice in order to tell Senators Murray and Cantwell, “Money for People, Not for War!”
Our country has a choice to make: we can either work towards prosperity for our working families and the middle class (who make up the majority of our population); or we can continue to pour money down the drain, into the mouths of the millionaires and CEOs. I think the choice is crystal clear. Forty-seven percent of income taxes for 2013 will go towards Pentagon spending–spending that creates fewer jobs than spending on education, healthcare and other social services. Read more »
We said: “Money for People, Not for War!”
With the support of 18 faith communities, businesses, and organizations, we delivered 1123 signatures to Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell, urging them to vote for “Money for People, Not for War!” Thank you for signing in support! You can still endorse this important campaign here: www.pjals.org/billions.
Col. Ann Wright: Patriot for Peace
by Michelle Little, intern
I have often felt that many of the wars we are waging in foreign countries were wrong. I remember watching the initial bombing in our second war with Iraq played live on my television screen in a campaign we called “Shock and Awe.” I remember feeling scared, confused and borderline disgusted. I always feel a little disheartened when I watch crowds of Americans cheering about the death of “terrorists.” I never exactly understood why I was having those feelings or what it all meant, but after listening to Col. Ann Wright speak at the Unitarian Universalist Church on October 11, I no longer question whether those feelings are justifiable.
Col. Ann Wright told those who gathered at the church about her journey in the military. Read more »
Dreaming of Duvets
by David Smith-Ferri, traveling in Kabul with Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Haroon has recurring dreams. Haroon whose father was killed when he was a boy and who remembers a gnawing hunger during the long winter in every year of his childhood. At night, he dreams that someone drops him from a great height. He freefalls through the air, crashes to hard ground, and dies. During the day, he dreams of relief from the anger and confusion that pursue him, and of being a photographer, a traveler.
Faiz, who lost his parents when he was a boy, and whose brother was shot and killed in front of him, has nightmares, too. Each night at the Afghan Peace Volunteer (APV) House here in Kabul, as he sleeps against the wall a few feet away, his moans and cries wake me. By day, he dreams of being a journalist, of marrying and raising a family, of a world without borders and war.
In Afghanistan, with a child mortality rate of nearly twenty percent, many children never even have a chance to form dreams, yet alone to realize one. Life is especially hard on children whose families flee their homes, leaving behind not only their land and livelihoods, but their social networks. Across the country, four hundred people are displaced every day by violence and poverty, and many of them choose to come to Kabul, carrying their shattered dreams with them. Kabul, a city built to support 300,000 people, is now home to over five million.
Last winter, particularly fierce, dozens of very young children froze to death in squalid, “refugee” camps on the outskirts of the city. An estimated thirty-five thousand people live in these camps….
Read the full article at http://vcnv.org/dreaming-of-duvets-in-afghanistan
Diane Randall: “Change is All in the Timing: NOW is the Best Chance in Decades to Turn the Tide on Pentagon Spending!”
Local faith and justice groups are host national peace leader Diane Randall on national budget priorities and opportunities, and we want you to join us!
Our Fall Advocacy Forum on Saturday, October 27, will feature keynote speaker Diane Randall, executive secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a 70-year-old peace lobby in Washington, D.C. Randall will present: “Change is All in the Timing: NOW is the Best Chance in Decades to Turn the Tide on Pentagon Spending!” Read more »
Rusty on Peace and War: Earning Stripes and PSE
By Rusty Nelson
How’s your patriotic self esteem (PSE)? I usually do pretty well with that, considering that some observers long ago decided I deserved an especially warm spot in their version of Dante’s Inferno for being (choose one, according to political trends in the Inland Northwest) a traitor, an America-hater, a liberal, a socialist, a godless communist.
One thing I’ve retained as I lost more and more enthusiasm for nationalistic murder and mayhem is a great fondness for the Olympic Games, and now that is interfering with my PSE. Nancy and I watched lots of track and field, gymnastics and swimming, tolerated parts of the infinite matches and promotions of beach volleyball while catching glimpses of other sports. We often root for American teams and individuals, but we have a problem with some announcers and athletes who seem to feel that silver or bronze is for losers. Read more »
Clean Water for the Children of Gaza – A PJALS Success Story!
by Sheila Fox
Last December, the Palestine-Israel Human Rights Committee (PIHRC) figured out a fun way to raise money for a very serious problem: A bowl-a-thon called “Bowling For Water!” With this event and contributions from members like you, we successfully raised the $4,000 needed to purchase a purification and desalination unit for Atfal Al-Ghad (Children of Tomorrow) pre-school and kindergarten in the city of Khan Younis, a refugee camp and village in Gaza! But we’re not done yet! Read more »
Good news: WA state Senate Committee calls for “Money for People, Not for War!”
URGENT ACTION NEEDED! Sign the petition here for a full Senate vote!
A Washington State Senate committee passed SJM 8014, calling upon Congress to stop the Afghanistan war, bring the troops home to their families, cut the military budget, and shift spending to job creation, education, healthcare, environmental protections, and lifeline programs for struggling families! Now we need your help to bring it to the Senate floor for a vote!
SJM 8014 is now in the Senate Rules Committee, where it will languish unless a member of the Senate Rules Committee pulls it by Tuesday Feb 15 at 5pm to send it to the floor for a vote by the entire Washington State Senate. Fortunately, Spokane 3rd LD State Senator Lisa Brown serves on the Rules Committee and is the powerful Senate Majority Leader. Please contact her IMMEDIATELY and ask her to send SJM 8014 to the floor. TIME IS SHORT, SO PLEASE ACT NOW.
Phone: 360-786-7604 or (509) 456-2760
(sample message below)
Read more »
By Liz Moore
“Save Lives, Save Jobs, Raise Revenue” is the rallying cry of Our Economic Future, a coalition of over 150 groups pushing the Washington state legislature to close wasteful corporate special interest tax loopholes. As you’ll see in these posts, PJALS members like you have been very busy raising our voices together to stop the devastating cuts to education and lifeline programs for struggling families. We co-sponsored the Spokane release of the important report “Facing Race: How Budget Cuts Are Increasing Racial Disparities” and a caravan of PJALS and WA CAN! activists traveled to Olympia to “Occupy the Capitol”, culminating in marches in Spokane and Olympia. Our joint march here (with Occupy Spokane, unions, and other groups) included the delightful experience of 300 of us caroling in the atrium of Riverpark Square with re-written tunes including “I’m Dreaming of a Fair Budget” and “It’s the Most Critical Time of the Year.” Read more »
Rusty Nelson on Peace and War: we can refuse to have people for our enemies
By Rusty Nelson
Here in our golden years, in our pastoral, rustic homestead, Nancy and I watch quite a few movies. It’s sometimes a good way to escape reality and, sometimes a way to confront and examine reality, depending upon perspectives. As movie-watchers, we found ourselves viewing the whoop-de-do around the presentation of the Golden Globe Awards, holding out the hope that a “Hollywood Liberal” or two might make an inspiring statement about Martin Luther King or the Occupy movement, or denounce militarism or capital punishment or money-driven elections in the temporary, bully pulpit.
My moment arrived when Iranian director Asghar Farwadi went to the stage to accept the award for his film, “A Separation.” Read more »
Work Not War: Bring Our Billion$ Home
by Shar Lichty, Organizer
On Saturday, October 8 PJALS held what has sadly become a yearly event, a march against US war and occupation to commemorate the 10th anniversary of US war in Afghanistan, now the longest war in US history. As part of our Bring Our Billion$ Home campaign this year’s theme was “Work Not War.”
We kicked off the event with a community speak-out, hearing from veterans and community members on the human and economic costs of war. Speakers included Rusty Nelson and Mike Edwards from Veterans for Peace, service providers David Brookbank and Reese McMullin-Holford and Pastor Liv Larson-Andrews from Salem Lutheran Church. The speak-out was followed by a march through the Garland District in a show of support for our local, small businesses. (Pictures after the jump!) Read more »
Community Speak-out and March for Work Not War
1:00 pm, Saturday, October 8, Clarke Park on the corner of Garland and Division
Join PJALS members like you to commemorate 10 years of US war and occupation in Afghanistan. Speakers will include veterans and community members on the many costs of war including out-of-control military spending and the resulting lack of funding for lifeline programs for struggling families in our communities.
And, two days prior, join us to Meet and Eat
Thursday, October 6, 5:30-7:00pm, Lobby of the Community Bldg, 35 W. Main