Volume 20, Number 12
Winter Soldier Campaign
Iraq veterans against the war -- Ivaw
Eighty and Still Protesting
Nut House Econ
Behind Burma's Repression
Nukes Are Back
Eleanor J. Bader
2 Book Reviews
U.S. & Eygpt
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Eighty and Still Protesting
Each Friday I stand on a busy street corner in Claremont, California. I stand with 20 to 30 other seniors and younger companions, each of us holding a sign which declares “Bring the Troops Home,” “or Government Unfair to Vets,” or “Ain’t Gonna War No More.” Like other citizens across our country, we’ve been there for almost five years.
These days it is rare to have a driver pump a middle finger at us screaming “Commie” or shout at us older Americans, “Go home.” At first the frequent experiences were painful. Now they make me sad, but their decreasing frequency triggers new hope and energy.
During the latter stages of WWII I was a proud member of the U.S. Navy Air Corps. While I care about the well-being of veterans and members of the Armed Forces, I reject war as a proposed solution to international problems, real or imagined. Like my weekly corner companions, I renounce our failure here at home to create a less violent culture and a more just society. My convictions result from my religious faith, work in other lands, and learning from my college and high school students. My sustaining inspiration comes from others, like Jesus, Gandhi, MLK, Mandela, Dorothy Day, and Dan Berrigan—and Mattie Stepanek, the “peace poet” who died at age 13 from Muscular Dystrophy.
But nothing has influenced me more than a childhood visit to a veteran’s hospital for “permanent residents” in New York, witnessing the deformed faces, the broken spirits. And I will never forget the 1965 experience of Selma, Alabama at the height of the Civil Rights movement. There, volunteers, hundreds of us, were told by experienced African- American college students, “If you are cursed and beaten and you can only respond with violence, you cannot stand up with us. You must go home.” Most of us stayed. It was like a new beginning for America—and me. So I’ve come to understand that there are times when citizens must engage in active non-violent resist- ence or we are only nominal citizens, potential patriots—and to believe that most of us really want to be compassionate and to foster non-violence and justice. The experience of Katrina demonstrates just that. Most of us don’t need to have more, we need to become more.
Idon’t know when, if ever, my companions and I will cease to be street corner “protesters.” Actually, we hope we are “social change-makers.” Recently, a young Marine shook my hand and said, “Thank you.” He commented that it was wrong to invade Iraq and seemed very sad. I asked him, “What would make you proud to be a Marine?” He thought for a moment and then said, “We should go to Darfur and protect the people there from that terrible violence.” Bless him. So the use of limited physical force may be needed in special circumstances, in daily life here or in genuinely collective action overseas, but Americans have to help create a non-violent and just world culture—beginning with ourselves.
Perhaps we can begin by profound efforts to learn from, as well as effectively serve, the many thousands of Americans, returning from war, so badly damaged in mind and body. And think through anew, our responsibility towards a ravaged nation. One new beginning might be to have school children sing daily Woody Guthrie’s old song: “I Ain’t Gonna Study War No More.” Or alternate that with reading poems from young Mattie’s Journey Through Heart- songs.
My hope is that someday there will be no need for old veterans to wonder what their fighting was really for or for 80-year-olds to stand on street corners carrying signs. But for now I will continue to stand with my convictions and peace-full friends, until I can stand no more.
James Lamb is an activist and retired educator.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; email@example.com; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; email@example.com; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: email@example.com; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.