Teach-Ins are needed on USA campuses and in schools more than Ever in 2012

Historians against the War denounces the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by Congress and signed into law by the President this past December.

This law authorizes $662 billion dollars for defense at a time when the U.S. economy is in a “Great Recession.” Meanwhile, the President has just this week given the preliminary report on another excessive defense budget for 2013. The 2012 allocations for Afghan Security Forces, who have been implicated in abuses and widespread drug use, warrant much closer scrutiny. Also, the sanctions on Iran are reminiscent of the distortions of the Bush administration’s calls to halt Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program, and are not in line with either current international (both European and Middle Eastern) thought on this issue. Last but not least, the NDAA undermines the release of some 88 people held at Guantanamo Bay who have been cleared by the FBI, CIA and Defense Department. It also authorizes indefinite detention of a broad category of “covered persons,” including U.S. citizens, thereby eroding the foundations of our democracy, and making possible many more abuses and risks the dismantling of habeas corpus entirely. Therefore, Historians Against the War calls on its members and friends to:

1. Organize a demonstration against the NDAA at local Congressional Offices on February 3 (National Day of Action, but if needed another date would still work). Link for list of the House of Representatives vote on the NDAA:

2. Ask your Congressional Representative to, at minimum, co-sponsor HR3785 to repeal Section 1021. (See note below on this bill.)

3. Organize teach-ins at your university, school, or in your community, to discuss the implications of the NDAA. Some resources can be found on our website, www.historiansagainstwar.org

Please keep the HAW Steering Committee informed (by writing to Carlmirra aol . com) informed if you decide to take these actions, and we promise to spread the word to our members of such initiatives.

Additional Note on the NDAA and HR3785:
The NDAA is a troubling law that follows a continuum of actions taken by both
Bush and Obama. A detailed draft on how the NDAA impacts U.S. citizens is
available upon request from Steering Committee member Carl Mirra,
Carlmirra aol . com. Although the problematic Ron Paul is its sponsor, at least
one reserved, local Congressman has indicated that co-sponsoring HR3785 was an
action he would be willing to take. Note too that even this bill to remove
Section 1021 is not sufficient as there is so much that is troubling in the
NDAA, but we think that it is a necessary starting point.

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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2 Responses to Teach-Ins are needed on USA campuses and in schools more than Ever in 2012

  1. eslkevin says:


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    Sen. Michael Bennet

  2. eslkevin says:

    Coalition Support for the Occupy Movement


    By Dave Ewoldt

    Clarifying the goals of Occupy with a pragmatic response for systemic change is going to require getting a good bit of the 99% actually involved. We all know things aren’t working, so what can we actually do? Here’s one path.

    I’ve been peripherally involved and supportive of Occupy Tucson, as well as the Occupy movement in general. While in Washington, DC last November for the Association for the Study of Peak Oil’s annual conference–Truth in Energy–I was asked to lead a teach-in on building coalitions by the organizers of the October2011.org occupation of Freedom Plaza.

    Talking with people before the General Assembly in DC, and spending time in the Occupy Tucson encampment, leads me to two basic conclusions: Occupiers are passionate about the dire and urgent need for change; and they are adrift, ungrounded, and searching for a foundation that could anchor that change. They don’t understand how things got to this point–the root cause–nor do they have a sense of what it would take to turn things around–or at the very least head in a different direction. And please be aware that I’m speaking in generalities here. There are individuals within the occupy movement who are very aware of major aspects of this.

    While disaster capitalism, the pollution economy, or economic cannibalism (the latter being my preferred term) directly leads to the most visible symptom of the 99%’s displeasure–an arrogant and narcissistic elite leisure class–there’s a noticeable absence of awareness of what this economic paradigm springs from. A lack of awareness of a cultural acceptance of dominator hierarchies as natural. Of separation from the natural world. Of a pathological sense of the other. Of the inherent unsustainability of the Industrial Growth Society, and the inherent friction between capitalism and democracy.

    There is also a perception, echoed by much of the left/liberal media (the right/mainstream media is so far off-base in all of this they don’t even factor into the discussion), that the core issue is Wall Street greed and corporate power in the financial and political arenas. That if we can just “green” and distribute the economy more equitably, and get money out of politics, everything will be fine. Well, I’m still waiting for someone to explain exactly how we’re going to circumvent the laws of thermodynamics and not only increase the number of slices of our finite planetary pie, but allow them all to grow infinitely larger.

    But that’s another conversation, although it must take place sooner rather than later. As environmental lawyer and former dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies Gus Speth says, “Our challenges require moving beyond incremental reform to systemic change that addresses the root causes of our current distress.”

    When the problem is systemic, the best place to start is everywhere at once. Since that is impossible (or at the very least presents logistical difficulties), Wall Street is as good an initial target as any. But, as I keep pointing out, there will be no economy on a dead planet. What too many seem concerned with regarding our financial system–on the political right and left–is loss of personal affluence and convenience; with the need to change their lifestyles, which they believe are suiting them just fine, thank you very much, if the greedy 1% would just share a bit more. This may be the main reason the 99% have yet to actually join the Occupiers. Global warming–which makes today’s Robber Barons look like pikers–brings sustaining life itself into question, and we place it on the back-burner to our ultimate peril. And Peak Oil and other dwindling natural resources (forests, copper, freshwater, topsoil, fisheries) are intimately intertwined with both financial collapse and climate catastrophe.

    My caution here is that we may be focusing our energy on the wrong initial target, and this is another important conversation we should delve into honestly and resolve quickly. However, as long as we’re connecting the dots towards a clear common goal, it may not make much difference where we start. All of it must be dealt with. However, clarifying that common goal is going to become even more important as the occupation wears on.

    The occupiers deeply, and rightly, sense that things are not going well, and it’s not just because orthodox economic growth indicators are in the toilet and getting ready to disappear down the sewer. It’s because they are being personally affected by unemployment, increasing debt, decreased purchasing power of what little money they do have, loss of so many of the natural places they enjoyed in their youth (or even last week), increasing toxicity of body and ecosystems, and a decreased connection to community relationships that have been paved over by advancing urban sprawl and an industrial mindset that requires longer hours of servitude for fewer material rewards–and no emotional or spiritual ones.
    So, it’s really no great mystery that occupiers should be feeling adrift and ungrounded. They are part of a culture that has lost its mooring and its way; that has forgotten what makes life meaningful and enjoyable. A culture that can only offer addictive substitutes for these losses. Where passive TV viewing substitutes for a natural sense of creativity, where shopping substitutes for psychological and spiritual health and well-being, where innovation is purchased rather than contributed to, where abusive relationships are clung to because no others are available. This is a culture that has forgotten that money can’t buy happiness; it can only contribute to the GDP by buying anti-depressants. In record quantities. For an ever growing segment of the population.

    Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone is wondering what the future of Occupy Wall Street could be or move toward. Michael Rectenwald of Citizens for Legitimate Government says we have a flawed praxis due to lack of a coherent theory. Dave Lindorff of This Can’t Be Happening writes in regard to developing a response to global warming that he simply doesn’t know what to do. I believe there is a path–and a rather practical one at that–and I believe it meets the requirements expressed by Naomi Klein, writing in The Nation (and so many others making this same point such as Chris Hedges), to present a coherent narrative and a systemic, practical alternative that is congruent with the natural systems all else emerges from.

    Here’s what my wife Allison and I have been working on for the last year–as we refine our past decade’s worth of research and activism–to address these needs and concerns: Coalitions of Mutual Endeavorhttp://www.comeweb.org=””>. The goals of COME are to help people connect the dots among all these issues and become aware of the common underlying diseased root; to facilitate the development of coalitions capable of creating the critical mass necessary for systemic, sustainable change; to decapacitate the arsonist responsible for all of the pressing single-issue fires; and to provide a framework, process and non-hierarchical tools to build an alternative that is congruent with a nurturing, living world.

    It is necessary to both criticize and stop systems that concentrate wealth and power; systems that are ultimately destroying our one and only life support system–popularly referred to as planet Earth. We must understand how these systems are setup and held in place. However, it is even more necessary to develop and implement an alternative system that is not based on exploitation, inequality and fear. And if the goal is to create a sustainable future that has justice, equity, and democracy as integral aspects of its foundation, then it must work with, rather than against, the creative nurturing force of life itself.

    The fundamental self-organizing principles of the Occupy movement (even though they may not yet recognize them as such) work to facilitate collective action. This adheres rather closely to the manner in which life itself tends to work. The next step would be to begin getting good at and refining non-hierarchical methods of organizing, communicating, and decision making, and then start applying them to improving the quality of life of the 99%–which necessarily includes providing opportunities for all to be responsibly contributing members of their community. The latter often tends to be referred to as work, although I prefer the term–and its deeper meaning–right-livelihood.

    It’s not enough to fight for an equitable share of an exploitive and unjust system. The only “demand” the occupiers should be making is to have the freedom and support to begin creating a new system based on ecological integrity, social justice, economic equity, and participatory democracy.

    The tools to do this are available. If we apply them together, we can succeed.

    Submitters Website: http://www.COMEweb.org

    Submitters Bio:

    Dave Ewoldt is a practitioner and researcher in the field of ecopsychology–helping people remember how to think and act the way that nature works, and the health and wisdom that can be gained by doing so. In other words, a paradigm shift coach. He is a co-founder of Coalitions of Mutual Endeavor, a non-profit which uses natural systems principles to facilitate coalitions that can build the critical mass to create critical change, and is a founding member of Transition Pima, the first sanctioned Transition Initiative in the American Southwest desert. A published systems theorist, Dave is a member of a national speakers bureau on global warming, and speaks regularly at local, national and international conferences on sustainability, Peak Oil, global warming, corporatism, the theft of the commons, and how relocalization–powering down, reconnecting, steady-state economies, and an Earth jurisprudence–provide a practical, affordable response as a process to create a sustainable future. His book-in-progress is “Connecting the Dots: Reversing Our Handbasket to Hell.”

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