Nuclear Weapons and Democracy — Do they co-exist?

by Marge Van Cleef, former New Haven resident and member of CT Peace Coalition. In Philadelphia, she organizes a monthly Death Walk Against Drones, participates in the Brandywine Peace Community and WILPF. This article first appeared in the monthly Catholic Peace Fellowship newsletter.

We continue to call ourselves a democracy, “rule by the people.” A monarchy means “rule by one,” a state or nation in which the supreme power is actually or nominally lodged in a monarch. Monarchy has existed since the earliest history of humankind and was often established during periods of external threat or internal crisis because it provided a more efficient focus of power than a democracy, which tended to diffuse power. Apparently, the U.S. considers its possession of nuclear weapons justification for one-person rule, that of the President.

Elaine Scarry, Harvard Univ., has written a book entitled “Thermonuclear Monarchy” (2014) based on her extensive research into U.S. nuclear weapons and who decides when and how they are used. The facts are alarming. She has undertaken a serious study of the U.S. Constitution and what it says about who can declare war. She provides many examples of the situations in which U.S. Presidents, since WW 2, have been the sole decision-makers regarding going to war and possibly using nuclear weapons.

In August 1945 Pres. Truman himself made the decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first time nuclear bombs were dropped on a population, without any warning. This first use of nuclear weapons caused the death and permanent radiation illnesses for hundreds of thousands of civilians. That decision changed our country and the world. It was mass extermination, and there’s been no apology from any U.S. President in office since 1945.

On July 25, after receiving Stalin’s pledge to join the U.S. in the war against Japan in the Pacific, Truman casually informed the Soviet leader that the United States had a new weapon of unusual destructive force. Although Stalin did not appear to be impressed by the news, Truman hoped the information would increase the pressure on Stalin to concede to the Allies’ demands regarding the post-war agreements. But Stalin asked Truman to turn the bomb over to the UN and put it under international control. Truman refused to surrender US control so Stalin went and got his own bomb. And the arms race was on.

But there is useful background information to this story –

The United States had successfully tested the world’s first atomic weapon near Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945. Truman received the news while in Potsdam, Germany, conferring with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin on post-World War II policy in Europe. On July 17, Truman told Churchill of the test’s success and the two agreed to put off telling Stalin about what Truman called the dynamite news until later–Truman first wanted to get Stalin to agree to enter the Pacific war on the Allies’ side with no strings on it. To that end, the Soviet Union maintained an active espionage program to follow the military activity of the country’s rivals. Through these channels, Stalin became aware of the Manhattan Project’s existence before future President Harry Truman. The first Soviet bomb was completed in 1949.

While U.S. Presidents have clearly pondered their decisions to declare war, including the use of nuclear weapons, some of their personal statements are alarming and indicative of their cynicism and distance from the outcomes, even if nuclear weapons were used. Pres. George H. Bush, “I’m the commander—see, I don’t need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being president.” (Bob Woodward 2002)

This is not how the Constitution was intended to be interpreted, but how it has been ignored or “misinterpreted” in the case of declaration of war. In fact, every war since WW2 has been declared by a U.S. President acting alone. Yet the Constitution states that Congress alone has that right.

Scarry includes remarkable facts on the weapons and carriers in the U.S. arsenal, and frightening quotes by former Presidents Eisenhower, Bush, Kennedy, Nixon, et al regarding their power to make decisions to go to war, even deploying nuclear weapons.

In 2019-20, Pres. Trump could make the decision to use nuclear weapons without consulting Congress. Yes, in 2019 with Pres. Trump’s personality defects, his politics, and lack of interest in who might die, who he personally wants to kill, or what happens to the climate, we are facing a very dangerous period for any one person or President, to possibly make the decision to use nuclear weapons.

The last time Congress made the decision to declare war was against Japan on Dec. 8, 1941. Since then, the United States has only issued five other war declarations: against Germany and Italy (on December 11, 1941) and against Bulgaria, Hungary and Rumania (on June 4, 1942). Countries that have nuclear weapons include, China, India, Pakistan, UK, France, No. Korea, U.S., Russia, Israel (not declared). Whether they are called democracies or something else, it is likely that their leaders will make solo decisions on the use of nuclear weapons.

U.S. military drones are used at the will of the President in consultation with the CIA so that they are not included in a state of undeclared war. The people targeted by a drone commander receive no warning and thousands of civilians have been killed by U.S. drones. Those in the U.S. military who control the drones and decide on targets, sit at computers thousands of miles away. They suffer the psychological damage of being the deciders. Ralph Nader recently said, “… you [can’t] keep allowing presidents to run away with illegal presidential power, decide they can send drones, armed drones, special forces anywhere, killing anybody in the world, becoming in the White House their own prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner… ”(2019).

And yet the U.S. will continue to build new and more powerful weapons, i.e. 12 new Ohio-class Trident submarines, each armed with 16 nuclear-armed D5 missiles with the explosive power equivalent to 1,825 Hiroshimas. The total cost of building 12 new Tridents will be $100.2 billion dollars. Who decides to build them? The defense industry and the Pentagon. Again, not a specific decision of Congress, though they approve the defense budget, and they will not decide when and where Trident missiles will be fired. THE TRIDENT STORY today…..

In Brunswick, GA on October 24th, the King’s Bay Plowshares 7 were found guilty on four counts in a jury trial. They committed acts of civil disobedience in attempting to symbolically dismantle a Trident submarine, of which there are six stationed at Kings Bay Naval Station in GA. They could be sentenced to 20 years in prison. They sacrificed their freedom to bring to our attention the destructive power of a nuclear-armed Trident submarine, the most powerful weapon on the planet, and in the U.S. arsenal. The nuclear missiles from one Trident submarine could obliterate any nation on earth. Each missile can travel 1370 miles in 15 minutes.

What would a democratic decision look like for the U.S., militarily the most heavily armed country on the planet? What would a vote to say that for our survival, we must resist starting more wars, and not settle for “never-ending” wars. Whether or not we call our system a “monarchy” it functions like one, to our peril, particularly in regards to warmaking and the control of nuclear weapons.

The UN will be holding meetings in 2020 to reconsider the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which entails a major decision for nations holding weapons and those who might be targeted by them. Pres. Trump has threatened to withdraw from the Treaty. Presently, there is no official Supreme Court ruling on whether the President has the power to break a treaty without the approval of Congress. The courts declined to interfere when President George W. Bush unilaterally withdrew the United States from the ABM Treaty in 2002.

In summation, we must pay attention to decisions to go to war made by U.S. Presidents without the officially required approval of Congress, as stated in the Constitution. Otherwise we are living in a “monarchy”, one-person rule.

At the risk of being naive, I recall this song and I think of “the people” deciding on war including, nuclear attacks… “Last night I had the strangest dream….I dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war……And the people in the streets below were dancing round & round while swords and guns and uniforms were scattered on the ground.” ~ Ed McCurdy, 1950

Bolivia in Crisis! Another Military Coup in Latin America

by Henry Lowendorf, GNH Peace Council

US-supported rightwing fanatics just orchestrated a military coup against the constitutional government of Bolivia headed by Evo Morales. We must view this coup as one in a long train of US-engineered coups in Bolivia, throughout Latin America and the world.

Bolivian voters on Oct. 20 gave President Evo Morales a substantial plurality, 47.1% of the vote, enough to forestall a runoff, but the opposition refused to accept the results. Rightwing opposition gangs torched the homes of Morales and other government leaders, destroyed government buildings, assaulted a socialist female mayor. Then military generals demanded Morales step down. He and some other leaders fled to Mexico, others took refuge in the Mexican embassy.

“Bolivian coup leader Luis Fernando Camacho [can be described] as a far-right multi-millionaire who arose from fascist movements in the [largely white, affluent fossil-fuel rich] Santa Cruz region, where the US has encouraged separatism.”

“Bolivia’s self-proclaimed president Jeanine Áñez Chavez is on records as having said, ‘I dream of a Bolivia free of satanic indigenous rites. The city is not for Indians; let them go back to the highlands or the Chaco.’ Apart from everything, this was a racist coup.” President Trump immediately recognized Chavez.

WHY DID THIS COUP OCCUR NOW?

Bolivia has been one of the poorest countries in South America. The election in 2006 of Evo Morales began to change that. His government is of course not above criticism. But the military deposed him without a doubt at the instigation of the US 1%, not because of his failures but because of his successes.

Morales is the first indigenous leader of Bolivia – indeed any American state – a country whose majority is indigenous. Since Morales’ first victory in 2006

  • “…Poverty plummeted from a boggling 60% to 35% by 2018, with those in extreme poverty declining from nearly 38% to 15% in the same period.”
  • “Bolivia has seen per capita income increase threefold and has rapidly transitioned from a low-income country to a lower-middle-income country in the eyes of the World Bank. Inflation and the exchange rate have remained exceptionally stable. And all the while, Bolivian levels of inequality went from well above the Latin American average to well below it.”
  • “Redistributed [land] to landless peasants. He placed the natural gas, oil, telecommunications and electricity industries under state control. And he continually raised the minimum wage, which has tripled since he entered office.”
  • “Dramatically increased social spending. He poured money into building roads, schools, and hospitals, an expansion of infrastructure that was particularly transformative in the countryside.”
  • Bolivia contains the world’s largest reserves of the mineral lithium that is used in electronics and batteries. Morales nationalized Bolivia’s incredibly valuable lithium deposits. The rich despise the idea that the vast expected income from sales of lithium would under Morales be fairly distributed to benefit all Bolivians.
  • The corporate media have, as always, described this coup according to the perspective of the billionaires.
  • President Donald Trump has threatened Venezuela and Nicaragua with similar coups.

RESISTANCE:

“Huge demonstrations in el Alto, La Paz [the capital], Cochabamba and other places, thousands and thousands of indigenous people in the streets proudly displaying the Wiphala [checkered rainbow flag]. Some police and military appear to have disobeyed their officers and joined the pro-Evo demonstrations.

The self-proclaimed President Jeanine Áñez Chavez has legalized free-fire zones and military forces have been shooting demonstrators from bridges and helicopters.

“The Bolivian congress, in which Evo’s MAS party has a two-thirds majority, is refusing to recognize the coup government. [It has] chosen one of [its] own to head the Congress.”

Trade union leaders internationally, including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, have denounced the coup and the military’s role. They urge an end to political repression and violence. Political leaders Bernie Sanders, Ilhan Omar, Alexandra Ocasio Cortez in the US and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK have denounced the coup. Too many others, including our own Congressional representatives, are silent.

ACTION:

  • Hands Off Bolivia; Hands Off Venezuela; Hands Off Nicaragua; Hands Off Cuba; No Sanctions, No Wars.
  • Letters to the Editor or Op-eds.
  • Utilize social media to call for the coup to be reversed and Morales safely reinstalled.
  • Call Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro: Condemn the coup, begin an investigation into the US role: (202) 224-3121.

References: The Nation; The Grayzone; The Tricontinental; The People’s World; Fair.org. For exact issues and websites, please contact the author at gnhpeacecouncil@gmail.com.

Call for Proposals for SCSU Women’s & Gender Studies Conference Due Dec. 16

PAR readers are invited to send in proposals for panels, workshops or lectures for the Southern Connecticut State University 2020 Women’s & Gender Studies Conference. The theme is “Gender, Race, Community, & Conflict: Pursuing Peace and Justice.” The conference will take place ​Friday and Saturday,​ ​April 24 ​and 25​, 2020. Submission deadline is Dec. 16​, 2019.

The world is right now witnessing the unprecedented destruction of communities—mostly Indigenous—and their habitats, including the ongoing fires raging across the Amazon rainforest, the Dakota Pipeline construction, and the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. Major conflicts have been exacerbated among genders, races and cultural groups, resulting in unspeakable suffering and violence in communities, from the desecration of Indigenous lands and sacred spaces to climate strikes and the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two-spirit people, and trans women of color.

How do feminists and their communities, Indigenous and settler-colonial, address these problems and heal the breaches that have divided and torn communities apart? How have feminists and activists creatively used the existing power structures to reverse the fragmentation of peoples and break down hierarchies? In the pursuit of peace and justice, what are feminist activists doing within their families and communities to stop the divisions and violence and counter the hatred and demonization against “the other”? How are peace and justice achieved through the intersectional and transnational coalitions across gender, race, class, sexuality, religion, nationality?

Please submit proposals and supporting materials to womensstudies@southernct.edu, with attention to “Conference Committee.” If you have any questions, please call the Women’s & Gender Studies Office at (203) 392-6133. Include name, affiliation, e-mail, and phone number. Proposals should be no longer than one page (250-400 words). Panel proposals are encouraged.

The Women’s & Gender Studies Conference at SCSU is self-supporting; all presenters can pre-register at the dis-counted presenters’ rate. The registration includes all costs for supporting materials and all meals and beverage breaks. For more information, visit the SCSU Women’s & Gender Studies page, or contact Women’s & Gender Studies Program: womensstudies@southernct.edu or (203) 392-6133.

Retooling the Connecticut War Economy Nov. 9

by Henry Lowendorf, Greater New Haven Peace Council

We are totally accustomed to Connecticut’s two Senators and five Congressmembers crowing every time the Penta-gon doles billions of dollars to Connecticut’s merchants of death to build new killing machines.

It’s all about jobs, jobs, jobs. At one time CT had a hugely diverse manufacturing base. CT manufacturing now depends on subsidies from the Pentagon.

Similarly, they rationalize huge military spending, now 69% of the annual budget they vote on and the President signs. That leaves 31% to be split among transportation, labor, health, education, housing, environment and so on. CT’s governor and most state legislators regularly applaud every “gun” that is made here.

These electeds argue “national security.” They never admit that “national security” really refers to the security of giant corporate profits. The U.S. corporate media continually cheerlead war-making and weapons spending. They rarely ask what the downsides are in pouring so much of our national treasure into war.

Connecticut’s cities are running on empty. State government is desperate for funds. CT, one of the richest states in the richest country in human history, maintains the greatest wealth gap in the nation.

UMass studies show that every job funded for manufacturing weapons displaces two jobs creating civilian goods and services. Weapons spending is a job destroyer.

The Pentagon is the world’s biggest polluter and contributor to greenhouse gases. The climate-scorching crisis demands that we convert from fossil fuels to sustainable energy. The crisis demands that we move the money to civilian needs. To save ourselves and the planet from these two scourges we must retool the weapons and fossil-fuel industries into a green-peace economy.

Please join the conversation and design actions at the 4th Annual CT Peace Conference: Retooling the CT War Economy: How We Can Build Good, Green Jobs & Infrastructure for Human Needs & Peace.

Keynote: CodePink Co-Founder Medea Benjamin

Panelists: Miriam Pemberton, Dave Ionno, Mitch Linck, Jeremy Brecher, Denise Tillman, Henry Lowendorf, Bahman Azad.
Saturday, November 9, 12 – 4 p.m. Free and open to all, lunch provided. Middlesex Community College, Chapman Hall, 100 Training Hill Rd., Middletown, CT.

Conference Information: skrevisky@mxcc.edu, Steve: (860) 759-3699.

CT Peace & Solidarity Coalition, peacect.org.

Because Federal Government Is Allowed to ‘Weaponize the Law,’ Plowshares 7 Found Guilty for Anti-Nuclear Weapons Protest

Eoin Higgins, Common Dreams News

Seven anti-nuclear activists face up to 20 years in prison after a jury in Georgia on Thursday found the activists guilty of four counts of destruction and depredation of government property in excess of $1,000, trespassing, and conspiracy, charges that could land each member of the group in prison for up to 20 years.

“I really think that the verdict was, frankly, reactionary,” defendant Carmen Trotta said in a statement.

Trotta and Steve Kelly, Mark Colville (from New Haven), Clare Grady, Patrick O’Neill, Elizabeth McAlister, and Martha Hennessy on the night of April 4, 2018 entered the U.S. Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia and took part in a symbolic closure of the facility in protest of its housing of the base’s Trident nuclear program and then “split into three groups and prayed, poured blood, spray-painted messages against nuclear weapons, hammered on parts of a shrine to nuclear missiles, hung banners, and waited to be arrested.”

The Kings Bay Plowshares Seven hoped to use a necessity defense, claiming the omnicidal potential of the Trident program—that the weapons could end all life on the planet—made their actions a moral imperative. On October 18, Judge Lisa Wood rejected the defense and in her ruling (pdf) barred the defendants from using it or calling on expert witnesses like Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg to address the jury.

Read the whole story here: Because Federal Government Is Allowed to ‘Weaponize the Law,’ Plowshares 7 Found Guilty for Anti-Nuclear Weapons Protest | Common Dreams News

Towards a New Paradigm of Creative Revolution — Part Two

by Owen Charles, environmental, peace and community activist

[Part One of this article appeared in the October issue of the PAR newsletter. The article in its entirety is available at our website par-newhaven.org]

The clear answer for a monumental transition lies before us… lies in our embracing this, and saying “YES.” Yes, to a new paradigm. Yes, to new ideas, ways of living, ways of helping each other, ways of creating anew.  Yes, to positive action. Yes, to communes–bonding together to create new economies, new healthcare and educational possibilities, new ways of moving forward from where we are now. And in this “new” paradigm there certainly may be echoes of the past… indigenous and ancient ways of basic, communitarian existence in a more balanced harmony with each other and with nature…
You can look at it as saying NO to the toxic culture and capitalism, and war and… BUT it is important not to look at it this way and to instead approach it as SAYING YES.

Yes, first off to each other. We need to unleash ourselves from the paradigm of individualism and that it is a dog-eat-dog world… and instead, embrace that we are all IN THIS TOGETHER. This is one of the first rules used to sublimate us, the rule of “divide and conquer.”

Thus fighting each other is abandoned as a mode of revolution, and in fact, is counter-revolutionary. Let’s continue to look around and find and support those who represent a new paradigm hidden in plain sight all around us!

We say YES to each other in the mode of improvisational group creation… “YES, And” … Your idea AND mine… “BOTH AND” (not Either / Or)… this way we do not tear ourselves apart and tear each other down, but we BUILD TOGETHER new ways, new organizations, new creative revolutions. YES to cooperatives, YES to collectives, YES to unplugging and working, YES to more DOING and less TALKING, YES to CREATING, YES to BIOREGIONAL-ISM, YES to MUNICIPALISM, YES to YES. YES to down-sizing, YES to living more ruggedly with less, YES to helping others to do so (not shaming them), YES to creating ways to communicate independently YES to BEING the CHANGE we want to see. YES to worrying less about fear, division, disagreement, and looming destruction, and YES to focusing more on creative revolution to create the new ways of living that sustain us, save us, inspire us, give us some hope, some unity, and rebuild our interior and human goodness from the first step of the first individual, in a chain that has the potential to be unending, and free us from the chains of our dystopia.

Please reach out to us by joining our Facebook group @shorelinegreenparty or contacting me! Owen Charles at owencharles2003@yahoo.com.

In Memory of Caroline Bridgman-Rees and Lula White

The PAR Planning Committee mourns the passing of Caroline Bridgman-Rees (Dec. 31, 1922-Aug. 28, 2019) and Lula White (died at the age of 80 on Sept. 10, 2019), two women with deep ties to the greater New Haven peace community and the world who dedicated their lives for peace, equality and justice for all humanity.

Caroline was an NGO representative of the United Nations and member of a multitude of peace organizations — international, national and local. She was involved with the Progressive Action Roundtable right from its beginning in 1993.

Caroline’s memorial service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 2, at 11:30 a.m., at the Unitarian Society of New Haven, 700 Hartford Turnpike, Hamden.

Excerpt from Lula’s obituary notice in the New Haven Register, Sept. 16, 2019

Most people knew Lula White as a retired New Haven school teacher, board member of the Greater New Haven Labor History Association and member of the PAR mailing committee. For many of us in New Haven, we didn’t realize the scope of her bravery and profound sense of justice until she told us her history of being a freedom rider.

Family members have set Lula’s memorial service for Saturday, Dec. 14. Inquiries should be directed to Lulamwhitememorialservice@gmail.com.

We cherish the friendship, wisdom and inspiration Caroline and Lula shared with us. Our condolences to the families of these two remarkable, brave women who gave so much of themselves for a better world.

We are Each A Precious Entity: The Activist Life of Caroline Bridgman-Rees

The following is an edited version from the tribute written by PJ Deak for the Unitarian Society of New Haven.

Caroline Bridgman-Rees

Caroline was born on New Year’s Eve, 1922 and grew up on Staten Island. Her father, a Yale graduate, was a history professor at NYU for 29 years. A decorated war veteran, he came home from WWI in 1918 traumatized by the horrors of war, its barbarism, death, and destruction.

As a result of her father’s experiences, Caroline became very aware of the toll and folly of war – and of the importance of working for peace. In 1945, Caroline, 22, a Phi Beta Kappa and recent graduate of Smith College, joined the Red Cross. She sailed on a ship to the Philippines where she worked with the Red Cross until 1946 when she went to Korea. Why did she do it? To see the world and “to see life with the soldiers.”

She remembered the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with horror and condemnation – a bombing that in her words “was totally against moral and international law and which began a frightful new era that threatened all life on earth.”

In the 1960s, Caroline began her teaching career at Bradford College in Massachusetts – teaching Asian History and Philosophy. Caroline became increasingly concerned about the conflict between the US and both the Vietnamese liberation forces and all of Indochina.

Caroline Bridgman-Rees, Nancy Eberg and Jim Pandaru (l-r)

She joined a number of prominent peace organizations: The American Friends Service Committee; Sane/Freeze – later known as Peace Action; The Women’s International League for Peace And Freedom; The War Resisters League; Mobilization for Survival; and because of her service in the Red Cross, Veterans Against The War.

“I felt then, as I do now, that non-violent direct action is a citizen’s responsibility when the government is committing major war crimes against humanity!”

In 1972 Caroline was one of 171 American peace leaders chosen to attend the Paris Peace Talks. Also in 1972, she was part of a team of women who traveled to India and conducted interviews with Indian women about the role of women in the world – Caroline even had the privilege to interview Ms. Ghandi. In 1973, Caroline, her husband and 10-year-old son traveled through India, Burma, Thailand, Hong Kong, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Caroline became involved with the United Nations as an NGO representative, and also was active with the Greater New Haven Peace Council. In 1991-1992 she spent a year in England giving 45 separate lectures on Nuclear Disarmament and attended an international peace conference in the Netherlands.

When the first Iraq War began, Caroline was active as the anti-war movement surged anew – seeking avenues for mediation and diplomacy rather than violence.

Caroline attended meetings to discuss and take action on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, spoke out about the size of the US military budget, the number of US military bases around the world (over 1,000) and the pollution they are allowed to create. She wrote letters to the editor that were published in the New Haven Register and participated in the New Haven Peace Council and the Unitarian Society of New Haven Peace Task Force.

“We need community, not guns. We must create a world with love, and caring and cooperation.”

Read Caroline Bridgman-Rees’ obituary on Legacy.com.

Remembering Lula White

by Joan Cavanagh, former Archivist/Director, Greater New Haven Labor History Association (2001-2017)

Lula White poses with the Thurgood Marshall Award she received in 2016 (file photo)

Lula White poses with the Thurgood Marshall Award she received in 2016 (file)

I was with Lula White at many gatherings in 35 or so years: peace actions to oppose the endless U.S. wars; Sunday night potluck discussions; Labor History Association meetings and events; union protests at Yale; even the occasional holiday party. With Mary Johnson, she often spoke of teaching, organizing and being jailed during the teachers’ strikes in the 1970s. Her story as a youthful freedom rider in the South unfolded more slowly.

When we decided to document the history of workers at New Haven’s Winchester Repeating Arms Company, Lula and her sister, Dorothy White Johnson, both long time members of the Labor History Association Executive Board, contacted former Winchester employees, conducted interviews and borrowed artifacts for the exhibit, “Our Community at Winchester: An Elm City Story.”

After the plant closed in 2006, we transferred the files, artifacts and photographs of the workers’ union, IAM Local 609, to the office I shared with the late Nicholas Aiello, then LHA president. The plan was to inventory and preserve them. As Nick witnessed 65 boxes slowly taking over our space, he became, not unreasonably, upset. We had a heated exchange. Lula arrived just as I left to take a breath. When I returned, Lula was smiling—and so was Nick, who congratulated us for having secured custody of these important historical records. Whatever she said or did, she had, typically, transformed the situation.

At Fairfield University, where the exhibit was displayed in 2017, I introduced Lula after a short history of the project, and began asking questions. The audience, mostly students, soon took over. Lula spoke quietly and without drama about her life as the daughter of a Winchester worker, growing up in the Newhallville section of New Haven, then becoming a teacher of history and union activist. She also shared the terrifying, brave experience of being jailed in Mississippi as a young Black woman, one of hundreds of freedom riders trying to integrate the buses in 1961. In an evaluation of the session, a student wrote that she was “cool.” She had shared her hope for a future based on engaged citizenship at a moment when it was desperately needed, just following the 2017 presidential inauguration.

During my only visit to the Intensive Care Unit where Lula was confined in June, not expected to survive, I whispered to her to “Keep fighting.” It wasn’t necessary. Fight she did. Over the summer, she slowly got better. She almost made it.

Despite Lula White’s inner calm, peace and strength, it cannot have been easy being fully “woke.” May she find the joy and rest she has earned.

Excerpt from the obituary notice of the New Haven Register, Sept. 16, 2019

Ms. White was frequently jailed as a freedom rider trying to desegregate public transportation. In addition, she was arrested for striking to raise salaries for teachers, and jeered for marching to protest injustice. She was recognized by the Quinnipiac University School of Law in 2016, was awarded the Thurgood Marshall Award for her activism and commu-nity service, and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Albertus Magnus College in 2010. Lula fought the good fight.

18 Years of Endless War: Please Join Us to Remember and Protest, 10/7

“There must have been a time, somewhere near the beginning, when we could have said no.” ~ Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

October 7, 2019, will mark 18 years of the endless war that continues to be waged by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice will mark the cost of the ongoing violence by placing the September stone on the Memorial Cairn at the intersection of Broadway, Elm and Park streets in New Haven, Monday evening, Oct. 7, at 6 p.m.

The stone will be inscribed with the September death toll of US military personnel and the approximate documented numbers of civilians killed during that same period of time.

Towards a New Paradigm of Creative Revolution — Part One

by Owen Charles, environmental, peace and community activist

We are in a time of great innovation, some say, mostly speaking of computer technology, “AI,” microparticle physics, genetic science, and other man-made detritus.

We are in a time of great crisis, meanwhile, as we soak in a toxic environment and begin to experience looming climate destruction borne of man-made garbage–hydrocarbons, plastics, pesticides, and other technologies.

It is time to recognize that we are in a downward spiral. As a species, we are clearly incapable. That is why it is up to SOME of us to recognize we are in a downward spiral… and do something about it.

No, not come up with some technological solution or grand design that will “save the world” but independent, creative, revolutionary ways of disconnecting from and unplugging from the destructive dystopia around us, so that we may build a new future. Tapping into our own creative revolutions, inviting and engaging, and welcoming those around us.

Is this a revolutionary idea? – YES and NO. YES, in that it is the answer towards upending the Existing Order (Capitalism, carnism, consumerism, etc.) that will likely implode as destructive forces it has unleashed grows in Tsunami fashion and drowns (most of) us all.

NO, in that it is already late to be getting to the party. Revolutionary work has started all around. Not cults of 150-year-old revolutionists or other political goings-on…. But, in the almost anonymous goings-on of growing autonomous movements — Bioregionalism groups, independent local movements of people living off the grid, tiny houses, living in vans & other vehicles, autonomous agricultural innovations, “gig economy” pursuits, bartering and new economies, and in the rise of cooperatives, collectives, and back-to-earth communalism–it is no longer enough to say “No”! In fact, it is counter-productive to spend much time doing this–opposing the facets and faults that in aggregate comprise the Existing Order.

While Bob Marley was right that “Total destruction is the only solution (no one can stop them now),” there will not be a turning point among humans to turn around the destruction of the planet (and each other) through our out-of-control hydrocarbonism, consumerism, and Capitalism… not until after climate destruction has so disrupted our lives that the great majority live in constant struggle to survive amidst the new environment of the planet. We ARE beyond… beyond the point of no return. Thus, we don’t say NO… We don’t say INCREMENTALISM. Thus, we say YES!

The clear answer for a monumental transition lies before us… lies in our embracing this, and saying “YES”.

Yes, to new paradigm.

Yes, to new ideas, ways of living, ways of helping each other, ways of creating anew.

Yes, to positive action.

Yes, to communes- bounding together to create new economies, new healthcare and educational possibilities, new ways of moving forward from where we are now.

And in this “new” paradigm there certainly may be echoes of the past… indigenous and ancient ways of basic, communitarian existence in a more balanced harmony with each other and with nature…

You can look at it as saying NO to the toxic culture and capitalism, and war, and… BUT it is important not to look at it this way and to instead approach it as SAYING YES.

Yes, first off to each other.

We need to unleash ourselves from the paradigm of individualism and that it is a dog-eat-dog world… and instead embrace that we are all IN THIS TOGETHER. This is one of the first rules used to sublimate us, is the rule of “divide and conquer”.

Thus fighting each other is abandoned as a mode of revolution, and in fact is Counter-revolutionary. Let’s continue to look around and find and support those who represent a new paradigm hidden in plain sight all around us!

We say YES to each other in the mode of improvisational group creation… “YES, And” … Your idea AND mine… “BOTH AND” (not Either / Or)… this way we do not tear ourselves apart and tear each other down, but we BUILD TOGETHER new ways, new organizations, new creative revolutions.

YES to cooperatives, YES to collectives, YES to unplugging and working, YES to more DOING and less TALKING, YES to CREATING, YES TO BIOREGIONALISM, YES to MUNICIPALISM, YES to YES to YES to YES to YES.

YES to down-sizing, YES to living more ruggedly with less, YES to helping others to do so (not shaming them), YES to creating ways to communicate independently YES to BEING the CHANGE we want to see. YES to worrying less about fear, division, disagreement, and looming destruction, and YES to focusing more on creative revolution to create the new ways of living that sustain us, save us, inspire us, give us some hope, some unity, and rebuild our interior and human goodness from the first step of the first individual, in a chain that has the potential to be unending, and free us from the chains of our dystopia.

Please reach out to us by joining our Facebook group @shorelinegreenparty or contacting me! Owen Charles at owencharles2003@yahoo.com

People’s Mobilization to Stop the US War Machine and Save the Planet

by Nancy Eberg, Greater New Haven Peace Council

Because the UN officially opens Sept. 23 with many world leaders attending, a variety of peace events will be held in NYC. This coincides with the International Day of Peace (Sept. 21). On Sept. 22, a march and rally will begin in Herald Square at 2 p.m. (more details will be forthcoming).

On Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m., a forum will be held at the New York Community Church, 40 East 35th Street: The Path to International Peace Realizing the Vision of the UN Charter. Representatives from countries impacted by US sanctions and efforts to force regime change will speak. Sponsors include Code Pink, UNAC, Veterans for Peace, many local Green parties, ANSWER, and the US Peace Council.

As they develop, more details will be communicated. Questions: email the grnhpeacecouncil@gmail.com/.

Interfaith Peace Waged in New Haven

Volunteers from multiple interfaith organizations painted a new billboard Thursday that will tower over I-95 right northbound before Exit 45 .

The 50-foot billboard was one of numerous projects completed by over 100 volunteers from across the world who gathered for New Haven Interfaith Service Day.

The effort was led by Rev. Nicholas Porter from Jerusalem Peacebuilders and Bruce Barrett from IWagePeace.org with local clergy members Rabbi Brian Immerman (Congregation Mishkan Israel), Imam Omer Bajwa (Yale Chaplin), Father Stephen Holton (Christ Episcopal Church), and Rev. Bonita Grubbs (Christian Community Action).

Source: Interfaith Peace Waged | New Haven Independent

Anti-Nuclear Vigils Commemorate Hiroshima and Nagasaki

A few days ago President Trumpy abrogated the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement with Russia. The amount of time European and Russian nuclear forces have to make a decision about launch on warning drops dramatically to a handful of minutes. The nuclear weapons industry is licking its lips at the expected contracts and profits to be made on rebuilding the US nuclear arsenal at a cost of nearly $2 trillion, all approved by Congress. Grave danger.

A year ago Trumpy shredded the multinational nuclear deal with Iran and has since turned the economic screws on that country in order to get it to surrender its sovereignty to the billionaires and oil giants, or suffer another US-initiated war of aggression in the Middle East. Grave danger.

In 2002, George W. Bush killed the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty with Russia. The US has since installed first-strike nuclear missiles in Poland and Rumania and moved US/NATO forces up to the Russian border. Grave danger.

These treaties the US has so readily scrapped were designed to help safeguard us from nuclear war, nuclear annihilation.

If climate scorching is slowly suffocating us, a nuclear exchange will vaporize billions of us in an instant. Any survivors will likely either die of radiation poisoning or starve during a prolonged nuclear winter.

Our commemoration of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki this year is also a call for the US to stop the nuclear madness. The US is leading the world into catastrophe and those of us who understand this have to lead in the other direction.

Tuesday, 8:00 AM (church bells @ 8:15). New Haven Green.
Friday, 10:45 AM (church bells @ 11:00). Amistad Statue adjacent to New Haven City Hall, 165 Church St.

74th Commemoration Hiroshima Nagasaki 2019 flyer.

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