End Support for Warmongers at Yale

by Daud Shad, 2021 Yale College graduate

Members of the Yale community and beyond are joining the call for Yale to End Support for Warmongers! The US withdrawal from Afghanistan has renewed public scrutiny of the global military-industrial complex and the War on Terror, which has directly killed more than 900,000 people and cost over $8 trillion while completely devastating countries.

The recent resignation of Yale Professor Beverly Gage from the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy brings that public scrutiny even closer to campus. Professor Gage re-signed due to donor pressure to teach the program “the way Henry Kissinger would” and include Kissinger as advisor.

Kissinger, though admired by many in the American political elite, exemplifies all that is fundamentally wrong with the prevailing conception of “grand strategy”: the agency and precious lives of millions of people in foreign countries are disregarded for a chance at long-term hegemony for the most powerful country in the world. The devastation in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan are major examples of what practitioners celebrated by Yale, beyond Kissinger, have been instrumental in.

There’s a deep issue at the university where credentialism often trumps humanitarianism. In its foreign policy instruction, Yale seems to value the fame or title of an individual over a record that exemplifies care for human lives (e.g., no involvement in war crimes!). Tragically, many of the world’s poorest communities suffer from war and its immense consequences. Simultaneously, leading warmongers evade basic accountability and receive prestigious positions.

There are three policies we urge Yale to immediately implement in order to begin to disentangle the university from warmongering and imperialism: [1] Prevent donor conditions on academic freedom; [2] Adhere to a standard for Yale affiliation that would disqualify those involved in war crimes; [3] Refuse to invest in defense contractors.

Read the petition and sign it at tinyurl.com/YaleEndWar. Daud graduated from Yale College in 2021. As a student, he was co-coordinator for Dwight Hall at Yale. You can reach him at  daud.shad@yale.edu.

Afghanistan War Ends in New Haven

by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, Oct 8, 2021

Twenty years to the day after the United States first bombed the Taliban, New Haveners officially put an end to one home front of the Afghanistan War — by laying a final stone commemorating last month’s military and civilian deaths from “forever wars” in the Middle East.

A dozen anti-war activists turned up Thursday night for that somber, cathartic ritual at the Broadway Triangle bounded by Broadway, Elm Street, and Park Street.

Some form of this group has been laying a stone every month at this site since December 2007. For the last time, Thursday night they placed atop a roughly 200-piece cairn a round, smooth stone inscribed in white with the number of U.S. military, Iraqi civilian, and Afghan civilian deaths from the month prior.

“Our last stone: September 2021,” Ioanna Gutas read as her peace compatriots stood in a circle around the diamond-shaped, makeshift memorial.

“No U.S. military killed. Civilians in Iraq: 40. In Afghanistan: 200.”

As the sun set, lights flickered on from Broadway’s shops and restaurants. The shadow cast by the nearby 20-foot-tall Civil War memorial grew longer. All eyes remained fixed on the pile of stones that had just received its final tribute.

“I learned a long time ago that there are things that are futile, but necessary. They have to be done,” said Stephen Kobasa, who helped found the memorial 14 years ago and who has attended nearly every stone-laying ceremony at the site on the first Monday of the month at 6 p.m. ever since.

“The witness has to be given. And the fact that we have done something to remember the dead is no small thing. It’s not everything. It hasn’t changed the outcome. But it has testified to another way of seeing the world, and I think we can lift that up and celebrate that.”

[The article can be read in its entirety at https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/peace_cairn/]

New Haven Sunday Vigil continues, Oct. 19, 2021

Twenty years have passed since the U.S. kicked off its Global War on Terror.

An entire generation has grown up in an America where an endless war is being waged against an ill-defined enemy, and the whole world has become our military playground.

The House of Representatives only recently voted to end the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), first passed in 2001, by which the Congress abdicated its duty to evaluate evidence that might constitute a cause for war as well as its responsibility and accountability for making the momentous decision to kill, maim and destroy in foreign lands. The AUMF delegated war-making power to the President alone, and war has become a mere political talking point. Waging war is now a casual bureaucratic exercise instead of a painful decision. Formerly reviled practices such as “preventive” war, indefinite detention, and torture are accepted as normal. Our leaders have felt free to tell us lies to trick citizens into supporting wars, and when those lies were discovered, most people were OK with that.

The US left Afghanistan because it LOST THE WAR. Its national reputation has suffered because of its reckless disregard for others and because it abandoned its allies – notably women and girls, minority groups, and the social progressives – to their enemies. It abandoned the Afghans who relied upon the US and believed it had their backs. Notably, the US also lightly abandoned the Kurds not long ago, just as it abandoned the South Vietnamese almost half a century ago.

After a half-baked military misadventure in Lebanon during the Reagan administration and with the country still struggling with memories of the Vietnam War, then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger formulated the following doctrine:

  • The United States should not commit forces to combat unless the vital national interests of the United States or its allies are involved.
  • US troops should only be committed wholeheartedly and with the clear intention of winning. Otherwise, troops should not be committed.
  • US combat troops should be committed only with clearly defined political and military objectives and with the capacity to accomplish those objectives.
  • The relationship between the objectives and the size and composition of the forces committed should be continually reassessed and adjusted if necessary.
  • US troops should not be committed to battle without a reasonable assurance of the support of US public opinion and Congress.
  • The commitment of US troops should be considered only as a last resort.

The Weinberger Doctrine is not perfect, but if it had been applied to our decision-making over the past 20 years, it would have gone a long way toward preventing our latest iteration of endless war.
America needs to change. We have to make the care and development of our own country a priority. We need to ensure every person’s rights are respected. We need to end racism. We need to be better educated. We need to continue to develop new, clean technology. We need to set national financial priorities to support the general welfare instead of coddling the ultra-rich. We need to rein in our desire to use our military to roam the world punishing others for being “bad guys.”
We need to support the Afghan refugees.

We need to support the members of our military who were so misused over the last 20 years. Since 9/11, military suicides are four times higher than deaths in war operations.

Finally, we need to end this country’s addiction to war.

The New Haven Sunday Vigil is every Sunday from noon to 1 p.m. at the intersection of Broadway, Park, and Elm since 1999.  newhavensundayvigil.wordpress.com

The Pathway Towards Peace and Providence and the Demand for Parity (50%M/50%FM) in Governance

Frank Rohrig, PAR subscriber

Join with the mutually departed spirits of two feisty, caring and compassionate women, Caroline Bridgman-Rees and Elaine M. Rohrig, who spent their lives caring for the well-being and betterment of others. It shall be with the collaborative caring spirit of both aforementioned “patriots” and today’s like-minded men and women, that we can move to expedite that Egalitarian Society we (the people) were promised in the attainment of world peace, and our very salvation via the essential DEMAND for PARITY in the decision-making process of governing our citizenry.

Seeing as how we’ve recognized the realities of life’s “evolutional changes” via modernization’s awareness of reasoning, truth, facts inclusive scientific substantiation, the very threat to our Secular Republic Democracy on Jan. 6, 2021, with the seditious insurrection requires a reaffirmation of historical facts in lieu of the propaganda and lies that have been initiated, instigated and propagated bringing us to the potential state of pernicious outcomes. It appears that the prerequisite in today’s (2021) political realm seems to be continually facilitated by our ever-growing body of lying, gutless, propagandizing hypocrites that moneyed interests have bought to continue their pillaging of our nation, shall not be abated until a revolutionary movement that negates the multitude of injustices that divide us are first exposed as was done during our 1700s/1800s Era of Enlightenment, and then defied and negated permanently.

We as a nation are more divided now (2021) and more subject to the detrimental outcomes of our present status than after the insidious seditious insurrection, our comparative era prior to our nation’s Civil War via “Sectional Strife” for roughly a decade of hateful racist violence that occurred during our mid-1850s to 1866. The distinction and difference is, of course, that historic period of blight on our humanity and civilization itself was fought with the weaponry of antiquated origins such as “muskets, swords, and cannons.” Henceforth a century and a half of man’s/male’s more aggressive character traits imbued at birth has been his impetus in the creation of enough powerful weaponry of assorted capacities to exact human annihilation throughout the world.

This is the present state of our nation/world (2021) and we are inundated on a daily basis via a variety of communicative sources of the awareness and substantiation that our nation/world has become more violent than at any other time throughout history; and its provocation more easily and ignorantly justified by those amongst us who seek to bring some form of harm to our Democracy and our humanity for all “fellow beings.” Jan. 6, 2021, must be our nation’s clarion call for our nation to unify in a collaborative way to deal with our societal injustices that have been with us since our founding as a Secular-Republic-Democracy; and pursue that promise of the Egalitarian Society “we the people” were promised in order to negate this claim of superiority and supplant our dominant male governance with the right and righteous equally “weighted voices and votes” of PARITY (50% Males/50% Females) throughout our entire nation within a 4-year time frame. Doing so shall be our pathway towards providence, and societal betterment for all. 

The Egalitarian Quest

Frank Rohrig, 541 Naugatuck Avenue, Milford, CT 06460, (203) 877-2492

Oct. 5, 7 and 10: National Nurses United: National Medicare for All Postcard Parties
RSVP: act.medicare4all.org/signup/mfa-postcards

Friday/Saturday, Oct. 22/23 – 2021 Annual Meeting of Physicians for a National Health Program, now fully virtual. RSVP: pnhp.org/2021-annual-meeting

Saturday, Oct. 30, 4 p.m.: National Nurses United: priority districts Medicare for All phone bank. RSVP: zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEuceCgpj0tGdWgH_Q4Awb5kd9OAXuGuPa8

Monday, Nov. 1, 7 p.m.: National Nurses United: priority districts Medicare for All phone bank. RSVP: zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAqdeuoqT8pHdZsk1PM04WAP0JS7I1erYy2

The next Medicare for All CT virtual monthly meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, October 12, at 7 p.m. Onwards, to guaranteed healthcare for all!

Medicare for All CT: info@medicare4allct.org.

“No country has suffered the way the United States has. Americans make up less than 5% of the global population, but account for nearly one in five of the world’s 2.3 million deaths. […] If the nation is serious about learning the lessons from this pandemic, it should reconsider implementing a universal health care plan like Medicare for All.”

— from the Medicare for All CT Facebook page

News from the Green Party of Connecticut

Ronna Stuller, secretary, Green Party of CT

As a unity of local chapters throughout the state, the Green Party of Connecticut is committed to the Four Pillars of all Green Parties worldwide: grassroots democracy, social justice, non-violence and ecological wisdom. In order to empower the political voice of the people – not corporate interests or their lobbyists – Green Party candidates accept contributions only from individuals, not from PACs. This year’s election we are running over a dozen candidates in municipal elections all across Connecticut.

Justin Paglino MD, Ph.D., of Guilford, was our 2020 nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives in the third Congressional District. He has continued, on the local and national front, to advocate for a nonprofit healthcare system that serves everyone, as well as reforms that would strengthen our democracy, repair our environment, and invest in a peaceful future.

We invite readers to learn more about our organization at www.ctgreenparty.org or www.facebook.com/GreenPartyofConnecticut.  We also invite readers to consider changing their voter registration to Green Party, and/or to consider visiting your local Green Party of Connecticut chapter to learn more and get involved. You will be most welcome.

Statement by Justin Paglino

I am running again for the U.S. House of Representatives, for the seat currently held by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, and I anticipate that my name will be on the ballot in November 2022. I intend to once again seek the nomination of the Green Party of Connecticut.

The factors that spurred my initial decision to run for this office are unchanged. Our national healthcare system still makes healthcare unaffordable for vast swaths of Americans. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, I support single-payer Medicare for All, the reform that would save $500 billion dollars and 70,000 lives each year. Recently New Haven passed a resolution declaring its support for Medicare for All, yet our representative in Congress is still not a cosponsor.

Our national energy policy is still completely inadequate to address the severe threat of climate change. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, I support the carbon tax and dividend policy we need to finally put a real limiting force on our untamed carbon emissions, while making the transition to sustainable energy affordable for all. Our nation still grotesquely over-spends on the military budget, and the City of New Haven recently passed a resolution declaring this to be the case. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, who voted against a 10% cut to the Pentagon budget, I support a 50% budget cut, with just transition programs in place to keep defense industry employees employed. We are in more need of windmill blades at this time than helicopter blades, but the skill sets to make these do overlap significantly.

Our nation’s runaway economic inequality continues to hurt. Although I give credit to Rep. DeLauro for fighting for the child tax credit, I would go further and call for a Federal Jobs guarantee and Universal Basic Income, as more progressive members of Congress have already done and Rep. DeLauro has not.

Our nation’s politics are deeply corrupted by corporate interests. Unlike Rep. DeLauro I accept no special interest money, only funding from individuals. Our two-party system discourages voters from voting their values, but I encourage voters to do exactly that, because if you don’t vote for something, you’ll never get it. Unlike Rep. DeLauro, I support Ranked Choice Voting, a reform that eliminates the spoiler effect and thus will allow multiparty democracy to flourish.

Please visit my website at justin4all.org to sign up for my newsletter, or to contribute to this campaign for healthcare, climate, peace, economic justice, and uncorrupted multi-party democracy.

Thank you.

Israel’s Actions Long Past Self-Defense

by Shelly Altman, Chairperson of Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven

The threatened eviction of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. The invasion of the Al Aqsa mosque by Israeli troops, firing rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and stun grenades. The bombing of the building in Gaza which housed the Associated Press and Al Jazeera press organization. All during the pandemic raging in Gaza. It’s all a pattern of erasure that is part and parcel of Israel circa 2021. Erasure of any trace of Palestinian presence between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Erasure of Jerusalem’s status as a holy city for three faiths. Erasure of news reporting of what’s going on in Gaza.

At the same time, Israel attempts to use its self-description as a Jewish state to erase any criticism of its crimes by labeling such criticism as anti-Semitic. But it is this state that is corrupting the meaning of Judaism and is dangerously fanning the flames of anti-Semitism worldwide.

President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, nearly silent for so long on war crimes visited upon the civilian Palestinian population in the Occupied Territories, suddenly become vocal when Hamas fires rockets into Israel. Israel “has a right to defend itself,” they say. Dozens of American politicians deceitfully follow suit. But courageous voices in the Congress are now exposing this “right to defend” messaging for its utter failure to acknowledge reality. Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush, Mark Pocan, Betty McCollum, Sen. Bernie Sanders and others have pulled open the blinds to expose to the American public the brutality of Israel’s rule. They speak to empty chambers, but their voices echo loud and clear.

Israel is not “defending itself.” It is a heavily militarized occupying force that is using that military strength to oppress and kill those whom it is occupying. That is not defense.

In January, the B’Tselem report “This is Apartheid” documented in detail that “the entire area is organized under one principle: advancing and perpetuating the supremacy of one group — Jews — over another — Palestinians.” In April, the Human Rights Watch report “A Threshold Crossed” added further documentation: separate legal systems, separate road systems, illegal transfer of populations, no freedom of movement, residency rights, or building rights, and an intent by the state of Israel to maintain this in perpetuity. In Sheikh Jarrah and throughout East Jerusalem, we are witnessing 1948 Naqba in real-time 2021: people driven from their homes, the very essence of the Zionist project.

The highly respected Jewish journalist Peter Beinart recently wrote: “The crimes of the past, when left unaddressed, do not remain in the past.” It is well past time to address those crimes.

Shelly Altman is chairperson of Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven.

This opinion piece was published in the New Haven Register on May 19, 2021.

Notes to PAR Readers

We urge you to check the internet for the many demonstrations protesting the bombing of Gaza. As of this printing, there were rallies and marches in Hartford, New London, New Haven, and Manchester, as well as in cities throughout the US and around the world. The New Haven rally and march on May 22 was in solidarity with the people of Palestine and Colombia, fighting for their right to life and self-determination. Video footage is available at thestruggle.org.

A reminder that PAR does not publish in the summer. The next issue you receive will be the September issue. If your subscription has expired with this issue, you will have a renewal form inserted in this issue. Please look for it and renew your subscription. We ask for $13, or whatever you can afford.

Please let us know if you find out that regularly-occurring meetings or events have resumed so we can list them in our calendar pages. E-mail us at parnewhaven@hotmail.com. Many of the previously regularly scheduled programs have changed frequency, gone on hiatus, or switched to Zoom. We want to keep our readers in the know so they have options for activism.

Are you computer-proficient? We’d like help on the Production Team. We currently use a combination of Word and Open Office for this newsletter, and are open to suggestions for other programs for layout. E-mail parnewhaven@hotmail.com and put “computer-proficient help” in the subject line. A stipend may be available.

Mark Colville Sentenced to 21 Months, Informs Court of Its Own Criminality

by Kingsbayplowshares7.org

Luz and Mark Colville

More than three years after he and six other anti-nuclear activists entered Kings Bay Naval Base, home to six Trident nuclear submarines, a federal judge sentenced Mark Colville, a New Haven resident from Amistad Catholic Worker, to 21 months in prison.

Over a video conference, Judge Lisa Godbey Wood sentenced Mark to the minimum of the recommended guidelines provided by prosecutors. Mark is the last of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 to be sentenced. Five are now in prison. Prior to the trial, Mark had already served about 15 months of his sentence, which will count towards his 21 months.

Mark told the court that its refusal to recognize the right of his family and community “to live without a nuclear gun on hair-trigger alert held perpetually to our heads… (has) placed it firmly in a posture of criminality.”

“This government, in its lawlessness, has hidden first strike weapons with enough firepower to kill six billion people,” he read from his sentencing statement today. The court has a responsibility “to allow the law to be applied beyond the fence at Kings Bay… a fence that I and my loved ones, with much fear and trembling, freely answered the call of faith, the call of conscience, and the call of generations yet unborn, to breach.

“In a very real sense, then, this hearing today is itself irrelevant. The court has already pronounced a sentence on me, on my family, and on my neighborhood. We are hereby condemned to live as members of a rogue state, which, in the face of a global consensus that outlaws nuclear weapons, has budgeted what amounts to $100,000 per minute over the next ten years to upgrade its stockpile of these useless, poisonous idols.”

As with all six of his co-defendants, Mark was also ordered to share payment of restitution of $33,503.51. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised probation.

Mark called on teacher and activist Stephen Kobasa as his sole character witness.

“Mark Colville doesn’t need me here,” Stephen said. “His consistency, his passion, his fierce commitment to hope are completely apparent to anyone who has encountered him.

“There is nothing in the world of more seriousness than what Mark and his companions in the Kings Bay Plowshares demand that we face. The weapons at Kings Bay condemn us to living each and every moment in fear of losing everything we believe matters, everything we have, in a single flash of unbearable light.”

Mark was given 60 days to report to prison.

Full article and more information at kingsbayplowshares7.org.

Also see The Nuclear Resister for its coverage and Mark’s sentencing statement to the court. https://tinyurl.com/colville-plow-7-sentence]

Letter to Judge Requesting Leniency in Sentencing of Mark Colville

by Promoting Enduring Peace

Mark Colville is scheduled to be sentenced April 9 for his participation in the Kings Bay Plowshares anti-nuclear action. The following letter was sent to the judge who will sentence him. For information: kingsbayplowshares7.org.

February 12, 2021

The Honorable Lisa Godbey Wood
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Georgia
801 Gloucester Street, Brunswick, GA 31520

Dear Justice Wood:

I write to you on behalf of the members of Promoting Enduring Peace, an organization founded in Connecticut in 1952. Our mission is to bring together the movements for international peace, planetary harmony, and social justice. We are best known for the American equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize, known as the Gandhi Peace Award, bestowed first on Eleanor Roosevelt in 1960, and since then presented annually to leaders of peace and progress such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Daniel Ellsberg, César Chávez, and Ralph Nader.

Since 1952 we have supported nonviolent ways to highlight the need to put aside weapons of mass destruction that threaten civilization. We are especially moved by peace advocates willing to pay a price to carry out their religious commitment to peace via nonviolent action.

In that regard, we implore you to show leniency in the sentencing of Mark Colville, regarded in our community as a great moral leader. We ask specifically that his sentence be time served.

We ask you to consider the nature of the time when Mark Colville and the other members of the Kings Bay Plowshares entered the Naval facility. They were responding in a noble and completely nonviolent way to the announcement of a $10 trillion “modernization” campaign of U.S. nuclear weapons, and when the President renounced virtually all U.S. weapons control treaties and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea. These few explained that they were desperate to warn the world that we were on a path towards nuclear war. We believe that all of us should follow their example in taking a stand against these supremely destructive weapons systems. But at the time of the Plow-shares action, no one else was listening.

Many of us in Promoting Enduring Peace personally know Mark Colville and can attest to his outstanding and merciful work for the homeless. His family home has been a soup kitchen for years. He has also made great efforts to stop torture everywhere. He has now served 15 months in prison.
Please understand the sacrifices he has made to help make us all safer. Please let him return to his family and his admirable work.

For peace and progress,

James C. van Pelt, President
Stanley Heller, Administrator

PEP Calls for End to U.S. Support of Yemen Blockade

by Amina Masri, Promoting Enduring Peace

More than 5 million people are at the point of famine in Yemen. This is being caused in part because of the Saudi blockade of Hodeida, the major port where foreign aid enters the country. It’s also where fuel enters the country.  This past month there’s been video of long, long lines of trucks loaded with food that are stuck around the port of Hodeida. There has also been video of lines of ambulances. The vehicles are unable to move because they have no fuel. There are some 13 ships in waters near the port that have been inspected by the United Nations that have been stranded there for months. None has been allowed to unload in the port since late December.

Promoting Enduring Peace calls for several measures: the U.S. government should explain how it is involved now or in the past in the blockade; the State Department should publicly call for an end to the fuel blockade; the U.S. should stop delivery of all weapons to Saudi Arabia.

We ask U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy’s attention to this issue because for years he has been a critic of the Saudi war on Yemen. He recently called on the British government to join the Biden Administration in stopping the sale of offensive weapons to the Saudis. We ask him to speak out on the blockade.

For more information about this see the website pepeace.org where we also talk about another outrage in Yemen, the burning to death of at least 44 Ethiopian refugees by Ansar Allah (Houthi) forces.

Book Review: The United States of War

by Jeffry Larson, PAR reader

Highly commendable is a dense and well-researched history of “the American way of war”: The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State. By David Vine, published by the University of California Press: 2020, in the California Series in Public Anthropology. Available in local libraries.

This admirable history could serve as a fitting documentation of the historical discussion at the beginning of the article from the New Haven Sunday vigilers on the recent attempted coup d’état at the U.S. Capitol that appeared in the February issue of the PAR Newsletter.  This comprehensive reference guide to the “American way of war” describes the aggressive, imperialistic wars that our country has waged since its foundation.

In his preface, Vine makes what may be a minor correction to the vigilers’ dating the U.S.’s regime-changing violence as starting in the 20th Century when he writes: “Some tend to think that this [present] period of forever war is exceptional. Some assume, as I did, that it’s unusual that most new U.S. recruits and new U.S. college students have no memory of a time when their country wasn’t at war. To the contrary, this state of war is the norm in U.S. history.  According to the …Congressional Research Service ,..  the U.S. military has waged war, engaged in combat, or otherwise engaged its forces aggressively in foreign lands in all but eleven years of its existence.” (p. xiv)

The “American way of war” was set forth in General George Washington’s orders to Maj. Gen. John Sullivan about what to do with indigenous tribes who sided with the British in the War of Independence: “Lay waste all the settlements around, that the country may not be merely overrun but destroyed… (Chapter 3: Why Are So Many Places Named Fort? p. 50). Little wonder that this soon-to-be first U.S. president was dubbed “Destroyer of villages” by the indigenous inhabitants.

Vine traces the development of U.S.’s aggressive imperialist policy through the lens of forts constructed largely in foreign lands; he supplies informative maps, tables, and charts.  A companion book by Vine is his Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, published by Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, also available in local libraries through the state’s collective online library catalog; this book serves as a catalog of the 800 foreign bases run by what Americans call their “Department of Defense,” Vine reaches out to families of US soldiers lost in our “forever wars;” he is admirable in his generous treatment of these indirect casualties of U.S. aggression.

January, 2021: The War Comes to the Capitol

by New Haven Sunday Vigil, Jan. 10, 2021

As terrifying as it was, the attempted coup d’etat that occurred in our Capitol on Jan. 6 (possibly a dress rehearsal for a more organized repeat performance) shouldn’t have surprised us. Led by the recently unelected President of the United States himself, members of the current administration and many of its Congressional allies have been fomenting this for months, if not the past four years. They (and those who follow them) will continue to organize for an alt-right, white supremacist-based government takeover unless and until they are removed from office and, hopefully, tried and convicted as traitors.

But how likely is such an outcome? What we have seen since 2016, writ large last Wednesday, are dramatic representations of evils that have been entangled in our nation’s history from its inception: racism, militarism, empire-building, and permanent conditions of economic injustice and war-making.

A Formidable History (AND Present) That Must Be Overcome

In the process of forming this nation, non-white people already living here were displaced, murdered, and, finally, driven into concentration camps in the name of “manifest destiny.” Another group of non-white people was kidnapped, enslaved, and stripped of all human rights to serve as unpaid laborers. After slavery ended, laws were enacted that kept them separate, disenfranchised, and impoverished. They also faced lynch mobs of their fellow citizens that reinforced this system.

Meanwhile, deliberately unequal distribution of resources — land, education, jobs, and income — gave an ever-shrinking number of the population wildly disproportionate access to power and money, a status quo they have maintained and increased over the centuries by pitting the rest of us against each other based on skin color and other characteristics. Simply put, racism and white supremacy have continued to serve the interests of empire-building and wealth consolidation so efficiently that, last Wednesday, an angry white mob was once again led to act on the belief that they have more in common with a corrupt billionaire than with their fellow citizens.

1814 (when British troops set fire to the Capitol building) was the last time such large-scale violence has been visited upon the halls of the U.S. Congress. But throughout the 20th century and during the first two decades of the 21st, our government has organized similar insurrections (some successful, some not) in nations throughout the world whose leaders, for whatever motives, refuse to dance to America’s tune. To quote U.S. Labor Against Racism and War: “With bipartisan Congressional backing, the U.S. has supported violent coup attempts in Bolivia, Venezuela, China, Ukraine, Libya, Nicaragua, Brazil, Syria, and other countries where U.S. oil companies and weapons contractors salivate for profits and regime change.” (https://www.laboragainstracismandwar.org/post/attack-on-congress-shows-we-need-a-strong-labor-movement?)

In the service of these same interests, our nation has been in a permanent state of war since the middle of the 20th century, with “Congressional Authorizations for the Use of Military Force” from Korea and Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan. Along with U.S. serial bombings and military occupations throughout the world, these undeclared but very real wars continue with no end in sight.

War fuels the U.S. economy and helps make the billionaire class ever wealthier and more powerful. In 2020, while the pandemic killed over 360,000 people in the United States alone, weapons contractors took in record profits. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 provided for a military budget of $740 billion and was unchallenged by either party. Meanwhile, we are dealing with massive unemployment, evictions, and an overwhelmed medical system threatening to withhold treatment for the most vulnerable among us.

All of this is what we mean by “endless war” — singular not plural — the war that came to the U.S. Capitol last week.

Reclaiming Our Power As Historical Actors

This war that we face on all fronts transcends partisan politics, and the work to resist it continues with more urgency than ever. We must reclaim our power. For all the injustices woven into its founding, our nation was also constructed around the principle of deeply engaged citizens, able and willing to think and act rationally for the common good. Recently, we have seen the examples of Black Lives Matter, the Climate Change Movement, and the successful effort to unseat two wealthy incumbent Senators in Georgia. We have witnessed labor, human rights and anti-war movements bring about change throughout our history. It is time for us to reclaim that legacy of positive action to finally build a just and equitable society.

RESIST THIS ENDLESS WAR (Vigil every Sunday, 12-1 p.m., Broadway, Park and Elm streets, New Haven, CT) http://newhavensundayvigil.wordpress.com

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