Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Antiwar movement versus the Peace movement

The northwest regional conference of Veterans For Peace was held Apr. 29 and 30, 2007 in Olympia, WA. The VFP is one of the most coherent and united groups in the country, for its level of activism.

One of the well known rivalries within the VFP is between traditional VFPs and the more anti-military. Over things like the flag, honoring the dead. There are also, of course, differences between conservatives, and the left, the anti-imperialist about the character of U.S. society and the U.S. economy.

A more interesting division is between the peace viewpoint and the antiwar viewpoint. This division continues to affect the substance of what we do. VFP members still remain far from resolving or reconciling between these visions.

The antiwar vision looks at war and its causes mechanically. We look at systemic causes and the people and organizations who cause these wars. We look at concrete and immediate flows of money and resources, the laws or lack thereof, to correct them. We study economic theory, the plutocracy, the corporate, monetary and governmental regime. But we are more focused on Halliburton, Exxon Mobil, Lockheed Martin, the corruption in the Pentagon, the revolving door of lobbyists, the Israeli lobby and agencies, and other very unpleasant things.

The peace movement while not unaware of these things, believes the cause of war is in the human heart, the ignorance, the sinfulness, greed, anger, lust, racism, pride, etc. of the population.

The peace movement wants to go directly to these causes, hoping to reach and inspire millions of people to change their political and economic behavior-- so crucially and in such large numbers, as to end wars. They do things like Arlington West.

The antiwar movement while fully aware of these passions, the ignorance, the unresolved subconscious fears and urges of the population--we view those as preconditions, even universal preconditions but not precipitating causes. We think the Bush administration started the war in Iraq, in concert with a lot of other well-known, rotten SOBs and institutions from oil barons to Jerry Falwell to the Pentagon to banksters.

We see most of the planet living peacefully not because they are more spiritually enlightened than the average american, or because their governments or corporations are more generous or law abiding.

We think the rest of the planet is more peaceful because they don't have a gigantic, parasitic military industrial complex running out of control in their country. And consequently, their countries are not run by militarists.

I'm writing this is to strongly advise the Peace Movement to ask yourselves, what really causes wars? Is there any difference between a precipitating event, and a precondition? You are trying to remove the precondition. We are trying to remove the triggering event or sequence of events.

What are the sequences of events that you are trying to create???

What are the sequences of events that you are trying to prevent?

I am not aware of anybody in the peace movement that has a detailed, concrete map, or answer. to these questions. I suspect, perhaps unjustly but I suspect the peace movement prefers to do things that provides a pleasant and uplifting experience for themselves. An ennobling experience. Well, confronting and jailing criminals is NOT fun, especially these really nasty, cunning, highly willful, vengeful types. The core of the war movement-- still wanting war on Iraq, are in it for the money, for economic empire, and for religious extremism and racism.

Our world is full of absolutely horrific dangers that are controlled at the level of triggers not preconditions. The speeds we drive, commercial airliners, electric power or gas in our homes. The nuclear stockpile.

And finally, to those of you in the peace faction if you INSIST on trying singlehandedly to alter the developmental outcomes of the 50 million people in the educational system in the US, or the at least 100 million people under the spells of their church pastors, consider the math: will *you* change the culture or will the three institutions of mass culture continue winning? (The mass media, the pulpit, and the education system) I think we are hopelessly underfinanced and out gunned. Not enough people or money. Laughable.

It is in these 3 institutions of mass culture that racism, nationalism, and hatred and fear have been constantly nourished, the definition of masculinity, the acculturation and identity of young men to war and violence is passed on to each rising generation. The aforementioned Rotten SOBs have been there long before we arrived. They already influence these institutions decisively. That's how America became so militarized.

It is critical to go after those Rotten SOBs on the school board, in the media and in certain local churches, who are using these institutions to push war and hatred.

As proof of the efficacy of ideological purity campaigns, the McCarthyites were very successful at this in the 1950s. The Germans, have banned Nazi parties, books, and Hitler worship. The Jewish Anti Defamation leage has been very successful at demolishing overt anti-Jewish elements in US society. The African American movement likewise, demolishes any overt racist talk. None of these succeed quickly in changing the culture. Over decades they have achieved policy dominance, which is our goal.

So by all means, bring your message of peace to your local church, school board, and media. That is useful. But it is not sufficient. You have to actually go across the line, to oppose, to neutralize, the militarist.

Note carefully: when I say "the militarist" or "the flag waver", I am referring to the role of a person. I am not referring to the action of a person, and I'm certainly not referring to the whole person. First of all, you have a human being, which is sublime and infinite. And we all have our collections of thoughts and beliefs. Then, you have the behaviors such as to manufacture arms, or payoff the congress. Those I think are close to the problem. But to be precise, it is the roles, within the functioning MICC, which are to be opposed. Many of them already are illegal. For example it is not illegal to make large political contributions. It is illegal however, if those are connected with favors, in a bilateral trade.

But it is perfectly useless in stopping wars, to work on our own spiritual growth. You must drive the flagwavers, the national supremacists, the jingoists into the defensive. They have been intimidating and marginalizing the peace movement for decades. These are *real people* in your own community--- The story they're selling to the children, to their broadcast audience, or the church congregation must change. if you can't reform them, then you must drive them out, just as Don Imus was driven out. Take notes, organize, and drive them out.

That is the difference between the peace movement and the antiwar movement. We are going after the war making activity, and the war making people. Sorry about that. Some behaviors we will NOT tolerate anymore, call us intolerant.

No comments: