I have a central and disturbing question to ask about the upcoming Unitarian Universalist Church forum and panel on the war in Iraq. I wonder if folk really are up to the idea that imperialism is a matter of injustice. If injustice on the international stage can be corrected real peace and security will follow and a Pax Americana at home will result.
Were any progressive labor folks or people of color even invited to participate on the U.U. church panel? Based on past practice, one must doubt that this happened. Maybe the organizers felt that there were no labor or non-white activists who could deal intelligently enough with the issue of the war. This even in though Larry Hamm of Newark (and yours truly) have been engaged in the peace with justice movement for a combined total of some 60 plus years. The U.U. organizers had a veritable treasure trove of very identifiable people (Hamm, myself and many others), but non-traditional "peace movement" folks, to engage in these discussions if they really wanted to.
Moreover, I hope we have not forgotten so quickly that my just completed 1st District congressional campaign was nothing but one of promoting peace based on the need for justice. How is it that the so-called "peace candidate" for Congress, though I won over nearly 7% of the electorate, is left out of the forum? Rob Andrews lost also, but he gets invited nonetheless even though Cherry Hill is not part of his district and, in any event, he will not be representing the 1st District in 2009 (if he keeps his promise to not re-claim his seat). Why not invite George Norcross or his brother Donald whose Central Labor Council union passed an anti-war Iraq plank because of the solid peace work and yeoman efforts of our own Mike Shineburg? Or even Camille, the surrogate or John Adler of the Cherry Hill district? Strange who was left out and who got invited!
As you know among the most advance sectors of the overall peace movement --- when it comes to voting against war while voting for usage of war expenditures for justice in the form of jobs and economic concerns --- are these two sectors --- not the interests who promote "peace" but remain bereft of any viable ideas/practices about distributive and restorative justice. At the national level, progressives from labor and the Congressional Black Caucus have long led intense efforts against imperialism and for peace.
For too long many of us have pigeon-holed the term "peace movement" into some crazy little bag that essentially comforts its elitist self with being all-knowable about war while caring for and doing very little to promote justice, to engage in major social sacrifices and to putting an end to a sorry social and economic stratification system (re: warrior capitalism) that systematically relegates many to the very bottom of the economic and ethno-racial cultural heap.
Do we need to re-visit political philosophy (not science) 101 to get at the rationale --- and thus a possible solution to the present war and most future wars of this adventurist type? It's almost as if many of us in the "peace movement" just don't understand that American imperialism (historically since the 1607 appearance of the aristocratic English adventurers in Jamestown or more formally the takeover of 50% of Mexico in 1848) , involves the dogged quest for empire, the creation of racial and ethnic symbolisms to denigrate those to be dominated, control of markets and manipulation of the world forces of production ... is at back of our military thrust into Iraq and probably into Iran (under the presidency of Obama or McCain).
Lest we forget anew, imperialism is a matter of injustice wherein a super-powerful nation A, desirous of the resources or sovereign subjection of a weaker nation B, begins a preliminary invasion effort (sometimes with outright lies to deceive a democratic population) to promote attacking the new enemy, then after a period actually invades and occupies nation B. The military's role is only to advance, by overwhelming physical violence, the unjust policy interests of nation A's leaders who claim (in the case of democracy) the authority to invade based ion the so-called will of the majority of the populace. The solution to imperialism must be seen as a movement of re-defining what justice must mean on the international stage. It is not, and never has been, merely a matter of nakedly promoting "peace" devoid of a comparable effort for justice on the same issue.
In my estimation justice in Iraq and the world now requires:
) A fundamental re-ordering of the capitalist system in America, including a re-evaluation of our dependency on other people's national resources to fund our ever expanding greed for profits and consumerism.
b) A get out of the Middle East and/or promoting justice in the Middle East policy, including ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a two-state solution that recognizes the interests of both sides.
c) Bringing to account, via impeachment the Bush-Chaney warmongers who did the actual invading.
d) A gross, multi-billion $$$ campaign to re-build, repair and restore Iraq's economy and help in the healing of the families of millions of Iraqis killed, injured or maimed by our forces.
e) A a more long term promotion of anti-imperialism educational campaigns and literature to re-educate our people to the idea of a "post-imperialist America"
*** An overhaul and de-funding of the Pentagon with the idea of re-structuring its mission to deal with defense of our homeland, territories and shores, rather than engaging in imperialist adventures worldwide.
*** Tax incentives for weapons industries to convert to peaceful production.
For a just and peaceful world order then ...
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