I received this excellent and heartfelt statement from someone living
near Washington. She gave me permission to pass it on.
I have listened to many people in various communities in which I
participate express a sense of powerlessness and fear in response to the
Sept. 11 attack on the U.S.A. I share the feelings of being
overwhelmed. I also think there are ways to act that promote peace
rather than push a warfare escalation.
A lot of people understand that the reason the U.S. was attacked is
because the U.S. has been attacking other people for a long time. And
when I say that I do not mean to imply that the people who were killed
deserved in any way to suffer that horrible fate. They didn't. Their
deaths are tragic and traumatic for all of us who survived them. I'm
still trembling in my brain and heart and lungs and liver from the
reverbations of the explosions. But I certainly know this: U.S.
initiated and managed transnational capitalism, corporate globalization,
and cultural colonialism around the world exploit, suppress, torture,
starve, and murder masses of people. As a journalist in Central America
in the 1980s, during the peoples' struggles for liberation in those
nations, I witnessed such suffering first hand. I saw infants strapped
to their mother's backs be sprayed to death with insecticide by crop
dusters. I saw bodies of trade union and land reform organizers who were
victims of death squad killings. I watched mass demonstrations of the
surviving family members of murdered or disappeared citizens march in
silence or wail in mourning. And then I watched soldiers and police
violently arrest those demonstrators and drag them away to be added to
the list of the disappeared.
These were people in lands where the U.S. military and intelligence
apparatus had conspired to protect commercial, financial, and real
estate stakes that U.S. corporations had long held through imperialist
manipulations in that area. Those holdings were always maintained
through exploitation and violence against the indigenous peoples. Those
are holdings that were maintained through violent coups against
democratically elected governments such as the one that established more
than 30 years of military dictatorship in Guatemala, through military
occupations disguised as strategic advising such as the U.S. military
presence in El Salvador through years of death squad killings of
Salvadorans and even peaceful, U.S. citizens who were there under the
auspices of their churches. The U.S. maintained holdings in Central
America through secret, conspiracies of war such as the infamous Contra
War against Nicaragua. At times genocide was practiced.
These are the practices of the U.S.A. and the financial empire that
it hosts throughout the nations of the world to which the U.S. and its
financial allies refer to as the Third World, or developing sector.
At some point, after sustained treatment like that, somebody
somewhere is bound to want revenge.
Rather than beef up our defenses and go on a military offensive,
such as the U.S. is currently starting, I think we should concede that
we've been ripping off the rest of the world, costing many lives and
causing misery for millions. We should turn over the industrial
complexes that we hold titles to in other lands, that were built by the
labor of the people there so that the people who labor in those
factories now can benefit by the profits of their labors. We should give
up the land that we hold in other nations so that the indigenous people
of those nations can farm it for their own sustenance and profit. We
should cut the strings to our puppet governments. The World Bank and IMF
should declare a moratorium on debt so that infants will stop being born
into such steep debt that they must starve through short lives of hard
labor just to pay off enough of it to give birth to a new generation
born into more debt.
Diplomatic acts such as these might encourage terrorists to stand down
from further aggression against us. Wherever possible, groups,
communities, congregations, organizations, and unions of people should
publish statements to this effect. Letters should be drafted with this
message and sent to our representatives in Congress, as well as to the
White House. And people should do everything in their power to get to
the demonstrations planned for the last weekend of September in
Washington D.C., regardless of whether the World Bank and IMF end up
meeting at that time.
Right now, people all over the world are mobilizing. I suggest
people check the web for local connections. I'm certain you can connect
wherever you are. Look at the Mobilization for Global Justice, the
Independent Media ^ www.indymedia.org, CISPES, progressive church
congregations, look at AFL-CIO stuff or particular unions in your area.
Run searches on the demonstrations re: the World Bank and IMF and see
who's organizing what in your area. Contact feminist organizations. And
indigenous people's groups. Many welfare rights groups and housing
activists who work to preserve affordable and public housing and stem
the tide of gentrification are also hooked into the international
movement to for economic human rights and global justice. There are a
lot of ways of connecting because a lot of people are concerned and
Feel free to pass this on.
Member of the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Social Welfare Activists
Alliance and United Tenantry, a tenant union for the state of Maryland.
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