[sixties-l] Peace or War?

From: Walter Teague (wteague@erols.com)
Date: Thu Sep 13 2001 - 17:06:34 EDT

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    I received this excellent and heartfelt statement from someone living
    near Washington. She gave me permission to pass it on.

    Walter Teague


         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.

    Lauren Voloshen,
    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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