A lot of discussion and many opinions are being expressed in antiwar groups and by commentators on websites pro and con about supporting and participating in the February 19th rally and march Rage Against the War Machine, once again acting as a divisive tactic against the antiwar movement.
Errors of Omission: Rage Against the War Machine March and Rally, February 19, 2023
By Sue Ann Martinson, Editor, Rise Up Times February 18, 2023
Much of the discussion has centered around racism and gay and trans rights, as groups have chosen to support financially and take part in the march and rally or not. But sadly there is no direct reference to the Climate Crisis, which is above all, along with the threat of nuclear war, the greatest threat to the planet. BOTH these issues are tied to the war in Ukraine, but it is clear from the pro-war, pro-military propaganda war being waged WITHIN the U.S. and directed at the American people as described by Caitlin Johnstone that the powers that be, whether neo-conservatives or neo-liberals, and most especially the corporations making money on the war includings both the gas and oil and war/arms industries, are not interested in bringing the war to an end:
The U.S. empire has been frantically ramping up propaganda and censorship because the “great power competition” it has been preparing against Russia and China is going to require economic warfare, massive military spending, and nuclear brinkmanship that no one would consent to without lots of manipulation.
Nobody’s going to consent to being made poorer, colder and less safe over some global power struggle that doesn’t benefit them unless that consent is actively manufactured.
It is not possible to address the climate crisis without understanding the connections between the climate chaos and militarism.
Perhaps ironically, since I have been a proponent of a wider movement that may include other viewpoints but are in solidarity against war and working to alleviate the climate crisis, I find myself not saying that this rally should not happen because basically I believe that international solidarity is necessary, but I find that the 10 demands of the Rage Against the War Machine are not strong enough because they do not include any mention of the Climate Crisis. To leave out the most serious direct threat to the planet and pretend that the Ukraine-Russia war is a conventional war is, to say the least, unfortunate and goes along with the prevailing liberal view consistently endorsed by the mainstream corporate media that ignores that the war is a U.S. proxy war against Russia for U.S. hegemony and world domination,
Yes, the people of Ukraine are victims, but as much of U.S. foreign policy indirectly-but-on-purpose as of Russia. After the Vietnam War with the burn-the-draft-cards conscientious objector campaign and the creation of a huge antiwar movement nationwide, the ruling elites who support neoliberal capitalism (sometimes called uber-capitalism or casino capitalism, or capitalism on steroids) have sworn that level of antiwar protest will never happen again. Instead they are sacrificing the Ukrainian people, knowing it would be unpopular to sacrifice American troops. To entirely blame Russia is part of their propaganda campaign while the neoliberal capitalists, especially the gas and oil and war/arms industries, rake in the billions. Yes, the Ukraine conflict is a proxy war with Russia, and a major part of that proxy war is focused around oil and who buys and sells it, especially attempting to stop the sale and therefore the profits that Russia gets from oil and gas sales.
For example, if it is not an oil war, why blow up the Nord Stream pipeline, cutting off the supply of relatively inexpensive oil to Germany and other countries, forcing them to seek much higher priced sources of fuel. Meanwhile because of the climate crisis the planet is going to hell in a hand basket with fossil fuel pollution leading the way in these oil wars. And the three great powers − U.S., Russia, China − instead of cooperating to find solutions to climate chaos are perpetuating war at the behest of uber-capitalism. Both Democrats and Republicans ultimately serve the same system. In a recent article Chris Hedges expresses this serving of mammon so: “There Are No Permanent Allies, Only Permanent Power.” It is easy to observe the impermanence of allies across the march of history as it constantly shifts and changes, but permanent power by ruling elities in America does not change whether Democrats or Republicans are in the White House or in control of Congress.
Hedges goes on to explain why he is participating as a speaker in the rally, and he quotes Medea Benjamin when she says the CODE PINK staff asked her not to be a speaker because of issues like gay and trans rights, feminism and racism. He also also tells the story of his father’s opposition to the Vietnam War and how Daniel Berrigan did not support certain aspects of that war resistance such as the Weather Underground, yet fought powerfully for the war’s end. He also notes that Ralph Nader has concluded that a left-right coalition is necessary to “push back against corporate power” that essentially the two war parties in Congress serve.
Diana Johnstone also weighs in in favor of the D.C. march and rally:
Abroad, the United States has exploited deep political enmities to provoke a war in Ukraine intended to split Europe definitively, cutting Russia off totally from Germany and the EU, cementing permanent U.S. control of Western Europe.
This divisive policy is pursued in all sorts of sneaky ways that make it hard to uncover and explain. The war in Ukraine creates division between those who have understood what it’s all about and those who haven’t. A large movement is needed to spread discussion, understanding and opposition.
It is Johnstone’s last sentence in the above quote that is especially significant. A large movement is needed, and while the discussion pro and con is sometimes painful, it is discussion and many good points have been made on both pro and con sides, in itself educational within the antiwar left particularly.
The Biden administration has its own left-right coalition of sorts with Secretary of State Blinken and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland. Blinken is tagged a liberal warhawk while Nuland is pegged as a neo-conservative, and her husband Robert Kagan is a well-known neo-con who is part of the Brookings Institute. Nuland is also known for her role in the 2014 Ukrainian war when the neo-fascist faction in Ukraine rose to prominence.
Hedges also correctly states that both the Democratic and for the most part Republican parties are captive to the militarists. What he does not go on to say directly is that the militarists are captive to the neoliberal corporations and that cartel has another name: the military-industrial-congressional complex that includes the mainstream corporate media. When Eisenhower wrote the original speech he rightly included ‘congressional’ with military and industrial, but ’congressional’ was removed from the final draft. Congress is complicit, channeling billions to wars and the military and specifically at this time to the Ukraine-Russia war.
“We must not fail to comprehend its grave implications, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence…The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Dwight D. Eisenhower farewell speech
Eisenhower cautioned that the federal government’s collaboration with an alliance of military and industrial leaders, although [he thought it] necessary, was vulnerable to abuse of power. Ike then counseled American citizens to be vigilant in monitoring the military-industrial complex.
All these issues matter: gun control, gay and trans rights, women’s rights (above all to control our own bodies), racism, homelessness, poverty, labor/union rights, police brutality, hunger, health care…the list is long. Yet if we do not have a livable planet all these struggles will be moot.
The current Poor People’s Campaign has taken up the banner of Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign against poverty, war, and racism and called for a moral revival, and they have added one more issue, ecological devastation, which includes the climate crisis.
Here is Martin Luther King’s statement that has gone totally unheeded by both neoliberals and neo-cons, by what Hedges calls the ruling elites.
“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
From MLK’s Riverside Speech.
It is not necessary to be a religious person to understand the spiritual death that is gripping America. The evidence is everywhere, in all those issues just named above and more and in the vacuity of the mainstream corporate media and the entertainment industry and by the lack of accountability to the people of America and to the planet by what Ralph Nader calls the war parties of Congress.
Another quote from King not as well known but applicable:
“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”
This quote is attributed to King’s sermons written in 1962-63 and published in his book Strength to Love.
As Medea Benjamin concludes in her article on 10 ways the climate crisis and environmental devastation and militarism are inextricably intertwined:
The environmental movement and the anti-nuke movement need to work hand-in-hand to stop these threats to planetary survival. To free up billions of Pentagon dollars for investing in critical environmental projects and to eliminate the environmental havoc of war, movements for a livable, peaceful planet need to put “ending war” at the top of the “must do” list.
Medea is not a speaker, but she has told Chris Hedges that she will most definitely be attending the event in Washington DC.
Rage Against the War Machine Demands
February 19 Rally and March
- Nor One More Penny for War in Ukraine
- Negotiate Peace
- Stop the War Inflation
- Disband NATO
- Global Nuclear De-Escalation
- Slash the Pentagon Budget
- Abolish the CIA and Military-Industrial Deep State
- Abolish War and Empire
- Restore Civil Liberties
- Free Julian Assange
“Elite Capture: How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics (And Everything Else)” (Democracy Now!)
2022 Yearender: It is also a war on the climate (AhramOnline)
The Final Deathblow to Imperialism Will Only Come Under The Leadership of The Organized Colonized Masses (Black Alliance for Peace)
Why The Rage Against The War Machine Rally Is #AntiWarSoWhite (Black Agenda Report)
On Chris Hedges’ unprincipled alliance with the political right (World Socialist Website)
“Rage Against the War Machine” rally promotes alliance between the “left” and the extreme right” (World Socialist Website)
Sat. March 18 — National March on Washington: Peace in Ukraine – Stop NATO
Posted on Updates & Analysis by Answer Coalition · February 03, 2023 1:37 PM
As the world marks the 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the United States is involved in yet another war based on lies.
United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC.org) is also a sponsor.
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