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Anti-nuclear bomb activists arrested at U.S. mission to U.N.

In Nonviolence, Nuclear abolition, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, Politics, War on June 22, 2017 at 12:45 am

World News, June 19, 2017

More than a dozen activists were arrested for disorderly conduct after they blocked the entrances to the United States mission to the United Nations on Monday to protest Washington’s decision to boycott negotiations on a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

Chanting “U.S. join the talks, ban the bomb,” the protesters sat in front of the doors for about 10 minutes before New York police moved in. Police had repeatedly warned protesters that they would be arrested if they did not disperse.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced in March that the United States, Britain and France were among almost 40 countries that decided not to join talks on a nuclear weapons ban treaty at the United Nations.

A second round of negotiations is underway at the United Nations.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution in December – 113 in favor to 35 against, with 13 abstentions – that decided to “negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination” and encouraged all member states to participate.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Grant McCool)

The US Way of War continues in the same form today on both domestic and foreign land.

In Democracy, Human rights, Justice, Nuclear abolition, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, Politics, War on June 21, 2017 at 9:56 pm

Popular Resistance Newsletter, 6-21-17

We just returned from the weekend-long United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC) conference in Richmond, VA. This is the fourth UNAC conference since its founding in 2010 to create a vibrant and active anti-war movement in the United States that opposes all wars. The theme this year was stopping the wars at home and abroad in recognition that we can’t end one without ending the others, that they have common roots and that it will take a large, broad-based and diverse movement of movements to succeed.
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Speakers at the conference ranged from people who are fighting for domestic issues – such as a $15/hour minimum wage and an end to racist police brutality and ICE raids – to people who traveled from or represented countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Hungary, Korea, the Philippines, the Congo, Iran, Syria, Colombia and Venezuela, which are some of the many countries under attack by US imperialism. At the end of the conference, participants marched to an area of Richmond called Shockoe Bottom, which is an African cemetery close to a site that was a central hub for the slave trade, to rally with activists with the Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice and Equality who are fighting to protect the land from gentrification and preserve it as a park.
The War at Home
The “US Way of War” – a brutal form of war that requires the total destruction of populations, targets the most vulnerable and wipes out their access to basic necessities such as food and water – has raged since settlers first stepped foot on the land that is now the United States and brutalized the Indigenous Peoples in order to take their lands and resources to build wealth for the colonizers and their home countries using the slave labor of Africans and indentured servants. The US Way of War continues in the same form today on both domestic and foreign land.
Castille protest of jury verdice 6-17-17There are daily reminders of the war at home, which overwhelmingly targets people of color, immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ people, the poor and workers. Over 1,000 civilians are killed by police, security personnel or vigilantes every year in the US. Black young men are nine times more likely to be victims than any other group, but, as in the case of Philando Castile, few of the killers are held accountable. Despite clear evidence that Castile was murdered by Officer Jeromino Yanez in front of his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter during a traffic stop, Yanez was acquitted this week. Within hours of the verdict, thousands of local residents marched against the injustice and some shut down a major highway.
Black Lives Matter Chicago and other community groups filed a lawsuit this week asking for federal oversight of their police. They accuse the mayor of trying to cut a backroom deal with the Department of Justice to water down oversight of the police after a DoJ investigation “found widespread constitutional violations by the Chicago Police Department.” And recently, though Take Em Down NoLa was successful, after years of efforts, at removing several confederate statues in New Orleans, structural racism is still rampant in the school and law enforcement systems. Ashana Bigard explains, a DoJ investigation found “98.6 percent of all children arrested by the New Orleans Police Department for ‘serious offenses’ were black.”
Ralph Poynter, the widower of the great attorney-activist Lynne Stewart, spoke at the UNAC conference about the many political prisoners who have been jailed in the US for decades. He described the organizing efforts to release Stewart and the public sympathy that she was given, in part, for being a white woman. There are many people who deserve equal organizing efforts, such as Major Tillery who, after 33 years, is appealing his murder conviction. Indeed, many from the black freedom struggle of decades past remain imprisoned. Let us not forget them.
Ingrid_anibal_KitcehnMVFMAnd the Trump administration is ramping up deportations. This week, ICE Director Thomas Homan asked Congress “for more than a billion dollars to expand ICE’s capacity to detain and deport undocumented immigrants.” Homan also indicated that he would increase deportations, saying “‘no population of persons’ in the country illegally is safe from deportation.” In this interview, Ingrid Latorre describes how the Sanctuary Movement is working to protect immigrants.
Juneteenth is a Time to End the War at Home
Juneteenth, the day in 1865 when black slaves in Texas learned they were freed – two and one-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, is a little known holiday that is being celebrated this year through efforts to end racial disparities on many fronts of struggle. A coalition of organizations is working to raise awareness of the injustice of cash bail in the US. They raised over a million dollars and are using that to bail out black fathers and “black LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming people, who are overrepresented in jails and prisons and are likely to experience abuse while incarcerated.”
Other groups are organizing in cities across the country to “Take Back the Land” and call for reparations after centuries of oppression. They write:
“We are a people who have been enslaved and dispossessed as a result of the oppressive, exploitative, extractive system of colonialism and white supremacy. In this system, our labor and its products have been forcefully taken from us for generations, for the accumulation of wealth by others. This extraction of wealth – from our labor, and from the land – formed the financial basis of the modern globalized world economy and has led to compounded exploitation and social alienation of Black people to this day.”
1tbtlJessicah Pierre explains that despite more than 150 years of ‘freedom’, black people still have a long way to go. A report called “The Ever Growing Gap” found that if we continue on the current path, “black families would have to work another 228 years to amass the amount of wealth white families already hold today.”
Wealth inequality is growing globally. Paul Bucheit explains that the five richest men in the world have almost the same wealth as the bottom 50% of the world’s population, which means each one of them has the wealth of 750 million people. Bucheit also explains that they didn’t earn it, they effectively stole it. More and more, we view the US as a kleptocracy. One idea to recapture that lost wealth and share it more equally is a Citizen’s Wealth Fund. Stewart Lansley writes that they “operate like a giant community-owned unit trust, giving all citizens an equal stake in a part of the economy.”
Ending the Wars Abroad
It would be impossible to discuss all of the wars abroad in this one newsletter (our Memorial Day newsletter discusses war further), but it is important that people in the US understand how the US Way of War is being waged around the world and its domestic impacts. Much of that was discussed at the UNAC conference, which you can watch here. Here are a few items that we suggest checking out.
This week on Clearing the FOG, we spoke with FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley and journalist Max Blumenthal about “Russiagate” and the way it is being used to trick progressives into supporting conflict with Russia. We also recommend watching Oliver Stone’s series of interviews with Vladimir Putin, even though the government and even Rolling Stone urge you not to watch these excellent interviews. Abby Martin of The Empire Files traveled to Venezuela to witness the protests firsthand and the violence being perpetrated by the right wing opposition that is funded by the US. And as President Trump sheds more of his responsibilities as Commander in Chief and hands them to generals such as Masterson and Mattis, who wants to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan, it is important to read this excellent analysis, “Afghanistan: From Soviet Occupation to American ‘Liberation“, by Nauman Sadiq.
1banbombAt present, more than 130 countries are negotiating a treaty at the United Nations that would prohibit all nuclear weapons. The US, which holds the largest nuclear arsenal, is not participating but North Korea is. Diana Johnstone writes that the dangerous belief at the Pentagon is that in a nuclear war, the US “would prevail.”Will the rest of the world be able to prevent a nuclear war? A positive sign was the “Woman Ban the Bomb” marches that took place in more than 170 cities worldwide.
It’s up to us as people to organize a peace movement in our communities. People’s Organization for Progress in Newark, New Jersey and their allies are one example of what we can be doing. They are proposing monthly actions that educate the public about the connection between the wars at home and abroad.
Kevin Zeese spoke at the opening plenary of the UNAC conference about Moral Injury that is done to an individual and to a people who engage in war. He closes with this thought:
“If we do not awaken the US government and change course from a destructive military power to an exceptional humanitarian culture aiding billions who suffer – a heavy price will be paid. We should expect it.
Our job is to turn moral injury into moral outrage and transform the United States into an exceptional humanitarian nation that is a member of the community of nations that lifts people up, rather than creates chaos and insecurity around the world.”
There are opportunities right now to organize for peace in your community no matter what issue you work on. Let’s understand that the wars at home cannot end if we do not also end the wars abroad. As we build this movement of movements, let’s remember this fact and include the abolition of war and the creation of a peace economy in our list of demands.

Memo to America: You should still be terrified of World War III

In Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, Politics, War on June 20, 2017 at 11:22 pm

By Ryan Cooper, The Week, June 20,2017

Open conflict between Russia and the United States is heating up in Syria. After American forces shot down a Syrian fighter jet, Russia suspended use of an Obama-era communications line used to prevent collisions and conflict, and threatened to shoot down American planes.

America’s Syria policy was and continues to be absolutely moronic. But this alarming development is also a reminder that there is simply no alternative to diplomatic engagement with Russia, the world’s only other nuclear superpower. That’s something both the American military, and liberals fired up over Trump’s Russia scandal, would do well to remember.

In the discussion about climate change risk management, I have argued that somewhat unlikely disaster scenarios deserve serious consideration, because it’s worth a substantial cost to avoid even a small chance of a huge harm. (It’s basic insurance reasoning.) The same is true of nuclear war.

An all-out nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia is one of the few things that could threaten human extinction. Hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, would be killed in the immediate attack, blowing the world economic system apart, and beginning what would probably be several years of nuclear winter, devastating agriculture. People might survive in remote locations — perhaps Australia and New Zealand — but it’s not at all guaranteed in such an extreme scenario. It would be the worst disaster in history, by several orders of magnitude.

Such a possibility gets less attention than climate change these days, I think, because we don’t have to do anything to avoid it — merely preserve the mutually assured destruction framework that carried us through the Cold War, despite a few close calls. Ultimately a nuclear conflict would be the worst imaginable strategic outcome for both nations, and so both nations ought to be able to avoid it.

But, as we saw during the Cuban Missile Crisis, sometimes an escalating, high-stakes conflict can bring the worst-case scenario closer and closer. As Robert McNamara said regarding his experience as secretary of defense during the crisis:

At the end, we lucked out. It was luck that prevented nuclear war. We came that close to nuclear war at the end. Rational individuals — Kennedy was rational, Castro was rational, Khrushchev was rational — came that close to total destruction of their societies. And that danger exists today.

The major lesson of the Cuban Missile Crisis is this: The indefinite combination of human fallibility and nuclear weapons will destroy nations. [The Fog of War]

Ultimately what defused the crisis was a diplomatic contact between Khrushchev and JFK (in particular a remarkably candid and vivid letter from the Russian premier), and a bargain that if the Soviets took the missiles out of Cuba, the U.S. would promise not to invade Cuba, as well as a secret promise to take similar missiles out of Turkey.

So what are we doing in Syria to justify ratcheting up tensions with Russia? The prospect of nuclear warheads a mere few dozen miles off the American coast was at least a comprehensible strategic threat. In Syria there is not only no strategic threat, there is not even a realistic American objective of any kind.

Russia has a clear goal: Prop up the Assad regime, but avoid being drawn too far into the conflict. America is, as far as anyone can tell, fighting ISIS, attempting regime change without invasion, arming some rebels but fighting others, and trying to help Kurdish militia without annoying Turkey too much. Both Trump and the foreign policy establishment (a.k.a. “The Blob”) childishly refuse to admit that most of these goals are incompatible with one another.

In reality, I don’t think any of the actual actions really suffice to explain why America won’t stop meddling in Syria. We’re there because The Blob has a hysterical obsession with the Middle East, because interventions are a lot harder to stop than they are to start, because President Trump is an absolute chump, and above all because of the almost universal article of faith that the American military can do no wrong.

New South Korean president vows to end use of nuclear power

In Environment, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Nuclear powere, Politics, Public Health on June 20, 2017 at 9:44 am

Moon Jae-in said he would lead country
towards a ‘nuclear-free era’ following
fears of a Fukushima-style meltdown

Justin McCurry in Tokyo, The Guardian, Monday 19 June 2017
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/19/new-south-korean-president-vows-to-end-use-of-nuclear-power
South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, has vowed to phase out the country’s dependence on nuclear power, warning of “unimaginable consequences” from a Fukushima-style meltdown.
Moon, a left-leaning liberal who won last month’s presidential election by a landslide following the impeachment and arrest of Park Geun-hye, said he would increase the role of renewable energy and lead South Korea towards a “nuclear-free era”.
Speaking at an event to mark the closure of the country’s oldest nuclear plant, Kori-1, he said: “So far, South Korea’s energy policy pursued cheap prices and efficiency. “Cheap production prices were considered the priority while the public’s life and safety took a back seat. But it’s time for a change.
“We will abolish our nuclear-centred energy policy and move towards a nuclear-free era. We will completely scrap construction plans for new nuclear reactors that are currently under way.”
Moon added that he would not extend the operation of ageing reactors, many of which will come to the end of their lifespans between 2020 and 2030.
Weaning South Korea off nuclear power, however, could take decades, and there is expected to be opposition from construction companies, which have increased technology exports under Moon’s nuclear-friendly predecessors.
The country was the fifth-largest producer of nuclear energy last year, according to the World Nuclear Association, with its 25 reactors generating about a third of its electricity.
The former president Lee Myung-bak saw nuclear as an important source of clean energy, while Park wanted to increase the number of reactors to 36 by 2029.
Moon recognised the role of nuclear power in South Korea’s rapid economic development, but added that Japan’s Fukushima disaster – which prompted the evacuation of tens of thousands of people – had convinced him that his country must look to new sources of energy.
“The country’s economic status has changed, our awareness on the importance of the environment has changed. The notion that the safety and lives of people are more important than anything else has become a firm social consensus,” he said.
Anti-nuclear campaigners have long warned of the potentially disastrous consequences of a meltdown at a nuclear plant in South Korea, where many reactors are close to densely populated areas.
The public’s support for nuclear power has weakened since the 2011 Fukushima meltdown and a 2013 corruption scandal over fake safety certificates for reactor parts.
“The Fukushima nuclear accident has clearly proved that nuclear reactors are neither safe, economical nor environmentally friendly,” Yonhap news agency quoted Moon as saying.
“South Korea is not safe from the risk of earthquakes, and a nuclear accident caused by a quake can have such a devastating impact.”
He also plans to close at least 10 ageing coal-fired power plants before his term ends in 2022 and to boost renewables’ share of the energy mix to 20% by 2030.

It’s Time for a Disarmament Race

In Environment, Nonviolence, Nuclear abolition, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, Politics, Race, War on June 20, 2017 at 8:41 am

By Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Nation. June 12, 2017

When Nelson Mandela walked free, in 1990, after 27 grueling years behind bars, South Africa began the process of emancipating itself from not only from its brutal apartheid regime but also its arsenal of atomic bombs. Like white-minority rule, these awful weapons had weighed heavily on us all, entrenching our status as a pariah nation. Their abolition was essential for our liberation.

Today, North Korea rightly faces the same kind of stigma over its nuclear weaponry. By pursuing such arms, it is behaving as no respectable member of the family of nations should. But too seldom do we hear strong words of censure for others who wield these abominable devices. On the world stage, they present themselves, oxymoronically, as “responsible” nuclear powers.

To realize a nuclear weapon–free world, we must acknowledge that nuclear weapons serve no legitimate, lawful purpose.
All of those who wield nuclear weapons are deserving of our scorn. The development and stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction by any state is morally indefensible. It breeds enmity and mistrust and threatens peace. The radiation unleashed by an American or British or French nuclear bomb is just as deadly as that from a North Korean one. The inferno and shock waves kill and maim no less indiscriminately.

With sabres rattling and the specter of nuclear war looming large, the imperative to abolish man’s most evil creation—before it abolishes us—is as urgent as ever. Further arms races and provocations will lead us inexorably to catastrophe. The overwhelming majority of the world’s nations understand this, and are now developing a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons under international law.

They began negotiating the accord at the United Nations in March and will resume their work on June 15. Regrettably, however, all of the nuclear-armed nations, along with several of their allies, are refusing to take part. They claim that their bombs help keep the peace. But what peace can be maintained through threats of annihilation? So long as these weapons exist, we will continue to teeter on the brink.

To realize a nuclear weapon–free world, we must first acknowledge that nuclear weapons serve no legitimate, lawful purpose. That is precisely what the new treaty will do. It will place nuclear weapons on the same legal footing as chemical and biological weapons, anti-personnel landmines, and cluster munitions—all of which the international community has declared too inhumane ever to use or possess.

Some leaders, intent on preserving the status quo, have dismissed this UN process as futile given the resistance of the so-called great powers. But what is the alternative? To wait and hope that the powerful few will one day show enlightened leadership? That would be a very poor strategy indeed for safeguarding humanity. In the absence of tremendous pressure, disarmament will remain but a fantasy.

For too long, the nuclear powers have failed us terribly. Instead of disarming—as they are duty-bound to do—they have squandered precious resources on programs to bolster their nuclear forces. They have held humankind to ransom. But nuclear-free nations are now rising up, asserting their right to live in a safe, harmonious global community, unburdened by this ultimate menace.
Of course, it was not the slaveowners who led the struggle to abolish slavery. Nor was it the Afrikaners who tore down the system of apartheid in South Africa. The oppressed fought for, and ultimately secured, their own freedom. Through collective action, we built the foundations for transformative change, to the benefit of all. This is what we are witnessing today in the arena of disarmament diplomacy.

Every nation will be better off in a world without these “terrible and terrifying weapons of mass destruction,” as Mandela so aptly described them to the UN General Assembly in 1998. Disarmament was a cause dear to his heart. He saw racism, injustice, and the bomb as inextricably linked, and he knew that the arms race, if not curtailed, could only end in oblivion. What we need now is a disarmament race.

UN Closing in on Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons

In Nuclear abolition, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, War on June 17, 2017 at 2:54 am

Associated Press, June 15, 2017

UNITED NATIONS —
The president of the U.N. conference drafting what could be the first treaty to ban nuclear weapons expressed confidence Thursday that with “the necessary political will” more than 130 countries supporting the initiative can reach agreement by the July 7 target.

Elayne Whyte Gomez, Costa Rica’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, told the opening of negotiations on a draft treaty circulated May 22 that delegates were representing their countries, but they were also “united together in historic commitment” to finalizing a treaty.

None of nuclear powers supports treaty

Last December, U.N. member states overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling for negotiations on a treaty that would outlaw nuclear weapons, despite strong opposition from nuclear-armed nations and their allies.

Not one of the nine countries believed to possess nuclear weapons — the U.S., Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel — is supporting a treaty.

Instead of adopting a ban, the United States and other nuclear powers want to strengthen and reaffirm the nearly half-century-old Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

The NPT, considered the cornerstone of global nonproliferation efforts, aims to prevent the spread of atomic arms beyond the five original weapons powers: the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China.

It requires non-nuclear signatory nations not to pursue nuclear weapons in exchange for a commitment by the five nuclear powers to move toward nuclear disarmament, and to guarantee non-nuclear states access to peaceful nuclear technology to produce nuclear power.

Haley: ‘Be realistic’

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said March 27 when talks began on the nuclear weapons ban treaty that “there is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons, but we have to be realistic.”

She asked if anyone thought North Korea would give up its nuclear weapons, stressing that North Koreans would be cheering a nuclear ban treaty and Americans and others would be at risk.

But U.N. disarmament chief Izumi Nakamitsu told Thursday’s opening that negotiations to achieve “the clear, legal prohibition of nuclear weapons … are truly historic.”

“Nuclear disarmament has been the longest sought objective of the United Nations dating back to the very first resolution adopted by the General Assembly in January 1946,” she said.

“We have seen some impressive gains since that time,” Nakamitsu said. “Yet, it has been more than 20 years now since the United Nations disarmament bodies have produced a multilateral legally binding instrument on nuclear weapons.”

Need for progress

She said “the need for progress is clear” and urgent, pointing to “the deteriorating international security landscape,” new awareness of the devastating consequences of using nuclear weapons, and the modernization of nuclear arsenals by some countries.

The draft treaty, among other things, says states would pledge never to develop, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess, transfer, receive, stockpile, test or use nuclear weapons or explosives. They would also endeavor to prohibit any “stationing, installation or deployment of any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices” on their territories or in their jurisdictions.

“We are confident the treaty can be completed and adopted by July 7,” the final day of negotiations, said David Solimini, spokesman for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. “Once the treaty is adopted countries are free to join.”

Popular Resistance Newsletter: The Corbyn Campaign in Britain as a Template for the U.S.

In Democracy, Environment, Human rights, Justice, Nonviolence, Nuclear abolition, Nuclear Guardianship, Politics on June 12, 2017 at 2:01 am

The shocking election result in the United Kingdom – the Conservatives losing their majority and the creation of a hung Parliament; and Jeremy Corbyn being more successful than any recent Labor candidate – cutting a 20 point Theresa May lead down to a near tie – gives hope to many that the global shift to the right, fueled by the failures of governments to meet the basic needs of their population and growing economic insecurity, may be ending.

People demonstrate on Whitehall, central London, after the British general election result. Prime Minister Theresa May’s party fell short of an overall majority following Thursday’s vote, and plans to work with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party AP
Corbyn is a lifelong activist (as you will see in the photos below), whose message and actions have been consistent. He presented a platform directed at ending austerity and the wealth divide and was openly anti-war. There are a lot of lessons for the Labor Party in the UK from this election but there are also lessons for people in the United States. We review what happened and consider the possibilities for creating transformative change in the United States.

The Corbyn Campaign Results

The Corbyn campaign showed that a political leader urging a radical progressive transformative agenda can succeed. Many in his own party, the neo-liberal pro-war Blairites, claimed Corbyn could not win, tried to remove him from leadership, and sabotaged and refused to assist his campaign.

Corbyn showed he could win the leadership of the UK in the future, maybe sooner than later. While Theresa May is in the process of forming a minority government with a small radical conservative party from Northern Ireland, there has already been a backlash, mass petitions and protests against it and UK history has shown in similar circumstances that the second place finisher, may, in the end form the government. Corbyn is taking bold and radical actions. He is preparing to present a Queen’s speech in which he will say that he and his party are “ready to serve” and will continue to push his program through Parliament. He is calling on other parties to defeat the government in Parliament.

Corbyn protesting for peace in IrelandCorbyn did better than any recent Labor leader. Jonathan Cook, a British political commentator, writes in “The Facts Proving Corbyn’s Election Triumph” that Corbyn received 41 percent of the vote against May’s 44 percent. This was a big improvement in Labor’s share of seats, the largest increase since 1945. Cook points out that Corbyn won more votes than “Ed Miliband, Gordon Brown and Neil Kinnock, who were among those that, sometimes noisily, opposed his leadership of the party.” Even Tony Blair does not look all that good compared to Corbyn, Cook recounts:

“Here are the figures for Blair’s three wins. He got a 36 per cent share of the vote in 2005 – much less than Corbyn. He received a 41 per cent of the vote – about the same as Corbyn – in 2001. And Blair’s landslide victory in 1997 was secured on 43 per cent of the vote, just two percentage points ahead of Corbyn last night.

“In short, Corbyn has proved himself the most popular Labour leader with the electorate in more than 40 years, apart from Blair’s landslide victory in 1997.”Jeremy Corbyn protesting apartheid

Bhaskar Sunkara, the founding editor of Jacobin, writes that Corbyn was not only campaigning against the Tories and Theresa May, but battling his own party – yet he still “won”:

“This is the first election Labour has won seats in since 1997, and the party got its largest share of the vote since 2005 — all while closing a twenty-four point deficit. Since Corbyn assumed leadership in late 2015, he has survived attack after attack from his own party, culminating in a failed coup attempt against him. As Labour leader he was unable to rely on his parliamentary colleagues or his party staff. The small team around him was bombarded with hostile internal leaks and misinformation, and an unprecedented media smear campaign.

“Every elite interest in the United Kingdom tried to knock down Jeremy Corbyn, but still he stands.”Corbyn protests for National Health Service

The Blairites were taught a lesson by Corbyn. Many of his harshest critics are now changing their tune and embracing Corbyn. Hopefully they will join in creating a party in Corbyn’s image – a party for the many, not the few. Corbyn has rebuilt the mass base of Labor. The party is now the largest in Europe with half a million members. It is time for the “leaders” of Labor to follow the lead of the people and of Jeremy Corbyn.

What can we learn regarding US politics?

Sunkara argues Corbyn demonstrated that a winning campaign strategy is “to offer hopes and dreams to people, not just fear and diminished expectations.” In current US terms that means it is insufficient just to oppose Trump, a positive vision for the future that shows what a candidate and party stand for is needed, e.g. it is not just enough to defend the failing Affordable Care Act and oppose the Republican’s American Health Care Act, you must stand for something positive: National Improved Medicare for All. This is one example of many.

Sunkara provides more detail:Jeremy Corbyn protesing the Iraq War

“Labour’s surge confirms what the Left has long argued: people like an honest defense of public goods. Labour’s manifesto was sweeping — its most socialist in decades. It was a straightforward document, calling for nationalization of key utilities, access to education, housing, and health services for all, and measures to redistribute income from corporations and the rich to ordinary people.

“£6.3 billion into primary schools, the protection of pensions, free tuition, public housing construction — it was clear what Labour would do for British workers. The plan was attacked in the press for its old-fashioned simplicity — “for the many, not the few” — but it resonated with popular desires, with a view of fairness that seemed elementary to millions.Corbyn protesting austerity

“The Labour left remembered that you don’t win by tacking to an imaginary center — you win by letting people know you feel their anger and giving them a constructive end to channel it towards. ‘We demand the full fruits of our labor,’ the party’s election video said it all.”

Corbyn showed how important it is to have the correct analysis on foreign policy. Twice during the campaign, the UK was hit by a terrorist attack. Corbyn responded by telling the truth: part of the reason for terrorism is the UK foreign policy, especially in Libya. He also opposed the use of nuclear weapons. The Conservatives thought these anti-war positions would hurt Corbyn, instead they helped.

This is even more true in the United States with the never ending wars the country is fighting. But, the unspeakable in the United States, as Paul Street calls it, is acknowledging that terrorism is conducted by the US. This taboo subject makes it hard for people to understand that the US is constantly committing acts of terrorism around the world, which lead to predictable blow back from US militarism, regime change and war. No elected official will tell these obvious truths, which the people of the United States would instinctively understand if they were voiced.

Although the U.S. is often portrayed as a ‘center-right’ nation and progressives are called extremists, the reality is that there is majority support for a progressive agenda. There is a developing national consensus in the United States for transformational change, and Bernie Sanders articulated some of that consensus, at least on domestic issues, in his run for president, but the problem is that U.S. elections are manipulated by the elites in power who make sure that their interests are represented by the winner

Sunkara ends his article on Corbyn saying “Also, Bernie Sanders would have won.” We do not know what would have happened in a Trump-Sanders election. The closest example may be McGovern’s 1972 campaign against Nixon which he lost in a landslide. In that campaign, the Democrats deserted their candidate, even the AFL-CIO and big unions did not support McGovern and Nixon demonized him in the media. Would Clinton-Democrats have stood with Sanders or would they have sabotaged him like the party did to McGovern?

A key to Corbyn’s success was retail politics. The population of the UK is 65 million, compared to the US population of 321 million. Retail politics can work in the UK, while in the US paid media advertising drives the campaign, which means money often determines the outcome. This gives great power to big business interests, and while it can be overcome, it is a steep hill to climb.

Despite their significant losses, the Democrats are still controlled by Clinton-Obama Wall Street and war neo-liberals as we saw in the recent DNC chair election where Clinton protégé, Tom Perez, was elected. We are not optimistic that the US can apply the Corbyn model within the Democratic Party because it has been a party representing the oligarchs from its origins as the party of plantation slave-owners.

The duopoly parties that represent Wall Street, war and empire will not allow voices that represent “the many, not the few” to participate in US elections. They shut them out whether they run as an insurgent inside a party, as people learned from the mistreatment of Bernie Sanders by the DNC, or if they run outside of the two parties. The bi-partisans make independent party runs nearly impossible with unfair ballot access laws, barriers to voter registration, secret vote counting on unverifiable election machines, exclusion from the debates and exclusion by the corporate media, who are in cahoots with the bi-partisans.

It Comes Down To Building An Independent Mass Political Movement

We live in a mirage democracy with managed elections, as we describe in the article “Fighting for A Legitimate Democracy By and For the People,” on the long history of wealth dominating politics in the U.S.

Corbyn campaigning for nuclear disarmamentHistorically, transformations have occurred because of mass social movements demanding change and participating in elections through independent parties that have grown out of a movement with candidates from the movement (Corbyn has been involved in every anti-war movement, anti-apartheid, anti-austerity, pro-peace and human rights movements among others). Showing mass electoral support, even without winning, has resulted in significant changes – union rights, women’s voting rights, the eight-hour workday – indeed the New Deal came out of third party platforms. It is important to resist the duopoly parties in order to get to the root of the problems we face; as Patrick Walker explains, the “grassroots resistance must oppose Democrats as well as Trump.”

A broad and diverse social movement whose demands are articulated by an independent party platform has forced one of the two parties to capitulate to the movement or disappear. That still seems to be the most likely path to real change for the US.

Corbyn teaches that we should embrace the radical transformational change that is needed, whether in elections or as a movement, to inspire people to take action and shift the realm of the possible. The people thirst for change as their economic situation becomes more insecure. There needs to be a movement that addresses that insecurity through a human rights lens, or else the insecurity will be channeled towards hatred and violence.

The key first step is to show the many, we are with them; that we are listening and acting consistent with their beliefs. Taking this correct first step, lights the path ahead of us.

Our mailing address is:
PopularResistance.org
402 East Lake Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21212

 

Two papers to improve the UN Treaty that Bans Nuclear Weapons

In Environment, Human rights, Justice, Nuclear abolition, Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, Politics, Public Health, War on June 9, 2017 at 8:46 am

Hi all
>
> I wanted to alert you to the release of two new briefing papers about victim assistance and environmental remediation in the nuclear weapons ban treaty. Co-published by Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic and Article 36, the papers examine the need for including comprehensive and detailed provisions on these topics in the new treaty and lay out specific recommendations for what such provisions should contain.
>
> The papers are available at: http://www.article36.org/nuclear-weapons/va-er-harvard-papers/
>
> Please let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to seeing many of you in New York later this month!
>
> Best,
> Bonnie
>
>
> Bonnie Docherty
> Associate Director of Armed Conflict and Civilian Protection
> Lecturer on Law
> International Human Rights Clinic
> Harvard Law School
>

Radioactive Wild Boar Roam Chernobyl and Fukushima Areas

In Environment, Nuclear Guardianship, Public Health on June 5, 2017 at 10:00 pm

31 years after Chernobyl
Half of all wild boars in southwest
Czech Republic are still radioactive —

Associated Press, via Business Insider, January 17, 2017
http://tinyurl.com/hqquj4t

PRAGUE (AP) — An agency in the Czech Republic says about a half of all wild boars in the country’s southwest are radioactive and considered unsafe for consumption due to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The State Veterinary Administration said Tuesday that radioactive boars still roam the Sumava mountain range on the Czech border with Germany.

It says the animals remain contaminated nearly 31 years after the Chernobyl disaster because they feed on an underground mushroom that absorbs radioactivity from the soil.

The nuclear reactor’s explosion sent a radioactive cloud over Europe.

Cesium, the key radioactive material released, has a half-life of some 30 years. It can build up in the body, and high levels are thought to be a risk.

Similar problems with radioactive wild animals were reported in Austria and Germany.
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Radioactive Wild Boar Roam Fukushima

By Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, March 10, 2017
http://tinyurl.com/z5h2byp

With humans long gone, and robots dying off amid the radiation, Fukushima has become home to ‘something else’. When the exclusion zone was set up almost exactly 6 years ago this week – with the surrounding towns population evacuated to a safe distance – The Mirror reports that hundreds of wild boars, which have been known to attack people when enraged, descended from surrounding hills and forests into the deserted streets.

Now they roam the empty streets and overgrown garden’s of Japan’s deserted seaside town of Namie, foraging for food. However, the people of Namie are scheduled to return to the town at the end of the month, which means the bloody-toothed interlopers have to be cleared. “It is not really clear now which is the master of the town, people or wild boars,” said Tamotsu Baba, mayor of the town. “If we don’t get rid of them and turn this into a human-led town, the situation will get even wilder and uninhabitable.”
Reuters reports that more than half of Namie’s former 21,500 residents have decided not to return and face the wild boars, however, a government survey showed last year, citing concerns over radiation and the safety of the nuclear plant, which is being decommissioned. Wild boar meat is a delicacy in northern Japan, but animals slaughtered since the disaster are too contaminated to eat. According to tests conducted by the Japanese government, some of the boars have shown levels of radioactive element caesium-137 that are 300 times higher than safety standards.
Authorities in the town of Tomioka say they’ve killed 800 so far, but officials there say that’s not enough, according to Japanese media. The latest statistics show that in the three years since 2011, the number of boars killed in hunts has grown to 13,000 from 3,000. But at town meetings earlier this year to prepare for the homecoming, residents had voiced worries about the wild boars. “I’m sure officials at all levels are giving some thought to this,” said Hidezo Sato, a former seed merchant in Namie. “Something must be done.”

Is President Trump setting the stage for a new nuclear arms race?

In Nuclear Guardianship, Nuclear Policy, Peace, Politics, War on June 5, 2017 at 6:41 am

By Christopher Rowland GLOBE STAFF JUNE 03, 2017
WASHINGTON — President Trump has called for a new global arms race, and the Pentagon is ready. It has a nuclear weapon on the drawing board that the military considers essential but that critics fear could put the United States on the inside lane to Armageddon.

The new weapon is the planned update of the Air Force’s nuclear cruise missile. Price tag: at least $20 billion. Fear factor for arms-control advocates: maximum.

Trump’s newly released budget for 2018 contains hundreds of millions of dollars to speed up development of the Long Range Stand Off missile — a jet-propelled nuke designed to be launched from an airborne bomber and stealthily zip to a target virtually anywhere in the world.

It will carry a “variable yield’’ warhead that can be adjusted to deliver an atomic blast ranging from 5 to 150 kilotons — that is, from about one-third of a Hiroshima-sized bomb to as much as 10 Hiroshima bombs.
The ability to limit the scope of devastation and highly flexible targeting offer a powerful allure to Air Force generals, but are also precisely what worry antiproliferation specialists. They contend these capabilities make the idea of a “limited’’ nuclear strike on a target like Iran or North Korea — aggressive provocateurs but not superpowers — more likely, with a high risk for catastrophic escalation. It could also give Pentagon planners an intriguing option as they study ways to deter Russia’s ambitions to reassert sway over Eastern Europe.

The new missiles are part of a $1 trillion upgrade of America’s nuclear arsenal kicked off by President Barack Obama, replacing missiles, submarines, and planes that have been in service for decades. Now Trump is positioning the military to pursue those plans aggressively, with $1 billion in his new budget to keep the Pentagon on an accelerated course for updating warheads, including a refurbished warhead for the 1,000 new, improved cruise missiles.

“It is very dangerous to have this excessive, unnecessary rebuilding of the arsenal take place under the Trump administration,’’ said Tom Collina, policy director at the Ploughshares Fund, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons development. “The United States wants a new arms race, and is willing to push for it, and willing to pay for it, and we’re going to see other countries including Russia respond in kind, which is not good for global security.’’

The potential for nuclear brinkmanship and a war “goes up when you have weapons that are perceived as less risky to use in a first strike,’’ he said.

Under an order Trump signed soon after he took office, the Pentagon is beginning a Nuclear Posture Review, due for completion by the end of the year. It gives the new administration a chance to articulate the president’s nuclear vision and decide what atomic weapons and strategies he deems most important.

President Trump spoke last week in the Rose Garden. Said Trump in December: “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.’’

Trump’s White House has not yet provided details of the president’s views, but in some of his remarks, he appears prepared to push the United States closer to a Cold War footing, a shift in tone and possibly in tactics that could have an impact on global nuclear security long after he leaves office.

“Let it be an arms race,’’ Trump, then president-elect, was quoted by MSNBC as saying in December. “We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.’’

Tough talk, or something more? Certainly the tone runs sharply counter to the trend over the last three decades. Since the destruction of the Berlin Wall, there has been a sharp reduction in nuclear arms deployed by the United States and Russia.

Obama’s own 2010 Nuclear Posture Review concluded that the United States should continue seeking to reduce the balance of nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War era, not add new nuclear weapons systems to the mix of intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-based missiles, and missiles on long-range bombers. But to win Republican support for the ratification of the New START arms control treaty with Russia in 2010 — which limited both sides to 1,550 strategic warheads and set up new inspection regimes — Obama softened his stance and agreed to the sweeping modernization of the smaller nuclear force. The $1 trillion price tag, coming due over 30 years, includes new strategic bombers, submarines, and rebuilt intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Among all the nuclear systems, the plan to update the air-launched cruise missile is the most controversial, because of what critics consider its “destabilizing’’ effect. The missile is designed to be used in a survivable, limited nuclear conflict — survivable, meaning it doesn’t result in mutual annihilation. Intended to replace an existing, less capable system built in the 1980s, it would be widely deployed by 2030, with the first one ready by 2025.

It could be shot thousands of miles away from enemy territory, and then fly low and fast to its target. The new version will have a stealthy profile and skin, making it difficult to detect by radar.

Proponents in the Air Force have said the missile is indispensable because it eliminates the need for long-range strategic bombers to enter enemy airspace. They contend it can act as an even stronger deterrent than ballistic missiles.

“We want our adversaries to think we have the capability — and the will — to use our nuclear weapons,’’ said Adam Lowther, director of the Air Force’s School for Advanced Nuclear Deterrence Studies, at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. With the new missile, he said, “we’re not in a situation where it is all or nothing.’’

It is in America’s interest to keep the Russians guessing if the “crazy Americans’’ will pull the trigger, he said. Enemies know that America will be extremely reluctant, he said, to deliver an atomic blast from an ICBM, given the almost certain retaliation that would follow.

Unlike Obama’s review, which called for reductions in the risks of global annihilation, the Trump review is expected to highlight the benefits of nuclear weapons to America’s power, Lowther predicted. He anticipates the review will be “a more positive view of the role of nuclear weapons, and nuclear deterrence.’’

Critics say the cruise missile makes the frightening logic of deterrence all the more fragile.

“This weapon makes fighting nuclear wars even more possible. Its accuracy and potency will be greater. We don’t need it. It’s dangerous. And the weapons that we have already can do the job,’’ said Senator Edward Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat and longtime proponent of a freeze and reduction on nuclear weapons.

“We’re going to ask other countries to engage in restraint while we’re making . . . nuclear war-fighting even more possible, even more imaginable,” he said.

 

Markey has sponsored Senate legislation that would cap development money for the next-generation nuclear cruise missile at current levels until Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review is complete. The bill has little chance of passage. Most of the Republicans who control Congress and a number of Democrats whose states depend on jobs and military bases that support nuclear weapons favor a full-speed-ahead approach.

North Dakota is home to the B-52 bombers that carry the old nuclear cruise missiles. Both of the state’s senators, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp and Republican John Hoeven, were among a bipartisan group who wrote the Pentagon last summer urging that the full nuclear modernization continue.

They wrote the letter after published reports said Obama was thinking about scaling back the modernization in his last year in office, including canceling the new cruise missile.

“We must modernize these forces to preserve their deterrent capabilities,’’ Hoeven, Heitkamp, and the other senators wrote. “We . . . need a new [air-launched cruise missile] to hold the broadest possible array of targets at risk.’’

The gears of Pentagon procurement bureaucracy are already turning, supported by weapons manufacturers.

Early development of the cruise missile’s updated warhead is under way at Sandia National Laboratories . Requests for bids for the full missile systems were issued last year; prime bidders are expected to be Waltham-based Raytheon, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Lockheed Martin, according to defense trade journals.