People Power Helped Prevent a War -- Is a Transformational Moment Upon Us?
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Several schools saw the year start with protests against the twin evils of corporatism and militarism. In Ontario, students attended an orientation event to bring the entering class’ attention to issues affecting students. They were removed despite the fact that plenty of groups marketing goods to the students were allowed to stay. At CUNY, students and faculty greeted their new faculty member, General Petraeus, with protest. Petraeus was offered a salary of $200,000 to teach one three-hour class a week – a real slap to the hard-working adjunct professors. And this week, the University of Denver gave former President G. W. Bush a Global Service Award although thousands from the university signed a petition opposing his nomination. A protest was held outside the hotel where the award ceremony took place.
Militarism has infected many academic institutions, and is pervasive throughout our society, so it is great to see awareness of this by students. Stopping our endless wars will require a culture shift that values and celebrates those who empower our society such as youth and teachers rather than glorifying those who kill for corporate profit as the military does. We will have to stop the economic draft as well. One place to start is by organizing in schools against militarism and military recruitment. Here is a counter-recruitment kit that provides tools to show the reality of the military culture.
It really feels like we are at a turning point. As Medea Benjamin said in this week’s Resistance Report with Acronym TV, “People from many backgrounds came together to stop a war.” It is getting harder to fool the public. Our eyes are open.
As usual, there is a lot going on in the resistance movement around the United States and globally, we can never cover it all in this column. If you visit PopularResistance.org and look at the first few pages of stories, you will get a good sense of the strong work being done by many different groups on continuing the fight for justice for Chelsea Manning, to protecting the environment from extreme energy extraction and toxic pollution; and battles for worker rights and ending the injustice of Guantanamo.
The movement is having an impact. Stopping a war, even temporarily, is the most obvious sign. Next on the list is the global corporate coup, the Trans-Pacific Partnership which can and must also be stopped. It is exciting to see that the debate is shifting in ways that are evident if we stop and look.