21.11.2018 IDN InDepthNews

Violence Against Women – Never Acceptable, Never Ending
(Image by Photo: Gladness Munuo addressing a meeting.)

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK (IDN) – “I love you, that’s why I beat you.” So ends a poem by the Ghanaian writer Mariska Araba Taylor-Darko about a violent spouse and an abused woman who lays the blame of the daily beating on herself.

The poem, A Beating for Love, takes special significance, particularly as this year’s UN theme for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (November 25) and the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (November 25-December 10) – “Orange the World: #HearMeToo” – aims to support women and girls around the world.

In fact in the era of the Me Too movement, the words of former UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon still call out: “There is one universal truth, applicable to all countries, cultures and communities: violence against women is never acceptable, never excusable, never tolerable.”

Violence against women and girls, one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today, remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it, says the UN on its webpage “end violence day”. The reality of domestic violence is a plague that affects millions of women, often trapped in a toxic environment they cannot escape.

According to the United Nations Statistics Division, intimate partner violence accounts for the majority of women’s experience of abuse.

Sub-Saharan Africa regions record the highest prevalence of domestic violence, where 65.6 percent of women who have ever been in a relationship experienced abuse by their partner – the global average is 26.4 percent.

Similarly, in the U.S., around 4.5 million women say they’ve been threatened by an intimate partner with a gun and 45 percent of women who are murdered are killed by intimate partners, according to Everytown for Gun Safety.

In fact, the U.S., Syria, Somalia, and Yemen are among the 10 most dangerous in the world for women, the Thomas Reuters Foundation disclosed. Others are Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, India, and Afghanistan.

As of this year, 41 African countries had ratified the ‘Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa’, adopted in 2003. Yet Clarence Mwombeki from Door of Hope for Women and Youth Tanzania, addressing the recent NGO Forum in Banjul, pointed out that African women continue suffering despite the protocol in place for almost 15 years.

Gladness Munuo from the Crisis Resolving Centre in Tanzania added: “Women and girls continue to face discrimination in marriages, inheritance, access to property and the highest level of sexual and gender-based violence.”

Meanwhile, a federal Violence Against Women Act in the U.S. is set to expire on December 7, 2018. Will the Senate act in time to see it renewed? [IDN-InDepthNews – 20 November 2018]

Photo: Gladness Munuo addressing a meeting.

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.

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The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

21.11.2018 – US, United States Countercurrents

US has spent almost $6 trillion on wars since 2001

By Trévon Austin

report released by the Watson Institute of International & Public Affairs at Brown University indicates the total sum spent on the “war on terror” is much larger than previously suggested. Professor Neta C. Crawford, the author of the study, revealed that the US government is set to spend nearly $6 trillion on post-9/11 wars by the end of the 2019 fiscal year.

In March, the Department of Defense (DoD) released a report stating the military had spent $1.5 trillion on the wars. However, the Brown University report notes the DoD’s numbers were a conservative estimate that also failed to take into account spending across other federal departments. The new estimate not only includes expenditures from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), budget increases, and medical costs for veterans, but also interest on money borrowed to pay for the wars.

Including indirect war spending, the total amount of spending allocated since 2001 will be $4.6 trillion by the end of 2019. The report also estimates the government will be obligated to spend around $1 trillion for the future care of post 9/11 veterans until 2059. The total sum amounts to a staggering $5.993 trillion.

The study warns that continuing the multitude of US war and interventions for another four years would cost an additional $808 billion, even if the United States were to stop such actions by 2023. The accumulated costs would likely exceed the estimated $6.7 trillion because the number of veterans will continue to grow as long as the US continues military operations.

With no end in sight, the fiscal and human cost of US wars of aggression will continue to climb. A particular concern introduced in the latest study was the US government’s reliance on deficit spending and borrowing to fund war. In 2011 it was calculated that war appropriations, if capped at $1.5 trillion, would accrue $7.9 trillion in interest. War spending has substantially increased since the estimate, and more debt accumulated, so this would only be a conservative estimate.

The larger $5.9 trillion estimate over three times more than the Pentagon claimed has been spent out of war-related appropriations since 9/11. The DoD estimated $1.7 trillion would be spent by the end of the 2018 fiscal year, but this lower estimate only contains a portion of all war-related budgeting and spending.

The spending allocated by Congress is not included in the Pentagon’s estimate. Congress passes budgets that increase spending on other war-related areas, particularly “overseas contingency operations (OCO).” OCO spending directly supports the American empire’s global military operations. Along with the DoD, Congress has allocated over $2 trillion in OCO spending since 2001.

In addition to the unfathomable sums of money spent, the study estimates 370,000 lives lost from direct combat with many times more lost due to indirect consequences such as malnutrition, damaged infrastructure, and environmental degradation. Approximately 200,000 innocent civilians have been killed as well. Professor Crawford personally notes even these estimates are limited with many more likely killed due to US imperialism.

Crawford remarks, “Congress’ attitude almost seems to be that the Pentagon deserves whatever funding they ask for, no matter the cost, and regardless of whether or not this spending is efficient or wise.”

The number of veterans from the “war on terror” is also set to increase significantly. The Department of Veteran Affairs estimates the number of veterans will rise to 4.3 million by 2039. Many will return from combat severely injured or suffering mental illness, increasing the fiscal and societal toll.

The wars in the Middle East have created the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II with over 10 million refugees forced to flee their countries. Combined with the obscene amount of money spent, the wars waged by Washington and its allies highlight the crisis of capitalism. The ruling classes see no way forward other than war, but it means ruin for working people and society as a whole.

Originally published by WSWS.org

The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

19.11.2018 Pressenza Muenchen

7 Symbols of Peace: Building a Digital Peace Platform
Bernard Weber, Founder of New7Wonders, celebrating the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) symbol, while presenting a flower version to CND and the Quakers Elders at the Manchester Friends Meeting House. (Image by http://www.7symbolsofpeace.com)

“The more we do together, the less time we have to fight each other,” says Bernard Weber the initiator of the 7 Symbols of Peace campaign. It’s a campaign designed to unite the world in a collective voice that says our planet must be a peaceful, shared community. To spread the message, Weber is levering his own digital platform for a global vote to elect the seven symbols that best signify peace.

When it comes to the things that symbolize peace, Weber would like to see some lateral thinking. “Take tourism,” he says. “It brings people together and promotes economic growth. That’s a real-world example of people doing things together instead of fighting each other.”

Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries, he points out, with a global economic contribution (direct and indirect) of more than seven trillion US dollars. It involves transport, accommodation, hospitality and sight-seeing and emerging countries are increasingly reaping the economic benefits of the industry.

“What’s the most popular air route in the world?” Weber asks. Some might answer New York to Paris. Others would guess Beijing to Shanghai. In fact, it’s the domestic flight between Seoul and Jeju, the South Korean island that was elected one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2011. Last year, almost 65,000 flights made the trip between Seoul and Jeju. Most of the tourism is domestic but there’s been a significant rise in Chinese visitors due to Jeju’s visa-free entry requirements.

In a region overshadowed by the threat of nuclear conflict, Weber sees the coming together of peoples in pursuit of happiness as one of the great positive stories of our time. Yes, he is aware of the dangers of what’s called “overtourism”, but he’s always urged the custodians of the sites that have been elected as members of the New 7 Wonders canon to preserve their heritages and foster sustainable tourism.

“We need to turn up the volume of the voice of the people so that the powerful can hear that we want peace,” says Weber, an admirer of the idealism that launched the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in the 1950s in Britain. On 6 June, the CND symbol, one of the most famous international symbols of peace, visited Manchester as part of its 60th-anniversary tour across the UK and Bernard Weber marked the occasion by presenting a colourful flower version of the symbol to the organizers in the English city.

Achieving peace, he believes, will require “a dramatic shift from investment in the armament/war industry into what we can call the Peace Industry,” he says. “For this, we must nominate and elect symbols of examples of leaders, artists, writers, singers, animals, plants, places…. that have made their contribution to foster Peace.”

Peace cannot be achieved by any one person or group, but the 7 Symbols of Peace campaign is providing a digital platform for everyone who wants to add their voice, and symbol, to the debate.

Bernard Weber is the founder of the New7Wonders worldwide movement for empowering people to participate in global democracy. More than 600 million votes have been cast in the three New7Wonders elections to date.

7 Symbols of Peace: https://7symbolsofpeace.com/

New 7 Wonders of Nature: https://nature.new7wonders.com/wonders/

CND: https://cnduk.org/

18.11.2018 Pressenza London

New Study Details ‘Staggering’ $6 Trillion (and Counting) Price Tag of Endless US War
Total U.S. spending on war and all of its related costs will hit nearly $6 trillion by the end of 2019, according to the Watson Institute (Image by Carpetblogger https://www.flickr.com/photos/88943727@N00/4941434806/, CC)

“The U.S. continues to fund the wars by borrowing, so this is a conservative estimate of the consequences of funding the war as if on a credit card.” by Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams While the human costs will remain impossible to calculate, a new analysis shows that the Pentagon barely scratched the surface of the financial costs of U.S. wars since September 11, 2001 when it released its official estimate last August regarding how much the U.S. has spent on fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere.

The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs reports (pdf) that by the end of the 2019 fiscal year, the U.S. will have spent $5.9 trillion on military spending in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other countries, as well as veterans’ care, interest on debt payments, and related spending at the Homeland Security and State Departments.

The figure far exceeds the Pentagon’s estimate of $1.5 trillion in total spending since September 11—a number that does not even account for combined State Department spending and the Pentagon’s war fund, which totals $1.8 trillion according to the Watson Institute.

“We were told to expect wars that would be quick, cheap, effective and beneficial to the U.S. interest,” said Neta Crawford, the author of the study, at a news conference hosted by Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) on Tuesday. “The U.S. continues to fund the wars by borrowing, so this is a conservative estimate of the consequences of funding the war as if on a credit card, in which we are only paying interest even as we continue to spend.”

Veterans’ healthcare, benefits, and disability spending alone has cost the U.S. $1 trillion, as nearly three million Americans have deployed to countries including Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, many for numerous tours.

With spending continuing at its current level, the study reads, Americans can expect their government to spend more than $6.7 trillion on war by the end of 2023—not including future interest costs.

“Moreover, the costs of war will likely be greater than this because, unless the U.S. immediately ends its deployments, the number of veterans associated with the post-9/11 wars will also grow,” Crawford wrote in the report.

The Watson Institute’s latest report comes days after another study detailing the estimated death toll of the so-called “War on Terror.” The Defense Department reported on about 500 civilian deaths in 2017 in various U.S. wars earlier this year and its website reports several thousands deaths of U.S. soldiers since 2001—numbers the Watson Institute also found to be severely underestimated as it reported abouthalf a million deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan as a result of the U.S. invasions and prolonged occupations of those countries.

“It’s important for the American people to understand the true costs of war, both the moral and monetary costs,” Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said in a statement.

“In sum, high costs in war and war-related spending pose a national security concern because they are unsustainable,” reads the Watson Institute’s report. “The public would be better served by increased transparency and by the development of a comprehensive strategy to end the wars and deal with other urgent national security priorities.”

17.11.2018 Pressenza London

Because ‘Good Planets Are Hard to Find,’ Extinction Rebellion Shuts Down London Bridges to Save Mother Earth
Demonstrators on the iconic Westminster Bridge in central London on Saturday, November 17. “We are peacefully standing up for the Earth and for humanity,” said Cecelia B of Extinction Rebellion. “People are dancing and singing and making new friends. This is a joyful rebellion and this is what the future looks like.” (Image by Extinction Rebellion)

Day of revolt leads to mass arrests in the UK as protest participants argue too many still don’t “recognize the seriousness of our existential crisis” and almost nobody is doing enough to end humanity’s wreckless assault on planet’s living systems by Jon Queally, staff  for Common Dreams

Mass arrests resulted on Saturday as thousands of people and members of the ‘Extinction Rebellion‘ movement—for “the first time in living memory”—shut down the five main bridges of central London in the name of saving the planet, and those who live upon it, from destructive over-consumption, runaway greenhouse gas emissions, and the ongoing failure of global leaders to address the compounding and intensifying threats.

“People are risking their liberty in defense of the living world in very large numbers. It is only when we are prepared to take such action that people begin to recognize the seriousness of our existential crisis.”
—George Monbiot“The ‘social contract’ has been broken … [and] it is therefore not only our right, but our moral duty to bypass the government’s inaction and flagrant dereliction of duty, and to rebel to defend life itself,” Gail Bradbrook, an Extinction Rebellion organizer, explained to the Guardian.

Tiana Jacout, another protest organizer, told the BBC that shutting down the bridges was “not a step we take lightly,” but “if things continue as is, we face an extinction greater than the one that killed the dinosaurs” millions of years ago.

“We have tried marching, and lobbying, and signing petitions,” she added. “Nothing has brought about the change that is needed.”

Screen grab. See Extinction Rebellion video in Common Dreams

“We are peacefully standing up for the Earth and for humanity,” Cecelia B of Extinction Rebellion, declared in a statement. “People are dancing and singing and making new friends. This is a joyful rebellion and this is what the future looks like.”

Journalist, author, and activist George Monbiot, who also participated in the direct actions, said, “Something I have been waiting for, for a very long time, is happening. People are risking their liberty in defense of the living world in very large numbers. It is only when we are prepared to take such action that people begin to recognize the seriousness of our existential crisis.”

“We are facing an unprecedented global emergency,” Extinction Rebellions separately states on its website. And with the government failing to act and the planet’s survival at stake, the group says “it’s going to take everything we’ve got.”

On the Waterloo Bridge, one speaker told participants: “Let’s do what it takes… good planets are hard to find.”

RebellionThe protesters’ call on UK elected leaders includes three demands:

  • The Government must tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens;
  • The Government must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels; and
  • A national Citizen’s Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.

In the initial declaration of purpose that informs the group’s ongoing actions, Extinction Rebellion states its belief that the current moment is humanity’s “darkest hour,” but that hope and time remains to change course if people decide to act urgently in accordance with the scale of the threats.

“Humanity finds itself embroiled in an event unprecedented in its history. One which, unless immediately addressed, will catapult us further into the destruction of all we hold dear: this nation, its peoples, our ecosystems and the future of generations to come,” the document reads. “The science is clear: we are in the sixth mass extinction event and we will face catastrophe if we do not act swiftly and robustly.”

And concludes: “We refuse to bequeath a dying planet to future generations by failing to act now. We act in peace, with ferocious love of these lands in our hearts. We act on behalf of life.”

Check out more photos, videos, and dispatches from the “Rebellion Day” below in Common Dreams

16.11.2018 – Rome, Italy Human Wrongs Watch

The Political Responsibility in the Collapse of Our Planet
(Image by Alejandro Rodríguez)

By Roberto Savio*

It is now clear that we have lost the battle in keeping the planet as we have known it. Now, of course, this can be considered a personal opinion of mine, devoid of objectivity.

Therefore, I will bring a lot of data, history and facts, to make it concrete. Data and facts have good value: they focus any debate, while ideas do not.

So those who do not like facts, please stop reading here. You will escape a boring article, as probably all of mine are, because I am not looking to entertain, but to create awareness. If you stop reading, you will also lose a chance to know our sad destiny.

As common in politics now, interests have won over values and vision. The ministers decided (with some resistance from Denmark and Portugal), to reduce Europe’s commitment.

This is going in the Trump direction, who left the Paris Agreement, to privilege American interests, without any attention to the planet. So, Europe is just following.

Of course, those alive now will not pay any price: the next generations will be the victims of a world more and more inhospitable.

Few of the people who made to Paris in 2015, solemn engagements in the name of all humankind to save the planet, will be alive 30 years from now, when the change will become irreversible.

And it will be also clear that humans are the only animals who do not defend nor protect their habitat.

First of all, the Paris’ Agreement was adopted by the 195 participating countries, of which 171 have already subscribed to the treaty, in just two years. Which is fine, except that the treaty is just a collection of good wishes, without any concrete engagement. To start with, it does not set up specific and verifiable engagements.

Every country will set its own targets, and will be responsible for its implementation.  It is like to ask all citizens of a country to decide how much taxes they want to pay, and leave to them to comply, without any possible sanction.

Europe engaged in Paris in 2015, to reach 27% of renewable energies (by scaling down the use of fossils), fixing a target of 20% for 2020. Well, from 27%, it went down to 24.3%. In addition, the ministers decided to keep subsidies for the fossils industry, until 2030 instead of 2020, as planned.

And while the proposal of the Commission was that fossils plants would lose subsidies if they did not cut their emissions to 500 grams of CO2 per ton by 2020, the ministers extended subsidies until 2025.

Finally, the Commission proposed to cut biofuels (fuels made with products for human consumption, like palm oil) to 3.8%. Well, the ministers, in spite of all their declarations about the fight against hunger in the world, decided to double that, at 7%.

Now let us go back to the real flaw of the Paris Agreement. Scientists took two decades to conclude with certitude that climate change is caused by human activities, despite a strong and well financed fight by the coal and fuel industry, to say otherwise.

The International Panel on Climate Change, is an organization under the auspices of the UN, whose members are 194 countries, but its strength comes from the more than 2.000 scientists from 154 countries who work together on climate.

It took them from 1988, (when the IPCC was established), to 2013, to reach a definitive conclusion: the only way to stop the planet deteriorating more rapidly, emissions should not exceed 1.5 centigrade over what was the Earth’ temperature in 1850.

In other words, our planet is deteriorating already, and we cannot revert that. We have emitted too much gas and pollution, that are at work already. But by halting this process, we can stabilize it, but never cancel what we did cause, at least for thousands of years.

The Industrial revolution is considered to start in 1746, when industrial mills replaced individual weavers. But it started in great scale in the second half of the 19th century, with the second industrial revolution.

This   involved the use of science in the production, by inventing engines, railways, creating factories, and other means of industrial production. We started to register temperatures in 1850, when this was done with thermometers. So, we can see how coal, fossils and other fuels started to interact with the atmosphere.

What the scientists concluded was that if we went over 1,5 centigrade of the 1.850’s temperature, we would irreversibly cross a red line: we will not be able to change the trend, and climate will be out of control, with very dramatic consequences for the planet.

Paris conference is a final act of a process who started in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, with the Conference on Environment and Development, where two leaders have now pass away, Boutros Boutros Ghali and Maurice Strong, ran the first summit of heads of state on the issue of environment.

Incidentally, it is worth remembering that Strong, a man who spent all his life to make environment a central issue, did open up the conference for the first time to representatives of civil society, beyond governmental delegations. Over 20.000 organizations, academicians, activist come to Rio, starting the creation of a global civil society recognized by the international community.

In 1997, as a result of Rio Conference, the Kyoto Treaty was adopted, with the aim to reduce emissions. The results show that during the nearly two decades bringing to Paris, the results are very modest.

Coal went from 45,05% in 1950, to 28.64 in 2016, also because of new technologies, but petrol increased from19.46, to 33.91 and renewables were a negligible reality.  So, Paris was left with a very urgent task, after having lost already two decades.

And according to the World Bank, in 2014 there are 1,017 billion people without electricity, with Africa where only 20% of people has access to electricity. For all these people, we should provide renewable energy, to avoid a dramatic increase of emissions.

Paris was supposed to be really a global agreement, unlike Tokyo.  So, to bring as many countries as possible on board, it is a little known dirty secret that the UN decided to put as a goal not the very tight 1,5 centigrade as a target, but a more palatable 2 centigrade.

But unfortunately, the consensus is that we have already passed the 1.5 centigrade. And the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), has estimated that the engagements taken by the countries in Paris, if not changed, will bring us to 6 centigrade, an increase that according to the scientific community would make a large part of the earth inhabitable.

In fact, in the last four years we had the hottest summers since 1850. And in 2018 we have the highest record of emissions in history, because they have reached 41.5 gigatons. Of those, 90% comes from activities related to human actions, while renewables (cost for which has now become competitive with fossils), still cover only 18% of the energy consumed in the world. And now let us move to another important dirty secret.

While we talk on how to reduce the use of fossils, we are doing the opposite.  At this very moment, we spend 10 million dollars per minute, to subsidize the fossils industry.

Just counting direct subsidies, they are between 775 billion dollars to 1 trillion, according to the UN. The official figure just in the G20 is 444 billion. But then, the International Monetary Fund accepted the economists’ view that subsidies are not only cash: it is the use of the earth and society, like destruction of soil, use of water, political tariffs (the so-called externalities, the cost which exists but are external to the budget of the companies).

If we do that, we reach the staggering amount of 5.3 trillion: they were 4.9 trillion in 2013. That is 6.5% of the global Gross National Product and that is what it costs to governments, society and earth, to use fossils.

That was nowhere in in the news media. Few know the strength of the fossils industry. Trump wants to reopen the mines, not only because that brings him votes by those who lost an obsolete job, but because the fossils industry is a strong backer of the Republican party. The billionaire Koch brothers, the largest owners of coal mines in the US, have declared that they have spent 800 million dollars in the last electoral campaign.

Someone might say: these things happen in the US but according to the respected Transparency International, there are over 40.000 lobbyists in Europe, working to exercise political influence.

The Corporate Europe Observatory, which studies the financial sector, found out that it spends just in Brussels 120 million a year, and employs 1.700 lobbyists. It found that they lobbied against regulations, with more than 700 organizations, which outnumbered trade unions and civil society organizations, by a factor of seven.

The power of the fossils industry explains why in 2009 governments helped the sector with 557 billion dollars, and only 43 to 46 billion dollars to all renewable industry (International Energy Agency estimates).

It is clear that citizens have no idea that a part of their money is going to keep alive, with good profits, a sector which is well aware that they are key in the destruction of our planet. A sector that knows well that they are now emitting 400 particles of CO2 per million, when the red line was considered 350 particles PM. But people do not know, and this is a spectacular feast of hypocrisy that goes on.

The UN, in 2015, conducted an extensive poll, with the participation of 9.7 million people. They were asked to choose as their priorities six themes out of 16. The first of the themes presented was climate change. Well, the first one chosen, with 6.5 million of preferences, was “a good education”.

The second and third, with over 5 million of preferences, were “a better health system”, and “better opportunities for work”.

The last of the 16 themes, with less than 2 million, was the “climate change. “And this was also in the preferences of the least developed countries, who are going to be the major victims of climate change. The 4.3 millions poorest participants, from the least developed countries, put again education first (3 million preferences); climate change was last, with 561.000 votes…

Not even in Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia, islands which could disappear, climate change was at the first place. This is an ample proof that people do not realize where we are: at a threshold of the survival of our planet, as we have known it for several thousand years.

So, if citizens are not aware, and therefore not concerned, why should the politicians be? The answer is because they are elected by citizens to represent their interests, and they can make more informed decisions. How does this ring in your ears? With lobbyist all over fighting for interests, what can be well sold as jobs and stability?

And now, let us bring a last dirty secret, to show how far we are from really addressing the control of our climate. In addition to what we said, there is a very important issue, that has even been discussed in Paris: the agreements are entirely about the reduction of emissions by the fossils’ industry. Other emissions have been left entirely out.

Now, a documentary, the Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, produced by Leonardo di Caprio, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyTFZefMvZ8 has ordered several data presented by vegans, on the impact of animals in the climate change.  They are considered somehow exaggerated. But their dimensions are so big, that they add anyhow another nail to our coffin.

Animals emit not CO2, but methane which is at least 25 % more damaging than C02. There is recognition by the UN, that while all means of transportation, from cars to planes, contribute to 13% of emissions, cows do with 18%…

And the real problem is the use of water, a key theme that we have no way to address in this article. Water is considered even by military strategists to be soon the cause of conflicts, as petrol has been for a long time.

One pound of beef uses 2.500 gallons of water. That means that a hamburger is the equivalent of two months of showers…! And to have 1 gallon of milk, you need 100 gallons of water. And people worldwide, use one tenth of what cows need. Cattle uses 33% of all water, 45% of the earth, and are the cause of 91% of the Amazon deforestation.

They also produce waste 130 times more than human beings. Pig raising in the Netherlands is creating serious problems because theirs waste acidity is reducing usable land. And consumption of meat is increasing in Asia and Africa, very fast, it is considered a mark of reaching the choices of rich societies.

Beside this serious impact on the planet, there is also a strong paradox of sustainability for our human population. We are now 7.5 billion people, and we will reach soon 9 billion. The total food production worldwide could feed 13 to 14 billion people. Of this a considerable part goes wasted, and does not reach people (theme for an article by itself). But the food for animals could feed 6 billion people. And we have one billion people starving.

\This is proof how far we are from using resources rationally for the people living on earth. We have enough resources for everybody, but we cannot administer them rationally. The number of obese has reached the number of those starving.

The logical solution in this situation would be to reach an agreement on a global governance, in the interest of the planet of humankind. Well, we are going in the opposite direction. The international system is besieged by nationalism, which makes increasingly impossible to reach meaningful solutions. Let us conclude with a last example: overfishing.  It is now two decades that the World Trade Organisation (which is not part of the UN, and was built in contrast to the UN) tries to reach an agreement on over- fishing with mega nets, who scoop up an enormous quantity of fish: 2.7 trillion, of which they keep only one fifth, and they throw back four fifth.

Well, at the last WTO conference on the 13 December in Buenos Aires, governments were again not able to reach an agreement on how to limit illicit fishing. Big fishes are now down at 10% of 1970.And we are exploiting one third of all stocks. It is estimated that illegal fishing puts between 10 billion and 23 billion on the black market, according to a study by 17 specialized agencies, with a full list of names.

And again, governments spend 20 billion per year to finance the increase of their fishing industry…another example of how interest win on the common good.

I think now we have enough data, to realize the inability of governments to take seriously their responsibilities, because they have the necessary information to know that we are going toward a disaster.

In a normal world, Trump’s declaration that Climate control is a Chinese hoax, and it is invented against the interest of United States, should have caused more global emotion.

Also, because while Trump’s internal policies are an American question, climate is affecting all the 7.5 billion in the planet, and Trump was elected by less than a quarter of eligible voters: nearly 63 million. Too little to take decisions which affect all humankind.

And now European ministers are following, as a proverb says, money speaks and ideas murmur… And there are many who are preparing to speculate on climate change. Now that we have lost 70% of the ice of the North Pole, the maritime industry is gearing to use the Northern Route, which will cut cost and time by a 17%. And the British wine industry, since the warming of the planet, is increasing production by 5% each year.

The vineyards planted in Kent or Sussex, with a calcar soil, are now bought from producers of Champagne, who plan to move there. The UK is already producing 5 million bottles of wine and sparkling wines, which are all sold. This Christmas, local sparkling wine will exceed champagnes, caves, prosecco and other traditional Christmas drinks.

We have all seen, at no avail, the increase of hurricanes and storms, also in Europe, and a record spread of wildfires. The UN estimates that at least 800 million people will be displaced by climate change making uninhabitable several parts of the world. Where they will go? Not to the United States or Europe, where they are seen as invaders.

We forget that the Syrian crisis came after four years of drought (1996-2000) which displaced over a million peasants to the towns. The ensuing discontent fuelled the war, with now 400.000 dead and six million refugees. When citizens will awake to the damages, it will be too late. Scientists think that it will become clearly evident after thirty years.

So why do we worry now? That is a problem for the next generation, and companies will continue to make money until the last minute, with complicity of governments and their support, so, let us ride the climate change tide. Let us buy a good bottle of British champagne, let us drink it on a luxury cruise line over the Pole, and let the orchestra play, as they did in the Titanic until the last minute!

*Roberto Savio is the founder and former Director-General of international news agency Inter Press Service (IPS).

In recent years he has also founded Other News, a service providing ‘information that markets eliminate’.

15.11.2018 Pressenza IPA

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Learning collaborative mechanisms

In this world which is so individualistic and greedy, many new collaborative initiatives are arising that paradoxically raise money, not for the benefit of anyone in particular, but to support joint projects that contribute to a better social atmosphere and which require a small economic push to do so.

This is precisely the case of our international news agency Pressenza, which gives visibility to news, proposals, initiatives and scenarios related to peace, nonviolence, disarmament, human rights and the fight against all forms of discrimination.

Pressenza supports a universalist humanist perspective and is part of an extensive network of new media, which achieves a global reach for local proposals. It publishes in eight languages daily and builds bridges between countries, regions, continents and peoples. It favours positive news, constructive perspectives and demonstration effects.

It is a nonprofit initiative, with no commercial sponsorship or government support, the site contains no advertising. Pressenza is a project carried out solely by volunteers from more than 40 countries. All our materials are published under a Creative Commons 4.0 license and can be used for free, unless otherwise stated in the articles.

It is an online medium that publishes around 800 articles, videos, photo reports and podcasts every month. We are celebrating 10 years since our foundation and we’re looking to make a big leap forward in our reach.

The core of Pressenza is our server that has to host growing amounts of data, handle more and more access. At the same time hacker attacks against the site are increasing.

In fact the web-site is reaching its limits and is in danger of becoming unstable. At the same time, we want to bring our peace media project forward and therefore we need more server resources.

Our independence and where the money comes from are very important to us. We trust you and ask for your support to cover the following needs:

  • Increase our server-space
  • Increase simultaneous access to the site
  • Optimise and speed up the site
  • External expertise to secure and improve the database

If you want to donate, even small amounts, here is the link where you can do it: http://kck.st/2OGb3Mc

It won’t take you more than 3 minutes and we would appreciate it a great deal!

15.11.2018 – Bangladesh Human Wrongs Watch

“Terror and Panic” among Rohingya Refugees in Southern Bangladesh Who Are at Imminent Risk of Being Returned to Myanmar against Their Will
Over 720,000 members of Myanmar’s Rohingya community have sought refuge in Bangladesh after widespread ethnic violence erupted in the country’s Rakhine province. (Image by UNICEF/Brown)

There is “terror and panic” among Rohingya refugees in southern Bangladesh, who are at imminent risk of being returned to Myanmar against their will, the United Nations top human rights official has said, warning that the returns would seriously endanger the lives of those sent back.

According to the UN human rights office, OHCHR, some of the refugees have threatened suicide if they are forced to return, and two elderly men in Cox’s Bazar have already attempted suicide.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, underlined that with “complete lack of accountability” and ongoing violations in Myanmar, repatriations effectively means “throwing back” the refugees into the same cycle of human rights violations that they “have been suffering for decades.”

There are plans for the repatriation of more than 2,200 Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. However, refugees have stated repeatedly that they do not wish to return under current conditions, OHCHR added. In addition, several families apparently listed for return are headed by women or children, placing them at heightened risk.

Ms. Bachelet also stressed that forcibly expelling or returning refugees is a “clear violation of the core legal principle of non-refoulment,” which forbids repatriation where there are threats of persecution or serious risks to the life, physical integrity or liberty.

Any returns must take place in line with international standards of voluntariness, safety and dignity, with full transparency, and only when the conditions are right, added Ms. Bachelet.

The UN human rights chief also called on the Government of Myanmar to show its seriousness in creating the conditions for return by addressing the root causes of the crisis in Rakhine state.

Since late August 2017, widespread and systematic violence against Myanmar’s mainly-Muslim minority Rohingya, has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes in Rakhine state and seek refuge across the country’s border, in Bangladesh. Prior to that, well over 200,000 Rohingya refugees were sheltering in Bangladesh due to earlier displacements.

“The history of the Rohingya in Myanmar is one filled with repeated episodes of violence, flight and return,” said Ms. Bachelet, calling on the international community “to speak with one voice to stop this cycle from repeating itself yet again.”

According to estimates, there are some 925,000 Rohingya refugees sheltering in Bangladesh, most of them in the district of Cox’s Bazar, once an idyllic coastal town, transformed into the largest refugee settlement in the world, in just a matter of months.

13.11.2018 – Australia Robert Burrowes

The War to End War 100 Years On: An Evaluation and Reorientation of our Resistance to War
(Image by Deutsche Welle)

British author and social commentator H.G. Wells may have coined the expression that originally popularized World War I as The War that Will End War, as his book, based on articles written during that vast military conflict, was titled. In any case, in one version or another, the expression was one of the most common catchphrases of the Great War of 1914-1918 and has survived as an expression, often used with a grimace of sarcasm, ever since.

As we commemorate the passing of the 100th anniversary of the armistice ending ‘the war to end war’, one can only marvel at how wrong humans can be sometimes. Not content with the violence inflicted during World War I, humans used the twentieth century to systematically decimate human and other life as violence and war raged across the planet with an increasingly massive and sophisticated armory. In fact, by mid-century, in a tribute to their technological ingenuity and psychological dysfunctionality, humans had invented a weapon that could destroy life on Earth.

And by the beginning of the 21st century, humans were living in the era of perpetual war against life – see

‘Humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970, report finds’ and Living Planet Report 2018: Aiming Higher’ – with war also the largest contributor to the climate catastrophe: ‘Not only is the Pentagon the single largest industrial consumer of fossil fuels, but fighter jets, destroyers, tanks and other weapons systems emit highly toxic, carbon-intensive emissions, not to mention the greenhouse gases that are released from the detonation of bombs. How quickly the world forgot the toxic legacy of Saddam Hussein’s oil fires!’ See War and Climate Change: Time to Connect the Dots’.

So advanced is our war against life that human extinction is now imminent. See ‘Human Extinction by 2026? A Last Ditch Strategy to Fight for Human Survival’.

Resisting war historically

Of course, the failure to end war has not been the outcome of lack of effort. And while there have been many efforts focused on ending a particular war, efforts directed at ending a particular aspect of war (such as the use of a type of weapon), and efforts aimed at preventing a type of war (such as aggressive war or nuclear war), there have also been ongoing efforts to achieve ‘the holy grail’: to end war itself.

These attempts have included ongoing grassroots mobilization by anti-war organizations spawned by World War I (such as the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom founded in 1915 and War Resisters’ International founded in 1921) and many equivalents since that time, official attempts to outlaw war such as the Kellogg-Briand Pact that outlawed war in 1928 but has been ignored ever since – see League of Nations ‘Treaty Series’ vol. XCIV, 1929, p. 63 – and institutional efforts to prevent it, particularly by establishment of the League of Nations in 1920 and its successor the United Nations in 1945, both also readily ignored or manipulated.

Separately from the above, however, there has been a long history of nonviolent activism to end wars and this has been conducted by individuals and groups all over the world. Undoubtedly the most effective anti-war movement in history was that undertaken in response to the US war against Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Inspired and supported by the nonviolent resistance of the civilian population, and building on the long history of resistance to war within the military – see, for example, The Soldiers’ Strikes of 1919 – there was widespread nonviolent resistance undertaken by US troops and conscripts to end the US war against Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos from 1968 until it ended in 1975.

If you like, you can read detailed descriptions of the systematic and ongoing resistance (nonviolent and otherwise) within the US military, in many forms, which progressively incapacitated the US Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force during the last years of the war, forcing the US out of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. See Soldiers in Revolt: GI Resistance During the Vietnam War and Self-Destruction: The Disintegration and Decay of the United States Army during the Vietnam Era with a summary of the first book in ‘Antiwar Resistance Within the Military During the Vietnam War’ and a review of it in ‘The soldiers’ revolt in Vietnam: Rebellion in the ranks’.

For a documentary account of the conscientious objection by more than half a million US conscripts to military service in South East Asia during this period, which overwhelmed the legal system making prosecutions beyond a token few impossible and, combined with soldier resistance and civilian efforts, forced Presidents Johnson and Nixon to curtail plans to escalate the war and make plans to end it, see the forthcoming film The Boys Who Said NO!

Reanalysing the Cause of War to Reorient our Resistance

So, if we are to use this 100th anniversary to renew our struggle to end war and to work effectively to achieve that purpose, then clearly we need to reassess our analysis of the cause(s) of war so that we understand the problem more precisely, and then use this revised analysis to guide the development and implementation of a strategy that addresses the cause(s). Of course, I am not suggesting that ending war will be easy, even with a sound analysis and a comprehensive strategy. But at least it will be feasible.

Before proceeding, I would like to record my own passion for this subject. I lost two great uncles to World War I: Tom Farrell was killed in action at Gallipoli and Les Burrowes was a victim of ‘shell shock’ – later labeled post-traumatic stress disorder – after being wounded in action three times at Gallipoli and then dying prematurely some years after the war.

My father served in World War II as a coastwatcher and both of his brothers, including his twin, were killed. I am named after my father’s older brother. Bob died when the Japanese POW ship Montevideo Maru was torpedoed by the USS Sturgeon on 1 July 1942. 1,053 Australian POWs died that night. And my father’s twin, Tom, died when his Beaufort Bomber was shot down on 14 December 1943 killing the entire crew.

So my childhood is dotted with memories of occasional commemorations of war which, for me, always ended with the same question: Why? But not just ‘why war?’ Given other manifestations of violence I observed around the world during my childhood, including exploitation of peoples in Africa, Asia and Central/South America as well as destruction of the environment, the deeper question was always my focus: ‘Why violence?’

Well, despite considerable research over three decades, I was never content with any version of the answer to this question that I found. Consequently, 14 years in seclusion with Anita McKone ‘taking our own minds apart’ finally gave me the answer I wanted. In ugly detail. If you would like to read this answer, which explains the unrelenting ‘visible’, ‘invisible’ and ‘utterly invisible’ violence that adults inflict on children and the enormous lifetime damage (including the legacy of unconscious fear, self hatred and powerlessness) that this causes, you can do so in Why Violence?’ with our process described in Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice.

Needless to say, understanding a problem makes developing a strategy to address it far easier (which does not mean that the problem is easy to resolve). However, it is also the case that violence has many manifestations – notably including war, violence against huge sectors of the human population in various contexts (ranging from violence against women and indigenous peoples to military occupations and dictatorships), economic exploitation and destruction of the biosphere – and tackling each of these effectively requires its own sophisticated nonviolent strategy.

This is partly because certain manifestations of violence are structural – see ‘Violence, Peace, and Peace Research’ – or cultural – see ‘Cultural Violence’ – as Professor Johan Galtung describes these terms, and they originated long ago and have been recreated and ‘built-in’ over successive centuries.

However, it is important to understand that the nature of any given structure or cultural symbol/process reflects the psychology of those who create and/or maintain it. That is, it is dysfunctionalized human beings who create and maintain dysfunctional (that is, violent and/or exploitative) structures and cultures.

So, for example, while the origin of capitalism can be explained in terms of the development of economic structures and processes that took place over preceding centuries (in a particular socio-political-legal setting), fundamentally the exploitative nature of capitalism is a direct outcome of the badly damaged psychology of those men who progressively created it and now those men (and some women) who maintain it, expand it and primarily benefit from the manner in which it exploits most others.

And if those men and women were not psychologically damaged by the violence they suffered during childhood, then they would devote their efforts to creating egalitarian economic structures and processes that benefited everyone equally and nurtured the biosphere. In short, a human being who is psychologically whole regards the idea of killing or exploiting a fellow human being as deplorable. This is not a moral stance. It is a psychological outcome for the child who is parented lovingly: such parenting produces compassionate identification with others (and, in fact, everything that lives and the biosphere as a whole).

The same reasoning applies to the institution of war particularly as it has evolved and is now conducted by western nations, led by the US, and their allies such as Israel. War is a method of conducting conflict. It has a great many components including elites who promote war-for-profit by using various channels such as ‘think tanks’, the corporate media, government propaganda and education systems to call for and ‘justify’ it, political processes to order it, legal processes to defend it (including against those who take nonviolent action against it), military command, control and communication structures to plan and implement it, corporations employing a labor force to manufacture weapons and other hardware to be used in it, military personnel to deploy and fire the weapons, and citizens willing to pay taxes (or too scared to resist doing so) to finance it.

But at every level of the institution of war, and despite vast advances in peace, conflict and nonviolence theory and practice during the past 60 years, it requires individuals who were terrorized during their childhood into believing that killing fellow human beings is an appropriate way to deal with conflict (or, a variation, that killing human beings is a reasonable way to earn a wage or make a profit). And because they are so psychologically damaged and now deeply embedded within the institution of war, consideration of alternatives to violence is only tokenistically contemplated, if at all (with occasional exceptions by those whose conscience survived the childhood violence they suffered). If you like, you can read a little more about how childhood violence creates insane individuals who perpetuate violence and war in articles such as ‘The Global Elite is Insane Revisited’ but there is plenty more on that website.

In essence, if most human beings were not so psychologically damaged by the violence inflicted on them during childhood (leaving them unconsciously terrified, self-hating and powerless), there would be a mass uprising against the barbarity of war: the large-scale industrial slaughter of people like you.

So what are we to do?

Well, if we consider war as an outcome not of political and economic differences manifesting as military violence but, fundamentally, as an outcome of psychological dysfunctionality preventing intelligent resolution of conflict, then our strategy for ending war can acquire a sophistication it must otherwise lack. Put simply, by understanding the psychological roots of violence we can develop and implement a strategy that intelligently addresses these, both in the short and medium terms.

So how do we tackle, strategically, the interrelated set of problems that constitute the institution of war?

If your primary interest is focusing on war itself, check out the Nonviolent Strategy Wheel which simply illustrates the 12-point strategic framework necessary to conduct an effective nonviolent campaign and then consider the basic list of 35 strategic goals necessary to end war. Choose one or a few goals appropriate to your circumstances and conduct a strategically-oriented nonviolent campaign, as explained on the same website, to achieve those goals.

If you are concerned that you need some form of military defense against those who might attack your country, it is actually strategically superior to use a strategy of nonviolent defense, which is explained in detail in The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A Gandhian Approach and presented more simply in Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy. In fact, this strategic framework can be used to plan and implement a nonviolent strategy to defend against a foreign invading power or a political/military coup, to liberate your country from a dictatorship or a foreign occupation, or to defeat a genocidal assault.

As an aside, if your preferred focus is the climate catastrophe, some other assault on the biosphere or a social justice campaign of any kind, the Nonviolent Strategy website will assist you to develop a comprehensive and focused strategy.

When conducting any campaign, keep in mind a clear understanding of ‘Nonviolent Action: Why and How it Works’ and remember the distinction between The Political Objective and Strategic Goal of Nonviolent Actions’. By keeping these points in mind, your campaign (including each of your tactics) will be focused for strategic impact.

If your interest in ending war is more focused on undermining it at its source, consider making ‘My Promise to Children’ and nisteling, whenever appropriate, to children too. See ‘Nisteling: The Art of Deep Listening’.

This will mean that any children in your life are supported, at least by you, to become self-loving and powerful individuals who are immune to the seductions and indoctrination of those who advocate and make war while developing the capacity to pursue life-enhancing behavioral options when dealing with conflict.

If parenting children in this manner feels beyond you, consider allowing yourself the time to heal from the violence that you have suffered throughout your life. See Putting Feelings First’.

And don’t forget: while depending on our psychological dysfunctionality to accept, finance and conduct war as a means of dealing with conflict, at its most mundane level, war is a conflict over resources, particularly fossil fuels, strategic minerals and fresh water, and it is our consumption of these, in all of those products (such as meat and cars) and services (like airline flights) that we buy, that fuels the wars conducted in our name while also destroying the biosphere in various other ways. (If you want to understand the psychological origin of this obsession with material goods, see ‘Love Denied: The Psychology of Materialism, Violence and War’.) In short, there is no point deluding ourselves that we can subvert this violent world order without substantially reducing our consumption on all fronts.

So another way you can have strategic impact in undermining the institution of war (and capitalism), while slowing destruction of the biosphere, is to join those participating in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’. The Flame Tree Project outlines a simple plan for people to progressively reduce their consumption, by at least 80%, involving both energy and resources of every kind – water, household energy, transport fuels, metals, meat, paper and plastic – while dramatically expanding their individual and community self-reliance in 16 areas.

You might also be interested in signing the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’ where the names of many people who are working to end war (and other violence) are already listed.

Ending war is not impossible. Far from it, in fact. But it is going to take a phenomenal amount of intelligent strategic effort, courage and commitment.

13.11.2018 – Australia Robert Burrowes

The War to End War 100 Years On: An Evaluation and Reorientation of our Resistance to War
(Image by Deutsche Welle)

British author and social commentator H.G. Wells may have coined the expression that originally popularized World War I as The War that Will End War, as his book, based on articles written during that vast military conflict, was titled. In any case, in one version or another, the expression was one of the most common catchphrases of the Great War of 1914-1918 and has survived as an expression, often used with a grimace of sarcasm, ever since.

As we commemorate the passing of the 100th anniversary of the armistice ending ‘the war to end war’, one can only marvel at how wrong humans can be sometimes. Not content with the violence inflicted during World War I, humans used the twentieth century to systematically decimate human and other life as violence and war raged across the planet with an increasingly massive and sophisticated armory. In fact, by mid-century, in a tribute to their technological ingenuity and psychological dysfunctionality, humans had invented a weapon that could destroy life on Earth.

And by the beginning of the 21st century, humans were living in the era of perpetual war against life – see

‘Humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970, report finds’ and Living Planet Report 2018: Aiming Higher’ – with war also the largest contributor to the climate catastrophe: ‘Not only is the Pentagon the single largest industrial consumer of fossil fuels, but fighter jets, destroyers, tanks and other weapons systems emit highly toxic, carbon-intensive emissions, not to mention the greenhouse gases that are released from the detonation of bombs. How quickly the world forgot the toxic legacy of Saddam Hussein’s oil fires!’ See War and Climate Change: Time to Connect the Dots’.

So advanced is our war against life that human extinction is now imminent. See ‘Human Extinction by 2026? A Last Ditch Strategy to Fight for Human Survival’.

Resisting war historically

Of course, the failure to end war has not been the outcome of lack of effort. And while there have been many efforts focused on ending a particular war, efforts directed at ending a particular aspect of war (such as the use of a type of weapon), and efforts aimed at preventing a type of war (such as aggressive war or nuclear war), there have also been ongoing efforts to achieve ‘the holy grail’: to end war itself.

These attempts have included ongoing grassroots mobilization by anti-war organizations spawned by World War I (such as the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom founded in 1915 and War Resisters’ International founded in 1921) and many equivalents since that time, official attempts to outlaw war such as the Kellogg-Briand Pact that outlawed war in 1928 but has been ignored ever since – see League of Nations ‘Treaty Series’ vol. XCIV, 1929, p. 63 – and institutional efforts to prevent it, particularly by establishment of the League of Nations in 1920 and its successor the United Nations in 1945, both also readily ignored or manipulated.

Separately from the above, however, there has been a long history of nonviolent activism to end wars and this has been conducted by individuals and groups all over the world. Undoubtedly the most effective anti-war movement in history was that undertaken in response to the US war against Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Inspired and supported by the nonviolent resistance of the civilian population, and building on the long history of resistance to war within the military – see, for example, The Soldiers’ Strikes of 1919 – there was widespread nonviolent resistance undertaken by US troops and conscripts to end the US war against Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos from 1968 until it ended in 1975.

If you like, you can read detailed descriptions of the systematic and ongoing resistance (nonviolent and otherwise) within the US military, in many forms, which progressively incapacitated the US Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force during the last years of the war, forcing the US out of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. See Soldiers in Revolt: GI Resistance During the Vietnam War and Self-Destruction: The Disintegration and Decay of the United States Army during the Vietnam Era with a summary of the first book in ‘Antiwar Resistance Within the Military During the Vietnam War’ and a review of it in ‘The soldiers’ revolt in Vietnam: Rebellion in the ranks’.

For a documentary account of the conscientious objection by more than half a million US conscripts to military service in South East Asia during this period, which overwhelmed the legal system making prosecutions beyond a token few impossible and, combined with soldier resistance and civilian efforts, forced Presidents Johnson and Nixon to curtail plans to escalate the war and make plans to end it, see the forthcoming film The Boys Who Said NO!

Reanalysing the Cause of War to Reorient our Resistance

So, if we are to use this 100th anniversary to renew our struggle to end war and to work effectively to achieve that purpose, then clearly we need to reassess our analysis of the cause(s) of war so that we understand the problem more precisely, and then use this revised analysis to guide the development and implementation of a strategy that addresses the cause(s). Of course, I am not suggesting that ending war will be easy, even with a sound analysis and a comprehensive strategy. But at least it will be feasible.

Before proceeding, I would like to record my own passion for this subject. I lost two great uncles to World War I: Tom Farrell was killed in action at Gallipoli and Les Burrowes was a victim of ‘shell shock’ – later labeled post-traumatic stress disorder – after being wounded in action three times at Gallipoli and then dying prematurely some years after the war.

My father served in World War II as a coastwatcher and both of his brothers, including his twin, were killed. I am named after my father’s older brother. Bob died when the Japanese POW ship Montevideo Maru was torpedoed by the USS Sturgeon on 1 July 1942. 1,053 Australian POWs died that night. And my father’s twin, Tom, died when his Beaufort Bomber was shot down on 14 December 1943 killing the entire crew.

So my childhood is dotted with memories of occasional commemorations of war which, for me, always ended with the same question: Why? But not just ‘why war?’ Given other manifestations of violence I observed around the world during my childhood, including exploitation of peoples in Africa, Asia and Central/South America as well as destruction of the environment, the deeper question was always my focus: ‘Why violence?’

Well, despite considerable research over three decades, I was never content with any version of the answer to this question that I found. Consequently, 14 years in seclusion with Anita McKone ‘taking our own minds apart’ finally gave me the answer I wanted. In ugly detail. If you would like to read this answer, which explains the unrelenting ‘visible’, ‘invisible’ and ‘utterly invisible’ violence that adults inflict on children and the enormous lifetime damage (including the legacy of unconscious fear, self hatred and powerlessness) that this causes, you can do so in Why Violence?’ with our process described in Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice.

Needless to say, understanding a problem makes developing a strategy to address it far easier (which does not mean that the problem is easy to resolve). However, it is also the case that violence has many manifestations – notably including war, violence against huge sectors of the human population in various contexts (ranging from violence against women and indigenous peoples to military occupations and dictatorships), economic exploitation and destruction of the biosphere – and tackling each of these effectively requires its own sophisticated nonviolent strategy.

This is partly because certain manifestations of violence are structural – see ‘Violence, Peace, and Peace Research’ – or cultural – see ‘Cultural Violence’ – as Professor Johan Galtung describes these terms, and they originated long ago and have been recreated and ‘built-in’ over successive centuries.

However, it is important to understand that the nature of any given structure or cultural symbol/process reflects the psychology of those who create and/or maintain it. That is, it is dysfunctionalized human beings who create and maintain dysfunctional (that is, violent and/or exploitative) structures and cultures.

So, for example, while the origin of capitalism can be explained in terms of the development of economic structures and processes that took place over preceding centuries (in a particular socio-political-legal setting), fundamentally the exploitative nature of capitalism is a direct outcome of the badly damaged psychology of those men who progressively created it and now those men (and some women) who maintain it, expand it and primarily benefit from the manner in which it exploits most others.

And if those men and women were not psychologically damaged by the violence they suffered during childhood, then they would devote their efforts to creating egalitarian economic structures and processes that benefited everyone equally and nurtured the biosphere. In short, a human being who is psychologically whole regards the idea of killing or exploiting a fellow human being as deplorable. This is not a moral stance. It is a psychological outcome for the child who is parented lovingly: such parenting produces compassionate identification with others (and, in fact, everything that lives and the biosphere as a whole).

The same reasoning applies to the institution of war particularly as it has evolved and is now conducted by western nations, led by the US, and their allies such as Israel. War is a method of conducting conflict. It has a great many components including elites who promote war-for-profit by using various channels such as ‘think tanks’, the corporate media, government propaganda and education systems to call for and ‘justify’ it, political processes to order it, legal processes to defend it (including against those who take nonviolent action against it), military command, control and communication structures to plan and implement it, corporations employing a labor force to manufacture weapons and other hardware to be used in it, military personnel to deploy and fire the weapons, and citizens willing to pay taxes (or too scared to resist doing so) to finance it.

But at every level of the institution of war, and despite vast advances in peace, conflict and nonviolence theory and practice during the past 60 years, it requires individuals who were terrorized during their childhood into believing that killing fellow human beings is an appropriate way to deal with conflict (or, a variation, that killing human beings is a reasonable way to earn a wage or make a profit). And because they are so psychologically damaged and now deeply embedded within the institution of war, consideration of alternatives to violence is only tokenistically contemplated, if at all (with occasional exceptions by those whose conscience survived the childhood violence they suffered). If you like, you can read a little more about how childhood violence creates insane individuals who perpetuate violence and war in articles such as ‘The Global Elite is Insane Revisited’ but there is plenty more on that website.

In essence, if most human beings were not so psychologically damaged by the violence inflicted on them during childhood (leaving them unconsciously terrified, self-hating and powerless), there would be a mass uprising against the barbarity of war: the large-scale industrial slaughter of people like you.

So what are we to do?

Well, if we consider war as an outcome not of political and economic differences manifesting as military violence but, fundamentally, as an outcome of psychological dysfunctionality preventing intelligent resolution of conflict, then our strategy for ending war can acquire a sophistication it must otherwise lack. Put simply, by understanding the psychological roots of violence we can develop and implement a strategy that intelligently addresses these, both in the short and medium terms.

So how do we tackle, strategically, the interrelated set of problems that constitute the institution of war?

If your primary interest is focusing on war itself, check out the Nonviolent Strategy Wheel which simply illustrates the 12-point strategic framework necessary to conduct an effective nonviolent campaign and then consider the basic list of 35 strategic goals necessary to end war. Choose one or a few goals appropriate to your circumstances and conduct a strategically-oriented nonviolent campaign, as explained on the same website, to achieve those goals.

If you are concerned that you need some form of military defense against those who might attack your country, it is actually strategically superior to use a strategy of nonviolent defense, which is explained in detail in The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A Gandhian Approach and presented more simply in Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy. In fact, this strategic framework can be used to plan and implement a nonviolent strategy to defend against a foreign invading power or a political/military coup, to liberate your country from a dictatorship or a foreign occupation, or to defeat a genocidal assault.

As an aside, if your preferred focus is the climate catastrophe, some other assault on the biosphere or a social justice campaign of any kind, the Nonviolent Strategy website will assist you to develop a comprehensive and focused strategy.

When conducting any campaign, keep in mind a clear understanding of ‘Nonviolent Action: Why and How it Works’ and remember the distinction between The Political Objective and Strategic Goal of Nonviolent Actions’. By keeping these points in mind, your campaign (including each of your tactics) will be focused for strategic impact.

If your interest in ending war is more focused on undermining it at its source, consider making ‘My Promise to Children’ and nisteling, whenever appropriate, to children too. See ‘Nisteling: The Art of Deep Listening’.

This will mean that any children in your life are supported, at least by you, to become self-loving and powerful individuals who are immune to the seductions and indoctrination of those who advocate and make war while developing the capacity to pursue life-enhancing behavioral options when dealing with conflict.

If parenting children in this manner feels beyond you, consider allowing yourself the time to heal from the violence that you have suffered throughout your life. See Putting Feelings First’.

And don’t forget: while depending on our psychological dysfunctionality to accept, finance and conduct war as a means of dealing with conflict, at its most mundane level, war is a conflict over resources, particularly fossil fuels, strategic minerals and fresh water, and it is our consumption of these, in all of those products (such as meat and cars) and services (like airline flights) that we buy, that fuels the wars conducted in our name while also destroying the biosphere in various other ways. (If you want to understand the psychological origin of this obsession with material goods, see ‘Love Denied: The Psychology of Materialism, Violence and War’.) In short, there is no point deluding ourselves that we can subvert this violent world order without substantially reducing our consumption on all fronts.

So another way you can have strategic impact in undermining the institution of war (and capitalism), while slowing destruction of the biosphere, is to join those participating in ‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’. The Flame Tree Project outlines a simple plan for people to progressively reduce their consumption, by at least 80%, involving both energy and resources of every kind – water, household energy, transport fuels, metals, meat, paper and plastic – while dramatically expanding their individual and community self-reliance in 16 areas.

You might also be interested in signing the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’ where the names of many people who are working to end war (and other violence) are already listed.

Ending war is not impossible. Far from it, in fact. But it is going to take a phenomenal amount of intelligent strategic effort, courage and commitment.

 

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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