I was sitting in a class on how to build support for making social change, and one of the discussions we had is a comparison of the differences between the civil rights era environment and today’s civic environment. This made my mind leap into making a list of a score of dozen ways to be an empowered citizen and an empowered consumer.
Writing this post, I realized that this list is a micro version of Gandhi’s Constructive Program. In the period between civil Disobedience Campaigns, Gandhi kept his followers engaged and progressing by building a sustainable community-based economy to replace the imperial system which oppressed them.
Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, who lived from October 27, 1466, to July 12, 1536, faced censorship in his day, and has never been as popular among the rich and powerful as has his contemporary Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli. But at a distance of half a millennium, we ought to be able to judge work on its merit — and we ought to have regular celebrations of Erasmus around the world. Some of his ideas are catching on. His name is familiar in Europe as that of the EU’s student exchange program, named in his honor. We ought perhaps to wonder what oddball ideas these days might catch on in the 2500s — if humanity is around then.
In 1517, Erasmus wrote The Complaint of Peace, in which Peace, speaking in the first-person, complains about how humanity treats her. She claims to offer “the source of all human blessings” and to be scorned by people who “go in quest of evils infinite in number.”
democracynow.org – Tony Benn, the former British Cabinet minister, longtime Parliament member and antiwar activist, has died at the age of 88. He was the longest-serving member of Parliament in the history of Britain’s Labour Party, serving more than half a century. He left Parliament in 2001, saying he planned to “spend more time on politics.” In 2009 he appeared on Democracy Now! to talk about the war in Afghanistan and Britain’s fight for a nationalized healthcare system.
“You’ve got to judge a country by whether its needs are met and not just by whether some people make a profit,” Benn said. “I’ve never met Mr. Dow Jones, and I’m sure he works very, very hard with his averages. We get them every hour. But I don’t think the happiness of a nation is decided by the share values in Wall Street.”
I admit that I do like the fancy Balsamic Vinegar that come in wine bottle shapes and make awesome dressings and marinades. This post is not about that vinegar.
This post is about the white vinegar that you can find in the clear plastic gallon jug in the bottom shelf of the supermarket. Even better is the extra-cheap store or generic brand. We usually have at least two jugs of it around the house at a time.
No, we don’t use that much by putting it on our breakfast cereal every morning.
The final chapter in The Power of Nonviolence: Writings by Advocates of Peaceis the2001International Appeal of Nobel Prize Laureates, Poets, Philosophers, Intellectuals and Human Rights Defenders for an Immediate End to the War against Afghanistan. This appeal ends the final section of the book: Post-Vietnam to the Present (1975- ) .
The appeal succinctly reiterates the points made in the last two essays. The invasion of Afghanistan fails on two accounts. It did not bring the perpetrators of 9/11 to justice. It is increasing the future likelihood of terrorism against the US.
Since the Appeal is short, and a public document, I have reproduced it below: Continue reading →
The idea of this site is to help bring a little more love into the world. We have been working to create a community space to share the way to a more peaceful life. Our definition of a peaceful life encompasses all areas of our lives.
TWL will focus us on exploring what more of what peace means in the rest of our lives, such as what it means to freecycle; to be a vegetarian; a locavore; a community member; to use nonviolent communication; and to clean with vinegar. And more. But first,
His essay complements the previous Arundhati Roy essay War is Peace. While Roy upholds the polite –but firm– criticism of a foreigner, Wise bluntly takes his fellow Americans to task for the Afghan War. As someone who forces Whites to face up to their own privilege in US society, Wise is at ease in ripping apart pro-war arguments in kitchen table language.
The criticism put forth by Roy and Wise reinforce each other by coming to the same conclusions from both external and internal vantage points. Both 2001 essays were written when the Afghan invasion was fresh, and they have proved to be prescient as the Afghan War has dragged on for a dozen years. Reminds me of the just departed Pete Seeger masterpiece, Waist Deep in the Big Muddy. Continue reading →