The Bring the War $$ Home resolution passed by the US Conference of Mayors on June 20, 2011 is sparking a grassroots movement to end the wars in the Middle East and Africa and re-direct the funds to domestic priorities. The resolution uses cautious language, stating a “drawdown of troops should be done in a measured way…” and “as soon as strategically possible” from Afghanistan and Iraq. The resolution does not mention the wars in Libya, Yemen and Pakistan. Duke Augustus is working with other local peace activists to bring a similar (but stronger) resolution before his locality, and you should, too. A copy of the Conference of US Mayors resolution is reproduced at the end of this post. (You may need to refresh to see the video below.)
Practicing Peace in Times of War by Pema Chödrön is the Royal Book of the Week. For Duke Augustus, this book is a necessity to anyone trying to lead a more nonviolent life. It is the perfect follow-up to the Monday 7/25/11 Royal Book of the Week Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. Rosenberg’s book explores our emotional reactions to other people’s behavior, and tries to give us back control of interactions with other people by separating the emotions we are feeling from what our response to the person is in order to resolve conflict instead of increasing it. Chödrön’s book takes us inside those emotions second-by-second so that our thought and action can be separated from our emotions rather than controlled by them. Continue reading Royal Book of the Week: Monday 8/8/11
The Duke and Duchess of Peace started this blog to highlight the values we all share, values that are not represented in the military-industrial media. The ideas in the article Win the Culture War describe the values we are talking about, but Duke Augustus does take issue with the name of the article. The idea of a “war” is not part of the positive values described in the article. It is not a “war”, not a competition, not destructive. It is a creative act, a sharing, a coming together, a seeking of unity:
Kind and Generous by Natalie Merchant is the Royal Song of the Day. In yesterday’s Royal song of the Day, Duchess Susanna wrote of the need to hear “It’s Alright.” When you come through the storm, you feel the need to express thankfulness for making it through and to those who comforted you.
Einstein: The Life of a Genius by Walter Isaacson is the Royal Book of the Week. Duke Augustus just finished this book. The book is included among the Royal Books of the Week for the discussions in it of Einstein’s pacifist, socialist and internationalist politics. Up until World War II, he was a ardent pacifist. Einstein even called for 2% of all draftees to resist the draft to bring down the military culture. He believed strongly in a society where every citizen had a guarantee that her basic needs were met, but did not believe in a dictatorship of the proletariat to achieve it. With the unleashing of atomic energy, Einstein continually called for strong supranational organization that would prevent wars and the use of nuclear weapons. He and Bertrand Russell even co-authored a statement calling for such a supranational protection.
Einstein was above all a champion of individual freedom. He opposed totalitarian regimes on the right and the left. After the founding of the state of Israel he became a public supporter, but he also spoke out for the rights of the Palestinians. Einstein was a supporter of Civil Rights. He supported the Scottsboro Boys, and called opposed the death penalty for the Rosenbergs. He was an early critic of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, and called for intellectuals to refuse to testify before the House Un-American Committee based on their First Amendment rights.
When the author Isaacson steps onto the stage to give his own opinions, they are often those of the corporate media where he was a leader. Isaacson tries to paint Einstein’s politics as too radical, and his warnings as unnecessarily dire. Isaacson insists that American government is self-correcting. Isaacson does not take into account that such self-corrections have taken place only because of those like Einstein who were willing to risk everything to protect the country he loved. Continue reading Royal Book of the Week: Monday 8/1/11
Go Back To Pittsburgh by Easy Anthems is the Royal Song of the Day. Like the lives of the Duke and Duchess of Peace, this is a song that mixes the personal and the political. Unlike the relationship of Duke Augustus and Duchess Susanna, this is a break-up song. (Duke Augustus has often said that their marriage is forever.) The song voices the feeling of an activist who is leaving a personal relationship and the activism bound up with it, but is struggling not to leave his moral convictions.
Listen to the whole song for the pay-off. The video features a stripped-down, acoustic version of the band. Is that the Duchess’ voice at the end? Continue reading Royal Song of the Day: Sunday, July 31, 2011
Follow Me by John Denver is the Royal Song of the Day. This is another one of the Duke & Duchess’ wedding songs. It was performed at our wedding by some other musician friends of ours. The Duke and Duchess of Peace chose this song while on a road trip. There was a John Denver cassette (remember those?) playing on the car radio. They looked at each other, and knew they wanted the song to be part of their wedding ceremony.
Make it part of you to be a part of me
Follow me up and down all the way
Take my hand and I will follow you