Sunday, September 20, 2009

WORK on WHAT MOVES YOU By Sherwood Ross

Sherwood Ross: This highly effective reporter and media consultant claims surprisingly yet then again NOT so surprisingly that his favorite quotations are from the Sermon on The Mount.

Eid-Ul-Fitr - this year's festive breaking of Ramadan - is also the International Day of Peace United Nations - established in 1981 to commemorate and strengthen the ideals of peace.

So now I want to post (or write) a series of positive articles on ways which look like they have more chances than most of affecting how we in America might actually turn the tide. Some of these items might have seeds for true change in other places as well. Here's the first...

As more Americans realize they are not getting anywhere at the polls, they are considering other forms of protesting the warfare state. Here are some of them and some suggestions from the writer, who was involved in the civil rights movement in the Sixties.

Posting to Headlines Wire of Scoop
Column: Sherwood Ross
Date: Monday, 21 September 2009
Time: 1:37 pm NZT

What Can Individuals Do To Oppose Warfare State?

Americans who voted for peace last November but are getting only
more war are becoming increasingly disillusioned.

The majority of Americans, polls show, would slash the military
budget by over 30 percent yet President Obama has increased it
by four percent. A majority of Americans want U.S. troops out
of Iraq and Afghanistan but the Pentagon will garrison 50,000
in the former country indefinitely and dispatch perhaps 20,000
more shortly to escalate the war in the latter.

Since voting doesn’t bring the desired change in national policies,
people wonder what they can do individually. The answer is quite
a lot. “Things have gotten bad enough in the minds of enough
Americans that there is an opening for creating a mass movement
for real change, and that movement is already growing all around
us,” writes citizen/activist David Swanson of Charlottesville,
Va., in his new book “Daybreak”(Seven Stories Press). Swanson
is cofounder of the anti-war After Downing Street Coalition.

He ticks off a number of examples where grass-roots citizen groups
won a round vs. the Establishment:

# In North Dakota, farmers defeated efforts by St. Louis-based
Monsanto to sell genetically engineered seeds.

# Threatened by corporate big-box stores, Utah local businesses
created a successful “Buy Local First” campaign.

# Hundreds of towns and cities have enacted resolutions against
enforcement of unconstitutional provisions of the USA Patriot

# Chicagoans who had no good grocery stores banded together to
create an organic urban farm and sell produce through a local

# Recognizing that America’s Great Plains are the “Saudi
Arabia of wind power,” Rosebud Sioux are building windmills
on their South Dakota reservation.

# Americans have created some 300 worker-run businesses.

# More than 100 towns have stopped corporations from dumping
toxic sludge on farms.

# Residents of Tallulah, La., banded together to shut down an
unwanted juvenile prison.

Swanson writes, “We will not create the necessary rebirth of
American democracy by sending e-mails and making phone calls.
We must do those things (but they are not enough). We must educate.
We must create new media. We must lobby. We must march.”

“Unless we creatively and non-violently block the path the
empire is headed down and redirect the nation,” he continues,
“we will be increasingly ignored, repressed, manipulated, abused,
and disappeared for the remaining days of this once bright and
hopeful republic.”

“What is needed in US civil society is a (non-violent) revolution…
No amount of violence or strategic placement of violence could
possibly create a more democratic republic. In our struggle for
peace and justice we must not only avoid violence, but reject
it so completely that no use of it can be plausibly attributed
to us,” Swanson writes.

If there is no peace group in your community, you can take the
lead and form one from among your friends and acquaintances or
members of your congregation. It’s up to you to speak out against
war and in behalf of peace before City Councils, church groups
and youth organizations. Try to relate not only the damage done
by war to innocent millions overseas but to the cost in your
own community in lost lives, lost taxes, lost business, and lost
opportunities. Point out how foreign boycotts are impacting sales
of American brand products around the world and contributing
to the recession and job losses here at home.

You can find a lot of “local” information on the web site
of the National Priorities Project of Northampton, Mass., which
shows the cost of aggressive wars by states. Feel free in your
literature to emphasize “America First!” The numbers of Americans
who are jobless, in poverty and without decent health care are
growing rapidly.

Distribute anti-war leaflets outside theatres showing war movies
to reach youth and at bingo games to reach seniors, emphasizing
in the latter case how the military siphons off their tax dollars.

Distribute articles to motorists in parking lots about how the
Middle East wars have increased gasoline prices to motorists.
Leaflets can also show how much war is costing each American
family and how it is starving large sectors of American economy
for capital, causing non-defense factories to close and limiting
entrepreneurial start-ups.

Display Anti-war placards at major intersections where pedestrians
and motorists can see them.

Go door to door in neighborhoods with anti-war leaflets urging
families to pressure their teen-age children not to enlist. This
is particularly important in poor and minority neighborhoods
that have been targeted by Pentagon recruiters.

Organize a Peace Now motorcade and drive slowly through communities
& downtowns. Point out how taxes wasted in wars could finance
needed projects in your city or town.

Distribute non-violent leaflets with a photograph of the Rev.
Martin Luther King stressing his opposition to war and aggression.

Urge city councils to close down military facilities and convert
them to peaceful uses.

Urge the public schools to create courses on non-violence to
curb crime domestically as well as aggression against foreign

In his book, Swanson names a number of groups that are working
for non-violent change that you could contact. These include
“The National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance,” “No
War, No Warming,” “Port Militarization Resistance” of Washington
State, and “The International Longshoreman’s and Warehouse
Workers’ Union” that “has shut down West Coast ports in
opposition to the occupation of Iraq.”

Swanson also urges joining and supporting groups such as his
own After Downing Street,, Progressive Democrats
of America, the National Accountability Network, the Peace Team,
the World Can’t Wait, CODE PINK: Women for Peace, Veterans
for Peace, High Road for Human Rights, the American Freedom Campaign,
the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild,
and the American Civil Liberties Union. Of course, Quaker action
groups should be on everyone’s list.

“Work on what moves you, what would make a difference in your
life and your family’s life,” Swanson advises. “Mobilize
your community, your school, your clubs and organizations. I
can’t provide a complete list of useful organizations that
you might want to join to work for the cause of peace and justice,
but hundreds of good ones are listed at here

Sherwood Ross formerly worked in the civil rights movement and for daily newspapers and wire services. To support his Anti-War News Service or comment reach him at

Sherwood Ross has worked as a publicist for Chicago; as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and workplace columnist for Reuters. He has also been a media consultant to colleges, law schools, labor unions, and to the editors of more than 100 national magazines. A civil rights activist, he was News Director for the National Urban League, a talk show host at WOL Radio, Washington, D.C., and holds an award for "best spot news coverage" for Chicago radio stations for civil rights reporting. He is the author "Gruening of Alaska,"(Best Books)and several plays about Japan during World War II, including "Baron Jiro," and "Yamamoto's Decision," read at the National Press Club, where he is a member. His favorite quotations are from the Sermon on The Mount.

ONE HEART BLOGGER COMMENTS: IF this man has been so highly effective in his work then for him to say "Work on what moves you" tells me that this might well be the best way to do peace as well as anything else. In addition, if Mr. Ross' favorite quotations are so sublime and concurrently practical, who am I to argue with his wisdom for us today?


Anonymous said...

More good work to consider if you can do so in peace:


A group of Senate Democrats led by Russ Feingold (WI) and Dick Durbin
(IL) have proposed the Judicious Use of Surveillance Tools in
Counter-terrorism Efforts (JUSTICE) Act, a bill that would introduce stronger safeguards and higher standards of judicial oversight for surveillance activity. It aims to reform the most abusive characteristics of the PATRIOT Act and would also roll back a controversial provision of the FISA Amendment Act that granted telecom companies retroactive immunity for their participation in the Bush administration's extralegal warrantless surveillance program.

Senator Feingold says that the goal of the act is to ensure that
surveillance and intelligence-gathering activities are properly
empowered while guaranteeing that rights are respected and
investigative privileges are not misused. The proposal is broadly
endorsed by privacy advocates and civil liberties groups, including
the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier
Foundation. But in order for it to pass, WE THE PEOPLE must speak out
to demand it.

Justice Act Action Page:

And after you submit this action page, please take a moment to listen to a bit of the dramatic new play for peace, "It's Up To Us Alone", featuring an extraordinary performance by Ed Asner, which will have it's worldwide broadcast premiere on Oct. 16 on KPFK, the 115,000 watt Pacifica station in Los Angeles. We are hearing from radio stations from literally all over the English speaking world that want to participate in this debut event. But you don't have to wait. You can hear the preview and reserve your own copy of the first pressing audio CD, no donation required, we'll even send you one for free, if you just go to the page below now.

Peace Play CDs:

And remember, besides the regular action pages we have many other
ways to make it ridiculously easy for you to speak out. Why not try
out our new phone call to Congress blog, where you can make notes of
what our representatives in Congress say to YOU, when you call them
on the phone.

Justice Act Phone Blog:

And here are some "Easy policy points" (also linked to from the page
above) you can make when you make that call:

The National Security Letter (NSL) provision of the PATRIOT Act is
one area in particular where the JUSTICE Act would institute new
safeguards. PATRIOT Act allows federal law enforcement agents to use
an NSL, instead of a court order, to obtain private records. Civil
liberties advocates fear that the lack of appropriate judicial
oversight applied to NSLs creates a very high risk of abuse.

The JUSTICE Act mandates use of the "least intrusive means" of
information collection. It imposes limitations on the process that
law enforcement agencies use to gain expedited emergency access to
information. It also establishes new tracking and reporting
requirements to ensure that NSL usage will receive a higher level of Congressional scrutiny.

Justice Act Facebook Action:

And the Twitter reply to send is

@cxs #p1006

If you would like to get alerts like these, you can do so at

Connie L. Nash said...

In ALL our work and legislation for PEACE we must never forget the nations and peoples which need our concerns and outspokenness - particularly the generous and peace-loving majority of Pakistan who are facing worry about drone collateral damage, displaced, possible to likely "interference", sometimes crusader-like and counter-productive efforts by US contractor groups such as Blackwater offsprings or clones and so much more!

The following Comment - while not naming all the above, nevertheless reproduces the latest from a well-researched and firm while peacefully-spoken group which we can't do with out in the US:

Connie L. Nash said...

Friends Committee on National Legislation - A Quaker Lobby in the Public Interest
Prevent War Email List

Prevent War: "We Have Paid Our Bills"

"Or we can recognize that the yearning for peace is universal, and reassert our resolve to end conflicts around the world."-President Barak Obama, Speech to U.N. General Assembly

Obama at the U.N.: September 21 was the International Day of Peace, which also kicked off United Nations week, a time to celebrate international cooperation and partnership for solutions to global problems. This year, President Obama participated in U.N. events far more than any other U.S. president before him. He addressed 100 world leaders Tuesday morning on climate change, the General Assembly on Wednesday morning, and chaired the Security Council session on non-proliferation and disarmament on Thursday, introducing a resolution calling on all countries with nuclear arsenals to abandon their weapons. In his speech to the General Assembly, Obama highlighted prevention, saying "That is why we will strengthen our support for effective peacekeeping, while energizing our efforts to prevent conflicts before they take hold." (

This unprecedented engagement in the Security Council meetings, along with the multitude of private talks with leaders such as Chinese President Hu Jintao, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbasboth, demonstrate a commitment to rebuilding relations with global partners and a new readiness to join with the international community to solve difficult problems.

In June Congress passed legislation that pays off all uncontested U.S. arrears to the U.N., which totaled $1 billion. Walking into the talks without debt symbolizes the United States' commitment to the U.N. and the role it plays in helping to mitigate and resolve international conflict. As the appropriation process for Fiscal Year 2010 continues, FCNL will be working with others to ensure that Congress meets future U.S. financial obligations to the U.N. on time and in full.

Overall, the Obama administration's approach to U.N. week is encouraging and points to a new day in U.S. relations with the world and a positive tone for diplomacy, development, and international cooperation. Now Congress needs to follow this lead.

New Kenya Brief Now Available! FCNL published a new brief ( this week on the successful mitigation of Kenya's post-election crisis and the need for continued efforts to prevent a return to violence. The brief illustrates a successful case study of civilian rapid response and international diplomacy during violent conflict and offers specific U.S. policy recommendations to help prevent another flare-up and build durable peace. We will continue to track legislation related to Kenya and to raise awareness of this issue on the Hill.

Take Action! Test your knowledge of the U.N. by taking the 2009 U.N. quiz ( Pass it on to five others and help spread U.N. awareness.

More Resources: Here are some good sites about the U.N. for further reading

The U.N. website (
Better World Campaign (
Quaker United Nations Office (

Connect to Other FCNL issues:
Support Senators with the guts to speak up:
Evil Offsets, Next on the Agenda!

Connie L. Nash said...

THANX for including Pakistan in the countries to whom we do not want to send US drones and other violent means to solve problems.