We Have The Power I
One thing fact pointed out in Psyclone and elsewhere on this site is that the atrocities being committed by governments are committed in the name of the populations of those countries. The continued complicity and obedience of the people allows the abuses to continue.
Laws are created to ensure obedience to rules drawn up by a ruling elite. John J. Miller described laws as ‘only words written on paper, words that change on society's whim and are interpreted differently daily by politicians, lawyers, judges, and policemen. Anyone who believes that all laws should always be obeyed would have made a fine slave catcher. Anyone who believes that all laws are applied equally, despite race, religion, or economic status, is a fool.’ Laws are not needed to tell a person what’s right and what’s wrong. As Edmund Burke said, ‘it is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do.’ And as Martin Luther King, Jnr pointed out, everything that Hitler did in Germany was “legal”, and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did was “illegal”.
American writer and philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, said, ‘It is not a man's duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support.’ The statement was part of a lecture given in the Concorde Lyceum in January 1848, later published as Resistance to Civil Government, now more commonly referred to as On The Duty of Civil Disobedience. Mentioned as influential by both Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr, "Civil Disobedience" was read by the Danish resistance in the 1940's, in the 1950's by those who opposed McCarthyism, in the 1960's in the struggle against South African apartheid, and by anti-war activists in the 1970's. The lesson learned from all this experience is that Thoreau's ideas do work.
History shows that mass civil disobedience (nonviolent noncompliance) is an effective means for a disempowered population to reclaim their power, and affect governments who previously ignored their voice. People power can overcome power politics. Popular movements have succeeded in toppling tyrannical, dictatorial and authoritarian regimes.
A place to start would be realising that, as John Lennon stated, our society is run by insane people for insane objectives, (“Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it.”) Numerous thinkers and scientists have noted and written on the subject of civilisation being run by pathological deviants, psychopaths. The statement may sound sensationalist, but reading the following analyses show that it is anything but. One cannot read these works without identifying trends and personalities in government today. Twilight of the Psychopaths a thesis by Dr. Kevin Barrett, gives an historic and general overview of the issue. Of Psychopaths and Sycophants by Hari Heath goes one step further by linking the role of the sycophant with the continued position of the psychopath. Twilight and the Trick of the Psychopaths by Silvia Cattori details the mindset and mechanisms of the psychopaths, and the strategies for dealing with them.
A characteristic of psychopaths is indicated in the title of a seminal work on the subject: Without Conscience by Robert Hare. Acting along with them entails silencing one’s conscience in the face of their conscienceless activities. Some individuals whose conscience influences their life more than ‘words written on paper’ are involved in the Conscience Campaign, which focuses on the legal right to withhold or redirect that portion of taxes put into military funding. While such action won’t necessarily stop the war industry, individuals of conscience can withdraw their personal support for war and have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the weapons being used to slaughter and maim the innocent are not being bought with their money.
Those in the U.S. adopting that strategy now risk incarceration in America’s very own gulags (for more information see the appendix of Psyclone). They shouldn’t have left it so long. Saying that though, if the ‘mass’ really is the mass, can the authorities lock everybody up?
As far as the Palestine/Israel situation goes, I see it as a simple, powerful, and long-reaching solution to the problem. Imagine the message that would be sent out to all its neighbouring countries, and the effect that would have on reconciliation and a lasting peace process, if the people of Israel faced facts and opened to their consciences, and refused to cooperate with the Israeli government whilst its military continued on its present course. It’s a natural law that growth comes from the roots up. It’s with relief then that one can see the stirrings of such a movement from within the future of Israel, their youth, represented by the conscientious and courageous Shministim.
Another thing that needs to be considered is the vast amount of money being made from war and armed conflicts. In times gone by weapons were made to fight wars, but now wars are created to, amongst other things, sell weapons. The issue has been researched by various professionals, and is the topic of several articles and websites.
Inheriting Halliburton's Army details the staggering amount of (taxpayers) money being farmed out to military contractors in Iraq.
This Military-Industrial Complex page lists links to articles from a variety of sources covering multiple perspectives on the rampant war profiteering going on within the Congressional-Military-Industrial Complex. Includes articles on the Carlyle Group and the SOA, America’s very own terrorist training school. Essential for understanding trends and policies within the U.S. administration, and developments in the Middle East and elsewhere.
The War Profiteering page focuses on the subject in detail beginning with a sample from Smedley D. Butler’s War is a Racket written in 1935, through to a variety of recent articles, which shows that the strategy is nothing new and has only become more effective.
The previous links are to pages on the website Third World Traveler. Third World Traveler is an extensive archive of articles and book excerpts that seek to tell the truth about the state of American democracy, media, and foreign policy, and about the impact of the actions of the United States government, transnational corporations, global trade and financial institutions, and the corporate media, on democracy, social and economic justice, human rights, and war and peace, in the Third World, and in the developed world. Third World Traveler also provides information and links to aid international travelers.
War Resisters International also produce War Profiteers’ News, a regularly updated document on the subject (see link below).
Details about individuals and groups who have taken the stand of withholding that portion of thier taxes that go to the military can be found in the section The Conscience Campaign.
The Occupation Industry Research Project is a database of an on-going grassroots investigation effort by activists in The Coalition of Women for Peace, a leading Israeli feminist peace organization dedicated to ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights and reaching a just peace in Palestine/Israel.
The project focuses on the question, who profits from the occupation? In addition to various political, religious and national interests, the occupation is also fueled by corporate interests. Civilian companies and transnational corporations are increasingly involved in real estate deals, the development of settlements, the construction of fences and walls on Palestinian land, the paving of a separate road system for settlers, and the sale of equipment used for human rights violations and the repression of the civilian population.
The project began in 2006 and involves systematic research about Israeli and international companies which directly profit from investments in the occupied Palestinian Territories and the Golan Heights. After rigorous research, the results are posted on a website which provides the public in Israel and internationally with accurate information about business interests invested in maintaining the occupation. The database also allows for advanced searches, such as: Which U.S. corporations support the West Bank military checkpoints? Which of the companies are listed in the London stock exchange? At this stage the project is not investigating the vast industry of military production and arms trade.
It is hoped that the information will stimulate a candid public debate about the costs and benefits of the occupation to different parts of Israeli society, the international and local economic interests that play a role in the occupation, and how these interests influence political decision-making. The project also serves as an information center for queries about business and corporate involvement in the occupation.
More research and infromation can be found through the following links
There is one aspect of history that a repeat of wouldn’t be unwelcome. The international boycott of apartheid South Africa was instrumental in the political change that followed, and demonstrated how each individual can make their voice heard and their political power felt.
Boycott, divestment and sanction measures are being called for in reponse to the Israeli government's oppresion of the Palestinian people. It is no longer denied that Israel has oppressed the Palestinian people for decades in multiple forms: occupying, colonising, ethnically cleansing, racially discriminating, in short, denying Palestinians the fundamental rights for freedom, equality and self-determination. Despite abundant condemnation of Israel’s policies by the UN and all relevant international conventions, the international community of nations has failed to bring about Israel’s compliance with international law or its respect for basic human rights. Israel’s crimes have continued with utter impunity. The time has come for action, not just words. BDS are the most effective non-violent, morally consistent means for achieving justice and genuine peace in the region through concerted international pressure similar to that applied on South African apartheid.
Evidence of how effective boycotts are is Motorola's April 2009 sale of the company's units which manufacture fuses for a variety ofbombs including cluster bombs condemned by international human rights organisations and banned in certain countries. The announcement of thesale came days after the beginning of the latest Boycott Motorola campaign Hang Up On Motorola, (the previous Motorola boycott having been during the South African boycott campaign when Motorola was supporting another apartheid government). While the sale ends Motorola's production and sale of bomb fuses, it is not certain whether the production and sale of surveillance and communication technology used by the Israeli government and military is affected.
Already a number of unions and faith-based groups have passed resolutions supporting a BDS movement, and other consumer boycotts are underway internationally. Details of the various aspects of BDS (academic, consumer, sports, and governmental/military) can be found on the following and other websites.