Make Art, Not War

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

No New Wars! Hands off Syria, Hands off Iran!

(my speech at the MPAC demo at Fed building June 25th 2012)

Threats of U.S. intervention in Syria must stop. While they claim to have humanitarian reasons, we in the peace community know “military aid” is an oxymoron. In military-speak “humanitarian aid” is just another term for war, just as “collateral damage” is just another term for dead civilians, “surgical strikes” “sanctions” “timelines for withdrawal” – all of it is propaganda.

If you listen to the mainstream media, the situation is Syria is that we, the benevolent United States, must swoop in and save the poor people of Syria from their brutal government. It sounds nice, heroic even, but the real motives are far less chivalrous.

As we assembled...
Just take a look at recent history and you can see that our help isn’t going to bring a single Syrian closer to their freedom. Look at Libya, or Iraq for that matter! At the start of the war with Iraq they told us they had weapons of mass destruction (which was a lie). And then they also told us the people there were desperate for our help, for us to come to their “aid”. But over a decade later, the Iraqi people have suffered uncountable atrocities because we are there. And while the U.S. government would like us to believe that occupation is essentially over, the reality is they just don’t want us to talk about it anymore. Meanwhile, they’ve installed a puppet government that serves U.S. corporate interests in the next big resource grab of the war on terror. Never forget that this is a for-profit war, a model that our government has used again and again and always under the guise of supporting democracy.

Back during the Bush administration, we were fond of the slogan “the regime change starts at home”. It was popular when we had an unpopular president and it became unpopular when we got a popular one. Unfortunately for us, there seems to be no real difference in our government’s attitude towards foreign policy. And very unfortunate for the Syrian people, because we know what happens next.

So, I would just like to reiterate that if our government was so interested in fighting for democracy and supporting a people’s right to fair government, than perhaps they should start here at home. How about calling off the dogs that have been beating up protesters, forcibly evicting occupations across the country, aggressively spying on U.S. citizens, and targeting peace groups- like the anti-war committee- with political repression, labeling us as terrorists because we advocate for peace and justice. How about ending the corporate control of our government, instead of allowing corporations to buy elections to serve their un-human agenda. How about restoring the power of governance to the people, the way it was first envisioned.

Maybe then, the United States would be in a position to teach other people about democracy. Until then, the hypocrisy of these claims cannot go unchallenged by us, people smart enough to read between the lines. We want a non-military solution in Syria that allows the people to establish their own government and decide their own fate. It’s basically the same thing we are asking for here. And it’s what any sane person would want.

We, also, want an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The people have never supported this war. We never wanted to go there in the first place, or keep funding it to the obscenities that we have, or stay there indefinitely. Yet these politicians keep beating the war drums, now with Syria and next with Iran in their crosshairs. This war on terror is run amuck and it is up to us, the American people, to rein it back in.

And I don’t want to hear any promises from any politicians, either! It’s an election year. Their promises, now more then ever, don’t mean shit. I want to see action. And if they wont listen, then it is up to us to take our message into the streets- like we are doing here today.

So, thank you for coming and please continue to spread this message: Guns don’t help people. Bombs can do no aid. We’ve heard this all before. It is time to end the war on terror and no new wars on Syria or Iran. Listen to the voice of the people, all over the world. The people want peace.  

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Soooo about that arrest last fall

This is the statement that I wrote up for the 7 of us protesters that were arrested last Oct. for Occupy Mpls. It is a little silly because I quote myself, but give me a break. I'm the only person I can contact at this hour. Okay? I'm not exactly looking forward to court, but hey, it's just another soap box, really. Might as well use it. Here goes:

Call for support of Occupy Mpls activists as US Bank 7 go to trial.

The first group of occupy protesters to be arrested locally will be going to court this week, starting Monday June 4th at 9am at the Hennepin County Government Center (also known as the building attached to the people’s plaza).  The 7 activists were arrested at a demonstration outside of the US Bank branch in downtown Minneapolis last fall, where they were protesting foreclosures and homelessness. US Bank foreclosed on 25,000 homes in Minnesota alone in 2010, forcing families into the streets. On October 20th 2011, 100+ protesters occupied the intersection of 2nd Ave and 6th St in front of the bank where several of them pitched tents and occupied them, demanding that housing is a human right. They are now facing criminal charges of obstruction of traffic.

Anti War Committee member Misty Rowan, who is one of the defendants, had this to say about the coming trial “It’s unfortunate that we live in a society that treats protesters like criminals for speaking out and calling attention to such practices, when the real criminals are the big banks that are forcing people out of their homes after being bailed out with our tax dollars. But it doesn’t matter. You cannot evict an idea whose time has come.”

Supporters are asked to fill the courtroom on Monday June 4th to show solidarity, and to call the prosecutor and demand that he drop the charges against the US Bank 7
Housing is a human right!

I am removing the prosecutors number because, as amusing as it is to bother him, calling him wont do much good. The pressure is coming from higher up (all the way up). If this is how Occupiers are going to be treated in this city, then we need to build a real campaign against unnecessarily heavy charges, and police misuse and misconduct, for those recently arrested at Occupy Homes actions, and for all of us moving forward. The rights to free speech and assembly are under attack in this country at every level, and taking this to trial is just one more way to put your foot down (my foot) and take a stand. It takes challenging the law to change it, and we need to push back against the police state that has taken hold. This battle isn't over. It has only just begun.