It’s been a busy week. On Sunday Fran and I were invited for brunch with a group of young people who are seriously commited to living the peace testimony (Circle of Hope Church, Shalom House), to discuss war tax resistance. We had had a meeting previously. Two of them are prepared to be civil disobedient for the first time this year, as war tax resisters. Another identifies himself as a war tax resister by living under the taxable income. On Tuesday April 15 I mailed our taxes, attaching our letter of explanation that for conscience’ sake we had not paid some of our taxes. We had instead given that amount of refused tax to UNICEF for the children of the world. Next, I distributed about 80 of WRL’s pie charts to tax payers in front of the Bryn Mawr Post Office. The pie chart, based on published figures of the United States budget, shows how roughly half of the federal budget (our 1040 tax) is devoted to war and related military expenditures. That same Tuesday afternoon the Republican candidate for President, Senator McCain, spoke at Villanova. I and about ten other Villanovans for Peace held a very visible public demonstration as a few thousand students and townspeople passed directly in our path on their way to the Pavilion. That was the opportunity for me to distribute all my remaining pie charts. Later, I was interviewed by WFMZ (Allentown TV) and appeared briefly on their 10 pm news broadcast that night (click link for broadcast). A good day. Last Tuesday we (Villanovans for Peace) sponsored the AFSC Boots display on campus. This display includes combat boots representing all the PA deaths in Iraq, as well as many large posters and informative handouts. The display was set up in the middle of campus, and many students passed through it.
April 16, 2008
April 14, 2008
The first two links below relate directly to the public protest on Rosenstrasse Street in 1943 Nazi Berlin. Nathan Stoltzfus has written a book about the demonstration, and it was also the subject of a recent movie. There are also links below to material that describe another successful instance of peaceful resistance to the Nazi regime in WWII. This relates to the unsuccessful attempt to organize the Norwegian educational system along Nazi lines. There was mass non-cooperation and the Nazi government gave in. Gene Sharp has written extensively about nonviolent resistance and non-cooperation as a practical approach for civilian defense. In the way that he envisions this, it has never been tried. Instances have always been quite spontaneous and poorly organized. He suggests that we would need to spend billions of dollars (but still much less than we pay for war) and that many lives might well be lost (but still many fewer lives than would be lost in the war alternative) for the full implementation of such a plan. So it is an imperfect solution, but so is war.
Public demonstration to successfully save Jewish husbands:
Material about successful resistance to Nazi plans for Norway’s school system is particularly relevant: http://www.carolmoore.net/articles/nv-action-article.html More instances of successful peace actions are in the links that follow:
There are no guarantees with this peaceful approach, but neither are their guarantees with war. And wars are getting progressively more destructive over the centuries. People sometimes think I’m an optimist, but the opposite is more accurate. If things continue as they are, WWIII would be inevitable at some point in time. I hardly expect to get a sudden influx of pacifists in this country or any other country (that’s neither a realistic hope for me nor a realistic fear for critics of this approach). But if we could encourage a gradual de-escalation and recognize that peaceful people exist in all parts of the world (my parents had anti-Nazi peace-seeking German friends when they lived in Germany during my father’s graduate work there– that is a long and separate story), true peace might be achieved gradually. This is not a certainty, but it is a possibility. And I feel a certainty of WWIII as the eventual alternative, so I must pursue this possibility as the only hope. We (or our offspring in the future) will see.
April 10, 2008
The following is excerpted from an email I sent recently:
I’m officially in the Psychology Department, but sometimes feel like I could be scattered various places among departments. I got into the human senses area by taking all the basic science courses Tufts offered, plus some philosophy and engineering. So my area of interest came naturally, because when I talk about vision for example, I describe the information transfer starting with (more…)