July 27 marked the 70th anniversary of the 1953 ceasefire to the Korean War. In the three years leading up to the anniversary, South Korean peace movements organized the international Korea Peace Appeal campaign to replace the armistice agreement with a peace treaty to conclude the 70-plus-year Korean War. The anniversary has come and gone, but, instead of peace, the Joe Biden, Yoon Suk Yeol, and Fumio Kishida administrations are stoking tensions in the Korean Peninsula as a smokescreen to build a NATO-level US-Japan-South Korea trilateral alliance against China. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has played his supporting role well.
World BEYOND War has just announced the four winners of its third-annual War Abolisher Awards. All are relatively unknown individuals or organizations working from different angles at the giant task of ridding the world of war. Before explaining who they are, I’d like to offer a very brief explanation of why such awards are needed. It’s not because Alfred Nobel got something wrong in creating the Nobel Peace Prize, but precisely because he got it right. Alfred Nobel’s will left funding for a prize to be awarded to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
March 20 marked the 20th anniversary of the United States’ invasion of Iraq. The war took hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, with some estimates of Iraqi casualties putting the number at over 1 million. More than 4,600 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq during and after the invasion, and thousands more have died by suicide. Meanwhile, and not coincidentally, the U.S. military is facing its worst recruitment crisis since the end of the Vietnam War. The Defense Department’s budget proposal for 2024 outlines a plan for the military to slightly cut back on its ranks, but to reach its projected numbers, it will still need to embark on a heavy recruitment push.
The radicalism of the 1960s did not fall from the sky—it was built by the uncommon bravery of common people. One of those people was Staughton Lynd, a professor who accompanied movements for justice as a scholar, lawyer, and activist throughout his life. A conscientious objector to the Korean War, Staughton went on to join the Civil Rights Movement and oppose the Vietnam War through his scholarship and his actions. He passed away in Nov. 2022 just days before his 93rd birthday. A collection of his writings and speeches, My Country Is the World, was recently published by Haymarket Books.
Few people can say their actions helped to strengthen press freedom, end a war, and bring down a presidency. Daniel Ellsberg, who died today at the age of ninety-two, did just that. Ellsberg came to public prominence in 1971 when he photocopied a secret history of US involvement in the Vietnam War, what became known as the “Pentagon Papers,” and gave a copy to the New York Times. The New York Times’ decision to publish the papers set off a landmark press freedom battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court. Ellsberg became the first whistleblower indicted under the Espionage Act.
On June 10, hundreds of activists from various anti-imperialist and anti-war groups as well as the Communist Party of Germany (DKP) marched to the Wunstorf Air Base in Hannover to protest the NATO’s Air Defender 2023 exercise scheduled from June 12-June 23. A vigil was also held at the Spangdahlem Air Base near Trier, which will also serve as a base for the exercise. Die Linke organized protests against the NATO exercise on June 11. The protestors denounced war-mongering and projection of military might by NATO amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and demanded a ceasefire and peace negotiations in Ukraine, as well as removal of US nuclear weapons from Germany.
The U.S. military had threatened to use the mountains of Sinjajevina as a training ground between May 22nd and June 2nd, together with other troops under the banner of NATO. Instead, the troops went to other locations in Montenegro but never to the mountains of Sinjajevina. Milan Sekulovic of Save Sinjajevina credited local and international pressure — including from International Land Coalition — for this latest success in the ongoing campaign to protect Sinjajavina from being turned into a military training ground. It also may have helped that Montenegro has parliamentary elections on June 11th.
As more than 100 activists blocked the entrances to the parking lots of the CANSEC weapons show in Ottawa yesterday, traffic was snarled for a distance on Uplands Avenue and the Airport Parkway delaying many attendees getting inside the EY Centre. Canada’s Defence Minister Anita Anand, who was scheduled to speak at 7:50 am, tweeted at 9:51 am that she had “just delivered [her] remarks”. There was also a tweet at 9:17 am that suggests she was just then “officially open[ing] the event”. After Anand’s speech, U.S. Ambassador David L. Cohen visited the booth of Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest weapons company.
An interesting thing has happened in the U.S. antiwar movement. After years of relatively small protests, two relatively large ones took place, both in Washington, D.C., both demanding that the U.S. government stop funding the war in Ukraine, And yet the two actions could not have been more different. On Feb. 19, about 1,500 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial. This protest was cosponsored by the conservative Libertarian Party and the liberal People’s Party, which grew out of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign of 2016. The event was dubbed Rage Against the War Machine. This was an example of what people are calling a “Right-Left” alliance.
Washington, D.C.—An estimated couple of thousand of people to “several thousand” marched on March 18 in downtown Washington D.C., calling for an end to the U.S. imperialist project that they hold responsible for 20 years of a “War on Terror” on millions of people. The weekend marked the 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. U.S. interference in the form of military invasions and other types of activities since 2001 have caused the global displacement of 38 million people and the death of at least 900,000 people, according to the Costs of War Project. Those are conservative estimates.
On March 10 President Joe Biden’s administration submitted a military budget to Congress of a record $886 billion. With add-ons from Congress, funds hidden in veterans’ benefits and research, and supplements for arms to Ukraine, the costs will easily top $1 trillion. That same day a major regional bank, the Silicon Valley Bank in California, failed and was taken over by federal regulators. It was the largest U.S. bank to collapse since the 2008 financial crisis. And that same day, China hosted negotiations in Beijing between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which ended with an agreement between the two major West Asian countries.
In this livestream interview, Lee Camp speaks with Medea Benjamin, the co-founder of the female-led anti-war group CODEPINK. Benjamin has been on a tour of late, discussing her most recent book, “War in Ukraine: Making Sense of a Senseless Conflict.” The book delves into the ongoing conflict and aims to raise awareness and inspire grassroots activism to prevent a potential World War III. The interview begins with Camp mentioning some of his previous interviews with notable figures such as Julian Assange’s wife, Stella, and Julian’s father, John Shipton. Camp then plays a video of Benjamin’s most recent disruption, which took place at an event hosted by a Washington think tank and featuring Adam Smith, the hawkish head of the House Armed Services Committee. In the clip, Benjamin can be heard shutting down Smith’s speech and bringing attention to the dangers of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the potential for nuclear war.
Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets across the U.S. in the last few years to decry police brutality, to oppose the Supreme Court’s decision to restrict abortion rights, and to contest what they believed was a rigged election (the January 2021 Capitol riots). Only small hardy bands by comparison have taken to the streets to protest record military budgets—approaching $1 trillion under Joe Biden—or the illegal bombing of Syria, expansion of U.S. troops in Africa, provision of $20 billion in U.S. military aid to Ukraine, and military provocations directed against China. Joan Roelofs’ new book The Trillion Dollar Silencer: Why There Is So Little Anti-War Protest in the United States (Atlanta: Clarity Press, 2022), starts with an important question: “Why is there so much acceptance and so little protest against our government’s illegal and immoral wars and other military operations?”
Days after a U.S. warplane bombed a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing forty-two people, twenty-four of them patients, the international president of MSF, Dr. Joanne Liu walked through the wreckage and prepared to deliver condolences to family members of those who had been killed. A brief video, taped in October, 2015, captures her nearly unutterable sadness as she speaks about a family who, the day before the bombing, had been prepared to bring their daughter home. Doctors had helped the young girl recover, but because war was raging outside the hospital, administrators recommended that the family come the next day. “She’s safer here,” they said.