Democratizing Defense

If every preparation for war can be made the excuse for destroying free speech and a free press and the right of the people to assemble together for peaceful discussion, then we may well despair of ever again finding ourselves for a long period in a state of peace.
~ Fighting Bob La Follette
Although tyranny may successfully rule over foreign peoples, it can stay in power only if it first destroys the national institutions of its own people.
~ Hannah Arendt
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land. Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name, Mother of Exiles.
~ Emma Lazarus Liberty Tree's Democratizing Defense Program works with military service members, veterans, military families, and concerned citizens to democratize the American system of defense. Specific policy objectives of this program include defederalization of the National Guard, a national war referendum amendment, and the withdrawal of U.S. military bases from foreign soil.

Anti-drone activists arrested at Creech Air Force Base protest

May 5, 2016
David Kupfer for The Progressive
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Twenty-five anti-drone activists from all over the nation were arrested for blocking the roadway at the entrance of Creech Air Force base forty-five miles northwest of Las Vegas on March 31 and April 1.

Judge rules detaining asylum-seekers in order to deter others is illegal

May 5, 2016
Molly Hennessy-Fiske for LA Times
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Claudia Velasquez, a Honduran immigrant held with her 7-year-old daughter since October in a federal detention facility, looked at the judge Monday via a video hookup as he considered her request for bond.
Velasquez and nearly 1,000 mothers and children were being held at three family detention centers around the country, part of a massive federal effort to stem the influx of immigrants on the southern border last year by keeping those who succeeded in crossing illegally locked up.

REPORT - UN study highlights crisis for refugee women fleeing Central America and Mexico, calls for international border protection due to forced displacement

May 5, 2016
The UN Refugee Agency
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Women in Central America and Mexico are fleeing their countries in rising numbers to escape a surge in deadly, unchecked gang violence, fueling a looming refugee crisis in the Americas that demands urgent and concerted action by the states of the region, the United Nations refugee agency warned Wednesday.
View the full report "Women on the Run" from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees by clicking here

The radical roots of Mother’s Day

May 5, 2016
Diana Butler Bass for Huffington Post
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At first glance, Mother’s Day appears a quaint and conservative holiday, a sort of greeting card moment, honoring 1950s values, a historical throw back to old-fashioned notions of hearth and home.
Let’s correct that impression by saying: Happy Radical Mother’s Day.

U.S. peace activists refuse to pay taxes in protest of military spending

May 5, 2016
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Another year of military operations, another year of resistance: thousands are expected to show conscientious objection by not paying federal income tax.
War tax resisters in the United States are preparing for another round of civil disobedience with the deadline to pay taxes coming this week.

Watch a dramatic reading of Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation against war

May 4, 2016
Democracy Now!
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In 2009, "Democracy Now" featured an excerpt of Robert Greenwald’s short film Mother’s Day for Peace featuring a dramatic reading of Julia Ward Howe's, "Mother's Day Proclamation" by Alfre Woodard, Vanessa Williams, Ashraf Salimian, Fatma Saleh, Christine Lahti and Felicity Huffman. 

Watch the clip and read the transcript (with an intro from Gloria Steinem) by clicking here

The Democratic Turn of the Century: Learning from the U.S. Democracy Movement

March 18, 2015
Ben Manski

Originally published by the journal Socialism & Democracy. Contact the author for permission to reprint.

Democracy movements arose in most regions of the globe during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Students of social change have studied many of these movements, but, remarkably, have so far failed to look at that of the United States.

Why Washington should fear the silence of the anti-war movement

December 8, 2014
Ben Manski
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On this 73rd anniversary of the last declaration of war by the United States, as the Pentagon escalates its military actions in Iraq and Syria, the silence of the U.S. peace movement carries an ominous warning for Washington, DC. The streets of major U.S. cities are not filled with anti-war demonstrations, yet the apparent quiet does not signify consent. A look at history shows why.

Remembering the Christmas Truce of 1914

November 11, 2014
Veterans for Peace
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December 2014 will mark the 100 year anniversary of the Christmas Truce of 1914. During 2014 VFP National will plan activities to share with chapters to celebrate this memorable moment in history.

Christmas Truce of 1914

During World War I, on and around Christmas Day 1914, the sounds of rifles firing and shells exploding faded in a number of places along the Western Front in favor of holiday celebrations in the trenches and gestures of goodwill between enemies.

Why doesn't the US observe Armistice Day?

November 11, 2014
Rory Fanning
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On Tuesday, the United States should be celebrating its 95th Armistice Day, pausing as a nation to think about the terrible costs of war – including the loss of so many lives. Unfortunately, we replaced it with a very different holiday.

IPS to host webinar on "U.S.-ISIS Crisis and Washington's New Wars" on 11/13/14

November 10, 2014
Institute for Policies Studies
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Join Phyllis Bennis, Director of the New Internationalism project, for an in-depth discussion on the crisis. We will discuss:

  • Why is the Obama administration going back to war in Iraq and Syria?
  • What is ISIS and why are they considered such a threat?
  • Is this U.S. war helping the Syrian regime?
  • Who – AND IN what country – is next?

Please join us for this important discussion – and invite your friends!

RYDER and HAYDEN: Importance of the War Powers Resolution

November 10, 2014
Paul Ryder and Tom Hayden

[Research by Paul Ryder]

The nation needs a full public debate and a Congressional vote on whether to authorize the current American military interventions in Iraq and Syria and, if so, under what conditions. The past is prologue:

April 4, 1956: President Dwight Eisenhower’s news conference --

Q: Sarah McClendon, El Paso Times: Sir, would you order those Marines that were sent over to the Mediterranean and over in that area, would you order them to war, without asking the Congress first?

Tom Hayden: Letter to Congress on Escalation in Iraq & Syria

November 10, 2014
Tom Hayden

Dear Members of Congress,

The New War has escalated since we sent this letter November 3, 2014. President Obama has dispatched another 1,500 US troops and requested $5 billion in new funding. The president also has requested a congressional authorization. It is time for Congress to act and widen the public debate.

One of the bitter lessons of Vietnam, learned again in Iraq, is that it is relatively easy for Congress to authorize a war, but far more difficult to end one. Instead, there comes quagmire, suffering, cost, regret and political fallout.

Medea Benjamin: Corporate media responsible for selling ISIS war

October 10, 2014
Medea Benjamin

A war-weary American public that a year ago resoundingly rejected US military intervention in Syria to overthrow the Assad regime now is rallying behind the use of force to destroy the so-called Islamic State (Isis).

The New War, the Forever War, and a World Beyond War

October 3, 2014
World Beyond War
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A statement on the current and enduring crisis, by the coordinating committee of


Community organizing successfully ends militarized-policing convention's presence in Oakland

October 1, 2014
War Resisters League
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On Friday, September 5th, hundreds of of protesters gathered in front of the Marriott in Downtown Oakland, CA, to stand against Urban Shield and declare two major victories: Urban Shield will no longer be held at the Marriott and it will no longer take place anywhere in Oakland. Reclaiming the streets in celebration of our power, we made it loud and clear that we do not welcome militarization and policing of our communities.

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