Making Connections: From Shock and Awe to Wall Street

March 23rd, 2013

Published on Dissident Voice, by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, March 21, 2013.

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the “Shock and Awe” US invasion of Iraq. The ravages of that invasion continue at home and in Iraq, the US is still at war in Afghanistan (troops and contractors remain in Iraq) and unofficially waging war on countries like Pakistan and Yemen, is aggravating aggression with North Korea as part of an Asian pivot encircling China, is putting more military into Africa and Obama is in Israel where he sings a duet for war with Netanyahu against Syria and Iran. Meanwhile, poverty, unemployment and homelessness continue to grow in the US with threats of austerity for everything except the national security state.

When we occupied Freedom Plaza in October, 2011, we made the connection between US Empire and the corporate control of our political process, between unlimited military spending and cuts to necessary domestic programs. We understood the misreporting in the corporate media about the Iraq War. Kathy Kelly from Voices for Creative Nonviolence was in Baghdad during Shock and Awe. On this tenth anniversary, she reminds us of the horrible price of war and warns of never ending war as the US seems to edge toward more war in the region. The need to understand those connections grows more important each day as we see the costs of war affecting people on every level … //

… Let us remember that there is strength in solidarity and all these issues are connected by policies that put corporate greed before human needs and protection of the Earth.

Solidarity has produced some real successes recently. In the UK, 21 climate activists were being sued by the energy giant EDF for shutting down an energy plant for 8 days. But when 64,000 customers signed a petition in support for the “No Dash for Gas” activists; EDF dropped its civil suit. Criminal charges remain, so solidarity with the activists continues to be important. And in Cyprus, the EU tried to impose a tax on the population in exchange for assistance with their debt. Massive protests resulted in the Cypriot Parliament saying no to the tax.

The plague of Wall Street banking affects people across the globe. Wall Street was a key focus of Occupy. This week, activists in Philadelphia explained their protest against Wells Fargo which led to their arrest and acquittal, indeed being thanked by the judge for their actions.  This was one of five recent court victories for Occupy. Now, people are standing up in New York with a class action lawsuit against the abusive stop and frisk searches which had been protested by occupiers and others.

Single payer groups are joining with Strike Debt to fight medical debt and our debt-based society. Chicago Teachers invited Occupy Wall Street to teach them protest skills. And, the Imokalee workers are walking across Florida to protest low wages. In Maryland, Fund Our Communities is holding a day long “Prosperity Not Austerity” Bus Tour that links issues such as health care, education and food security with the cost of war. The Strike Debt Resistor’s Manual provides a guide for communities to learn more about ways that debt affects them and what they can do about it. Perhaps you see opportunities for making connections around issues where you are?

It is through these connections that we can grow stronger and become more effective. And it is through these connections that we can have real conversations about the root causes of our shared situations, about the real needs that we have and how we can meet them together and build a unified movement that can say “No” to war at home and abroad. Let us not be afraid to talk about US imperialism and the effects of capitalism and a debt-based world. Let us look for the truth and not be lied into another war in Syria, Iran or North Korea. And let us all join together in the urgent need for climate justice.

We can succeed too. As we make connections and build solidarity, we are preparing for the day when we will shift power to the people. An important issue that needs your attention, particularly next week, is the hunger strike in Guantanamo. Don’t let these prisoners die in vain. Witness Against Torture is calling for a week of national solidarity actions starting March 24th. Join them.
(full text with many hyperlinks).

(Kevin Zeese, JD and Margaret Flowers, MD co-host Clearing the FOG on We Act Radio 1480 AM Washington, DC, co-direct Its Our Economy and are organizers of the Occupation of Washington, DC. Read other articles by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers).

Links:

US: Solution to Student Debt is to Get the Banks Out of the Education Business, on Dissident Voice, by TRNN, March 22, 2013;

Who is Justin Welby? on Left Foot Forward, by ADAM WADSWORTH, March 21, 2013: … was ordained as 105th Archbishop of Canterbury on March 21 …;

ZSocial.org (by ZNet): social networking (for individuals and groups) for a better world / sign up;

Call to Action: Strike Debt Rolling Jubilee Erases Medical Debt, on Occupy Washington DC, by Margaret Flowers, Feb 28, 2013 – In the U.S., healthcare is a bankrupt system run on debt:

  • .60% of personal bankruptcies are linked to medical bills.
  • .86% of doctors begin their professional lives with educational debt.
  • .Unprofitable community hospitals are being closed left and right in order to make room for for-profit hospitals or condominiums

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