Wednesday, August 24, 2005

CODEPINK's Stop The Next War Now (excerpt from Kit Gage's "Protect Your Right To Dissent")

We'll never be able to stop war if we don't have the right to speak freely, organize demonstrations, and meet without government interference. Since 9/11, with the passage of the USA Patriot Act and other regulatory changes, we have lost many of our basic freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
Remember, we will retain our rights only if we demand them.

The above is from Kit Gage's "Protect Your Right To Dissent" from CODEPINK'S Stop The Next War Now. Continue reading by purchasing the book or checking it out of your library (if you're library doesn't have it, they can use interlibrary loan to obtain it) to find Gage's recommendations for retaining your rights.

Gage "is the president and founder of that National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom." August is almost over and we haven't done an entry on Stop The Next War Now since the first week of July. My apologies. (What happened? O'Connor retired and free time went out the window as I joined others in putting in -- and continue to -- time to help make sure Roe v. Wade remains protected.)

We will continue to note this book. Various voices speak their own truth and the book remains important.

Gage's excerpt above speaks to the need for us to participate in democracy and we've seen that really take root this summer. Hopefully, the September 24-26th events will see a huge turnout. Elaine posted the info on that yesterday at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude:

"September Mobilization" (United for Peace & Justice)
Saturday, September 24
Massive March, Rally & Anti-war Festival
Gather 11 AM at the Washington Monument
March steps off at 12:30 PM
Sat., Sept. 24 - Operation Ceasefire Concert
Sun., Sept. 25 - Interfaith Service, Grassroots Training
Mon., Sept. 26 - Congressional Education Day and Mass Nonviolent Direct Action and Civil Disobedience Linking Anti-war and Global Justice Protests
Leave no military bases behind
End the looting of Iraq
Stop the torture
Stop bankrupting our communities
No military recruitment in our schools

But we are seeing renewed activism. Laura Flanders, on her show The Laura Flander Show, has spoken of the need to do more than e-mails to representatives. That's "more than." That's not stop doing that. That's not stop contacting your reps or stop visiting their offices. But in the last few years, we've rediscovered our voices. I have a friend who lives in an "artists area" and she tells the story of how at the end of June, 2002, she was walking through her neighborhood, past her independent bookstore where a young woman had set up a table and was drawing a poster for peace. My friend did stop and talk to her but resisted adding to the drawing, the woman set up the table where she did because she was attempting to get people to add to her drawing with their own drawings and messages. My friend wanted to add to it but with various things (the climate in the country, the Patriot Act, et al), she decided against it.

I don't think that story is all that unusual. And though not the most outspoken activist, my friend does get involved. But the climate was intimidating for a lot of people. Online petitions and e-mails are great. But they're one step down the road, they aren't the road itself.

We're seeing people speak out and start participating. As Gage notes in the excerpt above, if we don't use our voices and our rights, we're allowing our government to do whatever it wants to in our name and we're abdicating our responsibilities.

Stop The Next War Now is about owning your responsibilities. It's about not taking marching orders from D.C. and about thinking outside the tiny box we've allowed the Bully Boy to put us in. With the numerous voices contained in this book, I'm guessing community members will find someone who can speak to them. Barbara e-mailed asking what is "interlibrary loan." Interlibrary loan (and intra from within a library's own system) is a service most public libraries provide. (I would assume all but I'll say "most.") If you go to your local library and on the shelves you don't find a book (any book) and it's not in the library catalogue (card or online), you can speak to a librarian to request that they borrow the book from a library that does have it. (In some areas, there is a charge for this service.) So if you hear about a book on the radio, on TV, online, where ever, and you're local library doesn't have a copy of it, that doesn't mean you can't obtain a copy. (For members who are college students, your colleges -- junior colleges and universities -- also provide this service. And if there's a college in your area, "most" offer a program where, for an annual fee, you can check out books from the college library, so you can also check into that.) So there's not a lot of excuses for anyone not to pick up this book and check it out if you're interested in it. But if you have an excuse, hopefully the excerpts we're providing here give you some sense of the book.

For those keeping track, we've now excerpted from Mary Ann Wright's "Essential Dissent," Cindy Sheehan's "From Cindy to George," Nancy Lessin's "Breaking The Code Of Silence," Camilo Mejia's "Regaining My Humanity," Arundhati Roy's "Introduction," Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans preface, and Alice Walker's foreword. Mike (Mikey Likes It!) covered one section of the book and the link for that is: "Mike on Marti Hiken's 'Understanding The U.S. Military' from CODEPINK'S Stop The Next War Now." In addition, Dallas has provided a list of all the contributors to CODEPINK's Stop The Next War Now.

On May 4th we noted this:

Code Pink has a book out entitled Stop the Next War Now. For more information, see Code Pink or BuzzFlash. The book contains contributions from a number of women this community has noted and highlighted. Among the contributors: Medea Benjamin, Amy Goodman, Barbara Lee, Naomi Klein, Eve Ensler, and Arianna Huffington.

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