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      Hillary & The Peace Movement

      The absence of a powerful Peace Lobby, on the scale of the civil rights, women's and labor lobbies in Washington, leaves a vacuum allowing Hillary Clinton to drift towards neo-conservative military views.

      Certainly there are admirable peace groups lobbying Washington today, but none compare with the NAACP for African-Americans, MALDEF for Mexican-Americans and immigrants, the NRDC for environmentalists, nor with NOW, the Feminist Majority or the AFL-CIO.

      It is this network of progressive interest groups that represents the Democratic Party base and pulls Hillary steadily towards the positions staked out by Elizabeth Warren, Bill De Blasio and Sherrod Brown.

      There is a vacuum where a vibrant peace movement should be. Liberal groups like the Center for American Progress (CAP) focus on domestic issues and are somewhere between tepid and unpredictable on foreign policy. With a few exceptions, the well-funded domestic reformers stay away from issues of war and foreign policy, which might cause political or donor problems. During the height of the Iraq War, big Democratic donors were encouraged to fund MoveOn and anti-war work in Republican Congressional districts, but the effort quickly faded.

      Respected groups like the Friends National Committee on Legislation and Peace Action are permanent fixtures in Washington but haven't grown since the Vietnam era and the intense but short-lived Nuclear Freeze campaign in the Reagan years. Central American solidarity groups, often church-based, rose then faded away after the wars in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras.

      The powerful opposition to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars had a huge impact on the 2006 and 2008 elections, even helping Barack Obama defeat Hillary Clinton and John McCain. But it dissipated after the Wall Street Crash, when the activist coalitions turned their attention to economic issues and the Occupy Movement. 

      What remains is a vast but little-organized bloc of peace voters without a national voice, platform, funding, or recognizable leaders. And so the two parties drift towards war with little restraint from the grass roots. On the Republican side, Rand Paul becomes more belligerent by the day, in obeisance to his party's traditional national security hawks. On the Democratic side, it remains to be seen whether Hillary will have any challengers and whether they will concentrate their criticism only on domestic issues. In the raging crisis over Iran, both parties seem gripped by pro-Israel war fever, leaving President Obama on the most progressive end of the tilted spectrum when he should be in the center.

      Valiant critics of the drone policy soldier on, but their greatest institutional allies tend to be military outfits like the Long War Journal who favor counterinsurgency or troops on the ground. Even Foreign Affairs magazine, journal of the foreign policy establishment, has published an article entitled "Bug Splat", the drone operators' phrase for civilian casualties. The peace movement can't be based on conflicting factions inside the Beltway. 

      The reasons for this vacuum are many and subject to different interpretations. That discussion should happen across many forums as the global violence spirals further out of control. The ultimate question is whether the fragmented peace movement can be united into a powerful and permanent Peace Lobby comparable to other progressive groupings? If that seems doubtful, there is a near-term agenda that must be taken up - how to organize a strong activist peace campaign to become a factor that Hillary must take into account in Iowa, New Hampshire and the long road through the 2016 elections. 

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      Reader Comments (7)

      Dear Tom!
      And what do you say to Bernie? Is all your attention focused on Hillary? Are you hoping or waiting?

      April 29, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Steltzer

      Thanks for your interested , and many thanks for your contribution to a bertter world, thanks for your creativity, for your intellegence and for your courage....thanks in my name , in the name of all iinvolved at this absurd, uthopic and fascinant project, thanks in the name of United Nations ( U.N. ) , and many thanks in the name of millions womens,girls and childs arround the world, you are an inspiration and example for us , and for them....

      Wellcome to he biggest net of activist for change the world, and the most global fith columne, the all countries,international institutions, religions institutions, governments administrations, think-tanks, finance world,univeristies, NGOS, foundations, human rights associattions, womens nationals federations, multinationals the all sectors, knowledges centres of each area, and particulars the all sexual, social and policy condition, sex, age, religion confession, ethic, philosophy, ethnic...

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      I AM...........F.E.M.i.N.i.S.T......!!! UN WOMEN world campaign....

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      .........remenber your bravery.....and make poesy........!!

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      you can do it , only make it with passion, emotion,with expeditive, genuine, original, , dont make it the belive or think, try to translate how you sense, , let your mind free, and make it with tears, with fun, with sense, with horror, with you.....and the theme is " Change World " or THE LIFE.....AND ......YOU .

      Change world is an attitude, not is laws, not is norms, not is policy, change world is an fall in love sense, not light or cursi sense.and the first is STOP wars, human traffick, ablacttion, rapes, killied womans, girls and childs,prostituion, and all of the MENS make at womens in all cultures, not is policy,culture,race,democrazy,education,...and all mens arround the world are guilty for make it , for silence, and for cowardice, and all we are guiltys, and in the name of all mens , i am sorry at all women i know, and all womens dont know, and now is possible start change world.

      Millions womens , girls and childs arround the world are look you, and are waiting for your courage, be them voice....

      remenber your old bravery....spread the world ...and maie poesy...

      Now is the time, the new age is coming, the age of womens sense, the new woman, the it the time for change this crazy and fight for the new future.......cowardice not is an option way of life....of sense , of love of work....

      Fernando Real

      id -

      May 1, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterfernando real

      Will Feminists Allow President Hillary Clinton to Establish Sharia Law Courts in the US?

      May 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterZombie Poet

      I became a peace activist when we began bombing Afghanistan Oct, 2001. I could see no good coming out of that action. But I have often noted that at the time 94% of Americans favored the bombing, or so the polls apparently said. Everybody had their own reasons. It was very lonely to be in the 6%. The peace community here (Twin Cities) hardly exists any more - oh, there are people, and meetings, but no impact outside its own membership. It is fragmented into many special interests, with not much ability to cooperate. Lots of old people (I'm 75 myself) tending to live in the 1960s. Earlier today I added a couple of links to a post I did in my own blog on April 23. ( You may find one or both of interest. At the same blogsite, put the words "Uncomfortable Essays" into the search engine, and you'll see what my thinking had evolved into back in 2008-09. This should be a perfect time in history for the peace movement, but to exploit the opportunity requires the old-line leadership to change in many ways, including turning over the reins, and I don't think they are able to do that.

      May 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDick Bernard

      Not that they have been able to build much of a following, but Code Pink, Roots Action, Just Foreign Policy and even the still-breathing Move On are worth mention. The only hope for the renewed peace movement you call for will necessarily involve these groups. They should not be dismissed.

      May 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Machover

      Not that they have been able to build much of a following, but Code Pink, Roots Action, Just Foreign Policy and even the still-breathing Move On are worth mention. The only hope for the renewed peace movement you call for will necessarily involve these groups. They should not be dismissed.

      May 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Machover

      The fragmenting of the larger peace and justice movement of the 60's, women following blacks' lead in self interest organizing rather than organizing for radical change across the board, and ditto labor...leave us all without a critique of world affairs in which peace has a core role. All of us who were part of that change back in the day need do some real soul searching and reflection, and share it, or we will quite likely never have a peace movement again. We sure don't have one now. I'd add the end of the draft as a key element in the end of peace as politics, leaving the fighting of our wars to those who need jobs...and the stunning rise of ams and war as our ONLY industries remaining...everyone has an interest in keeping the money flowing from those sources in our ridiculously lavish lives....Fragmented social movements will never be able to address this problem. Sad but true.

      May 13, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCasey Hayden
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