Every year in Verona, New York, hundreds of SWAT officers gather at NYTOAC to "talk shop" with major arms dealers and Islamophobic ideologues. Let's block it and shift resources where they belong: our communities' needs!
On this MLK day, let us recall Dr. Martin Luther King's deepest legacy. He understood that denouncing the violent extremism of young, angry men in the ghettos could not be done without hypocrisy unless one also condemned the far greater violence of the U.S. war machine in Vietnam. When governments decide political problems can be solved through violence, it is no surprise their citizens reach the same conclusion.
WRL's Ali Issa on the protest upsurge in Iraq: "Since a new wave of protest in Iraq — the largest in decades — has forced the Iraqi government to finally begin acknowledging the fundamental problems with the now 12-year-old quota system, Iraqis across sectors and at the grassroots are striving to chart a new political course. It’s also time for the world at large to see Iraqis in a new way. Not as simply Sunni, Shi’ite or Kurd, Gulf-backed or Iran-backed, terrorist or victim. Iraqis are asking us to do much better than that."
Stop Urban Shield is a broad coalition of grassroots community and social justice organizations primarily based in the Bay Area but with partnering community groups across the nation who have come together united against Urban Shield. Urban Shield, a SWAT team training and weapons expo that brings together local, regional, and international police-military units to collaborate on and profit from new forms of surveillance, state repression, and state violence.
Congratulations to the Stop Urban Shield Coalition on the recent victory of demilitarizing emergency preparedness in California’s Bay Area! In other words: ending Urban Shield. Since 2013, this cross-community coalition has organized tirelessly against Urban Shield — a SWAT team training and weapons expo, that brought together local, regional, and international police to collaborate on, and practice, new forms of military-grade weaponry and tactics of state repression. Urban Shield was often described as “the largest SWAT training in the world.” As proud members of the Stop Urban Shield Coalition, War Resisters League sends our love and respect to Bay Area organizations that strategized, organized and built the community power leading to this huge win.
This past April, WRL piloted our first Demilitarist School in Chicago! Over three days, 13 young people and a group of Demil School facilitators, including WRL staff and National Committee members, gathered to grapple with the scale of US militarism. Participants delved into discussions about strategies for dismantling militarism and the ways antimilitarist work feeds into struggles for Black liberation, immigrant rights, prison abolition, workers rights, queer liberation, and climate justice. Special thanks to Assata’s Daughters who generously provided space for the Demil School!
Today the U.S., Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, Israel, India, Pakistan, Morocco, and Indonesia are actively engaged in aerial attacks in upwards of 15 regions primarily in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Since Donald Trump took office, “civilian” casualties from U.S. airwars have doubled with an average of 120 bombs dropped a day. Learning about airwars throughout the world clarifies that the environmental, structural, and psychological impacts keep killing and destroying communities after the initial aerial attack— in some instances for generations.
Martin Luther King Jr. would have turned 90 this year. As we mark his birthday on this holiday, we are reminded of his work, his words, his inspiration, and his legacy… and we wonder what work he may have gone on to do if he had lived. We are reminded of all of those in the civil rights and antiwar movements of Martin's lifetime, and of the people who came after to build on those struggles. We are reminded of those whose names and work and wisdom Martin knew, but who are less known to many of us.
As an organization that strives to target and dismantle war at its root causes, we believe in radically different ways of being than what our current world allows. We imagine a world where all people breathe clean air and drink clean water, where all people share what we grow and create, where all people live full, unencumbered lives. Where the land is returned and reparations are paid. When we recognize our reality and the current inheritance of future generations - poisonous wildfires, rising waters, the privatization of every resource we need to stay alive - we gain clarity on our greatest enemies.
This past summer, WRL National Committee member Debbie Southorn took a moment to collect stories about our past, present, and future. Give it a listen above and stay tuned for more awesome opportunities for future podcasts!