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.
If you know someone— a friend, family member, colleague, or neighbor— who is thinking about becoming a cop, now is an important moment to engage in a tough but necessary conversation on why they shouldn’t join the police force.
Authoritarianism is a driving force of war, both at home and abroad. But what exactly is authoritarianism and what are the strategies to resist it? The War Resisters League’s Editorial Committee invites pitches for articles that can help us both amplify ongoing work resisting this political phenomenon and clarify opportunities for antiwar and antimilitarist movements to understand and organize against it.
When we sat down to discuss rising authoritarianism around the world, we quickly realized it would be helpful to think in the plural authoritarianisms to account for the myriad forms of authoritarianism. Authoritarianism can manifest itself through the state or through privately organized groups, under the banner of explicit fascism (such as the Golden Dawn in Greece or the Alternative for Germany), as counter-revolutionary forces (like Hezbollah, which worked against both the Syrian and Lebanese revolutions), and as reactionary forces (like the Sisi regime in Egypt). Authoritarians can come into power via a military coup like the one in 1973 that brought the long-ruling Pinochet regime into power in Chile. Some authoritarians are also monarchs, like Mohamad Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia but they can also be elected, like right-wing demagogue Donald Trump. Another category are those presidents who are “elected” in sham elections like Cameroon’s Paul Biya, who has been in power for over 45 years and is the world’s longest-ruling, non-royal politician. It is important to name this because there are false perceptions of who can be authoritarian and how they come into power—indeed, authoritarians and authoritative culture can exist under any political context.
War Resisters League’s Editorial Committee regularly puts out calls for submissions to foster conversation on a variety of antiwar/antimilitarist topics. We want to hear from people directly impacted by war: grassroots activists, academics, our membership, and freelance journalists and writers from around the world who are committed to resisting the root causes of war: racism, sexism, and all forms of exploitation. Your art, your voice, your documentation, your research, and your analysis are all forms of that resistance.
The Editorial Committee puts out calls for submissions on our Movement Updates email list, which you can join here. Accepted submissions are published on our War Resisters community page on Waging Nonviolence.
We regularly receive questions on how to write a successful pitch. Here are some tips:
I often quote Barbara Deming’s reminder that “nonviolence is an exploration, one that has just begun” at trainings with groups looking to achieve justice using nonviolence strategies. By engaging in this exploration, we continue to both learn new aspects of the power of nonviolence and develop more creative ways to use it to reach our revolutionary goals: dismantling white supremacy, sexism, and all forms of exploitation.
In December, War Resisters League’s Editorial Committee put out a letter taking a critical look at borders where we discussed how borders motivate both conflict and cooperation between states, and discussed their impact on Indigenous communities. We asked you to join in the conversation through our call for submissions.
We received many strong pitches, more than we had the capacity to accept. Today we are happy to share with you the pieces that were published on our community page, War Resisters, on Waging Nonviolence. We hope you enjoy reading: