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!
“We’re acknowledging the many ways militarization shows up in our lives and neighborhoods.”
by Eleanor J. Bader | October 24, 2018
What kind of world are we trying to build and whose leadership should we look to in these times? Read how WRL's been internally shifting after 95 years of antiwar movement building, and the directions we need to take into the future to create the world we need: