Memorial Day: Remembrance and Resolve

"As we approach Memorial Day, we need to think not only of remembering our fallen sons and daughters, but also to resolve to protect future generations from such occasions."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Vietnam-memorial-soldier.jpg                                                          

Memorial Day is upon us. Neighbors are hanging flags in front of their homes. Parades are planned for Main Street. Veterans are searching the back of closets for worn uniforms. And arrangements are being made to bring bouquets of flowers to cemeteries across the nation. We are preoccupied with thinking about heroes and the sacrifices they made to keep our country safe.

Our leaders talk at length about our need for defense in a perilous world. Almost everything can be cut from the emaciated national budget except our defense expenses. The president needs mounting unrestricted authority to send our armed forces and drones anywhere to thwart our many malevolent enemies. This talk of threat and danger to our very being is broadcast recurrently by the political class and the media and widely accepted as truth by citizens as a patriotic duty.

Psychologists give the name “projection” to ascribing to others your own wishes and intentions. The United States has rarely been attacked (Pearl Harbor is an exception), and in modern history was never invaded. Standing as a military colossus, the most powerful armed entity in world history, there is scant fear that any nation or force could defeat us or significantly harm our interests. Invasions don’t come our way, but incursions do emanate from us and penetrate other nations on an astonishing scale—a reality most Americans ignore or discount, abetted by their leaders.

Those leaders have taken our young people into innumerable wars and military actions globally since the end of World War II. These armed infiltrations are conducted under the guise of protecting our liberties or the liberties of others, while in large measure they are efforts to expand our power and financial control and exploit fertile resources—actions tagged imperialism by serious scholars and objective observers. We have to peer directly into the face of that war record to begin to comprehend its scope. A partial accounting identifies the following assaults:

Korean Conflict, 1950 – 1953; Operation PBFORTUNE, Guatemala, 1952; Operation Ajax, 1953; Operation PBSUCCESS, Guatemala, 1954; Bay of Pigs Invasion, Cuba, 1961; Vietnam War, 1962 – 1973; Laotian Civil War, 1962 – 1973; Cambodian Civil War, 1969 – 1970; Operation Powerpack, Dominican Republic, 1965 – 1966; Operation Urgent Fury, Invasion of Grenada, 1983; Operation Blue Bat, Lebanon, 1958; Operation Eagle Claw, Iran hostage crisis, 1980; First Gulf of Sidra Incident, Libya, 1981; Operation El Dorado Canyon, Libya, 1986; Iran-Iraq War, 1987 – 1989; Operation Just Cause, Panama 1989 – 1990; Second Gulf of Sidra Incident, Libya, 1989; Persian Gulf War, Iraq, 1991; Operation Desert Storm, 1991; Operation Desert Shield, 1991; Somali Civil War, 1992 – 1994; Operation Provide Relief, 1992; Operation Restore Hope, 1992 – 1994; Yugoslav wars, 1994 – 1999; Bosnian Conflict, 1994 – 1995; Kosovo Conflict, 1997 – 1999; War on Terrorism, 2001 – present; Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan 2001 – present; Operation Enduring Freedom - Philippines 2002 – present; Operation Enduring Freedom - Horn of Africa 2002 – present; Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003 – present; Waziristan War, 2004 – present; War in Somalia, 2006 – present; Operation Enduring Freedom - Trans Sahara 2007 – present

 As we approach Memorial Day, we need to think not only of remembering our fallen sons and daughters, but also to resolve to protect future generations from such occasions. Dead soldiers are pawns and victims--more than they are heroes. We need to give thought to restraining the excess exercise of the war option by our country. Beyond that, we ought to memorialize the utter futility and ugliness of war itself.  

As a veteran of World War II, I can still remember the wounds and suffering of that long-ago time. That experience brought home to me that every war symbolizes the failure of humans to conduct their affairs in a sensible and civilized way. I look for the day when we stop celebrating wars in the language of glory and grandeur and recognize that every war marks the very lowest level to which humanity sinks.  

We should honor the fallen, but more so we must be peacemakers who thwart the creation of further generations of wasted young men and women.

 Jack Rothman was the founding organizer for the Los Angles DSA chapter. He was a professor of community organizing at the University of Michigan and UCLA Schools of Social Work. His book, Strategies of Community Intervention, has been the leading text in the field. 

 Photo credit.

Wikipedia. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

DSA Queer Socialists Conference Call

April 24, 2017
· 36 rsvps

DSA is in the process of forming a Queer Socialists Working Group. This call will cover a discussion of possible activities for the group, its proposed structure, assigning tasks, and reports on the revision of DSA's LGBT statement and on possible political education activities. 9 pm ET/8 pm CT/7 pm MT/6 pm PT.

 

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

April 30, 2017
· 51 rsvps

Join Philadelphia DSA veteran activist Michele Rossi to explore “socialist feminism.” How does it differ from other forms of feminism? How and when did it develop? What does it mean for our activism? 4-5:30pm ET, 3-4:30pm CT, 2-3:30pm MT, 1-2:30pm PT.

DSA Webinar: Talking About Socialism

May 02, 2017
· 6 rsvps

Practice talking about socialism in plain language. Create your own short rap. Prepare for those conversations about socialism that happen when you table in public.

Join us for our latest organizing training for democratic socialist activists: DSA’s (Virtual) Little Red Schoolhouse.

This training is at 9:00pm Eastern, 8:00pm Central, 7:00pm Mountain, 6:00pm Pacific, 5:00pm Alaska, and 3:00pm Hawaii Time. Please RSVP.

Instructor:

Steve Max, DSA Vice Chair and one of the founders of the legendary community organizing school, The Midwest Academy

In Talking About Socialism you will learn to:

  • Have a quick response ready to go next time someone asks you about democratic socialism.
  • Create your own elevator pitch about democratic socialism and DSA.
  • Use your personal experience and story to explain democratic socialism.
  • Think through the most important ideas you want to convey about democratic socialism.
  • Have a concise explanation of what DSA does, for your next DSA table, event or coalition meeting.

Training Details

  • This workshop is for those who have already had an introduction to democratic socialism, whether from DSA's webinar or from other sources.
  • If you have a computer with microphone, speakers and good internet access, you can join via internet for free.
  • If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt <talt@igc.org> 607-280-7649.
  • If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt <schmittaj@gmail.com> 608-335-6568.
  • Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance, by midnight Sunday.

 

DSA New Member Orientation Call

May 06, 2017
· 44 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  2 pm ET; 1 pm CT; 12 pm MT; 11 am PT.  

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 69 rsvps

Join DSA member Jason Schulman to discuss the film Rosa, directed by feminist filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta. View it here at no cost before the discussion. Marxist theorist and economist Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) played a key role in German socialist politics. Jason edited Rosa Luxemburg: Her Life and Legacy and has a chapter in Rosa Remix. 9 ET/8 CT/7 MT/6 PT.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 18 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.