Litsa Binder. Introduction by William Astore.
“Peace is our profession” was the official slogan of the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Air Command (SAC), a goal they were willing if necessary to enforce by thermonuclear weapons and mutually assured destruction (MAD) with the Soviet Union. In the Reagan years, the costly MX intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tipped with multiple thermonuclear warheads was known without irony as “The Peacekeeper.”
Weapons are not the way to peace, certainly not nuclear weapons of genocidal proportions. Peace will come when people gather together and work for it. Activists like Litsa Binder truly have peace as their profession. The upcoming rally in Washington, D.C. on August 24th, marking the fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech on August 28th, 1963, provides us an opportunity to renew the dream of a life free from the scourge of war, as Litsa eloquently affirms in the article below, an exclusive for The Contrary Perspective. W.J. Astore
The People United Will Never Be Defeated – A Second Chance
My experience with the peace movement after 9/11 reinforced my view for an urgent need for peace, civil rights, environmental, economic, social justice and other progressive organizations to put aside differences, and work closely together toward the goal of building a just society.
When I joined the public anti-war protests in 2002, the immediate goal of the peace movement was to prevent war with Iraq. I was thrilled to march with hundreds of thousands, spirited peace activists in Washington, DC against the prospect of war. However, sometime later, I became very concerned when two anti-war protests were scheduled a couple of weeks from each other, each sponsored by a major anti-war organization. Smaller crowds attended each protest and eventually there were no protests at all. In the meantime, anti-war leaders spent much time and energy at conferences discussing their respective positions on various issues and how to bridge their differences. The casualty of their inability to have a united front was the peace movement itself.
In the current environment of corporate greed, blatant assault on civil liberties, voting rights, women’s reproductive rights, worker rights, gun violence, and endless war, it is imperative that organizations representing the 99% unite to work together toward building a just society. The Occupy movement attempted to do that. Occupy was criticized for not having a specific goal or focus. I believe that was the movement’s strength. It was like an umbrella group – its focus was justice for the 99%. And that is why it was feared and was crushed by force.
“The People United Will Never Be Defeated” is a favorite slogan of mine. It looks like peace, human rights, environmental, labor, women’s groups will have a second chance to act in unison on August 24, 2013, on the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, led by Martin Luther King, Jr., when he made his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. On August 24, buses filled with people having all kinds of dreams for a better world will head to Washington, DC to honor the memory of Dr. King and dedicate themselves to finishing the dream. The movement will need to stay united and be sustained over a long period of time in order to force our elected officials to bring about change.
Here is another chance to keep hope alive; a better world is possible!
Litsa Binder is a dedicated activist for peace and social justice.