Thursday, April 28, 2016

IT'S A LOCK: Why the US Can't Break Its Addiction to War

"Technicians at Poway [CA]-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems
worked on the fuselage of a Sky Warrior drone . . . . The company’s unmanned-
aerial-vehicle program includes the Sky Warrior, the Predator and the Predator B."
(2009 photo - John Gibbins / Union-Tribune)

The new film about the arms trade, Shadow World, screened last night in Berkeley.

There is much that is provocative in the film, and everybody who cares about ending war should see it and share it with others in their community.

In particular, the segment about the Pentagon whistleblower Franklin Spinney caught my attention. Spinney talked about the systemic nature of the problem -- military spending that penetrates every single Congressional district. In effect, we're stuck. To break the hold of war on the US, we need to break the hold of military spending on every Congressional district.

Let's admit it: we've got a problem.
This was reinforced in the discussion following the screening, when Andrew Feinstein -- author of the book on which the film is based -- pointed to the inseparable relationship between campaign funding for Congressional races and the military contractors.

This idea is not new to me. I moved to California last year, fully aware that much of the beautiful California lifestyle is built on weapons manufacturing. The Concise Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick tells us that, between 1951 and 1963, California benefited from $67 billion in defense contracts (p. 218-9). In my own work on the problem of drones, I've come to learn that a relatively new player in defense, General Atomics, has become a star in the San Diego area economy by building Predator and Reaper drones.

Can drone jobs be "good jobs"?
But the question of how to push back against the problem has seemed gargantuan. Four hundred and thirty-five Congressional districts: how to begin?

It occurred to me that I could start by looking into California's 53 Congressional districts. But that alone is a huge job . . . and it's still just one state.

By coincidence, yesterday I was also thinking about another question: the readership of my blog is growing very fast . . . but where is it all headed? What do I hope the outcome is?

And then I realized that what I hope for is actually quite simple: I hope to suggest to people that they can use simple tools like blogs to get important information out to a wider audience.  In effect, these blogs and other social media are our answer to the complaint that the mainstream media doesn't report the important stories, and distorts the stories they do report. We need to be our own media.

Chicago activists are taking on Boeing
None of us has to do the whole job his/her self. We're a swarm.

So here's my promise: I will knuckle down and get to work on those 53 districts in California. And if you're writing about the hold of defense contractors and the Pentagon on those or other districts around the country, share your work with me via Twitter at @scarry. I'll make sure that it gets a big audience.

Posts related to California congressional districts

13th (East Bay): 21st c. Berkeley: More Relevant Than Ever to Antiwar Movement

17th (Silicon Valley): Worldwide War and Conflict (Brought to you by Silicon Valley)

More related posts

There's been a lot of talk in recent weeks and months about the problem of gun trafficking in Illinois, and how we will never meet our goal of stopping the violence in our communities if we can't stop the flow of guns. Maybe it's time for us to eat our own dog food . . . .

(See What If Illinois Became a "War-Profiteer-Free Zone" ? )

How might an uprising against inequality and dismantling the military-industrial complex dovetail?

(See WHERE'S MINE? Inequality in the US and the Military-Industrial Complex )

I've realized that when we ask ourselves, "What is it that we hope people will do?" we must include an element of recursivity: One of the things we want people to do is to involve more people in doing it. In a way, that element of recursivity -- dare I say "evangelism"? -- defines what it means for people to really become part of a movement.

(See Invite More People into Activism! (Pass It Along!) )


More than anyone else, the beneficiaries of permawar are the politicians who thrive on the power to make and control wars. The number one prime beneficiary is the President, as well as presidential aspirants. But it doesn't end there . . . .

(See J'ACCUSE: The Beneficiaries of Permawar )