15 years ago, in October 2007, about 70 activists were arrested on Capitol Hill as part of a “No War, No Warming” action during the time of the Iraq war. I was one of those arrested, and on Democracy Now the next day here’s how I explained it:
“Most people understand that the Iraq war is all about oil. It’s a war for oil, has nothing to do with terrorism. We get the oil. We burn the oil. We heat up the earth. We aggravate and make worse conditions of life for people all over the world, as global warming has its impacts: droughts, floods, sea-level rise. That’s going to lead to more and more climate refugees, going to increase conflict, lead to more war. It’s a vicious cycle. We have to end these wars, get off of our war addiction and our fossil fuel addiction, be about justice, be about peace, be about clean energy. The peace movement, the climate movement, the justice movements, we need to be coming together, and we need to be stepping up our tactics, stepping up our actions, and letting our government know we are not going to accept what they are doing, whether it’s Republicans or Democrats.”
Neither Republicans nor Democrats started the current war between Ukraine and Russia. Putin did, but as of now it looks likely that those in power will make a bad situation worse by ramping up the US military budget and production of oil and gas to try to replace Russia’s exports to Europe. Biden’s proposed military budget for 2023, $813 billion, is $70 billion higher than what he wanted for 2022.
Who suffers most from this tax money going to war, empire building and the polluting fossil fuel industry? It’s low-income people, predominantly people of color because of institutionalized racism. They are the ones whose health is most impacted by dirty fossil fuels being burned or toxic poisons leaked into the air or water next to where they live. They are the ones who suffer from the lack of housing, employment, health care, child care and other programs and policies because the massive military budget takes priority. They are the ones most impacted when stronger and more frequent floods, droughts, superstorms and fires ravage communities as the earth keeps overheating. They are the ones forced to leave their homes to migrate somewhere else in an effort to survive and improve their lives.
Convergence Magazine editor Max Elbaum, in a recent column, said something similar from an international perspective:
“Unfortunately, but predictably, the U.S. and most of its allies are responding with increases in the military budget combined with blatant racist hypocrisy. The current outpouring of self-righteous moral outrage about white Europeans dying at the hands of Russians is in sharp contrast to the dominant attitude when even larger numbers of Iraqi, Yemeni, Mozambican, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and other non-white civilians died at the hands of Western armies and their puppets. And why are sanctions against Russian aggression considered not just appropriate but praiseworthy while sanctions against Israel’s apartheid regime are considered illegitimate if not downright anti-Semitic?”
Does this mean that I am opposed to the financial, including arms, support given to Ukraine to prevent Putin’s takeover of their country? No, it doesn’t. I’ve written and taken action in opposition to what the Russian government is doing and in support of Ukraine’s right to national self-determination. But it has become abundantly clear that the military-industrial complex and the fossil fuel industry are doing all that they can to take advantage of this violent conflict to advance their financial interests. They hope to be war profiteers, in a very big way.
What do we need? We need no war, no warming, no white supremacy actions in the streets. We need a 2020’s version of the kind of mass movement against war and for social justice that we saw during the Vietnam and Iraq wars, one that links the climate emergency, war and militarism, and the need for racial and economic justice. And we need that now, in 2022.
Renewable energy builds world peace and justice!
Ted Glick works with Beyond Extreme Energy and is president of 350NJ-Rockland. Past writings and other information, including about Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution, two books published by him in 2020 and 2021, can be found at https://tedglick.com. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.