Why do I engage in nonviolent direct action? Why will I go back to Beale later this month to demonstrate, even as all the charges against me and other anti-drone demonstrators have been dropped? Because I believe that through nonviolent action we can be transformed and can contribute to the transformation of the world.
Our September 29 and 30 demonstrations at Beale will be one of over 160 nonviolent actions taking place later this month around the country and around the world. These locally-organized actions are being coordinated with Campaign Nonviolence, and are focused on calling for an end to war, poverty, and climate change. Linking of these three critical issues helps to reveal the systemic causes of the grave dangers of our age.
These three evils are intertwined in so many ways, in both cause and effects. For example, war unleashes blood lust and creates carnage while consuming resources that could be invested in education, health care, renewable energy, job creation, and services that could create a strong society and lift the poor out of poverty. Modern warfare, dependent on fossil fuels for high-tech weaponry, is also a big contributor to climate change.
Meanwhile, the poor and vulnerable are generally hit first and worst by both war and climate change. They not only suffer the immediate effects of war and extreme weather events caused by climate change, they also lack the resources and political power to escape these crises.
The most obvious way that war, poverty, and climate change are related is that they are exacerbated by a global free market capitalist system that is destroying both human life and the natural systems of the earth. Economic globalization, dominated by global corporations, is based on the concept of unlimited growth. Such growth creates extremes of wealth and poverty and depends upon the increasing use of fossil fuels which cause climate change. Climate change is high on the Pentagon and CIA’s lists of threats to national security, and resource wars are already being waged. “No blood for oil” has been a refrain of peace activists for decades. As climate change continues to accelerate, “water wars” will also increase.
Modern high-tech warfare, poverty, and climate change are not the outcome of a natural social evolution, but the predictable result of a global system of domination built upon the values of profit, prestige, and power over others, a system designed to harness human energy and exploit the gifts of the earth for the sake of the few. This system is created by human beings and is sustained by our common consent. When we the people withdraw our consent, the system will not be able to stand, and transformation will happen.
As Joanna Macy said, “Action is the antidote to despair.” One of the personal benefits of nonviolent action is the knowledge that at least you are doing what you can to help turn things around. Such action also plugs you in to a global community of people who are taking action for a peaceful, just, and ecologically sustainable world and helping to bring it about. Through coordinated nonviolent action we can be transformed and we can be agents of transformation in the world.
Find out more about our planned September actions at Beale.
Stay informed and updated. Follow Sharon’s blog by clicking the “Follow Sharon Delgado” button at the right or by “liking” the Shaking the Gates of Hell FaceBook page. Go to the Occupy Beale Air Force Base Facebook page or Occupy Beale website for updates on this court case, background information, and announcements about upcoming Beale demonstrations and direct actions.