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Open Letter To Young Organizers: I'm Against Imperial Wars, How About You?

By lisa savage - Posted on 19 December 2016


Forward Together rally and march in Waterville, Maine on December 10. Photo by Michael G. Seamens, Morning Sentinel

Dear young organizers,
Thanks for inviting me to your marches. Congratulations on waking up to the dangers of corporate government threatening human rights and planetary health. It was easy to be lulled by its handsome, articulate face especially when you were still quite young and had almost no access to authentic information about the practices of your empire. It's not your fault that you never saw the babies and grandmothers President Obama burnt up with his hellfire missiles, or the mothers who bore deformed infants after being exposed to his weapons made with depleted uranium. Or the innocent people who were tortured with the taxes your parents paid.

The six big conglomerates who control corporate media made sure that you never saw these things.


Instead, they made sure you saw lots and lots and lots of patriotic, nationalistic flag waving in conjunction with lots of fear mongering about Muslim terrorists. And bullshit movies where torture was effective at getting information out of people (it's not).

The propaganda of corporate government has become quite sophisticated, especially in its distribution strategies, employing platforms like televised sports and permeating your schools in forms such as classroom magazines andbook fairs

You've all gotten the message loud and clear that opposing U.S. wars and militarism makes you look unpatriotic. 

And most of you understandably failed to notice that, even though the health of the environment is a big concern for your generation, the Pentagon's enormous carbon footprint and other pollution were being deliberately rendered invisible. 

Great State of Maine Air Show, Brunswick, Maine September, 2008 (U.S. Navy photo accessed on Wikimedia Commons)

Even though air shows like the Blue Angels were churning out exhaust and burning napalm (the jellied gasoline that was used to burn jungles and people in Vietnam when I was your age) for your entertainment right under your nose all along. The grownups were cheering, so you did, too.

Don't feel bad -- propaganda works on everybody. That's why our corporate overlords rely on it so heavily.

Now that the demagogue with bad hair has been elected and started filling his cabinet posts with executives from the worst corporations on the planet, you're up in arms. You're ready to march for a long list of human rights that you consider crucial to quality of life, and you're organizing people to march with you. I'm receiving hundreds of invites to join you in the streets, in signing petitions, sending letters to CEOs, and lobbying our alleged representatives in Washington DC. 

And I'm thrilled. I'll join you when and where I can, and I'll gladly follow your lead. Young people are waking up and I feel privileged to witness this and to support your fresh and passionate movements.

I'm waiting breathlessly for the day that you collectively realize that withdrawing your labor -- especially, I believe, women withdrawing their labor -- en masse would be an extremely effective and nonviolent way to bring a corrupt system to its knees.

I won't be organizing this. But you, I predict, will when the time comes.

Here's what I want to ask you to consider today: don't overlook the human rights abuses of the U.S. military killing machine at work beyond our borders. Black lives matter here, and they matter over there, too. Muslim lives matter. People whose countries are on top of big fossil fuel reserves lives matter. People who find themselves in places where the Pentagon thinks they have the right to build one of its thousands of military bases outside the U.S. lives matter.

When you're making the list of human rights abuses you'll be marching against, don't forget the wars waged in your name all around the planet. They are the ultimate human rights abuse. Just ask someone who's experienced air strikes on their village.

If you want to and have the time, find out more about these wars. Look beyond the corporate "news" feed of Google and Yahoo! or the sites your friends share on social media. If the source is looking to turn a profit, be skeptical about their hidden bias.

I understand if you don't have time to research the current wars and you prefer to focus on other issues. It's hard to get by these days, and once we've attended to our own basic survival needs we all get to decide what we want to spend our free time working toward.

Just please don't let yourself be intimidated into silencing your dissent around imperial militarism. Opposing wars is patriotic.

I look forward to the day when you remember to include opposition to militarism on the lists of things you're marching for. I have faith in you and your ongoing education. Let's keep learning together.

With love, appreciation and respect,


Speaking Events



August 2-6: Peace and Democracy Conference at Democracy Convention in Minneapolis, Minn.


September 22-24: No War 2017 at American University in Washington, D.C.


October 28: Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference

Find more events here.


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