A Socialist Defector

I highly recommend reading a new book by Victor Grossman / Stephen Wechsler called A Socialist Defector: From Harvard to Karl-Marx-Allee.

Typical discussions of socialism in the United States run something like this:

A: Why can’t we have even the quality of lives that one sees in Scandinavia or, to various degrees, every wealthy country on earth that isn’t the United States?

B: North Korea!

A: No, seriously, why can’t we? If it were impossible, why would so many other countries be read more

How U.S. Presidential Candidates Answer 20 Basic Questions

1. What would you like the U.S. discretionary budget to look like? With 60% now going to militarism, what percentage would you like that to be? Mike Gravel: Cut military spending by 50%. Howie Hawkins: Cut military spending by 50%. Bernie Sanders: Cut military spending by an unknown amount. Marianne Williamson: Convert to a peaceful economy over 10 to 20 years. Andrew Yang: Cut military spending by an unknown amount; move 10% to military-like infrastructure force. Julian Castro: Website provides no positions on anything other than immigration and relations with Central America. Tulsi Gabbard: One website provides no positions on anything, another doesn’t say. We can look to her voting record. She has voted against cutting the military budget. Elizabeth Warren: Website doesn’t say. She has voted for enormous military budgets. Pete Buttigieg: Website provides no positions on anything. Beto O’Rourke: Website doesn’t say. Kamala Harris: Website provides no positions on anything. She has voted for enormous military budgets. Joe Biden: Isn’t running. Amy Klobuchar: Website provides no positions on anything. She has voted for enormous military budgets. Donald Trump: Proposes to move yet more funding from almost everything else into military spending, boosting the latter to roughly 65% of federal discretionary spending across departments, not counting another 7% for Veterans Affairs. Cory Booker: Website provides no positions on anything. He has voted for enormous military budgets. Eric Swalwell: Website provides no positions on anything other than guns, healthcare, and education. Tim Ryan: Doesn’t seem to have a website. John Delaney: Website provides an array of positions as if 96 percent of humanity and 65 percent of discretionary spending doesn’t exist: no foreign policy, except that he wants mandatory “service” with the military being one option. Jay Inslee: Website provides no positions on anything other than climate, which position avoids mentioning the military either as a destroyer of climate or a source of funding that could be moved to climate. Wayne Messam: Website doesn’t say, but promotes hostility toward Russia and China. John Hickenloper: Website provides no positions on anything. Kirsten Gillibrand: Website doesn’t say. Howard Schultz: Website provides no positions on anything other than coffee. 2. What program of economic conversion to peaceful enterprises would you support? Marianne Williamson hints at this topic. Howie Hawkins hints at this topic. Mike Gravel hints at this topic. Trump: none. Everybody else is silent. 3. Would you end, continue, or escalate U.S. war making in: Afghanistan? Iraq? Syria? Yemen? Pakistan? Libya? Somalia? Tulsi Gabbard: One website provides no positions on anything, but she has voted to end the war on Yemen and said she would end the wars on Syria and Afghanistan. Another website says she would end the wars on Yemen and Syria. But she has voted to keep the AUMF in place. Bernie Sanders: He would end the war on Yemen, and he sort-of seems to suggest that he would end the wars on Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. He has voted to end the war on Yemen and against keeping the war on Afghanistan going. Elizabeth Warren: Website doesn’t say. She has voted to end the war on Yemen and against keeping the war on Afghanistan going, and suggested she would end the wars on Afghanistan and Syria. Mike Gravel: Website seems to effectively communicate the intention to end each of these wars, because he would close all bases, and pursue friendly relations with all countries. However, he would also “make war Constitutional,” as if the Congress can Constitutionally violate the UN Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact. Howie Hawkins: Website seems to effectively communicate the intention to end each of these wars, but — like Gravel’s — doesn’t explicitly say so. Marianne Williamson: Website seems to suggest she would end all wars, but does not say. Kirsten Gillibrand: Website doesn’t say, but she’s voted to end the war on Yemen and supported ending the war on Afghanistan. Andrew Yang: Website doesn’t say. Julian Castro: Website provides no positions on anything other than immigration and relations with Central America. Pete Buttigieg: Website provides no positions on anything. Beto O’Rourke: Website doesn’t say. Kamala Harris: Website provides no positions on anything. Joe Biden: Isn’t running. Amy Klobuchar: Website provides no positions on anything. Donald Trump: He has escalated wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen,  and vetoed a bill to end the war on Yemen, and continued wars on Libya, Somalia, and Pakistan. Cory Booker: Website provides no positions on anything. He’s voted to end war on Yemen. Eric Swalwell: Website provides no positions on anything other than guns, healthcare, and education. Tim Ryan: Doesn’t seem to have a website. John Delaney: Website provides an array of positions as if 96 percent of humanity and 65 percent of discretionary spending doesn’t exist: no foreign policy, except that he wants mandatory “service” with the military being one option. Jay Inslee: Website provides no positions on anything other than climate, which position avoids mentioning the military either as a destroyer of climate or a source of funding that could be moved to climate. Wayne Messam: Website doesn’t say, but promotes hostility toward Russia and China. John Hickenloper: Website provides no positions on anything. Howard Schultz: Website provides no positions on anything other than coffee. 4. Would you end the exemption for militarism in Kyoto, Paris, and other climate agreements? – – – crickets – – – 5. Would you sign / ratify any of these treaties: Paris Climate Agreement? Convention on the Rights of the Child? International Convention on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights? International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights optional protocols? Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women? Convention Against Torure optional protocol? International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families? International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance? The Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities? International Convention Against the Recruitment, Use, Financing, and Training of Mercenaries? Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court? Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity? Principles of International Cooperation in the Detection, Arrest, Extradition, and Punishment of Persons Guilty of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity? Convention on Cluster Munitions? Land Mines Convention? Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons? Proposed treaties banning the weaponization of space and banning cyber crimes? Mike Gravel: He lists a few of these he would support and suggests that there would be others. Howie Hawkins: Website only says: “a recommitment to the recently abandoned arms treaties and to vigorous new negotiations for further reductions toward complete nuclear disarmament.” Beto O’Rourke: Supports Paris agreement. Jay Inslee: Website provides no positions on anything other than climate. Has supported the Paris agreement. Bernie Sanders: Website doesn’t say. Has supported the Paris agreement. Tulsi Gabbard: Website provides no positions on anything, or doesn’t say. Has supported the Paris agreement. Elizabeth Warren: Website doesn’t say. Has supported the Paris agreement. Marianne Williamson: Website

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Testimony for the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service

Submitted by David Swanson, April 16, 2019

I was more surprised that your commission contacted me with a kind-of, sort-of invitation to speak than that you ultimately decided not to include me. I thank you for inviting me to submit testimony.

You had read my article, “Draft Registration Will Be Either Ended or Imposed on Women.” I’ve included it below.

I understand that you had already booked these four speakers and then managed to add a fifth: Edward Hasbrouck, Diane Randall, Jude read more

Exporting Dictators

The U.S. government gets little credit for it, doesn’t even like to brag about it, but as of 2017 provided military “aid” to 73% of the world’s dictatorships. Ocassionally, the U.S. turns against one of its dictators and chooses that moment to tell everyone about him: Hussein, Noriega, Gadaffi, Assad. Sometimes it loses a dictator for other reasons: the Shah of Iran, Hosni Mubarak.

Sometimes the U.S. imposes a U.S. dictator on a foreign colony: as historically in the Philippines, read more

10 Reasons Assange Should Walk Free

By David Swanson, Director, World BEYOND War

  1. Governments’ (monstrous and criminal) behavior should not be secret. People should know what their government is doing, and what a powerful foreign government is doing to their own countries. The actual results of the work of WikiLeaks have been hugely beneficial.
  2. If U.S. courts were to get busy prosecuting the crimes exposed by WikiLeaks, rather than trying to turn the act of revealing them into some sort of crime, they would simply
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Progressive Democrats Refuse to Fund Global Destruction Unless Healthcare Funded Too

This is an actual headline at Common Dreams: “Progressive Democrats Threaten to Tank $733 Billion in ‘Crazy’ Pentagon Spending If Social Programs Not Also Boosted.

They keep using that word, “crazy.” I do not think it means what they think it means.

Dumping over $1 trillion per year into the Pentagon plus militarism in other departments eliminates the need for hospitals, schools, parks, and even budget proposals. It kills us all. Our nuclear luck will run out. read more

NATO Interrupted

Wednesday morning an event was held in a building overlooking Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., at an organization called the Center for European Policy Analysis, which is funded by: FireEye, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Bell Helicopters, BAE systems, the U.S. State Department, the Pentagon, National Endowment for Democracy, the U.S. Mission to NATO, and NATO’s own Public Diplomacy Division.

Participating in the event were several foreign ministers from NATO nations, ambassadors to NATO, and U.S. read more