Tom Hayden on “The Long War;” Sign up for Tom’s Free Online School of Activism

Long-time antiwar activist Tom Hayden recently taught the first of four sessions in his School of Activism.  The session was both informative and inspiring.  Tom describes this series as a “workshop on the long war and our future.”  He explained that the long war is projected to last fifty to eighty years.  He described it as “a war against Muslims in many countries.”  He discussed what can be viewed as “a sequence of wars in the context of the long war.”  He said that we must end the long war.  He said that it does not make us safer, that the wars are “strangling our ability to invest in our domestic priorities,” and could lead the country to being pushed “farther to the right and into a deeper national security state.”
Tom told us, “The long war … requires a long peace movement.”  When speaking of local peace activists that he has met, across the country, he says that we “may not be so visible these days, but I know that you’re not going anywhere, and neither am I.  You are the heart and soul of the peace and justice movement.
Tom speaks of the need for “continued people pressure against the pillars of the (war) policy itself.”  The war policy, he explained, is based largely upon five pillars.  These are the pillars of public opinion, budgetary resources, available military forces, global support of alliance, and moral reputation.  We must wear down these pillars.  He explains how he feels we can accomplish this.  This includes, for example, working to redirect our nation’s budget priorities, participating in counter-recruitment programs, and speaking out against torture.  Tom cited the work of the National Priorities Project.  (The NPP was discussed in an earlier post on this website.  Click here.)
Tom encouraged the continuation of the many local peace vigils that are conducted by peace groups throughout the country.  He said that we should work to “increase the size of local groups and coalitions.”
In discussing strategies for ending the war in Afghanistan, Tom recommended reading the work of the Afghan Study Group.  (For a discussion of a Nation interview with Matthew Hoh of the Study Group, click here.)  He also discussed the influence of campaign contributions made by military contractors, and the effects of the Citizens United decision.  (For more on the military-industrial complex and a video of excerpts of Eisenhower’s speech on the topic, click here.)  Tom termed as “excellent” a viewer’s suggestion that students hold conversations by Skype with the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers.  (For audio of earlier conversations with the AYPV, click here)  Oh, and that would be the last of the links to earlier, related posts on this website.  🙂
I was pleased to hear Tom say that he feels that it is important for the environmental movement to be opposed to “wars for oil.” This is a connection that I believe is very important.  Tom will discuss this further in a subsequent session.
I asked Tom what he thought would be the pros and cons of supporting a third party or independent candidate in 2012.  The video, below, includes his thoughts on the viability of Michael Moore as a candidate.
Tom commented on several other topics, including WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning, and Julian Assange.  Also, he told us what he thinks we should be asking of our members of Congress.  Also, Tom mentioned a few times that he feels that it is important that we convince President Obama that he needs the peace vote, if he is to win in 2012.
Tom’s course is offered free of charge. Each session runs about one hour.  About half of each session is lecture, and half is Q&A.  I found that both the lecture and Tom’s responses in the Q&A offered much important information and insightful, solid analysis.  I think this course would be of interest to most peace and justice activists.
The next session will be held on Wednesday, February 16, at 6:00 pm PST/ 9:00 pm EST.  If you missed the first session, or if you are reading this in late February, you can still sign up for the remaining sessions.  To register, simply click here. Then click on the registration link, and follow the instructions.  Visit the same page for a link to the live session, when it is time for the class.  Update: You now need to register only if you want to interact.  You can watch the live session without registering.  The carrier has changed to UStream, so if you registered with Vokle, you should register again.
Here is a short video, of selected excerpts from the first session’s lecture and Q&A.  To view the full set of five videos, which covers the entire one hour class, please visit the video archives on Tom’s site, at Videos of subsequent sessions will also be posted on that same page of Tom’s website.
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4 Responses to Tom Hayden on “The Long War;” Sign up for Tom’s Free Online School of Activism

  1. Mary Beth Moore says:

    A most interesting point of view. It is hard to refute the possibility that some are planning a “long war” as the tenacity of the Pentagon is fierce. However, I am deeply encouraged by the triumph of the next generation in Egypt, and the possibility that they would reject U.S. policy that seeks to suppress independent thought in the Middle East. We need to imagine that the “long war” is not inevitable, if the people reject it.

    Apropos also is the “Move the Money” Campaign that seeks to join peace and labor activists to shift military money to domestic needs.

    • Mary Beth,
      Thanks, as always, for your comments.
      I agree that a long war is not inevitable. I think the duration and depth of this series of wars can vary substantially, depending upon how much and how well we work for the necessary changes in policy. It could be long, but, hopefully, it won’t be.
      Also, I think the Move the Money campaign does have the potential to reduce the likelihood of a long war, while helping to effect a needed change in our domestic priorities. I think that the fact that an alliance between labor and peace activists is developing can help to make a huge difference in how much we can accomplish, and can also, hopefully, help us to reverse what I see as an escalating assault on working people.
      Let me take this opportunity to remind all readers that your comments are always welcome on this or any item addressed in the Peace and Justice Online blog.

  2. wilderside says:

    Did tom Hayden discuss how he sabotaged the peace movement in 2008 by viciously attacking anyone who tried to discuss peace during a presidential campaign?

    • Ian,
      Thanks for your comments.

      No, Tom did not mention that. I know that lots of people felt that it was wise to avoid discussion of the wars during the 2008 campaign. I felt otherwise, as I had mentioned in an earlier post on this blog.

      Since I have not heard Tom talk about this issue, I don’t know exactly how he felt or what his reasons were. Even if I would disagree him on this, I still think he has a lot to say that is important and with which I agree.

      I met Tom in 1976, and we actually spoke briefly about the subject of compromise. I thought he approached things with the right balance. I have heard him speak, and I’ve read a number of items that he has written. I have always felt that he has much to say that is insightful and that is helpful to the peace movement.

      In the first session of his School of Activism, Tom spoke continuously for about an hour. He addressed numerous substantive issues, and he expressed dozens of opinions. I actually found it quite remarkable that I was in such consistent agreement with him, given how much he had to say. Even if he and I might disagree on the issue you noted, I think his School of Activism is a very valuable contribution to the peace movement.

      Again, Ian, thanks for commenting. Your thoughts are always appreciated.
      All readers, please do not hesitate to comment on this or any post on the Peace and Justice Online blog.
      Tom Hayden, if you are reading this, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue, the blog post, or any topic of interest to the peace and justice community.
      Thanks to all.

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