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"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home  > Tamils - A Trans State Nation > Beyond Tamil Nation: One World > The Strength of an Idea > Nations & Nationalism  > International Relations in the Age of Empire  > We Stand for Peace and Justice 

International Relations
in the Age of Empire

We Stand for Peace and Justice 
- and We Work for Peace & Justice

From ZNet: At the start of the Iraq War ZNet posted a web page featuring what we called the We Stand Statement. The statement quickly inspired over 90,000 online signatures as well as 25,000 more collected in pen and ink by the Zapatistas in Mexico.  Responding to Bush's second inauguration, to the on-going war in Iraq, and to injustice more broadly, Znet put the We Stand statement back online.

The We Stand Statement is not just anti war. It isn't even just about dissent. "We Stand" offers positive aspirations to inspire positive projects. Directly below the "We Stand" statement is a multi author short article written to promote the statement when it first went online.

I stand for peace and justice

"I stand for peace and justice.

I stand for democracy and autonomy. I don't think the U.S. or any other country should ignore the popular will and violate and weaken international law, seeking to bully and bribe votes in the Security Council.

I stand for internationalism. I oppose any nation spreading an ever expanding network of military bases around the world and producing an arsenal unparalleled in the world.

I stand for equity. I don't think the U.S. or any other country should seek empire. I don't think the U.S. ought to control Middle Eastern oil on behalf of U.S. corporations and as a wedge to gain political control over other countries.

I stand for freedom. I oppose brutal regimes in Iraq and elsewhere but I also oppose the new doctrine of "preventive war," which guarantees permanent and very dangerous conflict, and is the reason why the U.S. is now regarded as the major threat to peace in much of the world.

I stand for a democratic foreign policy that supports popular opposition to imperialism, dictatorship, and political fundamentalism in all its forms.

I stand for solidarity. I stand for and with all the poor and the excluded. Despite massive disinformation millions oppose unjust, illegal, immoral war, and I want to add my voice to theirs. I stand with moral leaders all over the world, with world labor, and with the huge majority of the populations of countries throughout the world.

I stand for diversity. I stand for an end to racism directed against immigrants and people of color. I stand for an end to repression at home and abroad.

I stand for peace. I stand against this war and against the conditions, mentalities, and institutions that breed and nurture war and injustice.

I stand for sustainability. I stand against the destruction of forests, soil, water, environmental resources, and biodiversity on which all life depends.

I stand for justice. I stand against economic, political, and cultural institutions that promote a rat race mentality, huge economic and power inequalities, corporate domination even unto sweatshop and slave labor, racism, and gender and sexual hierarchies.

I stand for a policy that redirects the money used for war and military spending to provide healthcare, education, housing, and jobs.

I stand for a world whose political, economic, and social institutions foster solidarity, promote equity, maximize participation, celebrate diversity, and encourage full democracy.

I stand for peace and justice and, more, I pledge to work for peace and justice."

We Work for Peace & Justice

Building a movement powerful enough to stop the war in Iraq or to successfully curb a next war in Syria or Iran or Venezuela, involves many factors. Among these, and perhaps the most fundamental, is sufficient numbers.

To successfully challenge those in power, our movement must constantly grow in numbers as well as consciousness and commitment. We must reach out to people who are against the war, but who have not yet acted on their beliefs. We must reach out to people who are troubled by what they are witnessing, but who have not yet decided to oppose the war and the policies behind it. We must reach out as well to those who now support the war, but without full knowledge of the context, history, and implications.

A key task therefore, in addition to demonstrating, is to talk to people, to hear their misgivings, their confusions, and their insights, and to provide an alternative viewpoint able to generate critical solidarity that can last. We need to address the people whose addresses we don't have. We need to go door to door in neighborhoods and dorms, and we need to do it over and over. We need to talk to coworkers on the job, to people who we encounter during the day shopping, to our neighbors, and to the person next to us in class or in church or wherever we may be. We need to organize.

On a larger scale, our collective efforts can also reach out to audiences beyond our current membership. Our marches can go through neighborhoods instead of only downtown. People on the marches can go and talk with those who will inevitably be drawn to watch such events. Thousands of groups can go into shopping areas and set up tables and then talk to those in the area. Talk. Talk. That is the foundation of building larger demonstrations, deeper commitment, and raising costs for elites, and thus winning change.

If 100 or 500 or 5,000 or 50,000 people or more are ready and willing to block streets or obstruct buildings as a means of pressuring elites in a context where support is growing, that's wonderful, especially when the targets are part of the war machine, as in the efforts to block military trains in Europe. But shouldn't as many people, the next day, or the day before, or both, be willing to spread out and talk to the population, facilitating their becoming actively involved as well?

Our demonstrations create a context that facilitates reaching out to organize the populace, but as important as they are, marches, rallies, and obstructions won't by themselves do that organizing. To hear views and to change minds requires that we listen and then convey evidence, arguments, and also sympathy and respect for where people are at. It takes talk.

To win against this war, the next war, and the causes of war and of injustice more broadly, we need to assemble tens of millions of active, committed movement members. But even if we continually talk to those who disagree with us, how can we know what we are accomplishing, and what can be our point of entry?

A possible technique would be for all of us, worldwide, to go to people with a statement for them to sign -- something that's timely but that won't grow stale, something that is concrete and specific, but that is also universal enough for international use and thorough enough so that to get signatures we will have to address all the issues that obstruct people becoming actively involved in a growing movement for peace and justice.
Maybe something like this:

[And inserted here was the We Stand Statement as it appears above...]

Article Co Signers and Initial We Stand Signers,

Ezequiel Adamovsky, Argentina
Vittorio Agnoletto, Italy
Christophe Aguiton, France
Michael Albert, USA
Tariq Ali, England
Bridget Anderson, England
Katherine Anger, England
Jessica Azulay, USA
David Bacon, USA
David Barsamian, USA
Phyllis Bennis, USA
Elena Blanco, Venezuela
Nadine Bloch, USA
Bill Blum, USA
Peter Bohmer, USA
Patrick Bond, South Africa
Jeremy Brecher, USA
Michael Bronski, USA
Dennis Brutis, South Africa
Paul Buhle, USA
Nicola Bullard, Thailand
Scott Burchill, Australia
Leslie Cagan, USA
Alex Callinicos, England
Daniel Chavez, Netherlands
Noam Chomsky, USA
Tim Costello, USA
David Cromwell, England
Will Doherty, USA
Brian Dominick, USA
David Edwards, England
Barbara Epstein, USA
Laura Flanders, USA
Bill Fletcher, USA
Eduardo Galeano, Uruguay
Susan George, France
Ted Glick, USA
Gie Goris, Belgium
Andrej Grubacic, Serbia
Marta Harnecker, Chile
Betsy Hartman, USA
Tom Hayden, USA
Evan Henshaw-Plath, USA
Doug Henwood, USA
John Hepburn, Australia
Edward Herman, USA
Pervez Hoodbhoy, Pakistan
Sut Jhally, USA
Robert Jensen, USA
Boris Kagarlitsky, Russia
Naomi Klein, Canada
Jerry Kloby, USA
Sonali Kolhatkar, USA
Saul Landau, USA
Joanne Landy, USA
Rahul Mahajan, USA
Dawn Martinez, USA
Elizabeth, Martinez, USA
Antonio Martins, Brazil
Rania Masri, USA
Bob McChesney, USA
George Monbiot, England
Hector Mondragon, Colombia
Suren Moodliar, South Africa
Jonathan Neale, England
Chris Nineham, England
Adele Oliveri, Italy
Pablo Ortellado, Brazil
Cynthia Peters, USA
Justin Podur, Canada
Vijay Prashad, USA
Prabir Purkayastha, India
Milan Rai, England
Nikos Raptis, Greece
Michael Ratner, USA
Judy Rebick, Canada
Tanya Reinhart, Israel
Carola Reintjes, Spain
Arundhati Roy, India
Marta Russell, USA
Manuel Rozental, Colombia
Lydia Sargent, USA
Roberto Savio, Italy
Stephen Shalom, USA
Paul Singer, Brazil
Norman Solomon, USA
James Tracy, USA
America Vera-Zavala, Sweden
Hilary Wainwright, England
Peter Waterman, Holland
Mark Weisbrot, USA
Robert Weissman, USA
Tom Wetzel, USA
Tim Wise, USA
Howard Zinn, USA


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