Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ike Was Right! Conference Explores Military Industrial Complex

Scholars and activists from throughout the Southeast and as far away as Boston gathered at Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C. Jan. 14-16 at the call of Chuck Fager of Quaker House in Fayetteville.  We came to mark the 50th anniversary of Dwight Eisenhower's prophetic farewell speech  that warned of the corrupting influence of the Military Industrial Complex. About 140 persons shared information on the current and devastating circumstances of our militarized state and nation, and offered our perspectives on ways out of decades of corporate-military-academic and media collusion in creating a permanent war economy.

Clare Hanrahan, Emma Pluta and Mia Austin-Scoggins
Chuck Fager,(at podium) facilitates a closing panel.
Speaker Stephen Soldz addressed  the grievous complicity of the American Psychological Association in U.S. interrogations and torture. Christian Stalberg, of Blackwater/Xe Watch gave a chilling account of the for-profit corporate war lords deployed globally at U.S. taxpayer expense.

Mia Austin-Scoggins, of the Eisenhower chapter of Veterans for Peace spoke of the tragic extra causalities of US wars borne by veterans, families and society, a seldom acknowledged toll that persists for generations. Emma Pluta, A counselor working with PTSD survivors led a workshop on the issue with John Heuer of N.C Peace Action.

The idea of "War Christianity" was discussed, as well as what apocalyptic Biblical images can teach us about our current war economy.  David LaMotte of North Carolina Council of Churches led a workshop on active peacemaking, and Judith LeBlanc of New Priorities Network and the national director of Peace Action spoke about the economics of war and moving money from the Pentagon back into critical community needs.

Longtime activist and multi-issue organizer Mandy Carter, of the National Black Justice Coalition, spoke of the work of Bayard Rustin, and her efforts to bring more awareness to Rustin's legacy.

There was a brief visit from the legendary General Smedley Darlington Butler, reciting from his book, War is a Racket. The Quaker general was introduced by a living relative, and elder peace activist Mariah Darlington. 
Conversations continued over meals at Guilford cafeteria
 New South Network of War Resisters' table of literature

Coleman Smith and Clare Hanrahan of the New South Network of War Resisters presented a workshop on the Civil Resistance at Southeast Nuclear Weapons and Power Facilities and shared a variety of literature from the War Resisters League and  the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. We also distributed copies of the hot-off-the press Winter issue of the  War Crimes Times.

Photos & Reporting by Clare Hanrahan

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