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Anti-war book features Green and Pink contributors
Medea Benjamin, the Green Party's candidate for senate from California in 2000 and co-founder of the anti-war group Code Pink, has co-edited (with Jodie Evans) a new anthology of essays called Stop the Next War Now: Effective Responses to Violence and Terrorism (Inner Ocean Publishing, 2005). The book includes works from Green activists such as Wangari Maathai and Andrea Buffa, as well as from Cynthia McKinney, Alice Walker and Arundhati Roy.
Prior to the war in Iraq, the anti-war movement had a clear goal: to prevent an American invasion. The book serves as a concentrated guide to how people can get actively involved and also offers much-needed re-inspiration.
"What we were hoping to do with the book is to lay a stronger foundation for stopping war," Benjamin told Green Pages from her office in San Francisco. "While we weren't able to stop the war in Iraq, we were able to build up support that included people in the Green Party. Now more of them are demoralized or cynical or just exhausted. We're trying to use the book as a vehicle to help energize people. Disempowerment is precisely what the Bush administration wants."
The Green Party is the only major party in the United States that has nonviolence as one of its key values.
Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of the Green Party of Kenya, contributed an excerpt from a speech called "The Cracked Mirror" that makes connections between destroying the environment and war.
Maathai writes: "Many wars are fought over resources, which are becoming
increasingly scarce across the earth. If we did a better job of managing our
resources sustainably, conflicts over them would be reduced. So protecting the
global environment is directly related to securing peace."
To help get the word out about Stop the Next War Now, local Code Pink chapters organized events nationwide; some of these coincided with Benjamin speaking at Green Party fundraisers. As far as Green-Pink collaborations go, Benjamin says she sees it happening more at local than national levels.
"Some of the most active members of Code Pink are also active members of the Green Party," says Benjamin. "We organize together at events, such as welcoming Iraqi veterans who are speaking out against the war, speaking out for a legal wage, protesting Arnold Schwarzenegger. We ask each other to endorse the events and put out word to both of our lists. Sometimes we march next to each other."
Benjamin had just come back from Iran, and is planning to go to North Korea
this summer. "It's our responsibility as citizens to reach out where our
government is doing the opposite," she says. "We've got to commit to
building positive ties with people around the world. I think that it's one of
the most exciting elements of the party right now. Because it's an international
party, it has a lot of ability to reach out to Green parties in other countries.
We should be able to use those contacts to strategize with our colleagues all
over the world…to pressure security council members in the United Nations…to
promote negotiations…to really push for nonproliferation. There, the Green
Party can make really effective contributions to the global [anti-war
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