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"Forget the Rest" blog


No meeting this Wednesday morning! Now Thurs May 7, 5:30 pm

April 21, 2015

Dear Albuquerque friends --

We really didn't have enough potential attendees for the meeting tomorrow morning to come together, so that meeting is not happening.

What is happening is a meeting on May 7 at 5:30 pm at the Study Group offices, 2901 Summit Place NE.  Some people had a rough time with the early morning meeting so we changed that to the early evening slot.

There is no need to RSVP for this meeting.

We wrote (with minor edits and emphases added),

At these meetings we want to talk specifically about outreach to religious leaders and other communities about the need to cultivate and support full-time work on the core crises facing our planet (and therefore also facing any and all religious institutions), including but not specifically involving nuclear weapons, New Mexico's primary and particular contribution to global nihilism.
We also want to discuss the local strategic implications of international disarmament developments, both as regards development of a treaty banning nuclear weapons and as regards current developments in the United Kingdom, which also affect us.
As always, we want to hear your hopes and concerns.  We want these meetings to be safe places to share what often can't be said in other places.  A lot of people we know feel rather alone in their insights.
..."We" need more full-time people to meet the challenges of our time -- in our own organization, and elsewhere.  Staffed positions are generally unaffordable everywhere and lead to dependence on questionable funding sources.  We at least can offer much more of value to the right persons.

Probably many or most of you saw Tim DeChristopher's letter to churches, "Lead, Don’t Follow on Climate Justice," republished at Truthout.  The same letter could as well have been written regarding nuclear disarmament, and many other issues.

As we wrote earlier, we don't think we are going to win without creating more full-time or at least half-time occupations and careers for organizers, lobbyists, writers, and so on in political change in our communities.

For many of us these political activities will be naturally combined with "transition" activities that generally fall under the Gandhian "constructive program."  But the constructive program in all its forms is not enough, because there is a war going on.  The Koch brothers want the resources you save, to put it bluntly.  There won't be peace, and there won't be justice, and there won't even be a tomorrow for millions of people and species unless we protect them and make those conditions.

As we have said previously "we" need to offer jobs to capable young people with whatever resources we have got in order to accomplish particular, and as it will turn out, highly disruptive political goals.  We are in an emergency situation.  This quality is somehow missing from most of the political discourse we see on the left, here and everywhere.  Where are the resources to do this?  They are in our own homes and bank accounts and those of our friends and their friends, but the social and political "software" is largely missing.  We are a society which bowls alone, as Robert Putnam wrote so long ago.

Those of you getting this email are among the most generous people there are, but I have to inform you that some pieces of the social circuit that are needed are missing today.  Not news to you I am sure.

Buried deeply in their "operating systems" and often not used for one reason or another, the churches have that software of faith, love, commitment, joy, trust, and tradition.

By contrast we certainly cannot count on foundation philanthropy to provide appropriate leadership, for example through the nonprofit industry, including climate nonprofits and nuclear disarmament nonprofits, such as they are.  It never has and it never will.  Such philanthropy sometimes responds, but does not lead.

At the Study Group, our role has evolved to deploy the most truthful power we can with the least time and money, which has led us to analysis, lobbying, writing, and sometimes (as of late, as at times before) international citizen diplomacy.  We live in a state that supports, at almost every level and in almost every relevant institution, weapons of mass destruction.  What that has meant is that we have had to go elsewhere to be effective, with perhaps 3/4 of our time.  Most people are terrified of opposing the structures of domination, to an extent I for one never imagined 25 years ago.

But at the same time we live and work here with you, our friends, and also we know that even if we win elsewhere, say with a nuclear weapons ban treaty, those victories are implemented (or not) here, and we know that our economic life in this state and ALL life will be cut off if we do not end our political addiction to ways of life that destroy it all.

We ourselves are able to provide housing and training in exchange for work, but not to just anybody.  We can't provide free tutoring or free parenting, so we are very demanding as regards skills and maturity.  We can't be that first encounter with workforce reality that often characterizes post-university life.  We can't afford to interview a long line of strangers, either.  A mere 10 hours per week is not enough to do anything significant.  We can't pay much.  Everybody in our situation has similar "Catch-22s."

Churches can solve such problems far more easily, and as we have previously written, I think that every church which can afford to pay a pastor can also afford to support a full-time climate/energy worker supported by a committee of people with free housing, free food, free social and spiritual support, a stipend or low salary, and so on.  Such a person would amplify the moral effectiveness, by which I mean the political effectiveness, of the church a hundredfold.  Pious homilies and petitions mean about zero.  It takes boots on the ground, as the other side says.

What is essential is to get beyond the constraints of liberalism as well as the politically-correct fads of today, and to learn and gain experience, and to learn to respect reality.  All this will happen if the commitment is strong enough.

As matters stand, there is no social infrastructure, not much experience, not much independence from the political parties and from foundation philanthropy, and so on, which means there is no social movement, no media and political traction to speak of, and very little effectiveness.

What stands in the way, more often than not, is thinking the situation, at every level and in every way, is better than it is.

So that is a better explanation of the discussion I hope we can have on May 7.  We want you to be ambassadors and emissaries, because we can't do it all ourselves, so be prepared for that.

Best wishes to everybody,


PS On May 7 the UK general elections will be held.  The anti-nuclear Scottish Nationalist Party is expected to do very well at the expense of Labor, so well that Labor, if it wins a majority, would not be able to govern without the SNP MPs.  Retiring Trident is a core demand of the SNP.  Stay tuned.

Here's a photo Trish took at the Faslane base in Scotland in early January.  A Vanguard-class Trident submarine is heading over to Loch Goil to be acoustically checked and then later that day, out to sea.  It carries 16 Trident D5 missiles leased from the US missile pool, each with up to 8 100 kiloton warheads (in practice, fewer).  The UK activists will, we believe, win -- if not this year, then later as economic conditions bite harder.  Neutron generators for the UK warheads are built in Albuquerque, by the way.

Trident sub at Faslane 5 Jan 2015

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