Split Screen

I’m trying to sort out confused feelings about war and peace through a split screen of foreign versus domestic.

I was caught off guard by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It was unrealistic to think there wouldn’t be another war between nations anytime soon.

But we haven’t had peace in this country, either.

I had forgotten Martin Luther King, Jr, was outside a California prison, which was holding Vietnam War protesters when he said, “there can be no justice without peace, and there can be no peace without justice.” December 14, 1967.

So, there is this dichotomy of war between nations versus domestic injustices. Domestic injustices mean there is no peace here.

This quote from Muhammad Ali relates to this.

Under no conditions do we take part in war and take the lives of other humans.

It is in the light of my consciousness as a Muslim minister and my own personal convictions that I take my stand in rejecting the call to be inducted. I do so with the full realization of its implications. I have searched my conscience.

Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong…they never called me ______.

Muhammad Ali

I’ve been blessed to have become part of numerous oppressed communities in this country. Where there are so many injustices. Where there is so much violence, much of it state sanctioned.

The scenes and stories from Ukraine are devastating to see. And while it is good to see the response of so many who want to help, I wish there were similar responses to our own domestic tragedies.

A friend this morning tells me others have noted similar disparities in the response to the plight of Palestinians. He said, “Once again I am reminded of how ‘White’ my thinking is.”

And there are the dispiriting stories of racial discrimination in support among the Ukrainian refugees.

My experiences with Mutual Aid have convinced me that is a way to peace.

The recent past shows us that mutual aid is not only a tool of survival, but also a tool of revolution.

Ronnie James

The first, and possibly the most important, is that it was not always this way, which proves it does not have to stay this way. 

What we have is each other. We can and need to take care of each other. We may have limited power on the political stage, a stage they built, but we have the power of numbers.

Those numbers represent unlimited amounts of talents and skills each community can utilize to replace the systems that fail us.  The recent past shows us that mutual aid is not only a tool of survival, but also a tool of revolution. The more we take care of each other, the less they can fracture a community with their ways of war. Organized groups like The American Indian Movement and the Black Panther Party for Self Defense showed that we can build not only aggressive security forces for our communities, but they also built many programs that directly responded to the general wellbeing of their communities. This tradition began long before them and continues to this day. Look into the Zapatistas in Southern so-called Mexico for a current and effective example.

Ronnie James, The Police State and Why We Must Resist

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