Bullfrog Films has released a new educational documentary film, titled The Activists, which may be of interest to many of the readers of Mobilizing Ideas. Michael T. Heaney, author of Party in the Street: The Antiwar Movement and the Democratic Party after 9/11 (Cambridge 2015), is among the producers of the project, along with Melody Shemtov and Marco Roldán. The film is priced for purchase by libraries. Discounts are available for community groups or to rent the film. Heaney is available to Skype to your classroom or community group if you show the film. More information is available here: http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/acts.html
Activists and activism have long been a part of the struggle for peace and justice in American politics and society. Activists have fought battles for civil rights, voter enfranchisement, collective bargaining, and an end to wars. While these struggles have sometimes yielded significant victories, and at other times resulted in disappointing defeats, activism has always been driven by ordinary people who give freely of their time and resources to try to bring about their visions for a new world. However, activists – as well how they fit into the political process – are often overlooked or misunderstood by their fellow citizens. Continue reading
Rodgers, Kathleen. 2014. Welcome to Resisterville: American Dissidents in British Columbia. UBC Press.
Welcome to Resisterville: American Dissidents in British Columbia by Kathleen Rodgers opens with a vignette. In 2004, residents of the small and remote Canadian town of Nelson unveiled a plan to erect a statue celebrating the contributions of the thousands of American Vietnam War “draft-dodgers” that had made their way to, and settled in, the region between 1965 and 1973. What seemed like a small local matter garnered significant international interest, including media attention from outlets such as the New York Times and Fox News. At the height of the controversy, the public discourse echoed the divisive debate that had surrounded the actions of the war resisters since the Vietnam War itself. While some news coverage described the monument as lunacy, shameful, or cowardice, other outlets argued that the resisters deserved recognition and respect. Continue reading
Last Sunday was Mother’s Day, and many of my friends had Facebook posts about the radical anti-war origins of this holiday.
In 1870 feminist Julia Ward Howe penned the anti-war “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” which begins:
Arise then … women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
Stefaan Walgrave and Dieter Rucht (eds.). The World Says No to War (University of Minnesota Press, 2010)
On February 15, 2003, when the protest against the war on Iraq took place in London, Madrid, Rome, Berlin, New York, and many other cities of the world, I was writing the last pages of my doctoral dissertation in Berlin and had the opportunity of joining the historic event. I still remember how excited was by the astonishing size, diversity, and vitality of the people who gathered around the Brandenburger Tor at the city center.
It was like a serious political version of a great festival. Parents pushing a stroller, teenagers dancing together, university students holding antiwar drawings by Käthe Kollwitz, and aged couples who seemed to be familiar with all these scenes—so diverse a range of people were saying the same words: “No War!,” “Stop the War!” Continue reading
International Studies Quarterly just published Yagil Levy‘s most recent work on the reshaping of military conflict due to democracy, technology, and now protest. I have posted elsewhere about his work on casualty aversion due to the intersection of democracy and technology (and also on related work by Jonathan Caverley). This piece, titled “How Military Recruitment Affects Collective Action and its Outcomes” [gated] explores the impact of military recruitment on a public’s willingness to “absorb” casualties among its soldiers during military conflict. In other words, Levy wants to know the extent to which recruitment impacts the collective action opportunities of those who would (de)mobilize public opinion in democracies regarding casualties, and thereby support for the war. Continue reading
A new film by Melody Weinstein, Michael T. Heaney, and Marco Roldán explores what turns ordinary citizens into activists. Through interviews and ethnographic-style coverage of the peace movement between June 2008 and March 2010, the film explores the risks, process, and joys of activism. Heaney brings his years of social movement scholarship on the peace movement, on display in an earlier Essay Dialogue, to the screen in this impressive documentary.
I was immediately drawn into the film as it opens with shots of veterans and miltiary famileis I interviewed in the peace movement, including Gold Star Father Carlos Arredondo, Retired Let. Col. Anne Wright, and Iraq veteran Geoff Millard. Although Americans with military connections get a decent share of coverage, the film covers the wide spectrum of activists invovled in the many peace movement organizations. Interspersed with the new are snipets of classic peace movement speeches from Martin Luther King, Jr. and songs such as “War!”
The film is available for a limited time streaming online from Melofilms on Vimeo.