Tag Archives: NATO

Old Tactics- New Purpose

This weekend U.S. veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan intend to return their military medals in a tactic that is reminiscent of the 1971 Operation Dewey Canyon III protest, where over 800 Vietnam War veterans threw their medals and service ribbons onto the Capitol steps (see video below). These younger veterans, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, intend that their “return” of the medals not only protest NATO for its leadership in the global war on terror but also provide them with some emotional and psychological healing from the traumatic events they took part in during their service.For more on the protest see the news coverage of the upcoming march and action here and here OR you could go watch it yourself on Sunday if you are in the Chicago area (If you do that- please send me pictures!).

Although, the tactic is similar to the anti-Vietnam War action in its protest of the now-unpopular but decade+  war in Afghanistan that continues, but this latest cadre of military veterans are using this as an opportunity to draw attention to the need for increased and more efficient services for veterans. By linking this tactic to healing, the veterans are calling attention to the “invisible wounds of war” and the gaping holes in the VA system.  Additionally, IVAW is drawing attention to one of the biggest differences between the Vietnam-era draft and the “all volunteer” military of today where servicemembers regularly deploy for multiple tours to war zones, even when they are already traumatized or injured. Their organizing against the return of “traumatized vets” can be seen here.

Seen any other protests that demonstrate Peter Allen‘s quote “”Everything old is new again”?

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Partly Cloudy, with a 30% Chance of Riots

Gary Gutting

In this morning’s New York Times, distinguished philosopher Gary Gutting raises a commonly discussed set of questions about social science research and theory and the ability to make accurate predictions. As is common in such arguments, physics is held up as the best “real” science because it gives us theories with clear predictions that always work. Experimental evidence has allowed for the clear elaboration of (what appear to be) invariant physical laws, at least in areas like classical mechanics (e.g. we can predict precisely where the moon will be 200 years, 3 days, and 7 hours from now). The social sciences are then held in contrast to this. As the argument goes, the social world is amazingly complex, making it hard to generate predictions, and it is often too difficult or too immoral to do controlled experiments on people, so social scientists could never test those predictions anyway. Gutting’s conclusion: “we need to develop a much better sense of the severely limited reliability of social scientific results.” And the implication he draws from this conclusion? Continue reading


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This is What Democracy [codes] Like

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will be holding a major summit in Chicago later this month. Where NATO goes, protest follows, and federal and city officials are apparently preparing for it.

But they aren’t the only ones. Social movement scholars are gearing up as well. Will H. Moore (Professor of Political Science at Florida State) and Christian Davenport (Professor of Peace Studies, Political Science, and Sociology at Notre Dame) are putting together a neat study of what the NATO summit protests and policing will look like. And they really mean what all of the protest and policing will look like–not just the big signs or lines of riot police or burning trash cans that typically end up on the evening news and the covers of newspapers. The basic plan is to train a set of observers who will watch a delimited area and record what they see at regular intervals. This will give them a fuller picture of what really goes on during the protests, apart from just the flashiest stuff that we’ll all see on the news. Here’s a screenshot from a Prezi presentation they’ve put together illustrating the approach:

Of course, executing a research plan like this takes a lot of trained observers–and they’re in the process of recruiting some now. If you are an undergraduate student interested in social movements and who might be available to be in Chicago for the summit, check out the full presentation (don’t worry; it’s short); the contact information for Professors Moore and Davenport is at the end. If you know undergraduates who might be interested and available, spread the word! (Here’s a Tiny URL good for sharing: http://tinyurl.com/protpol).


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