On Monday I start a seven week publicity campaign in the lead-up to Exercise Talisman Sabre.
I’ve lodged notices of peaceful assemblies for the Mall in town (during the week), and the Airport access point (on Saturday morning), and have some music, signage and material to spruik in public spaces. I want to take it to markets, and to appropriate public events.
I want to network with peace supporters in Rockhampton district and engage with the Durrumbul people.
Graeme Dunstan is coming here this weekend, and I’m hoping he’ll activate the networks he’s made through lantern-making and banner-making workshops. I’d like to organise more workshops leading up to NAIDOC, and maybe even make a few model Drones for peace convergence purposes.
I have in mind working towards a 4 July public meeting. The US Consul General visited Rockhampton on 4 May to commemorate Coral Sea Day, and he made comments about Talisman Sabre.
“Talisman Saber is the biggest military exercise we conduct anywhere in the world,” he said. “As long as we are welcome here, we’ll keep coming back.”
I’ve booked the James Lawrence Pavillion at the Rockhampton Showgrounds for the evening of July 4 2011, for a public debate around the US alliance and the role of Shoalwater Bay in perpetuating global terrorism. Graeme wants to make it into an “Independence FROM America” Day, and I’m open to that. I’m thinking of the question “Who’s Dying for Freedom Today?”.
So for the next six weeks I don’t have much of a plan but to publicise the issues and the 4 July meeting. And persuade people that even small numbers engaging in direct interventionary nonviolence can be an effective antidote to militarism.
I’m hoping that a few serial serious nonviolence activists will take advantage of the opportunities this winter to join me in Franz Jaegerstaetter House for some experiments in how we can build an irresistible momentum against war and for peace. In Rockhampton.
I’m hoping that many more serial serious nonviolence activists contribute to building that momentum wherever they are, in as powerful and fun a way as we all can manage.
Have I mentioned that I’d really like some person or group to have a good go at the new Joint Defence HQ near Bungendore, ACT – a key link in global war-making by the US alliance.
I’ve been thinking about how we build a more effective national movement for nonviolence. It has been Margaret’s idea for 15 years now to invoke the potential of Christian (and other faith) groups. Following that idea has proven more productive than not, although it buys into a social schism that’s not getting any better (the atheist/faith divide). Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, and Dorothy Day are vitally important faith leaders.
Since the 60s the old social forms have been somewhat fractured, and our reality now is more isolated, independent, and technologically mediated. Everywhere and everything is relative and subject to change on short notice. This is the context in which we have to build sufficient cohesion to support non-heirarchical leadership. Joseph and Margaret told me on Monday about the Catholic principle of subsidiarity, where people make decisions as close to the coal face as possible.
So I’m really interested to see both the people who come here in July for shared action, and the people who carry similar or related actions to wider spheres of society.
At the same time I’m looking forward to my own opportunities for ploughshares actions: to disarm and obstruct, even temporarily, a part of the war machine that is right now killing us all.