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  • By David Gross
    Feb 8, 2009
    "It’s up to us." Clare Hanrahan, a war tax resister for almost thirty years, and active in many other direct action projects peace and justice, has released a book of speeches she has delivered over the course of her activism. In 1981, Hanrahan “decided to break the deadly habit of paying for war” by getting below the tax line. “Since then,” she says, “my life has been an experiment in revolutionary poverty.” “I live on the economic edge, not with the destitution of the oppressed, but as a liberating choice. I’ve survived half a century, I’ve raised a fine daughter. I’m a writer and a gardener, and I get around town on my bicycle. I’m self-propelled and self-employed. And in the spirit of Emma Goldman, I dance at every chance.” When she spoke to the assembled activists at the “A Day Without the Pentagon” action, she didn’t waste her time excoriating the government and the military, but directed her words to the peace activists and groups whose complacency allows the... More > Pentagon to get away with what it does: “Are we willing to risk our economic privilege to obstruct this business of death? … “It is our duty to withdraw our cooperation, to withhold our support. … “Dorothy Day understood the issue when she wrote this: ‘…the wars, the racism, the poverty in the world… is not going to be changed just by words or demonstrations. It’s a question of living your life in drastically different ways.’ “Our gathering here is a powerful way to make visible our dissent. And it is important that we show ourselves to each other and to the world. But this is not enough. We must help each other break our deadly addiction to a consumer lifestyle that fuels the devastation, and to stop paying the war taxes that uphold this filthy, rotten system.” Too often, speakers at peace rallies think “speaking truth to power” means yelling at the people who aren’t there to listen. But people have power — they only foolishly loan it out to politicians — so speaking truth to power at peace rallies means trying to reempower the people who have practiced unilateral moral disarmament while preaching moral righteousness. Readers of Hanrahan’s new book will also find her views on dissent, the U.S. torture policy, international peace and reconciliation movements, homelessness, women’s empowerment, the prison-industrial complex, and issues of imprisoned women. Her overriding message is: it’s up to us. “We must stop supporting this system of destruction. We cannot wait. Not until the next rigged election, not until we secure our own place, not until the risks are less, or the strategy clear. “We must start where we are. “Are we stockholders in corporations that profit from war? “Divest. “Are we taxpayers fueling the very evils we abhor? “Refuse. “Are we soldiers in an army of destruction? “Disobey. “Are we fearful? “Face that fear. “We must build the new in the crumbling shell of the old. Constructive programs energized from the grass roots are critical. Government is not our savior, just ask the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. “We who fail to stand up for a warless world, we who fail to find a way to speak out for the Earth, to intercept the runaway train of state, it is we who are killing with the bullets of indifference, the poison of despair. It is we who are failing the vulnerable and the voiceless whose lives depend on our courage. “Gandhi believed that non-cooperation with evil is a sacred duty. He also knew that inaction in a time of conflagration is inexcusable. “We must be the change. Blessed be the change.”< Less
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Product Details

Celtic WordCraft
March 6, 2009
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.55 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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