Now is the Time to Resist

Now is the Time to Resist By Henry Rosemont, Jr.

In his April 2005 FPIF Discussion Paper “ Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice (RTPV ),” John Humphries describes how a group of clergy and lay people--Christian, Jewish, and Muslim--drafted a Call to Resist the War in Iraq, which committed signers thereof to become actively complicit in differing acts of civil disobedience designed to end the illegal U.S. occupation and warfare in Iraq. Humphries describes the RTPV call as inspired by and modeled after the 1967 Call to Resist Illegitimate Authority, which led to the formation of an organization named RESIST that actively opposed the illegal U.S. war against the South Vietnamese. The model indeed fits, as both calls are grounded in basic ethical principles rather than purely utilitarian concerns: The wars and occupations must be resisted, not because they were and are too costly or might drag on too long but because they were and are morally loathsome.

The author’s account of the RTPV call is excellent overall, but the article may be misleading in one respect because it suggests that the RESIST of 1967 is a thing of the past, which it most assuredly is not. It is the oldest progressive funding organization in the United States today, distributing a third of a million dollars last year to 146 groups actively struggling for peace and social change. It also provides technical assistance to startup groups, publishes both print and electronic newsletters, and participates in organizing demonstrations and supporting like-minded organizations.

Most of the groups that RESIST has funded for the last three decades transcend anti-military organizing. They confront oppressive policies and actions at all levels of government ranging from prison-building to assaults on reproductive rights, from racism and homophobia to police brutality and attacks on immigrants. RESIST broadened its scope beyond the war in Southeast Asia in the belief that the United States cannot contribute to lasting peace abroad unless and until it has achieved social and economic justice at home. Parallels between the war situations in 1967 and today are numerous, and RESIST’s work may thus be of interest to those planning strategies to end Middle Eastern violence.

Henry Rosemont Jr. signed the 1967 call, joined RESIST in 1969, has been a member of its board of directors since 1971 and thus claims only accuracy and not impartiality for the contents of this article. When not engaged in political activity, he studies Chinese philosophy and religion and teaches at Brown University, where he is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor of East Asian Studies.

See new FPIF discussion paper online at: http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/174

With printer-friendly pdf version at:

For article referred to above:

Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice By John Humphries (April 5, 2005) http://www.fpif.org/papers/0504rtpv.html

Informant: IRC Communications

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