The State vs. Peace


Speech at the Friends of Gandhi Museum Plenary Session I International Conference on Global Conflicts and Terrorism World Foundation on Reverence for All Life 22 January 2007, Pune, India

Sometimes I think that I will step into the day and see that it was all a bad dream, a horror movie, not the real human life. I refuse to finance massive killing from the sky. I refuse to finance the murder of women and children. It feels better to live and let live. I am not the property of the State, to be stamped, branded and tracked like a sheep.

My purpose in these few minutes is not to advance theories, but to share some perceptions that I hope will raise questions in our minds about what we are doing to each other, and to ourselves.

In Vietnam and Cambodia the US Government murdered around three million human beings. Women and children living peacefully in huts of bamboo and straw were incinerated by napalm bombs rained down upon them from the sky.

And I'll tell you this: in those days I was an accomplice to that murder because I was financing it with my income tax. I was part of the system, catering to the Powers That Be.

The path now beckons toward the courage of active non-violence. I have yet miles to go and promises to keep. Promises to life itself and to my own integrity.

My primary exemplars have been Indian: Tagore, Aurobindo, Buddha, Gandhi, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Vinoba Bhave, J.P. Narayan.

As I speak, the US Government is preparing to launch a nuclear attack on Iran. Two aircraft carrier strike groups and nuclear missile submarines are in position already.

Credible reports indicate an attack planned as early as April.

This will ignite an unimaginable conflagration that will not be contained. Lights will go off all around the world. Oppenheimer's statement at the Trinity Test Site, Alamogordo, New Mexico in 1945 – "I am become death" – will have been fulfilled for the third time.

If you doubt this cold-blooded political calculation, look to history. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed after Japan had delivered a petition for surrender.

To me, the events unfolding before our eyes indicate a kind of mass insanity. How, otherwise, would six billion human beings choose to organize themselves such that a handful of madmen – infected with insatiable lust for power and war profiteering – could start a chain reaction that reduces humanity to a heap of radioactive ash?

We stand at a profound junction in our journey as a biological species. We have not much time to change our course away from fear and murder and toward love and life.

We must evolve to a higher consciousness or become extinct through mass suicide.

The fundamental questions of who we are and what are we doing have moved from the realm of philosophy to the urgent issue of survival.

Today, the US has 460,000 military stationed in 144 foreign countries.

The US has been waging aggressive overt and covert war on foreign lands almost continuously since the Spanish American War of 1848. It has systematically employed bestiality and torture.

Its current Iraq aggression – with goal of oil and war profits for the business-military-political complex – has resulted in death of an estimated 690,000 people. Millions have been displaced.

The economic sanctions imposed for 12 years prior to this war resulted in death of 500,000 Iraqi children. The Clinton administration stated on the public record that it was "worth the price."

I think you would have to look pretty hard to find a bigger terrorist than the US Government.

In the past 100 years, Nation States have murdered around 230 million people – many their own citizens within their own borders.

I suggest that this mass murder – planned and executed by our best and brightest – should raise in our minds some question about the intelligence of the design of our human political institutions.

It seems obvious that the Corporate State is killing us and destroying planetary ecology in the process. It is owned by the big banks and corporations. It is operated through revolving door personal power relations within the military-industrial-banking-political complex. It functions as a contract hit man on a mass scale for its corporate clients.

The State is capable of this destructive behavior only with our cooperation. It subsists only by our permission through public opinion. The money powers have made an arranged marriage between politics and religion to advance their agenda. For those of organized religion who doubt this – or wish the truth – I suggest go check the investment portfolios of your main parent organization.

We must grow up and become full human beings. We must give up our childish ideas of being Indian, Chinese, Russian, American, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and all the other labels and isms which we are taught and which are not real.

We must get on with the hard work of learning to live together on a planet that has become too small to afford the easy path of violence. If war is not made obsolete, we will be made obsolete.

The very idea of a Nation State – in addition to its stupidity – must be abhorrent to anyone who loves peace.

Draw a line on a map of India. Then start killing anyone who crosses. This is crazy.

Who lies and who dies? The politicians lie and the poor people die.

Who has murdered more – a few hundred terrorists, or the Corporate Warfare State? Nineteen men who commandeered aircraft provided the excuse to start an endless world war that had been planned by the money power long before. What could have been handled as a civil police function was rotated to a premeditated "clash of civilizations" that threatens total annihilation.

Root Cause of Terrorism is the fear, greed and ignorance within our own mass mind which allows the money power to manipulate us. People don't rush off to war. Governments must go to great lengths to incite their citizens to war. It is made easier to incite violence when for a long time the people have watched helplessly their lives and cultures destroyed, the very earth denied to them and burned before their eyes.

We are passing to our children a degraded planet and a culture of obscenity, violence, deceit and corruption.

How did this come to be?

  • Could it be the institution of Sovereign Immunity pursuant to which agents of State can commit any crime against humanity without fear of retribution?
  • Could it be the illusion that the State – which Gandhi described as a soulless machine founded upon organized and concentrated violence – can provide security and peace?
  • Could it be the self-deception that Power will attract good men who are morally incorruptible?
  • Could it be the cunningly manufactured deception that our security and peace are best guaranteed by a gang of criminals calling themselves a government and taking our earnings by forcible taxation?
  • Could it be the creation of the legal construct of the corporation which shields owners and directors from personal liability for their destructive actions against the human commons? Personal accountability tends to limit irresponsible behavior.
  • Could it be the illusion that we can shirk our personal responsibilities and pass them off to institutions funded by other people's money which was taken from them by force?
  • Could it be that The Lie – endemic to politics – has everywhere permeated society?

What is the State if not a monopoly on violence?

Can violence create peace? Have we forgotten that means creates end?

Ask yourself this about your relationship with the State:

  • Does it murder?
  • Does it finance this murder with my taxes?
  • Am I therefore responsible?
  • Do I finance it voluntarily of my free will?
  • If not, then does that make me a slave?
  • Why do I pay a gang of thieves to enslave me, to commit murder in my name, to keep secret what it does with its stolen wealth?
  • Why do I support the State in crimes for which any citizen would be jailed or hung?

Intelligent people are gathered at this seminar. Similar seminars are held around the world.

Yet, murder and planetary destruction continue in our name.

What does this say about us?

Is it about a system-structure which we have not the imagination or the courage to change? Have we forgotten that only the individual can be a moral agent? Can I assign my moral conscience to another? If my moral conscience is inalienable, how can I assign it to the State? Thus, if the State acts against my own conscience in its murder or thievery, is this possible by any means other than force or threat of force? Is this something else than slavery?

There is no government that can save us from the self-inflicted disaster bearing down upon us. Only the freedom to express our love of life in opposition to the State's reverence for death can save us. We must tap into a deep, overflowing, unconditional love of life, of this earth, of each other.

This nature of love, this inclination to love, is in every one of us.

To express this love from within, we must get the State out of our way – so that we can relate person to person without institutional barriers to our common humanity.

May you live long, live free.

January 23, 2007