05 March 2008

Imagine Peace: The Anti-war Movement in Butte America

One probably would not expect Butte, Montana, to be a hotbed of peace activism. There is a long and proud tradition of it, however, going back to Industrial Workers of the World opposition to the Great War (aka "World War One");

rank-and-file anti-war union members who elected Socialist mayor Lewis Duncan, and Butte's strong support for anti-war US Representative Jeanette Rankin (who voted against both WWI and WWII):

And so we should not be surprised at the current efforts by folks such as Montana Tech history professor George Waring and peace activist Mary Kay Craig. Mary Kay coordinates Taking Action for Peaceful Solutions (TAPS), an affiliate of the Montana Peace Seekers Network.

TAPS chairs a peace film series at Montana Tech. This week's showing was a recent episode of Bill Moyers Journal, "Tough Talk on Impeachment." You remember Bill Moyers, that sharp witted guy that was fired for awhile from PBS television--thanks to efforts by radical rightwing FAUX newsman Bill O'Reilly, Bush appointee Kenneth Tomlinson (himself fired for malfeasance), and arch-conservative Newt Gingrich (the "family values" guy who left his wife on her deathbed for another woman, and who had 84 House Ethics Committee charges filed against him). Moyers' crime? He told it like it was with investigative reports about Karl Rove's influence on the Bush administration and other reports that questioned aspects of the war against Iraq.

The TAPS film series is very good for those who want to be informed about America's misguided war and efforts to bring peace. Better yet is the discussion that follows the film. The knowledgable and outspoken audience, many of whom have spent a lifetime as political activists, makes for lively discussion.

This week's discussion revolved around the question: Why exactly do Democrats in Congress -- Nancy Pelosi etc -- refuse to initiate impeachment proceedings against Bush and Cheney?

As an upcoming event, watch for news about the peaceful sit-in of Senator Baucus' office in Helena, planned for 19 March--the anniversary of the Iraq "Shock & Awe" initiation of war. The local newspapers have been good about publishing notices of TAPS meetings and events. For more information or to sign up for the TAPS electronic newsletter, contact Mary Kay Craig at MaryKayCraig@bresnan.net or George Waring at georgewaring@msn.com .

Peace Out!


A few sources for more information:

Justin Raimondao (2001), "Anti-War, Behind the Headlines: Wheeler's Progress, the evolution of a progressive." At http://www.antiwar.com/justin/j090501.html .

Jackie Corr (2005), "Operation Butte Freedom, 1914: When Governor Samuel Venus Stewart Declared Martial Law in Montana." At http://www.counterpunch.org/corr03262005.html .

Bill Moyers Journal: "Buying the War" excerpt, on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5Kngf803dQ .

Montana Peace Seekers at http://www.montanapeaceseekers.org/ .


Jeanette Rankin, http://womenincongress.house.gov/images/essays/essay1/rankin_painting.jpg.

IWW poster, http://images.indymedia.org/imc/richmond/image/2/iww-1933.jpg .

Jeanette Rankin Peace Center (in Missoula). On the web at http://www.jrpc.org/ .