November Revolution: In Formation for Real Change or Get Out of the Way

By Pam Campos-Palma

On May 25th, millions witnessed the extrajudicial killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, triggering uprisings across the country that were met with an eruption of even more brutalizing police violence. Watching the systematic violence carried out against protesters made me feel like I was once again watching the coordinated, complex terrorist attacks the military trained me to analyze — only this time I was watching it being carried out by local police against citizens and journalists. The mobilization of the National Guard, then President Trump’s abuse of the military and his threats to unleash America’s troops against their fellow citizens has had me in the most intense organizing sprint of my life. Between responding to messages from concerned active duty and National Guard troops in fear, organizing the military and veteran community at large, partnering with the Movement for Black Lives, tracking and analyzing ethno-nationalist threats, and continuing to engage with national security/foreign policy colleagues, the last month has been life-changing and surreal. I hope to find some time to write more about it but for now I’ll be catching back up where I left off. 

In the midst of this revolutionary moment, there is a very strange disconnect between the wave of political energy unleashed by the hurricane of multiple, simultaneous crises the US currently faces and the tepid, inert feeling surrounding the presidential election. At a time when a mass popular movement and grassroots mutual aid networks are setting the pace for resistance to rising anti-democratic, white supremacist forces, the Biden campaign has not come close to matching the energy in the streets. 

Continue reading “November Revolution: In Formation for Real Change or Get Out of the Way”

Amidst a global pandemic, Trump’s sanctions are already as destructive as a war

On May 6th, President Trump vetoed the Iran War Powers resolution, a bipartisan attempt that would have required him to seek congressional authorization before using military force against Iran. The next day, despite bipartisan support for the resolution, the Senate fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to override Trump’s veto. Thus, a conventional war on Iran remains a frightening possibility. Yet to Iranians, current US sanctions are a form of war that have come with a significant human cost.

Enacted long before the coronavirus pandemic, US economic sanctions were already crippling foreign economies from Venezuela to Iran. Now, however, the devastating impact of these unilateral sanctions regimes is even more apparent: ordinary Venezuelans and Iranians are unable to receive medical treatment for both coronavirus and non-coronavirus-related conditions.

These sanctions are part of a longstanding bipartisan foreign policy consensus.

Continue reading “Amidst a global pandemic, Trump’s sanctions are already as destructive as a war”

Our Statement

Fellow Travelers Blog was founded on the guiding principle that a better world is possible, one in which people all over the world no longer have to live in fear and misery as a result of war and inequity. Foreign policy and domestic policy are inescapably intertwined, especially when it comes to policing. 

When it comes to policing, not only do Americans go abroad to learn repressive tactics from nations like Israel, we export police violence all over the world. The militarization of American police departments after the illegal invasion of Iraq means that millions of people are terrorized at home and abroad through military spending. And American policing grew out of one of the earliest projects of American imperialism: slavery. The murder of George Floyd is just one example of countless evil acts in four hundred years of terror against Black people in America. 

We must defund the police and build structures that actually protect people from racism, capitalist exploitation, and all the forces that threaten Black lives. 

Alex Vitale’s The End of Policing is available free in ebook form from Verso. 

There are 60+ community bail funds and groups aiding activists that can be donated to here

 

The Case Against Larry Summers

By Yong Kwon

Since the news broke that Larry Summers is advising the Biden campaign, several progressive commentators and organizations have called out the former Treasury Secretary’s regressive politics on income inequality and environmental regulation. And, of course, his past sexist remarks on women, science, and math will haunt him forever.

Adding to this growing list of reasons that disqualify him from shaping the Democratic Party’s policy platform, Summers’ approach to international economic policy compromises the welfare of workers. He also lacks the vision to coordinate a much-needed international response to recurring global crises. His actions during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis showed remarkable apathy toward marginalized communities, especially women. Moreover, his poor stewardship of that financial maelstrom directly contributed to the 2007 global financial crisis. It is time for Democrats to move on to thinkers who rightly focus on international solidarity and economic justice everywhere.

Continue reading “The Case Against Larry Summers”

Policy from the People: Seizing Agency

This is the second installment in our Policy from the People series, in partnership with Win Without War. Each month, Policy from the People will feature thoughts on foreign policy challenges from activists at the leading edge of the progressive movement.

By Tristan Guyette

As an organizer with Beyond the Bomb, a people-powered campaign to mitigate the threat of another global catastrophe — nuclear war — I feel an inescapable sense of futile rage with the COVID-19 crisis. I suspect most of us do, no matter where we work or what we do. How do we protect against a virus many of us are unable to avoid contracting? How do we continue our own work in the face of a virus that cares not for borders, laws, or social contracts? How do we fight against a system that devalues the lives of so many  when our usual tactics — rallies, demonstrations, marches — are off the table?

For many in America, this is a familiar feeling.  It is the feeling of powerlessness. It is the feeling of railing against a system that seems never to budge. It is the feeling of having something essential stripped from us: our agency.

Continue reading “Policy from the People: Seizing Agency”

The Kids Are Alright

By Andrew Leber

As Millennials and Gen-Z become the largest segments of the US voting age population, their views on a host of issues present new opportunities for progressive politicians and activists seeking to remake US politics – including foreign policy.

Now and again, a few commentators have noted that younger US generations seem more skeptical than their elders about a foreign-policy establishment that, in their lifetimes, did little to stop (and largely cheered on) a disastrous war in Iraq, signed off on an ever-expanding set of covert military engagements in the name of waging the War on Terror, and has trumpeted the mutual benefits of trade while overlooking the stark rise of inequality at home.   

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November Revolution: Win Or Lose, We Need A Real Coalition

By Pam Campos-Palma

In the past few weeks, I have had more flashbacks to my days in the military than at any other time since stepping out of uniform four years ago. The military wired me to make battlefield predictions in uncertain situations, and that training feels eerily activated today. Between living a stone’s throw away from New York City – the current epicenter of COVID-19 in the US; getting texts from my mom who works in a hospital emergency room; and seeing politicians react to the mounting death toll with a mixture of dangerous buffoonery and vicious xenophobia, I find myself thinking constantly about our society’s many vulnerabilities. I’m also thinking a lot about the normalization of death, a disturbing aspect of our current phase of the crisis.  At this deeply turbulent moment, I worry that the absence of a strategic alignment between progressive grassroots movement and the Democratic party establishment will leave the survival of our democracy in a fragile balance.    Continue reading “November Revolution: Win Or Lose, We Need A Real Coalition”

American Jubilee

By Yong Kwon

The ongoing pandemic will disproportionately harm countries in the Global South, which are less able to mobilize resources needed to address both the public health crisis and its economic consequences. The United States government is uniquely positioned to help these vulnerable economies recover by coordinating debt forgiveness. In doing so, the US will help indebted countries create fiscal space to make critical investments in social infrastructure that can address current challenges, minimize the economic consequences, and prevent future health crises.

While debt forgiveness does not address other growth impediments such as gaps in capacity and knowledge, historical case studies show that indebted governments increase public investments when their obligations to creditors are lessened. And during crises, debt relief is an effective tool for stopping the sudden outflow of investments – a paramount threat to the health of emerging economies. Post-war Germany and Latin America in the 1980s provide examples of these cases.

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Centering Feminism in Progressive Foreign Policy

By Dustin Johnson

Arguing for progressive foreign policy, especially in the United States, can feel like a Sisyphean task. Many of the goals put forth in this blog, such as ending sanctions, challenging militarism, and dismantling our nuclear arsenal seem as distant as ever. Consequently, it is important to highlight areas of progressive foreign policy advocacy and practice that have made substantial advances over the past decade. Feminist foreign policy, while still often greatly flawed in its design and implementation, has achieved remarkable acceptance, both in US foreign policy platforms and globally. While further progress is required for feminist foreign policy to challenge the core security ideologies of the state when it comes to war and militarization, its combination of foregrounding intersectionality and the rights and security of the most marginalized, and its growing mainstream acceptance demonstrate its importance for achieving a progressive foreign policy.

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