Dedicated to Abolishing War, Establishing Justice, and Fighting Climate Disaster

Dedicated to Abolishing War, Establishing Justice, and Fighting Climate Disaster

The poem and remarks below were delivered by Peace & Planet News editor Doug Rawlings at a March 21 action in Portland, Maine, targeting banks investing in fossil fuels. The demonstration was organized by Third Act, which brings together a large group of experienced Americans over the age of 60 who are determined to change the world for the better. They use their life experience, skills, and resources while building community to effect a more sustainable planet.


Corporate America
be forewarned:
We are your karma
We are your Orion
rising in the night sky
We are the scorpion
in your jackboot

Corporate America
be forewarned:
We will not buy
your bloody parades anymore
We refuse your worthless praise
We spit on
your war memorials

Corporate America
be forewarned:
We will not feed you
our bodies
our minds
our children

Corporate America
be forewarned:
If we have our way
(and we will)
the real war memorials
will rise
from your ashes

I wrote that poem in the early 1980s when I heard that “they” were going to build a statue in Washington, DC, memorializing “my war.” After leaving that war over a decade before I was still simmering, angry, because I realized that I had been used by corporations to advance their agendas—I was a racketeer in the U.S. Army, a tool of their colonial designs. So I anticipated a memorial that would not reflect my feelings about war. It would be a testament to the glories of wall street financiers and bankers whose only encounter with the wars they were paying for was some dumb hollywood invention. Fortunately, Maya Lin came along and gave us a true memorial to the real costs of war.

Hence we started Veterans For Peace in 1985 to confront that vapid militarism, that grotesque perversion of the American dream. In 1986, we in VFP went to DC to support members who were protesting our bankers’ wars in Central America by holding a 40-day, water-only fast on the Capitol steps. They almost died. And one of them, Charlie Liteky, a recipient of the highest award bestowed on a soldier—the medal of honor—became the only soldier in our country’s history to return that medal in protest against Wall Street wars.

We in Veterans For Peace have dedicated our lives to abolishing war, and we have chosen non-violent direct action as our “weapon.” We aren’t messing around. We do not want our children and grandchildren to become tools of mayhem in the service of companies who are intent on pillaging this planet earth. But today, we veterans also recognize that people are capable of change—after all, we were soldiers who were used in wars—we followed orders even when we knew deep down in our hearts that the orders were immoral. We had become mere assets to be employed for some fat cat’s monetary gain.

But we left the military and reflected on what we had become, what we were, and we knew we had to change. And we did. We still hold within us the horrors of war—we will never lose those‑but we have decided to use those memories in the service of peace rather than have them use us as passive perpetrators of destruction. So today we turn to you who are employed by these banks and who may not have been fully aware of the destruction your employers have wrought, and we ask you to join us, to use the empathy inside of you to imagine the plight of the poor who lay at your feet and to realize that you have become a weapon of war that have laid those people there. You can change. You can take your banks and convert them into financiers of windmills and hospital ships, and solar panels, and farm cooperatives. You can use your vast skills to build communities, not destroy them. You can join us today in our action to build a sustainable world of equality and love. Come on out into the streets. We are waiting for you. The children of the world are waiting for you. Come join our beloved community.

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