Strike For Peace
Petition For Peaceful Priorities
08/19/05 -- This petition will be delivered to the White House and other addresses on September 26, 2005.
President George W. Bush, The White House
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Department of Defense, The Pentagon
President Nils Hasselmo, Association of American Universities
Governor Ted Kulongoski, State of Oregon
President Dave Frohnmayer, University of Oregon
Dear Public Servants,
As University of Oregon’s first graduate student in the field of Peace Studies, it is my responsibility to explore the role of the military in society and those conditions that most promote peace and human welfare. In so doing, I have come to understand the nature of America’s war industry, and how that industry has flourished in the wake of the Cold War. I have come to find that more than 300 of our universities are developing weapons for the Department of Defense, and that these schools are increasingly reliant on the industry of war to sustain their education programs. Indeed, the Association of American Universities appears to be little more than a lobby for such funding.
As a person of good conscience, I have learned too much about the business of war to remain silent about its overwhelming encroachment in our schools, communities, and global life systems. In promoting this encroachment, I do not believe that you serve in the interest of prosperity and security for the common people. By your consistent actions, in fact, it is abundantly clear that you believe America’s top priority is profit from the business of war, not the general welfare of its people.
When America was born a people-first country, the concept of freedom spread rapidly throughout the world without military force. The vision of our Founders was to advance the notion of people living in peace using the freedom that nature provides upon birth. You may feel at peace with yourselves, but I believe you are acting as businessmen instead of servants. And in honoring our Founding principles, I must proclaim that to exploit the fears and prejudices of the common people to maintain the flow of profits from conflict—to perpetuate a state of war for personal gain—is treasonous to our creed.
You say this is a peace-loving nation when you know it is not; America is by far history’s greatest peddler of arms, and your business is making war everyone else’s business. The people, under this set of priorities, are an expendable resource, and on behalf of those who founded this country and those whose lives stand in peril today—thus, on behalf of all Americans—I reject the notion of our servants serving only themselves and war profiteers.
Therefore, I feel compelled to strike in peaceful but vociferous opposition to your priorities until our national policies reflect our priorities and serve the rights and needs of the common people.
I am a dedicated scholar and University of Oregon alumnus. But I refuse to study inside the classroom of any school that sells itself to the war industry, and I will stand outside and speak my heart as strongly as possible to highlight the obvious hypocrisy that you promote. For I fear that if I do not, America and other countries are very likely to suffer and fall as a result of your cold determination to saturate with weapons a world that stands on the verge of resource depletion.
Developing weapons at our institutions of enlightenment contradicts the inherent purpose of learning. How will we ever learn peace while making war in our schools?
I hereby submit to you this petition for peaceful priorities.
Brian D. Bogart
Multicultural Studies Certificate, US-Japan Relations, Lewis and Clark College, Portland 1995
International Studies Certificate, Waseda University, Tokyo 1996
B.A. Japanese History, University of Oregon 1997
M.A. Candidate, Peace Studies, University of Oregon
Sponsors of this action include:
Code Pink, Global Exchange
Franklin W. Stahl
Professor Emeritus of Biology
University of Oregon
Peter Phillips Ph.D.
Sociology Department/Project Censored
Sonoma State University
Scott Kerlin Ph.D.
Vancouver, BC Canada
Madoka Kusakabe M.A.
Japanese Language & Literature
University of Oregon
Oleg Kripkov Ph.D.
University of Oregon
…and hundreds more. If you are or have been a college-level teacher and would like to sign this petition, please send your name and title as you’d like them to appear (using above examples) to:
This petition will be delivered to the White House and other addresses on September 26, 2005.
If you would like to support the strike effort with financial or organizational resources, please write to email@example.com