Throwing Rocks Under Russia’s Skates

When I was a kid, police knocked on my door in Los Angeles responding to a complaint by neighbors that I had attacked their son. I explained that the older boy had been throwing rocks under my skates repeatedly despite my demands that he stop. After my busy mother declined to intervene, I grabbed a curtain rod from my garage to make him stop. The police accepted my self-defense argument and went away.

The rock throwing stopped after that, for good.

My toddler grandson started at a new day care recently. The care provider told us that any time a child in her care feels threatened by another child coming too close or trying to grab a toy they’re playing with, she teaches the child to say “SPACE!” accompanied by an outstretched, talk-to-the-hand gesture. “It’s not a question,” she explained. “It’s a demand, and it needs to be respected.”

It seems to me, and to the U.S. intelligence veterans listed below their recent full page ad in the New York Times, that the Russian Federation has been demanding “SPACE!” with regards to NATO since the fall of the Soviet Union. In other words, for decades.

Alice Slater’s cogent response to the recent G7 summit held in Hiroshima as an ominous warning of continued U.S. nuclear belligerence included this reminder:

U.S. allies in nuclear crime include five NATO countries with U.S. nuclear bombs on their territory—Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Turkey—and Japan of all nations, ironically, under its nuclear umbrella which is abandoning its Peace Constitution under US pressure and will become a NATO affiliate instead of urging that all the G7 nations join the new Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which they have all boycotted and rejected. [emphasis mine]

“The US leads the way in dishonoring its Non-Proliferation Treaty obligation for “good faith efforts” for nuclear disarmament and has never acted in “good faith”.

China is now also having rocks thrown under its skates in Taiwan and the South China Sea. Any response it makes beyond demanding “SPACE!” will be misrepresented in the corporate press most in the U.S. rely on, as a method of building the case for a proxy war on the Belt and Road Initiative leader now commanding the world’s economy.

The U.S. could not subdue insurgents in Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, but pretends it can win against military powers like Russia and China.

Nuclear weapons are likely to be the only way the U.S. could prevail over a Russia-China alliance currently supported by most of the Global South.

And the G7 met in nuclear victim city Hiroshima to remind us, not so subtly, of that grim fact.

Protester: I Came Here So I Wouldn’t Feel So Alone

Yesterday in Belfast, Maine around 40 peacebuilders came together at a big intersection on Route 1. Our statewide coalition has now brought anti war, pro peace messaging monthly to seven different locations over the course of the costly NATO war against Russia in Ukraine:

four times at various locations in Portlandtwice in Westbrooktwice in TopshamBath, and now Belfast.

I admit that I went grumbling as I wanted a day at home, but I smiled all the way back after standing with several friends I hadn’t seen in a while. And, as with each of these monthly events, I met new friends, most on the younger side; one had just arrived from Florida and came looking for kindred spirits. I felt fortunate, indeed, to be part of the beautiful “conscience of the community” (and it didn’t start to rain until we were almost home).

Our circle round in conclusion produced a few common themes: the role of the military-industrial profiteers in stoking endless wars, and the suffering of people in war zones and war economies where basic needs go unmet. Bring our war dollars home!

One person said that they and their partner are creating a new family and they worry about their child’s future with the threat of nuclear war hanging overhead.

One person was brought to tears telling of the persistent refusal of their church’s congregation to follow its own professed beliefs and criticize war making. Frustrated Christians have been a consistent presence at our protests, with individuals from various denominations expressing some version of, “I came here so that I wouldn’t feel so alone in my opposition to this war.”

One person noted that Flora, Earth Goddess, had joined us, inspired by Bread and Puppet. Her presence warmed the hearts of many who have stood for peace with her over the years.

One person brought the portable megaphone that allows us to include everyone’s voice in our closing circle. Much appreciated!

One person responded to the prompt, Tell us why you’re here, with “Where else would I be?”

Amen to that! 

Growing coalition

These groups are now co-sponsors of our series of protests: Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, Maine Natural Guard, Peaceworks of Greater Brunswick, Communist Party of Maine, Party of Socialism & Liberation Maine, Maine Green Independent Party, Citizens Opposing Active Sonar Threats (COAST), People’s Party of Maine, and Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine.

Our demands

  • Peace in Ukraine – No weapons, no money for the Ukraine War
  • Abolish NATO – End U.S. militarism & sanctions!
  • Fund people’s needs, not the war machine!
  • No war with China!
  • Protect Earth’s environment from the deadly insult of war!
  • End U.S. aid to racist apartheid Israel!
  • Fight racism & bigotry not war!
  • U.S. hands off Haiti!
  • End AFRICOM!

Protest schedule for summer

Saturday June 24 at 1:30pm Lewiston (Veterans Memorial Park, stand by the bridge)

link to Facebook event:

Saturday July 22 at 1:30pm Augusta (Civic Center intersection on Route 27 at I-95)

Saturday August 19 at 1:30pm Ellsworth (Route 1 intersection with Main St.)

Saturday September (exact date TBD) Skowhegan (Margaret Chase Smith bridge at confluence of Routes 2 & 201)