Liberation For Whom? Queer Anti-War Activism And Military Inclusion

This article was originally published on Waging Nonviolence

An anti-war banner carried during the Twin Cities Pride Parade in the Twin Cities in 2013. (Flickr/Tony Webster)

Is all inclusion good inclusion?

Mainstream LGBTQ groups like the Human Rights Campaign promote any increase in gay representation as good — even representation in some of the world’s most deadly organizations, like the U.S. military and the Central Intelligence Agency.

“It’s either you’re with Trump and against trans military service, or you celebrate trans military service as a wonderful thing for trans people,” said Dean Spade, co-founder of a New York-based trans justice organization called the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. A few weeks after participating in a Queer Anti-Militarism Town Hall held in Seattle’s Public Library on April 2, Spade spoke about how a network of queer anti-war activists is working to undo the mainstream narrative.

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Time To Bump Peace Up The Agenda

Australia has been constantly at war for 16 years, by far the longest stretch ever. Being at war has become the normal state of affairs for us. We spend $95 million every day on war and its preparation, even though the 2016 Defence White Paper said that the prospect of another country invading Australia in the foreseeable future is remote.

Our wars receive very little discussion, as if the need for them is self-evident. Our elected representatives are not consulted about proposed deployments of troops, what they are meant to do on our behalf, whether the proposal is even legal, and what the costs (human, environmental, economic, political) might be. There is zero debate in parliament on these things and no vote on them. The lessons from the disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq, which Australia joined on the decision of one man, PM John Howard, are stark but unheeded.

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