In December 1930, Albert Einstein gave a speech in New York expressing his dedication to the peace movements in America and abroad. But he did more than speak in abstract ideals of a peaceful future. He proposed a solution. He said:
Even if only two per cent of those assigned to perform military service should announce their refusal to fight, as well as urge means other than war of settling international disputes, governments would be powerless, they would not dare send such a large number of people to jail.
On December 30th 2013, the US census bureau projected that in 2014, the US population would be 317,297,938. Two percent of the American population is over 6 million people! Imagine the political strength of 6 million especially if, as Einstein suggested, each of these individuals encourages others to stand against war and militarism.
What if 2% of the American people decided to stop paying their income taxes until military spending is cut down and the money transferred to education or sustainable energy? What if 2% of the American people rallied against the NRA? What if 2% of the American people demanded Guantanamo Bay be shut down?
What if 2% of the American people realized they have a powerful voice?
I’m speaking specifically about the American people because America, and specifically American youth, have become depoliticized just when the world most needs a protest movement that moves beyond internet circles.
Politics and politicization is not just for radicals, but for everyone who has something they believe in. Politics is for everyone. It is the way to have a voice and recognize the power of that voice, especially in standing for peace in a violent world. The suffering of people in Syria, in the Ukraine, the violent attacks on protesters in Taiwan and in Turkey cannot be ignored as conflicts for others to deal with and broker peace. The US cannot take any stance for peace beyond its borders until the US government cuts down its military budget and takes steps toward a domestic peace process to end their own state monopoly on a violence. The US relies on a racist and sexist system inherent in a violent culture to control its population.
Bring back the 2% campaign! With enough people believing in a world free from militarization as a means of political control, radical change can be made toward a realistic peace.
Our masters have not heard the people’s voice for generations and it is much, much louder than they care to remember. -Alan Moore, V for Vendetta