PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Friday, September 13, 2013

Peace Activist: ‘People Power’ Helped Prevent Syria Strike

Anti-war demonstrators protest against possible U.S. military action in Syria in front of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

Anti-war demonstrators protest against possible U.S. military action in Syria in front of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

A congressional vote authorizing the use of force in Syria is on hold, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hold negotiations for the Syrian government to give up its chemical weapons.

Public opinion polls showed most Americans oppose the strikes and President Bashar al-Assad even mentioned that when he argued against the strikes in media interviews.

Tom Hayden, a longtime peace activist, says public opposition made a big difference in the debate.

Longtime peace activist, Tom Hayden. (tomhayden.com)

Longtime peace activist Tom Hayden. (tomhayden.com)

“It seems to me what is the understated fact of the matter, is the credible threat of democratic people power that has stopped this process from going over the edge,” Hayden told Here & Now.

He thinks the simple act of people calling their representatives in Congress and asking them not to authorize force, worked in derailing the push for a military strike.

“I think it’s the accumulated impact of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, the legacy of people being used and feeling manipulated into wars,” Hayden said. “But people were not only tired of these wars, they acted on that fatigue in the millions.”

Hayden thinks the peace movement is effective even though it is not represented by lobbyists or a central organization.

“We have millions of people who support alternatives to war,” Hayden said, “All we have is the constant force of public opinion expressed through decentralized networks.”

Such a movement, Hayden says, helps put the decisions to go to war back in the American people’s hands.

“One thing that strikes me as an American tragedy is that these decisions about war and peace are determined by a small handful of cloistered national security advisers,” Hayden said. “It’s very removed from public opinion.”

Guest


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Spotlight

Throughout the week, Here & Now is looking at the impact a raise in the minimum wage would have on states, the federal government and workers.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

One Breast Cancer Advocate On Why She Hates Fundraising Walks

Karuna Jaggar, who runs a breast cancer organization, expresses her concerns about the impact of large-scale fundraising walks.

Sitar Player Anoushka Shankar’s New Album Responds To Refugee Crisis

Shankar said she decided to focus her new album, titled "Land of Gold," on the refugee crisis.

Does Raising The Minimum Wage Hurt Jobs?

We examine how increasing the minimum wage impacts the overall economy and job sector.

May 4 Comment

DJ Sessions: From Southern Fried Soul To Dance Party Duos

In this week's DJ Sessions, we spoke with KCRW's Raul Campos about "southern fried soul" from Texas and a dance duo from Los Angeles.