The Power of Community

In September 2006, the world experienced a paradigm shift when a strong lobbying effort by grassroots organizations effectively derailed an initiative: A move that was tantamount to a declaration of war on Iran.

U.S.: Iran Resolution Shelved in Rare Defeat for Israel Lobby

In a significant and highly unusual defeat for the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives has decided to shelve a long-pending, albeit non-binding, resolution that called for President George W. Bush to launch what critics called a blockade against Iran.

But an unexpectedly strong lobbying effort by a number of grassroots Iranian-American, Jewish-American, peace, and church groups effectively derailed the initiative.

The decision by the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Howard Berman, to shelve HR 362 marked an unusual defeat for AIPAC, according to its critics who charged that the resolution was designed to lay the groundwork for the Bush administration or any successor administration to take military action against Iran.

A nuclear confrontation with Iran was avoided in 2006 because a small number of people with the power of community were enough to convince our Government not to take the world to the point of no return.

Our un-elected officials got the message, that the perils of a nuclear confrontation with Iran could mean the end of life for everyone here on earth. Congress refused to go along with the Bush Administration’s plans for military action against Iran.

Just two years later, the power of community stopped congress from attacking Iran.

Iran 2010

If you aren’t up to speed about the most dangerous move towards nuclear war the world has seen since the 1962 Cuba Missile Crisis, visit the critically acclaimed Global Research website founded by Michel Chossudovsky, Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Chossudovsky writes:

The US and its allies are preparing to launch a nuclear war directed against Iran with devastating consequences and this military adventure in the real sense of the word threatens the future of humanity.

The international community has endorsed nuclear war in the name of World Peace. “Making the World safer” is the justification for launching a military operation which could potentially result in a nuclear holocaust.

Iran, a country with a non-existent nuclear weapons capability and an air force that belongs in a museum, is not a threat to either nuclear power with a presence in the Middle East, the United States or Israel. [1]

The community of grassroots Iranian-American, Jewish-American, peace, and church groups have proven over and over, when we cooperate with each other we can make a difference.

The Powers That Be (TPTB) knew the day would come when the people would realize the power they have when they work together for their own survival.

Be it growing our own food in cooperation with our neighbors or lobbying the U.S. government with the truth about Iran, it only takes a small number of us to make a difference. [2]

Normally I don’t recommend those “take action” campaigns, the ones that tell us, “it’s not too late, click-here to importune our “elected” representatives with emails and faxes.” But in this case our emails and faxes attest to our power…of community. [3]

Start by contacting the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and demand she honor the commitment made by President Obama during the 2007 Democratic debate when he said that he would, “As president, be willing to meet without preconditions with Iran’s leaders, and that the notion of not talking to one’s foes was ridiculous.” [4]

E-mail President of the United States, (202) 456-1414 Phone, (202) 456-2461 Fax

E-mail The Secretary of State, (202) 647-6575 press 1 to leave a comment

“In nuclear war all men are cremated equal” Dexter Gordon

We can do this, we did it in 2006, 2008 and we can do it in 2010.

Katherine Smith, PhD is a retired research professor of History and Peace Activist. Contact her at


[1] Israel has enough plutonium to make up to 200 nuclear weapons. Who’s Telling the Truth About Iran’s Nuclear Program? by Muhammad Sahimi

[2] [Excerpt From Grandmother Scores Huge Victory over Monsanto]

And the question that scares Monsanto to death:

Why don’t I and all of my neighbors just grow our own food…on one square foot of land?

The conversation at Starbucks is no longer about which stocks or houses are going up (or down) but which vegetables sprout the fastest and how many crops can one get in before winter. Now when someone mentions planting a bush permanently they are not talking about how to bury our last president but the best way to plant super bush beans in the spring.

Quit worrying about HR 875, going to jail or getting fined $1 million for growing your own food; that has to be disinformation.

Even if there were enough food police there aren’t enough judges and prosecutors to enforce such a ridiculous law.

What the Monsanto lobby is really afraid of is that one day we will wake up and realize if we work together as a community and cooperate with each other then they will have no power over us.

[3] Those “take action”- campaigns that appeal to our selfish and divisive nature don’t work. These are going around the internet:

Subject: Sign the letter to Google. Tell them to stop being evil and protect the free and open Internet.

Subject: Hi — this is Jason Rosenbaum, a new campaigner at the PCCC. I’ve got some urgent news. Can you sign our promise to oppose cuts in Social Security and then ask your representatives to sign on as well?

All they accomplish is to reinforce our feelings of helpless and isolation. They create negative energy, consider a typical rant:

“These people have been robbing us for years. I don’t for the life of me know why we keep sending the same people that keep doing the same things over and over again. We need to empty Washington! Send them home in wholesale fashion. Take the profit out, of public service and put the public service, back in!”

[4] Mr. Obama first made waves with his views on Iran policy in 2007, when he said during a Democratic debate that he would, as president, be willing to meet without preconditions with Iran’s leaders, and that the notion of not talking to one’s foes was “ridiculous.”

Since becoming president, Mr. Obama has pursued diplomacy, but his stance has become steadily more confrontational. Iran’s Nuclear Program, The New York Times

16 Comments on "The Power of Community"

  1. Hadrian999 | Aug 14, 2010 at 8:34 am |

    the funny thing is that move would have been like a gift to iran.

    • A Bad Joke | Aug 14, 2010 at 9:37 am |

      What, glassing them?

      • Hadrian999 | Aug 14, 2010 at 12:05 pm |

        the blockade would put the citizens in bunker mode, remember how rabidly xenophobic people were right after 9/11 if any sort of embargo was put in place all moderates and reformers in iran could easily be rolled up and purged for sedition their prestige among shia nations would go through the roof and the blockade ships would be juicy targets for attack.

  2. You mean the Iran that isn't a threat to anyone?
    The one with a museum that belongs in a Museum and has no nuclear capability.

  3. Gemmarama | Aug 14, 2010 at 10:24 am |

    i have particularly vivid memories of this period as i was flat-sharing with the daughter of the european head of the IAEA. her dad spent a full month in the vienna HQ of the UN trying to convince the US to back down. apparently the gulf was chock-a-block with warships (they could see them in satellite pictures) but when confronted about it by the america was basically sticking its fingers in its ears and singing “we can't hear yoooou!”. exciting times…

  4. The one thing, the only thing that truly terrifies them is people power.

    It is why so much energy is put into keeping the plebians from coming together and discovering this truth and the magnificent power that collective human endeavor holds.

    We are kept in a state of constant apathy and made to feel powerless. We are divided on so many issues that people power is not only seen as unachievable but even absurd. We are diverted and tittilated by a media storm of thought conditioning We are poisoned by our food, water and the air we breathe so that we sicken and weaken and can't fight back. Our hatred is nurtured while our sense of community is discouraged.

    But people power (someone give me a better term) is not that hard to acheive. It's like when the school bully turns around and finds that the kids he has bullied have gotten together as one and he realises that he's about to get a bit back. His entire power structure crumbles in an instant.( I organised something like this when I was about 8 and it works)

    I think we just need it to be cool then everyone will be into it.

    Anyway I gotta run. You have a nice day and I'll sign that protest thingy later.

  5. Community is a Socialist plot.

  6. Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back. Paradigm shift, my white ass: small groups have influenced innumerable large-scale policies.

    Moreover, “grass roots” organization is a cornerstone of _conservative_ ideology. Read Edmund Burke's “Reflections on the Revolution in France” (1790). As Burke wrote, “The constituent parts of a state are obliged to hold their public faith with each other and with all those who derive any serious interest under their engagements, as much as the whole state is bound to keep its faith with separate communities. Otherwise competence and power would soon be confounded and no law be left but the will of a prevailing force. “

  7. It was a unique confluence of events in recent American history….but let's not be too self congratulatory…this move happened during two ongoing conflicts in the Middle East that had American troops stretched to their limits. The policy had support within pro-Israel and neo-con cliques…but outside of those two powerfully placed and influential camps…everyone else said the same things: we don't have the manpower to precipitate a third conflict AND hold ground at the same time. We don't have the money to sustain this and two long term wars. We don't have the popular support to make this enforceable without getting creamed in elections shortly afterwards.

    At the same time, alternative press and non-MSM media unilaterally butchered the Bush admin for planning to provoke a third conflict and lead a run-up to open war. The anti-war movements leaped on the bandwagon along with the comparatively small Arab/Iranian groups and sounded off at the same time, Everyone had the same message and stayed on task, joining a chorus of neutral parties who objected not for partisan reasons…but for logistic reasons that were completely supportable by evidence.

    It's not really a 'paradigm shift' when so many circumstances are stacked against a single event/goal. It was, however, a nice wake up call to government that, if enough people are absolutely sickened by ongoing war, there is a limit to how far you can drag the American people along for the ride.

  8. wfzlsster | Aug 14, 2010 at 3:35 pm |

    There's a million of us for every one of them, all we have to do is wake up the sleeping and show them the light of day. That won't be easy but it is possible and it is usually accomplished one person at a time.

  9. How very trite and abstract.

  10. Connie Dobbs | Aug 16, 2010 at 3:07 pm |

    It’s right in the word! Community = Communist!

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