STOP U.S. DRONE WARFARE VIA RAMSTEIN – Tues, May 26th 3:30pm @4645 Reservoir Rd, Washington, DC

Join us in urging the German government to order the U.S. to close the Ramstein Air Base used for drone surveillance and drone attacks around the world. German human rights organizations have been pushing to close this base and are asking organizations in the U.S. to join the call.

Sponsored by the US Foreign Policy Activist Cooperative.

FB Event:

Open Letter to SIS Administration

To the Dean’s Office,

The School of International Service (SIS) at American University is a leader in the world of international relations. Year after year, its students are ranked among the most politically active in the country. SIS is routinely listed as one of the nation’s top ten institutions for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing International Relations degrees. Moreover, it gathers a multi-national student body rivaled by few other institutions in the United States. None of this is accidental—it is based on Presidential wisdom. SIS was founded on Eisenhower’s famous dictum to “wage peace.”

Yet, in the study of peace, American University is lacking. Eisenhower’s declaration rings hollow. Proof? SIS does not have an undergraduate Peace Studies program—it’s that simple. The school offers only a graduate-level program in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. Within the “Thematic Areas” presented to undergraduates, only one expressly involves peace studies: Peace, Global Security, and Conflict Resolution (PGSCR). Furthermore, of the thirteen courses in this module, only one includes the word peace in the course title. By contrast, the terms “violence” and “security” appear in seven course titles. Thus, in ‘title terms’ alone, it would seem that SIS has forgotten its foundation. But what of the instructors?

Regrettably, even the casual observer may identify how poorly peace characterizes the academics administering an allegedly peace-conscious program. The faculty members assigned to teach PGSCR courses are comprised mostly of Defense specialists, ex-Military personnel, former State Department or NSA employees, former (or current) members of Washington Think Tanks like the Rand Corporation, militant Zionists, neoliberal corporate advocates, Public Diplomacy specialists, denizens of ruling-class policy groups like the Council on Foreign Relations, and other national security experts of all stripes and honors. While there are a few lonely exceptions – most notably USFPAC member and Peace Studies Professor Barbara Wien—the intellectual and professional demographics of the program are startlingly uniform. Recent SIS hiring has followed this trend. Last December, the university hired two new faculty members—both national-security experts, one of whom is a former General and participant in imperial excursions such as the invasions of Panama and Grenada.

Thus, for the thousands of undergraduate students entering American University each fall and spring, paying high tuition rates to attend the “Peace University,” the central question persists – how does one “Wage Peace” at AU? With only traces and hints of a “Peace Program,” this pursuit looks unpromising. Students interested in studying peace face the frustrating reality of being offered very few courses venturing outside defense and security frameworks. Moreover, undergraduate students are not afforded a faculty with members capable of substantive differentiation between a Peace perspective and the logic of National Security.

The US Foreign Policy Activist Cooperative (USFPAC), a consortium of concerned students, faculty, alumni, community members, and university staff, along with the undersigned, urge American University and SIS leadership to consider the following recommendations:

  • Release a public statement either: justifying claims that SIS has a sufficient Peace program OR explaining why it does not.
  • Sponsor a bi-semester student and faculty review board to suggest ways of implementing a substantive Peace program at AU.
  • Separate Peace programming from Global Security, as these two perspectives are fundamentally at odds.
  • Afford anti-war and anti-imperial student organizations the same support offered to National Security focused groups and events. A robust Peace program must be institutionalized both in the classroom and the extra-curricular environment.
  • Investigate opportunities for cooperation with other departments at AU to begin building an interdisciplinary Peace program. An example of this is the graduate Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs program in SIS.
  • Create a ‘gateway’ course committed expressly to the study of Peace.
  • Create a faculty committee to advise the Dean on hiring practices to attract Peace-focused academic experts.

What is USFPAC?

10645007_346413145536495_30164445911775736_nAbout the Cooperative: The U.S. Foreign Policy Activist Cooperative (USFPAC) is an equal partnership consisting of students, staff, and faculty at American University in Washington , DC, and DC community members, committed to raising awareness about and responding to actions taken by the United States in areas including, but not limited to: warfare, covert warfare, drug trade facilitation, surveillance of foreign peoples and governments, support for exploitative international financial institutions, the interests of market capital and finance that participate in and benefit from imperial aggression, energy expansionism, extractive development processes, propaganda operations, formation and support of violent foreign intelligence and police forces, endorsement and funding of colonial states, and subversion of foreign governments, whether these violations are committed directly or by its client states.

Mission: USFPAC focuses on the ways in which U.S. foreign policy undermines international stability. USFPAC seeks to end the impunity with which the United States operates around the world and to ensure accountability for those officials responsible for the violations. USFPAC raises awareness regarding specific violations as well as structural dynamics, organizing and participating in original and existing direct action campaigns aimed at achieving its mission.

Values: USFPAC believes the university setting, one in which individuals from varied generations, backgrounds, and political perspectives can come together for a common good, is an ideal setting for impactful organization and action. USFPAC will use its institutional platform to challenge the individuals and institutions that perpetuate an unjust system. USFPAC is a non-partisan group that takes direct action in its effort to achieve its mission.

Inspiration: USFPAC finds its motivation in the efforts of global activists, past and present, and the moral judgment expressed by Noam Chomsky:

“My own concern is primarily the terror and violence carried out by my own state, for two reasons. For one thing, because it happens to be the larger component of international violence. But also for a much more important reason than that; namely, I can do something about it…That is, the ethical value of one’s actions depends on their anticipated and predictable consequences. It is very easy to denounce the atrocities of someone else. That has about as much ethical value as denouncing atrocities that took place in the 18th century. The point is that the useful and significant political actions are those that have consequences for human beings. And those are overwhelmingly the actions which you have some way of influencing and controlling, which mean for me, American actions.”


U.S. Foreign Policy Activist Cooperative Charter


The U.S. Foreign Policy Activist Cooperative

  •         is an equal partnership made up of students, staff, and faculty;
  •         recognizes the threat U.S. foreign policy poses to a more peaceful and just world;
  •         notes that the threat stems from identifiable aspects of U.S. military, economic, and geostrategic policy, resulting in systemic forms of structural violence;
  •         does not accept that the lives affected by U.S. foreign policy are of less value than the lives of Americans;
  •         seeks to end the impunity with which the U.S. operates around the world; and
  •         seeks to end the immunization of U.S. officials from accountability;

To this end, USFPAC

  •         resolves to take concerted direct action through the creation of its own campaigns and through participating in existing campaigns
  •         resolves to uphold the following values:
  •  Resistance: We are committed to resistance and to the maintenance of a pro-peace stance both within the group and while engaged in actions
  •  Anti-Militarism and Anti-Imperialism: We understand that the militaristic and imperial actions of the United States are a threat to all humanity as well as other living beings and will work to dismantle the system that sustains this
  •  Diversity and Inclusivity: We will work to create a space for diverse groups of voices and will actively work to end racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, and bigotry in general both within the group and in the world
  •  Coalition-building and Partnerships: While USFPAC is first and foremost a group for American University students, faculty and staff, it is also a space for building coalitions with other organizations who share our values and goals
  •  Global Vision: Our loyalty lies not with particular countries or groups of people, but with humanity as a whole, as with other living beings. We consider ourselves to be Citizens of the World, first and foremost, and committed toward bringing a more peaceful and harmonious global society for all.