Rev. Billy Talen: A Peace Activist Thinks About G20 Again

Green Party candidate for NYC Mayor Rev. Billy Talen recently made national news by rallying protesters at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh. His post-G20 reflection is well worth a read:

September 26, 2009

We’re flying home for a labor rally in front of Goldman Sachs as G-20 continues Friday afternoon. The last 24 hours in Pittsburgh leave me with a shudder. The miles of concrete and steel fencing, and the thousands of Robo-Cop imitators have come into all of us. We deal with the lock-down in Pittsburg with a mix of awe and comedy. And sadness: President Obama’s turn away from the leadership of peace has accelerated in these last days. He makes his graceful entrances, but he has disappeared into his 20 nations, throwing up hard walls as he retreats.

Peace will remain an impotent Hallmark Card if we wait for this recent peace candidate to emerge from his closed meetings with bankers and generals. We can only look to ourselves. Peace is still there, a solid thing, still the hope for an economic alternative to the globalized fiasco that the rich nations want to revive. It is the living and breathing idea of a sustainable economy.

The leaders of these 20 nations have their fashionable declarations for “green jobs” – on a slow news day, that is. No corporation can openly ask what an earth-based economy would mean for their war products and fossil-fuel intense supply lines. But let’s ask ourselves the same question. Does our eco-community often mention the implications for peace in our green future hopes? Do we envision solar and wind powered war? I hope not. The point is that we should be exploring a peaceful future as energetically as the G-20 leaders game the world with their latest crisis.

And so the almost comic militarization of Pittsburgh gives us a sad picture of Obama’s decision to present himself as a strong President. If I’m putting a capital “P” on President, let me honor the word Peace in like manner. Yes, Peace could have been re-affirmed this week without seeming to be soft on Iran, but then that would have been leadership.

The answer to the familiar riddle of how to curb violence in others while putting forth Peace yourself: Peace exists in all of us. The sustainable economy of Peace is in all of us. We are that leader. We are that source. The images and facts and language of Peace must come from each of us with such force that the concrete and bullets and posturing in power suits will dissolve before the rise of the peoples’ common sense. We don’t want to kill one another. Now – that would be a Peace Summit!

Dave Schwab

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