John Dear, SJby Rev. John Dear, S.J.
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace

“NATO doesn’t work anymore. Let’s dismantle this arcane network of war makers whose fundamental purpose is the service of U.S. military interests and create a new global network for nonviolent conflict resolution, which serves the whole human race by leading us toward a new world of peace.”

That’s the message from the weekend, when thousands marched in Chicago against the largest meeting of NATO in its 63-year history.

We don’t want NATO, they said. We can’t afford NATO. We can’t risk having NATO anymore. We need a paradigm shift, a new way of relating with the world. We don’t want to be in perpetual preparation for the next war, they said. We want nonviolent relationships with every nation and strategic, well-funded, institutionalized, international structures that will make the world less militarized and more nonviolent.

For months, a diverse group of organizations, including unions, nurses, churches and the Occupy movement, has been planning the protest. Those plans, many believe, forced the Obama administration to move the G8 summit from Chicago to the woods of Camp David in Maryland. Meanwhile, the massive police presence throughout the week attempted to put the movement in a negative light. But despite the police, media and government pressure, thousands marched and proclaimed the message, “We want peace. End the U.S. war in Afghanistan now. No more NATO.” That, for me, is a sign of hope…

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