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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 2, 2003
7:11 AM
CONTACT:  War Resisters League
G. Simon Harak 212/228-0450
Gandhi Needed Now More Than Ever, Says Peace Group
 
NEW YORK - October 2 - Calling for massive nonviolent resistance to the current U.S. government, the War Resisters League today urged peace activists to follow more closely the tactics and philosophy of Mohandas K. Gandhi.

"The government no longer represents the people," said G. Simon Harak, Anti-Militarism Coordinator of the League. "They represent oil companies and arms manufacturers, and scandal-ridden companies like Halliburton and Bechtel, but not ordinary people."

The group cites the Declaration of Independence, which proposed that governments that do not serve the people be either altered or abolished.

"As we celebrate Gandhi's birthday today, we find it deeply significant that we are in a situation similar to his," says Judith Mahoney Pasternak, editor of the League's magazine, The Nonviolent Activist. She notes that the United States is now an empire, extending its military and economic control over much of the world just as the British Empire did during Gandhi's time. And, just as in Gandhi's time, the ruling government does not represent the interests of the people it purports to serve.

Gandhi's response to the situation was a nonviolent revolution aimed to alter or abolish the ruling powers. Over the years, he sought to achieve massive noncooperation with the government to compel a regime change.

"We believe that because of their duplicity, and their non-representative nature, our government has forfeited the right to represent us," explains Harak. "Therefore it is our duty to withdraw our consent from them. As Gandhi said, 'You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.'"

The complete text of its Gandhi's birthday statement can be found at www.warresisters.org/commentary.htm

Believing war to be a crime against humanity, the War Resisters League, founded in 1923, advocates Gandhian nonviolence as the method for creating a democratic society free of war, racism, sexism, and human exploitation.

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