[haw-info] Message to HAW Members and Friends
The HAW Steering Committee is currently discussing a proposal to
broaden our mission statement in response to the multiple threats
posed by the Trump regime and the anticipated activism by students and
professors. The proposal emerged from a meeting in New York on January
16 and was proposed to the Steering Committee by the following: Marc
Becker, Carolyn Eisenberg, Jeri Fogel, Van Gosse, Margaret Power,
Andor Skotnes, and Barbara Weinstein. The Steering Committee wants to
know what the wider HAW constituency thinks of the proposed broadening
of HAW's mission. We urge you to share your thoughts by emailing them
to Margaret Power email@example.com and/or posting them on our Historians
Against the War Facebook page
(https://www.facebook.com/groups/2216182861/). Margaret will gather
your ideas and share them with the membership.
First, a word about the thinking that formed the basis for this
proposed new mission statement. HAW formed to oppose U.S. militarism
and military engagements abroad. We plan to continue doing so. Those
of us who met in New York City agreed that in the face of the Trump
presidency and the anti-democratic measures he, his appointees, and
his supporters have already promised to enact or enacted, we need to
expand our focus to include domestic issues, such as human rights,
freedom of speech, and religious and immigrant rights, both within and
beyond the university. To that end, we drafted this mission statement.
Our proposed New Mission Statement:
Historians Against the War was formed in January 2003 to oppose the
Bush Administration's drive for a pre-emptive, illegal invasion of
Iraq. We participated actively in the antiwar movement of the Bush
years, and we continued to challenge U.S. foreign policy and extended
support for Palestinian human rights in the Obama era. Now, with the
ascent of an extreme rightwing administration contemptuous of
constitutional norms, we have a new mission: to stand up for peace
and diplomacy internationally, and democracy and human rights at home.
Our work, as historians against war and for peace and democracy, will
have two focuses. First, we see our campuses as key sites for both
repression and resistance. We will fight for the right to education,
free speech and academic freedom for all members of campus
communities, and for the human and civil rights of our students,
especially the undocumented, Muslims, people of color, women and LGBTQ
people. Second, we will join the organized resistance to Donald
Trump's regime by mobilizing historians, teachers, and
historically-minded activists to challenge the permanent campaign of
"fake news" and phony history that has driven the right's ascent. We
will defend the discipline of history against attempts to reduce it to
simple affirmations of "American greatness," and document how prior
eras of reaction and repression were successfully combatted. We
recognize that the Trump/Pence Administration is a threat not only to
the people of the United States, but to the people of the world, and
we will stand against a new nuclear arms race, more imperial
interventions, and collaboration with authoritarian regimes in the
Middle East, Europe, and Asia.
We want to mention we also discussed altering our name to reflect our
broadened mission. Some suggestions were "Historians against War and
for (Peace &) Democracy," or variations of this, and "Historians
against War and Repression/Reaction" (with variations suggested also).
But this is a discussion for a later date.
Margaret Power, for HAW Steering Committee
Professor of History and Chair of the Department of Humanities
Department of Humanities
Illinois Institute of Technology
3301 S. Dearborn St.
Room 218 Siegal Hall
Chicago, IL 60616
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