Update to blog post (10/4): We want to let you know about some events happening in Washington, D.C. leading up to the action mentioned in this post. Some of the sessions require an RSVP because a minimum number of people is required, so RSVP as soon as possible.

1) Nonviolence Trainings on nonviolence, legal observation and peacekeeping by experienced trainers.
2) A music event at Bus Boys and Poets on Wednesday Night hosted by Code Pink, featuring Andy Shallal, Medea Benjamin, Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers, music by Dave Rovics and others.

You can find information about these and other events on the calendar here.

“Call to Action for 10 Year Anniversary of Invasion of Afghanistan”

It’s been 10 years since the invasion of Afghanistan, an important time for us to take stock and get active. The war and neoliberal economic pressures have destroyed our foreign policy credibility and weakened our domestic budget. Now we are feeling the effects of this, so now is the time to join together and take action. Below are details about an urgent call to action happening next week.

People have been taking stands across the US this year –resistance to anti-union legislation in Wisconsin this spring, tar sands Keystone XL pipeline protests in August which resulted in over 1200 arrests for acts of civil disobedience, and thousands of people on the anniversary of 9/11 joined together for peace and an end to war.

So what’s next? A call to action on October 6th to Stop the Machine: Create a New World.

The October2011.org Team describes:

We are calling on people of conscience and courage—all who seek peace, economic justice, human rights and a healthy environment—to join together in Washington, D.C., beginning on Oct. 6, 2011, in nonviolent resistance similar to the Arab Spring and the Midwest awakening.

A concert, rally and protest will kick off a powerful and sustained nonviolent resistance to the corporate criminals that dominate our government.

We are the ones who can create a new and just world. Our issues are connected. We are connected. Join us in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 6, 2011, to Stop the Machine.

Here are 3 key things to know about this event:
1.      It is going to be huge and historic.  Thousands have already signed up to join us in Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC. You are going to want to tell everyone you know you were part of this.  You are going to want your children and grandchildren to know you helped ignite the change to a new world.
2.      This event is critically important.  Our nation is at a crossroads.  We need to get off the wrong path and on to the right one.  We need to end the dominance of government by the political and economic elite when it is obvious that the people can do a better job.  We need to create an economic system where we participate, a government that responds to the people and a nation that puts the people’s needs before human greed.
3.      It begins soon.  In less than two weeks thousands will gather to begin a multi-day encampment that builds on the revolts being seen in Egypt, Tunisia, Span and Greece, as well as Madison, WI and Wall Street, NY.  The time is right for this moment in history.  The beginning of a massive movement to create a country that reaches its’ ideals, that becomes the more perfect union that then nation has always sought to be.

People will look back at this event and see it as the beginning – the turning point when the people demanded that the country move from militarism and war to diplomacy and cooperation; from funneling money to the wealthiest 1% to sharing the nation’s prosperity among each of us; and from environmental degradation to the planet’s renewal. It is our responsibility to get this Nation on the right track. You need to be part of this. Join in at the Freedom Plaza starting on October 6.

Learn more about the 15 core issues.
Take the pledge and sign up to attend here.

I pledge that if any U.S. troops, contractors, or mercenaries remain in Afghanistan on Thursday, October 6, 2011, as that occupation goes into its 11th year, I will commit to being in Freedom Plaza http://october2011.org/freedomplaza in Washington, D.C., with others on that day or the days immediately following, for as long as I can, with the intention of making it our Tahrir Square, Cairo, our Madison, Wisconsin, where we will NONVIOLENTLY resist the corporate machine by occupying Freedom Plaza to demand that America’s resources be invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation. We can do this together. We will be the beginning.Once again, here’s a link to take the pledge.

The following post was written by Global Exchange Co-founder Medea Benjamin and originally appeared on The Huffington Post:

The 38 deaths in Saturday’s helicopter crash in Afghanistan include 31 Americans, making this the deadliest day for U.S. forces since the war began. The tragic loss of American lives might be worth the sacrifice if it was making America safer, or if our presence was significantly improving the well-being of the Afghan people. But neither of these is true.

Our presence in Afghanistan is not making us safer because Afghanistan is not a threat to us. This was clearly acknowledged by a senior Obama administration official in a background briefing to reporters on June 21.“United States hasn’t seen a terrorist threat from Afghanistan, for the past seven or eight years,” he said. He noted that Al Qaeda had moved on to Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Meanwhile, thanks to President Obama’s surge, over 100,000 U.S. troops are bogged down chasing an indigenous Afghan ragtag army, the Taliban, which has no interest in attacking anyone inside the United States. The only reason they are attacking U.S. soldiers is that U.S. soldiers are occupying their country.

Even if there were a reason for U.S. forces to fight the Taliban, our presence only strengthens them. The Obama Administration has been trying to convince the American people that the surge in U.S. troops has been successful in weakening the Taliban. But a recent string of high-profile attacks that the Taliban have taken credit for belie that rosy assessment. The killing of Kandahar’s police chief, Kandahar’s mayor, President Karzai’s brother Ahmed Wali Karzai, a top presidential aide, and the deadly attack on the seemingly secure Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul—and now this helicopter downing–show that the Taliban are far from defeated.

The truth is that the presence of foreign forces gives the Taliban its raison d’etre. Every time NATO forces kill Afghan citizens, the Taliban benefits. And that happens all the time. In fact, the very day the helicopter was shot down, August 2, NATO troops attacked a house in southern Helmand province and “inadvertently killed eight members of a family, including women and children.” You can bet that the some of their relatives will soon be placing IEDs along the road to blow up U.S. tanks.

The Taliban have learned to downplay their unpopular fundamentalist ideology and take advantage of this popular discontent. Look at the case of In Wardak province, where the helicopter crashed. The Taliban had disappeared for several years, fleeing to Pakistan from 2002-2005. But capitalizing on the local anger about civilian casualties caused by NATO forces and anger at corrupt politicians, the Taliban returned and rebuilt, maintaining a stronghold in a province that borders Kabul.

The U.S. presence supports the Taliban in even more direct ways. Millions of dollars from U.S. contracts to Afghan trucking companies that supply U.S. troops have gone to bribe Taliban fighters not to attack the convoys. So U.S. taxdollars pay our enemies, who use these resources to buy weapons to kill our soldiers.

As for the well-being of the Afghans, our billions in development aid has done little to lift poor Afghans out of poverty. An in-depth report on Afghanistan just released by the International Crisis Group found that after 10 years of massive security, development and humanitarian assistance, “the international community has failed to achieve a politically stable and economically viable Afghanistan. Despite billions of dollars in aid, state institutions remain fragile and unable to provide good governance, deliver basic services to the majority of the population or guarantee human security.” The report found that development funds distort the local economy and often contribute to instability.

So our presence has created financial and political conditions that strengthen the Taliban and leave Afghans in poverty. Our troops are being sacrificed to prop up a corrupt Afghan government that is not supported by its people. Precious resources are wasted on failed development projects while our own schools, roads and bridges are crumbling from lack of funds. This senseless waste of U.S. lives and resources, which is directly contributing to the catastrophic U.S. financial decline, is just what Osama bin Laden wanted to see happen.

The Obama administration is planning to withdraw 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, leaving a huge force of 90,000 troops still fighting this unwinnable war. The deaths of these 31 Americans, and the more than 2,600 U.S. soldiers who have died in this quagmire, should raise a renewed debate about our presence in Afghanistan.

Let’s tell President Obama that the best way to pay tribute to the soldiers who have died—and to address our financial crisis–is to bring the rest of the troops home.

Medea Benjamin is cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK. For info about upcoming protest of 10 years of Afghan war, see October2011.org.