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Yours for a nonviolent future,

Tom H. Hastings, Ed.D.
Director, PeaceVoice Program,
Oregon Peace Institute
Whitefeather Peace House
3315 N Russet Portland OR 97217
503 327 8250
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PSU Conflict Resolution MA/MS Program
724 SW Harrison Neuberger 221
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503 725 9173
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Vow of silence (but now quite yet)

by Tom H. Hastings

Dear Fellow Men, 

Time to let women speak their minds about the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v Wade. Men have spoken, made rules, passed laws, literally pontificated, and generally exercised dominator control over women far far far too long. 

Do you want women telling you what you must eat, drink, smoke, or what sorts of healthcare procedures you can and cannot have?

Yeah, didn't think so.

It is women and women only who bear the burden, the pain, and sometimes the existential threat of pregnancy. It is women and women only who should make these decisions about their own bodies, for goshsakes. 

This is not an occasion for me or any other man to tell the rest of us whether abortion should be legal or not. Men should have the grace to refrain from voicing those opinions. 

Do I think abortion is a Good Thing? This is not my place to say, and if any man is doing so right now, that man is hurting traumatized women. Grow up, dude. Learn to stop feeling like everyone needs your opinion on everything at all times.

"All mortal sins must be illegal," I hear some of you say. 

Who decides what are mortal sins? 

Catholics, apparently, and their examples of mortal sins include things like taking advantage of the poor and powerless, in which case Donald Trump is well and truly damned. No other religion declares the concept of mortal sin and Catholics refer to the concept as a sin that results in death of the soul, possibly presaging an afterlife in hell. 

Of course, this is by far the most Catholic of any US Supreme Court--John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett, and Sonia Sotomayor, and the only Catholic voting against overturning Roe, of course, was Sotomayor, who doesn't let her religion govern her votes. 

Arguably the most radical Catholic on the SCOTUS is Clarence Thomas, who seems to be arguing for more "mortal sins" to be stripped of any legal protections. For instance, LGBTQ rights, pursuant to the biblical sin of impurity against nature –sodomy and homosexual relations (Genesis 18:20). 

Indeed, the Old Testament is a brutal, sexist, genocidal, retributive screed. Even if Jesus putatively said he came to bring a new way, enough Catholics stick to the Old Testament to show us a Supreme Court poised to further devolve and unravel basic human and civil rights.

There are three women on the court--soon to be four after the swearing in of Ketanji Brown Jackson this summer. If the Justices were actually just, the men would have recused themselves from an opinion and let the women decide. Barrett would be in the minority, and if she had a sincere commitment to respect the separation of church and state she would obviously choose to recuse. 

As we drift toward a dystopian Handmaid's Tale society run by men or internally oppressed anti-feminist women like Barrett, Lauren Boebert, or Marjorie Taylor Greene, men will do their children, grandchildren, and all their descendants a good turn by working to elevate more feminist women to leadership and decider positions. 

Women won't wait, however, and women-led people power movements will meet the male anti-feminist dominators with creative, nonviolent workarounds and are doing so already. I now silence myself in deference to what women have to say in this moment of official backsliding from freedom to oppression, but also in a moment of determined practical alternatives.


Dr. Tom H. Hastings is Coördinator of Conflict Resolution BA/BS degree programs and certificates at Portland State University, PeaceVoice Senior Editor, and on occasion an expert witness for the defense of civil resisters in court. 

 An Ounce 6/8/22

Posted on

An ounce upstream   by Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

I tapped the drunken man on the shoulder. “David,” I said, “we need your two dollars cover charge.”

He whirled and punched me in the face.

Fortunately, not only was his aim a bit high so that his fist landed hard on my even harder forehead, but in seconds we surrounded him with four nonviolent men who used non-pain compliance physical bulk to hustle him outside where we could talk him down.

(Irony Alert): This took place a few decades ago at a peace group benefit. We provided the band–friends of the peace movement–and the bar made out because we filled their place. We did our own bouncing, and David provided the only occasion that evening for such a need. Nothing quite like getting smacked in the head at a peace dance, believe me.

I thought about it after, of course, and decided where I could have done a few things to make David far less likely to lose it.

When we think about it, virtually all of our human conflicts, by the time they erupt visibly or audibly or in the form of physical violence, are best managed long before that moment.

It’s all about the Benjamins. Franklin famously said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

But how does that work with humans in severe disagreement?

We can often anticipate conflict and that gives us a chance to act constructively long before something destructive could break out. Often the key is to simply acknowledge to ourselves this growing potential and to deal with it compassionately, respectfully, and proactively. At most stages of the best conflict management, listening is vastly more important than talking.

Of course there is no guarantee with any method of managing conflict. We have the horrifying record of violence in our cities, in our schools, in our workplaces, and in our homes to suggest that there are conflicts that cannot be foreseen and that are simply what nuclear war planners call a “BOOB” attack, a bolt out of the blue.

But what if we could “only” prevent the first 90 percent of destructive conflicts? I suspect that, given the extremely high cost of those adversarial outbursts, we would rationally choose to follow Ben’s sagacity.

This is why, in literally every class I teach at the upper division level in the university, students in their 20s, 30s and older remark at some point, Geez, I wish they had taught me this in elementary school.

In every one of those classes, I assign a midterm paper that is some form of autobiography of some aspect of conflict and conflict transformation. The instructions are basically to use our course materials to analyze how they have been exposed to, suffered from, managed, or are currently confronted by conflict.

Over the decades since I started teaching at colleges and universities, the overwhelming wish for much earlier conflict transformation education is a strong recurring theme as students reflect on their own histories and wish that they and those around them had more adaptive conflict prevention and deëscalation skills.

Perhaps if I had my life to live over, I would choose to be an elementary school teacher so I could do that education myself, but mostly what I hope happens is that these subjects are taught younger and younger by competent teachers who have taken such courses as they prepare to become the educators we need for our young ones.

Some schools already do such education, which is a good sign, and we need so much more. I earned my doctorate in education and there were zero courses in how to teach conflict transformation that were part of that degree.

This lack is costing us, as we see every day on the streets, in schools, in Congress, in our international relations, and in many families. This is certainly as important as any other subject taught to our children. Turning out high school graduates who are adept at transforming destructive conflict into creative relationships could be a major factor in helping heal our divided, dysfunctional society.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is Coördinator of Conflict Resolution BA/BS degree programs and certificates at Portland State University, PeaceVoice Senior Editor, and on occasion an expert witness for the defense of civil resisters in court. 

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TrumPutin: Who’s tired of winning now? | Tom H. Hastings

Previously Published in Bainbridge Review:

One of the most brutal dictators on Earth, Vladimir Putin, is a happy despot these days. His boy Trump has been performing even better than commanded.

Yes, we know from past pondering that Putin was getting some of the joy he ordered up, but consider how his smirk is now an uncontrollable grin as he reflects on our Trump-inflicted nation, his enemy:

• Longest shutdown of the U.S. government in history. Putin’s wish is Trump’s command.

• Trump, it turns out, made several shady backdoor attempts to get the U.S. out of NATO, Trump’s Ultimate Wishlist Premier Item.

• Trump’s tariff trade wars are enhancing the negative economic impacts of the government shutdown that contributes to a generalized and worsening U.S. global economic position, thus strengthening Russia’s position.

• While the media are focused on the big items, Trump’s minions are weakening environmental laws, lowering educational standards, wrecking agricultural markets, harming national health care, and attacking our time-honored free press. In short, the best of what the Founders tried to write into our Constitution is now being actively degraded at virtually every turn, another big win for any foreign power trying to become a regional or even global hegemon, Putin’s dream, certainly.

• Iran’s stock is now rising as it appears to be the reasonable partner to the EU and all the other signatories to the Iran nuclear deal that Trump pulled out of, and of course the other despot client of Putin’s in the Middle East—Basher al-Assad—is sitting pretty with Trump’s stumble-wobble in Syria. Putin wins again, completely due to Trump. The list goes on.

A growing number of analysts are noting that Putin is going to get tired of winning (remember Trump’s moronic campaign claim that “you” — that is, his base supporters at his 2016 rallies — will win so much you’ll get “tired of winning”?).

Does Trump really answer to Putin competently or is he just so incompetent that he just happens to be achieving everything that a hostile foreign power could want? Does it really make a difference? How much more of Trump’s “winning” can Americans take?

Washington Post analyst James Hohmann sums up the view on Russian hacking and attacking the American electorate in 2016:

We don’t know exactly how much Moscow spent supporting influence operations to impact the U.K. and U.S. elections in 2016, but it seems hard to overstate how good the Kremlin’s return has been on what Western intelligence agencies believe was a relatively modest investment.

So, we must ask ourselves and each other — and our federal elected officials and the judicial branch — what are we going to do about it? When? Do we come to a red line soon? What should it be?

One such line for me is the Mueller report. If it’s not released to the public, I’m ready to offer some nonviolent resistance. I hope to learn what others regard as a red line, beyond which Putin’s boy in the White House cannot go without evoking a nonviolent people power uprising.

It may turn out to be the ultimate answer to such a massive failure by government.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court.

Students: Time is Ripe to Add Gender to Gun Debate

By Rob Okun

 700 words 

It’s time to listen to the students. Across the country, teenagers have walked out of classes, stood in holy silence, and delivered stirring speeches calling out their elders for failing to prevent their schools from becoming shooting ranges for raging men. On Saturday they’ll protest in Washington with adult allies among the throngs in the capital and at hundreds of student-organized satellite rallies nationwide.

Students have been fierce and articulate in their unequivocal demand that they attend safe schools. Recognizing the role of gender in mass murders like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is critical to accomplish this goal. 

We certainly must applaud these young people for calling out the NRA—“Our lives are worth more than your wealth”—as well as outing the politicians whose coffers the gun lobby has lined. They know the NRA is about men and money.

In my years working to transform societal ideas about masculinity and manhood, it has become undeniable that the gender of the shooter—almost always male—is as essential in the gun debate as are stricter laws and mental health screenings. I’d welcome hearing high school students’ thoughts in a cross - generational dialogue that included how we raise boys and how we navigate the culture of violence in which we live.

We in the 40-year old profeminist antiviolence men’s movement have always viewed shootings like Parkland, Florida through a gendered lens. Men’s mass murders at schools (or churches or movie theaters) need to be understood not by their location but in the larger context of our culture of violence, including, of course, men’s disproportionate enactment of that violence.

In the national conversation about men’s murderous rampages, nonviolent men are an underutilized resource. If this is a #MenStopHurting moment, then multigenerational men can be a positive force, leaving the sidelines as mute bystanders and becoming outspoken agents of social change.

Among our efforts must be cultivating men’s emotional intelligence. Is there anyone who would deny the value of educating boys to examine their inner lives; to encourage young men to talk about their feelings? This is where the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) can come in.

Awakened by the piercing call to action students have sounded, they can pressure Congress to fund the CDC to conduct a nationwide study on how we socialize boys—and push for a comprehensive, multi-year study, perhaps with Head Start students in the pilot group. The results will no doubt yield a bounty of data to help reshape our understanding of boys and men and ultimately transform masculinity.

With their unflagging commitment to speak truth to power coupled with innate organizing know-how, I feel optimistic that students will incorporate gender into their campaign. They very well may be the ones to help realize a dream many of us have had since the Columbine massacre nearly 20 years ago: a national “Men Against Men’s Violence” campaign. Or, put more positively, a “Campaign to Transform Manhood.”

The day after Adam Lanza murdered his mother and 20 six and seven year-olds and six staff at Sandy Hook elementary school in 2012, women launched “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense.” A crucial step. Isn’t it time we launched a similar dads and men’s organization that includes gender in its mission?

            Students: keep up the pressure to ensure legislators pass assault weapons bans. Demand they raise the age requirement to purchase firearms.  Insist on funding for mental health screenings. Also, please don’t forget to press for research dollars and training initiatives on how we raise boys.          

Use your burgeoning activist savvy to engage your fathers, brothers, uncles, single men, gay men, men of color, indigenous men, white men, male coaches, teachers, principals, and clergy, to question male privilege and challenge men to chart a new course in their lives—not just in the gun violence debate but in conversations about respecting women and girls, and themselves. In the process, you will help accelerate the transformation of conventional masculinity into an openhearted expression of masculinities.

           The list of potential allies to join the movement you’ve ignited is long.  In the end though, it is students leading the way. For the rest of us, we want you to know we’re listening.


Rob Okun, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is editor of Voice Male magazine, author of, VOICE MALE - The Untold Story of the Profeminist Men's Movement , and a member of the board of North American MenEngage, a gender justice organization. 

Dr. Tom H. Hastings is PeaceVoice Director and on occasion an expert witness for the defense in court. 

Yours for a nonviolent future,
Tom H. Hastings, Ed.D.
Director, PeaceVoice Program,
Oregon Peace Institute
503 744 9787
author, latest book, A New Era of Nonviolence
Assistant Professor
Co-Coordinator, Conflict Resolution BA/BS & minor programs
PSU Conflict Resolution Department
Portland OR 97201
503 725 9173
Whitefeather Peace House
3315 N Russet Portland OR 97217
503 327 8250
peace education notification list sign-up:

  Judith Le Blanc is the Field Director for Peace Action, the largest peace group in the US.  jleblanc@peace-action.org