An Appeal from Petra Kelly on the Eve of the 2017 Presidential Inauguration

An Appeal from Petra Kelly on the Eve of the 2017 Presidential Inauguration

The following was originally posted by Carl Lundgren on the Bronx County Green Party site. It is an excerpt from Part 4 of “Fighting For Hope” by the late Petra Kelly, founder of the German Green party/movement. Although this was written 34 years ago ­ and for a different purpose ­ much of what Petra writes here is remarkably prescient in how it resonates with our current state of affairs.

Following the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, this message can serve several purposes for us:

  • It’s a practical guide to what we can do and how we can conduct ourselves in the coming months under this administration, and in these times in general.
  • It’s a cautionary message that urges us to stay sharp and focused.
  • It’s a timeless message of hope, peace, love, and determination…and of the inspired vision that Petra left as a legacy, and as a mission for us to carry out.


From Petra Karin Kelly and Hermann Verbeeck at the Nuremberg Tribunal against first-strike weapons and other instruments of mass destruction in East and West.

20 February 1983

The implication of our resolution, our decision, here for me as well as for Hermann Verbeeck, and I hope for all Green parties on an international level, is an appeal to ourselves, to all of us, to each and every individual that we finally do something. Both Hermann Verbeeck and myself have attempted in this appeal to express that which should inspire us, mobilize us, in our non- violent struggle against militarization and nuclear proliferation.

  1. We call upon countries and cities everywhere to organize tribunals, such as this one in Nuremberg, condemning weapons of mass destruction.
  2. We call upon people everywhere never to accustom themselves, never to allow themselves to become accustomed, to the idea of war and the preparation for war.
  3. We call upon people to renew their forces in a non-violent effort of resistance and civil disobedience. These forces are to be stronger and more far-reaching than anything which history and the world have experienced before. We must convince the old established authorities of a new enlightened authority: the power of reason, of communal awareness, of moral conscience. Never again will people be able to say, “We didn’t know.”
  4. We call upon people to find their way back to the deepest spiritual dimension of all religions: love. And love demands that we accept one another, that we come together in harmony, and celebrate the differences among human beings. We must recognise that it is only within an atmosphere of freedom that individuals are able to change themselves.
  5. We call upon the younger generation to put their intellectual and moral power to work in an active contribution to non- violent resistance. Through this commitment to peace, even fear itself may perform a useful service by being transformed into a creative force. We need a courageous kind of fear, a vitalizing fear, which instead of making us seek the safety and security of our homes will send us into the streets. It is a loving fear which is not simply concerned about what might happen to us, but reaches out to the whole world.
  6. We call upon women everywhere, our sisters young and old, for they recognize that our governments are constantly breaking the law. Governments are unable to sustain and guarantee us peace. The women at Greenham Common, England formed a living chain, a chain of human beings, around a military base for nuclear weapons. We call upon women to form a chain around the world, and further not only to resist those who say that war is inevitable, but only to love those men who are willing to speak out against violence. We invite all men who oppose violence to join us in our cause for peace; we urge them to break out of their rigid patriarchal institutions. I appeal to women not to let themselves become corrupted by male power. Emancipation is something more than a “ticket” to serve in the army; it is not an entrance for women to militarization.
  7. We call upon people everywhere to work for peace, to forget the quiet comfort of their homes, to leave behind their fears and feeling of powerlessness, their privileges and possessions, and join us as active participants and co-workers for peace.
  8. We call upon people to build and develop communities of peace everywhere. Everyone must know that without the community, survival is impossible, that for thousands of years communities of people have practiced peace, and that the community will always be there, even when one is thrown into prison and is cut off from loved ones and comrades. If you practice non-violent resistance you are not alone: many others are always there.
  9. We call upon people to join the peace movement and become active in our non-violent protest against weapons and atomic energy. It is important to know that the world powers are afraid of nuclear war. But what they are even more afraid of are people, the thousands of people who are living for that day, for the light of day when peace will finally dawn. One should also know that at present our drive for Peace has already grown so strong that the powers in both East and West have already begun to change their tactics.
  10. We call upon people to practice non-violent resistance in protest against nuclear research centres and laboratories, the arms industry, NBC-military bases, and other military installations.
  11. We call upon people to make use of all legal, non-violent, and imaginative means or methods in order to ensure peace and justice. These nonviolent methods must accord with our non-violent goal of peace.
  12. We call upon people to demonstrate non-violently outside factories, military bases industrial complexes, governmental organizations, embassies, etc.
  13. We call upon people to participate in memorial peace services, and to organize silent “stand-ins” for peace in public places.
  14. We call upon governments everywhere, upon people in responsible positions, politicians, researchers, and military personnel only to act in the service of peace and to boycott those institutions which are involved in preparation for war, and in particular for a war with weapons of mass destruction.
  15. We call upon all nuclear powers in the world and above all the two superpowers to begin taking step towards unilateral disarmament, without waiting for the other side.
  16. We call upon all civilian and military personnel who work in any of the armed forces throughout the world to consider their responsibility and to recognize their duty towards non- violent resistance and civil disobedience.
  17. We call upon people to be loyal to one another, to people in both blocks, and not simply along government lines. We must preserve our loyalty to human dignity, and that means never being partial in our treatment of human rights.
  18. We call upon people to oppose strongly their governments, which are all jointly responsible for nuclear armament.
  19. We call for a new attitude in which public opinion will view every conscientious objector as a hero; in terms of emancipation they are heroes.
  20. We call upon people to demonstrate that we have !earned from the experience of the Nuremberg War Tribunal.
  21. We call upon people to recognize that we do not need nuclear weapons and other instruments of mass destruction in order to exalt ourselves.
  22. We call upon people to reject that blind faith which makes us quietly assent to mass suicide and nuclear holocaust.
  23. We call upon people once again not to wait until it is too late to begin thinking about world peace, the peace movement, and becoming an active worker for peace.

In 1952 Bertolt Brecht wrote to people everywhere:

Mankind’s memory for the suffering people have already endured is astonishingly short. Our capacity to visualize future suffering is even more limited. The worldwide horrors of the 1940s seem to be forgotten. “Yesterday’s rain won’t make us wet today,” say so many people. It is exactly this hardened indifference which we have to fight against, as death is its most extreme consequence. Far too many people already seem dead to us today, like people who have already gone through that which actually still lies before them, so little have they done against this.