[R-G] Anti-War Movement Gaining Momentum
DavidMcR at aol.com
DavidMcR at aol.com
Sun Jan 19 14:48:57 MST 2003
Dear Friend of United for Peace and Justice,
The current momentum against a U.S. war against Iraq is phenomenal.
In this week alone, we saw dozens of mainstream media stories about the
growing anti- war movement (see New York Times story below and others at
http://www.unitedforpeace.org/news); the launch of a new coalition of labor
unions against war; an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal by
Republicans opposing a war with Iraq; the birth of an environmental anti-war
group; and an anti-war television ad campaign sponsored by Moveon.org.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 18
THE WHOLE WORLD WILL BE WATCHING. BE THERE!
The whole world will be watching the anti-war protests in Washington, DC and
San Francisco this Saturday, using the size of the protests to gauge U.S.
opinion about the Bush Administration's proposed war. Now is the time to come
out and demonstrate with your presence the huge and growing opposition to a
war against Iraq.
If you can't make it to DC and San Francisco, please participate in local
events planned in cities like Tampa, Las Vegas, and Oklahoma City. Or
organize your own protest! To find what events are planned in your community,
use the search events feature at http://www.unitedforpeace.org.
WHAT'S NEXT? UPCOMING ACTIONS DURING THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS, AND MORE
January and February are critical months for us to get our anti-war message
out as loudly and clearly as we can. Following are some of the most important
upcoming protests and days of action.
January 27 -- 29: Actions During the UN Weapons Inspectors' Report to the UN
Security Council in New York and Bush's State of the Union Address
February 4: The Price of Oil is Too High
Day of Actions at Gas Stations
February 15: Mass "Stop the War" Protest in New York City and in a dozen
European cities. Details to come on the United for Peace and Justice web site.
Please visit the United for Peace and Justice
(http://www.unitedforpeace.org) website regularly for more details on above
events, as well as news and information about upcoming anti-war activities.
In Peace and Solidarity,
United for Peace and Justice
* On January 7, the United for Peace network decided to change our name to
United for Peace and Justice.
********** ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT NEWS COVERAGE ************
Protest Groups Using Updated Tactics to Spread Antiwar Message
by Lynette Clemetson, New York Times
January 15th, 2003
WASHINGTON -- As the threat of war with Iraq heightens, leaders of the
antiwar movement are feeling an urgency to mobilize the masses. But in
contrast to the tactics of the 1960's, many organizers are trying to sound a
note of patriotism and distance themselves from the stereotypical images of
angry flag burners or scruffy anarchists.
Marches are still a crucial tool, and protest leaders are hoping that tens
of thousands will turn out for an antiwar rally here on Saturday. But
organizers are also trying to spread their message through the Internet and
enlist a diverse range of allies.
In recent weeks, groups representing labor, the environment and the poor
have agreed to help raise money and commit bodies to local and national
This week a group of Republican business executives organized by movement
leaders published a full-page letter in The Wall Street Journal under the
title "A Republican Dissent on Iraq," warning President Bush: "The world
wants Saddam Hussein disarmed. But you must find a better way to do it."
Activists say branching out is necessary to combat a popular president and a
public mood altered by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
"It's like the 60's is the only lens through which many people grasp
protest, but in many ways we've moved on," said Kevin Martin, executive
director of Peace Action, a 45- year-old organization that has joined United
for Peace, a coalition of 120 groups protesting a war with Iraq.
Participants in the growing efforts cut across the political spectrum, from
far-left radicals to cautious conservatives. Last Saturday, at a meeting in
Chicago, representatives from labor unions that supported both the Vietnam
and Persian Gulf wars adopted a resolution opposing a war with Iraq and
raised $30,000 for the movement.
But because many of the new techniques occur online and in closed-door
meetings, organizers are aware that they need to increase the visibility and
volume of their protests.
"It's easy to network with the Mennonites. It's harder to go on Fox News and
have people yell at you," said David Potorti, a member of September Eleventh
Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, a group whose founding members all lost
immediate relatives in the 2001 attacks. "But time is running out, and our
biggest challenge now is to get out there and be heard by people outside of
A flurry of public dissent is planned over the next several weeks, tied to
critical dates like Jan. 27, when Hans Blix, the chief United Nations weapons
inspector, gives the latest report on his findings in Iraq, and Jan. 28, when
the president gives his State of the Union address.
Some efforts are directed at people who may be skeptical about the war, but
who are not comfortable attending marches and who do not want their names or
money attached to catch-all activism that includes protests of Starbucks or
sport utility vehicles.
Last month, Win Without War, the most mainstream of the antiwar coalitions,
announced its formation with a carefully worded mission statement. "We are
patriotic Americans who share the belief that Saddam Hussein cannot be
allowed to possess weapons of mass destruction," the statement read. "But we
believe that a pre-emptive military invasion of Iraq will harm American
Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, a member of the coalition, was
responsible for the signed letter in The Wall Street Journal. "Let's be
clear," the letter reads. "We supported the gulf war. We supported our
intervention in Afghanistan. We accept the logic of a just war. But Mr.
President, your war on Iraq does not pass the test."
The letter's primary backer, Edward Hamm, a retired Minnesota businessman,
said he sought out the business group because of a lack of organized
It did not matter, Mr. Hamm said, that the group's founder was the liberal
entrepreneur Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's. The group had the
structure to help Mr. Hamm get his message out, and they allowed him to frame
it from a Republican point of view.
"There's no one in the world more for gunboat diplomacy than me, but this
administration hasn't proven its case," said Mr. Hamm, who said he gave
several hundred thousand dollars a year to the Republican Party. "Insane
left-wingers are not going to convince people of that. You need Republicans,
business people and military people. I started casting about, and I found
these guys." Much of the efforts are taking place online, where Internet
protest organizations like http://MoveOn.org and http://TrueMajority.com are
struggling to transform Web-based dissent into actual activism.
The MoveOn Web site enlists users to sign a petition opposing a pre-emptive
strike against Iraq. It then instantly sorts and logs signers by state, to
facilitate organizing at a local level. Users can make credit card donations
to antiwar efforts.
When the organization decided last month to extend its work online to the
production of antiwar newspaper and television advertisements, the site
raised more than $300,000 in 48 hours. The average donation, said MoveOn
directors, was about $30.
"You have to meet people where they are," said Eli Pariser, 22,
international campaigns director for the online group. "You get a lot of
people to chip in a little bit, and then it's our job to translate that into
In addition to large groups with deep pockets, the protest movement is
reaching down to the neighborhood level, encouraging citizen support in the
form of letters to political leaders, discussions at churches and community
centers and small-scale public protests.
Some grass-roots organizations have been wary of joining the larger antiwar
effort, fearing a loss of financing from conservative foundations that
support the administration's position on the war. But fears about broader
losses to social programs are bringing more domestic groups into the fray.
"The foreign and domestic issues intersect in a way that could create a real
crisis for the millions of people here in poverty," said Wesley Woo, a field
organizer in San Francisco with the Center for Community Change, a
35-year-old organization that works on issues including health care, housing
and welfare reform. Mr. Woo's group, which has never joined an organized
antiwar effort, fears that the billions devoted to a war will mean less money
for their efforts, and it has joined both Win Without War and United for
For all the new ways of drawing people into the movement, antiwar protesters
are concerned that too much of their activity still exists among like minds
behind closed doors. Ultimately, organizers realize, few things can replace a
big, rowdy rally. Nearly all of the groups participating in the new movement
are urging members to attend this weekend's rally.
Organized by International Answer, the rally will include a march to the
Washington Naval Yard, where a mock weapons inspection team will demand
access to weapons of mass destruction in the United States. Not exactly a
mainstream move, but one sure to draw attention.
Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company
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