There has been a call to action from Sept 22 – 29 in protest to the ongoing Iraq War and the Congress continuing to fund it.
The Troops Out Now Coalition has issued a call for action (below). I will personally be advocating for people to head to D.C. instead of organizing marches in their areas. Like the issued statement below, marches and rallies in our respective cities will not shut the war machine down. We must all head to D.C. in mass!
I have dreamt of this for quite some time – that the masses will head to D.C. and the roads and freeways will be filled with Americans who demand accountability from our government will proceed to the door of the heart of the U.S. government and stay there until it stops!
National Antiwar Strategy Meeting: Activists call for unified struggle to stop the war
More than 100 anti-war organizers, including many students and youths, labor, community and immigrant organizers, veterans and GI organizers gathered June 16 at the Solidarity Center in New York City for the standing-room only National Antiwar Strategy and Planning Meeting. They came from as far away as California, Cleveland, North Carolina, New Orleans and Boston to discuss the need to move from protest to resistance and build a grassroots movement to stop the war.
September: The next big confrontation over the war
The meeting focused largely on a proposal from the Troops Out Now Coalition for an Encampment to Stop the War and a Mass March in Washington during the week of September 22-29. According to the Washington calendar, this will be the next big political confrontation on the war. This is when the House and Senate debate war funding for 2008. And it is when General David Petraeus reports to Congress on the status of Bush’s troops “surge.”
Many applauded this proposal as the necessary next step to take the struggle against the war to a new level of resistance. The encampment has the potential to ensure that another war vote does not go unchallenged. The proposal opens an opportunity for an independent intervention representing the people, who are overwhelmingly against the war.
Many ideas were raised for the week-long encampment, including a proposal for a Peoples’ Peace Congress to challenge the corporate war Congress in Washington. At such a gathering, different groups could argue for better uses for the funds now earmarked for war. By demanding funds for health care, education and job creation, for example, they could directly confront the “war Congress” meeting at the Capitol.
Youth activists reported on their work to build a national student strike during the week of the Encampment. Activists volunteered to begin working on logistics, housing, transportation, and the many other tasks involved in bringing an encampment to Washington. Others are working to bring musicians, artists, and poets to DC for the Encampment and March. Activists and organizations have volunteered to set up tents at the Encampment that focus on particular issues.
Only the people will stop the war
The Democratic Party bait & switch
Many took note of how the Democrats had betrayed their clear electoral mandate to end the war.
|House Speaker Pelosi and President George W. Bush
It was clear to all that despite being elected to bring the troops home and end the criminal occupation, the Democrats in Congress have completely capitulated to Bush on the issue of continuing to fund the war. Even a determined congressional minority of Democrats could block the funding for the war—if they had really decided to end the war. They could disrupt and filibuster. They could call on people from around the country to surround Congress. Instead, while posing as the “anti-war” majority party, the Democrats have completely capitulated to Bush and the Pentagon.
Building an independent movement is more important than ever, as pressure grows to abandon struggle on the streets and surrender the antiwar movement to the Democratic Party, a party that now completely shares in complicity for the criminal war and occupation in Iraq. Participants noted that Wall Street and their mouthpieces always want to divert the mass movement into safe channels—into lobbying and voting and trusting in the bought-and-paid-for politicians. The challenge is to develop clear demands that move the struggle into the streets.
Back to the streets:
Unite to shut down the war
Many present noted that the lack of unity in the antiwar movement is a crisis that must be frankly addressed. Some noted that during the last struggle over war funding in March, the movement had a real opportunity to intervene if it acted decisively. Instead, organizations and coalitions called competing events in different venues, deliberately timed to undermine participation in other actions. This sort of cynical maneuvering for organizational advantage weakens the movement, demoralizes activists, and only plays into the hands of Bush and the warmongers in Washington.
TONC organizers and others stressed that the September struggle over the war funding is a crucial fight that can be a real opportunity to galvanize the struggle against the war, particularly if the movement can unite. There was a broad consensus on the need to reach out to ALL national antiwar coalitions, as well as the many local grassroots organizations, to build a united demonstration that will be as large and as strong as possible. TONC organizers emphasized that they welcome and encourage discussion and suggestions for modifying and improving the proposal for the actions in September.
Many participants also emphasized the importance of uniting the struggle against the war abroad with the struggle against the war at home. Those at the meeting encompassing these struggles included Teresa Gutierrez, a leading organizer of the May 1st Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Brenda Stokely of the Million Worker March Movement, Larry Hales of the Colorado United Communities Against Police Brutality, along with many trade union activists.
Regarding the content of the anti-war call, there was overwhelming sentiment that it should be for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, with many expressing solidarity with the resistance movements in those countries and in Palestine and Lebanon. The TONC organizers took note of the U.S. threats against Iran and are raising slogans against U.S. aggression against Iran, too.
Together we can and must change the political agenda
The struggle to stop the war has made tremendous gains. The vast majority of the people are now opposed to the occupation. G.I. opposition is growing as soldiers increasingly oppose being sent to fight and die in this horrific war, in which they have no interest. The politicians in Washington are clearly on the defensive, as their dreams of Empire in the Middle East crumble, their lies about the war are exposed, and as the vast majority of people here and worldwide oppose their heinous war.
But we must do more! The war in Iraq is not a “failed policy;” it is a horrendous crime against the Iraqi people. It must be stopped! Everyday the occupation brings more death and destruction to the Iraqi people. It brings more deaths and serious injuries to U.S. youth who are trapped in this war, and return home to find inadequate medical care and benefits.
It will take an independent movement to stop the war, a movement that takes an independent road geared to mobilizing people in this country to challenge all of the war makers in Washington, that strongly demands the withdrawal of all U.S. troops NOW and calls for ending ALL war funding immediately.
This is a crucial time. What is needed now is an unprecedented outpouring of resistance. We must demonstrate to the politicians in Washington that we will not allow business as usual to continue.
The Troops Out Now Coalition encourages all of the antiwar coalitions on the local and national level to engage each other and where communication has broken down, to open new lines of communication so that our combined efforts will make us stronger.
Let us join forces with the movements struggling for:
* No War against Iran
* End all occupations now – from Iraq to Palestine, the Philippines, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Afghanistan
* Impeach Bush & Cheney for War Crimes
* No to U.S. intervention – Hands off Cuba, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and the Sudan
* Stop the raids against immigrant workers — Full rights for undocumented workers
* Justice for Katrina survivors – End racist police terror
* Free Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners
* Money for health care, jobs and education, not endless war
Together let’s unite to demand:
* Immediate withdrawal of all troops
* Cut off ALL war funding
Encampment to Stop the War blog
Encampment to Stop the War MySpace