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Announcement :: War and Militarism
September Antiwar Unity Proposal
23 Jul 2007
We need a massive, united action against the war in September



Mass anger over the criminal war is at an all time high. People are not only steaming mad at Bush and Cheney, they are also outraged with Congress for betraying the antiwar mandate of the November 2006 elections and caving into Bush on war funding. It’s hard to find anyone who supports the war, and if antiwar pressure is big now, it will be even bigger in September. Yet, instead of a unified massive demonstration this fall, the time when it will have the most impact, the various antiwar coalitions have scheduled at least 4 or 5 separate dates in the fall for separate protest.

Under other circumstances, separate protests in the fall would not constitute a problem, and there are probably good reasons why the different protests should happen. However, it is imperative that everyone unite around one major date because it’s the only way that we can liberate the antiwar struggle from the halls of congress and help it to re-emerge as independent mass pressure from below instead of empty rhetoric from above.

If there’s ever been anything close to a critical tipping point in public outrage over the war, we have entered that period now. However, without the kind of powerful protest in Washington DC to give life and expression to this popular anger, antiwar rage will be reduced to opinion poll statistics used by politicians who are far more interested in using opposition to the war to win election than to end the war.

The central crises confronting all who want to end the war is that after the elections last November, the leadership of the antiwar movement was effectively taken over by politicians in Congress and mainstream presidential candidates. The politicians who have anointed themselves the substitute for all of us who have been working hard to get the people out into the streets, support most of Bush’s war but are weary of the war in Iraq because it has turned into a disaster. What’s more these politicians will continue to pass resolutions and give speeches, but not really stop the war or bring the troops home because the prize that their eye’s are really focused on is the 2008 elections. (This is not an argument against anyone who believes (or who hopes) that the 2008 elections will be important. That's another issue. The issue right now is that we must not let an event that is 16 months away be a factor in taking the fight against the war out of the streets precisely when the people may be ready to get in to the streets right now, in marches bigger than the marches we’ve been to since the beginning of the war.)

The high jacking of the antiwar movement is not the fault of most grass roots activists who have been doing a lot of great things like occupying recruitment stations, or the offices of members of Congress, and organizing student strikes, and supporting the growing GI resistance movement. The mainstream media has played its role in the coup by deliberately suppressing coverage of much of the action in the streets and focusing their camera’s instead on the “war of words between Congress and the White House”.

The fragmentation within the antiwar movement has helped the politicians take over. More specifically, there are influential and well financed forces in the antiwar movement that are more invested in the Democratic party and the outcome of the 2008 presidential elections, than they are in keeping the antiwar heat in the streets. This fact has enabled the takeover.
This fall, we need a united antiwar human tidal wave in the streets of Washington. We need it to send the message to the war makers in both the Republican and Democratic parties that the war is not an issue to exploit for electoral reasons; it’s a crime that must end completely and immediately! (At the moment that the movement is potentially at its greatest strength, let's make sure that the movement isn’t sidelined and diss-empowered, until after 2008. Unity this fall may be the key to keeping the movement alive.)

THE SOLUTION: A SEPTEMBER 29 UNITY COALTION The protest dates that have been announced (besides September 29) include and a national protest called by the ANSWER on Sept. 15, regional antiwar protests in late October called by United for Peace and Justice, and an antiwar moratorium scheduled for Sept. 21. There are also many other important local and national events planned in the fall, including a major anti war march in Newark N.J. called by POP, Peoples Organization for Progress .There is nothing magic about a particular date, however of all the dates that groups are organizing around in the fall, September 29 is the best date. It’s late enough in the fall to give every one, particularly students, time to organize mass participation (the huge D.C. protest on Sept.24, 2005 proved this), and it’s not so late in fall that it diminishes the sense of urgency for action that will be overwhelming by September. In addition, Sept. 29 has got a lot of momentum already, thousands of endorsers, and activists across the country have been organizing for S29 since it was announced 2 months ago (the September 29 mobilization will be preceded by a week long antiwar encampment in Washington DC starting on Sept.22).

Agreeing on the best date in the fall for a truly united and massive turnout solves one problem. The next problem is pulling the major antiwar coalitions together in support of it. When Unity is paramount, no one coalition should seek domination over a serious or decisive mass mobilization. Groups have critical political differences, but there are occasions when it necessary to reduce barriers to collaboration. Ultimately, the various antiwar coalitions should serve the needs of the movement and not merely their own organization. In order to facilitate the participation of other major coalitions on an equal basis in all aspects of mobilization, TONC proposes the formation of a September 29 Unity coalition for a national antiwar march on Wash. D.C. Through a coalition, all forces should be able to work out the basis for everyone making a serious commitment to the mobilization. No one or even two coalitions will "own" the march, the whole movement, from the grassroots up will have collective ownership of the mobilization. With respect to demands, the best policy is an understanding that all groups whether they are part of the coalition or not shall be free to bring there own signs and banners reflecting the demands and issues that they want. The demands for the lead banner and perhaps a certain number of additional signs will be determined by the coalition.

BROADEN THE MOVEMENT AND BE INCLUSIVE Unity between coalitions is a short term practical necessity, but it is not a substitute for the deeper, more fundamental, and decisive unity that will change the composition of the antiwar movement. Part of making the antiwar movement more inclusive with respect to class and race, necessitates connecting the struggle against the war, to the struggle against the war at home, the war against Black and Latino youth, immigrants, Hurricane Katrina survivors, women and LGBT people. We need to connect the billions spent on war to the needs of working people for health care, education, secure pensions and union jobs. Raising different demands is one way of achieving this. Moreover those of us who want to help transform a movement against the war into a movement that comes to understand that war is a symptom, and imperialism is the root cause, antiwar events are one of the main forums for expanding knowledge through demands, and rallies. It is only through expanding instead of limiting the messages, that mass opposition to the Pentagon's occupation of Iraq develops into opposition to the occupation of Afghanistan and Palestine, the Pentagon plans to attack Iran, the war against Latin America embodied in Plan Colombia and threats against Venezuela and Cuba; and includes calls to impeach Bush and Cheney for war crimes. Antiwar events must be a forum for sharing the information, ideas and analysis that are censored by the mainstream media.

It is not necessary for everyone to agree on all demands. But we do need to agree not to censure those raising progressive social demands and demands opposing war and occupation.

Within all of this lies the basis for uniting this fall, lets grab hold of it now so that no more time is wasted.

Endorse the call for unity at
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