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Date: Tue, 02 Oct 2001 22:42:31 -0700
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: Anti-war actions...continued (3)
Worldwide Protests: "Stop War, End Racism"
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Oct. 4, 2001
issue of Workers World newspaper
WORLDWIDE PROTESTS TELL BUSH: "STOP WAR, END
By Greg Butterfield
President George W. Bush's proclamation of a protracted "war
against terrorism" sparked protests throughout the world
during the last two weeks of September. Millions, both
inside and outside the U.S., decried Bush's attempt to use
the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon
as the pretext for a new war of aggression in Afghanistan
and the Middle East.
In Central Asia, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent
and Indonesia, militant demonstrations of tens of thousands
have targeted U.S. government sites, Big Oil and Wall Street
business interests. People in these countries have been
frequent targets of U.S. economic strangulation and Pentagon
Seeking to bully U.S. client regimes in the area, Bush
declared before Congress Sept. 20: "Every nation in every
region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us,
or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any
nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be
regarded by the United States as a hostile regime."
Washington has consistently labeled as "terrorist" any
country or movement resisting U.S. economic and military
domination, from the Palestinian liberation movement to
socialist Cuba to the revolutionary forces in Colombia.
Revolutionary and progressive organizations in Nepal,
Bangladesh and Pakistan protested after the governments
there agreed to let their airspace be used for U.S.-launched
"The U.S. has itself indulged in killing the people of poor
countries, labeling them as 'terrorist,'" said Nepal
Communist Party (Maoist) leader Kirshna Bahadur Mahara. In
India, the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)-Liberation
called for a week of protests against Bush in Delhi and
President Fidel Castro of Cuba said Bush's war plan, called
"Infinite Justice," could turn into an "infinite killing of
In the U.S., where many workers are still grieving the loss
of loved ones, anti-war sentiment has taken more moderate
forms, including vigils, rallies and teach-ins.
But in the hundreds of cities and towns where anti-war
actions have been held-from New York and Washington to Los
Angeles and San Francisco-organizers have been encouraged by
strong turnouts and sympathetic responses from the public.
"There is a strong anti-war sentiment just under the
surface," said Larry Holmes, a co-director of the
International Action Center (IAC) and an organizer of the
Sept. 29 International A.N.S.W.E.R. rally in Washington.
"Our job is to provide a way for workers and poor people
here in the U.S. to grieve for the Sept. 11 victims while
also standing up to the racist attacks and Bush's war
A.N.S.W.E.R. stands for "Act Now to Stop War & End Racism."
Groups throughout Europe plan actions to coincide with
International A.N.S.W.E.R.'s demonstrations on Sept. 29.
TARGETED GROUPS RALLY
The media and government's unceasing barrage of chauvinist
propaganda has led to hundreds of racist attacks on
immigrants from the Middle East and South Asia.
On Sept. 19, over 200 representatives of Arab, Muslim and
South Asian groups rallied in Washington, D.C. They gathered
at the memorial to the 120,000 Japanese-Americans forced
into internment camps after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
"A turban does not signify a terrorist," said one
participant, Tejpal Singh Chawla of the Sikh Mediawatch and
Research Task Force. A Sikh immigrant from Punjab, India,
had been killed by a racist gunman Sept. 15. At least three
other immigrants have died in racist attacks.
Defending Muslims and immigrants was a big priority for anti-
war activities in New York. There, at the epicenter of the
Sept. 11 tragedy, Union Square Park in lower Manhattan and
its memorial for World Trade Center victims became home base
for progressive and anti-war forces.
Grief and mourning turned to action Sept. 21. Earlier in the
week community groups and progressive organizations met at
the embattled Charras Community Center and called for a
march from Union Square to Times Square to protest Bush's
Over 2,500 people marched on the sidewalks, chanting: "Bush
says war, New York says no!" Hundreds of police used horses
and clubs to block the peaceful, mostly young marchers from
entering the area around the Times Square Recruiting Station-
the traditional site of anti-war rallies. Five people were
Workers World's G. Dunkel reported: "The slogans were
varied, but all opposed the war. The IAC's chants of 'No
more victims, no more violence, no more war' and 'No to war
and racism' were popular. Another was, 'Stop the war, stop
the attack, that won't bring our loved ones back.' Banners
read 'No racist war for oil profits' and 'Don't use my grief
as an excuse for more grief.'"
Dunkel added: "What was particularly noticeable was the
support and encouragement the march got from passers by and
people in bars, restaurants and coffee shops. Counter-
protesters were few and far between."
Anti-war activities continued over the next two days, with a
Sept. 22 rally at Union Square and a teach-in Sept. 23
sponsored by Al-Awda, the Palestinian Right of Return
In Los Angeles, hundreds gathered on Sept. 22 and Sept. 24
in Pershing Square to denounce the war drive, including
Mexican and Chicano community groups. Many passing motorists
waved or honked their horns in support.
Like many foes of war, Pawel Chmielewski said U.S. policies
were at the root of the Sept. 11 attacks. "We need to
normalize our relations and end sanctions against Iraq and
the Palestinians," he told the Los Angeles Daily News.
In San Diego, some 500 people turned out Sept. 22 for a
"very powerful demonstration of opposition to Bush's war
drive," said WW correspondent Bob McCubbin. The diverse
crowd "lined both sides of Broadway in the heart of the
downtown area, holding signs, banners and flags opposing war
and racism," he explained.
Speakers included a high school student from Afghanistan, an
Armenian activist who participated in the first Iraq
Sanctions Challenge, and a representative of the
International Action Center. Gloria Verdieu, a leader of the
San Diego Free Mumia Coalition, read from death-row
political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal's commentary on the Sept.
A spirited march through the Gaslamp District followed.
Hundreds of flyers were distributed.
Northeast Ohio was the site of several anti-war/anti-racism
activities. On Sept. 18, 30 people rallied in Akron at an
action called by the Radical Action Network. In Cleveland,
the Interreligious Task Force held a silent vigil Sept. 21,
and the People's Fightback Center brought out 100 people,
including students, for a loud Sept. 22 protest.
"This threat to go to war will do nothing to ease the
suffering that thousands of people are facing right now,"
said organizer Martha Grevatt. "They need jobs. They need
assistance. They need support," she told the local Channel 5
On Sept. 24 in Boston, the Women's Fightback Network of the
IAC held a Women's Speak-out that drew hundreds of listeners
in the downtown area. Some passersby stopped to thank the
speakers for their statements and to express their own
solidarity with struggling people around the world. IAC
members also participated in the weekly Vigil for the Iraqi
Boston was a major hub of nationwide campus actions Sept.
20. During the day, 650 students and workers rallied at
Harvard University. Hundreds more gathered at Boston
College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Emerson
College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern
and other area campuses. That evening, groups from all the
campuses sponsored a united march.
Over 130 campuses nationwide participated in the National
Day of Student Action. "Here in Oberlin College, a school of
3,000 in the middle of rural Ohio, the new coalition-the
Campaign Against Racism and War-had a march and rally
against the racist attacks, the war, and the attacks on
civil liberties," reported Ted Virdone, a member of
Socialist Alternative. "We drew 500 people, which is more
than I have ever seen come out at my school."
Over 3,000 students answered the call at the University of
California in Berkeley. WW correspondent Bill Hackwell
reported, "Activists flooded Sproul Plaza, a symbol of anti-
war protest from the free speech movement that began there
in the early 1960s against the Vietnam War." Later they
marched through the streets. "For many students in the
march, it was their first political protest," Hackwell
WW received reports from the State University of New York at
New Paltz and Bard College in New York's Mid-Hudson region;
Washington, D.C.'s Georgetown University; Virginia Tech in
Blacksburg, Va.; the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and
several campuses in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
Buffalo, N.Y., activists reported numerous anti-war
activities, the largest being a Peace and Unity Rally at the
University of Buffalo on Sept. 21. A speak-out in front of
the student union drew 100 people, including representatives
of the Organization of Arab Students, the Muslim Student
Association, the Asian Student Union, Environmental Network,
Lackawanna High School International Youth and Student
Organization, U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization, Workers
World Party and the IAC.
And on Sept. 22 students from Goucher College, Johns Hopkins
University and Towson University joined with Baltimore
community groups for a march and rally against war and
racism. Two thousand marched against war in Seattle that
CANADA, EUROPE RESPOND
The Bush administration called on its fellow imperialist
governments in Canada and Europe to join the planned war-
under Washington's command, of course. Attacks on Muslims
and immigrants have escalated in those countries, and
activists have responded with strong protests.
In Montreal, over 1,000 people demonstrated Sept. 23. Jaggi
Singh, a leader of the movement against capitalist
globalization, reported: "The protest, called by the
Emergency Coalition Against War Hysteria and Racism, was
organized within one week, and only publicized for a few
days. It is part of ongoing anti-war events that have
emerged here since Sept. 11."
The demonstration gathered at Concordia University. Speakers
represented the local Afghan community, opponents of Iraq
sanctions and the South Asian Women's Community Center.
"The speakers voiced clear opposition to war and racism, and
some spoke of the context of U.S. imperialism in the world,"
Singh said. After a march to the U.S. consulate, Palestinian
and Jewish activists spoke.
On Sept. 22, several thousand rallied in the German cities
of Berlin, Cologne, Bremen and Kassel, carrying banners
reading "Enough deaths" and "No retaliation," the Reuters
news service reported. Another rally in Berlin by the Afghan
community demanded "No bombs on Afghanistan."
Representatives of the German peace movement met in Kassel
and called for a national demonstration in Berlin on Oct.
Thousands more demonstrated Sept. 22 in Britain. Prime
Minister Tony Blair has been a major backer of Bush's "anti-
terrorist" campaign. In London about 5,000 people gathered
near Blair's official residence at 10 Downing St. Many
carried signs reading: "Stand shoulder to shoulder for peace
and justice. No more violence."
The protests, also held in Manchester and in Glasgow,
Scotland, were called by the Campaign for Nuclear
Disarmament. Thirty protesters also gathered outside the
U.S. Air Force base in Lakenheath, Suffolk.
At the Glasgow rally, Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy
Sheridan said, "I appeal to everyone to become involved in a
broad-based anti-war movement, a broad-based movement for
peace and for equality throughout the world."
In Italy some 7,000 people demonstrated in Florence Sept. 23
along with smaller demonstrations in other cities. The
entire week up to Sept. 29 has been designated as a week of
actions to stop the war, with a national protest set for
Sept. 27 in Naples. A NATO summit that had been earlier
scheduled for that day has been moved to Brussels.
Groups that had united around the Genoa Social Forum for
anti-globalization protests last July are supporting the
anti-war actions. The Refoundation Communist Party has
called another national action for Sept. 29 in Rome.
In Liege, Belgium, on Sept. 22, some 2,000 mostly young
people protested against the war.
[With reports from Bill Hackwell in Berkeley, Calif.; Bob
McCubbin in San Diego; G. Dunkel in New York; Workers World
bureaus in Boston, Buffalo, N.Y., Cleveland, Mid-Hudson,
N.Y., and Seattle; J. Gilbert in Florence; the web site of
the Belgian Workers' Party; the German daily newspaper Junge
Welt; and the "Studentsnowar" e-mail list.]
Internet gives peace a chance
The anti-war movement has been fuelled by counter-cultural online news
services, making it very different from its Vietnam predecessor, writes
by Duncan Campbell
Wednesday September 26, 2001
Union Square in New York became over the last two weeks the unofficial
shrine and assembly point for people who had lost friends or relatives and
wanted to light a candle for them or to leave a message about them.
Many of the messages were calls for peace so it was interesting to see that
the CD on special offer in the neighbouring Barnes & Noble bookshop on the
square was Songs From the Divided House. It is a special compilation album
about the Vietnam war which includes both Country Joe McDonald's anti-war
anthem, I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag and John Lennon's Give Peace A
Chance as well as speeches from both of the presidents who prosecuted the
war, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.
What is already clear is that the anti-war movement evolving out of the
events of September 11 will be a very different one from that which
gradually emerged to oppose the Vietnam war in the 60s and 70s. Time moves
much more swiftly now and it was within hours of the terrible events that ad
hoc groups from New Yorkers Say No to War to campus movements had formed.
Key to this speed has been the internet, which, of course, did not exist in
the 60s. Then, the anti-war troops were rallied through flyers, through the
old "underground press" from the Berkeley Barb to the Village Voice, through
the Pacifica network radio stations and by word of mouth.
Now, countless emails and counter-cultural online news services operate to
channel the movement. People seeking alternative views have only to click on
to commondreams.org, laweekly.com, thenation.com, alternet.org,
accuracy.org, nowarcollective.com or humanrightsnow.org to be presented with
an array of information and opinion that 30 years ago would have taken weeks
to assemble and disseminate.
This week's anti-war march in Washington, which will take place at noon on
Saturday, has been fuelled and publicised through the internet, on sites
like iacentre.org, as much as by any other method, not least because there
has not been much coverage in the mainstream media of its existence.
There are other ways in which the new anti-war movement differs. While the
anti-Vietnam campaigners included those who supported the North Vietnamese
as well as those who just opposed the way the war was being waged, no one in
the current anti-war movement supports the perpetrators of what took place
on September 11.
And this week such performers as Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, the Pointer Sisters
and Aerosmith have offered to perform for any US troops who find themselves
stationed abroad in the coming weeks.
During the Vietnam war, such entertainment was undertaken by the
conservative wing of the industry - most notably in the form of Bob Hope. In
his recent collection of celebrity profiles, the writer John Lahr recalls
that, towards the end of the war, the GIs in Vietnam were deeply unimpressed
with Hope, even walking out of one of his shows and at one Long Binh concert
holding up signs that read "Peace not Hope" and "The Vietnam War is a Bob
They would rather have heard from Country Joe McDonald. Changed days indeed.
Thousands march in anti-war demo in Italian NATO city
Thursday September 27, 2001
NAPLES, Italy, Sept 27 (AFP) -
Thousands of anti-war demonstrators began marching
through the centre of Naples on Thursday to protest a
military build-up and the threat of a global conflict
in the wake of the attacks on the United States.
Around 3,000 anti-globalization and anti-war
demonstrators gathered in the centre of Naples, which
is home to NATO's Southern Command, to lead a march on
the city's municipal headquarters several kilometres
The protest had been scheduled in Naples when it was
thought that a key NATO meeting would be held in the
city, but although the talks were moved to Brussels,
where they took place on Wednesday, the protesters
decided to maintain their march.
Hundreds of Italian police and carabinieri kept a
close watch on the march, which was expected to
attract up to 15,000 people, but the gathering bore
none of the tension which preceded the rioting that
marred the G8 summit in Genoa in July.
Neither police nor any of the demonstrators wore
protective riot gear, in marked contrast to the Genoa
However some demonstrators took the precaution of
wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the phone number of a
lawyer in case of arrest.
The mainly student marchers blew whistles and chanted
anti-war slogans as they set off from Garibaldi
Square, close to the main train station in the port
Those at the front chanted in English "one, two,
three, four ... we don't want another war. Five, six,
seven, eight ... stop the violence, stop the hate."
Many were from left-wing organizations and carried
portraits of Karl Marx and Che Guevara.
One banner, referring to US President George W. Bush
and to fears that a military strike could spark a
retaliatory attack using biological weapons, read:
"Sure, W, we'll suck anthrax, so you can feel tough in
Classics student Tonia Capuano, 17, who handed out
Communist party pamphlets, claimed many demonstrators
had arrived from the northern cities of Turin and
Venice, as well as Rome, and the Sicilian city of
Capuano claimed she would demonstrate anyway against
anti-globalisation, "because that's where the war and
the violence comes from".
Another marcher, Giuliano Malet, 25, said: "I feel
that war in Afghanistan, or Pakistan, would only hit
The United States named blamed Islamic extremists
based in Afghanistan as prime suspects for the
September 11 attacks on its territory.
Hundreds of demonstrators were arrested following the
Genoa riots, and many were beaten amid widespread
claims of police brutality.
Pentagon widow's plea for non-violence
A widow's plea for non-violence
By Amber Amundson. Amber Amundson is the wife of the late Craig Scott
Amundson, an enlisted specialist in the Army
Published September 25, 2001
My husband, Craig Scott Amundson, of the U.S. Army lost his life in the
line of duty at the Pentagon on Sept. 11 as the world looked on in
horror and disbelief.
Losing my 28-year-old husband and father of our two young children is a
terrible and painful experience.
His death is also part of an immense national loss and I am comforted by
knowing so many share my grief.
But because I have lost Craig as part of this historic tragedy, my
anguish is compounded exponentially by fear that his death will be used
to justify new violence against other innocent victims.
I have heard angry rhetoric by some Americans, including many of our
nation's leaders, who advise a heavy dose of revenge and punishment. To
those leaders, I would like to make clear that my family and I take no
comfort in your words of rage. If you choose to respond to this
incomprehensible brutality by perpetuating violence against other
innocent human beings, you may not do so in the name of justice for my
husband. Your words and imminent acts of revenge only amplify our
family's suffering, deny us the dignity of remembering our loved one in
a way that would have made him proud, and mock his vision of America as
a peacemaker in the world community.
Craig enlisted in the Army and was proud to serve his county. He was a
patriotic American and a citizen of the world. Craig believed that by
working from within the military system he could help to maintain the
military focus on peacekeeping and strategic planning--to prevent
violence and war. For the last two years Craig drove to his job at the
Pentagon with a "visualize world peace" bumper sticker on his car. This
was not empty rhetoric or contradictory to him, but part of his dream.
He believed his role in the Army could further the cause of peace
throughout the world.
Craig would not have wanted a violent response to avenge his death. And
I cannot see how good can come out of it. We cannot solve violence with
violence. Mohandas Gandhi said, "An eye for an eye only makes the whole
world blind." We will no longer be able to see that we hold the light of
liberty if we are blinded by vengeance, anger and fear. I ask our
nation's leaders not to take the path that leads to more widespread
hatreds--that make my husband's death just one more in an unending
spiral of killing.
I call on our national leaders to find the courage to respond to this
incomprehensible tragedy by breaking the cycle of violence. I call on
them to marshal this great nation's skills and resources to lead a
worldwide dialogue on freedom from terror and hate.
I do not know how to begin making a better world: I do believe it must
be done, and I believe it is our leaders' responsibility to find a way.
I urge them to take up this challenge and respond to our nation's and my
personal tragedy with a new beginning that gives us hope for a peaceful
Marchers: Let's give peace a chance
By SUSAN BROILI : The Herald-Sun firstname.lastname@example.org
Sep 23, 2001
CHAPEL HILL -- About 400 people marched for peace Sunday. Men and women of
all ages, children and even
some dogs walked in loosely organized lines down
Franklin Street, through the UNC campus and back to grassy, tree-shaded
McCorkle Place where the March to End the Cycle of Violence event had begun
at 2 p.m.
They carried signs: "Honor the victims with peace." "More war creates more
terrorism." "An eye for an eye creates blindness."
They chanted: "Break the silence with nonviolence!" and "Peace! Now!"
They sang: "All we are saying is give peace a chance."
Onlookers stood in silence. One man in a wheelchair took off his hat and
placed it over his heart as the
group passed by. Only one dissenter was spotted, a man who made an obscene
gesture and muttered, "That's what I think about it," as he walked in the
"Nothing, nothing justifies what happened last week in Washington and New
York," march organizer Jim
Warren told the crowd before the march. Warren heads the newly formed
Coalition to End the Cycle of
Violence. "We mourn the victims of those attacks, and we send our
sympathies to their families," Warren
He called for a moment of silence "to mourn the victims and those in this
country and other countries who are in fear of war," Warren said.
He spoke of the reasons for the march.
"We're calling for the rule of international law to apply here," Warren said.
"The United States must begin, finally, to address the root cause of hatred
against the United States," Warren said.
"We want to end the racism and violence being caused against Muslim and
Arab Americans and even people who look like Arab Americans," Warren said.
He acknowledged that emotions are charged, people are afraid, but reminded
the crowd to keep the rally negative-free.
"Keep in mind we can't win hating each other," said Warren.
He said that all people have a common ground: "We all want to end terrorism
and protect public safety here and abroad."
He spoke of how anger and fear cloud wisdom.
"Unfortunately, it's hard to be angry and smart at the same time," Warren
Sarah Shields, a UNC professor of Middle Eastern studies, spoke of the
overwhelming nature of the tragedy and of how military retaliation would
cause further tragedies.
"Each victim had so many friends, so much family. They went to work. They
never came home. There are so many orphans," Shields said.
Shields spoke of the U.S. government's role in training fighters to combat
the Soviets in Afghanistan in 1979 and that many of them may now be members
of the terrorist network led by Osama bin Laden.
Shields spoke of how people in Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern
countries have been victims of the same terrorists and of how those people
would be victimized again should the United States bomb Afghanistan.
"If the United States begins military action ^ we will inevitably kill
civilians," Shields said.
Shields called on American people not to take the path of revenge because
it would feed and escalate violence. Retaliation would be a deterrent only
if the perpetrators were afraid of death, she said.
"They will welcome death as a tool in their struggle," Shields said.
"Is it retribution, or is it ending terrorism? We have a choice now,"
"We must work in an international arena to find the guilty and make sure
they will never create orphans anywhere again," Shields said.
Rania Masri said she wept when she heard President Bush's speech before
Congress last week. Masri said that Bush had made demands about turning
over all terrorists and closing all terrorists camps, demands that were
impossible to meet and therefore paved the way for an open-ended war.
Masri called on people to try to get to know others who are different, to
learn "that life-affirming values lie at the core of all people."
After the march, the Rev. Gary Phillips asked that people see connections.
"When I see a sign, 'End the cycle of violence,' I think of the domestic
violence in our homes," Phillips said.
Phillips said that to have peace, people need to be peace, "to model the
culture we want to make."
He called for inclusiveness.
"Bring everybody to the welcome table, take care of everyone in our
community," Phillips said.
"We must acknowledge our fears, but we must not act out of fear," Phillips
He concluded with a benediction: "And now may the peace of God and the God
of peace give you the courage to hold to your convictions and keep an open
heart to do the work for the transformation that has to happen," Phillips
Events to promote peace
A number of activities are planned to promote peace, according to
organizers of Sunday's March to End the Cycle of Violence.
Peace vigils will be held in Chapel Hill today through Friday, 5 p.m. to
6:30 p.m., at the post office on East Franklin Street, and in Durham today
through Friday, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., at the main post office on Main Street.
A public meeting takes place at 7 p.m. today in room 209, Manning Hall on
the UNC campus in Chapel Hill. A bus trip to stage a protest for peace in
Washington is being planned for Saturday. A food drive is under way to help
the people of Afghanistan, who have been experiencing a famine for three
years. For more information, contact Internationalist Books, 405 W.
Franklin St., 942-1740.
For more information, contact the Coalition to End the Cycle of Violence at
563-2636 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Echoes of Vietnam stir US campuses
Students refuse to be drowned out by clamour for reprisals
by Matthew Engel in Oberlin, Ohio
Monday September 24, 2001
As the town clock struck six and the dusk-insects began biting, the Stars
and Stripes hung limply at half-mast for the last time before the official
mourning period ended yesterday.
It was a sight visible in small towns all over the United States on
Saturday night. But in Oberlin, Ohio, the accompanying sound was somewhat
unexpected. A speaker was telling about 500 people gathered in the main
square: "Just remember that a bomb on Afghanistan is a bomb on us" - and
was wildly applauded.
Shortly afterwards, the crowd marched three blocks to the town's memorial
to Martin Luther King, chanting the while:
"1-2-3-4! We don't want your racist war!" "2-4-6-8! Stop the war! Stop the
Then they chanted some more and heard more speeches before stopping for
vegetarian nibbles and dispersing. A few of the older protesters could be
heard gently humming peace songs from the 1960s. It was a gloriously
nostalgic moment. It may also be immensely significant.
Oberlin is emphatically not the voice of Ohio, the Midwest or the nation.
It is an agreeably funky and viscerally liberal college town in a
Republican state that epitomises Middle America. It has a history of
activism that pre-dates not only Vietnam but the American civil war. And
the Oberlin College bookshop must be the only one in the state where Pencil
Puzzles Vacation Special ("A Bountiful Harvest of Puzzle Fun!") sits
alongside the latest issue of Spartacist ("A Trotskyite Critique of Germany
But Oberlin is not alone. Within the past few days, below the radar screens
of the mainstream US media, a vast network of peace activists has become
established in colleges across the country. Its website
(www.peacefuljustice.cjb.net) lists contacts on more than 150 campuses.
There have been demonstrations at about a hundred of them.
Leaders are now making plans to march on Washington next weekend, the dates
originally set aside for the IMF and World Bank meetings - cancelled
because of the atrocities - and accompanying Genoa-style protests. It is
possible that this movement's internal contradictions will cause an early
collapse. But its growth has been dramatic. At the very least, it is the
return of opposition to President George Bush, a role abandoned by
The scene in Oberlin might have been a film director's re-enactment of the
anti-Vietnam protests, or a homage to retro-chic: there were rebellious
hairstyles, bellbottoms and even a few kaftans. Only the proliferation of
nose-studs and the general air of naive good order made it clear that these
students were mostly the children of the 60s children, and that the clothes
might have been pilfered from their mothers' attics.
But some had longer memories. In the square before the protest began, Chris
Baymiller was collecting signatures on a petition to be sent to the local
congressman. Now he is the assistant director of the Oberlin students'
union; three decades ago he was an undergraduate.
"It was not uncommon to have draft-card burnings on any given day," he
recalled. "There was one very famous incident when a group of marine
recruiters were trapped in their car and the police had to teargas the
entire area. It was a very intense time, a time like no other. But this is
the nearest I can remember to that atmosphere."
Oberlin is not far from Kent State University, infamous as the campus where
National Guardsmen panicked during a demonstration in 1970 and shot four
students dead. Despite its place in history, Kent State has never had
Oberlin's reputation for activism - but anti-war protests are planned there
this week too.
The major difference is that the message from the current action has to be
more complex than the "hell-no-we-won't-go" slogans from 30 years ago.
These students are not being drafted - yet. And there is still no serious
support anywhere for doing nothing in response to the attacks. The most
astute speakers at this rally attempted to get across a cautious and
non-rabble-rousing message: yes, but.
It was summed up by the undergraduate organiser, Jim Casteleiro: "On
September 11 I felt more pain than I ever imagined. Americans want
retribution for what happened. But remember this: Every life we take means
there will be retribution for that. There is going to be more war, more
Mr Baymiller explained to a waverer: "We support going after the
terrorists, bringing them to justice. And if they find Bin Laden in a cave
and bomb the cave, fine. We don't want to see a large part of the world
being bombed back to the Stone Age." The waverer signed his petition.
Mr Baymiller was sitting at a stall set up in the square at a routine
back-to-college recruitment market for Oberlin's various societies. The
Socialist Alternative (membership at Oberlin: eight) was there, as were the
Spartacists (membership here: zero - their representatives had driven from
Chicago, presumably bringing their magazines with them). But the
professional lefties were outnumbered by the folk music club, the karate
club and the chess club.
And even the apolitical students were not wholly unsympathetic to the
protests. Goldie Greenstein, studying economics and psychology, refused to
attend the rally: she was mainly interested in recruiting members to the
film club. So what did she feel when she heard Mr Bush's speech on
Thursday? "Fear. Terrorists will kill themselves if they wish to do so,
and they will bring people down with them."
Oberlin's students are more politicised than elsewhere. But there is
evidence that the mood here is merely a more concentrated version of the
unease developing on other campuses. The place is considered eccentric, but
it has generally been ahead of its time rather than wrong.
The town was founded by anti-slavery campaigners, and helped to precipitate
the civil war by refusing, in 1858, to hand over a runaway slave. Oberlin
College pioneered coeducation and non-racialism. It is also a town with a
reputation for tolerance. There was thus no hint of confrontation, except
from one elderly guest at a nearby wedding, who began booing theatrically.
The march to the Martin Luther King memorial drew only a couple of bemused
looks, not least from Tracy Michael, who works in a pet shop, and was
sitting opposite the monument on her front porch, decked out with the
She was, in keeping with Oberlin tradition, perfectly indulgent. She just
didn't share the sentiments. "I want peace just as much as they all do, but
we're not going to get it. The terrorists put us in the war."
New peace movement for a new war
by MARC BERLEY:
(September 24, 2001 3:39 p.m. EDT) - Just as America must fight a "new kind
of war," so it must deal with a new kind of peace movement, one that blames
American foreign policy for the recent terrorist attack. Blame the hateful
mass murderers seeking martyrdom in their radical holy war against America?
Not the new peace movement - it's a part of a global war against America.
Those who opposed U.S. military action in the past questioned the right of
America to protect its interests in other countries. That questioning
centered on two issues: the definition of American interests and our right
to impose our interests on others. These have always been reasonable
questions, whatever one's view in particular cases.
The new peace movement has nothing to do with reasonable questions. "Where
is the acknowledgment that this was not a 'cowardly' attack on
'civilization' or 'liberty' or 'humanity' or 'the free world' but an attack
on the world's self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of
specific American alliances and actions?" So asked Susan Sontag in The New
Never before have so many Americans been killed on American soil. But the
new self-proclaimed peaceniks are anti-American cultural warriors willing
to sink to unimaginable moral equivalencies.
Whereas the old peace movement questioned America's right to kill people in
other countries when no attack on American soil had occurred, the new peace
movement defends the brutal killing of thousands of Americans on the
grounds that America got what it had coming.
The new peace movement doubtless recalls the old. The latter began with
communist sympathizers who excused the Soviet Union its innumerable crimes
against humanity, seeing capitalism as the world's great evil. Having
adjusted to the end of the Cold War, the new peace movement hates America
for being the world's sole remaining superpower. And it wants that power
Unmoved to anger against the perpetrators of the atrocious violence of
September 11th, the new peaceniks merely heat up their longstanding anger
against America. Deplorably, they turn the death of thousands of innocent
lives into an opportunity to point a cold ideological finger at America.
In its extremism, the new peace movement has something in common with Jerry
Falwell: the refusal to blame those responsible for the September 11th
atrocity, choosing instead to blame America. Falwell blames America for
harboring heretics. The peaceniks blame America for harboring Americans.
Put the two together and you get the holy war of Osama bin Laden, the jihad
declared against the U.S. by the Taliban.
So far the percentage of Americans who blame America is small. But those
who do blame America congregate in places that shape the future of American
culture: our nation's college and university campuses.
Anyone who thought that the loss of more than 6,000 lives on American soil
might have led to unanimous patriotic compassion even at America's campuses
was too hopeful. The Sontag sentiment is highly audible on campus. The day
after the September 11th attack, one of my Columbia students voiced this
representative reaction: "I hope it will cause America to examine its
foreign policy decisions."
Like the old one, the new peace movement is rooted in our universities.
Thus, it is ruled by political correctness, which, after expunging
America's virtues and exaggerating its crimes, credits America's most
vicious enemies with political and moral validity.
As part of its anti-American campaign, political correctness teaches young
Americans to identify their country as a global oppressor and to regard the
rest of the world as blameless victims. It not only urges identification
with such victims but also encourages students to see themselves as victims
too. Thus they can simultaneously identify with the victims of the
September 11th attack and blame the oppressive United States. Off campus,
Americans are united, and their present unity is a beauty to behold. A New
York Times/CBS poll shows 85 percent supporting military action against
whoever is responsible for the recent attacks. But once America starts
fighting, opposition will grow. The same poll shows there is already less
support for a protracted war than for a short one. And this "new kind of
war" is likely to be a very long one.
If we are to win this long war against terrorism, the next generation will
have to be another great generation. Lines at recruitment offices for
America's armed forces suggest it just might be exactly that. But
courageous, patriotic young Americans will find their peers using the cloak
of a new "peace" movement to make a war against them.
Marc Berley is president of the Foundation for Academic Standards &
Tradition and teaches literature at Columbia University.
10 Things You Can Do to Prevent War
by Geov Parrish, AlterNet
September 26, 2001
1. Educate yourself on the issues.
To stop terror and avoid war, we must first understand what causes it, and
what approaches have, and haven't, been successful in the past. So far,
America's "War On Terrorism" seems to be focused exclusively on the
movement that has apparently spawned the perpetrators of the September 11
attacks: radical, violent fringe conservative Sunni Muslims, from an area
that stretches geographically from Northwest Africa to Southeast Asia. It
can only help if we learn more about the history, culture, religions and
economies of those parts of the world; the West's historic and current
religious, military, political and economic relationships with them and
with Islam; and how those conditions, from colonialism through global
economic changes and geopolitical rivalies, have contributed to poverty,
desperation, hatred and, at times, religious fanaticism today. Part of how
we've gotten here is the West's tendency to impose our own cultures, values
and expectations on these regions without taking the time to understand
where the people we're dealing with are coming from. People interested in
stopping terror and avoiding war cannot afford to repeat that mistake.
2. Develop a closer, more respectful relationship to Muslims and the
As the world shrinks, this is actually something we should be doing with
all cultures and religions, but for the purposes of our current War on
Terrorism, it is particularly important that, much as Christianity and
Judaism have learned to live in greater harmony after two millenia of
tension, Western cultures and religions must find and develop our common
interests with the Islamic world. Just as with any minority or "other," the
more we each work with and understand people of the Islamic faith, the less
they will seem strange and threatening and the more we will recognize each
other as individuals and as human beings.
Don't be afraid to speak out, and to listen: talk with your neighbors, your
friends, relatives, co-workers, classmates. Learn from the people you
disagree with, but don't shy away from voicing your opinions in places
where they're unpopular. Call in to radio and television talk shows. Write
letters to the editor and opinion articles for your local community
newspapers. Visit their editorial boards.
4. Take your case to the community.
Set up community forums, teach-ins and panels, to educate the public, to
air out differing opinions and to force politicians to go on the record
with their beliefs. Table at community events. Write and circulate flyers,
with information on the issue, lobbying and contact information,
publicizing events or putting out powerful graphic images. Circulate
petitions that you can then use both to notify people of future events (and
to recruit volunteers to help organize them!) and to lobby elected
officials or other prominent community figures. Take out ads in your local
newspapers. Make your advocacy visible, so people will think, even if local
media is hostile, that your cause is popular and widespread. Set up and
publicize your own web site or list-serve.
5. Raise money for the Third World.
Rather than collecting money for survivors' families or to rebuild the
World Trade Center, send it where it's more desperately needed: to the
countries whose crushing poverty helps spawn terrorism. A more economically
just world will be one with less terror. Donate your own money, or organize
events where your whole community can pitch in and help: benefits,
readings, raffles, auctions, walk-a-thons and so forth. Consider working
jointly with a local mosque or Third World community center.
6. Publicize and oppose racial profiling, the curbing of civil
liberties and the backlash against immigrants.
This is both a local and a national issue, involving everything from new
INS and Justice Department programs and regulations to local police
behavior and cases of isolated bigotry. While this is in many ways a
separate issue, bear in mind that it's easier for our government to pursue
an irresponsible or counter-productive military-oriented solution if more
of the public hates and fears people who look like the enemy. When civil
liberties are taken away in an emergency, they're rarely restored
afterwards; and when a precedent is set whereby constitutional rights can
be denied to any one group, you could be next.
7. Lobby for Congress and the White House to pursue policies that
minimize civilian deaths; rethink our national defense and foreign policy
priorities; and change global economic institutions and trade agreements so
that they create less, not more, poverty and death.
Send a letter (preferably handwritten) or card, make a phone call (faxes
and emails are less effective, but better than nothing), go to the forums
of public officials, visit their offices. Much of our ability to minimize
future terrorist activity depends not just on better security at home, but
policies abroad that work consistently to promote the ideals of freedom and
democracy America stands for. Powerful special interests often keep the
White House and Congress from doing the right thing; it's up to us, the
public, to require that when they act in our name, they treat others the
way we would want to be treated. We, the public, are the people whose lives
are on the line in this conflict; we have a right to demand that the people
acting for us make our safety a priority, and not put us in further
jeopardy by making matters worse.
8. Participate in or create visible public events for the same goals.
It's not enough to send a letter. To create the public momentum to convince
an elected official to do something s/he might think isn't in his personal
best interest, s/he has to think it's the right thing to do and that a lot
of people agree with them. Attend or organize vigils, rallies, marches,
parades, art festivals, music events, nonviolent direct actions or civil
disobedience. Be creative, have fun, be visible, get the word out.
9. Work the media, or be the media.
Send out press releases, talk with reporters and editors, make sure when
you're doing public events that local media outlets know about it, and
offer something they'll want to cover. Train yourself to give interviews
and be articulate. Start your own newsletter or radio or cable access TV
show, or contribute to others. Support independent media that's willing to
provide critical information and alternative viewpoints not as easily
available in big mainstream outlets.
10. Reclaim patriotism!
We all want the most effective possible course for stopping
terrorism. Disagreeing with our government's proposed strategies isn't
treason, it's the highest form of citizenship in a participatory democracy.
We're becoming activists on this issue because we love our country, as well
as our community and the world. Don't let anybody claim that you're
"blaming America" or "betraying the President." We're proud to live in a
country where we have the right, and the obligation, to speak out when our
government is wrong. We're speaking out because we care. Unthinking
obedience is the point at which our democracy has broken down.
Geov Parrish is a political columnist for WorkingforChange.com and a
longtime peace activist.
Mainstreaming the Anti-War Movement
Geov Parrish, AlterNet
September 26, 2001
Only three days after the most devastating direct attack on the United
States in its history, thousands of New Yorkers gathered for a peace vigil
in Manhattan. By day five, some 4,000 rallied in San Francisco; another
2,000 in Portland. Thousands followed in Seattle, Boston, New York and San
Francisco again, and elsewhere; smaller vigils, rallies, and marches came
together in cities and towns across the country. Thousands, maybe millions
more reached out on the Internet, finding virtual communities and message
boards flooded by those who shared their views. In their homes, people
began churning out letters to their newspapers and to the White House and
Since September 11's tragedies, large groups of people who didn't know each
other on September 10 -- many who hadn't ever been politically active
before, have begun meeting and finding an unexpected common
ground. They've been reassuring each other that they're not insane, and
that they're not alone in wanting the United States not to respond to a
horrific crime by flattening some country, any country. They're not alone
in fearing World War III. They're not alone in worrying about an undefined
war against an unknown enemy in undefined places, when we don't know what
victory would look like and we don't know how we'll recognize it if it's
Those are not simply pacifist questions; they're common-sense questions
that transcend ideology. Almost immediately, there was a significant, and
broad, counter-current to America's impulse for revenge. At first glance,
it seemed astonishing; thousands died and virtually everyone in the country
began worrying about their own physical safety and that of their loved
ones. Of course something needed to be done.
But what? Is war, especially the prolonged one George Bush warns of, the
answer? Most of the people of the world don't think so. An international
Gallup poll released Sep. 21 found that 46 percent of Americans were either
undecided or opposed to military action. In 29 of 30 other countries polled
(Israel being the exception), the public was opposed to military action,
preferring extradition and legal remedies. Margins against war were in the
80-90 percent range in Europe and Latin America. People have their doubts,
abroad and at home.
Thankfully, the indeterminate nature of the war Bush initially called for
(wiping out evil? All of it?) also gave the rest of the White House and the
Pentagon pause. On Sep. 25, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld cautioned
Americans that, to our presumably great disappointment, there will be no
massive land invasions in this war. But there are still plenty of other
dangers down this path, and there are still more effective means of
To its credit (so far), while the rhetoric has been understandably
bellicose and the White House has been busy lining up foreign support and
military options, it hasn't blindly lashed out in retribution. But it has
given in to the seeming American need to put a single name on the enemy
(Saddam, Noriega, Qaddafi, Fidel), and that is a serious mistake. Even if
bin Laden was involved in the Sep. 11 attacks, the enemy we are fighting
doesn't need him, and, in fact, now that he has the cachet of being
America's target, they'd greatly benefit from the volunteers his martyrdom
would produce. Bin Laden isn't a major strategist among the world's radical
conservative Sunni Moslems; his role has been relatively minor, even as
financier. (His much-vaunted riches have been frozen for years.) He simply
acts, as do a number of other individuals, as a facilitator among a broad
network of radical, violent fringe Sunni groups. Removing him doesn't begin
to solve the problem.
Instead, the War on Terrorism confronts an enormous, complex web of groups,
and it's likely to get more, not less, complicated if we send in the
military. Bush has exacerbated that concern by announcing they will target
all terrorists (presumably including prospective ones), and the countries
that "harbor" them. That essentially is a blank check for invading any
country in the world, since the implicit assumption, that bin Laden and his
boys are responsible for it all, and they're all holed up on a ranch
somewhere in Afghanistan, waiting for the Delta Force, is preposterous.
Even the direct accomplices to Sept. 1 were smart and prepared enough to
scatter to the four winds ahead of time, and bin Laden's modus has often
been to have sympathizers go into deep cover for years in the West. Many
other groups have done the same. The War On Terrorism, as defined by Bush,
can be fought against anybody, anywhere and everywhere on the planet.
That's the new reality anti-war activists confront, and as with military
planners, they, too, will have to shift their thinking and tactics.
In this case, most activists share the country's primary concerns: bringing
September 11's perpetrators to justice, and minimizing, to the extent
possible, such acts in the future. The differences come in what activists
believe to be the most effective strategy for trying to end terrorism.
The first step, they believe, is to acknowledge what most of the public, in
other countries, already know: that however horrific it was, stealing and
crashing four jets was a crime, not an act of war. Except for the pilot
training given the perpetrators (presumably in part at an Afghan training
camp), the attacks were planned and carried out by surprisingly simple and
pedestrian criminal means: forged identity papers; deep cover in places
that are most emphatically not in the mountains of Afghanistan; exploiting
our freedom of movement; availability of all sorts of dangerous (if
misused) consumer goods; and exploiting gaps in our domestic security.
The only place anywhere in that chain of events which might benefit from
military intervention is locating that Afghani training camp, and how long
does it take to build a new one in some other country? How many are already
built? In how many countries are there already people living who have made
a pact with their god, working toward a day, near or distant, when they
will take their own life and (they hope) many others in the service of
That is a police matter, not a military one. And while racial profiling
must be avoided and civil liberties most emphatically are not negotiable,
better domestic security, intelligence, and more capable investigative work
would help far more, at far less cost, than military operations. Ditto for
developing better working relationships with law enforcement agencies in
The other part of the equation is preventing people from becoming suicidal
terrorists in the first place. Here, again, activists believe, is where the
military will create more problems (and more martyrdom-seeking suicidal
terrorists) than it will dissuade or stop. Intimidation will not work. What
will work is a closer and more respectful relationship between the
Christian world and the Islamic world; a genuine effort to alleviate the
crushing poverty of most Islamic countries, including debt forgiveness,
education, aid, and investment; working toward more open, democratic
regimes (many of the most brutal and dictatorial, Saudi Arabia, Algeria,
Egypt, and now Pakistan, are heavily dependent upon Western support);
genuine efforts to alleviate the war and suffering of Moslems in places
like Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir, and the Balkans; and a foreign policy
that upholds and practices our ideals of freedom and democracy. Much of the
Islamic world is already at war; it needs less war, not more.
The growing anti-war movement's challenge is to call for the U.S. and its
allies to pursue these sorts of reasoned, effective strategies, without its
demands sounding like apologies for terrorism. That will require tact,
clarity, and understanding. It requires saying not just what activists want
to say, but what that 46 percent, and others, need to hear. It requires not
just a litany of past U.S. foreign policy sins, but explaining how
non-military options can stop terrorism better: improved security, without
stripping civil liberties; improved policing and intelligence, without
abusive covert programs; and attacking the motivations of young, poor,
devout, desperate terrorists: challenging policies wherein the West
promotes poverty, dictatorships, and violence in the Islamic world.
Terrorism can never be totally ended, no matter how many people we jail or
kill, no matter how much we tighten our security. Israel can't do it, and
we're a much larger, more diverse country. We will always be at risk, and
there will always be people who hate us. But that risk can be minimized,
and it's best done without a war. To redirect the efforts of a war already
underway, peace groups are scrambling to provide focus and coordination for
the many people who spontaneously lobbied or came out into the streets so
Everyone agrees that the War on Terrorism won't go away soon. That gives
anti- war activists time to organize, and to insist that terrorism be
prevented more effectively, without war. The sooner our military
deployments end, the better our future. The race is on.
A coalition of activist and religious groups, including American Friends
Service Committee, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Peace Action, Pax Christi,
War Resisters League, WILPF, Shundahai Network, Global Exchange, Black
Radical Congress, the Institute for Policy Studies, and many others, is
calling for local anti-war actions on Oct. 7. See www.warresisters.org for
Yoko Ono sends message of peace
Wednesday, September 26, 2001
NEW YORK ^ Yoko Ono issued a response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on
New York and Washington with the words "Imagine all the people living life
in peace," a lyric composed by her late husband John Lennon, in a paid
advertisement in Tuesday's edition of the New York Times.
The anonymous ad, in which the eight-word line occupied an entire page of
the newspaper, conveyed a simple yet powerful message of peace in contrast
to other full-page calls for patriotism and solidarity in light of the
terrorist strike that left nearly 7,000 people dead or missing.
Message from Kim Scipes
A few thoughts as we proceed to try to stop the insanity:
(1) PERSONAL SUPPORT. Especially for those of you who haven't been
in a similar situation previously, please keep this in mind: yes,
this is an emergency, and yes each person needs to do as much as we
can, but we each need to take care of ourselves, personally. While I
hope we can stop things before Bush attacks Afghanistan or Pakistan
or wherever, the likelihood is that this "war" could go on for a
while. Good organizers know you must take care of yourselves over
the long run: playing "kamikaze" over the short term generally
causes more problems than it solves. We each have to figure out what
we can do over the long-term, and then must try to keep our lives in
as much balance as possible. We have to keep ourselves in good
mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual shape as possible because
when we interact with people, we need to be grounded in who we are
and how we're dealing with the world, or all our work will
immediately be dismissed if we are seen as being another "crazy."
This probably sounds totally contradictory to what we think
we should be doing, but the above is from a lot of experience. We
succeed in our efforts if we have our act together so much that we
can successfully recruit other people, so that together we can carry
the big load, and we don't burn out people who have to do everything
themselves. We have to celebrate every little contribution, because
each helps carry the load.
So, tied in with that is that each person needs to have at
least one other person to which you can talk with, share your hopes,
fears, desires, etc. We can all get caught up in the individualism
of the larger culture, but we really need to build collective support
on the personal level as well as political. To sustain yourself,
please make sure that you have "organized" at least one person to be
your personal support person. Especially in times like this, when
the media and the government are so opposed to what we're about and
trying to do, we really need AT LEAST one person who can support us
in our work, to reassure us--when times get tough--that we aren't
(2) BUILDING ORGANIZATION. At times like this, there is a tendency
to just "do it" as far as organizing. I think we need to think more
long-term on this: even if we stop this escapade, it's a certainty
that there will be others in the future that we have to confront, so
it makes more sense to take our time and build solidly. [Although
this might be a contentious point, I would argue that one of the
general weaknesses of the movements of the 1960s, is that people did
not build solid organization, especially within the anti-war
movement, so when Nixon ended the draft, the movement collapsed to a
very big degree.] We need to create organization so that our
experiences, our resources, our knowledges, our inspiration, our joy,
can be united so as to build on the energy of the group to create
what's known as "synergy": in other words, good organization, will
collectively MULTIPLY our individual strengths and contributions
instead of just add them. Therefore, it is crucial to take some time
to think about building organization in ways that will work to do
this. Any success we achieve will be based on our ability to build
organization, to bring people together, so we can figure out all
kinds of ways to disrupt the "machine," the daily running of the
This requires figuring out a form of organization that
ensures maximum participation, and a decision-making process that
works to ensure such participation. It also requires us to think
about the building of organization.
(A) First, I'm going to suggest that we think about leadership
differently than usual. Traditionally, only those who are elected or
appointed to certain positions are defined (or consider themselves)
as leaders. I think a better way to think about leadership is that a
leader is EVERYONE who works to ensure the well-functioning of the
organization and helps it achieve its purpose/goal. In other words,
if you are an activist, then you are a leader, whether you occupy a
position on an organization chart or not. We need to appreciate the
work of everyone who is contributing to the well-being of the
organization and to the realization of its goals.
(B) Second, I suggest that we work consciously to keep our
organization as NON-HIERARCHICAL as possible. We don't want to have
leaders and followers in the organization, but we want to have an
organization of leaders. We want each person to carry a piece of the
load. That means we must treat every person with respect, at least
until one shows him/herself unworthy of such respect.
If we decide to choose representatives (say of committees or
of affinity groups) to a council (in the anti-nuclear movement, we
used the term "spokescouncil," to which people were elected to serve
and who were empowered to make decisions for the larger group), then
we need to make sure that we periodically rotate representatives to
reduce change of domination, to ensure wider development of skills,
to ensure wider participation; that we make sure that both women and
men are elected; that we train ourselves to run meetings; that we
spread out public speaking responsibilities, contact with the media
responsibilities, etc.; that we allow no one to dominate
meetings/speak over and over again, etc. Tied into this is the
responsibility of representatives to help the smaller group
beforehand come to decisions, and for the representatives to act
accordingly at the representatives' meeting, and then the
representatives must report back to members of the group what
happened at the meeting and especially what decisions were made.
We need to help everyone develop their potentialities,
because if we rely on only one or two people, what happens if they
get hit by a car, go into the hospital, simply give-up or move away?
If we rely only on a few, then the organization gets destroyed if
anything (good or bad) happens to these few: we have to think
long-term! Again, sharing responsibilities also fights hierarchy,
which is usually the basis for domination, and which is directly
opposed to equality, respect, and empowerment.
(C) Third, and very importantly, we need to consciously define our
organizational decision-making process, and do that just as soon as
possible. Two different approaches are consensus and majority vote,
and they are two different processes. Consensus process means that
everyone gets to decide, sort of popular democracy writ large. An
organization can be immobilized by talking everything to death and,
in the most extreme versions of this, even one dissent can keep a
group from doing something--obviously, not a good thing. Majority
rule is more efficient in the short run, but it tends to run over
people, to not allow thoughtful decisions in hard places, etc. It
can easily led to the organization splitting. How do we prevent
immobilization while getting input from all, the widest participation
over time, and to move forward, without splitting?
Different groups have addressed these issues differently, but
I've been in groups that have tried to deal with these issues, and I
think have generally succeeded. The best way I've seen is to set TWO
different levels of decision-making processes: one for dealing with
"policy" issues (for lack of better term) and one for dealing with
"implementation" or "action" issues. Note: I'm dealing here with
PROCESSES, not one time things. Anyway, this approach means
categorizing issues according to their impact: "policy" issues are
major, long-term, high-ramification issues that will especially
effect the further life of the organization. These are issues that
require some time to think out, to listen to others, to decide, and
need to be respected as such. For example: does the organization
participate in demonstrations? (A policy decision.) Action items
are different: ok, we decided that we will participate in
demonstration: do we participate in THIS one?
For POLICY issues: I suggest that at least 60% of all
participating agree before doing something (you may want to make the
threshold higher, but I wouldn't go lower on these). That means that
the group is solidly in favor of taking such a decision. If the
organization cannot reach this threshold, then it doesn't do such.
This threshold will help groups from getting torn apart on
contentious issues: if you do a majority vote, and it's close, you
can have all kinds of inner-organizational turmoil as the different
groups lobby, manipulate, etc., to win that person or two to their
side so they will win. Especially for important issues such as
these, this is deadly.
For ACTION issues: the group has already decided general
policy, so now how do we implement it? Here, we don't need long
debate: are we going to participate in this demonstration, this
meeting, whatever? Yes or no--majority rules.
A good way to handle policy issues is to decide beforehand
how long the group thinks it should devote to the issue: 10 minutes,
a half hour, an hour, what? Once this is decided, then the agreement
is that at that time (unless the group decides to extend the
discussion period BEFORE the agreed-upon cut-off time), the group
will decide on the issue. Either it crosses the threshold or it
The benefit to deciding the decision-making process early on
is that once the "rules" are established, then no one feels that the
"game" is rigged if and when they put an issue up for decision. As
long as the process is fair, most people will agree with decisions
made accordingly--unfair decisions cause MAJOR, MAJOR problems.
Establishing a two-tiered decision-making process means that the
group spends more time on relatively important issues than on those
less-so. In other words, not all decisions have the same impact on
the organizations, and this ensures that the organization spends the
greatest amount of time on the most important issues. It also
ensures that the group can act without requiring uniformity, which is
damn near impossible to achieve.
D) Fourth, I suggest that an organization include a "committee on
organization" to further think about and refine suggestions such as
these. This is just as important as education, outreach, finance,
media, etc: thinking about organizational development is a major
issue and should be given such respect.
(3) GETTING INFORMATION. To have the greatest impact, the search
for and obtaining solid information is terribly important. We need
to have good, solid information, and that includes getting good
information from the country/region that is threatened by attack. If
you check it out, you will find that the mass media in the United
States is some of the, if not THE, most unreliable in the world--and
of course, you might want to ask why that is, but that's a subject
for another time. I encourage people to read material from a wide
range of things, and not just academic journals either. (For
example, just on a regular basis, I not only subscribe to the New
York Times--which, as bad as it is, is probably the best US source
for international news, although be aware that it is extremely
slanted toward Israel--but also Business Week and Z Magazine, which
covers quite a range of opinion!)
For my money, the single best web site in the US for getting
up-do-date and solid information is Z Magazine's "Z Net" at
<www.zmag.org>. This site includes writers, information and material
from around the world, an features writers like Noam Chomsky, Edward
Herman, Robert Fisk (THE best English-language writer on the Middle
East, bar none!), Susan George, and many, many others. You can
subscribe to get their periodic mailings, and if you join their
sustainer program ($10/month, which I highly recommend), then you get
DAILY COMMENTARIES from writers around the world that are generally
top-rate. But whether you want to subscribe or not, I suggest
everyone take some time and carefully check out "Z Net." Some of
their material has been translated, although probably the widest
assortment is in English.
Along with Z Net, I would encourage people to subscribe to
Portside, an e-mail list. This is free, and includes a wide range of
information that is generally NOT in the US media. It's a list, just
like this one. If you want to subscribe, send an e-mail message to
'firstname.lastname@example.org'. Especially for the days when
you feel like it's hopeless, getting good information from people who
are trying to stop the "war" will mean a lot!
Friends, I apologize for going on so long---I won't be so long-winded
in the future. But some time opened up for me, I had been thinking
about these issues, and I wanted to share them. These are issues
that aren't often thought about, especially in the heat of a
campaign, but are important if we are to even have a chance at
Focus of D.C. Protests Turned to Peace Effort
By Manny Fernandez and Petula Dvorak
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, September 24, 2001; Page B03
The world's finance ministers and central bankers may
have canceled plans to gather in Washington this
weekend, but scores of protesters and activists have
not. Organizers campaigning against the annual
meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary
Fund are shifting their focus to the growing antiwar
Demonstrators spent months preparing for the meetings,
which were set for Saturday and Sunday, until the
World Bank and IMF canceled the sessions last week in
light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Police had
estimated that as many as 100,000 protesters would
fill the capital for a raucous week of marches calling
With the meetings postponed and public attention
focused on the devastation at the World Trade Center
and the Pentagon, many in the movement feared a loss
of momentum. But some activists have already tweaked
their message from anti-IMF to antiwar and are
coordinating marches and rallies in the city this
"We've refocused our demonstration to address the
immediate dangers posed by racism and the grave threat
of a new war," said Richard Becker, a coordinator with
the International Action Center, which changed the
theme of its previously planned "Surround the White
House" rally. "It's extremely important now, for those
who are opposed to this plunge into the new
militarization of society . . . to take a stand now."
Federal and local authorities had taken extraordinary
precautions to ready Washington for the
demonstrations, developing a $29 million security plan
that included fencing off a large swath of downtown.
The canceled meetings have not meant a full reprieve
for D.C. police, however, who expect about 4,000
protesters for weekend antiwar events, Chief Charles
H. Ramsey said.
All D.C. officers will be on duty Saturday and Sunday
and plan to work with the uniformed division of the
Secret Service and U.S. Park Police to handle the
crowd. Authorities have abandoned plans for the
two-mile fence and will instead rely on the Civil
Disturbance Unit and waist-high barricades used in IMF
and World Bank protests last year, Ramsey said.
A slight change of tactics may be in order, as police
expect counter-demonstrators to show up to voice
support for the Bush administration's response to the
crisis. "We're also going to have to protect the
demonstrators from one another," Ramsey said.
Protesters characterize the police preparations as an
overreaction, saying they expect a less militant tone.
Close to two dozen groups, from immigrant-rights
supporters to environmentalists to anarchists, planned
to protest the meetings. This weekend's events will
feature only a fraction of those groups, as several --
including the AFL-CIO labor federation -- have pulled
The International Action Center initially planned a
march from the White House to the IMF and World Bank
headquarters to demand an end to harmful economic
policies. But the group switched targets and tactics
and will now speak out against the U.S. war effort and
recent violence against Arab Americans, Becker said.
Surrounding the White House is also no longer part of
the plan. Participants will gather at Lafayette Square
at noon Saturday and march to the Capitol. The center,
a national activist group based in New York, expects
10,000 to take part.
Park Police said a permit allowing the protest could
be voided if security concerns warrant. "If a decision
comes down [to void the permit], it will come down
from the Secret Service," said Lt. Keith Horton, of
the Park Police. "The Secret Service will make the
final determination if it's a security concern."
Other rallies will be held in Los Angeles and San
Another Saturday march is being organized by the
Anti-Capitalist Convergence, a D.C.-based network of
anarchists and anti-capitalists. The group seeks to
draw attention to the ties between the Sept. 11
attacks and U.S. military and foreign policy, a member
of the group said. "Until we understand the violence
of our economic, military and foreign policies, we
will continue to foster the conditions that make this
kind of terrorism possible," a statement from the
The group is no longer calling for militant blocs, a
tactic used by some protesters featuring black-clad
and masked members. Thousands are expected to attend
week-long events, though details of the downtown march
are still being worked out.
An interfaith service at St. Aloysius Church in
Northwest Washington on Saturday and a peace gathering
organized by the Washington Peace Center and the D.C.
office of the American Friends Service Committee on
Sunday are also planned. "We need to stop and take
time to grieve and look for some of the root causes of
violence . . . that happens around the planet," said
Bette Hoover, local director for the committee, the
social service branch of the Quakers.
The Mobilization for Global Justice, one of the main
coalitions organizing against the World Bank and IMF,
canceled its call for street protests out of respect
for attack victims and their families. But global
economy teach-ins will go forward, and individual
members plan to join antiwar events.
"I think the fight for global justice is not just
economic, but it also deals with issues of peace and
war," D.C. organizer Adam Eidinger said. "I think
there's a sense of breaking through the media blackout
of voices that want restraint and justice instead of
Massive Worldwide Opposition to Military Strikes
ZURICH, Sept 21 (Reuters) - International public opinion opposes a massive
U.S. military strike to retaliate for suicide attacks on America by hijacked
aircraft, according to a Gallup poll in 31 countries whose results were
released on Friday.
Only in Israel and the United States did a majority favour a military
response against states shown to harbour terrorists, the survey found. People
questioned elsewhere preferred to see suspected terrorists extradited and
put on trial.
"Around 80 percent of Europeans and around 90 percent of South Americans
favour extradition and a court verdict. By European comparison, calls for a
tough military response were above average among the French (29 percent) and
the Dutch (28 percent)," said Swiss polling firm Isopublic, which conducted
the survey in Switzerland.
Seventy-seven percent of Israelis backed military action,
while 54 percent of Americans were in favour, it said.
The surveys were done between September 17 and 19, around a week after the
September 11 suicide attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the
Pentagon in Washington killed more than 6,000 people.
U.S. officials have named Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden the prime
suspect and have threatened military action if Afghanistan, where bin Laden
lives, does not hand him over.
Clear majorities of between 70 and 80 percent supported limiting any strike
to military rather than civilian targets, the survey found.
Asked if their own country should support a U.S. military assault, people
in NATO countries other than Greece tended to agree.
Four out of five Danes backed the idea, followed by 79 percent in Britain and
73 percent in France. Greeks were the least enthusiastic with only 29
percent, below 53 percent in Germany and 58 percent in Norway and Spain.
The survey was done in Argentina, Austria, Bosnia, Britain, Bulgaria,
Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel,
Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway,
Pakistan, Peru, Portugal, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Spain,
Switzerland, the United States and Zimbabwe.
Actors urge world leaders to call off war
Thursday 20th September 2001
A group of British actors has urged the world's leaders to call a
halt to a campaign against countries which harbour terrorists.
The nine-strong group, which includes playwright Harold Pinter
and Corin Redgrave, appeal to stop the "madness" of a new world war
following last week's attacks.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, they say a war against Afghanistan, Iraq
and the world's poorest countries "will not rescue any victims of
September 11, or make the cities of America and Europe safer".
The actors stress the war must be prevented for the sake of all who were
killed in New York and Washington and their families, friends and
The letter says: "Terrorism cannot be defeated by bombs, bullets or
secret intelligence. Terrorism is the language of hatred and despair.
Out of the carnage and rubble of a new crusade will come new
terrorists, even more desperate and ruthless than before.
"In Afghanistan, four million people are homeless and scores of
thousands are starving or dying of cholera because of sanctions,
imposed by the West in their attempt to force the Taliban government to
hand over Osama bin Laden.
"A million children in Iraq are dead or dying because of waterborne
diseases and malnutrition caused by sanctions.
"Human rights and civil liberties are being trampled on around the world
as politicians call for tolerance while fanning the flames of
intolerance with their preparations for war."
The actors - Maggi Hambling, Lynn Farleigh, Merlin Holland, Bryony
Lavery, Jehane Markham, Kika Markham, Roger Lloyd Pack, Harold
Pinter and Corin Redgrave - add: "We must make war, but on poverty."
The peaceniks are coming
Perhaps they hadn't heard that the IMF/World Bank conference was cancelled.
That would explain why a group of about 90 anti-something individuals
showed up Monday at Farragut Square to protest globalization, er, free
trade, er, the anticipated U.S. response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,
and why thousands of others plan to join them this weekend.
"I just came down from Boston to be a part of whatever protest I could
find," said one participant, who presumably carried additional posterboard,
or possibly even interchangeable placards. Since many students were a part
of Monday's rally, what may have really been bothering him was that classes
are still in session even though there is a war on. Talk about a bummer,
dude. After all, fighting peace is a lot safer (unless you happened to be a
student at Kent State) and presumably a whole lot more fun.
The dress code on the perpetual global protest circuit is more fun than it
is in school shoes, shirts and even pants are sometimes optional, while
ponytails and body piercings are practically mandatory. Optional combat
boots and gas masks only add to the thrill of the adventure. Considering
that many members of the movement are vegans, the circuit food is weird,
but copious amounts of illegal substances probably make up for it. The
hours are better too, since who ever heard of an anti-war rally that began
at 8 a.m.?
But more than anything else, participation in the protest circuit provides
the smug, self-righteous satisfaction that comes with knowing that parading
around parks named after deceased admirals and shouting slogans at high
volume is all that is necessary to solve all the world's problems,
including racism, sexism and yes, terrorism. Surely, even Osama bin Laden
would have come around if only he had seen the "Restraint is not
retaliation" sign featured at Monday's rally.
The protesters certainly think so, and it doesn't really matter that the
evidence is non-existent. Actually, such evidence would probably only get
in the way, since most of the perpetually indignant are convinced that most
of the world's evils can be explained by Western, and especially American,
One of the groups organizing this week's protests, the International Action
Center (IAC), was founded by Ramsey Clark, Lyndon Johnson's attorney
general and a blame-America-firster of top rank. The IAC web site is a
place to procure "information, activism and resistance to U.S. militarism,
war, and corporate greed" and also to make tax-deductible donations of
The IAC is predicting that "thousands" of its clueless brethren will show
up for a rally in Washington this Saturday, which, shockingly, is scheduled
to start at noon. It should certainly be easy to pick them out: Each of
them will be brimming with indignation . . . and carrying an
Peace Movement Says No to March Towards War
Minneapolis, MN - About 100 people came together here,
September 12, to say no to US military action in
response to the attacks in response to the attacks on
the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Holding aloft
signs and banners, protestors lined a major bridge
that spans the Mississippi River. The response of
passing motorists was overwhelmingly positive. Many
honked their horns and flashed peace signs,
Among the organizations participating in the action
were Women Against Military Madness and the Anti-War
Committee. Many participants felt the current
situation demands an active, visible, peace and
A press statement from Women Against Military Madness
noted, "When people world-wide suffer the consequences
of U.S. warfare and economic sanctions, when their
homes are bombed with weapons made in the United
States, when their only venues for political
self-determination are undermined, terrorism will
Jessica Sundin stated "We decry all acts of war that
target civilians, and we grieve the perhaps-thousands
of deaths. At the same time, we hope that Americans
will also grieve the actions of our government that
have provoked the anger that killed these people. And
in that grief, we ask people of conscience to call on
our government to stop the march to war today."
Sundin also slammed moves against Arab peoples in the
U.S. "We oppose this racist harassment, and call on
media and government officials to stop scapegoating
our Arab and Muslim neighbors."
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