[sixties-l] Anti-war actions...continued (8) (fwd)

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    Subject: Anti-war actions...continued (8)

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    Anti-war resources:


      An Anti-authoritarian Response to the War Efforts

      September 21, 2001

      Dear Comrades,

      We are living through scary times. Clearly the US Government and its allies
      believe they have a grand opportunity to realign domestic and international
      relationships in their interest. This is frightening: major shifts in the
      political landscape threaten to tear the ground from beneath our feet.

      However, these glacial shifts in the political scene also offer
      anti-authoritarians a unique opportunity to obtain a new, more secure
      footing in our struggle against economic exploitation, political hierarchy,
      and cultural domination. Political conditions are changing radically and, if
      we respond correctly, we have the chance to advance our movement to a much
      higher level.

      First of all, we must not be cowed by present circumstances, as disturbing
      as they are. On the contrary: recent events call upon us to exercise
      political leadership in the best, most principled and visionary sense of the
      term. This is our challenge, and one that we can meet with an
      anti-authoritarian vision and politics.

      We believe it is imperative that anti-authoritarians formulate a coherent
      response to the war buildup and their role within the growing peace
      movement. We must not allow our perspective to be subsumed under more
      prominent but less radical tendencies in the left. Also, the peace movement
      is presently defining its politics and structures and we have a great
      opportunity - at this moment - to engage the movement and push it in the
      most radical direction.

      This purpose of this letter is to explore the contours of an
      anti-authoritarian position on recent events. We encourage you to discuss
      this letter with your friends and comrades and to prepare for broader
      discussions that we intend to initiate in the near future (we will send more
      information soon).

      We want to address three important issues in this letter: structure,
      politics, and the future.

      We anticipate that the anti-war movement will experience divisions similar
      to those that beset the peace movement during the Gulf War. In other words,
      national organizing efforts will be split into two organizations: one will
      be pacifist and more libertarian in character, and the other will be more
      militant and Stalinist. Both will be top-down mobilizations, built around
      well-known "leaders", and awash with a moralism that would turn off even the
      most open-minded citizens and activists.

      Thus, we think our immediate challenge is to ensure that the anti-war
      mobilizations are decentralized and democratic in structure: specifically,
      that those doing the work make the decisions in these organizations. We
      recommend the model of assemblies, spokescouncils, or other horizontal
      networks of small, decentralized groups that are unified around an
      anti-authoritarian vision of social change. This will assure that those at
      the base hold decision-making power and thus that the mobilization reflects
      the political consciousness of the base, which is typically more radical and
      sane than that held by the leadership. It will still be possible for
      sectarian groups to infiltrate the base, but much harder for them to seize
      control. We believe that instituting such a decentralized structure is
      consistent with a principled commitment to democracy and should be our first
      act of defense against the party building hacks and the omnipresent

      Decentralized political structures have little significance unless
      complemented by a decentralized, radically democratic politics. We need to
      have radically democratic goals as well as methods, anti-authoritarian means
      and ends. Our response to the war must be concrete, immediately
      comprehensible, and one that gives political content to our democratic

      Presently we are aware of two positions on the war:

      The rightwing position asserts that the US is entitled to take unilateral
      military action against whomever. This position is not reasoned, just
      retaliatory, and is thus utterly barbaric. The argument crumbles when faced
      with questions of social justice.

      The liberal-left position condones military action against Osama Bin Laden
      if - and only if - the UN or some pre-existing international legal body
      decides that such action is required and determines its nature. This appears
      to be Z Magazine's position, as well as many others.

      This position is inadequate because it appeals to the political authority of
      the UN (and/or similar bodies). This is untenable because the UN is an
      illegitimate political body and thus incapable of determining a just or
      unjust response to the terror attacks. The UN is illegitimate because a) it
      presupposes the nation-state, which is inherently anti-democratic and b)
      because the US has veto power over many of the UN's most important
      decision-making bodies, such as the Security Council.

      The anti-authoritarian position must obviously be much more radical than the
      liberal-left position. We believe that anti-authoritarians should advance
      the following demands:

            First, all war criminals must be brought to justice (and judged by an
      international people's tribunal). Osama Bin Laden, Augusto Pinochet, Henry
      Kissinger, and those who have committed acts of terror and violence must be
      held accountable for their actions and dealt with accordingly.

            Second, there should be an international grass roots
      assembly/plebiscite/encuentro/assembly/truth and reconciliation commission
      on global terror. This assembly will define the terms of terror and the
      appropriate responses to it. There are existing decentralized, grassroots
      networks and organizations that could provide basis for such an initiative.

            Third, we must oppose military action against Osama Bin Laden,
      Afghanistan, or anyone else until these first two conditions are met.

      We believe that anti-authoritarians should work to radicalize the anti-war
      movement. We should ensure that it is democratic and decentralized in
      structure, that its demands are anti-authoritarian in content, and that we
      use this movement to build cooperative relationships with the oppressed and
      enraged throughout the world who share our horror at the US's impeding
      military action and the world it seeks to create.

      We believe there is a great potential to create a radically democratic and
      deeply oppositional movement against the war. We believe this movement could
      sustain the accomplishments of the struggle against global capital and bring
      our movement to a new level of engagement, diversity, and radicalism.

      Another world is possible,

    Marina Sitrin (active with the Direct Action Network) & Chuck Morse (active
    with the Institute for Anarchist Studies)


    Why we oppose the war in Afghanistan


    Statement of the WSWS Editorial Board

    9 October 2001

    The World Socialist Web Site condemns the American military assault on
    Afghanistan. We reject the dishonest claims of the Bush administration that
    this is a war for justice and the security of the American people against
    The hijack-bombings of September 11 were politically criminal attacks on
    innocent civilians. Whoever perpetrated this crime must be condemned as
    enemies of the American and international working class. The fact that no
    one has claimed responsibility only underscores the profoundly reactionary
    character of these attacks.
    But while the events of September 11 have served as the catalyst for the
    assault on Afghanistan, the cause is far deeper. The nature of this or any
    war, its progressive or reactionary character, is determined not by the
    immediate events that preceded it, but rather by the class structures,
    economic foundations and international roles of the states that are
    involved. From this decisive standpoint, the present action by the United
    States is an imperialist war.
    The US government initiated the war in pursuit of far-reaching
    international interests of the American ruling elite. What is the main
    purpose of the war? The collapse of the Soviet Union a decade ago created a
    political vacuum in Central Asia, which is home to the second largest
    deposit of proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the world.
    The Caspian Sea region, to which Afghanistan provides strategic access,
    harbors approximately 270 billion barrels of oil, some 20 percent of the
    world's proven reserves. It also contains 665 trillion cubic feet of
    natural gas, approximately one-eighth of the planet's gas reserves.
    These critical resources are located in the world's most politically
    unstable region. By attacking Afghanistan, setting up a client regime and
    moving vast military forces into the region, the US aims to establish a new
    political framework within which it will exert hegemonic control.
    These are the real considerations that motivate the present war. The
    official version, that the entire American military has been mobilized
    because of one individual, Osama bin Laden, is ludicrous. Bin Laden's brand
    of ultra-nationalist and religious obscurantist politics is utterly
    reactionary, a fact that is underscored by his glorification of the
    destruction of the World Trade Center and murder of nearly 6,000 civilians.
    But the US government's depiction of bin Laden as an evil demiurge serves a
    cynical purpose, to conceal the actual aims and significance of the present
    The demonization of bin Laden is of a piece with the modus operandi of
    every war waged by the US over the past two decades, in each of which,
    whether against the Panamanian "drug lord" Manuel Noriega, the Somalian
    "war lord" Mohamed Farrah Aidid, or the modern-day "Hitlers" Saddam Hussein
    and Slobodan Milosevic, the American government and the media have sought
    to manipulate public opinion by portraying the targeted leader as the
    personification of evil.
    In an October 8 op-ed column in the New York Times, Fawaz A. Gerges, a
    professor at Sarah Lawrence College, pointed to the real aims that motivate
    the US war drive. Describing a conference of Arab and Muslim organizations
    held a week ago in Beirut, Gerges wrote:
    "Most participants claimed that the United States aims at far more than
    destroying Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization and toppling the Taliban
    regime. These representatives of the Muslim world were almost unanimously
    suspicious of America's intentions, believing that the United States has an
    overarching strategy which includes control of the oil and gas resources in
    Central Asia, encroachment on Chinese and Russian spheres of influence,
    destruction of the Iraqi regime, and consolidation of America's grip on the
    oil-producing Persian Gulf regimes.
    "Many Muslims suspected the Bush administration of hoping to exploit this
    tragedy to settle old scores and assert American hegemony in the world."
    These suspicions are entirely legitimate. Were the US to oust the Taliban,
    capture or kill bin Laden and wipe out what Washington calls his terrorist
    training camps, the realization of these aims would not be followed by the
    withdrawal of American forces. Rather, the outcome would be the permanent
    placement of US military forces to establish the US as the exclusive
    arbiter of the region's natural resources. In these strategic aims lie the
    seeds of future and even more bloody conflicts.
    This warning is substantiated by a review of recent history. America's wars
    of the past two decades have invariably arisen from the consequences of
    previous US policies. There is a chain of continuity, in which yesterday's
    US ally has become today's enemy.
    The list includes the one-time CIA asset Noriega, the former Persian Gulf
    ally Saddam Hussein, and yesterday's American protg Milosevic. Bin Laden
    and the Taliban are the latest in the chain of US assets transformed into
    targets for destruction.
    In the case of Iraq, the US supported Saddam Hussein in the 1980s as an
    ally against the Khomeini regime in Iran. But when the Iraqi regime
    threatened US oil interests in the Persian Gulf, Saddam Hussein was
    transformed into a demon and war was launched against Baghdad. The main
    purpose of the Gulf War was to establish a permanent US military presence
    in the Persian Gulf, a presence that remains in place more than a decade later.
    Even more tragic is the outcome of US sponsorship of bin Laden and the
    Taliban. They are products of the US policy, begun in the late 1970s and
    continued throughout the 1980s, of inciting Islamic fundamentalism to
    weaken the Soviet Union and undermine its influence in Central Asia. Bin
    Laden and other Islamic fundamentalists were recruited by the CIA to wage
    war against the USSR and destabilize Central Asia.
    In the chaos and mass destruction that followed, the Taliban was helped
    along and brought to power with the blessings of the American government.
    Those who make US policy believed the Taliban would be useful in
    stabilizing Afghanistan after nearly two decades of civil war.
    American policy-makers saw in this ultra-reactionary sect an instrument for
    furthering US aims in the Caspian basin and Persian Gulf, and placing
    increasing pressure on China and Russia. If, as the Bush administration
    claims, the hijack-bombing of the World Trade Center was the work of bin
    Laden and his Taliban protectors, then, in the most profound and direct
    sense, the political responsibility for this terrible loss of life rests
    with the American ruling elite itself.
    The rise of Islamic fundamentalist movements, infused with anti-American
    passions, can be traced not only to US support for the Mujahedin in
    Afghanistan and Pakistan, but also to American assaults on the Arab world.
    At the same time that the CIA was arming the fundamentalists in
    Afghanistan, it was supporting the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. This was
    followed in 1983 by the US bombing of Beirut, in which the battleship New
    Jersey lobbed 2,000-pound shells into civilian neighborhoods. This criminal
    action led directly to retribution in the form of the bombing of the US
    barracks in Beirut, which took the lives of 242 American soldiers.
    The entire phenomenon associated with the figure of Osama bin Laden has its
    roots, moreover, in Washington's alliance with Saudi Arabia. The US has for
    decades propped up this feudalist autocracy, which has promoted its own
    brand of Islamic fundamentalism as a means of maintaining its grip on power.
    All of these twists and turns, with their disastrous repercussions, arise
    from the nature of US foreign policy, which is not determined on the basis
    of democratic principles or formulated in open discussion and public
    debate. Rather, it is drawn up in pursuit of economic interests that are
    concealed from the American people.
    When the US government speaks of a war against terrorism, it is thoroughly
    hypocritical, not only because yesterday's terrorist is today's ally, and
    vice versa, but because American policy has produced a social catastrophe
    that provides the breeding ground for recruits to terrorist organizations.
    Nowhere are the results of American imperialism's predatory role more
    evident than in the indescribable poverty and backwardness that afflict the
    people of Afghanistan.
    What are the future prospects arising from the latest eruption of American
    militarism? Even if the US achieves its immediate objectives, there is no
    reason to believe that the social and political tinderbox in Central Asia
    will be any less explosive.
    US talk of "nation-building" in Afghanistan is predicated on its alliance
    with the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, with whom the Pentagon is
    coordinating its military strikes. Just as Washington used the Albanian
    terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army as its proxy in Kosovo, so now it utilizes
    the gang of war lords centered in the northeast of Afghanistan as its cat's
    paw in Central Asia.
    Since the Northern Alliance will now be portrayed as the champion of
    freedom and humanitarianism, it is instructive to note recent articles in
    the New York Times and elsewhere reporting that the vast bulk of the Afghan
    opium trade comes from the meager territory controlled by the Alliance. The
    military satraps of the Northern Alliance are, moreover, notorious for
    killing thousands of civilians by indiscriminately firing rockets into
    Kabul in the early 1990s.
    The sordid and illusory basis upon which the US proposes to "rebuild"
    Afghanistan, once it is finished pummeling the country, was suggested in a
    New York Times article on the onset of the war. "The Pentagon's hope,"
    wrote the Times, "is that the combination of the psychological shock of the
    air strike, bribes to anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan covertly supported
    by Washington and sheer opportunism will lead many of the Taliban's
    fighters to put down their arms and defect."
    Given the nature of the region, with its vast stores of critical resources,
    it is, moreover, self-evident that none of the powers in Central Asia will
    long accept a settlement in which the US is the sole arbiter. Russia, Iran,
    China, Pakistan and India all have their own interests, and they will seek
    to pursue them. Furthermore, the US presence will inevitably conflict with
    the interests of the emerging bourgeois regimes, in the lesser states in
    the region, that have been carved out of the former Soviet Union.
    At each stage in the eruption of American militarism, the scale of the
    resulting disasters becomes greater and greater. Now the US has embarked on
    an adventure in a region that has long been the focus of intrigue between
    the Great Powers, a part of the world, moreover, that is bristling with
    nuclear weapons and riven by social, political, ethnic and religious
    tensions that are compounded by abject poverty.
    The New York Times, in a rare moment of lucidity, described the dangers
    implicit in the US war drive in an October 2 article headlined "In
    Pakistan, a Shaky Ally." The author wrote: "By drafting this fragile and
    fractious nation into a central role in the 'war on terrorism,' America
    runs the danger of setting off a cataclysm in a place where civil violence
    is a likely bet and nuclear weapons exist."
    Neither in the proclamations of the US government, nor in the reportage of
    the media, is there any serious examination of the real economic and
    geo-strategic aims motivating the military assault. Nor is there any
    indication that the US political establishment has seriously considered the
    far-reaching and potentially catastrophic consequences of the course upon
    which it has embarked.
    Despite a relentless media campaign to whip up chauvinism and militarism,
    the mood of the American people is not one of gung-ho support for the war.
    At most, it is a passive acceptance that war is the only means to fight
    terrorism, a mood that owes a great deal to the efforts of a thoroughly
    dishonest media that serves as an arm of the state. Beneath the reluctant
    endorsement of military action is a profound sense of unease and
    skepticism. Tens of millions sense that nothing good can come of this
    latest eruption of American militarism.
    The United States stands at a turning point. The government admits it has
    embarked on a war of indefinite scale and duration. What is taking place is
    the militarization of American society under conditions of a deepening
    social crisis.
    The war will profoundly affect the conditions of the American and
    international working class. Imperialism threatens mankind at the beginning
    of the twenty-first century with a repetition on a more horrific scale of
    the tragedies of the twentieth. More than ever, imperialism and its
    depredations raise the necessity for the international unity of the working
    class and the struggle for socialism.


    September Eleventh Peace Coalition rejects war on terrorism

    by Bruce Cheadle
    Tribune (Welland) Canada
    Sat 06 Oct 2001

    OTTAWA - Canadians should reject both racial stereotyping and a military
    response to the devastating terrorist attacks on the United States, a group
    of labour, peace, social and student groups said Friday.

    The newly formed September Eleventh Peace Coalition said it speaks for
    ``tens of thousands'' of
    peace-loving Canadians who fear the reaction to suicide hijacking attacks on
    New York, Washington and Pennsylvania will serve to continue the cycle of

    The group is seeking ``a resolution to the present chaos and horror through
    the framework of law and the equality of people -- and not the framework of
    war and racism,'' Deborah Bourque of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers
    told a news conference on Parliament Hill.

    The coalition was not alone Friday in speaking out against discrimination
    targeting Canadian Arab communities and individuals since the Sept. 11

    Conservative Leader Joe Clark, B.C. MP Chuck Strahl and Ontario Agriculture
    Minister Brian Coburn visited an Ottawa mosque Friday to show support for
    the Muslim community.

    ``Let's be clear about who the terrorists are,'' Clark told the faithful.

    ``Whatever their background, whatever their origins, their identity is as
    terrorists ... We have a common cause in ensuring that our response to these
    terrible and unacceptable acts does not create new victims.''

    The spiritual leader of the mosque, Imam Gamal Solaiman, created a local
    furor last week after Prime Minister Jean Chretien had paid a visit to the

    Solaiman was quoted saying the U.S. attacks were ``beyond all Muslim

    ``Definitely this is the work of some very sophisticated group of
    knowledgeable and trained people, not the Taliban,'' he said, adding U.S.
    evidence of links to Islamic groups ``does not convince me in the least.''

    Abdul Waheed Syed, president of the Ottawa Muslim Association, used Clark's
    visit Friday to say the imam had been misunderstood and taken out of

    Solaiman did not address the matter directly, but called terrorism a
    ``heinous, irrational act.''

    ``All of us call for reason and call for justice and call for peace.''

    It was a similar message to that of the September Eleventh Peace Coalition.

    Steve Staples of the Council of Canadians said security ``does not come from
    the barrel of a gun.''

    He equated a military campaign to create security with ``the same logic that
    says that a handgun in your home will make your family more safe. Canadians
    do not believe this.''


    War of Lies


    by Rahul Mahajan and Robert Jensen

    A war that is supposed to help feed the desperate people of Afghanistan
    will in fact help starve them.

    A war supposedly brought on by Taliban intransigence was actually provoked
    by our own government.

    A war that the majority of the American people believe is about their
    grief, anger and desire for revenge is really about the cold-blooded
    calculations of a small elite seeking to extend its power.

    And a war that is supposed to make us safer has put us in far greater
    danger by increasing the likelihood of further terrorist attacks.

    Lets take those points in order.

    Our undeclared war on Afghanistan is the culmination of a decade of U.S.
    aggression with a humanitarian faade.

    Once the natural sympathies of the American people were touched by the
    plight of the long-suffering Afghan people, public opinion swung toward
    helping them. In response to this, the administration concocted the most
    shameless and cynical cover story for military strikes in recent memory.
    The idea, leaked last Thursday, went like this:

    -- The Afghan people are starving, so we need to do food drops. (Never mind
    that all those experienced in humanitarian aid programs are opposed to food
    drops because they are dangerous and wasteful, and, most important,
    preclude setting up the on-the-ground distribution networks necessary to
    making aid effective.)

    -- We need to destroy the Talibans air defenses before doing food drops.

    -- The transport planes may be endangered by the Stinger anti-aircraft
    missiles that the United States supplied the mujaheddin in the 1980s when
    they were fighting the Soviet Union, and some of which ended up in the
    Talibans hands.

    -- We have to destroy the Talibans air defense. Because so much of it is
    mobile, we have to bomb all over.

    The bombing will seriously hinder existing aid efforts. The World Food
    Program operates a bakery in Kabul on which thousands of families depend,
    as well as many other programs. A number of United Nations organizations
    have been mounting a major new coordinated humanitarian campaign. These
    efforts were not endangered by the Taliban before, but the chaos and
    violence created by this bombing -- combined with a projected assault by
    the Northern Alliance -- will likely force UN personnel to withdraw, with
    disastrous effects for the Afghan people.

    To add insult to injury, in the first day the United States dropped only
    37,500 packaged meals, far below the daily needs of even a single large
    refugee camp. With 7.5 million people on the brink of death and existing
    programs disrupted, this is a drop in the bucket compared to the damage
    caused by this new war.

    Those who starve or freeze will not be the only innocents to die. It should
    finally be clear to all that surgical strikes are a myth. In the Gulf
    War, only 7 percent of the munitions used were smart, and those missed
    the target roughly half the time. One of those surgical strikes destroyed
    the Amiriyah bomb shelter, killing somewhere from 400 to 1,500 women and
    children. In Operation Infinite Reach, the 1998 attacks on Afghanistan,
    some of the cruise missiles went astray and hit Pakistan. Military
    officials have already admitted that not all of the ordnance being used is
    smart, and even the current generation of smart weapons hit their target
    only 70 to 80 percent of the time.

    Contrary to U.S. propaganda, civilian targets are always on the list. There
    are already reports that Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban, was
    targeted for assassination, and the Defense Ministry in Kabul -- surely no
    more military a target than the Pentagon -- and located in the middle of
    the city, has been destroyed.

    This is standard U.S. practice. In the Gulf War, virtually every power
    station in Iraq was destroyed, with untold effects on civilians. A
    correspondent for al-Jazeera TV reported that power went out in Kabul when
    the bombing started, although it was restored in some places within hours.
    Targeting of any pitiful remnants of civilian infrastructure in Afghanistan
    would be consistent with past U.S. policy.

    George Bush said we are not at war with the Afghan people -- just as we
    were not at war with the Iraqi people or the Serbian people. The hundreds
    of thousands of Afghans who fled the cities knew better.

    Military analysts suggest that the timing of the strikes had to do with the
    weather. Another possible interpretation is that the Talibans
    recently-expressed willingness to negotiate posed too great a danger that
    peace might break out. The Orwellian use of the term diplomacy to
    describe the consistent U.S. policy of no negotiations -- accept our
    peremptory demands or else -- helps to mask the fact that the
    administration always intended to launch this war.

    The same tactic was used against Serbia; at the Rambouillet negotiations in
    March 1999, demands were pitched just high enough that the Serbian
    government could not go along.

    In this case, the Talibans offer to detain bin Laden and try him before an
    Islamic court, while unacceptable, was a serious initial negotiating
    position and would have merited a serious counteroffer -- unless one had
    already decided to go to war.

    The administration has many reasons for this war.

    -- The policy of imperial credibility, carried to such destructive extremes
    in Vietnam. In perhaps the last five years of direct U.S. involvement
    there, the goal was not to win, but to inflict such a price on Vietnam
    that other nations would not think of crossing the United States.

    -- The oil and natural gas of central Asia, the next Middle East.
    Afghanistans location between the Caspian basin and huge markets in Japan,
    China and the Indian subcontinent gives it critical importance. A
    U.S-controlled client state in Afghanistan, presumably under the exiled
    octogenarian former king, Zahir Shah, would give U.S. corporations great
    leverage over those resources. Just as in the Middle East, the United
    States does not seek to own all those resources, but it wants to dictate
    the manner in which the wells and pipelines are developed and used.

    -- The potential to push a radical right-wing domestic agenda. War makes it
    easier to expand police powers, restrict civil liberties, and increase the
    military budget.

    This war is about the extension of U.S. power. It has little to do with
    bringing the terrorists to justice, or with vengeance. Judging from initial
    polls, the war has been popular as the administration trades on peoples
    desire for revenge -- but we should hardly confuse the emotional reaction
    of the public with the motivation of the administration. Governments do not
    feel emotions.

    This war will not make us more secure. For weeks, many in the antiwar
    movement -- and some careful commentators in more mainstream circles --
    have been saying that military action was playing into the hands of Osama
    bin Laden, who may have been hoping for such an attack to spark the flames
    of anti-American feeling in the Muslim world. Bin Ladens pre-taped speech,
    broadcast on al-Jazeera television after the bombing started, vindicates
    that analysis.

    Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists, Bush said on Sept.
    20. Bin Ladens appeal to the ummah, the whole Islamic world, echoed this
    logic: The world is divided into two sides -- the side of faith and the
    side of infidelity.

    The American jihad may yet be matched by a widely expanded Islamic one,
    something unlikely had we not bombed. Remember, we have seen only the
    opening shots of what many officials are calling a long-term, multi-front
    war in which the secretary of defense has told us there will be no silver
    bullet. The administration has clearly been preparing the American people
    to accept an extended conflict.

    Bin Ladens world is Bushs, in some strangely distorted mirror. A world
    divided as they seem to want would have no place in it for those of us who
    want peace with justice.

    All is not yet lost. The first step is for us to send a message, not just
    to our government but to the whole world, saying, This action done in our
    name was not done by our will. We are against the killing of innocents
    anywhere in the world.

    The next step is for us to build a movement that can change our
    governments barbaric and self-destructive policy.

    If we dont act now to build a new world, we may just be left with no world.
    Rahul Mahajan serves on the National Board of Peace Action. Robert Jensen
    is a professor of journalism at the University of Texas. Both are members
    of the Nowar Collective (www.nowarcollective.com). They can be reached at


    Dissenting voices

    Many Americans are having second thoughts about the war hysteria gripping
    the US, writes Jihan Alaily from Washington

    4-10 October,2001
    Al-Ahram Weekly

    Americans are beginning to ponder the rationale behind fighting a war in
    which the outcome is not only uncertain, but guaranteed to see many
    innocent lives taken. Many did not find solace in US President George W
    Bush's statement to Congress in which he warned that "the course of this
    conflict is unknown, yet its outcome is certain."

    On Saturday and Sunday thousands took to the streets in Washington DC in
    peace marches and rallies that brought together a mlange of ordinary
    Americans, political activists, students, local human rights organisations
    and anarchists. They were protesting the coming war and heightened
    anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiments in the wake of the 11 September
    attacks on New York and Washington.

    Banners and signs read "Don't dishonor the dead by killing in their name"
    and "An eye for an eye makes the world blind". The demonstrations were the
    biggest so far of many protest gatherings across the country that have
    increasingly reflected a concern over the ethics and morality of the coming
    war. Some speakers and protesters at the rallies questioned not only Bush's
    management of the crisis but his legitimacy to govern.

    "Both want war, both unelected" one poster read alongside pictures of Bush
    and Osama Bin Laden. As thousands marched toward Capital Hill on Saturday,
    many were chanting "No War in our name, Islam is not to blame". Many
    speakers denounced the racial profiling of Arabs, Muslims and Asians that
    gained added legitimacy after the 11 September attacks. One African
    American speaker noted how "There was no racial profiling of white guys
    with crew cuts after the Oklahoma City bombing," a reference to convicted
    bomber Timothy McVeigh.

    Other speakers warned against the trampling over of the Bill of Rights and
    other civil liberties on the path to increased security. Policy analyst
    Phyllis Bennis explained increasing vocal outcry against the war as the
    result of the lack of any transition period between grief and war. "The
    people are beginning to resent not being given time to mourn," she said.
    "We were rushed through the mourning into a war build-up" she said.

    Coverage of the weekend rallies and other anti-war gatherings, vigils and
    student activism on campuses across the country have largely been ignored
    by the drum-beating mainstream media, or buried in obscure places inside
    newspapers. The participation of anarchists who advocate the destruction of
    the capitalist system was highlighted in media coverage in an effort to
    drown the legitimate concerns of the many more ordinary Americans.
    Similarly, TV footage gave prominence to the marginal incidents of violence
    involving the anarchists at the rally on Saturday.

    Public opinion polls indicating that 90 per cent of Americans surveyed
    support the coming war have been extensively quoted by media voices in
    newspapers and on TV. Mary Lou Greenburg, a self- declared communist and
    feminist who came from New York to attend the DC peace demonstrations,
    acknowledged that the findings represent some sentiments among the public,
    but cautioned against sweeping generalisations. "The message of those polls
    is generally to tell the people what they should be thinking."

    Citing the writings of philosopher and linguist Noam Chomsky, Greenburg
    talked about the role of the corporate media in the US in "controlling the
    public mind" and mobilising community opinion in favour of vapid, empty
    concepts, like Americanism.

    The national media watch group FAIR has criticised what it sees as the many
    media voices that have enlisted in the administration's push towards war.
    FAIR founder Jeff Cohen noted that CBS anchor Dan Rather seemed "more
    soldier than reporter" on a popular late-night talk show when he endorsed
    the war drive.

    Appallingly little attention has been devoted in the mainstream media to
    obtaining justice through international law and UN sanctioned processes.
    Many experts of international law insist that the Bush administration has
    yet to present evidence to substantiate its claim that this is an act of
    war -- not a crime against humanity.

    Francis Boyle, the renowned professor of international law at the
    University of Illinois College of Law, said: "Even if the Bush
    administration were to publicly provide clear and convincing evidence that
    Mr Bin Laden and his organisation were somehow behind the terrorist
    bombings in New York and Washington, the United States government would
    still have no valid justification or excuse for committing acts of war
    against Afghanistan. Both the United Nations Charter of 1945 and the
    Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 absolutely require the United States to exhaust
    all means for the peaceful resolution of this dispute. So far the Bush
    administration has not even begun this legally mandated process."

    Boyle, who helped resolve the dispute between the US, the UK and Libya over
    the handling of the Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie bombing case, believes
    that the 1971 Montreal Sabotage Convention, which was invoked in the
    Lockerbie crisis, is directly relevant in the current crisis. The same
    convention, he says, "provides a comprehensive framework for dealing with
    the current dispute between Afghanistan and the United States."

    Clearly, Professor Boyle's views are not common. An appearance on the Fox
    News Channel with the right-wing pundit Bill O'Reilly on 13 September seems
    to have branded Boyle an undesirable guest. After the show, in which he
    argued for presentation of evidence, for authorisation from the Security
    Council and for adherence to the rule of law, Boyle has not been invited
    again to speak on any prime-time news programmes.

    Pleas for nonviolence have largely been dismissed as pacifist claptrap.
    Among those cautioning against the war is the African American Reverend
    Graylan Hagler, pastor of the Plymouth congregation of the United Christ
    Church in DC. Reverend Hagler has led many pro- peace and interfaith
    meetings and has spoken out against what he calls "a US foreign policy
    organised around a need to dominate [rather] than to cooperate." The
    reverend believes that the message he is getting from his parishioners is
    one calling for tolerance and peace. "This is not reflected in the media,"
    he says, adding, "The media has editorialised, ideologised and has
    conditioned the people into blind hysteria."

    The voices of dissent are growing by the day. It is not clear, however, to
    what extent they can impact the course of the war as American aircraft
    carriers continue to arrive in the Persian Gulf. As the anticipated war
    fails to discriminate between the alleged terrorists and the innocent, it
    will be even harder for those Americans I saw at the anti-war rallies to
    make sense of what they inscribed earlier on their signs: "I would like to
    be able to love my country and justice at the same time."


    Peace groups protest against strikes on Afghanistan


    Mon, 8 Oct 2001

    As the US-led coalition against terrorism began strikes on Afghanistan,
    small groups of protesters have condemned the violence.
    In Melbourne, a coalition of anti-war groups held a peace vigil in City Square.
    The church, environment and peace groups are calling for an end to the
    military strikes, which they say could provoke further terrorist retribution.
    About 300 protesters attended the vigil, saying while they condemn the
    attack on the US, any strikes against Afghanistan will only see civilian
    casualties rise.
    They are calling for negotiations, not war between the United States and
    the Taliban.

    In Sydney, another coalition of peace and environment groups protested in
    Martin Place.
    The protesters described the attacks as a "racist war".
    "What do we say to war? No," they chanted.

    Spontaneous demonstrations also took place in numerous German cities.
    At Cologne, about 100 pacifists and leftists lit candles in front of the
    American cultural centre.
    About 100 more gathered in Hamburg, another 100 in Bonn, 50 in Muenster and
    50 at Dresden.
    In the capital Berlin, more than 120 leftists lit candles at the large
    square of Alexanderplatz, the traditional site of demonstrations on the
    east side of the city, before marching to the Brandenburg Gate.


    In NYC, Thousands Rally & March for Peace

    by Bill Koehnlein

    New York, October 7 (NY Transfer)--Thousands of anti-war
    demonstrators marched in New York City on Sunday in a protest made
    more timely and urgent by the US bombing of Afghanistan that started

    The demonstration, which began barely two hours after the first bombs
    were dropped, was organized by a broad coalition of peace, labor,
    religious, political and social justice organizations that came
    together just days after the attack on the World Trade Center to
    discuss left and progressive responses to the impending threats of
    war, racist backlashes against Arab Americans, and the erosion of
    civil liberties.

    The demonstrators, who reflected the diversity of New York City,
    assembled at Union Square Park in lower Manhattan, barely two miles
    from the site of the World Trade Center, for a march to Times Square.
    Within a couple of days of the September 11 attack, Union Square had
    become transformed into a memorial shrine to the Trade Center
    victims, and its south plaza grew into an altar where people left
    candles, flowers, photographs of missing friends or family members,
    and signs and posters expressing their feelings about what had
    happened. Since that time, the park has become the focal point for
    many of New York's ongoing peace activities.

    Some of the demonstrators were seasoned activists, and a contingent
    from Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade--US volunteers who
    fought against fascism in Spain in the 1930s--received cheers as they
    made their way towards Times Square. For others, this was their first
    demonstration, and the feelings of many were summed up by a young
    woman who said, "I don't know all the issues involved, or who's right
    or wrong, but I know that war is no solution. It will only make
    things worse, and I'm afraid."

    While the focus of the demonstration was on peace generally--one of
    the slogans of the day was "Our grief is not a cry for war"--many of
    the people who turned out blamed United States foreign policy for the
    crisis. "The American people have not been silenced," said Imam
    Abdul-Baqi of the Islamic Leadership Council of New York. "They are
    saying clearly to the president, 'We're against your policies. Stop
    the arrogance and respect people and their rights.' America is a
    great country, but it needs to change. Today it is Muslims who are
    victimized," he continued, "tomorrow it will be communists, and after
    that it will be everyone else."

    The need to find solutions through international law, where bodies
    such as the United Nations or the International Court of Justice
    would play a prominent role, was a concern to many of the people on
    the march. Numerous banners demanded "Peace through social justice"
    or proclaimed that "War is not the answer." Person after person
    expressed the fear that unilateral military actions by the United
    States would only increase the threat of terrorism, and cause the
    death and suffering of many innocent people in the US and
    Afghanistan. "The Bush administration has made a horrendous mistake,"
    said Charlene Mitchell, co-chair of the Committees of Correspondence
    for Democracy and Socialism. "This action gives us a false sense of
    security. Think of the eventual death toll. This will only heighten
    terrorism. We have to negotiate. We have to use international law."

    Local peace and social justice groups see today's demonstration as
    the beginning of a new movement for change. While many people
    expressed anger at both the attack on the World Trade Center and the
    response of US policy makers, and some expressed fear about what
    might happen in the future, others were confident that such a
    movement could affect lasting change.

    As Esperanza Martell, a long-time Puerto Rican activist in New York,
    made her way through the crowd and gave out flowers, she paused for a
    moment to say, "On the anniversary of the death of Che Guevara we
    stand for peace with justice in our time. Siempre hasta la victoria!"


    Anti-war protestors gather in London

     From AP

    ANTI-WAR protesters gathered outside the gates to Downing Street as Prime
    Minister Tony Blair announced Britain's involvement in the US-led strikes
    on Afghanistan.

    Extra police were deployed to maintain security less than 100 metres from
    Blair's No.10 office today, as the noisy crowd of about 100 people shouted
    slogans and called for an end to the military action against the Afghan
    regime that harbors terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden.

    Chants of "welfare not warfare!" and "we don't want this war!" blared
    through loudspeakers.

    "Stop the war, feed the poor!" they shouted.

    "I am opposed to a war because it is going to cause more problems than it
    will solve," said 55-year-old Londoner Jamie Ritchie.

    "We have had these wars in the past and they create more terrorism than
    they prevent. I would like to see a big change in the policies of what they
    call the international community."

    Kate Hudson, vice-chairman of peace movement Campaign for Nuclear
    Disarmament, described the military attack as "rash".

    "I am very concerned that innocent civilians will be killed or injured,"
    she said. "We are not aware that due procedure has been carried
    out through the United Nations Security Council."


    Peace protesters hit street to denounce air strikes

    EUGENE TONG, Associated Press Writer
    Sunday, October 7, 2001

    Within hours of the bombing of Afghanistan, peace protesters hit the
    streets Sunday, waving signs at passing motorists reading "Don't turn
    tragedy into a war" and "Stop U.S. state terror."

    More than 100 people gathered outside the Federal Building in Westwood for
    a peaceful demonstration watched by a handful of federal security officers
    and FBI agents.

    "The horrible events that occurred at the World Trade Center and the
    Pentagon simply can't be corrected by killing more people and dropping more
    bombs," said Walter Lippmann, 57, of Los Angeles.

    It was the latest of many demonstrations held throughout the state since
    President Bush first vowed to take military action against the Taliban
    regime following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

    A small group of about six or seven people waved Israeli and American flags
    as they staged a counter-demonstration outside the Federal Building.

    The group, which was separated from peace protesters by police tape, has
    been staging pro-Israel rallies every Sunday for more than a year, said
    organizer Suzanne Davidson.

    "I believe in justice for America," Davidson said. "I don't want to see
    anybody die ... but if there's going to be a war, there's going to be a war."

    About 200 pro-peace demonstrators rallied in downtown San Francisco on
    Sunday with some holding American flags that had white peace signs
    replacing the stars. They also carried signs that read "Peace Talks Now"
    and "Violence started it. Solidarity can end it." [Being personally among
    them, I can attest to the fact that there were in excess of 3000, but let's
    not quibble over crowd estimates when it comes to slanting the news!!!!!]

    Last week, 15,000 protesters gathered in the city to oppose U.S. military

    "I support justice instead of vengeance," said Margaret House of Oakland.
    "You can't get terrorists with bombing. They hide among the civilians. Any
    kind of bombing would create civilian casualties."

    At a mosque in south Los Angeles, about 100 people gathered to pray for
    peace during an interfaith service that included leaders of the Islam,
    Jewish and Christian faiths.

    "War takes the best in human life, the best in this nation," said Rev.
    George Regas, one of the organizers of the interfaith service. "I hate war
    for that."


    Assault On Liberty

    By Judy Rebick
    ZNet Commentary

    We are not even at war yet and the most important freedom in a
    democracy, freedom of speech, is already under assault.

    Sunera Thobani, a private citizen, a university professor and the former
    leader of the Canadian National Action Committee on the Status of
    Women is suffering the most ferocious attack in Parliament, and in the
    media for something she said. The media in Canada rarely covers the
    activities of women's groups, yet Thobani's speech made the front page of
    several newspapers and was covered on the national news.

    She was speaking to 500 activists who work in the prison system, the
    anti-violence movement and with poor women, Thobani expressed anger
    against U.S. foreign policy. She explained that if we want to understand
    the terrible events of September 11, we have to understand the raging
    anger against the U.S. in the Middle East.

    Thobani, who is an immigrant of South Asian descent, is a dramatic and
    passionate speaker. She was speaking to an enthusiastic audience most
    of whom was glad to hear an alternative point of view so she used
    passionate language.

    "U.S. foreign policy is soaked in blood," she said. You may not like the
    formulation but the truth of the statement is unassailable. In Iraq alone,
    500,000 children under five have died according to UNICEF since the Gulf
    War due to ongoing bombing and sanctions. There is a long list of bloody
    coups, civil wars and repressive dictators in Latin America and the Middle
    East over the last decades paid for by the United States to protect what
    they saw as American interest.

    She also suggested that women's rights would be further ahead without
    the domination of the United States around the world. Here there may be
    room for argument but there is no question that the strength of
    fundamentalists in the Middle East is directly due to U.S. support in the
    war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The U.S. props us autocratic
    regimes like Saudi Arabia, where women don't even have the right to drive.

    What she said has been shamelessly distorted by the right-wing media
    who seems to see an opportunity here to batter the women's movement
    as well as to create war hysteria. More than one mainstream columnist
    used the occasion to attack the leadership of the women's movement for
    insisting that advocacy is just as important as service in agencies working
    with marginalized women.

    The contrast between the reaction of the audience at one of the most
    successful women's conferences held in quite a while and the media and
    politicians gives us a glimpse of the possibility of the danger further
    isolation of an already seriously weakened women's movement in the
    context of war.

    Thobani is not the only one saying these things. Just last week, I heard
    British novelist Tariq Ali speak in Toronto. He was saying many of the
    same things. You can read similar arguments in alternative media in
    North America and in the European mainstream press every day.

    So why the ferocious attack against Thobani? While others may be saying
    the same thing, no-one has said it with as much passion, at least not in
    public. I have heard the same anger in meetings coming from people who
    have suffered at the hands of U.S. foreign policy, Palestinians, and
    survivors of the U.S. backed coup in Chile, for example.

    The ferocity of the attack on Thobani is not the only problem. Both British
    Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell and the Globe and Mail's editorial
    cartoonist suggest that her views put Thobani, who lives in B.C., in the
    camp of the Taliban. This smacks of a new kind of McCarthyism.

    In his war speech, President George W. Bush said "You are either with us
    or you are with the terrorists." Ms Thobani and many who share her
    critique of American foreign policy are with neither.

    A few days after Thobani's speech, the World Women's March put out a
    statement against war that the media ignored. A broad coalition including
    unions, peace groups, and anti-globalization groups issued a statement
    for global justice and peace and it too was ignored. At a grass roots level,
    there is a growing anti-war movement that has already taken to the streets
    in several cities. More actions are planned for October 20.

    Public opinion in Canada is much more divided than in the United States.
    There is little question that the attacks on Thobani are meant to put a
    chill on a growing anti-war movement.

    Thobani has always enraged the chattering classes for her refusal to play
    the submissive role they expect from immigrant women of colour. There
    she stood railing against the U.S. in defiance of the agreed upon rules of
    debate set by the ruling elite, dressed in the traditional dress of her
    people. I know a lot of people of Arabic or South Asian descent who feel
    the same way she does but they are afraid to say it. Now we know why.


    Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors
    Mime-Version: 1.0
    Content-Type: multipart/alternative;

    PREPARATIONS FOR WAR. http://www.objector.org/

    The tragic events of September 11 and beyond have pushed CCCO to the
    breaking point. Our telephones are ringing off their hooks at both offices.
    Staff has been coming in earlier than usual, working even later than usual
    and spending even more weekends in the offices.

    Those who are contacting us are people needing information, solace,
    compassion and support. They may be young women and men tricked into the
    military who are frightened about being sent into a war they do not
    understand. They may be Conscientious Objectors, either within or without
    of the military. They may be community activists needing support against
    the rising tide of jingoism. They may be worried parents, scared of what
    could happen to their children. They may be young people bewildered and
    confused by the false promises of recruiters and the current war frenzy.

    MORE: http://www.objector.org/


    Socialist Party Statement on Bombing of Afghanistan

    The Socialist Party U.S.A. stands in complete outrage at the actions of the
    US Government to bomb Kabul and other cities and towns in Afghanistan.
    This retribution is not and cannot be just. Instead this military aggression
    will only lead to more violence; endless cycles of retribution and war will
    again be in all our lives; innocent people will die; and we will be no
    better than the September 11 hijackers. Never in history has peace been
    obtained through war.

    We are sorely disappointed, though hardly surprised, that the U.S.
    government's campaign of so-called "Infinite Justice" has not and probably
    will not be conducted in a court of international law. To do so would open
    the possibility of true justice, where all crimes against humanity - those
    conducted against the U.S.A. and those conducted by it - are prosecuted

    We join socialists, anti-war and peace organizations, labor unions and all
    others worldwide in declaring our firm and passionate opposition to
    policies and actions that lead to war. The people of Afghanistan have
    never been, and will never be, our enemy.

    National Action Committee
    Socialist Party USA
    339 Lafayette Street, #303
    New York, NY 10012
    phone/fax: (212)982-4586


    Nothing anti-American about opposing the drive to war

    Mike Marqusee
    Thursday October 4, 2001
    The Guardian

    Reading the fulminations against the alleged anti-
    Americanism of those opposed to the current drive to
    war, I feel I've come full circle. As an American
    teenager protesting against the butchery in Vietnam, I
    became accustomed to being attacked by some fellow
    citizens as anti-American. It always seemed
    frustratingly unfair. After all, we were Americans too,
    and so were the GIs we wanted to bring home, and wasn't
    being American all about the right to entertain diverse
    views on our government's policies?

    Now, after 30 years abroad, I find myself in the dock
    once again for the thought-crime of "anti-Americanism".
    This time, the charge is levelled not by US citizens,
    but by British liberals, including adoptive Americans
    such as Chris Hitchens and Salman Rushdie. I wonder
    what they would have said to Mahatma Gandhi, who told
    the people of the United States that their country was
    governed "by a few capitalist owners" whose "holdings
    cannot be sustained except by violence, veiled if not
    open" and that therefore "your wars will never ensure
    safety for democracy". Or to Gandhi's American
    disciple, Martin Luther King, who described the US
    government as "the greatest purveyor of violence in the
    world today".

    The logic of the anti-American accusation remains as
    curious as ever. There is no rational basis for
    equating opposition to the demonstrably murderous
    policies pursued across the globe by the US government
    with hostility to the people of the United States. In
    my experience, the current anti-war protesters are
    motivated by a deep response to the suffering in New
    York and Washington. Surely it's the politicians and
    commercial interests exploiting that suffering to
    promote their own long-standing agendas whose respect
    for the dead ought to be questioned.

    In some quarters, the purpose of the anti-American jibe
    is simply to cast aspersions on the motives of
    dissenters in order to evade their arguments.
    Elsewhere, the impulses are different. People from many
    lands have long engaged in a passionate romance with
    America. This society of extraordinary wealth and
    diversity, with its contradictions, beauties and
    savageries, exerts a powerful fascination. What
    disturbs me in recent effusions (including Tony Blair's
    invocation of the Statue of Liberty) is the
    glorification of the US as some kind of unique and
    sacrosanct human achievement, whose flaws are merely
    incidental, and of no relevance to our collective
    response to the September 11 atrocities.

    This is an overseas variant of the aggressive
    boosterism that has for so long disfigured American
    political discourse and disarmed the American people in
    their own democratic arena. Too many British
    commentators seem intoxicated by America's affluence,
    and too few evince any real knowledge or concern about
    the conditions in which most Americans actually live.
    What Americans need now is a realistic understanding of
    their nation's place in the world, not the self-serving
    myths peddled by a corporate-sponsored political elite.
    Since September 11 I've been in constant communication
    with friends and family in New York and Washington and
    overwhelmingly they oppose their government's response
    to the terror attacks. They may be in a minority but
    they are as American as anyone else. I've also been in
    contact with friends in the peace movement across
    several continents.

    What has struck me is that so many of these people have
    sought refreshment at the well-springs of American
    popular culture, from soul music to Star Trek, and
    found inspiration in American social movements, from
    civil rights to gay liberation. Like the baseball
    lovers in Cuba and Nicaragua, they have no trouble
    distinguishing between a people's culture and its
    government. They share an understanding that there is
    no monolithic America that one can reasonably be "pro"
    or "anti". They reject the dangerous assumption that
    there is a single essence that defines a particular
    society, nation or culture. That delusion is the common
    ground between Bush, Bin Laden and the knee-jerk
    commentators who have fallen back on the charge of

    Recent events have sent me scuttling back to one of my
    boyhood heroes, the peculiarly American writer Henry
    David Thoreau. In 1845, in protest against the US's war
    with Mexico - a war of conquest driven by greed and
    jingoism - Thoreau refused to pay taxes and spent a
    night in jail. He explained his action in an essay
    entitled Civil Disobedience (it influenced both Gandhi
    and King). Thoreau urged America to "cherish its wise
    minority". And argued that when "a whole country is
    unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and
    subjected to military law, I think it is not too soon
    for honest men to rebel and revolutionise. What makes
    this duty the more urgent is the fact that the country
    so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading
    Mike Marqusee is author of Redemption Song: Muhammad
    Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties (Verso)


    Ad Hoc Committee: 'On Poitical Strategy'

    October 5, 2001

    Dear Friends:

    As we immersed ourselves in the fightback to Bush's war against terrorism,
    we felt the need to get our political bearings as leftists. So we organized
    a discussion attended by 27 diverse left activists in the San Francisco Bay
    Area on Sept. 30, the main points of which we share here.

    We are interested to hear your comments and to find ways to move this
    discussion forward together. You can contact us at bwing@arc.org. If you
    wish, we can send you the file as a Word attachment also containing
    presentations by Bob Wing and Max Elbaum.

    Ad Hoc Committee: Elizabeth (Betita) Martinez, Cindy Wiesner, Max Elbaum,
    Edget Betru, Harmony Goldberg, Clarissa Rojas, John Trinkl, Roxanne Dunbar
    Ortiz, Hany Khalil, Bob Wing

    Main Hypotheses

    1. September 11, and the Bush administration's reaction to it, is a
    defining historical moment, ushering in a new and dangerous period in
    international politics. Washington's agenda is to entrench the national
    security state and a new level of international dominance on the basis of a
    permanent war on terrorism--bringing the "new world order" to fruition.

    2. The defining political axis of this new period is Washington's
    international war on terrorism--and the fight against it. This is similar
    to the central political role the Cold War played in earlier times. Other
    struggles will certainly continue, even taking center stage from time to
    time, but they will be reshaped and connected by the war danger. The
    political and ideological balance of forces, demands, and outcomes of all
    struggles will be affected by this central issue, to one degree or another.

    3. Given this, the fight for peace should be the central demand for the
    people's movements. The fight for peace can unite very broad and diverse
    layers of the population. However, peace is not a centrist, liberal demand,
    but in fact is central to an anti-imperialist agenda. Its main content is
    that of staying the hand of imperialist war and fighting US militarism in
    all its forms.

    4. War and racism are the sharpest expressions of Washington's agenda in
    this period. They are the principal features of the Bush program of
    permanent war against terrorism at home and abroad, and the key
    particularities of U.S. capitalism and American politics. The intersection
    or relationship between war and racism, and between war and racism and all
    other issues needs to be clarified in order to strategically guide ongoing
    political work on all issues in the new period, and to link them together
    into a powerful opposition to Bush's war drive.

    5. The pressing need is for broad coalitions of everyone who is for peace
    and freedom, against the racist war drive, the attacks on civil liberties,
    democracy and social programs. To be most effective and lasting, these
    broad fronts should be anchored by fighting organizations based in
    communities of color, labor, women, lesbians/gays, and other oppressed
    sectors. Movements among students, youth, seniors, and religious folk will
    also be critical in this period, and may even run ahead of some of the
    oppressed sectors.

    6. The U.S. left is politically endangered and ill-prepared for this new
    situation, but has a critical role to play. We are challenged to reorient
    ourselves to the mass politics of the current political situation, break
    out of narrow strongholds and historically outdated fights, and build left
    unity in the course of working in the broader fronts.


    Rage against the war machine


    BY EVELYN McDONNELL emcdonnell@herald.com
    Published Sunday, October 7, 2001

    When Ani DiFranco took the stage in Missoula, Mont., nine days ago, for her
    first show since Sept. 11, the outspoken artist found herself
    uncharacteristically searching for words.
    "I didn't know what I was going to say," the 31-year-old singer, guitarist,
    and songwriter explained the next day. "I've been working on a long poem
    about the current state of affairs, but it's not done. It's not that my
    thoughts aren't formed; it's just that I'm very particular about my
    writing. I want to get it right.
    "Then again, I relish the challenge of speaking off the cuff on stage. In
    true folk-singer tradition, once I got up there, I found I had plenty to say."
    What DiFranco had to say would not make President Bush happy.
    "I'm wary of the hypocritical reaction of, 'How could one human being do
    this to another?'that pie-eyed American innocence," DiFranco said,
    recounting her onstage remarks. "Where was that question before this
    happened? Americans have been perpetrating that kind of violence for years,
    especially in the Middle East.
    "The battle cry for retribution is criminal, especially when we're standing
    here as a nation, looking retribution in the eye."
    When the United States was at war in Vietnam, musicians helped lead the
    opposition at home with protest songs such as Blowing in the Wind, Give
    Peace a Chance and War. And now, with the nation gearing up for what will
    most likely be its biggest military operation since Vietnam, some current
    artists are starting to meet the noise of the war machine note for note.
    Protests of the attack on America are morphing into protests of attacks
    from America. A remake of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On by 36 pop stars was
    originally recorded to raise awareness and money to combat AIDS in Africa.
    But since Sept. 11, Gaye's words -- "There's too many of us dying . . .
    only love can conquer hate" have taken on new significance, and some funds
    raised from that effort are now being funneled to victims of the attacks in
    New York and Washington.
    In the wake of so many deaths so close to home, many performers are finding
    they must find a way to express grief before they can articulate a
    response. Interviews with several musicians who have been politically
    active in the past revealed that most are finding messages of healing to be
    more resonant than cries of outrage.
    And within those healing messages, artists are drawing direct connections
    between the violence perpetrated on America and violence elsewhere in the
    world, meeting complex political realities with their own educational missions.
    "I think it is very important that we as Americans understand that people
    all over the world have suffered similar horror and humiliation," says
    Patti Smith in an e-mail interview. "This is not a time for indignant
    nationalism. This is a time to educate ourselves and to enter the world view."
    Adds Tom Morello, guitarist for the band Rage Against the Machine:
    "The lesson we should take from this terrible loss of human life is it must
    never be allowed whether the victims are Americans or the victims are
    outside of our borders."
                             INITIAL REACTIONS
    Like most people, musicians reacted to the events of Sept. 11 with
    disbelief, horror, fear and sadness.
    "There's 6,000 bodies 15 blocks from my house," says Kathleen Hanna of the
    New York punk band Le Tigre. "I can't stop thinking about that."
    "I had the wind knocked out of me," says Michael Franti of the Bay Area
    group Spearhead. "The first couple days I was listening to radio and
    watching TV a lot. Instantly I heard everyone politicizing the events, so I
    stopped watching and listening.
    "I felt to politicize things so early, we would lose our sense of humanity.
    It's important to stop and mourn and go through pain and sadness, so we
    would be guided by that voice of humanity and compassion."
    So Franti meditated. Morello gave blood and money. Hanna and DiFranco
    turned to song.
    "I'm trying to write my feelings about it," says Hanna, who in the '90s
    fronted the pioneering "riot grrrl" band Bikini Kill. "The way to honor
    people is to keep on living, to totally appreciate the gift of being
    alive. I also want to write things about taking care of yourself and not
    going crazy."
    Feelings of powerlessness were widespread, which only furthered the aims of
    the terrorists to frighten people into inaction. Those feelings can become
    tangled up with survivor's guilt: How can I go on doing what I'm doing when
    so many others can't?
    "As an artist, I admit that I have to motivate myself and hold on to the
    belief that art is significant in times of tragedy," Smith says. "But when
    I re-examine the role of art and music and literature throughout history,
    as a respite, as a rallying force, and as a source of inspiration and
    healing, I am forced to marshal my energies and get back to work."
    Getting back to work is both balm and directive, and several musicians
    spoke of their renewed commitment to combining activism with artistry.
    "Crisis fuels my will to work," DiFranco admits. "I'm out here yelling my
    head off anyway. It feels very important to be out touring. I'm looking
    forward to tapping into what this country is feeling. I had been feeling
    very isolated."
                             POP PATRIOTS
    The wave of emotion and humanitarianism that has swept the United States is
    encouraging to artist-activists such as DiFranco, who sees it as a sign
    that the country can get serious about the role it plays in world events.
    "We are a slightly more educated populace than the people who reacted to
    Pearl Harbor," DiFranco says. "We are drawing wonderful lessons from this:
    We are one people. Races dissolve into faces."
    Others, however, fear a slide from national concern to nationalism, from
    patriotism to jingoism.
    "There are two things to take away from this," Morello says.
    "There's a tremendous feeling of unity and empathy for the
    victims. Suffering has been made real; this isn't a flood in Pakistan
    buried on page 38. There's never been more goodness coming to the surface.
    "On the other hand, there's this barbarian bloodlust: 'We must soak our
    flag in blood to avenge this.' It is crucially important for there to be
    open and honest discussion of things going on in the world. There's a
    cycle of violence that America should not be part of."
    Still, getting their message heard may be the protest singers' most
    difficult task since most of these artists operate outside the parameters
    of the mainstream music industry.
    DiFranco sells hundreds of thousands of records on her Righteous Babe
    label, but she's not getting played on radio. Rage Against the Machine has
    enjoyed stunning success for a band with overt politics, yet after Sept.
    11, it was singled out in an internal memo by the Clear Channel radio chain
    as an act program directors were warned about playing.
    "That's one of the dangers of times like this; this horrible tragedy is
    being used as a pretext to silence dissident voices," Morello says.
    Since its existence was made public, Clear Channel has backed away from the
    blacklist, in sometimes Orwellian fashion.
    A spokeswoman at the company's radio headquarters in Tennessee at first
    said there was "an in-house suggestive" to "use your discretion," then said
    "there was no list." After describing the directive as "verbal," she then
    said "nothing was said. There was nothing there."
    Still, there are some "redemption songs," as Bob Marley called them, making
    the airwaves. They're being sung not just by the usual activist figures,
    but by such pop stars as Britney Spears, Nelly and Fred Durst.
    Proceeds from the remake of What's Going On, which was recorded Sept. 5 and
    7, were originally intended to help fight AIDS in Africa but after the
    terrorist attack on America, project coordinators Leigh Blake and Bono of
    the group U2 decided to earmark half the funds to the United Way's relief
    efforts; the artists agreed.
    Now, what Blake calls "one of the most antiwar songs ever written" has been
    getting regular airplay at the same time the United States and its allies
    are preparing to go to war.
    "I don't think any artistic person wants war," says Blake, who has also
    supervised musical fundraisers with the Red Hot organization. "Who of that
    generation [many of the artists on the record are of draft age] wants war?
    They want life. I interpret this song as: What is going on? What kind of
    world are we living in today?"
    Come Together, a star-studded tribute to John Lennon at Radio City Music
    Hall that aired on TBS last week, is another event planned long ago that,
    in light of recent events, has taken a new meaning.
    "It is obvious to me that Give Peace a Chance is more applicable than
    ever," Smith says.
                             CAPITALIST TOOLS?
    More radical activists see these benefit shows and records as feeding the
    war machine. Boots Riley of the self-professed Communist rap group The Coup
    criticizes the very nature of fundraisers. (The original album art for The
    Coup's new CD was changed after Sept. 11: It showed the band members
    blowing up the World Trade Center using a guitar tuner as a detonator.)
    "Who should be paying for the relief of the victims? Insurance companies.
    Working-class people are being told we have to pay for this," says Riley,
    the son of a Black Panther lawyer.
    Riley also criticizes the singing of America the Beautiful and the fact
    that the MTV-made video for What's Going On features American flags.
    "The flag is being used to rally people for war. They're turning that
    [song] into a commercial for war," he says.
    "That's probably an argument coming from a cynic who feels very powerless,"
    answers Blake. "People need a kind of camaraderie in these times.
    Friendship, patriotism, kindness and compassion are extremely important."
    The hyperbolic rhetoric of activists such as Riley, who barely tempers his
    wide-ranging diatribe against America with expressions of sympathy for
    Americans killed, are pushing some listeners away.
    Tristin Laughter is a publicist for Lookout! Records in Berkeley, a
    punk-rock label based in the lap of the American left. She lost a close
    friend Sept. 11 and the unsympathetic words of left-leaning writers such as
    Susan Sontag and Noam Chomsky have only added to her upset.
    "I have never felt more clearly my alienation from political movements in
    this country than I do now," she wrote in an e-mail to colleagues last
    week. "To analyze the causation of the terrorists' actions is to accept
    their violence as a legitimate political expression. I do not."
    "I am also not into wrapping a stars-and-stripes bandanna around my head
    Willie Nelson-style and honking in unison with 10,000 Durangos while the
    Lynyrd Skynyrd/W. remix plays from my radio. I am sad, and I am lost."
                             BUILDING COALITIONS
    In the past three weeks, some artists have become more sensitive than ever
    to the delicacy of the task of coalition building.
    "As a communicator, I feel I have to be very aware of people's thoughts and
    feelings and where their political knowledge is at," Franti says. "If the
    goal is to move people toward peace, we can't push them off by showing
    hatred toward people who might think differently. It's hard when our nerves
    are so frayed and close to the surface. We must be mindful and
    compassionate for everyone."
    Activists hope to learn from the mistakes of the '60s, when the
    war-resistance movement was seen as elitist.
    "I don't want to see a duality happen where college-educated people are
    casting anyone who's waving a flag as a backwoods redneck, which is a
    totally classist way of thinking," says Hanna. "People are allowed to have
    different opinions. We need to have dialogue. The people who go over there
    to fight are going to have different opinions of what to do strategically.
    I don't see a lot of rich lefty liberals signing up for service."
    The need for voices that speak to people's pain and confusion, instead of
    at them, may be greater than ever. While the artists interviewed at times
    slipped into the conventional lefty tropes slamming the media, blaming
    capitalism, generally, they spoke eloquently to the fears and uncertainties
    gripping the world.
    "Protest songs at their best give voice to alternative responses to complex
    and painful subjects," Smith says. "Often, they reflect the more
    compassionate and humanistic viewpoints and provide people with the words
    to express the best within them instead of the most reactive within them."
    Adds Blake: "We should be able to look to politicians at times like this,
    but we don't seem able to. Instead we turn to celebrities, who seem to
    speak our own language."




    Bush and Company's Grab for a Blank Check

    Wednesday September 26, 2001
    By Ted Rall

    NEW YORK -- We've been treated to some astonishingly vile images over the
    last two weeks: office workers hurling themselves into a hundred-floor-high
    abyss. A gaping, smouldering hole in the financial center of our greatest
    city. George W. Bush passing himself off as a patriot, even as he
    disassembles the Constitution with the voracious glee of piranha
    skeletonizing a cow.

    "There is no opposition party," Republican congressional leader Trent Lott
    chillingly announced as Democratic counterpart Tom Daschle watched in
    silent, cowed assent after Bush's speech to a joint session of Congress. And
    even if it's mainly the result of our pathetic desire to follow someone --
    anyone -- in the aftermath of Sept. 11, there's little opposition out in the
    cities and towns across our vast continent: Bush's job-approval rating is
    hovering up there with puppies and sunny days.

    It may have seemed meaningless at the time, but now we know why 7,000 people
    sacrificed their lives -- so that we'd all forget how Bush stole a
    presidential election. And as it turns out, national amnesia was only the

    "War" was declared against America Sept. 11, Bush told us, and we're
    declaring "war" right back. War against whom? Afghanistan (news - web
    sites)? Iraq? Canada? You declare war against a nation-state, not against
    terrorists living inside a country. You can ask a foreign government to
    extradite accused terrorists for trial, but you're not likely to get very
    far if you don't share good diplomatic relations. According to the
    Constitution, the president doesn't declare war -- Congress does.

    Without so much as an invocation of the Constitution-bending War Powers
    Act -- which would allow the president to commit troops for a limited
    time -- here we are at "war." Troops are being mobilized and allies are
    being gathered to fight ... whomever. Whatever. Wherever. Wallowing in a
    level of cynicism unseen since Lyndon Johnson conned Congress into the
    Vietnam War based on a Tonkin Gulf incident that never happened, Bush has
    capitalized on a nation's grief, confusion and anger to extort a political
    blank check payable in young American blood.

    Oh, right. First we have to "get" -- read, murder -- alleged terrorist
    mastermind and perennial bugaboo Osama bin Laden (news - web sites). "We
    rule out the possibility of his handover to America without substantial
    evidence," Taliban spokesman Abdul Hai Mutmaen said Sept. 24. This demand is
    nothing more than any country, not least the United States, would insist
    upon before extradition; the Bushies call this adherence to basic
    international law "a stalling tactic." But even if you don't believe that
    the Afghan government deserves this courtesy after all they've done
    (whatever that is), how about us? After all, we live -- or lived, before the
    Supreme Court subverted it last December -- in a democracy. Aren't we
    entitled to see some definitive proof tying bin Laden and/or the Taliban to
    the hijack attacks before we send our sons and daughters off to die in the
    Hindu Kush?

    JFK showed us surveillance photos of Soviet missiles in Cuba. TV cameras
    followed troops into battle in Vietnam. But according to an anonymous
    defense official quoted by Reuters, "There is a new way of doing business
    here, and it's not in the sunshine." And the "war" itself will be waged far
    away from prying journalists. "It may include dramatic strikes visible on TV
    and covert operations -- secret even in success," smirks Bush.

    We're at war with whoever Bush decides is our enemy. Not only won't he tell
    us how or why they're our enemies, he won't tell us how or why we're
    attacking them or how or why our citizens are getting killed trying to do
    it. Welcome to 'cause-I-said-so-ocracy. "Operations like those mounted by
    special forces are played out in the shadows," Edward Turzanski, a LaSalle
    University national security analyst, told Reuters. "It is not even clear
    that operations in which troops might be killed will be disclosed, at least
    right away."

    "It's important as this war progresses that the American people understand
    we make decisions based upon classified information, and we will not
    jeopardize the sources," Bush arrogantly announced Sept. 24. "We will not
    make the war more difficult to win by publicly disclosing classified

    For a man who hired goons to physically threaten Florida election officials,
    Bush is asking an awful lot of us in his one-man war against the world.
    Let's get this straight: We're supposed to believe this guy's account of
    "classified" information -- even while he tells us that, from now on, he'll
    be lying to us for our own good?

    If ever there was a classic naked-emperor moment, it was the morning after
    Bush's address to Congress. A competently delivered, committee-written hack
    job was breathlessly equated by liberals and conservatives alike to FDR's
    and Churchill's soaring oratorical highlights. Such is our craving for
    leadership that we're annointing a doltish daddy's-boy who still won't come
    clean about his DWI record with the mandate of heaven.

    Pacificism is no way to run a superpower. If concrete proof can be presented
    that a group or individual directly participated in the massacre of
    thousands of New Yorkers and Washingtonians, those people deserve to be
    brought to justice or killed in the attempt to apprehend them. I, for one,
    would shed no tears for the inhumane scum who caused so much misery to so
    many. But the memories of our dead will be poorly served if we let
    right-wing extremists bring about the imperial presidency Bush is shoving
    down our throats. Blank-check democracy, if you stop to think about it, is
    no democracy at all.
    (Ted Rall, a syndicated cartoonist for Universal Press Syndicate, is author
    of the new books "2024" and "Search and Destroy.")


    Gandhian Response to the Current Crisis:

    Thoughts on Gandhi Jayanti

    October 2, 2001
    by Romesh Diwan

             I have written many papers on Gandhian Economics; completed
    a book manuscript on "Gandhian Economics: Relevance. Theory.
    Policies; "and coordinate International Society for Gandhian
    Studies. Many friends have asked me: what would be a
    Gandhian response to the current situation caused by the
    horrifying events on September 11,2001?

    Intellectually there have been two different reactions to
    these attacks. Those who support the war effort have
    concentrated on the mass murder aspect of this attack. For
    them there is something evil in a person or/and an ideology
    that encourages murder of innocent people. They have argued
    that this evil need to be fought and eradicated since a
    modern society cannot co exist with such evil. They have
    minimized, even condemned, the suicidal part of these mass
    murders. In their view, this is an ideological issue. For
    them the ideology of suicide-murder is a grave threat to
    their civilization; materialism, democracy, freedom, etc.,
    as they understand it.

    People who question the legitimacy of war and violence to
    solve any problems brush aside the mass murder and
    concentrate on the motives of suicidal acts of these
    murders. They ask how and why would educated and
    well-trained persons commit suicide? They find the cause for
    the anger of suicide-murders in injustices their people have
    suffered at the hands of US over the last few decades. They
    talk of atrocities of the Jewish State of Israel and wish it
    to wither away. They are looking for other solutions than

    In terms of Gandhian analysis, both these perspectives are
    deficient because each of these two misses major part of the
    reality. The major problem arises out of the fact that both
    these analyses are Euro centric. Both concentrate only on
    the actions and reactions to mass murder in the US. Those
    who are now angered by the attacks have never paid attention
    to similar murders elsewhere, albeit on a smaller scale but
    on a longer period. Jews in Israel have suffered such
    attacks since the last 50 years. India has lost more than
    50,000 Hindu lives; e.g. murder of innocent Hindu pilgrims
    going to their temple; murder of innocent Hindus celebrating
    a marriage, Hindus separated from other bus passengers and
    shot on the spot. Similar murders take place on regular
    intervals in many other countries such as Philippines,
    Nigeria Since these are the non white Europeans, their
    murders are not news fit for the New York Times or The
    Nation or Z. Such ignorance and arrogance has kept
    Westerners uninformed about this serious threat. When it
    arrived, it sounded sudden and shocking.

    First and foremost, Gandhian analysis looks at the whole
    picture and not a part of it. Suicide-murder is not a new
    phenomenon. It has caught attention of the West today
    because it has large victims in the US. It is not an
    economic issue though economics is a part of it. To place it
    within the construct of economic and political
    discrimination is to miss reality by miles. Missing reality
    does not provide any meaningful solutions. Yet economics is
    a part of the problem. It is not only ideology. Though there
    is some relationship between the ideology and economics;
    it's not complete. Treating it only as an ideology also
    misses a good deal of reality and thus does not offer a
    meaningful solution.

             A meaningful solution requires first recognition of these
    two different problem sets. The policies and strategies to
    deal with the two are different and may even be in conflict
    with each other. Gandhi's life offers an example. To him
    British imperialism was a serious issue; it was the economic
    problem per se. However, he also wanted to solve the
    ideological problem, which came about in India in the form
    of a "two-nation" theory. There is something similar in the
    current situation. He spent a lot of his energy in trying to
    unite Hindus and Muslims. Being a votary of truth, he
    advised the Muslims to respect the wishes of the Hindu
    majority who has been humiliated by the Muslim rule with its
    and large scale destructions of Hindu temples, murder of
    Hindus and their conversion in large scale. To maintain
    Hindu Muslim unity he requested Muslims to voluntary give up
    all the places where temples were converted to mosques.
    Muslim did not accept this part of his advice. On the
    contrary he was stabbed a number of times by Muslims whom he
    regularly forgave In the end he succeed in solving the
    imperialist economic problem in the form of political
    freedom from the British imperialist rule but failed to
    solve the "two-nation" problem which has become more serious
    in India in the past two decades in the form of "Islamic

             If one applies this message from his life today, it would
    seem that the peace loving people in the West as well as
    their government should work on two fronts: (i) eliminate
    exploitation of the weak by the strong; and (ii)
    delegitimize the suicide-murder ideology. There is thus a
    need for satyagrah at both these fronts. People following
    Gandhian principles of justice and searching for peaceful
    alternatives to war therefore need to join the growing
    "protest" movement working towards the reductions in
    exploitation. They also need to address to the
    deligitimization of the suicide-murder ideology. For this
    latter objective they need to go to the Muslim ruled
    countries and peacefully protest against the suicide-murder
    ideology being propagated there. This is a hard struggle. It
    involves risk to one's life and welfare. Gandhian principles
    of ahimsa - non-violence - were not for the cowards but for
    those who have the courage of their convictions. Satyagrahi
    puts his/her life on the line because s/he takes the
    responsibility for these horrifying events on
    himself/herself in the form of a capacity to persuade the
    suicide-murders that they are wrong.

    One thing is very clear that the current thinking and lack
    of responsibility by those who are talking of peaceful
    alternatives to war will not go anywhere till they also
    follow Gandhi's principles; take responsibility and put
    their lives on line to stop the ideology of suicide-murders.

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