Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Let's Build An Anti-War Movement.


How do we build an anti-war movement? Obviously whatever has been done isn't working. I'm guessing people are overwhelmed just trying to survive.

A "movement" does not consist or arise out of one person saying there should be a movement. Even Rosa Parks wasn't really Rosa Parks. She did not start the bus boycott. Lots of people around the country, in small groups, on college campuses, in churches, inside unions, in political party meetings, had begun to organize around the idea of civil rights. Thurgood Marshall's legal guidance was inspired and brilliant, which is why the Republicans hate him to this day. The NAACP, the lunch counter sit-ins, the freedom riders, of course Martin Luther King, Jr. , voter registration -- thousands of people worked on these issues. Rosa Parks was without question an incredibly brave woman who risked her life to sit in the front of the bus, but she was not alone. She had a solid group of people ready to come to her defense once she sat down.

I think the anti-war movement would have to be in combination with labor issues, for example, maybe vet issues. There are groups in existence already who would be likely to get out and demand the wars end, but the issues will have to be tied together.

But I suspect it would require lots of little groups -- 6 people here, 4 there -- maybe teach-ins, maybe speakers going to churches and talking about the money, the waste. It can't be mostly an angry invitation. It will not work if it is "what's wrong with you losers?" It has to be presented to people in a way that lets them decide, in their own group, that they want to do something to help.

I think unemployment and layoffs and state and city bankruptcies are ripe for organization. And they tie in logically with anti-war.

Maybe the unions, or what's left of them. Maybe organize at unemployment offices.

I've gotten out on street corners with other people, holding signs, and surprisingly we get mostly thumbs up from people driving by. Polls show the majority want the wars ended. How can we turn that into a demand instead of just a "hope."

I also don't think that screaming hatred at Obama is the way to go. The right has that position covered. Maybe another approach, something like "for the benefit of us all, to save the country, to stop the money, to bring the resources back home and create jobs for our own people." That has a certain appeal.

I also don't think one person can figure this out. Again, it needs to be a group organized around something, then group discussions, reach out to other groups. With the internet, it certainly should be possible to do research and develop a talking points (or maybe a monthly memo that people could put their own city's name on top of it, call it a blog). Let's say National Anti-War Blog, for example, then St. Louis Missouri Anti-War Blog. The basic information would be provided for use for whoever wanted in monthly blog or more often, but then local people would have to update to include local information.

Then put letters in the local paper with the updated information, send people to the blog. Make it local. How many people from your community are in the war, how many have died, how many injured, how many not receiving the services they need. How many unemployed, how many foreclosures, how many teachers and cops fired. No hope at all -- the federal government occasionally admits there is no hope, double-digit unemployment is the new norm, and if we don't like it, too bad. But if we weren't spending all that money on the wars, we could create our own jobs.

I would add in that we need to rescind every trade agreement, create worker-owned industry and pass protective laws to prevent imports. Period. No imports until our country is back on its feet. I would say no visa workers until our own unemployment is down to 3%.

People are terrified. They can't focus on the wars, which are far away, and rarely covered in the news, when their mortgage is in foreclosure. It all ties together, but different groups can provide part of the answer to the puzzle.

People do not hate Obama, except for the racist rednecks. It's possible, and I would say preferable, to create an anti-war movement that is not centered around saying Obama is a pig. Most Democrats won't accept that type of attack on him, would be embarrassed to be associated with that. The guy's got enough attacks from the right. Push, yes, disagree, yes, but attacking him, or attacking other people who are likely supporters, is not the way to build a movement.

Maybe reach out to some of the groups that have experience in organizing people, talk to them, see if they would get on board. Try to get groups in every state, have meetings, come up with a name (coalition to end the wars sound good), start with local activities and education programs, go from there.

As a last issue, the Democrats and their major supporting groups will argue that this is not the time, not now with the 2010 elections coming. After then it will not be the time because the 2012 elections will be coming. By corralling people into elections work, the democrats prevent us from doing the work that would actually help our country, focusing on the issues that might just save it. Obama has quoted Franklin D. Roosevelt in saying that if the citizens want him to do something, we need to get organized, get out in the streets, and make him do it. Let's take him at his word

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