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Which Way for the Peace Movement?

The September 24 anti-war marches were big and they were effective. There is a good summary on http://www.pww.org/article/articleview/7798/1/288

In the previous week's issue of People's Weekly World, Judith LeBlanc raised the question of strategies now that the majority of the people in the United States, according to polls, are on the side of peace. Another big factor affecting future strategies is the relief effort after Hurricane Katrina, which exposed the Bush Administration's indifference toward the neediest Americans. After Katrina, the AFL-CIO called for a re-examination of the nation's priorities. Another big factor is the AFL-CIO's historic anti-war stand at the July convention.Yet another is the growing awareness that the Bush Administration has brought the nation into a potentially disastrous economic firestorm.

Taken together, these important developments constitute a qualitative change, as opposed to a mere quantitative change, in the anti-war movement. LeBlanc said that we need to re-evaluate the situation and our responses.

In the Vietnam War, the anti-war movement was student-driven, and the underlying material concern was the draft, which was resoundingly defeated, primarily by the giant mobilizations of the nation's largest and most dominating age group -- the baby boomers. Not all of them, unfortunately, continued their progressive trends.

During the Central Amerian wars, a civil rights element joined the basic anti-war sentiment, but the students were less effective. Civil rights and civil liberties activists have also joined in the present anti-war movement. Such sentiments were very evident in Washington DC on September 24.

The questions before us are: How do we integrate and mobilize the majority anti-war sentiment? What motivates working people? What activities turn them on? What activities turn them off? How can people be reached, and what should we say to them once we have their attention?

It is not nearly enough for the anti-war movement to serve up more-of-the-same rock concerts, protests, and prayer vigils. We need to do some serious thinking. Please participate and send your ideas!

 

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