Peace Movement at the Crossroads: the whole world is watching!
Tom Hayden, a founder of SDS, tried for conspiracy as part of the Chicago 7, California state legislator for many years, came back to Chicago last weekend (June 22) to share his thoughts with the General Assembly of the major anti-war coalition of the United States. He told the 200 or so delegates at the UFPJ (United for Peace and Justice) meeting that the key challenge for the 1400 member organizations is to find a way to move from
"protest to resistance". The anti-war movement has been enormously successful in moving public opinion from majority support of the Iraq war to overwhelming majority disaffection, now the next step needs to be strategic undermining of the "pillars of support" for the war. Hayden warned the peace organizers not to cling to our "minority identity": every thirty years or so there is a "majority moment" when the peace and social change agenda becomes the majority consensus. Peace organizers should be ready! Remove the pillars-some have already fallen: there is no plausible Iraqi State to defend, US public support has vastly diminished, the army is struggling to keep up its numbers, the global "coalition of the willing" has disappeared, US allies are horrified by our loss of moral leadership, citizens are horrified as well by the $200,000,000 per day cost....perhaps the only remaining pillars are the cheerleading media and the corporate interests that push to continue the war to success or
"stable" stalemate on the Korea model. After the kick-off with Hayden, the gathering spent 2 days in workshops, strategic debates, planning for new actions, and a wonderful international evening with visitors from Vietnam, Iraq, Palestine, and Iran. The fall program and events to end the war will be coming your way soon.
As the 2008 elections pick up steam, even as the Congress refuses to end war funding, many speakers warned that peace organizers need to remember "Congressional representatives are not 'us', they are our field of action"!
Mary Day Kent