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Building on the Antiwar Movement

Now that Iraq is "liberated," where does the antiwar movement go from here? The author offers his ideas...
Now that the US and British forces are being cheered in some quarters a liberators, the antiwar movement will be more marginalized, in this country, not in the world's peoples' view but here, more than ever. And, we, our govt., will become more dangerous to peace than we were before. What is now the point of our Sunday vigils? Will they just weakly die away until the next war which we will also be powerless to stop? I think that is what will happen if we do not act to become more than a protest movement.

The vigils have been amazingly successful. I applaud all those who made them happen. We need to captitalize on the good energy created and turn that energy into a political force with clout.

I am sorry that I was unable to be at the just future meeting on March 24 and that I will be out of town this weekend. Further I apologize in advance for putting forth ideas but not having time or patience to sit in meetings necessary to make them happen. I greatly admire those of you who have such patience and appreciate your dedication. But, I hope that the just future meetings might be a vehicle for making us more than a protest organization.

My germ of an idea for organizing follows:

Remember the Dixiecrats? They were Democrats but had their own (bad) ideas about what the party should stand for. I suggest that we become the "Wellstone Democrats" or some other appellation that clearly delineates that we are different. (Perhaps the "Dancing Democrats" to further distinguish ourselves from the John Ashcroft types).

Then, I do not care if it is a race for dogcatcher, if the candidates are not Wellstone or Dancers we have our own candidate. We start locally and move out from there to join with others, but not until we have local success. Karen McCarthy can be a Dancer, but if not, we try to beat her. City Council, non- partisan? no way, we support noone who doesn't adopt our basic principles and ask for our support.

There are many paper tiger groups in this city. CCP, Citizens, Freedom etc. None have the enthusiasm and people power of our Sunday vigils folks. Of course, we are from many different communities and are not of one mind on all issues. But, we have the potential to use the net to create a very powerful political vote seeking organization, that politicians would seek out for support and would hope that we were not against them.

Must it be Democrat? No. But I believe that the Republiczan Party is clearly the party of the powerful. Aren't the Democrats equally guilty. Yes. But there is a progressive wing of the party and it could be grown. Could it be non- partisan, picking candidates who are progressive from either party. Yes.

Why not a third party like the Greens? I personally love the Greens and I could see endorsing their candidates in certain races. They are an international movement and I like that. But, I know that when the chips are down,most will vote for the lesser of two evils and that the Green presence will help elect the worser of two evils. In our winner take all system, I say we have to take over the Democrats. Committeeman election?-Dancer wins!

We raise money. We urge money support from all our supporters for Wellstone candidates. We spend money for info ads telling people to support the ideas of Wellstone Democrats. We stand for something like a 1 cent gas tax directly to support our demoralized system of public education. People over profits. We believe in the rule of law in international affairs. We believe the govt should not be involved in our private affairs. We are like the Libertarians, except that we recognize how important are the things we do entrust to govt because we cannot, by ourselves, stop the exploitation of people and the earth for excessive profits. We respect the earth and the elders. Perhaps we are for reparations for slavery and for the holocaust done to the Native Americans.

This is where we get into great debates about what we stand for. But it is better to find common ground and stand up for that common ground than to try to achieve unanimity on all subjects.. Obviously, the choice/ life debate is a big divider among us. I personally suggest that we all be pro-life, but that we agree that this is a subject that is not proper for govt dictated morality.

As I said this is just a germ of an idea. We would have to form an organization and run it democratically and slug it out as brothers and sisters.

Well, I will close by saying how proud I have been to be with all of you standing up against a very wrong turn our govt. has made. But, I have been there before and so have many of you. We need a vehicle to grow our movement.

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Re: Building on the Antiwar Movement

obviously, limiting a post-protest organization to Wellstone democrats will leave out a lot of people. At the rallies we have republicans, democrats, libertarians, socialists, anarchists, independents, apolitical types, etc. all united in opposing this stupid war, but not much else...

I do however think the organization is a great idea. It can't hurt to have another progressive lobbying group here in kansas city, and the Democratic party could always use more shoves in the right (left?) direction. but you should make it clear that this new group doesn't represent all protesters, and just because someone is a protester doesnt mean they should feel obligated to belong to/vote for/give money to this organization. my two cents. :]

as for protesting, since the war is drawing to a close, it seems a little strange to protest the war ex post facto. i'm not sure if i should go this sunday... what are other ppl. planning to do?


a couple of quick comments -
Going to the protest does seem different now, almost disquieting. The crowds are smaller, which seems like we have given up.

Personally, I would like to turn our focus on impeachment. There are many enraged voices demanding it.

Also, I must mention that it really seems important right now to attend the 47th and Ward Parkway protest (Tuesday nights 5-6). During Brad's interview last week a woman was very vocal about this group of protesters. This very small group has been struggling with all sorts of passerby abuse. It is IMPERATIVE that we get some people to show up there, for support.
Please be there if you can. I will be there in support, for the first time tonight.

Re: Building on the Antiwar Movement

The whole 'mainstreaming' idea which was attempted was obviously unsuccessful. Within a week of war being declared, the wishy-washy liberal element we had been attempting to attract stopped coming to our marches. They are apparently afraid of appearing 'unpatriotic.' Liberals in office caved in to the Patriot Act and, with the exception of a very brief sting, have caved in to the Republicans. Liberals in town gave us support until the war began, but where are they now? Attempting to appeal to a broader audience basically just brought us fair weather friends whose commitment to stopping the war is minimal. Instead, we need to be working on building a consistent and solid movement of people who are willing to do what it takes to stop the war AND bring it into its proper context as a symptom of contemporary capitalism. We have now descended into having speakers who get too much time on the mic preaching to the choir, not providing any new information to the passsive receptacles who stand and nod in approval.

Re: Building on the Antiwar Movement

I am not sure that I agree with your reasoning for the drop in protest attendance. I am more of the mind that many citizens are feeling completely demoralized and powerless at this point. Our government has completely ignored our collective voices and peaceful demonstrations.

Re: Building on the Antiwar Movement

I think we do need to broaden the movement. I am uncertain about endorsing either of the major parties and find the history of third party politics in America to be checkered at best. I personally am an anarchist. Where do I fit into this vision? I do vote if I am virulently opposed to the policies of one or the other of the candidates/issues, or conversely virulently in support. I do not support the current electoral process. It is weighted in favor of the status quo. To change it one needs to obtain a majority for change. As long as we are a mass-market, comsumerist, conformist society we will be captive to the chains of the plutocrats.

We do not live in a democratic nation or even in a republic, representative or otherwise. We live in a plutocratic oligarchy. For those unfamiliar with the jargon, this means that we live in a society where a small group (relative to the population) of rich individuals are the ruling class. This does not necessarily require that they hold 'office' merely that they and their concerns are the ones that determine the course of a society/nation/culture.

I think the system itself is broken and that we must work to overturn the system of plutocracy and rule through consumerist pacification of the masses. The Romans had their Circus Maximus, we have our FAO Schwartz, Starbucks, Gap, Ford/GMC/Lexus, shopping extravaganza, etc. We live in a society in which the most popular leisure activity is shopping.

We do not buy out of need or want. We buy to fill the dead time outside of 8AM to 5PM, Monday through Friday. Until we change that essential nature of our culture we will be governed by those who control access to goods. I do not think simply changing the label will change the product. I no longer wish to purchase the political viewpoint du jour.

I am a radical, I am an anarchist, I want real change.

Re: Building on the Antiwar Movement

Mr. Slough's ideas are very interesting and succinct. However, I think that we need to continue to "shove this issue" into the faces of the Republican demigods in our community. It is not too early to begin rallying support to defeat Dubya and other Republicans and Democrats who support his policies.

To that end, there is a small group, usually four or five (sometimes more, sometimes less) of us stallwarts left over from the anti-war demonstratios who demonstrate daily at Millcreek Park on the Plaza between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. and at Oak Park Mall in O.P. KS, just outside Mimi's Cafe (95th & Qivira) every Sunday at noon. We are determined to keep up our efforts until Mr. Bush and his bullies are defeated in 2004.

Please urge all people that with whom you come into contact to support us and join us as often as they can. Thanks.


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