Thursday, July 14, 2005

Sept. 24--26 Action Alert--UFPJ

ACTION ALERT * UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE 212-868-5545 Click to subscribe

United for Peace and Justice is circulating this memo to explain the political reasoning behind our organizing approach for the September 24-26 mobilization, and to respond to concerns about our decision not to merge our September 24 demonstration with a separate anti-war event being organized that same day.

We have reached a real turning point in the Iraq War. The Bush Administration is experiencing incredible pressure to change course as a result of declining U.S. popular support, growing calls within Congress and the media for military withdrawal, and continued chaos and bloodshed within Iraq.

UFPJ is organizing our three-day mobilization in Washington, D.C. from September 24-26 to increase the pressure at this strategic time. This mobilization is different from the large anti-war demonstrations we have organized in the past in several key respects, and these differences have shaped the organizing decisions that UFPJ's leadership -- a national steering committee elected by our member groups -- has made about the mobilization.

Visit the Fall Mobilization Section
of the UFPJ website to download leaflets, endorse the Sept. 24-26 events, and/or make a much-needed financial contribution to our work.

The September mobilization comes as anti-war sentiment is dramatically growing throughout the United States. New polls indicate that up to 60% of people in this country oppose the war and believe some or all U.S. troops should be withdrawn from Iraq. If we organize in an inclusive way, with broad demands, accessible language, and an inviting style, we have the potential to organize the largest and most diverse demonstration against the war to date, with people from all walks of life coming together in a clear call to bring our troops home now. If we are willing to go outside our comfort zones and speak to people our movements don't typically reach, we have the potential to mobilize large numbers of people from outside the usual activist circles, people from a wide range of communities who are fed up with the carnage in Iraq and ready to stand up publicly for peace and justice. A truly massive turn-out for our September 24 march against the war -- representing communities large and small, of every color and ethnicity, every economic status, and every religious creed -- will dramatize to the Bush administration and Congress how unpopular and politically untenable this war has become.

The September mobilization also comes as years of intense anti-war organizing are beginning to pay off in the legislative realm, with movement in both houses of Congress to call for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. To build on this crucial new political momentum, our three-day September mobilization against the war will focus not just on the White House but also on Congress; it will include not just the major protest march on Saturday, September 24, but also, on Monday, September 26, large-scale grassroots lobbying and a mass nonviolent civil disobedience action.

Finally, the September mobilization comes as the anti-war movement is organizing more strategically than ever, pursuing a series of grassroots campaigns that target the most vulnerable aspects of the Bush administration's war drive. These include the increasingly effective nationwide efforts to counter military recruitment, a rapidly growing campaign of anti-war organizing in faith-based communities, and the multi-state campaign against the use of the National Guard in Iraq. As part of our three-day mobilization, we will be providing a range of ways for people to plug into these campaigns, including an interfaith religious service, grassroots training sessions, and "interactive stations" at the anti-war festival following our Saturday march.

As part of our effort to build the most inclusive and diverse possible mobilization, UFPJ has chosen two simple, broad demands for the weekend: End the War on Iraq, Bring the Troops Home Now! These main slogans are accompanied by five additional demands that link to specific campaigns: Leave no military bases behind; End the looting of Iraq; Stop bankrupting our communities; Stop the torture; No military recruitment in our schools.

We have chosen these overarching demands for the mobilization because we believe it is politically imperative to bring the largest number of people together right now in opposition to the war on Iraq. This September, we are seeking to mobilize all opponents of the war, no matter what their positions are on other political matters, and so we have kept our demands broad and simple. At the same time, United for Peace and Justice, as a coalition, has taken strong stances on an array of issues related to the Iraq War: opposing the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and U.S. support for that occupation; stopping torture and illegal detentions; preventing future “pre-emptive” wars against Iran, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba or other countries; supporting the democratic struggles of the Haitian people; and challenging U.S. nuclear hegemony by demanding the elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide.

For the September mobilization, UFPJ warmly welcomes our allies in the wide array of peace and justice movements to participate in the mobilization in ways that highlight the links between their struggles and issues and the absolute necessity to end the war on Iraq. We invite all those struggling for peace and justice abroad or at home to organize contingents in our march or feeder marches to the demonstration. The September 24 march is a powerful opportunity for labor, women, communities of color, lesbian/gay/ bisexual/transgender people, immigrants, youth and students, and many other communities to stand together and say, “We cannot make headway on any of our issues without ending the war and bringing the troops home.”

Some people have urged UFPJ to consider a joint demonstration with the Sept. 24 National Coalition, initiated by A.N.S.W.E.R., which is also organizing an anti-war protest on September 24. We take seriously the concerns from local organizers about the potential for confusion if there are two separate marches on September 24. Therefore, we have agreed to US Labor Against the War's proposal to convene a meeting with A.N.S.W.E.R. to work through logistical issues about the day, including the possibility of bringing the marches together. We are committed to working in good faith on this process. But because of our different approaches to organizing and how demands are articulated, we are not proposing a “unified” program that day. (See our May 23 memo to our member groups for a more detailed explanation.)

We urge all those who seek to bring this war to an end -- from national groups to local organizations to concerned individuals -- to put maximum effort into bringing new people and organizations into the nation's capital for September 24-26. The streets of Washington, D.C. are big enough to contain all of our events and movements that weekend. The important thing is that the streets be filled with as many people as possible, all holding the Bush Administration and Congress accountable for the continuing devastation of this illegal and unjustified war.

Massive 3-day mobilization in Washington, D.C. September 24-26, 2005
Visit our website today to download leaflets, endorse the mobilization, and learn more about the plans for this powerful weekend of action



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