Abayomi Azikiwe, Pan-African News Wire Editor, covering an anti-war demonstration in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 25, 2003 (BBC Photograph).
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire Photo File.
2) The Troops Out Now Call for a Massive, United Protest in Washington DC on March 17
Preliminary Report from the
National Antiwar Summit Meeting
On Saturday, November 18, more than 150 organizers and activists, representing more than 50 different antiwar, community, immigrant, and labor organizations, assembled in Harlem's Afrikine Restaurant for an Anti-war Summit Meeting.
This standing-room only, four hour meeting took up the our challenge as a movement to turn the electoral referendum against the war into a mass movement in the streets. Speakers acknowledged that, although the election was a massive popular rejection of the criminal occupation of Iraq, the war will go on unless we take this struggle back to the streets.
Amongst the things that those in attendance unanimously agreed on was that March 17, the fourth anniversary of the beginning of the criminal against Iraq, should be a time when the movement is unified around a national mass mobilization to Washington DC, in conjunction with mass protests worldwide. Participants in the meeting felt very strongly that notwithstanding important political differences within the broader antiwar movement, including past difficulties in working together, that it was most critical at this time when the mass struggle in the streets against the war needs to be revived that all coalitions reject fragmentation, unnecessary divisiveness and competition around protest dates and national protest, and instead pull together so that the movement in the U.S. can do what the world is waiting for it to do and shut down the war machine.
Among the questions that this important meeting raised and that the Troops Out Now Coalition will continue to discuss are:
How can we merge the antiwar movement with movements against racism, for the rights of immigrant workers, hurricane Katrina/Rita survivors, and for economic and social justice in a way that goes beyond symbolism?
How can the movement here in the U.S. show solidarity and build stronger relationships with liberation and resistance movements around the world, from Palestine to Haiti, and across the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Asia?
We intend to reach out to all national and local coalitions, because the times require unity and it is vital that we descend on Washington in massive numbers.
Youth and counter-recruiting activists met to discuss concrete ways to actually hinder the war effort, particularly counter-recruiting. They are calling on local activists to "adopt" a local military recruiting station and target each station with sustained protest until it is forced to close.
January 15, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday and birthday, should be a national day of action against the war abroad and the war at home.
While activists agreed that, while the election results were a massive repudiation of the war, the Democratic Party was complicit in the war from the very beginning and could not be counted on the stop the war unless there is massive protest in the streets. The election results require that we be in the streets more than ever.
A more detailed report on the meeting is being prepared.
An International CALL From The TROOPS OUT NOW COALITION:
No Matter Who Wins The Elections – The War Will Go On
Bring The Struggle Against War & Occupation Back Into The Streets
MARCH ON WASHINGTON D.C. & WORLDWIDE PROTEST
SATURDAY, MARCH 17, 2007
4th Anniversary of the U.S. Invasion and Occupation of Iraq
The Troops Out Now Coalition calls on antiwar forces in the U.S. to unite, rise up and take over Washington, D.C.; and antiwar forces across the world to march as well on Saturday, March 17, the weekend of the fourth anniversary of the criminal war and occupation of Iraq. TONC proposes that the period between now and March 17th be viewed critically and strategically as a time to re-energize, transform and strengthen the antiwar movement. As part of TONC’s preparations for this period, we will be convening a post U.S. election's Summit Meeting in NYC on Saturday, Nov. 18. We are also targeting, along with other forces, the Monday, Jan. 15, 2007 holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. as a day of nationwide actions against the war at abroad and at home.
ALL COALITIONS SHOULD WORK TOGETHER FOR THE MARCH 17 PROTESTS
We must work for and fight for greater unity within the antiwar movement. It is not necessary that the various coalitions and forces organizing against the war have complete agreement on political outlook or tactics in the struggle. What’s important is that we work together, when and where doing so maximizes our strength. TONC is appealing to all coalitions, at the national and local levels, to work together for the March 17, 2007 march on Washington D.C. What follows are TONC’S thoughts on the important issues, as we all assess what we need to be doing between now and the spring.
NO MATTER WHO WINS THE ELECTIONS, THE WAR WILL STILL GO ON
THE MOVEMENT MUST GET BACK INTO THE STREETS
No matter what the outcome of the November elections in the U.S., the occupation of Iraq along with more sanctions and war threats against North Korea and Iran will continue. No doubt many will vote next month hoping that somehow their vote will stop the war. But the vote won’t stop the war; at best it sends a message. We cannot vote against the war on Nov. 7 because there is no such referendum on the ballot. Even if the Democratic Party wins a majority in both houses of Congress, the war will go on because both the Republican and Democratic parties are dedicated to the interests of U.S. imperialism and not the people of the U.S. While they may differ on methods, the politicians of both parties are dedicated to re-colonizing the Middle East, robbing its oil, and depriving its people of the right to determine their destinies.
IT'S TIME FOR THE U.S. ANTIWAR MOVEMENT TO GET SERIOUS
The two interrelated processes that will end this criminal war and occupation are its defeat by the resistance of the Iraqi people on one hand, and on the other the mass struggle of the people right here in the streets of this country that refuse to tolerate the war any longer. The resistance of the Iraqi people has virtually accomplished its part. The weakness in this equation is the U.S. antiwar movement.
The people of Iraq, the Middle East and the entire world are waiting for the people of the U.S. to rise up and stop the war. The problem is not convincing people that the war is a crime. The overwhelming majority of the people in the U.S. hate the war and occupation. In large part the crises that we must address is the need for stronger, less fragmented, and a more determined antiwar movement. At this juncture, our challenge as an antiwar movement has never been clearer. The political system wants to dissipate, demoralize and channel the mass anger of the people over the war into “safe” outlets that do not threaten the status quo. As a movement, we will be of little use unless we deliberately counter the schemes to pacify mass antiwar anger and help to unify and liberate that anger through political consciousness raising, alliance building, and most importantly, mass struggle. The antiwar movement can draw inspiration, as well as a lesson about boldness, courage and the necessity to take the struggle to a higher level from the example of the millions of immigrant workers who left work across the country on May 1, 2006 to rally and march for their rights.
FIGHT RACISM & NATIONAL OPPRESSION--IF WE DON’T, IT WILL DIVIDE US
The more the system attacks the living standards of working people, the more the political servants of the system are going to intensify racism and repression with the aim of scapegoating, dividing and conquering all of us. Solidarity amongst peoples and movements and forward motion in the struggle will depend upon our movements' understanding of this, and whether or not we consciously fight against racism and national oppression in our day-to-day work and around all issues local, national and international.
BUILD ALLIANCES WITH THE MOVEMENTS FOR IMMIGRANT RIGHTS & KATRINA SURVIVORS
A top priority for the antiwar movement must be building real alliances with the movements against racism and national oppression here at home. Doing so will require that the movement forges a far more serious and qualitative relationship with the struggles of Black, Latin@, Asian, Arab, Native, and all peoples of color, and in particular the struggle of undocumented immigrants and workers for full rights and the struggle of the survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita for justice, the right of return, self-determination and reconstruction.
WE MUST MERGE THE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE WAR WITH THE STRUGGLE OF WORKERS
It’s not enough for the antiwar movement to merely give lip service to the struggles of working people for jobs, a living wage, the right to a union, health insurance, housing, education, pensions etc., and go on as a movement, separate from the masses. Our challenge from here on is to help facilitate something that is as necessary as it is natural--the merging of the struggle against the wars at home with the wars abroad. The struggle against the war should be inseparable from the struggles against political repression and for the rights of women, lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, youth and prisoners. We must find the tactics that bring more workers, both organized and unorganized, into the center of the struggle against the war, bearing in mind that ordinary workers may understand more about imperialism than some full-time activists do.
AN ANTI-IMPERIALIST WORLD VIEW IS CENTRAL TO OUR SURVIVAL AS A MOVEMENT
There’s a false notion in some quarters of the movement that we can only be effective by diluting our demands, our politics and our analysis (and tactics) to the lowest, safe common denominator. Just the opposite is true. If we are not guided by a deeper analysis, our movement will be left confused, ineffective and irrelevant. The truth is that we are not only fighting one president--dangerous war criminal that he is--we are also fighting a dangerous and criminal imperialist system. The magnitude of the world crises of this system today--and the wars, oppression, misery, destabilization and social chaos that it is generating with greater destructive intensity each day--demands that we fight it consciously. We do not have the luxury to pick and choose which U.S. war to oppose and which ones to ignore. We must be prepared to fight the global scope of U.S. imperialism’s war drive. We must also fight for an end to the occupations of Palestine, Afghanistan, Haiti and all U.S. occupations, interventions, plots, colonial machinations, direct or indirect as well as threats across the globe, whether against the peoples of the Philippines, Sudan, Cuba, Venezuela or Puerto Rico. Our challenge as an antiwar movement based in the in U.S. is to be stronger, bolder and more consistent in our understanding of the issues and in our actions.
THE IMMEDIATE, COMPLETE, & UNCONDITIONAL END TO THE OCCUPATION OF IRAQ
The war and occupation in Iraq is in a head-spinning free fall, and right now the generals and politicians are scrabbling in desperation to stem or at least slow down the meltdown. In the coming weeks, we will hear more plans coming from politicians, generals, and the White House for major changes to their Iraq war strategy. None of these face-saving plans will call for what we want--an immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of all occupation troops from Iraq. This demand has been and will now be all the more central to the independence, clarity, and strength of the antiwar movement henceforth.
NO U.S./U.N.SANCTIONS & WAR AGAINST NORTH KOREA & IRAN – DISARMAMENT BEGINS AT HOME
Other crises likely to take on more importance are the U.S. drives for sanctions and possibly military aggression against North Korea and Iran. Let the message from the U.S. antiwar movement to the world on this be united, loud and clear--that the number one nuclear threat to the peoples of Asia, the Middle East and the world comes from the U.S. Pentagon’s war machine and nuclear arsenal. As long as U.S. rulers are plotting regime change, occupation or both for any country that dares to object to U.S. domination, those countries are quite predictably going to try and find the means to defend themselves. We must oppose sanctions and threats against North Korea and Iran and demand that nuclear disarmament begins at home.
FREE PALESTINE – FIGHT ANTI-ISLAMIC RACISM
The response to the call for mass protests throughout the U.S. to protest the U.S./Israeli war against Lebanon a few months ago came primarily from the Arab and Muslim communities. While it’s a positive step forward when a targeted community is able to take to the streets and exercise its unity and power, as the Arab and Muslim communities did last August in solidarity with Lebanon and Palestine, it was a problem that participation at those demonstrations from protestors who are not from the targeted communities was relatively small. An important part of forging an anti-imperialist movement is fighting against the influence of racism--anti-Arab and anti-South Asian bigotry, Anti-Islamism and the demonizing of resistance movements within the antiwar movement. The more that we are a consistently anti-imperialist movement, the more we will strengthen the foundations of genuine solidarity and unity in the struggle.
THE MORE WE ARE ANTI-IMPERIALIST MOVEMENT – THE MORE UNITED WE WILL BE
The more anti-imperialist our movement is, the more connected it will be to the rest of the world; as well as the growing immigrant communities in the U.S. of Latin@, African, Asian, and Arab peoples; the more it will be a force for lasting solidarity; and the stronger, more independent and effective it will be. How do we forge greater unity? All one need do is observe the social and racial character of most antiwar activities to realize that limiting the demands and dumbing down the politics of the movement serves to narrow the base instead of broadening it. The next five months is a time to transform our movement and make it what it needs to be in order to push forward and stop the madness.
FORGE ALLIANCES WITH MOVEMENTS AGAINST THE WAR AT HOME
AN ANTI-RACIST, ANTI-IMPERIALIST MOVEMENT IS A UNITED MOVEMENT
* STOP THE WAR AT HOME AND ABROAD
* END ALL OCCUPATIONS--FROM IRAQ TO PALESTINE TO HAITI
* NO SANCTIONS & WAR AGAINST NORTH KOREA & IRAN
* FULL RIGHTS FOR IMMIGRANTS
* JUSTICE AND RECONSTRUCTION FOR KATRINA AND RITA SURVIVORS
* MONEY FOR JOBS, A LIVING WAGE, HEALTHCARE, SCHOOLS, PENSIONS--NOT WAR