Friday, September 12, 2008

A Million Doors For Peace

This I can say with no doubt: Until the antiwar-movement becomes a full time PEACE movement, it will still take years to end an unpopular war, prosecuted on lies and fear-mongering, just as it did with Vietnam and, now, in Iraq.

The forces against whom we are pitted are enormously wealthy and powerful. They are the very same forces who have controlled our Democratic Republic, with increasingly authoritarian, fascist tactics for over 4 decades.

Until the forces for peace are continuously operational in those activities which bring about social and economic justice, real energy reform and the withdrawal of public support for the American-led Corporate Empire, the cost of which has nearly, if not in fact, destroyed this nation, future anti-war movements will be equally as ineffective as this one has been for the last 7 years.

Being devoutly for something is far less exhausting and demoralizing over the years than being devoutly against something in an emergency, when one's voice can hardly be heard over the screaming and yelling of the deceived and, therefore, fearful and irrational.

posted by Katrina vanden Heuvel on 09/10/2008

At The Nation

At this moment, when the mainstream media has largely abandoned coverage of the Iraq War and the majority antiwar opinion, the presidential campaign is underwhelming in offering any vision of peace, and the antiwar movement clearly needs to redouble its efforts, an exciting mobilization is re-energizing the peace movement--the Million Doors for Peace campaign.

On Saturday, September 20, 25,000 volunteers across the country will contact one million people in their neighborhoods and ask them to sign a petition urging the next Congress to bring US troops home from Iraq within one year. (The timetable is based on a new report from the Center of American Progress--coauthored by Dr. Lawrence Korb, former Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan Administration – that suggests "an orderly and safe withdrawal is best achieved over an 8 to 10 month period.") This campaign is different from previous antiwar efforts because volunteers will be talking to their own communities instead of gathering in one place--such as the National Mall--for a traditional protest.

Spearheaded by USAction and TrueMajority, the Million Doors campaign has evolved into the broadest antiwar coalition to date. Karen Dolan, Director of Cities for Peace--one of the original cosponsoring organizations--said, "I've been at the center of the new peace movement since 2002 and I haven't seen anything like this before. Its exciting to me [because] Cities for Peace is involved with so many of these groups and I have often witnessed something like the divide between the more radical activists and more centrist groups - and I mean the terms 'radical' and 'centrist' in the most affectionate way, as two strategic sides of the same progressive coin! The unification of all of us bodes well for new energy and more creative, and hopefully effective, antiwar work nationally."

Other organizations participating in the campaign include: Catholics United, CodePink, MoveOn, Pax Christi USA, Peace Action, Progressive Accountability, Progressive Democrats of America, United for Peace and Justice, Voters for Peace, United Methodist Church-General Board of Church and Society, Organic Consumers Union, Democracy for America and Win Without War. Combined, the coalition boasts a membership in the millions and hundreds of state and local affiliates.

"We're shooting for at least 25,000 people to sign up and participate," said Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator of United for Peace and Justice. "This is a cooperative effort of all of the major antiwar groups in the country, and that's one reason we're so optimistic. It represents another level of the cooperation and collaboration within the antiwar movement."

Volunteers will be sent a list of 40 neighbors to contact and receive training materials, literature, and a petition from participating organizations and through the Million Doors website. The neighbors who volunteers will contact are all either newly registered or lapsed voters - a key strategy to broadening the movement.

"By targeting newly registered voters, and lapsed voters, we think that combination will allow us to talk to people who have not necessarily been engaged in the antiwar movement before," Cagan said. "They may agree with us, but they haven't yet taken a stand or taken any action.... We do believe that the vast majority of this country opposes the war. But it's also true that the organized antiwar movement has not yet been able to successfully tap into that constituency. September 20 will both energize people who are already part of the antiwar movement, and also reach beyond those folks to the next layer of antiwar activists."

All of the organizers feel that September 20 is critical to shining a light back on Iraq. Tom Swan, USAction's Iraq 2008 campaign coordinator and former campaign manager for Ned Lamont, said: "A lot of the Washington punditry is trying to ignore the fact that we're still at war, spending $12 billion a month, resources that could be put to use here at home. And while it's a slower pace, the number of our troops in Iraq who die continues to grow on a weekly basis.... There has been an entire vacuum on the war, and particularly the cost of the war, and the drain that it is on our economy.... We're going to go out and talk with [neighbors] about the war, its cost, and why we expect our leaders to end it now. By having these tens of thousands of people going out door to door on one day we're going to help put this issue back within the public debate.... About [how this] war was a bad idea, continuing it is a bad idea, and we need to end it now."

Beyond September 20, this mobilization has the potential to greatly strengthen the antiwar movement moving forward--and that's critical even if there is a Democratic president and Congress.

"No matter who wins in November, we... will need to continue to put the pressure on to bring the Troops Home from Iraq, and to stop new wars from starting or escalating," said CODEPINK co-founder Jodie Evans.

"We know full well that whoever is elected come November 4th the work of the antiwar movement is far from over," Cagan said. "And what our efforts on September 20 will do is help us expand the organized base of the antiwar movement... We will be able to then go back to people and get them involved in next steps, with local groups, or become part of a national effort."

"September 20 is very creative and it does several things," Dolan said. "[It] involves new voters; demonstrates a peace mandate for a new president and new congress; has the by-product of identifying antiwar voters; creates a new and dynamic list for the entire peace movement to engage after the action on September 20th and invite to join us in ending the war and in future grassroots activist campaigns."

Even if Barack Obama should win, Swan pointed out, "We think that when it comes to the war Obama is only going to be as good as progressives push him to be." (Swan mentioned my recent recounting of how FDR told progressives who sought his support on legislation, "You've convinced me. Now go out and make me do it." And they did. History repeats itself now - only through a strong, organized antiwar movement will any president be able to move aggressively to end the war and prevent future wars as well.)

You can sign up and get your friends to do the same up until the day before the mobilization. Do it now - start knocking on doors and help put an end to this insane, disastrous war.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

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