September 24, 2005 has been set as the date for national demonstrations by the U.S. antiwar movement. We will return to the streets of the nation’s capital, and elsewhere, with a force determined to challenge the continuation of a brutal and immoral war and occupation. That the Iraqi War is the central issue in world politics today is not in dispute. Neither is the fact that there is a rapidly growing opposition to this war in the United States and across the globe. The potential for a truly massive turnout that can open the door wider than ever to our movement’s expressing the will of tens of millions is within reach.
But we have been asked to divide our energies on September 24 between two competing antiwar coalitions, UFPJ and ANSWER. Both have announced mass mobilizations in Washington, D.C. on that date, but in different locations.
There can be no justification for such a division. It is unthinkable that we can most effectively confront the warmakers by marching separately in what will inevitably be portrayed as two rival protests. People who want to end the war and occupation will never understand.
Is the destruction of Iraq and its people to rage on while our movement divides its energies? While billions are spent daily to make Iraq a virtual colony? While the same billions are looted from social programs at home? While U.S. soldiers die for corporate profits and while the American people are rapidly learning that the war was a lie from start to finish?
We cannot offer those who oppose the war and occupation a divided house. The divisions in our movement must give way to united action. There is still time!
We the undersigned propose that both coalitions join in support of these unifying demands: Bring the Troops Home Now! Money for Jobs, Education, Health Care and Housing, Not for War and Occupations!
This appears to be a sound basis for unity, in accord with what both coalitions have always championed.
The ANSWER coalition has called for a number of additional demands going beyond Iraq including: End Colonial Occupation from Iraq to Palestine to Haiti; Support the Palestinian People’s Right of Return; Stop the Threats Against Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea; and U.S. Out of the Philippines. The unifying demands in bold above provide the framework for advancing these demands, which can be reinforced by speakers, banners, contingents, signs and leaflets. It is understood that both ANSWER and UFPJ, through their own coalitions, would be free to express their demands as they see fit.
We are convinced that new forms must be employed to ensure that we do not constantly repeat the present divisive scenario so that the democratic expression of the ranks of the antiwar movement, which urgently call for unity, can be brought to bear.
Our differences pale before the power we can marshal with a united, independent and massive movement that visibly expresses our strength and unity.
We offer our good will and experience to help resolve the differences now and move forward united and stronger.
We propose to meet as soon as possible with representatives of the national antiwar coalitions to resolve all outstanding issues. There is no time to waste.
Issued by the Emergency Ad Hoc Committee For A United Demonstration in Washington, D.C. on September 24, 2005.
[Titles and organizations for purpose of identification only]
Kevin Akin — State Chair, California Peace and Freedom Party
Mike Alewitz — Labor Art and Mural Project
Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at — Foundations for Our Nu Alkebulan/Afrikan Millennium (FONAMI)
Khalil Barhoum — Palestinian Scholar
Patricia Behrend — Co-Chair, National Network on Cuba
Alan Benjamin — Member, Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 3; Member, Executive Board, San Francisco Labor Council AFL-CIO; Member, Steering Committee, United States Labor Against the War
Dennis Bernstein — Producer, Flashpoints, KPFA, Berkeley, CA
Peter Camejo — Green Party
Dr. Colia Clark — Longtime civil rights activist, co-organizer with Medgar Evers of Mississippi NAACP Voter Project in early 1960s; Fighter for reparations and against war
Greg Coleridge — Program Director, Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee; Coordinator, Northeast Ohio Anti-War Coalition
Alan Dale — Member, Iraq Peace Action Coalition (Minneapolis/St. Paul)
Chris Farrand — President, Graphic Communications Union Local 546M
Mike Ferner — Member, Veterans for Peace; Former Member, Toledo City Council
Conny Ford — Secretary-Treasurer, Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 3
Christine Gauvreau — Organizing Committee, Connecticut United for Peace
Kathleen Geathers — Coordinator, Women for Racial and Economic Equality
Paul George — Director, Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, Palo Alto, CA
Jerry Gordon — Former International Representative, United Food and Commercial Workers Union; Member, Steering Committee, United States Labor Against the War
Andy Griggs — Board of Directors, United Teachers Los Angeles; Member, Steering Committee, United States Labor Against the War
Milly Guzmán — Latinos Contra La Guerra
Jeremy Haiken — Organizer, UNITE HERE Local 217
Fred Hirsch — Vice President, Plumbers and Fitters Local 393
Abdeen Jabara — Past President, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Walter Johnson — Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus, San Francisco Labor Council AFL-CIO
Vicki Knight — Convenor, Women Speak Out for Peace and Justice
Tom Lacey — Northern State Chair, California Peace and Freedom Party
Jeff Mackler — Founder, Mobilization for Peace, Jobs and Justice; West Coast Coordinator, Lynne Stewart Defense Committee
Mel Mason — President, Monterey Peninsula Branch-NAACP, CA
Justine McCabe — International Committee of the Green Party, US
Robert Meeropol — Executive Director, Rosenberg Fund for Children
Saladin Muhammad — Black Workers for Justice
Hasan Newash — Director, Palestine Office, Michigan
Bill Onasch — Retired Vice President, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 287; Chair, Kansas City Labor Against the War
Carolyn Park — Member, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1938; Delegate to the Cincinnati AFL-CIO
Jan Pierce — Retired International Vice President, Communications Workers of America
Ralph Poynter — New York Community Activist
Jack Rasmus — Chair, National Writers Union, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter
Don Rojas — Journalist; Past General Manager, Station WBAI
Ed Rosario — Business Agent, Amalgamated Lithographers of America Local #1; Member, United States Labor Against the War
Meg Scata — Organizing Committee, Connecticut United for Peace
Dallas Sells — Director, Ohio State Council UNITE HERE Union
Chris Silvera — Secretary-Treasurer and Chairman, Teamsters National Black Caucus
Michael Smith — New York Chapter, National Lawyers Guild
Lynne Stewart — Attorney
Clarence Thomas — Co-Chair, Million Worker March Movement
Jerry Tucker — Former International Executive Board Member, United Auto Workers Union
Nalda Vigezzi — Co-Chair, National Network on Cuba
Barbara Walden — Vice Chair, Ohio State Labor Party
Leonard Weinglass — Civil Liberties Attorney
Kevin Zeese — Director, Democracy Rising
Howard Zinn — Professor, Radical Historian, Progressive Political Theorist, Social Activist and Author
By JEFF MACKLER
In these momentarily difficult times, tragically a small layer of antiwar personalities and a few well-meaning organizations have been drawn into the reactionary “right-left coalition” that is planning a February 19 “Rage Against the War Machine” Washington. D.C. demonstration. In the unlikely event that this effort meets with even a modicum of success, it will represent a serious defeat for antiwar, anti-racist, anti-sexist, LGBTQI and social justice activists as well as all groups that have been fighting against the inherent horrors of the capitalist system for a lifetime.