Building Unity in the Global Anti-War Movement

The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition in the United States issued a call in early October to mobilize for the March 19/20 Global Day of mass action. This is the second anniversary of Bush's criminal aggression against the people of Iraq. More than 100,000 Iraqis have died and yet the resistance to occupation by the Iraqi people has not been stifled through the resort to high tech massacres. U.S. soldiers are being killed and maimed in a war for conquest. In these ways Iraq parallels the U.S. war against Vietnam. At the same time the U.S. government is spending billions to kill in Iraq, Palestine and Haiti, it is destroying social programs and working peoples' security in the U.S.

Antiwar actions in Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles and in other cities around the country and around the world will take place on March 19/20.

On the first anniversary of the "Shock and Awe" invasion, March 20, 2004, the A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition and others in a larger March 20 National Coalition promoted the building of a united front under the slogan: Bring the Troops Home Now, End Occupation from Iraq to Palestine to Haiti and Everywhere. The demonstration also highlighted the call for Money for Jobs, Education and Healthcare, Not for War and in defense of civil rights and civil liberties. More than 100,000 marched in New York City refuting the notion that the antiwar movement must turn its back on the just struggle of the Palestinian people in order to build so-called broad support. In fact, the large turnout on March 20 of the Arab-American, Muslim, Haitian and other targeted communities helped the demonstration reflect the broad multi-national and multi-ethnic reality of the global people's movement for justice. This true united front organizing was a major step forward for the antiwar movement in the United States.

Rather than excluding the Arab-American and Muslim community, it is imperative that the antiwar movement deepen its solidarity. Struggling against all vestiges of national chauvinism and racism is essential if the new global movement is to realize its full potential. Bush and the ultra-right are using divide and conquer tactics as they target everyone's rights. The antiwar movement can defeat the tactics of Bush and the right-wing by demonstrating in practice that the people can build unity and solidarity among all peoples and all communities.

The demonstration comes at a particularly crucial time. The crimes against humanity inflicted on the people of Fallujah have become a metaphor for the entire criminal enterprise. Destroying a city and its people in the name of "democracy" barely masks Bush and Wall Street's real agenda.

As the Bush administration attempts to redraw the geo-political map of the Middle East, a corresponding parallel policy targeting the Arab-American and Muslim communities is being rapidly imposed in the United States. The ramification of this policy is in fact alarming. For example, Palestinian professors from Columbia to UC Berkeley, student groups from San Francisco State to Duke University, humanitarian and community organizations from New York to California and from Illinois to Texas, are being systematically targeted in the most vicious manner in an avalanching variety of methods.

Clearly, the Bush administration, aided by its allies and ideological neo-conservative underpinning, is attempting to silence dissent using the likes of the Patriot Act, criminalize criticism of Israeli policies (as in the case of House Resolution 3077), and fully marginalize Arab-Americans and Muslims.

Hate speech has been so normalized that hate mongers from Daniel Pipes to Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh are filling all sorts of media outlets with outright racism and bigotry with impunity. In the face of this multi-faceted assault, the clear linkages made thus far within the antiwar movement between the defense of civil liberties at home and the opposition to colonial occupations and conquest, from Palestine, Haiti, to Iraq and beyond, should be not only dearly protected but also expanded and strengthened.

We urge all antiwar and people's rights organizations to join together in this important day of action and global solidarity.

 


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