The Peace Movement

The Peace Movement

The peace movement in this country is not monolithic. It is a diverse coalition of grassroots groups and people opposing war and imperialism. As I've written in previous posts, the large anti-war demos are a hodge-podge of various groups with different agendas, from free Palestine to hands of Cuba and free the Cuban five. We've got socialists and communists, anarchists and Quakers.

Now among these various groups are huge differences, but we've managed to stick together to oppose this war:

The ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition upholds the strategy of the united front. That is, we believe that the principal anti-war movements should seek to march together even if they have divergent strategies, slogans, and even goals.

This has been the ongoing strategy for people with ANSWER and a lot of other peace and justice coalitions. But as many people know, there has been a splintering of the movement between those who see the plight of the Palestinian struggle as part of the growing movement against imperialism and those who seek to accomodate Democrats who support Israel's brutal occupation of Palestinian land.

This splintering manifested over divergent views on Palestine, but its true matrix is the divergence between those of us who don't believe reform within the current institutions is possible and those of us who believe that change can be affected if we vote in the right people. I would belong to the former group. Many democrats and others on the Left belong to the latter group. The position of the former group was summed up succinctly by Brian Becker in his piece Raising Consciousness in the Anti-War Movement:

Our starting point is that war is not fundamentally a policy of hyper-aggressive politicians. Rather, it is the inevitable expression and manifestation of contemporary advanced capitalism, which has emerged as a global system. We identify this system as imperialism.

So if you think Bush is the real problem and not just a solution, you're going to disagree with us. If you believe our salvation rests in our ability to win seats for democrats in the House, you will disagree with us. But I think we must continue to stand our ground and raise the class consciousness of our fellow citizens. A large percentage of Americans don't vote in elections because they know it's a game between the rich in this country. We must then help draw the connection between the game of elections and why the working class in this country continue to lose ground. Our salvation will not be found in democrats or republicans. We hold the key to our own path to liberation and freedom.

The Democrats having fully embraced the Iraq war, are now seeing Bush's
weakness. They are trying to adjust U.S. imperial strategy in the Middle
East–what Congessman John Murtha calls a "strategic military redeployment in
the region." At the very same time, they are encouraging voters to leave the
Republicans for Democrats.

But the Democrats supported and enforced the economic sanctions that killed more than a million people in Iraq. They supported the war, and they support the idea of creating a pro-imperialist stooge regime in Iraq. They are been more belicose than Bush against Iran.–Brian Becker

There's no easy answer to these problems. I've talked to people at demos who clearly didn't understand the inclusion of pro-Palestinian groups or the connection between U.S./Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and U.S./Coalition of the British occupation of Iraq. It upsets many Jews and Christians who would otherwise be sympathetic to our cause. But I think when we are honest with ourselves, there's no moral reason to separate the two issues.

Nevertheless it remains my belief that a movement based on hypocrisy cannot succeed. Occupation is a crime. From Iraq to Palestine these occupations are sanctioned, enforced, and implemented by U.S. authorities.


Published in: on May 19, 2006 at 1:42 am  Leave a Comment  

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