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December 2002 • Vol 2, No. 11 •

“Help” from the Nation

By Rod Holt

The Nation, the Democrats’ major publication providing left camouflage, is very anxious to help the antiwar movement (and the two-party system at the same time.) It has created a new series, “Waging Peace,” which, they say, will cover the movement “emerging across America.”

Here is their pitch:

You can find numerous antiwar activist options at ActNow, The Nation’s new weblog. And check out UnitedForPeace, a new site launched by Global Exchange, for antiwar event listings nationwide.

You can also add your name to the Campaign of Conscience’s Peace Pledge to Stop the Spread of War to Iraq, Not In Our Name’s Pledge of Resistance and the MoveOn.org petition against war.

The web site for ActNow is: http://www.thenation.com/actnow/. You will need postage stamps for the petitions designed to keep people off the streets. However, you will not find one word about the forthcoming January 18/19 actions. Instead, they say, under the heading, “Winning Without War:”

…President Bush has agreed that war with Iraq should be the very last resort. … And though it’s difficult to believe Bush is sincere, it’s still worth trying to hold his Administration accountable to his words.

Toward that end, MoveOn.org is sponsoring a nationwide petition drive

The petition will be presented to President Bush, Secretaries Powell and Rumsfeld and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. …

Can you guess what it might be that they are “winning?”

In this context, the Nation provides their list of antiwar web sites:

War Times, Education for Peace in Iraq Center; Voices in the Wilderness, Not in Our Name, US Bombing Watch in Iraq, Iraq Speakers Bureau, The Center for Cooperative Research, ZNET Iraq Watch, Iraq Action Coalition, United For Peace, MoveOn.Org, PeaceProtest.Net, Jon Wiener Interviews Scott Ritter, Mothers Acting Up, Global Nonviolence Alliance, True Majority, Peace Action, Stop the War Coalition in Britain, Why War?, Foreign Policy in Focus, War Resisters League, Traprock Peace Center, The War in Context, Vote No War.

These are fine organizations with good web sites, reprints of news related articles, and schedules of various events and all are opposed to the forthcoming war on Iraq.

All these organizations and all the people they can reach are necessary to stop the war.

These organizations span the political spectrum from 100 percent pacifists to businessmen worried about the economy, from defenders of human rights to anti-imperialists, from those with family ties in the Middle East to those horrified by the war’s cruelty and disdain for human life. But the Nation ignores many other organizations, some of them very important although some are in the antiwar movement already—whether the Nation likes it or not.

Where are the Arab, Muslim and Palestinian organizations in the Nation’s list? There are millions of people living in the U.S. with very direct connections to the Middle East. A lot of their friends and relatives are in danger of being on the wrong end of the American’s high-tech weapons. For the last several years, every person connected to Middle East, Islam, or comes from western Asia has been increasingly discriminated against in shameful ways. Their most basic human rights are challenged. It is the antiwar movement that has the job of fighting against this racism and against the creation of bogeymen by the U.S. administration and its media.

People who live daily threatened by the Immigration and Naturalization Service must be included in the antiwar activity. People who are daily “profiled,” vilified, and subject to hate crime by racists (oddly invisible to the police) need to know they and their rights will be defended. A real invitation to join the antiwar movement would certainly be reassuring.

The Nation pointedly leaves off its list the socialists and their organizations. Many of us worked hard in the antiwar movement in the Vietnam war era. We gained experience and learned a lot that will be useful today. Socialists, and anarchists too, are today’s initiators and the hardest working members. Why does the Nation leave us off their list?

The Nation doesn’t ignore all the reds; they include VoteNoWar.org, which offers you a petition to sign (via the Internet) opposing the war. You see, the Nation approves petitions because petitions are part of the parliamentary system and their beloved two-party charade. That’s why they approve you signing a petition sponsored by the International Action Committee, an organization just recently trashed by the Nation’s Washington editor, David Corn.

If the Nation wanted to help the antiwar movement grow, they should be using their communication horsepower to bring in everyone, not just white liberals.

In addition to the Nation’s suggestions, we have a few sites. The Muslim Student Association has hundreds of chapters all over the U.S. If you tell a search engine to find web sites with “Muslim Student Association” you will find them all. The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (usually shortened to “ADC”) also will be found by your search engine with their web page posting events and press releases. The Palestinian Right of Return Coalition has a web site and an email news service, which will find for you hundreds of other related organizations. Their email address is <Al-Awda-News@yahoogroups.com> and http://al-awda.org. A good news source for activities north of the Canadian border is the very broadly based “Echec à la guerre” Collective at http://www.fiiq.qc.ca/echecalaguerre_e.htm (English). The most thorough source is Indymedia.org, which keeps up on planned events, covers those that have taken place, and offers news and background material. Their web site is http://www.indymedia.org/

For socialist organizations, simply asking the search engine for web sites with the name including “socialist” or “socialism” will get them for you.

The most important thing to learn from the Nation is that a healthy and effective antiwar movement is not to be built their way.

“Not in Our Name” demonstration October 6, 2002, in San Francisco’s Union Square. The demonstration was universally supported by the antiwar movement. An estimated 20,000 people attended the mid-day protest. Photo by B. Marsh.





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