Published on Friday, March 19, 2010 by CommonDreams.org
Time for Rebirth: The US Antiwar Movement is Grieving, Dreaming, Growing
Think back seven years ago to this day. Where were you on March 19th, 2003, when the invasion began? Did you see “Shock and Awe” footage of the orange explosions in the clear
It's important to remember how we channeled this into organizing that built dynamic alliances, influenced public opinion, and communicated to the rest of the world that people inside the United States were not all united behind the war. At the same time, we failed to prevent the invasion and have not yet ended the occupation of
But the antiwar movement is not dead. Over the past seven years, while the number of people in the streets visibly protesting this anniversary has shrunk, what the news cameras have not shown is the building movement that has been happening, off the streets, under the radar, in communities. We are now seeing this organizing pick up steam as people have become disillusioned by the Obama administration's continuation of Bush's wars.
Many antiwar organizers shifted focus from prioritizing street protests to strategically directing their work towards pressure points where a mobilized grassroots can directly impact these wars. Strategies of supporting resistance inside the military have focused on withdrawing labor from a war that depends on soldiers' participation, thereby directly undermining the war effort. Iraq Veterans Against the War, one of the leading organizations of veterans of post September 11th wars, has effectively transformed from a speakers' bureau into an actively organizing body, with active-duty chapters and recruitment on bases, and a platform of open support for GI resistance and opposition to the war in Afghanistan. Counter-recruitment movements have been building their bases in schools and communities, organizing against the military's practice of disproportionately targeting and recruiting low income and poor youth and youth of color.
Another promising development is the slow resurgence of the G.I. Coffeehouse movement that played a major role in fomenting resistance to the Vietnam War. Over the past few years, a handful of coffeehouses in military base towns are supporting resistance within the military. One example is
This is the moment for the antiwar movement in the
In this time, it is critical to more deeply root our work in an understanding of the root causes of these wars, and to strengthen alliances between movements that are tackling different impacts of a common problem. We see small-scale successes in making these links and we must cultivate and broaden them. As we demand that money be reclaimed from the war budget, and put back into social necessities like schools and healthcare, we must speak clearly to this shift as one that is based in values and vision about what our society prioritizes. Linking wars at home and abroad is not just rhetoric, but is a strategy to strengthen our organizing. Economic and racial oppression inside the
Every one of us in the
A very real part of finding a human and holistic approach to stopping war is also, simply, to make space to grieve together. The sadness of this anniversary is not just about this one day, or this one war. It is about global relationships based on violence and dominance, about the ways in which these relationships play out around the world, about the lives that have been lost, and the lives that will be lost. And all of those who survive, traumatized, occupied, brave and resourceful.
We are mourning and invite you to join us in whatever ways feel right to you. This intensely painful anniversary offers a milestone to create collective space for our grief. Mainstream
Mourning is vital to honor the dead, and in this case, we are speaking about people who were murdered in our name. Grieving their loss is critical to our own humanity as well as affirming that all these humans who we've lost matter. Mourning is a direct challenge to the implicit devaluing of Iraqi (and Afghani and Palestinian, as well as those of
And the survivors? There is so much to honor and learn from the resilience and dignity of those who are surviving wars and state violence from
Our sadness and anger on this day reminds us of how interdependent we are. So what is your vision for March 19th, 2017? What do you hope the world will look like, and what is your role in making that come true?
“Mourn the dead. And fight like hell for the living.” - Mother Jones
Sarah Lazare is an organizer in the GI resistance and U.S. anti-war movement, primarily with Courage to Resist (www.couragetoresist.org ) and the Civilian-Soldier Alliance (www.civsol.org ) and is interested in struggles that link injustices at home with U.S. policies of war and empire abroad, moving towards the collective building of a more just world.
Clare Bayard organizes with the Catalyst Project (www.collectiveliberation.org ) and War Resisters League (warresisters.org ), building a G.I. resistance movement that challenges
URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/19-2
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs