Virtual Round-table discussion on the state of the peace movement

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by Kevin Martin, Executive Director 

Foreign Policy in Focus, an excellent on-line publication of progressive voices on international issues, recently organized an on-line “roundtable” exchange on the state of the peace movement that featured an essay by Peace Action board member and SUNY-Albany professor and author Larry Wittner, and respondents from the movement including Peace Action co-chair Brian Corr.

 It’s very thought-provoking at this critical time for our movment, read it at and feel free to post comments on the site and/or this blog.

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    The language spoken by the American people
    does not matter, when it falls on deaf ears in
    Washington, DC.

    Has any candidate or representative in government
    heard what the “American”, say again “American”,
    people have to say.

    It seems they only want us to hear their rethoric
    and agenda. Knowing full well such has been
    bought and paid for by special interest, even though
    it is the “American” people that really pay the
    full price in the END.

    Where, other than Washington, DC, does price
    gouging start. We the American people can no
    longer afford the price of “Government for Sale”..

    Professional sports, or Professional Politics,
    the FIX always seems evident.





    There has never been a more perfect group of
    hemorrhoids gathered around the biggest elected
    rectum and vice anus in history.

    All requires permanent specialized surgical
    removal. No matter how embarrassing it is to
    our society, the problems need to be quickly
    and appropriately dealt with. Otherwise the
    cancer involved will spread and distroy the whole
    body leading to death of all functions as previously
    known. (OUR FREEDOMS)

  • kmartinpa

    from Herb Rothschild, long-time Peace Action activists and supporter, occasioned by Cindy Sheehan’s announcement a few weeks ago…

    The first thing is to express gratitude to Cindy Sheehan, and to affirm the
    recent decisions she has made to take care of her own needs. The Houston
    Peace and Justice Center will be honoring her at our annual awards dinner in
    November, and she richly deserves the honor.

    Unlike Cindy, I am confident that the anti-war movement, in which she played
    a major role, has succeeded, and that the struggle to end the war against
    Iraq has been won. In contrast, as I will contend a bit later, the peace
    movement has a life-time to go.

    It is often hard, while in the midst of a struggle, to know when the
    struggle has been won. We didn’t know that the Civil Rights struggle (that
    is, the end of Jim Crow) was won when the Civil Rights Act of 1965, the
    Voting Rights Act, was passed. After all, the struggle continued for
    several years after that and required additional sacrifices. Nonetheless,
    the course of history had been irreversibly changed in summer 1965. The
    struggle against racism, by contrast, continues as I write.

    So too with the Tet offensive of 1968. That terrible war dragged on for 6
    more years, and Nixon killed more Vietnamese starting in 1969 than had been
    killed by Johnson. Still, there was no question of America’s making the
    major new commitments of personnel and treasure that the generals told
    Johnson would be required for “victory.” We didn’t have the political will.

    And so too with Iraq. There is no possibility of “going forward” with this
    war. Even the Surge was so constrained by a lack of political will–and a
    lack of military personnel–that its dimension was pitifully small given the

    So what now for our movement, which began before the invasion and before
    Cindy lost her son, and achieved quite remarkable results in the run-up to
    the war?

    1. We mustn’t get frustrated and quit. Nor must we be fractured by angry
    debates about how extreme our resistance must get (a la the Weathermen in
    1970). If one of us needs some R & R or just to reduce her role for a
    while, that’s OK. But understand that we do that out of personal need, not
    because the struggle is hopeless. We simply must stay together and support
    each other in the spirit of nonviolent struggle.

    2. We must be prepared for at least three more years of U.S. occupation in
    some form or another. We’ll probably see troop reductions begin this year,
    and a major reduction in force in 2008. But the remaining forces will
    probably operate out of the highly secure permanent bases we’ve built. From
    them, and from the air, we will wreak more havoc on the Iraqis even as we
    reduce U.S. casualties. The large mercenary army will stay in Iraq, focused
    mostly on helping the oil companies control the fields and pipelines.

    We must not expect too much from a Democratic Presidential victory in 2008.
    Especially if Hilary Clinton wins, there will be an effort to maintain
    permanent bases in Iraq and also allow the mercenary armies free rein. Like
    Bill, Hilary is owned by the oligarchs who are financing her campaign.

    3. We must use the entire Bush legacy of corporate global domination at
    home and abroad to discredit imperialism. We must not let the Iraq war go
    down in the public consciousness as “a mistake.” That’s what happened in
    regard to the Vietnam War. We had a golden opportunity in 1976-1977 to make
    real changes in this country–begin to dismantle the National Security State
    and shine a spotlight on the wealthy elites whose bidding it does. That
    opportunity slipped away, in part thanks to Jimmy Carter (the candidate of
    the Trilateral Commission), and in part because the millions in the antiwar
    movement weren’t formed into a peace movement.

    To make the Bush debacle into a major turning point will require our best
    thinking, smartest actions, and unwavering wills.

    To conclude, the anti-war movement has won; the peace movement has not. Over
    the next 2-3 years, those of us in the peace movement must give leadership
    to the anti-war movement in ways that will bring participants into the peace
    movement–the life-long process of political, social, economic, and personal

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