PEACE GROUPS CAN BE PROUD!
We stopped H. Con. Res. 362, the military blockade of Iran, even though it was on the fast track to approval. The pundits said that it could not be stopped after 280 Members of Congress endorsed it, many of them intelligent and principled people.We believed then and still believe that it would have been an act of war. If a ship tried to enter an Iranian port and was stopped by an American ship claiming the right to inspect it, that could have started a war. There were lies and exaggerations throughout the resolution as well. For many of us, it was the nadir of the peace movement. There were too many rallies that were poorly attended; too many planning meetings without enough money or people; too many vigils where we ran out of candles. H. Con. Res. 362 was just too much of an outrage. People across the country wrote, phoned and visited their Congress people. The tide began to shift. Representative Danny Davis rediscovered his courage as did Congressmen Steve Cohen, Thomas Allen, Wm. Lacy Clay and John Lewis. Many who were hesitating decided not to sign on. Behind the scenes the bill’s sponsor, Gary Ackerman, was under increasing pressure to withdraw it. While he didn’t withdraw the legislation, the Congressional leadership heard our voices, and the bill was allowed to die. We should be very proud of ourselves! There is much work remaining. We must take heart from our great victory over H. Con. Res. 362, but rededicate ourselves to working together to: drastically cut our military budget; close many of our international military bases; shut down Guantanamo; repeal or drastically rewrite the Patriot Act; insist on OSHA standards and the right to unionize in any nation involved in free trade agreements; pay our UN dues; sign the Kyoto accords; and end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is much work to be done, but now we have a reason to believe that we can succeed... again!