The Guardian January 29, 2003


United, we can win

by Judith Le Blanc*

As we celebrate the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King, tens of 
thousands of US troops are being deployed to the Persian Gulf for war on 
Iraq and the US is rocked by an economic and civil liberties crisis.

King's stand against the war in Vietnam linked that war with the denial of 
the urgent needs of poor and oppressed people here at home.

Today, the US people in the millions are beginning to question the wisdom 
of war with Iraq and its relationship to the crisis hammering every aspect 
of our daily life.

The horrific events of September 11 have caused many in the US to think 
deeply about security, foreign policy and the use of weapons of mass 
destruction by our own government as well as others.

Last week a Knight-Ridder poll showed overwhelming opposition to unilateral 
US military action despite a right-wing/media pro-war blitz.

Polls are consistently showing that most people do not want war and favour 
continuing UN inspections to avoid the deaths of American soldiers as well 
as Iraqis.

With the Bush administration's continued assault on civil liberties, fears 
about an endless war on terrorism are growing. There is increasing 
suspicion about who will profit from a war, starting with the oil 
companies.

International co-operation to safeguard the planet from war, terrorism and 
destruction is increasingly seen as not just a good idea but a necessity.

Peace sentiments among the American people are bolstered by mounting 
international anti-war feeling, leading governments that have been Bush's 
staunchest supporters to express hesitancies about his drive for war.

Reflecting the mounting international and domestic pressure, differences in 
the Bush administration are surfacing, although the differences revolve 
around how and when to go to war, not on whether to go to war or not.

Nevertheless, these differences can provide opportunities for the peace 
movement to win victories in delaying and ultimately preventing war.

The belief that the war can be stopped is the strongest foundation for 
organising a winning peace majority.

Broad new elements are emerging daily in the rising peace tide, 
invigorating the traditional peace movement. The most dramatic upsurge is 
seen among the religious community, in the labour movement, in the fight to 
defend civil liberties, and in cities across the country.

The National Council of Churches, US Catholic bishops and new ecumenical 
coalitions have led vigils, lobbies, peace services and delegations to 
Iraq. Their moral leadership sharply challenges the Bush administration's 
demagogy.

Over 100 resolutions have been passed by labour bodies, and a national 
labour peace group has been formed, US Labor Against the War.

More than 30 city councils have adopted resolutions against war, showing a 
growing awareness at the community level of the direct connection between 
the human and financial costs of war and the spiralling economic crisis 
besetting cities, counties and states.

The future rests on bringing these millions together into a mighty peace 
majority that can stop war and turn back the ultra-right policies of the 
Bush administration.

Co-ordination of all these voices to maximise the movement's clout is on 
the agenda. The emergence of United for Peace and Justice is an important 
step in that direction. But we cannot be satisfied yet.

To build a winning popular movement for peace, the left and activists must 
involve the vast numbers of people in the political centre whose thinking 
has been shaped by Sept 11 and who are worried about the mounting economic 
and civil liberties crisis.

Co-ordinating the peace initiatives of labour, communities of colour, 
women, youth and students, faith-based groups, environmentalists, immigrant 
rights groups, civil libertarians and others will require patience, 
sensitivity and receptiveness to the multiplicity of forms and spontaneous 
expressions.

Most important, it will take a commitment to mobilising the full fighting 
power of the entire labour movement, communities of colour and other 
people' s movements alongside traditional peace groups in united grassroots 
action to stop the war and defeat the ultra right agenda.

The Communist Party is dedicated to helping build a broad nationally co-
ordinated people's movement for peace. At the same time, we place special 
emphasis on activating people at the grass roots, in neighbourhoods, union 
halls, places of worship, campuses and wherever people can come together to 
give voice to their yearning for peace.

An all-people's peace majority is emerging that can stop the Bush warhawks 
in their tracks. In the process, a broad people's movement is coming into 
being against the waste and destruction of militarism, and for a foreign 
policy of peace and co-operation and a humane, just and democratic society.

United, we can win!

* * *
*Judith Le Blanc is a vice chair of the Communist Party, USA and works with United for Peace and Justice. She can be reached at jleblanc@cpusa.org People's Weekly World

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