A number of U.S. peace movement luminaries, including Tom Hayden, Medea Benjamin, Chellis Glendenning, Staughton Lynd, and Howard Zinn, have signed their names to “An Appeal to Global Conscience.” This morning Mr. Cranky Pants, filling in for me at The Picket Line, read the appeal and filed this report:
“We appeal to all peace and justice movements to stand together as a conscience of the world against the Bush administration’s bloody occupation of Iraq and drive towards an American Empire,” the appeal reads. “We may be in for a long war.”
We who stand for democracy in the United States should continue and widen our protests especially at local community levels to:
- oppose further Congressional funding for war and occupation;
- develop public support for military withdrawal;
- support local referendums on withdrawal and peace candidates in and ;
- build non-partisan peace alliances across all party lines, from left to right;
- support dissenting combat veterans, reservists and their families;
- call for boycotts and termination of profiteering from war and occupation by American corporations in Iraq;
- transition from fossil fuel dependency to renewable resources, conservation and energy efficiency.
Furthermore, since a “global behemoth can only be fought through global resistance… [We] call for further efforts, including:”
- support for asylum in Canada and other nations for U.S. soldiers who refuse for reasons of conscience to fight in occupied Iraq;
- demonstrations and political mobilizations in Europe and Latin America against President Bush’s frustrated search for “willing” allies;
- continued efforts to force the withdrawal of British, Italian and other foreign troops from the occupation;
- opposition to European participation in military training of Iraqi troops for an illegitimate U.S.-dominated regime.
Together we can undermine the foundations of war and occupation, make it impossible for the American government to continue its course, and begin to plant the pillars of peace.
I’ve often been amused, in an “amused & disgusted” sort of way, at how Iraq war hawks are so easily convinced that it’s worth any cost to rid the world of Saddam Hussein and his UN-defying, WMD-accumulating, population-oppressing ways, so long as that cost is paid with the blood of other people, preferably Iraqi people.
But the peace movement can be just as bad in their many Calls To (Someone Else’s) Action!
|Things I should do||Things other people should do|
|I should oppose Congressional funding for war||Congress should stop funding the war|
|I should develop public support for military withdrawal||The public should support military withdrawal;|
The military should withdraw
|I should support local referendums on withdrawal & peace candidates in and|
|I should build non-partisan peace alliances|
|I should call for boycotts and termination of profiteering from war and occupation by American corporations||Other people should boycott;|
American corporations should stop war profiteering
|Somebody ought to engage in a “transition from fossil fuel dependency to renewable resources, conservation and energy efficiency”|
|Canadians should support asylum for runaway U.S. troops|
|Europeans and Latin Americans should mobilize and demonstrate|
|Europeans should engage in continued efforts to force the withdrawal of troops from non-U.S. coalition countries|
|Europeans should oppose European participation in military training of Iraqi troops used to prop up the puppet government|
In the “things I should do” column are a number of things that require nothing more from me than voicing an opinion: e.g. “I do oppose Congressional funding for war!”; lots of calls to call for other people to do something — “hey you, boycott the war profiteers and support a military withdrawal; hey you war profiteers, knock it off;” one vaguely-worded wish about transitioning away from petroleum dependence; one pathetic call for toothless local declarations of sentiment on the ballot and support for “peace candidates” who will presumably themselves do something actually worthwhile should they win; and one actual call to accomplish something: to “build non-partisan peace alliances across all party lines, from left to right” (which would be easier to take seriously if there were more right-wing names among those at the bottom of the appeal).
Otherwise, it’s all about what other people ought to do. We should call on other people to do the right thing. We should support them when they do it (cries of “tally-ho” or some such). We should oppose them when they don’t (“tsk-tsk,” “the people united will never be defeated, you know”).
None of the things on their list really require anyone who signed it or anyone in its intended audience of American peaceniks to do anything different from what they’ve been doing — holding the correct opinions, engaging in the occasional protest parade, pleading with other people to join the coalition of the right-thinking. And that will “undermine the foundations of war and occupation [and] make it impossible for the American government to continue its course” about as successfully as it stopped the war from happening in the first place.