At this moment, when the mainstream media has largely abandoned coverage of the Iraq War and the majority antiwar opinion, the presidential campaign is underwhelming in offering any vision of peace, and the antiwar movement clearly needs to redouble its efforts, an exciting mobilization is reenergizing the peace movement–the Million Doors for Peace campaign.

On Saturday, September 20, 25,000 volunteers across the country will contact one million people in their neighborhoods and ask them to sign a petitionurging the next Congress to bring US troops home from Iraq within one year. (The timetable is based on a new report from the Center of American Progress–coauthored by Dr. Lawrence Korb, former Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Reagan Administration – that suggests “an orderly and safe withdrawal is best achieved over an 8 to 10 month period.”) This campaign is different from previous antiwar efforts because volunteers will be talking to their own communities instead of gathering in one place–such as the National Mall–for a traditional protest.

Spearheaded by USAction and TrueMajority, the Million Doors campaign hasevolved into the broadest antiwar coalition to date. Karen Dolan,Director of Cities for Peace–one of the original cosponsoringorganizations–said, “I’ve been at the center of the new peace movementsince 2002 and I haven’t seen anything like this before. Its exciting tome [because] Cities for Peace is involved with so many of these groupsand I have often witnessed something like the divide between the moreradical activists and more centrist groups – and I mean the terms’radical’ and ‘centrist’ in the most affectionate way, as two strategicsides of the same progressive coin! The unification of all of us bodeswell for new energy and more creative, and hopefully effective, antiwarwork nationally.”

Other organizations participating in the campaign include: CatholicsUnited, CodePink, MoveOn, Pax Christi USA, Peace Action, ProgressiveAccountability, Progressive Democrats of America, United for Peace andJustice, Voters for Peace, United Methodist Church-General Board of Church and Society, Organic Consumers Union, Democracy for America and Win Without War. Combined, the coalitionboasts a membership in the millions and hundreds of state and localaffiliates.

“We’re shooting for at least 25,000 people to sign up and participate,”said Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator of United for Peace and Justice.”This is a cooperative effort of all of the major antiwar groups in thecountry, and that’s one reason we’re so optimistic. It representsanother level of the cooperation and collaboration within the antiwarmovement.”

Volunteers will be sent a list of 40 neighbors to contact and receivetraining materials, literature, and a petition from participatingorganizations and through the Million Doors website. The neighbors whovolunteers will contact are all either newly registered or lapsed voters- a key strategy to broadening the movement.

“By targeting newly registered voters, and lapsed voters, we think thatcombination will allow us to talk to people who have not necessarilybeen engaged in the antiwar movement before,” Cagan said. “They mayagree with us, but they haven’t yet taken a stand or taken anyaction…. We do believe that the vast majority of this country opposesthe war. But it’s also true that the organized antiwar movement hasnot yet been able to successfully tap into that constituency. September20 will both energize people who are already part of the antiwarmovement, and also reach beyond those folks to the next layer of antiwaractivists.”

All of the organizers feel that September 20 is critical to shining alight back on Iraq. Tom Swan, USAction’s Iraq 2008 campaign coordinatorand former campaign manager for Ned Lamont, said: “A lot of theWashington punditry is trying to ignore the fact that we’re still atwar, spending $12 billion a month, resources that could be put to usehere at home. And while it’s a slower pace, the number of our troops inIraq who die continues to grow on a weekly basis…. There has been anentire vacuum on the war, and particularly the cost of the war, and thedrain that it is on our economy…. We’re going to go out and talk with[neighbors] about the war, its cost, and why we expect our leaders toend it now. By having these tens of thousands of people going out doorto door on one day we’re going to help put this issue back within thepublic debate…. About [how this] war was a bad idea, continuing it isa bad idea, and we need to end it now.”

Beyond September 20, this mobilization has the potential to greatlystrengthen the antiwar movement moving forward–and that’s criticaleven if there is a Democratic president and Congress.

“No matter who wins in November, we… will need to continue to put the pressure on to bring the Troops Home from Iraq, and to stop new wars from starting or escalating,” said CODEPINK co-founder Jodie Evans.

“We know full well that whoever is elected come November 4th the work ofthe antiwar movement is far from over,” Cagan said. “And what ourefforts on September 20 will do is help us expand the organized base ofthe antiwar movement… We will be able to then go back to people andget them involved in next steps, with local groups, or become part of anational effort.”

“September 20 is very creative and it does several things,” Dolan said. “[It] involves new voters; demonstrates a peace mandate for a newpresident and new congress; has the by-product of identifying antiwarvoters; creates a new and dynamic list for the entire peace movement toengage after the action on September 20th and invite to join us inending the war and in future grassroots activist campaigns.”

Even if Barack Obama should win, Swan pointed out, “We think that whenit comes to the war Obama is only going to be as good as progressivespush him to be.” (Swan mentioned my recentrecounting of how FDR told progressives who sought his support onlegislation, “You’ve convinced me. Now go out and make me do it.” Andthey did. History repeats itself now – only through a strong, organizedantiwar movement will any president be able to move aggressively to endthe war and prevent future wars as well.)

You can signupand get your friends to do the same up until the day before themobilization. Do it now -start knocking on doors and help put an end to this insane, disastrouswar.