The Republican landslide on November 5 was a sobering reality for progressives, but this GOP ascendance has done nothing to tamp down the enthusiasm and energy of the emerging antiwar movement.
On November 17, a coalition of prominent women’s groups began a peace vigil and fast at Lafayette Park, in front of the White House. The idea, organizers say, is to issue an urgent call that our safety and well-being as a nation will not be served by war but by focusing on non-violent resolution of conflicts, and by using our nation’s wealth, energy and skills for social programs such as schools, health care and affordable housing for the world’s poor. This will ultimately provide the seeds of a safer, more stable world order in a way that military might never can.
The goal of the vigil is to continue the protest through March 8, International Women’s Day, when the action will culminate in a peace march along the Mall in DC. The coalition is sponsoring a simultaneous online women’s peace petition, “Listen to the Women,” which organizers hope will contain at least one million signatures by March 8, 2003, when it will be presented to its recipients in the White House. Sign the petition and/or download a copy and help distribute it in your communities.
There are numerous other ways you can assist this effort:
–Join the vigil in Washington for as much time as you can–an hour, a day, a week, a month. You can fast or not fast, as you wish. While this action is initiated by women, men are welcome too.
–Initiate a solidarity vigil in your own community.
–Convince as many people as possible to come to the DC Women’s Peace March on March 8, 2003.
–Make a contribution to sustain this peace vigil and build the rally. Send your checks–large and small–to Women’s Vigil, c/o Global Exchange, 2017 Mission St #303, San Francisco, CA 94110.
You can email Kristi Laughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, suggestions or ideas.
You can also find more info at United For Peace, a new website representing a national network of more than 70 peace and justice organizations working to prevent war with Iraq.
Featuring a close-to-comprehensive collection of peace event listings nationwide, UFP is also coordinating a day of local actions–rallies, marches, protests, teach-ins–on Tuesday, December 10th, International Human Rights Day. Check out planned events in your area. And, if you’re involved in organizing something yourself, please post the details, using United For Peace’s easy-to-use submission page.
“If you think you’re too small to be effective, you’ve never been in bed with a mosquito.” This is the War Resisters League‘s arresting way of refuting the hopelessness so many of us sometimes experience. In the face of the mass media, big government, multinational corporations, mega-military machines, and a flood of information too great to handle, it’s easy to sometimes feel helpless. But we’re not. See the WRL’s list of ways one individual can make a difference.
Other things one person can do include signing and promoting the Pledge of Resistance and the MoveOn.org antiwar petition, downloading and displaying antiwar window signs, joining Cities for Peace, a growing effort to get City Councils and other representative bodies to pass resolutions against an invasion of Iraq, distributing Stephen Zunes’ Nation article rebutting the Bush Administration’s eight central arguments in favor of war and calling or faxing the White House’s opinion poll hotline to politely express your opposition to a preemptive attack against Iraq: 202-456-1111 (tel) or 202-456-2461 (fax).
Finally, for background material, see The Nation‘s special antiwar page featuring a collection of articles, a set of links and a series of organizing resources.