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2008: Looking Forward to a Critical Year for Peace and Justice

By Susan Chenelle  Posted by susanufpj (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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This past weekend the national steering committee of United for Peace and Justice met in New York City to examine where we are and to look to the work ahead. One thing was very clear: 2008 will be a critical year for ending the war and occupation in Iraq, preventing war on Iran and building a massive peace and justice movement strong enough to change the course of this country.

In 2008, the anti-war movement must up the ante, pull out all of the stops and build so much pressure on Washington that the next Congress and president will be forced to finally end the war and occupation in Iraq. We must develop new ways to express our outrage that this war continues to cause so much death and destruction both in Iraq and here at home. At the same time, we must be vigilant in preventing a new war on Iran.

This perspective led to the development of a 3-part campaign that will run through 2008 and lay the foundation for the work beyond:
  1. UFPJ will focus its efforts to end the war and occupation in Iraq on two of the major pillars that support it, by working to:

    • end funding for the war;

    • weaken the capacity of the military by supporting counter-recruitment projects, resisters within the military, veterans and military families.

  2. The coalition will focus energies on preventing any attacks, including the use of sanctions, on Iran.

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  3. We will work to strengthen the coalition by inviting new groups to join UFPJ and working with our member groups to help expand their organizing capacity. We will continue to build alliances with other anti-war forces as well as other progressive movements for peace and justice. Doing this work today will lay the foundation for our efforts in the future. As vital as it is to do all we can to bring the troops home from Iraq now, there are other struggles that need our attention, and that means we must build a sustainable movement for peace and justice that will continue and grow into the future.

Part of our 2008 campaign will be the development of different ways for people to participate -- people who have been involved for years and people brand-new to activism. We will use many different tactics, including activities and projects specifically related to the election-year cycle. United for Peace and Justice will work to make sure that ending the occupation in Iraq remains a defining issue in the popular discourse that no one running for any elected office can ignore.

As part of the year-long campaign, the UFPJ steering committee also decided on plans to mark the 5th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq:

  • In January we will kick off a 3-month organizing campaign, concentrating on work at the local level, that will help build protest activities around the 5th anniversary in March.

  • UFPJ is committed to providing major support to Iraq Veterans Against the War and its Winter Soldier activities in Washington, DC, on March 13th-16th. One aspect of our work will be to help local groups plan events that directly link to and amplify the Winter Soldier hearings.

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  • UFPJ will also participate in the planning and organizing for what we hope will be the largest nonviolent civil disobedience action yet against the war in Iraq. We will encourage people to be in Washington, DC, on March 19th to be part of the civil disobedience directly or to assist in support work. Our goal will be to have all 50 states represented in the action.
  • We will encourage those who are not able to make it Washington on March 19 to organize local actions, with the hope of having at least one protest event in each of the 435 congressional districts around the country on that same day. These actions will vary in character, but they will all be tied to the protest in Washington.

In the coming weeks, more details of the 2008 campaign will be laid out. The steering committee came out of the weekend excited by our plans, but also realistic about the challenges ahead. In the next few weeks, we will be having more conversations with the 1,400 member groups of our coalition, and many of our allies. And we will be hard at work raising the money we need to carry out this ambitious campaign.

Help us make 2008 the decisive year for peace and justice!

 

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Susan Chenelle is the Internet Coordinator for United for Peace and Justice, the largest grassroots anti-war coalition in the U.S.

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