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How You - Yes, You - Can End the War

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By David Swanson

Simple acts and a little courage have worked wonders in the world.  Nonviolent people's movements won democratic reforms in Russia, booted the British out of India, resisted the Nazi occupation in Denmark, drove a dictator out of El Salvador and another out of the Philippines, ended Jim Crow, crushed Soviet power in Poland, toppled military regimes in Argentina and Chile, ended Apartheid, and brought democracy to the Ukraine.  George W. is no match for a force this powerful.

As powerless as we may feel in the United States right now, we have at our disposal the tools needed to end the war in Iraq and to impeach the criminals who began it.  The impeachment may have to precede the peace, but, in one order or the other, we can achieve these two goals.

There is a multitude of ways in which each of us can alter our daily habits to help make this happen.  While there may be a value to picking one or two angles of attack and focusing our collective energies there (and while I will recommend some priorities), it is also worthwhile to pursue the many avenues of resistance to the war machine in which every little bit of pressure will help.  Different tactics appeal to different individuals and groups, and it is a multifarious movement that will restore the rule of law to the United States and the world.

Most of the tactics I'll mention are easy and legal.  Some are hard.  Some involve civil disobedience.

The war in Iraq is a war fought – among other reasons -- for profits of oil and gas companies.  Do what you can to avoid buying those products.  If you must buy gas, buy it from CITGO or another company not profiting from the war.  Organize and pressure your local and state governments to promote renewable energies and conservation.  If you can figure out how to avoid patronizing telecom companies that participated in illegal spying, let everyone know.

Boycott war profiteers and funders of Bush and his allies, Republican and Democrat.  And work with allies overseas  to make these boycotts international or to apply labor pressure in countries with strong unions. 

That means boycotting every branch of General Electric, including NBC.  It also means boycotting every other major U.S. media corporation, with the possible exception of Knight Ridder, because they have not just profited from the war but have collaborated in producing it. 

And by boycott, I mean not only that you should cancel subscriptions to newspapers that helped sell the war, but also that you should not give a dime to place an advertisement – no matter how brilliant an advertisement – on television or in the New York Times.  Give your money to responsible media outlets that report the truth for free every day.  Support Independent World Television, Free Speech TV, Link TV, Pacifica, Air America, the Nation, In These Times, Truth Out, and the thousands of progressive print, radio, and internet outlets struggling to report the news.

How many times have we seen an outlet with no budget like break a story that eventually shows up in watered-down form in corporate newspapers, next to a full-page ad paid for by people like us.  That has to end.

Advertising is fine, but place it on outlets that are not part of the problem.  And place it on freeways.  Hold up posters at televised events.   Shout.  Disrupt.    Wear your message on your body, on your car, on your house, in your yard, in your Email signature, on your phone answering machine.  Place toy soldiers with "Bring me home" messages everywhere.  

And talk to your neighbors, colleagues, and family.  Nothing is more effective or efficient than talking to individuals.

My Email signature, which I stole from someone else's and many have in turn taken from me, reads: "NOTICE:  Due to Presidential Executive Orders, the National Security Agency may have read this email without warning, warrant, or notice. They may do this without any judicial or legislative oversight. You have no recourse nor protection save to call for the impeachment of the current President."

Do you have any dollar bills in your wallet?  Write "Impeach Bush and Cheney" on each one.  Do that with any new ones that pass through your hands.

Do all of these little acts.  But also become the media in a more serious way.  Create a blog, which costs nothing  , and report on what you do and what you learn.  Or make a website.  Videotape your events and upload the videos for free to Indy media or another website.  Send your news to us at and to other sites that will promote it. 

Phone talk shows.  Write letters to the editor.  Write op-eds.  Try to earn free media coverage.  Create a radio show or a radio station.   Create or participate in a show on cable access.  Create a newsletter.    And make use of local media, labor union newsletters, church bulletins, store bulletin boards, and store windows: ask businesses to post Impeach Bush and End the War signs in their windows.

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)
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