Friday, June 22, 2007

Needed: a reality-based peace movement

Shouldn't a proposal to effectively mobilize the American public be--at a minimum--
reality-based? A popular proposal by Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith is being widely circulated on the internet and beyond. Like many statements by very prominent anti-war spokesmen appears to be based on either wishful thinking or propaganda braggadocio or willfulignorance.

"Over 60% of Americans want this war over--yesterday," Brecher and Smith shout.

There is huge difference betwen poll questions which ask whether the war is/was a mistake or do you approve of George Bush's handling of the war and questions which ask whether people favor an immediate withdrawal.

These polls can be found with great ease on the internet. They can be found here

Here are three polls from early June.

NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll

"More specifically, do you think that we should have an immediate and
orderly withdrawal of all troops from Iraq, or not?"

Should 37% Should Not 59%


"In your opinion, should the United States withdraw troops from Iraq right away, or should the U.S. begin bringing troops home within the next year, or should troops stay in Iraq for as long as it takes to win the war?"

Withdraw right away 25%
Withdraw within a year 43%


Are you more likely to support a Presidential candidate who
"Supports legislation that would cut off funding for the war in Iraq"

More likely 33%
Less Likely 60%

The fact is that only a minority of Americans support the out now position and it is a act of movement-delusion to pretend otherwise. Cute tactics may make small groups of anti-war activists feel warm and fuzzy and make them feel justified in denouncing the sell-outs of the Democratic Party, Move-On, and UFPJ. (To be honest, I suspect that the UFPJ and even DP
activstis are not immune for this wishful thinking syndrome.) But it won't do much to end the war or build a progressive majority.

If the majority are with you then you only have to come up with some magic formula so that the you can shout so loud that the media can't ignore you. But an entirely different approach is needed if only a minority is with you and there is a potential majority which might be organized-- if not to your most preferred position then to something close to it.


Beecher and Smith Proposal

IRAQ MORATORIUM September 21 and every Third Friday thereafterToday the Iraq Moratorium project steps onto the public stage!Over 60% of Americans want this war over--yesterday. The political processis moving glacially, at best, to make that happen. It's got to stop! We'vegot to stop it!The idea is simple. On September 21 and on every subsequent Third Friday,millions of Americans will break with their
daily routine to take someconcrete step to demand an end to the war and the
return home of thetroops.The hallmark will be the wearing of black ribbons
and armbands, inmourning for all of those who have died in this
senselessadventure--Iraqis, American and other coalition troops, and others.
All ofus who want this war ended can decide what steps we will
take,individually or with others, on September 21. Together, acting where
welive, work and study, we will create a mighty shout so loud that the
mediawon't be able to white it out and the politicians won't be able to
ignoreit.The Iraq Moratorium is not an organization. It was initiated by a
smallgroup of anti-war activists from very diverse backgrounds. We see it as
aproject that will strengthen the work of existing anti-war groups. Evenmore
important, the clear and simple message, the local focus and thevariety of
activities it can encompass will bring into motion greatnumbers who have not
yet taken any action against the war.It is a 21st century project: the reach
of the Internet and the Web willhelp reach tens of millions with this
message. Please help by forwardingthis message widely.To learn more, to
pledge to take part in the Iraq Moratorium, and to getinvolved, please go to

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