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Iraq Vets Against the War (IVAW) needs our help

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  • Mark Rudd
    Dear Friends: From time to time I send out requests for help for organizing projects that I think will make a difference, ones that I m supporting. I m
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 9, 2010

    Dear Friends:  From time to time I send out requests for help for organizing projects that I think will make a difference, ones that I'm supporting.  I'm writing now to tell you about an immediate need that Iraq Veterans Against the War, IVAW, has in their ongoing work as one of the most effective anti-war organizations that we have in this country.  They need money to hold a training this week for field organizers.  

    Before I tell you the specifics, I'd like to tell you why I think IVAW is important.  Students often ask me how and whether the Vietnam anti-war movement actually helped end the war.  My immediate answer is to point to the Vietnam veterans' opposition to the war, 1969-1975, and also the resistance to the war within the military during that time.  Taken together, they not only influenced public opinion by leading militant demonstrations and holding war crimes tribunals, but they rendered the army and other forces unusable in the latter stages of the occupation of Vietnam.  So the U.S. had no choice but to withdraw its forces.  (See the brilliant 2005 documentary movie, "Sir, No Sir!").  

    Flash to the current wars.  Despite fielding an "all-volunteer army," there has been considerable soldier and veteran resistance, including refusal to follow orders and to deploy.  IVAW was formed by returning veterans in 2004 around three demands:  1)  End the occupation of Iraq (now including Afghanistan);   2)  Reparations to the Iraqi (and Afghan) people who have been harmed by these wars, including help to rebuild their devastated countries; and  3)  Take care of the returning vets.  The organization now has 1800 members organized into dozens of local chapters, including here in New Mexico.  It has carried out numerous direct action campaigns, including the 2008 Winter Soldier war crimes tribunal.  IVAW members have lobbied our New Mexico congressional delegation.  Please see their website, http://www.ivaw.org/, for more information.  

    One of the best aspects of IVAW, from my point of view, is that they take strategic organizing very seriously.  They've even adopted an "organizing model" which they've developed based on the experiences of the civil rights movement in the South (especially SNCC), and other community organizing campaigns.  They stress leadership development, planning non-violent direct action campaigns, chapter-building, and coalition-building.  They've been able to train and hire four field organizers nationally to advance this work.  Now they want to expand this number.

    This week they are conducting a week-long training for 20 chapter and national leaders and 15-20 allies (from the Citizen-Solder Alliance and from War Resisters' League, another organization which is dear to my heart).  They need our financial help to pull this off.  I've attached three of their documents for you to look at, a general prospectus on their Field Organizing Program (FOP); a description of the June organizing training, including a budget; and an ally donation form.  Please dig deep now to help out.

    These two current wars are not the last American wars of aggression, I'm sorry to say.  But there will always be American citizen soldiers who oppose the unlawful and illegal use of our military.  Just as veterans of the war in Vietnam have been critical in the anti-war and international solidarity movements over the last forty years (e.g., Vets for Peace), veterans of the current wars will be out there fighting for peace and justice in the next forty.

    Let's help them organize.

    Thanks.  If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to write or call me.



    ****Please forward this request to likely suspects****

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