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FW: Fall Anti-War Actions in Washington Sept. 24 - 26 -- UFPJ statement

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    Fall Anti-War Actions in Washington Sept. 24 - 26 statement by United for Peace and Justice [Moderator s Note: portside received the following statement from
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2005
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      Fall Anti-War Actions in Washington Sept. 24 - 26 statement by United for
      Peace and Justice

      [Moderator's Note: portside received the following statement from UFPJ,
      partly in response to an item in one of yesterday's posts, see:
      http://people-link5.inch.com/pipermail/portside/Week-of-Mon-20050530/015322.
      html ]



      May 23, 2005

      Dear UFPJ Member Groups:

      We're writing to update you on a major change in our coalition's plans: the
      national steering committee of UFPJ has decided to shift the anti-war
      mobilization planned for September 10 in New York City to a September 24-26
      mobilization in Washington, D.C. We are excited about the new plans and will
      soon be circulating our call to action. But first we want to make sure all
      of the UFPJ member groups understand the decision. Please take a moment to
      read this memo and then share it with others in your group.

      At the UFPJ National Assembly in February, there was tremendous support for
      organizing a major anti-war demonstration this fall. More specifically, the
      Assembly agreed that UFPJ should organize a demonstration in New York City
      on September 10, which would be right before heads of state come to the
      United Nations for the Millennium+5 Review.

      Soon after the Assembly, we learned that there were serious problems with
      that date. The Central Labor Council of NYC will be holding its annual Labor
      Day parade on September 10, a parade that usually includes upwards of
      100,000 trade union members. It would be both impractical and politically
      unwise for us to call for some other major action that same day. In
      addition, a large international coalition of groups that work on global debt
      and poverty issues have targeted September 10 as a day they will be issuing
      a call for action. While we can see a clear connection between the hundreds
      of billions of dollars poured into the war in Iraq and the urgent need to
      re-order global economic priorities in order to eradicate hunger and
      poverty, we do not wish in any way to compete with those groups' desire to
      keep the public spotlight squarely on their issues that weekend.

      The decision to change the date and location was not made lightly: these
      issues were discussed at several steering committee meetings as well as
      within the administrative committee. The UFPJ National Steering Committee
      took into account the range of other political priorities set by the
      National Assembly, and particularly the clearly stated desire for the peace
      and justice movement to increase the pressure on pro- war politicians in
      Congress.

      Therefore, United for Peace and Justice has decided to organize a weekend of
      action - Sept. 24 - 26 - in Washington, DC against the U.S. war and
      occupation in Iraq:

      * Saturday, Sept. 24: massive march, rally, and festival * Sunday, Sept. 25:
      interfaith religious service; trainings indirect action and grassroots
      lobbying * Monday, Sept. 26: lobby day and mass nonviolent direct action and
      civil disobedience.

      These three days of actions will send a clear message to the WhiteHouse and
      to Congress: this immoral and illegal war must end. Our demands will call
      for a new direction: Bring the troops home now, leave no bases behind; stop
      bankrupting our communities with war appropriations, and get military
      recruiters out of our schools.

      The steering committee's discussions about this started at its first
      in-person meeting over the April 9-10 weekend. In the six weeks since then
      there have been several steering committee and administrative committee
      conference calls. On the May 2nd steering committee conference call there
      was agreement to explore both the Sept. 17th and the Sept. 24th weekends,
      with the intention of trying to decide on a date as quickly as possible.

      As our discussions took place other developments were unfolding, which we
      want to be sure our member groups are fully informed about. Several weeks
      ago US Labor Against War (USLAW), a member group of UFPJ with representation
      on our National Steering Committee, initiated a public process aimed at
      pulling together UFPJ, ANSWER and the Troops Out NowCoalition (led by the
      International Action Center) for a meeting to discuss the possibility of a
      joint demonstration this fall. In light of past problems working with these
      groups, the UFPJ National Steering Committee expressed serious reservations
      about such a joint action, but agreed to participate in such a discussion,
      should USLAW convene it.The UFPJ co-chairs and national coordinator had
      several conversations with USLAW leadership expressing concerns about their
      process and relaying the decisions of the steering committee, including our
      willingness to take part in such a meeting.

      In the meantime, while our steering and administrative committees were
      engaged in discussions about the feasibility of organizing a September17 or
      24 action in D.C., ANSWER, on the morning of May 12, issued a public call
      for a national march on Washington on Saturday, September.24. Their call to
      action has these major demands: Stop the War in Iraq; End Colonial
      Occupation from Iraq to Palestine to Haiti. Other demands in their call are:
      Support the Palestinian People's Right of Return; Stop the Threats Against
      Venezuela, Cuba, Iran & North Korea; U.S.out of the Philippines; Bring all
      the Troops Home Now; Stop the Racist, Anti-Immigrant and Anti-Labor
      Offensive at Home, Defend Civil Rights.

      In the evening of that same day the leadership of ANSWER sent an email to
      UFPJ that proposed what they called "a united front between our two
      coalitions" to jointly organize a Washington, DC demonstration on September
      24. It should be noted that the ANSWER memo to UFPJ came well after their
      call to action had already been released. As has happened in the past,
      ANSWER publicly announced the political platform of the action and then
      called for "unity" around their demands. Members of the UFPJ steering
      committee were troubled about this process and there was further discussion
      about how to proceed. On May 16th, the Troops OutNow Coalition then issued
      their letter supporting the ANSWER call, adding their view that, "the Iraqi
      people have a right to resist occupation by whatever means they choose
      cannot be censored or excluded."

      On the most recent conference call of the UFPJ steering committee (May18), a
      decision was made to proceed with our plans as outlined above.This means
      that while we applaud all efforts and activities to end the war and
      occupation in Iraq, UFPJ will not join with ANSWER (or theTroops Out Now
      Coalition) in the planning and organizing of theSeptember 24-26 mobilization
      in Washington, DC. We will organize a massive march, rally, and festival on
      September 24; ANSWER may well decide to have a separate event in Washington
      on that day. We want to be clear. Our call will be an open invitation to
      groups who want to end the war and bring our troops home now, and who agree
      with our demands, to join us in the streets. We welcome everyone, including
      ANSWER and the Troops Out Now Coalition, to organize contingents or feeder
      marches into our demonstration that day. Our steering committee agreed that
      should USLAW still decide to convene the meeting described above that UFPJ
      will participate, but only to discuss logistical concerns for that weekend.

      This was not an easy decision. The UFPJ Steering Committee recognizes that
      there is widespread interest in seeing many antiwar forces working together.
      But based on our past two and a half years experience, it will not be
      possible to work with ANSWER or the Troops Out NowCoalition on a joint
      action this fall. We believe any efforts to work together must begin with
      developing common, jointly agreed upon political demands and be based upon a
      style of organizing grounded in mutual respect. We take very seriously the
      mandate of the UFPJ NationalAssembly to build the broadest, most diverse
      anti-war movement possible as a key strategy for bringing an end to this
      war. Our primary commitment is building this movement, including the fall
      mobilization, in a way that makes it possible for the largest and widest
      array of people to come together in opposition to the war, including
      military families, Iraq war veterans and other veterans, and the labor
      movement.This commitment has an impact on every thing we do: from the nature
      of the program, to the articulation of our demands, to the ways we do our
      organizing.

      UFPJ is also committed to building a movement culture based on trust,
      respect, principled action, democratic decision-making, and good-faith
      communication. Both the national coalition and a number of our regional
      member groups have had extremely negative experiences on all these grounds
      throughout our history of working with ANSWER or theInternational Action
      Center. While professing to desire unity, ANSWERand the IAC have repeatedly
      misrepresented the positions of, attacked, and attempted to isolate and
      split UFPJ and other antiwar groups, even when we were supposedly in
      alliances. Now, they once again have announced a political platform and a
      date for a demonstration without any consultation with us, while on the
      other hand calling for unity.

      Every day the war in Iraq rages on and people are killed and maimed, lives
      are ruined, and a once sovereign nation is under the military occupation and
      corporate control of the United States. We must stay focused on our
      priorities: building the strongest movement possible in order to end this
      war, bring our troops home and prevent future wars!We ask all UFPJ member
      groups to join in the effort to ensure the most successful September
      mobilization possible.

      In the coming weeks you will be getting more information about the plans for
      the Sept. 24-26 weekend, including specific ways your group can get
      involved. But there is no need to delay: we encourage you to start convening
      local and/or regional meetings of UFPJ member groups and others to beginning
      your organizing for the fall mobilization. We look forward to working with
      you in the coming months.

      Leslie Cagan, national coordinator
      George Friday, national co-chair
      Judith LeBlanc, national co-chair
      George Martin, national co-chair

      ===========================================
      UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE
      http://www.unitedforpeace.org | 212-868-5545

      _______________________________________________________

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