June 13, 2010

Action Proposal to Be Discussed at the United National Antiwar Conference

On July 23-25 national & local peace groups from around the nation will be gathering in Albany, New York for the United National Antiwar Conference. The goal of the conference is to plan the next step for peace movement. The Northland Anti-War Coalition is an endorser of this conference, and will be sending a delegation. Below is the draft Action Proposal that will be the starting point for the conference's deliberations. If you are interested in attending the conference or have any questions about it, you can check out http://www.nationalpeaceconference.org

UNAC Action Proposal Submitted by Conference Co-Sponsors

Part 1: Preface

The prerequisites for ending the U.S. wars and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and re-orienting the nation’s priorities from empire building to solving the pressing needs at home are unity in action, massive mobilizations, inclusion of the broadest popular sectors of society, democratic functioning, and the construction of a mass social movement that operates independently of all political parties while seeking to influence their rank and file.

History has demonstrated time and again that the combination of these qualities coupled with an inclusive, collaborative and representative leadership can change the course of history.

This was the case with the massive social movements that were constructed to end the Vietnam War, win formal civil rights for excluded races and peoples, advance the cause of women’s equality, and challenge the prejudice & discrimination against LGBT people. It was this unity in action that brought into being a massive trade union movement that wrested unprecedented victories in the quality of life and culture for working people

Today we face the challenge of perpetual wars abroad becoming part of our national culture as are unceasing attacks on the quality of life and the standard of living at home. We are witness to multi-trillion dollar bailouts of the same institutions that have brought grief and pain to countless millions and obliterated hard won social and economic gains that were a century and longer in the making.

Our youth are subject to an economic draft that places them in harm’s way around the world where poor people fight for their right to self-determination and resist interventions for profit and plunder. Education budgets are slashed while pensions, health care, wages, union rights and civil liberties are under siege.

Trillions are expended to fund increasingly privatized wars fought in large part with mercenary armies and to maintain 865 military bases around the world. Meanwhile veterans -- first place in the statistics of the homeless and unemployed -- are compelled to fight for denied benefits to treat horrific diseases caused by U.S. biological and now radiation-emitting weapons of war while the people of destroyed nations suffer the same, but magnified, and long-term horrors. Moreover, they are subjected to successive incidents of inhuman torture.

We are confronted with imperial wars over control of the very fossil fuel resources whose continued use threatens our future.
Our love of humanity, opposition to expanding wars and occupations unleashed by the Pentagon, and respect for the right of self-determination for all peoples require that we demand of the U.S. government:

1. The allocation of the trillions spent on wars and corporate bailouts to massive programs for jobs, education, health care, housing and the environment. Compensation to be paid to the peoples whose countries the U.S. attacked and occupied for the loss of lives and massive destruction they suffered.
2. The immediate, total & unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. bases from Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Bring all the Troops and War Dollars Home Now!

3. Reverse and end all foreclosures. Stop the government attacks on trade unions, civil and democratic rights, and immigrant communities.

Part 2: Proposals for United Actions

1. October 6 to 16, 2010 a period of local and regional protests across the country to mark the ninth year of the U.S. war on Afghanistan. Actions to include demonstrations, marches, vigils, teach-ins, etc.

2. Draft antiwar resolutions for city councils, town and village meetings and voter referendums linking astronomical war spending to denial of essential public services at home. Form broad local coalitions to organize support for such resolutions and referendum campaigns. Model resolutions and ballot questions will be circulated for consideration of local groups.

3. Mid-March, 2011 nationally coordinated teach-ins to mark the eighth year of the Iraq War and to prepare for bi-coastal spring demonstrations the following month.

4. Bi-coastal mass spring mobilizations in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles on April 9, 2011. These will be accompanied by distinct and separate non-violent direct actions on the same day. A prime component of these mobilizations will be major efforts to include broad new forces from youth to veterans to trade unionists to civil and human rights groups to the Arab, Muslim and other oppressed communities to environmental organizations, social justice and faith-based groups. Veterans and military families will be key to these mobilizations with special efforts to organize this community to be the lead contingent.

5. Select a week prior to or after the April actions for local lobbying of elected officials at a time when Congress is not in session. Lobbying to take multiple forms from meeting with local officials to protests at their offices and homes.

6. National tours. Organize over a series of months nationally-coordinated tours of prominent speakers and local activists that link the demands for immediate withdrawal to the demands for funding social programs, as outlined above.

7. In the event of an imminent U.S. government attack on Iran or such an attack, or a U.S.-backed Israeli attack against Iran, or any other major international crisis triggered by U.S. military action, UNAC will mount a rapid, broad and nationally coordinated protest by antiwar and social justice activists.

8. Support actions aimed at dismantling the Cold War nuclear, biological and chemical delivery systems.

9. Support actions, educational efforts and lobbying campaign to promote a transition to a sustainable peace economy.