Power to the Peaceful

By Jessica Maxwell

Bush's approval rating has dropped as low as any US president since such polling began. Instead of seizing the moment and taking a stand, the Democrats in Congress have done just about as little as they possibly could - and the US public has rewarded them with an equally low public approval rating. We have to take matters into our own hands and stop letting them push the benchmarks further away.

How? Through persistent, aggressive, creative, nonviolent actions.

SPC's Local Cost of the War committee can offer support by lending you a film (Sir, No Sir, The Ground Truth, Iraq for Sale), supplying flyer templates and outreach/publicity support, and helping to arrange for local speakers, including peace activists, veterans, military families, and youth.


PNL Graphic: Jeff Passetti.

When it comes right down to it, talking to the people around us at work, in our neighborhoods, at school, is one of the most important things we can do to build a movement. Mobilizations are another way to get new people involved while building the energy and visibility of the movement.

Upcoming events
Westcott Street Cultural Fair (Sept. 23)
At this year's cultural fair, SPC's Local Cost of The War committee is organizing a peace contingent in the parade. The parade leaves at 11:30 am from the Westcott Community Center. Bring your own sign, or carry one of ours.

September 29 Upstate NY Regional Mobilization to End the War
This event will include opening and closing rallies and a march followed by regional networking meetings all held right here in Syracuse. This is the first large event co-organized by the Ft. Drum chapter of Iraq Vets Against the War. A large, energetic turnout will demonstrate strong public support for military resisters at our local military base - which also happens to be the base sending the most deployments to Iraq. A strong event early in the semester could also serve as an organizing tool for students at high schools and universities to mobilize their campuses.

No War, No Warming (Oct. 21-23)
Join thousands from across the country for actions that will include civil disobedience to take over Capitol Hill. Contact SPC if you're interested in organizing transportation. Find out about the event at www.nowarnowarming.org.

United for Peace and Justice Regional Antiwar Demonstrations (Oct. 27)
SPC will be sending buses down to the New York City demonstration. There will be six to eight major regional demonstrations happening at the same time across the US. To help with the organizing, contact Jessica . For more information see: www.unitedforpeace.org.

New Groups
Two new groups have formed out of the organizing to end the US occupation of Iraq: Youth Against War and an active local Veterans for Peace chapter. Both are meeting regularly. To get involved with youth anti-war organizing, contact Toby Luft at 430-1079. To get involved with VFP, contact Dave Lester at (315) 345-9745 (newyork2@iraqsummer.org), or Bill Cross at bcross@twcny.rr.com.

From direct actions to street theatre, agitation always draws attention to our issue, sometimes actually impedes the ability of the government to carry out its war (for example blockades of military shipments and support for military resisters), and can often be inspiring and fun for all those involved - participants and bystanders.

Just wearing a t-shirt against the war or a "Jail Bush" button can be an interesting experience as you go about your daily activities. Distributing anti-war materials is the next step. Consider picking up flyers and other materials in bulk from SPC to distribute at your local coffee shop, an upcoming meeting, or other relevant venue.

Ongoing actions
Join the weekly peace outreach or organize one in your community. SPC can provide support by helping you find others in your area and assisting with materials. A local anti-war affinity group is organizing tableaus (street theatre) at downtown festivals and outside other events. Contact SPC for September dates.

Support Local Direct Action
Nationally, the Declaration of Peace project is calling for nonviolent direct actions from Sept. 14-21. The Iraq Moratorium Project is calling for actions the third Friday of each month, beginning on the International Day of Peace, Sept. 21. See www.declarationofpeace.org and http://iraqmoratorium.org/ For more information on direct action, or for help forming your own action group, contact Jessica.

While we fight against war itself and struggle for a better world, every victory should be claimed and celebrated. Standing up on principle to promote peace and social justice is important, but winning is the goal.

Jessica is an SPC staffperson and member of the Local Cost of the War Committee.