How to absorb it? How to understand it? How to keep building upon it?
Some of the questions following the one-two punch delivered to the Washington Warmongers February 14th and 15th, at the United Nations on Friday and throughout the entire world on Saturday.
Who would have thought it? Remember back, just a short 17 months ago, after September 11th. Anyone who would have predicted this uprising of the world for peace, uniting, seemingly, just about everyone except the most rabid and most confused, would have been seen as delusional.
Another important lesson to be reminded of: THINGS CHANGE. Nothing is more definite than this fact. What once seems impossible can, all of a sudden, seem possible.
Including an end to the Bush regime. And not just that. An end to it on our terms, more or less. Not on the Democratic Party’s terms but our own.
How do we do it?
Let’s begin with what must continue to be our immediate focus: stopping this planned war of aggression. We need to be immediately putting massive pressure on Congress, beginning on Tuesday the 17th, flooding the Capitol Hill switchboards and fax machines with the kind of outpouring we saw last fall which led to 155 Congresspeople, far more than the political “experts” were predicting, voting against giving Bush a blank check to go to war whenever he wanted to.
Indeed, there’s a Congressional recess happening right now. Congresspeople are back home. We should flood the local Congressional offices with calls, faxes and determined delegations of activists who refuse to leave until a public statement against the Bushite war plans is issued and the Congressperson signs on to legislation that has already been introduced in both houses of Congress calling for Bush to have to come back to Congress for a war resolution before he undertakes one.
Other actions are planned and should be supported, including the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition’s Student Strike on March 5th and International Women’s Day actions on March 8th.
It feels as if it is within our grasp, following yesterday’s world call for peace and the linkages that now exist among organized progressives on an international basis, that we can see a reversal of the war drive within the next period of time. We should not underestimate the perfidy and desperation of the Bushites, but we should also not be taken in by the corporate media when they uncritically pass on the government’s propaganda.
If we are successful in this immediate objective, we can’t let up with the mass political mobilization. If this Iraq war crisis is resolved, it is unlikely that we will be able to turn out the massive numbers that we have been seeing around the many other issues that continue to be critical, but we must think creatively and collectively, in a unified way, about how to keep our mass movement for peace, justice and democracy on a role and as visible as possible. We must prioritize support to the Palestinian struggle and an end to the brutal Israeli occupation, continued movement-building for global justice and against corporate globalization, the demands for racial justice, affirmative action and reparations, and an economic justice agenda that addresses the hard times experienced and the insecurity felt by many.
We should begin raising the demand to impeach George Bush. If Bill Clinton could be impeached for having sexual relations with “that woman,” Bush the warmonger should certainly be impeached for his attacks against the Constitution. Although it is unlikely this will happen, by raising this demand and putting forward specific reasons why we think it is the right thing to do, we will help to weaken these evil men, and a few women, and their dangerous schemes.
And we should start talking up on a mass scale and talking to each other as organizers about how we can build a campaign to bring out a big chunk of that 50% of the eligible voters in this country who are so alienated by two-party, corporate-dominated politics-as-usual that they don’t come out and vote. Most of these people are young people, low-income people, workers and/or people of color, our natural constituencies. This great mass of people, this sleeping giant, is the achilles heel of the rulers. If and as this sleeping giant is mobilized, politics in this country will change to a degree and in a way that we have not seen for many decades.
Some of these new voters, probably most, will vote for progressive Democrats, at least those progressive Democrats who are either genuinely progressive or who develop some spine to stand up and speak out as a result the movement we are building. Other voters will vote for Greens or other independents, including a likely Green Party Presidential candidate next year unless, speaking of the impossible, Rev. Al Sharpton or Dennis Kucinich captures the Democratic Party nomination. If that would happen, the Greens will need to seriously reconsider running a Presidential candidate in 2004.
And if there is a Green Party Presidential candidacy, some astute tactical decisions need to be made, such as concentrating the campaign in those 70-80% of the states where either Bush or the Democrat is very likely to win. Let’s use the reality of the Presidential election being a state-by-state affair, rather than being determined by a national popular vote, in a politically mature way. We can get the Bushites out of office and we can also demonstrate the growing strength of the independent political movement at the same time.
It seems to me that some incredibly hopeful possibilities are opening up for our movement right now. We have it in our hands to create something of great significance for us, for our peoples and for the world. Let’s not let ego, racism, sexism, turf battles, government repression or anything else stop us, brothers and sisters. The stakes are too high.