Reigniting the Antiwar Movement

by DAVID ABELES, ET AL.

Rumors of war become more frequent.  Tel Aviv pushes harder and harder for an attack on Iran while Iranian defense officials seem resigned to the fact of an eventual war on their nation.  Sanctions against the Iranian people are tightening.  Many regular citizens of the world expect some kind of military attack on Iran either right before or not long after the US elections in November.  The thinking goes that no matter who wins, the warmongers in Tel Aviv and Washington, DC will set such an attack in motion.  Once the first salvo is fired, it is unlikely there will be any turning back for many weeks, at least.  Thousands will die.  Cities and towns will be destroyed.  A new wave of terror will be unleashed by all sides using traditional forces and guerrillas.  A future of bloodshed and the threat of nuclear holocaust will reign.

Yet, there is no discernible antiwar movement.  Unlike the months prior to March 2003 and the US invasion of Iraq, there has hardly been a single sign held opposing war on Iran.  Part of this is because of political mistakes made by the leadership of the antiwar networks in place during the prelude and first few years of the war on Iraq.  Part of the reason for the ennui is a denial by the antiwar population that the potential for war is lurking ahead of us like an insurmountable snow bank ready to collapse in the suddenly warming weather.  Then there is the belief propagated by the power elites who profit from war that Iran is an enemy that deserves defeat; part of an “axis of evil” so incorrigible the only remedy is its obliteration.  The reasons for this perception are many.  The Israeli government needs an enemy to justify its continued military occupation of Palestine and the repression of many of its own residents.  Washington also needs an enemy for the same reasons.  Then there is the question of revenge against the Tehran regime founded in a revolutionary defeat of Washington’s man in Iran–the Shah.  Then, of course, there is the question of oil.

Never mind that Iran is essentially as much of a functioning democracy as the United States or Great Britain.  Never mind that it is one of the world’s most literate nations.  Never mind that many of its citizens want their government to minimize the power of the religious conservatives in their daily lives.  Iran has oil that Washington wants to control like it used to in the days of the Shah.  Also, Iran dares to defy the agenda Washington and Tel Aviv have in mind for the region called the Middle East.  Indeed, it has done so for more than three decades, angering those powers and their allies while providing an example of resistance to millions.  These are the reasons Washington and Tel Aviv want to make war on Iran.  They should not be construed as endorsements of the Iranian government.

We know that existing antiwar networks like the United National Antiwar Coalition, United for Peace and Justice, and others are working in multiple and diverse ways against this and other manifestations of the US war machine. But, it is time to step up the ante.  Therefore, we urge everyone opposed to the threat of war on Iran to organize locally and quickly.  If we cannot stop any attacks, we must be ready to respond to them.

There does not have to be an official organization, just the desire of a few friends and acquaintances.  Picket lines, teach-ins, sit-ins, marches through downtown; all of these and more must be planned.  The masters of war must not be let off the hook.  Occupy proved that local networks exist that can mobilize people quickly.  This model is as old as the Diggers and as new as today.  Utilize it.  Call for a protest at your Federal Building, City Hall, recruiting office, military base, or somewhere downtown.  All organizing begins small.  As the events around the world the past couple years have proven, it can become very big.

Who are we?  We are workers, students, small business owners, parents from all over North America.  We are well off and not so well off.  Most importantly, we are agitators. That’s nothing special.  There should be millions of us instigating calls against war around the world.  It’s as easy as 1, 2, and 3.  Join us!

Original signers include:

David Abeles

Shalui Abeles

Paul Atwood

Peter Bohmer

Kathleen Brown

Marc Estrin

Bob Feldman

Robert Ferraro

Ramsey Kanaan

Ron Jacobs

Scott Noble

Sue Reading

Jude Sargent

Michael Simmons

Brian Tokar

Don’t forget to mark the tenth anniversary of the US war in Afghanistan. For a list of events, please go to http://october7actions.net

This article first appeared on Still Home Ron.

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

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