The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers-the water from which our civilization first sprang-are under attack. The peoples of that land, and the river that is their lifeblood, are being turned into dumping grounds for depleted uranium and other poison. The merchants of death are having their way. The people of the world must stop them before they go any further.
The time for long speeches is truly over. It is time for action. With the volley of deadly military attacks on Iraq by the US and UK, the masters of war have made it clear that to them war is now business as usual. It is up to us to make it clear that we do not intend to let them conduct their business as usual without protest. We will not let them conduct their business as usual without interruption. We will not let them conduct their business as usual without challenge. Indeed, we intend to prevent them from conducting their business as usual. We intend on stopping this war! As we stand here preparing ourselves for an indefinite period of protest and organizing, people in Iraq are being killed in our name. As we stand here wondering what the hell is wrong with those politicians and generals in Washington and London, whole city blocks are being destroyed in our name. We cannot let this go on without doing something to stop this madness as soon as we possibly can. We have tried protests. We need to mobilize even larger protests! We have tried civil disobedience. We need to be even more disobedient! Some have tried direct action! We need even more action!
Every government agency that is involved in the war effort must have its business as usual interrupted. Every business that makes money from the weapons of mass destruction being used against the people of Iraq must have its business interrupted! Every recruiting office that lies to young people in order to turn them into killers and cannon fodder must have its business interrupted!
It is important to remember that the best way to stop a weapons manufacturer from making weapons is by convincing those people who work for them to not go to work. Its important to remember that the best way to get a government to stop functioning is to get the government workers to not go to work. If enough workers can be convinced that this war is not what they want to be involved in, we can stop the war machine. In the meantime, we must interrupt it. We can do this by talking to people and getting them to join us. We can do this by protesting in front of the buildings that house these operations. We can do this by civil disobedience and direct action. Whatever we feel we can do, we must. Not just today, but until the war is ended. Until the voice of humanity can be heard above the sound of the cruise missiles and B-52s.
So, when to day is over, go home and talk about things with your friends. Things lie what would be an effective protest against the war machine? Puppets? Lockdowns? A coffeehouse for GIs? A nationwide march on Washington? What? If it’s something you can do, than do it.
Some one asked me recently how we could stop the war machine once it began. After all, he said, there is nothing we can do. Only they can decide when they will stop the killing. My answer was this: remember Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia on April 30, 1970? Within twenty-four hours of Nixon’s fateful announcement, the streets and campuses of the United States and many other countries were in turmoil. Servicemen and women were refusing to work. Students were in the streets and refusing to go to class. An antiwar movement that Nixon and his henchmen had thought was dead was back in the streets bigger and angrier than ever. Unfortunately, so were the police and soldiers, although many of the soldiers were less than enthusiastic or in complete refusal. As we all know, at least six students were killed in the next two weeks for protesting the invasion. But, at the same time, Nixon was forced to pull the troops back from Cambodia and reconsider his war plans. This is what we must force Mr. Bush to do. Pull back from Iraq and end his war plans.
It’s not an easy task, but it must be done. We will be called traitors. We will be told we must support the troops. We will be attacked verbally and physically. But we must not stop. Indeed, we must gain more adherents to our campaign-civilians and soldiers alike. After all, if we truly support the troops (but not the war), we must get them off the battlefield and back home. Bush and his minions may win the battle for Iraq, but they must not win their war for the world. Our job is to insure that they don’t.
RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org