Labor Advocate Online

Broad Antiwar Conference Set
June 28 Gathering In Cleveland Aims To Set Mass Actions Against the War

by Bill Onasch

More than three hundred veterans, labor, academic, student, civil rights, environmental and antiwar organizations and activists have endorsed a call for a National Assembly to End the Iraq War and Occupation, to be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cleveland June 28-29. Dedicated to ending the war and occupation by bringing the troops home now, the conference will discuss proposals for mass action and decide a course through voting by all those attending.

While this is the first conference of such a format during the five years of the Iraq war such democratic gatherings appealing to unite all opponents of the conflict have a rich tradition in American antiwar history. All of the truly mass demonstrations–several involving hundreds of thousands–against the Vietnam war were organized by just such collective debate and decision of those building the movement on the ground. During the Eighties there were similar conferences that called impressive mass actions against U.S. intervention in Central America.

So far the anti-Iraq war movement in this country has been fragmented. Contending groups have each issued their own plans on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. Consequently, actions have failed to adequately articulate the massive and growing antiwar sentiment among the American people. These divisions have resulted in no mass demonstrations being planned in coordination with antiwar movements around the world on the fifth anniversary of the invasion.

The initiators of the conference do not seek to assign blame for this situation, nor are they trying to establish yet another fragmented center in competition with groups such as UFPJ and ANSWER. Rather this is an effort to try to involve these national currents along with local activists, and student, labor and veterans groups in a unified effort to put this war back on the top of the agenda in the USA.

Check out the conference web site by clicking here. The site includes a statement explaining the conference, a list of endorsers so far, and forms for endorsing and registering for the conference. It will be updated frequently.

I plan to be in Cleveland for this much needed and overdue event. I hope I will see you there.


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