Open Letter to U.S. Peace Groups from the Committee to Unify the Antiwar Movement

The vote by both Houses of Congress on the supplemental – concurred in by both Democrats and Republicans -- authorizing an additional $100 billion and allowing the Bush administration to continue the war and occupation of Iraq makes it unmistakably clear that the antiwar movement must widen and deepen the pressure in the months ahead if it hopes to bring the U.S. war and occupation to an end.

Toward this objective, we urge that planning begin without delay for demonstrations this September (or some date in the fall) to demand the total, immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. military forces from Iraq.

The current supplemental funding goes to September 30. War funding for 2008 will be considered by Congress this fall, and in order to affect Congress's decision at that time we have to tell the politicians -- in unity and with a massive display of force in the streets -- “Cut all the war funding, bring all the troops home now!”

For these demonstrations to be as massive and effective as possible, they must be sponsored by a united antiwar movement. Compare the September 24, 2005 demonstration in Washington D.C. sponsored by a united movement -- which brought several hundred thousand people into the streets -- to the January 27 and March 17 actions this year, each of which was sponsored by only one of the two major coalitions and drew a considerably smaller number, even when the numbers participating in the two actions are combined. This despite the fact that antiwar sentiment is now substantially greater than it was in the fall of 2005.

The Vietnam antiwar movement was also composed of two major coalitions. But despite the tensions and divisions that existed between them, these coalitions managed to join together at critical moments along the way to organize united actions. The leaders of each coalition responded to the enormous pressure from grass roots peace groups which would not accept the divisiveness of separate and often competing actions.

Should we do less than the grass roots groups did then to unify today’s movement to end this illegal, immoral and unjust colonial war? Isn’t it obvious that when the movement unites in the streets it can organize larger outpourings of people than if the major groups go their separate ways? At this critical time and for the good of all humanity, shouldn't our strategy include not only coming together but collectively reaching out to additional allies? Wouldn't unity of the movement and reaching out to these allies better enable us to convey our message to the troops, who may well play a decisive role in ending the war and occupation?

We do not attempt to delineate here precisely how unity of our fractured movement can be attained for sponsoring national demonstrations this fall. But proceeding on the belief that what unites us is – or should be – greater than what divides us, we hope to trigger a groundswell of pro-unity sentiment throughout the movement that is vocal and assertive, and that reminds all of us in the U.S. -- whose government is responsible for so many of the atrocities against the Iraqi people – of the need to subordinate all other considerations and to unite in the interest of mobilizing the largest possible numbers in the streets.

If you and your organization agree, please join the Committee to Unite the Antiwar Movement and circulate this “Open Letter” as widely as possible.

Yours for peace and unity,

Initial signers

Alan Benjamin
Greg Coleridge
Alan Dale
Larry Duncan
Jerry Gordon
Bill Onasch

To add your signature send a message to:  ajdale98@yahoo.com