Call for Jan. 18 march in D.C. against war and Jan. 19 "grassroots conference"

Fred Feldman ffeldman at
Fri Nov 8 22:22:59 MST 2002

Well, we are each going to face a decision again.  Coming out of October 26
ANSWER has called a march for January 18 and is urging everyone to endorse.

The rest of us are going to have to make  political decisions just as we did
around October 26.  Can we organize an action on a different, broader, and
more effective basis, or do we need once again to use ANSWER's unilateral
call  as an organizing tool to move the struggle further toward greater
breadth and greater unity and coordination. I don't know the answer to that
question yet, but I am sure that is the question.

I sympathize with Jose Perez's and others' calls on ANSWER to function in a
non-sectarian way, but the Workers World Party, the political current which
sponsors ANSWER (and there is nothing inherently wrong with such a
relationship),  has not functioned differently in more than forty years of
existence and, in my opinion, does not know how to function differently.
They are firmly convinced that only their own tight organizational grip will
keep the movement militant and  "anti-imperialist" as they understand the

They don't function this way for selfish, narrow organizational
reasons, in my opinion,  but out of political conviction. The result, of
course,  is still sectarian.  I don't think the struggle to reform this
current's modus operandi is going to get anywhere, at least without bigger
changes in world politics and the conditions of struggle than have taken
place yet.

If the broader but scattered and uncoordinated and often inexperienced
forces of the antiwar movement can't create a better, broader, and stronger
action -- not an alternative to ANSWER but something superior from the
standpoint of the needs of the  struggle which can then attract the support
of  ANSWER as happened to some extent before April 20 -- I think we should
again treat ANSWER's call as an opportunity.

If the movement was stronger, if there was a real coalition taking shape
nationally, and even more importantly, if the student upsurge that began in
the fall had more national structure and coordination, ANSWER's call would
not be a big obstacle to getting something that better met the needs of the
fight. It is because our fight is still too weak and too undeveloped that
 ANSWER's calls can look like a serious obstacle, and it is because of our
weakness that it can be a serious mistake to look at them that way and miss
the opportunity they may present.

The only thing that makes the call important is the opportunity it may
present to rally forces once again in the face of the oncoming war

We are going to have to make our own decisions about January 18 based on
what we think
is best for the struggle right now under the given circumstances which
include the still-preliminary stage of the fight today.  That means setting
aside understandable irritation at repeatedly having to consider calls for
presented as accomplished facts and seemingly requiring only our signature..

Fortunately for me, I have largely stopped paying attention to
speakers platforms at demonstrations.  The youth and working people and
people of  oppressed nationalities and immigrants and other fighters who
come tend to be quite a bit more important than the people who speak to us
from the
stage. And it is the next step forward  for the fighting ranks of the
protests and those who can be won to them in the next period  that we need
to think about.

ANSWER's latest statement on these events follows.
Fred Feldman


Tens of thousands will converge in Washington DC
January 18-19, 2003
and the Convening of the GRASSROOTS PEACE CONGRESS

We wanted to let everyone know that momentum is growing
for the January 18 Mass March and the January 19
Grassroots Peace Congress to say "No War in Iraq."  Buses,
vans and car caravans are being organized from
communities, high schools and campuses all over the East
Coast, South and Midwest.  More than 150 cities organized
transportation to be at the protest of 200,000 in DC on
October 26 -- and those organizers left the protest
pledging to continue to mobilize for an even larger
turnout on January 18-19.

Millions of people outside of DC watched the rally on
C-Span or listened to it on Pacifica Radio's live
coverage.  Many more found out about it through other
media coverage -- including a major article that appeared
in the October 30 edition of the New York Times (a much
better article than the biased article that appeared on
October 27 after the Times received thousands of angry
phone calls and emails) -- and are now beginning to
organize.  50,000 people have registered on the website.  This is in addition to the tens of
thousands who have filled out paper ballots/petitions on
October 26 and in the days since. A.N.S.W.E.R. offices
around the country are daily being contacted by organizers
and volunteers whose commitment to mobilize makes us
confident that January 18-19 will be a massive outpouring
of opposition to war in Iraq.

To ENDORSE the January 18-19 Mass Actions in DC, fill out
the easy-to-use form at:

If you plan to ORGANIZE TRANSPORTATION from your area to
be in DC January 18-19, fill out the form at:


When Congress rejects the will of the people, the people
must act themselves.  Congress has rubber-stamped Bush's
criminal war that seeks to conquer the oil, land and
resources of the Middle East. Bush and Congress have shown
that they represent the interests of Corporate America
rather than the people of the United States.

A people's movement is growing to stop them.  On January
18 and 19 tens of thousands of people will participate in
mass protest activities on the Martin Luther King Jr.
anniversary weekend.

Dr. King publicly condemned the U.S. war in Vietnam,
providing a powerful connection between the civil rights
movement and the anti-war movement. In his "Beyond
Vietnam" speech at Riverside Church in 1967, he stated,
"The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today [is]
my own government. . . [F]or the sake of the hundreds of
thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be

Dr. King believed that it was impossible to successfully
wage a war on poverty at home while waging a war of
aggression in Vietnam. The same can be said today about
George W. Bush's global war drive. Social programs and
services are being looted as Bush and Congress provide
record-breaking sums for weapons of mass destruction and
war. Bush has signed into law Congress's new defense
budget that transfers a billion dollars a day from the
people into the hands of the military-industrial complex.

The thousands who are coming to Washington, D.C., honor
Dr. King and his legacy by opposing a criminal war in Iraq
-- this time not in Vietnam, but in the Middle East -- and
by demanding instead that these hundreds of billions of
dollars earmarked for war instead be spent on jobs,
education, housing, health care and to meet human needs.

The grassroots Peace Congress will be comprised of
delegations from all communities who are coming together
in the streets and in a People's Congress to forge the
opposition necessary to stop the Bush Administration's war
drive: labor, students and youth, fighters for civil
rights and women's rights, the LGBT community and people
of faith.

Join with others around the country by bringing a diverse
delegation from your community to participate in the
January 18 mass march and the January 19th People's

To ENDORSE the January 18-19 Mass Actions in DC, fill out
the easy-to-use form at:

If you plan to ORGANIZE TRANSPORTATION from your area to
be in DC January 18-19, fill out the easy-to-use form at:

*** Register your opposition to the war at ***

Email: dc at
New York 212-633-6646
Washington 202-332-5757
Chicago 773-878-0166
Los Angeles 213-487-2368
San Francisco 415-821-6545

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