NYTimes article on antiwar movement

John M Cox coxj at email.unc.edu
Sat Mar 29 03:38:14 MST 2003

Antiwar Effort Emphasizes Civility Over Confrontation

With the war against Iraq in its second week, the most influential antiwar
coalitions have shifted away from large-scale disruptive tactics and
stepped up efforts to appeal to mainstream Americans.

One of the largest groups, Win Without War, is encouraging the two million
people on its e-mail list to send supportive letters to soldiers. Other
groups have redoubled their fund-raising for billboards that declare
"Peace is Patriotic" and include the giant image of an unfurling American

The changed tone comes after a week of street protests marking the start
of the war that reduced San Francisco to anarchy, turned Chicago's
Lakeshore Drive into a parking lot and paralyzed major roads in Atlanta,
Boston and other cities.

This week, the nation's largest antiwar coalitions said they were
abandoning their plan to disrupt everyday life. Instead, they said, they
would direct protests at federal institutions, corporations and media
conglomerates that "profit from war" in an effort to attract attention but
not offend most Americans.

The shift reflects a tension that has existed within the nation's antiwar
movement for months.

Radical groups like those weaned on the antiglobalization protests that
disrupted Seattle four years ago sought more civil disobedience. More
mainstream groups like the National Council of Churches were afraid that
confrontational tactics would only alienate the American public.

At least for now, the more mainstream groups have gained the upper hand.
They have sought to cast their movement as the loyal opposition, embracing
the troops but condemning the war. Within the movement, which includes
everything from small groups in small towns to a large alliance of more
than 200 organizations, radical elements still exist. But the larger and
more influential groups have sought over time to sideline them,
deliberately excluding certain speakers, dismissing certain tactics,
marginalizing certain protests, in a determined effort to avoid being
dismissed as career malcontents.

The week before the war began, another major coalition, United for Peace
and Justice, declined to join in sponsoring a rally put on by
International Answer, a group whose names stands for Act Now to Stop War
and End Racism, saying its message was too left-wing and alienating....


John Cox
Chapel Hill, NC

"If the truth is 'un-American,' then blame the truth, don't blame
me."Malcolm X

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