Peacework
December 2003
January 2004



About Peacework

Subscribe Now

Current Contents

Dec/Jan Contents

Back Issues

Index
2001   2000   1999

National AFSC

NERO Office



American Friends Service Committee

Peacework Magazine

Sara Burke, Managing Editor

Sam Diener, Editor

Pat Farren, Founding Editor

2161 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

Telephone number:
(617) 661-6130

Fax number:
(617) 354-2832

e-mail address:
pwork@igc.org



Peacework has been published monthly since 1972, intended to serve as a source of dependable information to those who strive for peace and justice and are committed to furthering the nonviolent social change necessary to achieve them. Rooted in Quaker values and informed by AFSC experience and initiatives, Peacework offers a forum for organizers, fostering coalition-building and teaching the methods and strategies that work in the global and local community. Peacework seeks to serve as an incubator for social transformation, introducing a younger generation to a deeper analysis of problems and issues, reminding and re-inspiring long-term activists, encouraging the generations to listen to each other, and creating space for the voices of the disenfranchised.

Views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily of the AFSC.

Turn Up the Heat: A Plan for 2004 and Beyond

United for Peace and Justice is a coalition of hundreds of organizations (including the American Friends Service Committee) which have joined together "to turn the tide, to overwhelm war with peace, and oppression with justice." Though it will continue to evolve, the plan braids together many of the issues important for peace activists to address. For more information, visit www.unitedforpeace.org.

As the occupation of Iraq becomes a quagmire and the Bush Administration's assaults on democracy continue, the nation's attention will gradually shift toward the 2004 presidential elections over the course of the year.

United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) will use the opportunities provided during the election year to focus greater attention on the ongoing reality of war and empire and the intensifying war at home. We will maintain an activist presence and increase pressure on policy-makers so as to emerge as a stronger and more vibrant coalition regardless of who is elected in the 2004 Congressional and Presidential votes. We will educate and organize within the context of the elections season to widen public support for our peace and justice agenda while keeping movement-building as our central mission.

This strategic plan is a living document. In particular, UFPJ is committed to undertaking a significant program of work to address issues of concern to people of color, especially African-Americans and Latinos, and to develop a full-fledged action plan around issues of immigrant rights. The steering committee is currently working to develop both the political frame and the organizing plan for these two areas. We also need to maintain the flexibility to respond to events as they unfold.

Our Goals

Throughout the coming year, UFPJ's main political goals will be to help turn a clear majority of public opinion against the occu-pation of Iraq; to involve, activate, expand, and stabilize the UFPJ coalition into a lasting and vital force for peace and justice; and to make peace and justice issues central to the election-year debate.

Organizing our work into a national campaign with the theme "Turn Up the Heat," we will integrate our goal of bringing the troops home from Iraq with UFPJ's other priority issues, including:

Preventing additional so-called "preventive" wars and confronting the drive toward US military and economic empire. We will develop a rapid response network to improve our responses to unfolding events;

Defending civil liberties and immigrant rights; repealing policies that erode rights, including the USA PATRIOT Act; and challenging the criminalization of dissent, particularly the militarization of police and media;

Resisting corporate globalization - the economic face of empire-building - while strengthening the ties between the global justice and anti-war movements;

Opposing the occupation of Afghanistan and US support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine;

Working for the elimination of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction by raising awareness of the real dangers and our own government's threats to use such weapons;

Working to counter military recruitment of young people, particularly people of color and others who are denied decent job and educational opportunities;

Fighting for domestic equity by moving from a war economy to an economy that prioritizes human and environmental justice.

We must mobilize, organize, strengthen, and unite the grassroots movements throughout the 2004 electoral season in order to be a powerful influence on whatever administration is elected in November. We will also use this year to develop closer ties with peace and justice movements around the world.

Phase One: the Real State of the Union

From January 20 to March 20 UFPJ will focus on local grassroots education and action on the occupation of Iraq, the domestic impact of war, and the other priority issues listed above.

This locally based campaign will culminate with a major show of dissent on the streets, through nationally coordinated regional demonstrations on March 20, the one-year anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. These demonstrations, under the banner "The World Still Says No to War, " will be part of a global day of action.

One part of this phase of the campaign will be a joint project of the Cities for Peace (CFP) Network (based at the Institute for Policy Studies) and UFPJ under the theme, "Shape the Debate!" UFPJ member groups will be encouraged to organize town hall meetings, workshops, hearings, and teach-ins in their communities leading up to the 2004 elections. The formal kick-off for this collaboration between CFP and UFPJ will be the annual State of the Union speech on January 20. UFPJ and CFP allies and member groups will organize local house viewing parties, public teach-ins, and forums addressing "the Real State of the Union." CFP is focusing on the states of Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania where they have strong networks. During this period, UFPJ will also use our email lists and website to publicize the issues of election fraud and electronic voting machines.

Over this period, UFPJ will develop resources to assist member groups in undertaking their local educational and organizational work. These resources may include model billboard graphics, posters, stickers, fact sheets, action alerts, guides for voter registration work, and a speakers' bureau. UFPJ member groups will be encouraged to partner with faith- based communities, people-of-color-led organizations, poverty groups, and immigrant groups to deepen our alliances and broaden the movement. In particular, we will encourage groups to support activities already being organized from January 15-19 to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to support the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition's Books Not Bombs protest on March 4. A central focus of local activities in this period will be mobilizing people for the March 20 regional actions, as well as publicizing the national actions at the summer party conventions in Boston and New York.

Priority will be given throughout this period to promoting an end to the occupation of Iraq and putting forth an alternative to the occupation that promotes human rights and economic justice in Iraq. Returning representatives from a UFPJ delegation to Iraq will tour the country speaking at "Shape the Debate" events, with an emphasis on college campuses.

UFPJ will initiate an on-line petition directed at all presidential candidates demanding they come out against the occu-pation and commit to withdrawing all troops from Iraq by a fixed date following their election. This phase of the campaign will culminate on Saturday, March 20, with "The World Still Says No to War" regional actions across the US and throughout the world in the spirit of February 15, 2003. UFPJ will encourage forces working on particular issue areas related to the drive for war and empire - Israel/Palestine, global justice, nuclear disarmament, the assault on immigrant rights and civil liberties, etc. - to organize visible and lively contingents in the March 20 actions.

Phase Two: Shaping the Debate

During this second phase of Turn Up the Heat, UFPJ will expand our educational work and maintain public protest activities. The spring will be a critically important time to put major effort into the activities and protests planned for the summer Democratic and Republican Conventions, and will be the time for extensive campus organizing.

Tax Day, April 15, will be an opportunity to link the foreign and domestic policy issues, especially calling attention to the bloated military budget and continual cuts in social spending at every level of government.

UFPJ will support, although not as our primary work, efforts focused on nuclear disarmament during this period with nationally coordinated actions on May 1, when the Non-Proliferation Treaty conference opens in New York City at the United Nations. In addition to a major event in NYC, we will encourage groups to host educational and protest events in their communities on the real danger of nuclear weapons due to US production and stockpiling.

On June 5, the anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and the beginning of Israel's occupation, UFPJ will help organize actions calling for an end to US aid until Israel dismantles the "separation" wall it is building in the occupied West Bank.

During this phase, there will be two grassroots mobilizations focused on global justice issues: the annual April protests against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and demonstrations linked to a June 8 meeting of the G-8 off the coast of Georgia. UFPJ will support these mobilizations.

During phase two UFPJ will initiate a second on-line petition, directed to presidential candidates, calling on them to commit to repealing the Patriot Act and ending the growing criminalization of dissent.

Phase Three: the Convention Season

The Democratic National Convention in late July in Boston and the Republican National Convention in late August in New York provide key opportunities for broadly promoting a vision of peace and justice and pressuring the candidates and both parties on the urgency of stopping war and empire.

For the Democratic Convention (July 26-29), we will work on a wide range of activities in Boston, all intended to educate the candidates, educate the delegates, and, most importantly, mobilize the public. UFPJ will mobilize our base and produce striking visual materials for these activities. Our message will be emphatic rejection of the Democratic "leadership" that supported the war and has caved in to the Bush Administration's attacks on civil liberties, immigrants, and poor and working people.

For the Republican Convention (August 30-September 2), UFPJ is organizing a massive demonstration on Sunday, August 29 through midtown Manhattan into Central Park under the theme "The World Says No to Empire, War, and Greed." This demonstration will be the central rallying point for our grassroots base in 2004 and will have a truly national scope. UFPJ will work with the diverse constituencies affected by the Bush Agenda to mobilize the broadest and largest possible turnout. Since the Bush empire-building agenda affects people in every corner of the globe, we will encourage our international allies to organize solidarity protests at US embassies throughout the world.

UFPJ will also support August 6-9 nuclear disarmament activities on the anniversaries of the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Phase Four: Asserting Our Grassroots Presence

The last stretch of the election season is when most of the public begins to focus on the elections. With this in mind it is crucial that UFPJ maintain a strong, visible presence locally, to underscore to the public and those running for elected office that there is a powerful grassroots peace and justice movement, independent of partisan campaigns and competition.

UFPJ will organize a series of coordinated local actions to highlight our issues and hold candidates accountable to them, including:

Mass banner-hanging with peace and justice messages on one or more days around the country;

A visible and assertive street presence wherever major candidates appear, including the presidential and vice-presidential debates, demanding an end to the occupation and empire-building agenda;

Intensive distribution of voter-education materials with underrepresented voters including people of color, immigrants, and poor women. We will also target candidate campaign rallies and events (which will require strong legal support and possibly court action to prevent our being excluded from rally sites);

Possible newspaper or other ads that are non-partisan but highlight the centrality of stopping war and reclaiming democracy, with themes like "On November 2, The Fate of Our Country and the World is in Your Hands";

Election Day activities, such as palm carding not for candidates but with lists of key issues to consider.

In this phase, UFPJ will also organize commemorations of the September 11 attacks, using the day to focus broad public attention on the need for peaceful solutions to global conflicts.

Phase Five: The Movement Emerges Stronger in 2005

Given the historic pattern of movements being demobilized by elections, it is vital that we keep moving forward, with a structure in place to ratchet up the pressure in 2005. We will explore the possibility of organizing "day-after" demonstrations at the local, state, and national headquarters of the winning candidate, to make it clear that our movement is alive, well, and a force with which the incoming administration will have to contend.

Our central focus for this period, starting well before Election Day, will be the Second National Assembly of UFPJ, to be held over the weekend of December 10, International Human Rights Day.

We will combine our national assembly meetings with an action in support of international law and human rights. At the assembly we will finalize plans for an Inauguration Day activity to continue pressuring the president to move in bold new directions for US priorities.

Previous Article    Next Article

About   |   Subscribe   |   Current Contents   |   Dec/Jan Contents   |   Back Issues

Peacework Magazine on the web:   http://www.peaceworkmagazine.org