Wednesday, April 30, 2003
I think we in the anti-war movement need to reassess what we are doing, in light of our experiences of the past months. I just posted an
essay that tries to respond to this urgent need. It starts out with
"The mobilizations against the assault on Iraq are a historical watershed. Never before has such a massive, universal effort been mounted to
try to prevent a threatened war. Its immediate failure -- our loss of this particular battle -- is a clear signal to the many millions of us who tried to
stop the attack that we must rethink our MEANS of struggle. Our goal, of course, remains unchanged: a world where everyone lives with dignity
and in peace, unthreatened.
WINNING THE HEARTS AND MINDS
"First, we should recognize the extent of our success in bringing together and being a part of a global struggle for a decent world. This
means, at the moment, that there are, I would estimate, literally hundreds of millions if not billions of the world’s people who are adamantly
opposed to the U.S. government’s drive for global military and economic domination. Gaining this degree of unanimity was no negligible
achievement. The role of non-corporate media was essential. Without the internet, popular community radio and all forms of rapid,
non-commercially controlled communication, the mobilization of world public opinion could not have happened. But it did happen. We ought to
take heart from that success, a giant step towards remaking the world as it should be, and not according to the dreamers of empire in
WHY WERE THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF HUMANITY NOT ENOUGH?
"Why was the U.S. government able to act in utter contempt for the near unanimity of the world’s people that it not attack Iraq? And in total
disregard of the opposition of a substantial majority of Americans that it not act unilaterally? Why did we, and do we, have to continue witnessing
the unspeakable horrors to which people were, and are being subjected by the would-be world rulers?
"I think we would be making a great mistake if we were to conclude that we failed because we didn’t try hard enough, because we were
unable to mobilize even larger protests, to convince more people -- Americans in particular -- to join the marches, rallies, demonstrations,
telephone call-ins and e-mails and faxes to officials. The U.S. government plans to continue its war to conquer the world, and we will be setting
ourselves up for a whole series of failures to stop it if our conclusion is that as subsequent attacks become imminent we must simply increase
the QUANTITY of our efforts.
"The U.S. government was able to act at will for two somewhat separate but related reasons: 1) the American people could not constrain the
ruling cabal to respect supposed U.S. democracy; and 2) the rest of the world’s people could not prevail on the governments of their countries to
act forcefully to prevent the attack.
PROPAGANDA AND THE SHAPING OF OUR THOUGHTS
"I believe it is fair to say that outside of the United States there was a much clearer understanding of the nature of the impending assault than
within the U.S. . . ."
The entire essay is posted at:
I'll welcome criticisms, corrections, and any other comments.
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