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Stop The War

US hands off Iraq!
Building An Effective Anti-War Movement

By STEVE ARGUE
Congressman Sam Farr (D) is the bomber of Belgrade and supporter of the death squad government of Colombia, who most recently voted for the military appropriations that will be used to terrorize the people of the entire world, including Iraq. Dianne Feinstein, Dubya Bush, Mike Honda, and Anna Eshoo should also be exposed for their even more direct support for war with Iraq. It is my opinion that all of these politicians should pay a political price for their pro-war stand.

There are some who want to pressure Farr to take a more active approach in stopping the war with Iraq. Yet a look at Farr's statements regarding this war shows that he is not really opposed to war with Iraq, but instead has tactical differences regarding the U.S. going it alone and other lame concerns that represent an actual interest in a more effective US imperialist war policy the world over. His vote for the massive military appropriations represents this common interest Farr has with Bush, big oil, and the arms industry. Farr's differences with Bush stem from his knowledge that this war may cause massive unrest, foreign and domestic, that may make it more difficult for the US to carry out its evil imperialist wars and exploitation on the people of the world. With such motivations there is no reason to think Farr will mobilize and educate people against this war.

What does Farr have to say to the people on this issue anyway? Sam Farr has not spoken out against the constant bombing of Iraq that has occurred since the first US attack on Iraq in the early 1990s. He has not spoken out against the US imposed economic sanctions that have starved about 2 million Iraqi children. Nor has Farr opposed the deadly use of radio-active waste in the production of US weapons of mass destruction that were used both in Yugoslavia and on Iraq poisoning the inhabitants of those countries as well as 100,000 "Gulf War Syndrome" US soldiers.

Those who want an authentic anti-war movement should expect to have to organize it and to lead it yourselves. Expecting Democrats to do it is like expecting a mule to quack like a duck.

In my studies of history I've seen three effective ways to end a war. 1. Is when the soldiers refuse to fight. This is the way that the long and persistent anti-war movement of the 1960s and 1970s finally educated the soldiers and ended the war in Vietnam. 2. If the working class strikes and refuses to participate in building or shipping the armaments. A very effective strike that shut down Seattle Washington during the early days of the Russian revolution physically stopped the sending of war supplies and helped force the US to pull its troops out of the young Soviet Union. 3. A third way will be through a revolution of the people. If we succeed in doing any of the first two types of action we may not be too far from carrying out the third. All three forms of direct action will take the building of strong organizations independent of the Democrats and Republicans.

I support any and all actions that will help build the kind of consciousness among the people that could one day make the three kinds of effective direct action by the people possible. Illusions in warmongers like Sam Farr's potential to organize an anti-war movement are an obstacle to effective action. Instead of talking to Sam Farr's staff we are better off holding rallies and distributing literature to the people. Reaching GIs and young people of draft or recruitment age is critical. The Farrs and Bushes of the world will never be reached by our moral arguments. Like Nixon, however, they will notice if soldiers refuse to fight.

With all this said, I hope that Sam Farr does organize a town hall meeting so that those of us in the Peace and Freedom Party can be there to urge people to break with illusions in the twin parties of war that rule America and to register to vote with the Peace and Freedom Party. The Peace and Freedom Party is a party that has opposed every US war since it was founded in 1967 and actively calls for the vigorous building of an effective anti-war movement. I encourage people who think that this kind of thinking makes sense to:

1. Register with the Peace and Freedom Party, we are now only 4,000 registrants away from getting back on the state ballot.

2. You can also come to our next meeting at the Louden Nelson Center on Saturday December 7th at 1:30 PM.

3. In addition we encourage people to attend the Peace Friday demonstrations held every Friday at Ocean and Water Streets at 5:00 PM

4. Build and attend the national actions that have been set for January in San Francisco and Washington DC. Tens of thousands will converge in San Francisco & Washington DC January 18, 2003 for a MASS DEMONSTRATION and in Washington on Jan. 19 for the Convening of the GRASSROOTS PEACE CONGRESS

5. Post your own ideas and actions. All power to the people!

 
 


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Comments

Sam's problem

Sam's big problem is that he has a (D) after his name.

He's terminally brain damaged.

If he had an (R) after his name then there would be hope and potential for him.

But as it stands now, there's no hope for Sam.
 

Bush Or Farr Is The wrong Question

Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin. Both protect this insane system. They are playing a game of "good cop bad cop" on the American people. Both are parties of the wealthy. Neither actually represent the interests of the average person. Bush and Farr both support war. It is a big mistake to support either one.
 

Waiting for the Bombs

Waiting for the Bombs by Elizabeth Roberts


November 2002


Baghdad - How do you prepare to be attacked by the most powerful military in the world? This question troubles me daily. When I ask Iraqi people about their feelings and preparations I understand how utterly vulnerable they are.
We know very little here about what or when something is going to happen, only what we can read on the internet when it is working a luxury that most of the folks in Baghdad do not have. Every day they wait for tons of
explosives to rain from the sky. They wait and worry and go on living.

I asked Fatima, a mother with nine children all living with her husband and her sister in three rooms, "How are you preparing for the war?" She replies, "Oh, there is not much we can do. We have a few extra liters of kerosene for
our stove and we buried some gasoline in the yard if we need to leave Baghdad. We are just waiting and hoping America will turn away from this war."

Amal, an older, educated middle-class woman expressed her outrage at President Bush. "I just don't understand how he can do this! How can he discredit the inspections, and still talk about attacking us? He will kill innocent people. He won't even leave us our hope! Does this man have no blood in his veins?"

Amal's house was hit by a bomb in 1991. She lives near a bridge over the Tigres River. I asked if she had a bomb shelter. "No, bomb shelters are no good, we will just sit together in a room so if something happens we will all go together." Her daughter reminds me of the disastrous bombing of the Aamayria air raid shelter. It was hit directly by a U.S. missile in the Gulf War. 415 mothers and young children were killed and hundreds more were
injured. Now there is the general suspicion the U.S. will deliberately target bomb shelters, so few people plan to use them.

Staff members of a school we visit regularly are preparing the children for the coming war by shooting a rifle in the air when the national flag is raised so the children get used to the sound of explosions. I read a recent article about the trauma and mental health problems that result
from war that children are especially vulnerable.

The government gave a combined November and December food ration, urging people to save some. But many people either ate the extra food or sold the ration for much needed cash. A representative of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization told us that if there is a war, many Iraqis
will face severe shortages of food and water. They have been under sanctions for 11 years and are extremely weakened. The war will take a heavy toll in civilian deaths ie collateral damage. (For an extremely informative and well-researched article on the expected war's consequences on civilians, prepared by the Nobel Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, see www.ippnw.org http://www.ippnw.org/ or
_www.medact.org http://www.medact.org/. Print it off and pass it around.)

Many people here tell us they will fight if America invades Iraq. They may not like their government, but the thought of being invaded by a foreign power rallies them together. "If American soldiers come," Amal says,
"we will resist, just like the Palestinians, we will resist." I can't tell if this is true, or simply an emotional response to the idea of an invasion.


There is no sign of preparation for war on the streets of Baghdad. Outside my window the roads are filled with cars and people. Gasoline is about 5 cents a gallon. The sidewalks are in bad repair, the stores are humble,
and dusty, and the items for sale are minimal. It is Ramadan, and restaurants and cafes are closed during the daylight hours. The place feels tired. Iraq was nearing first-world status at the time of the Gulf War, now it is
clearly third-world and struggling. A few days ago we visited the U.N. Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq. The director there told us, "Sanctions paralyse every single aspect of Iraqi society." There isn't enough of anything food, clean water, ambulances, medicines, doctors, teachers, tractors. Someone shows me this statement by Denis Halliday, the former U.N. Assistant Secretary General and Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq:

"I had been instructed to implement a policy [in Iraq] that satisfies the definition of genocide: a deliberate policy that has effectively killed well over a million individuals, children and adults. What is clear is that
the Security Council is now out of control, for its actions here undermine its own Charter, and the Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Conventions.
History will slaughter those responsible. We are in the process of destroying an entire society. It is as simple and terrifying as that."

I had read about the deadly effects of the sanctions on Iraqis before coming here, but seeing these effects with my own eyes is a shock. I know that some people in my country say this is Saddam's fault if he would only
comply with the U.N. resolutions the sanctions would be lifted. Yes, the Iraqi government should be held to account for many things, but not at the expense of a hair on the head of an Iraqi child! I have also come to learn
that, according to U.N. weapons inspectors, the eradication of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was 95-98% completed in 1998 when the U.S. worried they would lose the leverage sanctions provided to gain control over
this country so they pressured the U.N. to withdraw its inspectors. Like many people in the world, I suspect U.S. motivations toward Iraq are not primarily about eradicating weapons of mass destruction.


I feel the imminent war inside of me too. The fear of attack manifests itself in little ways: my impatience with other team members; my craving to have more control over my actions; the frustration of not knowing who I can talk with; will this conversation compromise them? Is this solo walk I want to take all right? Is it an acceptable risk? I have more medical supplies with me than the local hospital! What does it mean to be in solidarity with a people? Our team meets almost every night to discuss scenarios for ourresponse to an air attack, a ground attack, or a coup. Feelings are strong and diverse. I feel afraid of being useless. But perhaps the service is simply to be here, to share in the suffering of a people attacked by my country. I am more convinced than ever that it doesn't have to be this way, and that it is up to us to change the future.


There is one bright light for me however. It erases all my thoughts and anxieties. Every morning I go to work at an orphanage run by the Missionary Sisters of Charity of Mother Theresa. There are about 20 little boys and girls with severe cerebral palsy. Only two can speak a little and some cannot even raise their head. But they all have shining eyes and beautiful smiles, surely these are the angels everyone speaks of. I spend 3 hours holding them, massaging them, singing, and playing. Their gaze never
leaves my face. They squirm across the floor to put their head in my lap. They are completely present and so am I. This is the only time I am not ambivalent.

I belong here. I feed them and clean them. They stay focused on my face. This smile is all they want in the moment. Toys come and go but the face of a smiling adult is their heaven.

I hope where you live there are opportunities to resist the U.S. war machine. Nothing we do is too little and I always speak of the caring American and British people who are struggling to prevent the rain of bombs.
 

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