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War, Racism and Global Warming
Future Hope column, October 1, 2005
By Ted Glick
The three days of anti-war actions in Washington, D.C. last
weekend organized primarily by United for Peace and Justice
were a huge victory for the progressive movement. From the
Saturday rally and march co-organized with ANSWER, to the
Peace and Justice Fair all day on the Washington Monument
grounds, to the highly successful Operation Ceasefire
concert/rally Saturday going late into the night attended by
tens of thousands, to the tent revival inter-denominational
religious service Sunday evening, to the mass lobbying of
many hundreds on Capitol Hill Monday morning followed by
almost 400 people getting arrested in front of the White
House Monday afternoon-all of it was a powerful
manifestation of our movement's growing political strength.
The question is, what next?
At least a couple, maybe more, of the people who spoke at
the big Saturday rally put forward that the peace movement
should prioritize getting a new Congress in 2006 and a new
administration in 2008, meaning the election of Democrats.
Undoubtedly some will take this up, but I hope the vast
majority of those present see the importance of continued
grassroots organizing, broad-based outreach and the building
of alliances with constituencies whose numbers in D.C. were
not what they should be given their anti-war sentiments,
especially communities of color. Independent,
issue-oriented, multi-cultural movement-building must be our
Many activists will continue the important
counter-recruitment organizing and work with military
families. To my way of thinking this is critical, strategic
work. Key to the eventual withdrawal of the U.S. from
Indochina was the open rebellion by young people in the U.S.
against the military draft and the open rebellion by
soldiers in Vietnam against further participation in the
war. Wars cannot be fought if there are not enough troops
willing to fight them.
It is also essential to keep making the obvious political
links between the horrendous and racist government response
to Katrina, the continuation of the criminal war in Iraq and
our being ruled by an incompetent, corporatist
administration that should be under indictment and on the
way to jail for all the destruction they are responsible
for. We must support the grassroots organizing that is
taking place in the deep South to oppose the plans to
reconstruct New Orleans and other areas devastated by
Katrina and Rita in ways which will permanently displace
long-time African American and other poor and working class
residents and line the pockets of politically-connected
corporations. Our demand must be something like, Money for
Human Needs, Not War and Gentrification, in New Orleans, the
deep South and throughout the country.
It is also important that the peace movement strengthen its
involvement with the growing movement to stop global
warming. An international day of action on this issue is
happening on December 3rd, with actions planned throughout
Europe, in Australia, Canada, the USA and elsewhere. This is
at the same time as a big international conference Nov.
28-Dec. 9 in Montreal, Quebec of all the Kyoto Protocol
signers. The U.S., which has not signed Kyoto, will be there
working to obstruct forward progress on this urgent,
life-and-death issue. This is the role they have been
playing at international gatherings for years.
There are obvious connections between the war for oil in
Iraq and global warming. Rather than getting ourselves
deeper and deeper militarily into the Middle East in an
effort to control its oil supply, the U.S. should be
embarking on a crash program of energy conservation and
efficiency and a rapid transition to wind, solar and other
clean energy sources.
And there is a widespread and growing popular understanding
of the role of global warming in making hurricanes like
Katrina and Rita stronger and more destructive.
Is it possible that the environmental movement, the African
American/racial and economic justice movement and the peace
movement could, over the next several months, increasingly
make connections and find the ways to be mutually supportive
of each other, understanding and acting upon the obvious
Yes, without question. Some progress has already been made,
as evidenced by who spoke in D.C. on September 24th and
other interactions that have taken place.
Those of us who understand and see these connections have a
responsibility to do all we can to strengthen and deepen
them. These three movements, together with others, have the
potential to fundamentally and permanently alter the
political dynamics within U.S. society, not in the far
distant future but next year and going forward.
We are at a potential turning point historically. Let's act
Ted Glick is the coordinator of the Climate Crisis: USA Join
the World! campaign (www.climatecrisis.us) and continues to
be active with the Independent Progressive Politics Network
(www.ippn.org). He can be reached at email@example.com
or P.O. Box 1132, Bloomfield, N.J. 07003