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National Assembly in Cleveland

I plan on attending Cleveland but many of us have concerns. I do like the intention of this assembly giving one person one vote... So, therefore, in the spirit of cooperation, here are some of the concerns I and others have:

1) That PDA's control and direction of the agenda and process be limited. Again, buttressing the sentiment above -- I think no group should have any more power than any other group. It should be more about grassroots activists who have been doing the heavy lifting day in, day out. Not PDA, not UFPJ and not ANSWER. Many of us believe this movement's great energy and spirit is from the true grassroots.

2) That nonviolent civil resistance be encouraged and fostered, while it is realized not everyone will engage in it. We need as many tools in the toolshed as possible to dismantle the military-industrial-political empire. Frankly more and more people believe nonviolent direct action should be given more time and energy by the movement than electoral strategies (look at the growth of it across the country during the last two years). No significant social change in America has been complete without it (abolitionism, suffragism, anti-war movements).

3) That any plan the assembly puts forward should strive for consensus (as much as possible), and it should take as much input from a diverse set of folks, especially giving weight to those often humiliated and subjugated by the powers that be, as possible. This includes people of color, the queer and trans community, and students (college and younger).

4) Also there should be basically no back door dealings, that the assembly strive for complete transparency. This includes listing all workshops organized, and all proposing and voting procedures explained.

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NatAssembly.Org has not a single mention of Impeachment???????

Have I failed to see the obvious or has this august Cleveland group of activists actually decided to ignore the only weapon in their arsenal that might give them victory? Impeachment Hearings!

Once hearings are begun in the House somebody (Cheney) will be forced from office. The Iraq War will likely stop and the Iran attack will be avoided. Tough for a President to fight three wars with an Impeachment fight going on.

Of course to have Impeachment Hearings happen before the election you will all have to work together to threaten the re-election of all of the the Democratic Congressmen who oppose even holding hearings.

Stop pussyfooting around with the Democratic Congressmen. Everything we've done has accomplished little. They are ignoring us.

Try something new and forceful.

We've been doing this for months in Colorado and we have had plenty of feedback from Congressman Udall's campaign telling us to cease. We're getting to them. It is just a matter of time.

It is a game of political chicken. Will Udall blink and call for hearings? Or will we stop him from being re-elected? Even if Udall is elected to the Senate, if his margin of victory is extremely thin everyone will know we made a difference and we'll have more power for the future. Good place to be.

The Congressmen need to fear us. do it!

John H Kennedy, Denver CO,
43 yr Democratic voter and organizer of
Impeach Colorado Coalition

PS. Won't be in Cleveland but send our best to you all. Fighting to get a Congressman to remember his Oath.

What if we did impeach the neocons, and the Dems continued the war and occupation? Remember, the military-industrial complex funds their campaigns as well. Obviously a majority of them continue to be OK with continuing to fund it... Wake up, impeachment is not going automatically turn everything around, besides Dems have clearly demonstrated that they don't have the backbone to do it.

This is an anti-war assembly, not an impeachment one. The movements are related, but not exactly the same. Also, impeachment is short-term, anti-war is a lot more long-term. Although impeachment is justified this time around, it only addresses the symptoms -- doesn't tackle the root causes which continually lead us into war.

John H makes? Anti-war and impeach initiatives fail in part because their leaders don't see the powerful connection, except here at ADS. I think the criticism of the National Assembly is due. Constructive criticism, I would emphasize.

We need much more solidarity on these two issues. MoveOn and UFPJ have been silent or downplayed impeachment as the most powerful tool available to the People. We are farther away from either enforcing the Constitution or stopping militarism because the failure to "unify" under one democratic movement.

...all in the name of protecting a political party, I fear.


Speaking very generally, I have felt for years that some elements of the anti-war movement, especially the radicals, are not very concerned about protecting Our US Constitution.

Given that the Cheney/Bush disregard and disrespect for Our Constitution is the "root cause" of the Iraq War, I am amazed that all of the anti-war movement isn't solidly behind impeachment.

The "symptoms" you mention
are actually the Iraq invasion being approved because of WMD Lies, the illegal spying on Americans, the CIA Agent outing, The Torture, etc,

The "root cause" is the Cheney/Bush disregard and disrespect for Our Constitution. Part of the cause is the cowardly Congress not upholding the rule of law and the Constitution.

The symptoms occur after some leader decides that Congress and the voters (you and I) will allow them to get away with breaking the law and ignoring the Constitution.

The super rich owners of the military-industrial complex will always be twisting the Constitution into knots so you and I always have to be willing to fight for it and not just for the war du jour. The two battles go hand in hand.

If as you say "impeachment is justified this time around" wouldn't our failure to fight with all our might for impeachment tell the entire world that we, you and I don't really give a rat's behind for Our Constitution.

Everything we have, we have because of Our Constitution.

Our failure to remember that and vigorously defend the Constitution will eventually cause our children to lose the rights and freedoms it provides them.

Do you really want to have that on your tombstone.

"He failed to defend the US Constitution
and now his children are slaves."

Is that what anti-war activists want?

Failure to pressure the Congressional Democrats to make impeachment hearings happen prior to the election will haunt us all.

John H Kennedy, Denver CO,
43 yr Democratic voter and organizer of
Impeach Colorado Coalition

"You" are the Americans who can get us Impeachment Hearings before the election ›


Impeachment is not going to happen. Dems don't have the balls.

The root causes are much deeper in this society, and they ultimately lead to the "election" and re-election of Georgie.

I think I am doing my share, I have been arrested 11 times for resisting this fucked up government -- which the Dems are part of.

peace and understanding,

First, as a member of the coordination committee, I think I echo the sentiments of the others on the committee and those in attendance in saying that the National Assembly in Cleveland (June 28, 29) was a great success.

Second, the first poster, Peter in DC, was concerned that PDA would have undue weight at the conference. Being the state coordinator for PDA in Ohio, I can say that this concern was a non-issue and never a part of the original purpose for any those who formed the National Assembly. PDA endorsed because of the all-encompassing and non-partisan nature of the Call, a call that is above sectarian divisions. The purpose was unity of the movement, and we at PDA understand how that is achieved. We of PDA also understand that the goal of the National Assembly transcends the individual impetus of any one group as seen in the five principles that the Assembly focused on, gathered for, and attempted to keep true to its mission, one that was pointed and narrow enough to include all who support those five principles: 1) Mass action as the central strategy, 2) "Out Now" as the demand, 3) Unity of the movement, 4) Democratic decision making within the movement, 5) Independence of the movement from political parties and not subordinating the movement to any of them.

Though some groups at the Assembly worked to have their particular issues added to the main document, and were successful due to the welcomed democratic nature of the conference, we at PDA always understood--and took the floor on two occasions to reiterate the importance of all attendees staying true to the five points of unity so as to help create the broadest and strongest mass mobilization efforts. We accept the outcomes, since democratic functioning is what we strive for. But we also recognize that there is a difference between each groups’ individual issue oriented agendas and the overall agenda of the National Assembly. If the broadest movement is what the goal is, then we at PDA feel that we have to have a smart, pragmatic, and strategic approach to a build mass movement against the continued occupation in Iraq, and now Afghanistan since the conference democratically approved language to expand the mission.

This means we need to encourage Americans of all stripes, colors, and persuasions to participate in any mass mobilizations that are agreed upon by all participants. For groups who have individual agendas to push for inclusion of their agenda counterpoised to the five points will tend to weaken the involvement of those who have not yet participated in marches and mass actions. We need to keep focus so that everyday, regular, non-activist types will feel comfortable in participating and joining hands with us. This means, strategically, it is better to allow the major impetus to get broad unified support from the public to override the always problematic sectarian strain of we on left.

For those who could not make it, I personally can say that the Conference was a great success. The speakers were excellent. The functioning was democratic. And though some groups are taking a wait-and-see stance and some have fully endorsed, the conference was attended by representatives of a broad sector of the movement: USLAW and various labor organizations (the heads of two state's AFL-CIO organizations), the North Shore Labor federation, IVAW, MFSO, Veterans for Peace, PDA, Socialist Action, etc, ANSWER, UFPJ, PDA, etc.

In regard to the second poster and his mention of the Assembly not mentioning impeachment, I hope if he/she reads the above he will understand that those issues must be subordinated in order to get as many of the 70% or more of Americans as possible to participate in mass action. This does not mean that in any mass action that information regarding any individual agenda or groups would not be present. It is in fact during mass mobilizations that many become aware of and engaged in a deeper understanding. But we must get them there to unite around our main goals before this can happen. This is just common sense and practical strategy for building mass mobilization where it is understood that keeping it simple, pointed, and direct is the way to achieve the main goal. I that is achieved then the movement's other goals gain a better chance.

Visit to note an alternative evaluation of the National Assembly.

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