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UFPJ Violates Own Policies to Avoid Holding War Criminals Accountable


United for Peace and Justice, Largest Peace Coalition in U.S., Abandons its Agenda in Order to Avoid Working for Accountability and Prosecutions

At a time when more and more organizations are speaking up for accountability, including AfterDowningStreet, Democrats.com, Progressive Democrats of America, Code Pink, Center for Constitutional Rights, Robert Jackson Steering Committee, National Accountability Network, People for the American Way, American Civil Liberties Union, American Freedom Campaign, Amnesty International, World Can't Wait, High Road for Human Rights, and many others, ...

At a time when the media has taken up the issue as never before and a recent poll shows Americans wanting prosecutions for torture...

The largest peace coalition in the country has chosen to violate its own policies in order to move in the opposite direction.

From December 12 to 14, 2008, United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) held its National Assembly in Chicago. Hundreds of representatives of member groups from all over the country spent most of those three days voting on the language to go in the documents that would determine what UFPJ would work on in the coming year and a half, the Unity Statement, the Strategic Framework, and the Program of Action. This last document directly determines what areas the coalition will work in. All three documents are available here.

In past years, UFPJ has declined to put major resources into work on accountability or impeachment, arguing that these campaigns were not contained in its Program Document. This time was different. Participants in the National Assembly voted overwhelmingly to make accountability and prosecution for war crimes an item on the agenda, and part of all three documents. The full assembly even voted explicitly and overwhelmingly to make work on those campaigns just as important as work in other areas.

Enthusiasts for accountability and prosecution within UFPJ formed a Working Group and even persuaded UFPJ to send an Email to its member groups in December. But, from that point forward, the Working Group on Accountability and Prosecution was shut out, not given a webpage, not given a listserve, not consulted in planning for major events around the sixth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and plans for a big event in New York on April 4th. On Friday, UFPJ sent its member groups a long document listing topics that people should discuss with their Congress members during the coming week's recess. It's available here.

This document closely resembles the Program Document over which hundreds of people tediously labored, discussing and voting on every section for three days, except that there are changes. Any mention of accountability or prosecution or war crimes has been deleted. That entire section is gone. Other elements have been deleted and completely new ones added that were never approved by any assembly.

UFPJ's decision to turn its elaborate and laborious shows of democracy into a charade and to allow a certain clique of individuals to impose their will on the coalition may matter only to peace activists. But the refusal to work to hold anyone accountable for the crimes the coalition is seeking to end will be of great interest to the criminals.

Here are the section headings in the document UFPJ members voted on for three straight days until it was just right:

UFPJ PROGRAM FOR ACTION
As amended and adopted at the 4th UFPJ National Assembly – 12/13/08

1) We remain committed to the urgent goal of immediately ending the U.S. wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan and bringing all the troops home.
• 6th Anniversary of the War in Iraq:
• Pressure on Congress to End the War in Iraq:
• Voices of Iraqis, Humanitarian Crisis and Rebuilding Iraq:
• Afghanistan
• Support for Military Resisters, Veterans and Military Families:
• Truth In Recruiting:
• Campaign to Bring Home the National Guard:
2) Our work for peace and justice will include an action response to the economic, social and environmental crisis at home and worldwide.
• Economic Crisis and a Green Job Economy:
• End to Global Warming, Climate Justice Now:
3) We will work to prevent new wars in Pakistan, Iran and elsewhere.
• Iran – Stop Threatening, Start Talking:
• Nuclear Disarmament:
• Pakistan, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and elsewhere:
4) It is time to challenge the Global War on Terror and the Empire Building Agenda of the U.S.
• No Foreign Bases Campaign:
• End the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Territories:
• Offering New Approaches for U.S. Foreign Policy:
5) Defending, protecting and expanding civil liberties, civil rights and democracy are necessary
steps to ensure our ability to achieve our other strategic goals.
• Restore Civil Liberties, End Torture:
• Accountability and prosecution of high officials guilty of war crimes, including the supreme crime of aggressive war.
• Immigrant Rights:

***

Here, in contrast, are the section headings from the new document:

BEYOND WAR - A New Economy is Possible
Send America to Work, Not to War
1. Militarism
Out of Iraq and Afghanistan
16 MONTH PLAN FOR IRAQ
AFGHANISTAN
THERE IS NO “GOOD WAR”
NUCLEAR WEAPONS
FOREIGN BASES
MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
THE PENTAGON IS NOT A JOBS ENGINE
HUMANITARIAN AID

2. Poverty
CUT THE MILITARY BUDGET AND FUND HUMAN NEEDS
POVETY [sic] IN THE UNITED STATES
HOME FORECLOSURES
HEALTHCARE
EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ACT
GET RID OF INEFFECTIVE “TRICKLE DOWN” ECONOMICS
THE GRAVITY OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS
WE SHOULD INVEST IN GREEN

3. Racism
BLACK PRISON POPULATION
BLACK POVERTY
EDUCATION

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From a strictly financial perspective, this would stick in my craw to no end if I was a participant in this charade. As with any large organization, you may get their attention best by hitting them in the pocket. All "voters" could demand reimbursements (via certified mail and accompanying copies of all receipts) for all expenses incurred to , during, and from the UFPJ conference.

ARREST BUSHCO & RICO PNAC/FARA AIPAC...PNAC is Bush/Cheney's "Helter Skelter" !

money on plane, hotel, bad food, etc

saw people i enjoyed seeing, but sat through three days of worse-than-watching-paint-dry

As a matter of fact, I think all progressive blogs should scream this in their banner, broadcasting to all serious activists how they got punk'd by these sellouts. (why do I smell Shillary Clinton when doo doo hits the fan? I know it's just me, but she's the epitome of a sell out). I'm going to the blogs today and spreading the word about their traitorous behavior. Disgusting.

This is just sad!

One of my fears going back to the beginning of the protest against the war, Bushco and the do nothing leadership of the Democratic Party was that the national groups like UFPJ would become a branch of the dems. This and other instances have indicated to me that this may be happening. What happened to you David is not good and I thank you for yelling as loud as it takes to get our attention. We must have accountability because you cannot have Peace without Justice.

Many of us have been out in the cold, arrested, standing, yelling, demanding, and pleading for Justice. It will happen someday because it must or we will be no more. Thanks again David and to all who try to keep the nationals honest and open.

Joe Walsh---Lone Vet, Portland, Or.
Member of VVAW
Member of Individuals for Justice
Member Veterans Against Torture
Supporter of VFP

We're still fighting this. It's a GOOD THING to know who the traitors are! E-mail the piss out of em and let em have it with both barrels. Spread the word of their traitorous actions on all the blogs! Keep the heat on and good luck! (great picture of you on the chopper in the snow on back of James Gang album, btw :) (snark off)

It's not enough to report the sell-out without listing names of those who are responsible for the unauthorized changes and omissions.

UFPJ is at (212) 868-5545 and it is run by Leslie Cagan, Judith LeBlanc, Michael McPherson, et alia. The steering committee is on the website, but some of them are deciders and some shut out.

I was as polite as possible, but they get the idea that I don't cotton to SELLOUTS. I've also posted at Glenn Greenwald's and DU. I'm going to shame these monkeys until they drop their bananas in grief. I'm not finished by a long shot.

Michael McPherson called me and said he knew nothing about it and would look into it
We'll see

.

So, UFPJ is for Peace, just not the Justice aspect?

Talk about a Bushism...

.

Because that substituted document has 'sect' written all over it, as does the act of wholesale substitution without even a hint of acknowledgement that the document agreed on at the assembly is gone.

So I'm interested to know: what are the party affiliations of the various steering committee members?

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