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Thursday, December 10, 2009


Stop the war...on the world!

I went to a meeting last night to begin planning for March 20 actions against the war(s). Although organizations are all invited to have their own leaflets and slogans within a common framework, the ANSWER leaflet looks like this:

Of course I agree with all those demands. But what strikes me is this: we who demonstrate are constantly being criticized by the media for having "too many demands." Let there be one "Free Mumia" or "Save the Whales" banner amidst a thousand "U.S. Out of Iraq!" banners, we'll be told the demonstration was "reminiscent of the sixties" with a hodgepodge of demands. But here's the thing: a wide range of demands are connected, and never before have those connections been as transparent as they are right now in the midst of the economic downturn. Which is why I think it's time to proudly embrace that myriad of demands, with the "Stop the war...on the world!" slogan.

As I was traveling to the meeting, for example, over the radio came the news that the Los Angeles School District is planning to lay off up to 8000 personnel next year unless voters approve a new tax and teachers swallow pay cuts, all because of an expected $470 million budget shortfall. And all I could think of was the figure "$1 million/soldier/year" for the escalation of the war against Afghanistan, and that just 470 fewer soldiers (29,530 instead of 30,000!) and 8000 jobs could be saved (and actually a lot more, since those people buy groceries, and clothes, and toys, etc., from people who in turn buy groceries, clothes, and toys, etc., in the standard "multiplier effect") Imagine what could be done with the money saved from sending 30,000 fewer soldiers to Afghanistan! Or bringing all 100,000 of them home, as well as the 118,000 from Iraq! These connections are becoming clearer and clearer, and although slogans like "Money for jobs and education, not war and occupation" and "Money for healthcare, not for warfare" have long been part of antiwar demonstrations, now is the time to give them even more prominence.

And, although my "Stop the war...against the world!" graphic has included "Global Warming" since the day I created it in December, 2005, with the climate summit in Copenhagen going on, the double-meaning of the word "world" in that slogan has never been more appropriate. The world (the planet) may in a sense be collateral damage in the sense that it's not an intended target, but it's every bit as much a victim of capitalism and imperialism as are the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and the others around the world directly in the cross-hairs.

Stop the war...on the world!

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