Speech given by Jennie Eisert of the Anti-War Committee at the Iraq Peace Action Coalition demonstration in Minneapolis on March 20th, 2010.
This is a critical time for the anti-war movement.
In January over 52% of Americans polled by CNN said they opposed the war in Afghanistan. 52%, by seeing this number I think we should have a lot more people out here with us, especially since more are critical of the war on Iraq. Yet, only recently have people started to open their eyes and see the real cost of the war on Afghanistan, on our young people, our social services, and on the Afghan people.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the numbers in the street to end this war – despite the fact that over half the population agree with us. This makes growing the anti-war movement an important task for all of us who turned out today. Are you ready to leave here and recruit more people to join us? We need to resist the idea that this is the “right and just” war that has been shoved down our throats by the mainstream media and politicians.
By doing this we need to reach out to our family, friends, co-workers and educate them to make them feel like there is a place for them and that there voice is needed. We need to make space for the anti-war Democrats in our movement. There are a lot of progressive people in this country who question the president’s policies but don’t want to come across as tea party supporters. We should also be challenging Obama supporters who aren’t ready to question his foreign policy. We need to get them to listen to their progressive values and ideas that they had prior to Obama being elected, and to think about whether occupation and war are actions to ever support no matter who is president.
The economy continues to be number one on people’s minds. The anti-war movement cannot organize in a bubble and just chant about “Money for Human Needs not for War” and then not try to connect with the real economic hardships that we see around us. We should be on the front lines making this connection between our movement and the movement for economic justice. Many people and groups in the peace movement are already doing this through their activism, you should join us.
Now is a time for raising our voices. Obama has said he wants to hear from us, that to me is an invitation, we should accept that invitation, take to the streets, show him our opposition, and demand he pull back the troops!
One way the Anti-War Committee is doing this is by initiating a second Zero Recruitment Day on April 22nd. On this day our committee and groups across the Twin Cities will be taking part in actions at various recruitment stations to deter young people from enlisting. We encourage you to join our demand “Don’t Enlist Resist!”
Si se puede, stand up fight back!