Coalition adopts action plan to fight U.S. wars
With the overwhelming support of the more than 700 people who registered for
the three-day event, the United National Anti-war Conference decided July 25 to
adopt an action program. It included support for a series of actions across the
country in the coming weeks and months and for mass demonstrations next April 9
on the East and West Coasts. These actions will demand the immediate withdrawal
of U.S. and other occupation troops and mercenaries from Iraq, Afghanistan and
Some 12 hours after the conference ended, the New York Times, the British
newspaper The Guardian and the German weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel published
summaries of 92,000 leaked classified cables between U.S. officials regarding
the Afghan occupation. This evidence, showing the bankruptcy of U.S.-NATO war
strategy and exposing imperialist war crimes, may impel the anti-war movement
to take action even sooner.
The Albany conference also clearly opposed any U.S. or Israeli military actions
against Iran. Recently, Washington imposed new heavy sanctions against Iran and
sent additional warships to the seas within striking range of Iran’s 70
million people. In anticipation of a possible bombing raid, the anti-war
coalition also agreed to seek early opportunities to protest.
From left, Lynda Cruz of Derechos Humanos
in Tucson, Ariz.; Rafael Sananez of Vamos
Unidos, NYC; Monami Maulik of Desis Rising
Up & Moving; author David Wilson; and
Teresa Gutierrez, May 1 Coalition, NYC,
at the Immigrant Rights workshop.
In contrast with some of the earlier broad anti-war coalitions, most of the
individuals and organizations at the conference enthusiastically supported
Palestinian liberation and opposed the Israeli state. This issue sparked the
most extensive debate, but resulted in overwhelming support for the addition to
the action plan of a demand to end all U.S. economic, diplomatic and military
aid to Israel.
It has always been a principled position to support Palestinian
self-determination. Following the criminal attack on Gaza in December 2008 and
the murderous assault on the Freedom Flotilla this June, a strong and dynamic
movement has grown opposing the reactionary, pro-imperialist Israeli state and
demanding boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. This movement
— with a strong lead from the Palestinian Solidarity Caucus of the
conference, composed of Al-Awda and many solidarity and anti-imperialist
activists such as the International Action Center — had its impact in
The war at home
Many organizations and individuals had had defining experiences in the 1960s
and 1970s movement opposing the U.S. war against Vietnam. At that time many
supported the “single issue” tactic — that is, just calling
for ending the war and bringing U.S. troops home.
Given multiple U.S. aggressions taking place in the midst of a capitalist
economic downturn, with massive unemployment, home seizures and losses of both
wages and government-supplied benefits, the conference favorably considered
expanding the movement’s demands.
Slogans like “Jobs, not war” were on the order of the day.
Immigrant rights organizations were invited to address the conference and hold
workshops. Those defending political prisoners such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, Lynne
Stewart — whose spouse, Ralph Poynter, spoke — and the numerous
Muslims framed for alleged terrorist conspiracies addressed a lunchtime
plenary. Other workshops took up defending education and health care.
The action plan also urged participation in the jobs march on Oct. 2 in
Washington called by the NAACP and endorsed by the AFL-CIO, the student
mobilization to defend education on Oct. 7 and demonstrations defending
immigrant rights. This attempt to integrate the anti-war movement with these
other actions showed the intention of reaching out to the working class in
general, to oppressed communities and to youth, even if this was not reflected
in the participant composition of the conference.
The conference gave evidence of its fighting spirit when roughly half of the
500 people at its adjournment joined a militant demonstration from the State
Capitol through Albany’s oppressed community to a nearby mosque. The
march showed its solidarity with Muslims in the U.S. under attack and with the
Albany-based Project SALAM group that is defending hundreds of Muslim prisoners
persecuted in the phony “war on terror.” (projectsalam.org)
Among the anti-imperialist participants in the conference were activists who
frequently contribute to Workers World newspaper. Abayomi Azikiwe took part in
two workshops and introduced a resolution opposing U.S. military intervention
in Africa, which was adopted. Sara Flounders of the International Action Center
co-introduced resolutions on “Jobs not war” and on stopping any
bombing or sanctions against Iran and then fought successfully for their
adoption. The IAC participated in the Palestine Solidarity Caucus.
Teresa Gutierrez of the IAC and the May 1st Coalition for Worker &
Immigrant Rights explained at a plenary the importance of the movement to win
legalization for immigrant workers. She also brought up the need to fight all
imperialist wars and threats, including those against Cuba and the Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea.
Larry Holmes of the Bail Out the People Movement reminded the veteran activists
of the revolutionary spirit of the 1960s and 1970s, evoking that spirit for the
current struggle. When discussing Palestine, Holmes also underlined how Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. defied his labor advisors when he spoke out against the
war in Vietnam.
These talks and others relating directly to ongoing struggles evoked strong
cheers from the audience.
For more information see nationalpeaceconference.org and