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San Francisco | Anti-War

2/25 Antiwar Meeting in SF
by via list
Thursday Feb 9th, 2006 10:49 PM
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2006, 10:30 A.M.
ILWU, Local 6
255 9th Street
ANTIWAR MEETING OPEN TO ALL
THOSE WHO DEMAND:
STOP THE WAR NOW! U.S. OUT OF IRAQ!
BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!
MONEY FOR HUMAN NEEDS NOT WAR!
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2006, 10:30 A.M.
ILWU, Local 6
255 9th Street
(Between Folsom and Howard, S.F.)

This past Sunday, February 5, a meeting was
held among more than 90 antiwar, labor, veterans,
environmental, political, gay, social justice and
human rights groups and individuals who met
to see if we could unite in the Bay Area under
the banner of Stop the War in Iraq! Bring all the
Troops Home Now! And plan for a mass action
in New York on April 29, 2006 as a major focus;
and plan an event in the Bay Area for those who
can't go to NY on 4/29.

Some of the groups that were present: Iraq Veterans
for Peace, Veterans for Peace, Gold Star Mothers for Peace,
Grey Panthers, Green Peace, Global Exchange, United
for Peace and Justice, National Lawyers Guild, USLAW,
Bay Area United Against War, Marin, Pininsula, Stockton
Peace and Justice groups, Code Pink, A.N.S.W.E.R.,
ISO, Socialist Action, Committee to Defend Mumia
Abu Jamal, Committee to End the Death Penalty,
Committee of Correspondence, American
Friends Service Committee, Peace and Freedom Party,
Green Party, Sierra Club, Hands Off Venezuela Committee,
among many others I can't remember (sorry).

Some of the individuals: Walter Reiley, Boots Reiley,
Barbara Lubin, Jackie Cabasso, Media Benjamin, Jeff Mackler,
Tom Lacey, Carole Seligman, Bonnie Weinstein, Pat
Gerber, Tommi Avicolli Mecca, Regina Johnson,
to name just a few...BW)

In addition, the group decided to plan a conference
sometime in April, that would bring together
all those working against the war to educate
ourselves, plan strategy, and organize our
opposition to the war more effectively by working
together and planning actions and events in an
open, free and democratic atmosphere.

The first meeting was by invitation only but all further
meetings are open to all those interested in these
basic goals. Nominations for a steering committee
were taken but the floor will be open again at
the Saturday, February 25 meeting.

The success of the Feb. 5 meeting clearly shows that
the urgency to stop the war is a feeling held by
all of us and now, by the majority of the people
in this country and the world.

Please come and bring your compatriots, friends
and family to help organize a powerful, united
voice in the Bay Area!

Stop the War in Iraq!
Bring the Troops Home Now!
Money for Human Needs Not War!

(The following is the text of the invitation
sent out by Tom Lacey on behalf of twenty
individuals who got together to plan the Sunday,
Feb. 5 meeting that took place this past weekend.)

Dear friend and activist: A meeting of anti-war
activists has been called for Sunday afternoon on
February 5th. The meeting will be held at the ILWU,
Local 6, 255 9th Street in San Francisco at 2:00 pm.
A few of us have been meeting on an informal basis
to explore the possibilities for a new bay area anti-
war formation, united around the primary concept
of bringing the troops home now. Below is a summary
of our points of agreement. You are receiving this
invitation as a result of my offering your name as
someone who can make a vital contribution to this
discussion.

-In the U.S. today there is a major gap between the
rapidly growing antiwar consciousness of the U.S.
population and the dramatic decline of support for
the U.S. war in Iraq on the one hand and the
organizational framework to mobilize broad sectors
of society against this war on the other. This is
particularly glaring on the West Coast.

-The growing opposition to the war is evidenced by
the massive response to the courageous actions of
Cindy Sheehan, the growth of groups like Gold Star
Mothers and Military Families, Iraq veterans
organizations, the massive demonstration of
300,000 in Washington on September 24, the
open debate in Congress, the increasing number
of soldiers who lose their lives for corporate oil profits
and empire, the exposure of the lies that were employed
to justify the war, and the subordination of many social
programs (like the immediate and critical relief necessitated
by Hurricane Katrina) to ever-increasing military spending.
All of the above takes place against the backdrop of
increasing attacks against basic civil liberties and civil
rights, union-busting and broadside attacks on social
gains that were won decades ago, including pensions
and health care.

-The above gives us great confidence that new sectors
of society can be engaged in ongoing educational activities
as well as massive mobilizations against the war in Iraq.
What is needed most of all is a broad independent united
front perspective and an open and democratic organizational
form that is capable of filling the present void.

-On the political front we believe that the basis of the broad
movement we seek to encourage must be clear and simple,
that is, "End the War in Iraq!" and "Bring the Troops Home
Now!" This must be the main and central focus of a successful
movement capable of reaching out to, and involving on an
ongoing basis, the broad sectors of society that are critical
to stopping the war and that have not been mobilized
sufficiently to date to do so, particularly in the labor
movement, the churches, the communities of color and
the youth. The slogan "Bring the Troops Home Now!" is
a simple expression of our support to the democratic
principle of the right of nations to self-determination.

-As always our political perspective must include subordinate
but important and related slogans such as, "Money for Human
Needs, Jobs, Education and Health Care Not War!"

-It is also necessary and consistent with our support to the
right of self-determination that a successful antiwar movement
today stand in opposition to all U.S. wars and U.S.-backed
occupations. As above, that is, also in a subordinate but
important and related manner, our movement must find
ways to include in leaflet texts or slogans the basic idea:
" No to U.S. wars and occupations from Palestine to Haiti,
from Afghanistan to Iran, Cuba elsewhere." While maintaining
our focus on the major issue in world politics today, the
murderous Iraq War, our platform speakers will also give
voice to persons who express the above.

-Our central aim as a group of experienced activists is to
assemble a very broad range of individuals and groups to
organize a major event in the form of well-attended regional
and participatory antiwar conference/teach-in, which includes
a combination of educational, plenary presentations and
workshops. This event is meant to be a first step in a probe
of the possibility of bringing into being a very broad, ongoing,
inclusive, independent and democratic coalition that can
provide continuous antiwar education, organize large events,
such as conferences and teach-ins and massive demonstrations
that aim at giving expression to the full breadth of the emerging
antiwar forces.

-We have the utmost respect for the work of the existing
antiwar coalitions, including UFPJ, ANSWER, Not In Our Name
and others. But we believe that, at least on the West Coast,
where we reside, there is a deep need for a very broad coalition
that includes the present and emerging forces that are needed
to bring the full force of the movement to bear. We are exploring
the possibility of constructing such a coalition that will be open
to the full participation of all existing coalitions, groups and
individuals as well as the new forces emerging on the political
scene today.

-Our efforts are designed at inclusion and unity, that is, the
bringing together of everyone, united front style, who opposes
the war regardless of the past political differences that have
previously and very often unnecessarily divided our movement
on many other issues.


-Rally and event speakers: We welcome as speakers at our
events all who accept to speak on our End the War in Iraq!/
Bring the Troops Home Now! platform.

-To begin this process we have agreed to invite specifically-
named groups and individuals, approximately 100, to join
us in a large and representative meeting to deepen the
exchange on our project and to further elaborate the broad
outlines of the conference/teach-in we hope to begin work
on. This initial meeting and the invitations to it will be by
invitation only. The meeting is set for Sunday, February 5
at 2 PM at ILWU, Local 6, 255 Ninth Street, San Francisco.
(Between Folsom and Howard).

-We agreed to consult with each other as to the co-chairs,
presenters and others among us who will take responsibility
for various aspects of the meeting.

-We agreed that as a regional formation future meetings will
be held in other parts of the Bay Area, including the East Bay,
Marin and the Peninsula.