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Marching orders from Vets For Peace

Veterans For Peace are stepping forward to plan the unplannable: how to protest the regularly postponed announcement of an escalation in Afghanistan? I forgot how we picked March 19-21 to demonstrate against the attack on Iraq. Did we protest its beginning, or did it start afterward? Bush snuck the "surge" past public outcry, and that's how Obama will surge Afghanistan. Vets for Peace suggest activists be ready this time with a "March of the Dead" immediately when Obama decides. A MARCH OF THE DEAD requires dark cloths, preferably robes or hoods, and plain white masks with eyes and mouth backed with black gauze. Generic masks are available here, for example. Already this year Obama has doubled US troops in Afghanistan without having to announce a decision. As far as planning protests, it's been easy to forecast the thousand-mark milestones of US soldier deaths, and the anniversaries of the wars. How are we to project when a decision is coming? The administration keeps setting back the date for Obama's decision, owing to the complexity of the issues. Afghanistan may be so complicated, it will never be answered. Participating in the Veterans For Peace call to action are: Military Families Speak Out, the A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition, National Assembly, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, United for Peace and Justice, and World Can't Wait. Let's add Coloradans For Peace march for the dead. Our mission, should we chose to accept it: 1) Within the next few days, ideally prior to any decision from President Obama, conduct any of a wide range of local activities -- from calling Members of Congress to nonviolent civil resistance and everything in between -- demonstrating our opposition to and disgust with any decision to widen the war in Aghanistan. To show unity of purpose, we suggest local "March of the Dead" to Federal Buildings, local Congressional offices and government buildings of any sort. 2) On the day immediately following an announcement to escalate the war in Afghanistan, respond again in a variety of ways. To show unity of purpose, we suggest: a) making an appointment that day with at least one group that you're not already a member of -- a church, union, civic group, etc. -- to go and speak with them about the war b) return to the streets and again conduct any of a wide range of local activities -- from calling Members of Congress to nonviolent civil resistance and everything in between -- and be prepared to comment to the news media about the escalation of the war.

National Assembly is antiwar exclusively

Reports are emerging from July's National Assembly, the vital effort to unite antiwar forces into a common movement. Delegates from the major peace organizations hammered out a strategy to address Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Palestine. Missing from the consensus? Nonviolence, and good riddance. It goes without saying that humanitarian activists are peaceful. To legislate a dogma of non-confrontation plays right into the hands of the authoritarians. Here's the official report: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE FIRST YEAR OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY TO END THE IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN WARS AND OCCUPATIONS Address given by Marilyn Levin, member, National Assembly Administrative Body, and Planning Committee, Greater Boston United for Justice with Peace Coalition, to the National Antiwar Conference held July 10-12, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania July 10-12, 2009, 255 people representing diverse organizations and constituencies from all over the country came together in Pittsburgh: 1) To look at where we are today, 2) To articulate our long range goals to rejuvenate the antiwar movement towards building a massive movement capable of forcing an end to their wars and occupations, to take our money back from the war machine to meet pressing social needs, and to save our planet for our children, and 3) To develop and vote for action plans as steps to realize these objectives. All of our major objectives were accomplished and we leave today with a comprehensive action agenda to carry us through to next spring. Everyone had a chance to speak and differences were aired without rancor or splits to achieve unity in action. Friday night’s speakers, along with many conference participants, grappled with how to unify and broaden the movement. Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, we presented a great roster of workshops covering the major issues we face today. Saturday night’s rally was dynamic and inspiring. There were two highlights of the conference for me. First was the international component where activist comrades joined us from Canada and courageous labor leaders of powerful mass movements in Haiti and Guadaloupe reminded us that imperialism and the struggle against it are global. There was a statement by members of the Viva Palestina aid convoy detained in Egypt. We passed motions in solidarity with the struggles of the people of Haiti, Honduras, and Palestine. The second highlight was the discussion on Iran, where, in spite of strong passions stirred up by the rapidly evolving events there, we were able to illuminate the issues and debate our differences. Finally, we were able to agree on a unity position that all could embrace, as well as meeting the foremost call of the Iranians – US Hands off! No Sanctions! No interventions! Self-determination for the Iranian people! A wonderful example of a united front –- as inclusive as possible and taking principled positions that most will accept and act on. So what is the National Assembly? What you saw this weekend explains who we are and how we function. Democracy. All were invited and all perspectives welcomed.

National Assembly July 10 in Pittsburgh

Antiwar organization leaders are meeting in Pittsburgh on July 10 for the 2nd annual national conference of the National Assembly to coordinate peace efforts as the world faces more war and increased militarism with a changed face.

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