Special Report on Peace

 
July 28, 2005

We couldnt have timed our Convention better. The keynote and Draft Political Resolution have painted the picture of the challenges we face and highlighted the rising tide of opposition to the far-right. The Draft Program deepens the analysis of what is at stake and how a future free of the terror of the far-right is possible.

In the next three days, we bring our experiences together and that will give us great strength. And not a moment too soon!

Ending the illegal, immoral war on Iraq is at the center of the fight against the ultra-right and the Bush agenda. If we succeed, it will signify a profound shift in the balance of forces at home and internationally, making it harder for them to wage new wars, creating the possibility for us to demand a shift in federal spending to domestic programs, and so on.

The struggle for peace defines this political moment. We must save this planet from the destruction of the Bush administrations first-strike preemptive war strategy. We must save the planet from nuclear weapons in space. War no more is on the agenda!

U.S. foreign policy is the greatest threat to peace in the world. Their so-called war on terror has made the world a much more dangerous place.

Now we have to shift into high gear. It is a priority mission for our Party and the YCL to encourage every member to find a way to help end the war in Iraq, to be the Party who fights the hardest and organizes the most for peace.

There is growing political awareness that the war and occupation are wrong, that Bush never should have made war on Iraq. The polls tell the story in figures but you can feel the opposition growing daily.

A few weeks ago, while reading New York Citys Amsterdam News, one of the oldest Black newspapers in the country, I came across an example of the growing opposition.

I wont lie. I usually turn to the health and gossip columns first.

The health column was about the importance of eating fresh fish. The doctor who writes the column told a story about teaching his grandson how to clean fish just caught by a cousin. After going into the virtues of omega fish oils, he wrote that the blood of the fish reminded him of the horrors of the Iraq war and that those dying, both U.S. and Iraqi, do so due to a senseless war. He went from health advice to an antiwar testimony.

This is just one snapshot of what is going on among our people.

The Party and the YCL have done a great deal to organize the peace sentiments.

Since September 11, 2001 during difficult times, we organized on the basis that war is not the answer to the threat of terrorism.

As momentum built towards war on Iraq, the Party and YCL showed that we are committed to helping build a peace movement that draws together the broadest opposition to the war. On a national and local level we helped to initiate and lead the two largest national peace coalitions: United for Peace & Justice and the National Youth & Student Peace Coalition.

But we can and should do more to end the war. In this struggle, we can help prepare for the movement needed to turn back the longer-term strategic US foreign policies. To force an end to the war and occupation of Iraq would be the biggest set back yet for the right.

At this convention we need to discuss why the Party and YCL must do more and what is the key link that can take the rising popular sentiments against the war into a winning political movement to bring the troops home.

What is the most important thing for communists and the Left to do to maximize political pressure opposing the war?

The most important new effort is to bring the labor, women, communities of color, youth, and faith-based movements into political motion to end the war and occupation and to bring them together in durable coalitions.

We must help labor, youth, women and communities of color to link their struggles on the domestic crisis with the costs of the war and to peace activities. We must actively initiate grassroots peace organizing that links with local community struggles.

We must find new, creative ways to bring home the reality that the Bush administrations policy of first-strike preemptive war is at the heart of the destruction of our communities, the attack on social security, and cuts in education and health care funding.

As Dr. Martin Luther King said during the Vietnam War, they drop the bomb over there and it explodes in our communities.

We have to help organize a majority peace movement that represents all who suffer because of the war policies. To pour money into research for sending nuclear weapons into space while threatening Iran and North Korea for possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction just doesnt make any kind of sense.

The American people can see the war profiteering and the war crimes perpetrated by the Bush administration. They are beginning to piece together the lies.

Our Party is uniquely positioned to achieve the goal of linking the peace struggle with labor and the peoples movements. We are grassroots activists. We are in the labor, womens, civil rights, and youth and student movements. The goal of doing more requires tactics developed on local level that mesh domestic struggles with the political demand to end the war and prevent new wars. Ending the war will make it more possible for every movement for justice to move to the offensive.

There are new openings in Congress for a broad multisector peace movement to exercise its political muscle. New efforts are underway in labor movement solidarity with the Iraqi working class involving international unions and the national AFL-CIO. In September United for Peace & Justice, the largest and most diverse national peace coalition, is organizing a weekend of actions in Washington, DC which will include a mass demonstration, national interfaith service, mass lobbying on Capitol Hill and targeted nonviolent civil disobedience.

You can feel the beginnings of a surge of a new level of struggle to end the war.

Out of this Convention, let us commit to helping to turn that surge into the biggest possible setback yet to the far-right.

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