I want to thank Ashley Smith (July–August 2008) for a great speech on the short- and long-term strategies needed to build the movement it will take to end the war.
The last paragraph of the speech highlights the need to take advantage of every opportunity to “establish vehicles to mobilize the growing sentiment for change… to provide an alternative means for winning change when the Democrats either fail to deliver or deliver inadequate solutions.” This process has been happening already. Adrienne Kinne of Iraq Veterans Against the War mentions in the same issue that she turned to IVAW after the Democrats continued to fund the war after winning the House in 2006. Considering the weakness of the movement, there are others like her (and more becoming disillusioned with Obama and his recent right turn) who are coming to similar conclusions but have not yet been linked to organizations. This is a key part of the audience for the organization/�educating Smith is calling for.
It’s important to emphasize that we cannot sit back and wait for people to become fed up with the Democrats. Our actions now can accelerate that process. For example, in May, June, and so far in July (it’s July 14 as I type this) U.S. casualties in Afghanistan have outnumbered those in Iraq. Many people will look at that and be drawn to Obama’s argument that the United States needs to pull troops out of Iraq and send them to Afghanistan. We need to get out there and patiently explain, even if it’s by the ones and twos or tens and twenties, that the war in Afghanistan is the same type of unjust, criminal, doomed occupation as Iraq is and part of the same project to dominate the Middle East.
The system is in crisis. The disastrous and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan coupled with the failure of the system to meet the basic needs of increasing numbers in the United States and around the world has laid bare the deepest contradictions of capitalism. This raises a number of questions in the minds of broad layers of people. Let’s get the choir singing and supply our answer loud and clear: struggle. I think we’ll find an audience eager to listen… and join in.