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Impact of Protests on U.S. Policy

by Conscious Being Wednesday, Apr. 09, 2003 at 11:23 AM

With the U.S. in Baghdad, protests against the war are affecting more than just the U.S. campaign against Iraq.

Recent military developments in Iraq require that we reflect upon the significance of our actions in protesting the war. Such reflection reveals that our protests have an effect that goes far beyond the present U.S. military aggression.

Generally speaking, diversity and cooperation are fundamental to existence. Without diversity, there is no Being. Sameness is exactly equal to nothingness. And the parts of each diverse thing must cooperate to form that thing, or there will be no things, and hence no diversity, and therefore no being. So, lack of cooperation also leads to nothingness, to non-being.

When we organize to support the right of a nation like Iraq to self-determination, we are supporting diversity - the diversity of individual nations, each able to pursue its own national interest and to independently choose its partnerships with other nations. And when we organize to force the U.S. to obey international law and to work with other nations rather than dominating them by force, we are supporting cooperation between nations.

Likewise, when we work to prevent the destruction of Iraq's infrastructure and the demolition of the bodies of its people - we are working to support the basis for the internal cooperation that makes Iraq's independent national identity possible, at the same time as we are supporting the rights of its individual citizens to exist and to live out their lives as unique beings. All of which is our way of supporting greater Being. It's a simple case of existence vs. non-existence; which side are you on?

Specifically, in the short term. our organizing has already had the effect of forcing the U.S. to attempt to minimize civilian deaths in the early phases of its invasion. Clearly, the U.S. government cares nothing itself about civilian deaths, having sponsored hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq through the first Gulf war and the subsequent embargo. And clearly they did make some attempt to minimize those deaths in the early phases of this campaign, and that was because of our protests, and the protests throughout the world.

Now that they are in Baghdad that is changing and civilian deaths are increasing dramatically. Which is why they are attacking the media, including the offices of Al-Jazeera and even the Palestine Hotel housing Western journalists -so as to scare off or kill reporters and thereby prevent word of their atrocities from getting out. Simultaneously, they are attacking us, as the most conscious elements of the U.S. population, on the streets, as we saw yesterday in Oakland and in New York.

Besides forcing the U.S. to minimize the deaths caused by its invasion, we are also making it more difficult for the U.S. to expand its aggression into other nations, such as Iran and Syria. And, our protests are creating the potential for alliances between weaker countries fearful of U.S. colonization and advanced sector nations of the European Union that are trying to protect their own interests in the areas that the U.S. is attempting to colonize. This could develop into a situation similar to that which existed for a long time with the former Soviet Union and developing nations, in which the presence of a countervailing superpower gave weaker countries some maneuvering room so that they did not have to be completely dominated by either. We see already that France is creating its own news organization to rival the dominance of CNN.

Finally, we must maintain a strong street presence to prevent our own right to protest and right to remain free while criticizing the government from being taken away. Use it or lose it. If this regime succeeds in clearing us off the streets it will be open season on dissidents of all stripes.

We need to expand beyond protest to doing other things that directly threaten the interests of the warmakers. Channeling some of our efforts into support for antiwar candidates such as Dennis Kucinich could be one way of doing this. Even if those candidates do not completely reflect our views or ideals, they do represent a credible threat to pro-war interests in the coming elections. And the visibility of Kucinich in the Democratic primary that our efforts would enhance could help to define the position that the Dems take on the war/occupation/expansion during the actual election. And, the presence of antiwar grass-roots activists in the campaign could help to break the Democratic Party's dependency on corporate money.

Likewise, we need to organize within the Green Party to make it an anti-imperialist and anti-racist alternative instead of merely anti-corporate. That could make it more worth supporting in the actual election (as opposed to the primaries).

There are many other things that can be done to consolidate this popular antiwar upsurge. The important thing is to create some form of solid organization that lasts beyond the individual demonstrations.

If we are to accomplish any of the above, then there is NO QUESTION that we need to remain present and visible on the streets of the United States! The effect of our protests remains significant and positive, whatever the state of the military conflict in Iraq.

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 7 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
human shields josh Wednesday, Apr. 09, 2003 at 12:06 PM
Sure killmumia Wednesday, Apr. 09, 2003 at 12:15 PM
Well fresca Thursday, Apr. 10, 2003 at 5:41 AM
J J Sunday, Apr. 13, 2003 at 7:44 AM
J J Sunday, Apr. 13, 2003 at 7:44 AM
Impact of protests... daveman Sunday, Apr. 13, 2003 at 7:58 AM
Eggselent... Mr. Burns Sunday, Apr. 13, 2003 at 9:48 AM
give up JA Sunday, Apr. 13, 2003 at 10:02 AM

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