Millions Attend Peace Rallies and Prove Bush's PR is Failing; Protests Must Be Maintained to Avoid War, Say Greens.
THE GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
The peace movement goes mainstream, with a Green challenge to U.S. voters who oppose the war: Get pro-war politicians out of office!
WASHINGTON, DC -- Greens credited the past weekend's mass marches and rallies around the world with strengthening the resolve of governments that oppose an invasion of Iraq. While President Bush denies that the protests will influence White House policy, the antiwar sentiment expressed over the weekend throughout the free world may compel the U.S. and U.K. to dilute their demands in a redraft of a U.N. Security Council resolution.
But Green Party members are urging those who oppose Bush's war plans to maintain their protests and to continue persuading other Americans to join the movement for a peaceful resolution of the Iraq crisis.
"The Bush Administration is losing the public relations battle to persuade the public in the U.S. and around the world that its unjustified invasion of Iraq is necessary," said Santa Monica Mayor pro tem Kevin McKeown, who spoke for peace at a California beach rally. "But we worry that Bush's answer to the antiwar protests and resistance in the U.N. will be a new public relations strategy or a unilateral attack on Iraq, in defiance of world sentiment. The only way we'll avert the war is if we keep speaking out, and keep reminding people that an invasion of Iraq is based on White House misinformation, that it will have dire consequences, and that there are alternatives to war."
Attempts by the British government and by police and courts in New York to discourage demonstrators proved unsuccessful. Well over a million people marched in London; hundreds of thousands protested in New York, including thousands of Green Party members. Many Greens reported that New York City police reacted brutally to the attempts of peaceful protesters to attend the rally, with mounted officers charging crowds.
Greens also marched against the war with thousands and tens of thousands of other Americans in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Newark (Delaware), Detroit, Lansing, Portland (Maine), Santa Fe, Wausau (Wisconsin), Seattle, Madison, Milwaukee, at least eight cities in Iowa, and many other cities (see http://www.gp.org/peace.html for a list). Green Party Co-Chair Ben Manski told a crowd of 3,000 at a 'Mass Peace Picket' in Wisconsin that the movement had become the patriotic mainstream, and urged continued protests, saying, "When peace is patriotic, war is treason."
"We need to make this an electoral protest as well as a street protest," said Carol Miller, New Mexico Green and founder of PeaceEconomy.org, a new organization to educate people of the human and social costs of the war economy and the benefits of converting to a peace economy. "Greens will challenge voters who have opposed the war, urging them to take a pledge: 'I will not vote for any candidate who supports war on Iraq.' We need a massive turnover in the next elections, with all prowar Republicans and Democrats forced out of office. It's the only way we'll save our democracy and our Constitution from those who would turn the U.S. into an empire."
Greens dismissed Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge's warning on Sunday, February 16 that Iraq might try to attack the U.S. in the next few weeks, calling it absurd and without evidence.
"Ridge's claim that Iraq might launch some kind of attack on the U.S. would be laughable, if it weren't being used as an excuse for the U.S. to invade Iraq and slaughter thousands of Iraqi civilians," said Jake Schneider, Treasurer of the Green Party of the United States. "The few weapons that Iraq still possesses couldn't get close to the U.S., and Saddam knows that any such attempt would be met with massive retaliation. What's more likely is that, after Bush gives the order to invade, we'll see a horrible rash of terrorist incidents in the U.S. and other western nations. The Bush Administration will have squandered the world sympathy we had after the September 11 attacks and turned perhaps one billion people around the world against us. Osama bin Laden is surely hoping the U.S. acts on its threat of war."
The Green Party of the United States
Video of John Halle, Green member of the New Haven Board of Alderman, speaking at the February 14 press conference http://www.gp.org/halle_video.html
Green Party antiwar mobilization page