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2001-09-19

Organizing for Peace and Protest in a Time of Tragedy: A Roundtable Discussion with Peace and Anti-Globalization Activists

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As the country prepares for war, activists around the country are beginning to discuss plans for peace.

Because of the September 11 tragedy, the IMF and World Bank have indefinitely postponed their planned late-Septembermeetings. Demonstrations planned against the meetings were expected to draw close to 100,000 protesters. Dozens ofsocial justice and anti-globalization groups have been organizing the protests for months, and so have DCauthorities, who booked some 30,000 extra police forces for the weekend of September 30th.

But even before the institutions officially announced their decision to cancel, most of the groups that had plannedto protest the meetings pulled out of the demonstrations. Many activists consider the street demonstrations to beeffectively cancelled. The Mobilization for Global Justice, the umbrella group hosting the demonstrations, haspostponed its call for nonviolent street demonstrations at the end of September. The AFL-CIO, UNITE, and Friends ofthe Earth, among other groups have pulled out of demonstrations. The Ruckus Society has cancelled its action camp.But the International Action Center put out a new call to demonstrate at the end of the month. They say that the USresponse to last week’s tragedy at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon means more violence is to come. The IAChas re-focused its call for demonstrations to send an anti-war message to the Bush administration.

The IAC’s call has sparked dialogue among organizers in DC and New York about antiwar efforts in the wake of nationaldevastation. While some unions and environmental groups have withdrawn from the streets, many anti-globalizationorganizers are trying to draw in the efforts of that growing movement, to an anti-war effort. The Washington PeaceCenter will still be holding demonstrations at the end of the month, and the Anti-Capitalist Convergence says it willjoin with other groups in the streets of Washington to send a message against capitalism and against war.

Guests:

  • Robert Weissman, Mobilization for Global Justice.
  • Sarah Flounders, International Action Center.
  • Marina Sitron, Direct Action Network.
  • Maria Ramos, coordinator, Washington Peace Center.
  • Kevin Martin, national director of Peace Action and Peace Action Education Fund.
  • David Rovics, folksinger and activist.

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