Dear VoteNoWar Member,

Why We Are Marching on Washington
October 25, 2003

There are times when a progressive demonstration, even a large activity, is little more than a symbolic protest. There are other times when a mass demonstration can function as a catalyst, a trigger unleashing new political energy; or serve as a vivid expression of a new genuine grassroots movement capable of stirring the country and changing the political landscape.

When the A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition one year ago initiated the October 26th mass demonstrations in Washington DC and San Francisco there was no way to know that hundreds of thousands would participate that day in the largest ant-war actions since the Vietnam War. Scores of other countries held simultaneous actions on October 26, and it suddenly became apparent that a new global peace movement had emerged as the single biggest political obstacle in the path of the warmongers in the White House. Mass actions at the local and national level grew in the months that followed and demonstrations became ever larger – on January 18, February 15/16, March 15 and March 22nd. These were truly global days of action with coordinated activities in almost every country in the world.

Through your participation and activism, we together have forged something the world has never seen, a powerful anti-war movement that became a political force even before war was initiated. Although the Bush gang defied the will of the people and moved forward with the war to seize Iraq, their dream of conquering the country has led to the biggest crisis of the Administration.

Your activism is needed now more than ever. The world is uniting in opposition to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. This is a criminal war and occupation built upon lies.

Vote in the Bring the Troops Home Now! Referendum -- join with hundreds of thousands of people across the country at VoteNoWar.org and tell the Bush Administration and Congress to Get U.S. Troops Out of Iraq Now and End the Occupation. Voters are given the (optional) choice of having their referendum ballot & personal message delivered immediately via e-mail to the U.S. President, Vice President and Congresspeople. You can add to or personalize your ballot/communication, so that the recipient can know exactly how you feel.

Bush was hoping that the antiwar movement, no matter how strong it became before the war, would become merely a blip on the political radar screen. That it would be vanquished by the exercise of overwhelming US military superiority on the battlefield against an infinitely weakened foe. Once the Iraqi army was crushed, the US Occupation Forces would be able to coerce or bribe any potential resistance. Iraq’s oil reserves would be quickly privatized and the Administration could get on with its next war (Syria, North Korea, Iran, etc.). At home, the anti-war movement would be vanquished too. At least that was the conventional wisdom of the Bush White House two months ago. Like all the other thoughts that pass for “wisdom” in the White House, the presumed death of the global peace movement, will soon be remembered as just one more “intelligence failure.”

On Saturday October 25, hundreds of thousands of people will be back in the streets in Washington DC and in capital cities of other countries to demand, “End the occupation of Iraq.” The shout “Bring the Troops Home Now!” will echo throughout Washington that day. No politician nor the mass media will be able to deny that the antiwar sentiment in this country is not only “not dead” but is instead growing with each passing day. Coming as it does on the second anniversary of the passage so-called Patriot Act, the demonstration will be part of the massive fight-back campaign growing throughout the country against the administration's assault on civil rights and civil liberties.

When the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition announced two months ago that it was planning another massive anti-war March on Washington DC for October 25, 2003, the projected action was dismissed by some cynics as “not realistic.” After all, Bush, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were sitting tall in the saddle. With the mainstream media serving as their duplicitous cheerleaders, the Administration’s poll ratings were soaring after the rapid fall of Baghdad. We were told, "this is no time to project a mass antiwar action.” But “conventional wisdom” is not driving events.

The occupation is not liberation. The Iraqi people want the US troops to leave and the soldiers want to go home. Bush’s approval rating is dropping precipitously. According to a recent Pew Research Poll 69% of the people surveyed said they were “very concerned that the U.S. will be bogged down in Iraq for years.” The latest Newsweek poll indicates that 49% do not favor the “re-election” of Bush, now outnumbering those who do -- a huge drop from two months ago. The bloody and costly war and occupation of Iraq, justified to the public by the White House in a series of poorly bundled lies, is being reviled by a growing part of the population. Iraq may not yet be “Vietnam” but it is quickly moving in that direction. And as during Vietnam, the anti-war movement can be the decisive political factor in forcing a U.S. withdrawal.

Each passing day brings needless death and agony in Iraq. We cannot wait until 2004 to act.

The October 25 demonstration has the potential to go well beyond a symbolic protest. By its size and breadth it can help ignite a firestorm of grassroots opposition. More than 2,000 organizations and individuals have already endorsed the March on Washington, including Veterans for Peace, NION, San Francisco Labor Council (AFL-CIO), NYCLAW, National Lawyers Guild, Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation and many others. More than 100,000 leaflets, stickers, and posters have been distributed. Local groups are forming transportation centers to bring buses and car caravans.

At the front ranks of the October 25 demonstration will be veterans, military resisters, family members and friends of soldiers in Iraq. They will be joined, hand-in-hand, with the Arab-American and Muslim community and people from every walk of life who insist on the immediate and unconditional end to the criminal occupation of Iraq.

The demonstration will also expose that Bush’s war in Iraq is really a rich man’s war. A central goal of the war is to privatize (i.e. steal) Iraq’s vast oil fields for the benefit of U.S. corporate and banking elites who in turn are plowing hundreds of millions of dollars into George W. Bush’s campaign coffers. At the cost of $6 billion per month (that is $1.5 billion each week) the price tag for the U.S. occupation of Iraq is being paid for by dramatic budget cuts in primary education and at the college level, as well as in health care, housing, veterans benefits, and other programs that assist working and poor people.

The occupation of Iraq must end. While we demand that the obscene expenditure of $6 billion each month be used instead for jobs, education, housing and health care we are clear that our opposition to the occupation is not simply that working people in the US have to bear the financial burden. The occupation is a violation of the Iraqi people’s fundamental right to self-determination by a US government that pursues Empire in the interests of the US-based corporate and banking elites. This was never a war to defend the United States from the supposed “grave and imminent danger” posed by Iraq. That claim was a bold-faced lie. Killing tens of thousands of Iraqis, and sacrificing a growing number of US soldiers who are being killed or maimed, in the interests of Halliburton, Bechtel, Exxon/Mobil, Citibank and Chase is what reveals the criminal character of the whole endeavor.

The ANSWER Coalition believes that only a true mass movement of the people can end the criminal occupation of Iraq and bring the troops home.

To read the Call to Action for the October 25 March on Washington, get information on transportation and endorsements, and to print out copies of the new October 25 downloadable flyer, please visit www.VoteNoWar.org.

In solidarity,

All of Us at VoteNoWar.org

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