Finally there is a call to arms over Ukraine….Sunday 19Feb23….a protest.
I was one of those ‘pinkos’ as we were called back in the day……when I returned from Vietnam I got deeply into the antiwar scene and since those days I have never wavered from my belief that war is a last result.
Step back into history for all those that have short memories….
Consider just one long-gone date in the world of give-peace-(not-war)-a-chance: January 27, 1973. On that day, the United States, North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and the South Vietnamese rebel forces signed an agreement initiating a cease-fire during which the U.S. would withdraw its troops and dismantle all its bases in the South. On that very same day in this country, the draft was ended, launching what would become America’s all-volunteer military. Richard Nixon was still president then. He had long been convinced, as Andrew Glass wrote at Politico, that “ending the draft could be an effective political weapon against the burgeoning antiwar movement. He believed middle-class youths would lose interest in protesting the war once it became clear that they would not have to fight, and possibly die, in Vietnam.”
Though it was already too late for Nixon to test out that thesis in terms of America’s disastrous war in Vietnam, almost half a century later, it seems as if he was onto something. I was in that “burgeoning antiwar movement” of the late 1960s and early 1970s; turned in my draft card in protest; was often in the streets demonstrating against the war; and worked as an antiwar journalist at a time when, among others, both rebellious students and antiwar soldiers demonstrated repeatedly, often in significant numbers, against a first-class horror thousands of miles away.
In this century, we haven’t exactly lacked Vietnam equivalents. After all, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the administration of President George W. Bush launched its Global War on Terror and, with it, two fiercely destructive distant conflicts that could have been considered Vietnam-competitive. I’m thinking, of course, of the invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. The devastating war in Iraq following that invasion continued for years, while the one in Afghanistan only ended (disastrously) in August 2021. And yet here was the odd thing: though there were large antiwar protests in February 2003 against the coming invasion of Iraq and more followed after that war began, unlike in the Vietnam era, they died out all too soon, while this country’s conflicts went grimly on (and on and on).
Originally posted at TomDispatch.
I see that I am one of a very few these days that opposes war…..so what happened to us antiwar people?
This is the American Conservatives take on my question….
On Feb. 15, 2003, 14 million people poured into the streets of 800 cities worldwide to oppose the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. It was a preemptive response to the preemptive war hatched by Bush administration, and according to the Guinness Book of World Records, it was the largest protest ever in human history. Yet the 2003 protest was also a swan song of sorts: the movement that gave rise to it is now all but defunct—namely, the antiwar left.
Two decades later, as U.S. hawks press for relentless escalation against nuclear Russia, and as European leaders unfailingly toe Washington’s line, there is no major movement of the left to channel dissent. Nor are there commanding antiwar figures comparable in stature to the likes of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Labour M.P. Tony Benn, who spoke for the movement in 2003. Old antiwar groups, like the ANSWER Coalition, are either silent or struggling to be heard.
Some two-dozen House progressives on Monday called for diplomacy, but antiwar leftists who championed the likes of Sen. Bernie Sanders and The Squad must surely be disappointed, as the few elected socialists on Capitol Hill dutifully voted “Yes” on one massive Ukraine military-aid package after another. Some veteran left-of-center restrainers, meanwhile, such as former Ploughshares Fund boss Joe Cirincione, sound downright Kristolian, what with the calls to smoke out a “pro-Putin axis.”
Whatever Happened to the Antiwar Left?
I have been saddened by the lack of concern for our propensity for endless war…..but that could change (he said with fingers crossed)….
On February 19, Washington, DC, will witness a protest against the war in Ukraine that marks a sharp departure from past demonstrations. The lead demand is simple and direct, “Not One More Penny for war in Ukraine.” It is a demand that emphasizes what we in the US can do to end the war, not what others can do. After all, the only government we have the power to influence is our own.
Above and beyond that demand, the potential power of this unique and promising movement arises from the nature of the sponsoring organizations – The Peoples Party, a progressive new Party, and the Libertarian Party. It is in fact what much of the press would term a “right-left” Coalition, spanning a spectrum broad enough to actually bring the proxy war in Ukraine to an end. Fittingly, the organizers are calling the protest “Rage Against the War Machine.” With the war in Ukraine putting us the precipice of nuclear Armageddon, “rage” might be considered a mild reaction.
The Peoples Party is probably the lesser known of the two sponsoring organizations, because it’s newer. Its founder and National Chair is Nick Brana, a lead organizer of the protest. Brana was National Coordinator of the Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign, but has turned his back on the Democrats in disgust over the failure progressive Democratic pols to fight for the promises they made. Among the speakers at the Party’s founding convention in 2020 were Cornel West, Chris Hedges, Jimmy Dore and Nina Turner (co-chair of the Sanders 2020 campaign).
The Libertarian Party is better known. It has been around longer and, though small, is the third largest political party in the US by voter registration. The present National Chair, Angela McCardle, is the other lead organizer of the DC protest. In American political life, probably, the best known representative of libertarian values, most notably a principled anti-interventionist stance in foreign policy, is Ron Paul.
Right and Left To Join in D.C. Protest: ‘Not One More Penny for War in Ukraine’
Will this make a difference?
I wish I could be more positive but the American people do not have the capability of understanding the consequences of war anymore.
It is sad.
This country needs a “Rage against the war machine”
Feb. 19: We Need a Huge Rage Against the War Machine
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”
10 thoughts on “War, It’s Dark Is Worst Than It’s Light”
There are no moden anti war protests because anti war protests have long since proven themselves to be nothing but a waster of time because the government will do what the government wants to do no matter what … this could be solved at the ballot box maybe, but it would only end up with America having little or no defense against future aggression. The anti war folks would defund the department of defense entirely if they were able to do so.
It is the Department of War…has not been about defense for many years…..just because someone is antiwar does not mean they want to ‘defund’ (to use a cultural war slogan from the idiot right) the War department….but it also does not need a trillion dollar budget. It does not work out for there are too many lemmings that are afraid of the term chuq
I took part in anti-war protests in the 60s, including the famous one in London outside the US Embassy. There were many protests against the Iraq War later, but Ukraine seems to have a general coalition of approval, and the only protests here have been against the Russians.
People need to read more history, in my opinion. But they won’t.
Best wishes, Pete.
I am working on a post about the US Left and the War…..I think it will be interesting to you chuq
Chuq.. I will always respect and defer to those who have experienced war up close and personal. They deserve to be heard and socially we need anti-war people to help provide some offsetting moral balance. Their stories and and passion is necessary. But far more important has been your sacrifice for having done all that. I will never belittle or dis your experience. You’ve paid for the right to be anti-war.
Now, that being said… war has been an inherent part of being human since the beginning of time and to this day remains a “political” option in settling disputes. I think there is also the counter-question to find remedy for disputes… if not war, then what? We naturally presume some sort of compromise is the solution. Yet often enough, a compromise means the defending side has to give up something that was theirs to begin with… thus a win for the attacker. Part of the “problem” with using war as a form of diplomacy (other than the killing) is that wars since WWII are not fought to win. War is no longer “total” but rather one of attrition over time… that attrition being in lives, dollars, and/or diminished public support and the loss of will to continue. We fear a “total” war because of the threat of nuclear annihilation, especially when more belligerent autocracies can get “the bomb”.
As for Ukraine… one way to avoid escalation of that war is to get rid of Putin himself. There’s a strong aging population in Russia (their baby boomers) that has a Conservative Populist “make Russia great again” base of wanting to bring back some pride of the old Soviet Empire… and Putin, like Trump does here, feeds this. Yet the mothers of all those Russian soldiers dying needlessly (and purely in atypical Russian meat-grinder fighting as they do in all their wars) are getting fed up in their social push-back. Russians are locked out, very effectively, from outside communication and information. I have NO idea.. nor does anyone else I would gather, how much we are trying to get information inside Russia. I do know Radio Free Europe is still being used… but since the average Russian also has some level of smart phone and computer usage.. are we putting all the hacking ability that so effectively harvests our data through hacks of large corporations, into penetrating Russian technology to get the information across? The concept would be to get Russian public opinion to affect a removal of Putin from within. I have no idea as to the intensity or effectiveness of that effort to stop the war.
It is called diplomacy….a lost art. Russian antiwar? My second post for today. Without interference from US and allies this could have ended early…the US is fanning these conflicts and arms sales is the answer. chuq
Yes, without the interference of the US and allies, this could indeed have ended much earlier … ended with Putin in full control and possession of what was striving to become a democracy …that is how it would hve ended … Trouble is it would not have ended there as it is Putin’s end game plan to take over every country that was, at one time, part of the old Soviet empire …and nothing will end until he accomplishes that goal or until he is removed from the game.
I still do not think Putin is all that interested in world domination….chuq
Time will tell what Putin’s end game is but I can almost guarantee that Ukraine is not the end of it.
Putin will die of old age before the Ukraine thing is over….and then it will be up to his successor to determine what to do internationally. chuq