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Friday, September 05, 2008

Fall Educational Suggestions

September 5, 2008

Fellow historians:

Welcome to a new school year. The Historians against the War Steering Committee believes the upcoming Presidential and Congressional elections are of vital importance to the future of our country. Apart from the Presidential contest, there are critical races in the House and Senate, which could dramatically influence the direction of U.S. policy. As one example, this summer 155 members of the House and 26 Senators voted against “blank check” funding for the war. Unfortunately, the numbers were too small to defeat the legislation. Fortunately many pro-war members of Congress are facing electoral challenges from peace candidates this year.

While our organization does not endorse particular candidates, we see this moment as a rare opportunity for educating and mobilizing students, faculty and members of the larger community around the issues of war and peace, civil liberties and constitutional governance. We would like to encourage all of you to organize any of the following HAW activities that you feel are appropriate for your campuses.

1. Plan a simple Fall Forum or a more elaborate Teach-In on the peace and civil liberties issues at stake in the 2008 elections. From past experience, colleagues from other disciplines are often eager to help, which has made events more vibrant and well attended. For ideas about how to organize such a forum, see our website at http://www.historiansagainstwar.org/. We are presently in the process of updating and expanding our Speakers Bureau. That new list will include distinguished guest lecturers –academics and activists-who have agreed to give talks at HAW-sponsored events in return for travel reimbursements. That list will be available on September 8.

On the web-site you will also find lists of suggested films and publications, as well as descriptions of successful Teach-Ins, staged across the country in 2006. If you have additional suggestions about resources, please share them with Margaret Power at power@iit.edu. Please keep Margaret informed about events that you are setting up so that we can issue a calendar.

2. Make available to members of your community information about the voting records of incumbents and the positions of candidates on the key issues. We particularly encourage HAW members to highlight the continuing importance of Congress for any future efforts to curb the US policy of permanent war and repression. Useful summaries of Congressional votes can be found at the United for Peace and Justice website: http://www.unitedforpeace.org/modinput4.php?modin=145.

3. Write historically minded articles/letters to the editor for local papers on war issues and their relevance to various political races.

4. Participate in already planned community political events, but bring HAW resources and perspectives to this work.

5. Make sure that there is a strong, visible Voter Registration effort on your campus. One model for doing this is provided by friends at Franklin and Marshall college, (See attached.)

Please let us know of your ideas and accomplishments, as we strive to end the multiple tragedies of the present. Good luck

Rusti Eisenberg
Beth McKillen
Margaret Power

On behalf of the HAW Steering Committee

Margaret Power


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