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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Racial Paternalism in the Antiwar Movement

United for Peace and Justice, one of the two major antiwar coalitions, just launched its "Yes We Can" campaign. The campaign deliberately avoids criticizing Obama or even mentioning his foreign policy plans. The reason for this, according to this report from the organization's most recent conference, was that the antiwar movement "would risk alienating the Black community if it directly confronted Obama."

5 Comments:

Blogger David T. Beito said...

Since the SC committee wants us to give money to this group, we'd all be interested in hearing their response to this information. Any takers?

10:06 PM  
Blogger Mark H. said...

An SC member included this in one of his e-mails while we were discussing this:

"Since our founding in 2003, HAW has been an active member of United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), the nation's largest antiwar coalition. We have organized contingents for each major UFPJ mobilization, and UFPJ has strongly promoted our events. Now UFPJ has a serious financial crisis."

So while some members of the SC pointed out some issues with them, the idea is not now to insist on ideological purity, but to pass on a call to support a group of which we are a part and with which we share interests. A clear majority of the SC voted in favor of making the call.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Mark H. said...

...and my reading of the linked article is that UfPJ is against the war in Afghanistan, but divided over how to deal with that. Some want to tread lightly right now. It sounds like an unfortunate compromise, one that does not have broad support within the organization. But it does not to me sound like a reason to give up on them and quit.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Thaddeus Russell said...

It seems to me that an antiwar organization supporting a pro-war president is more than an issue of ideological purity.

I contend that failure to criticize Obama directly only prolongs the wars. The movement against the Vietnam War harshly and relentlessly criticized Johnson and succeeded in turning public opinion against the war. Why shouldn't today's antiwar movement do the same thing?

12:19 PM  
Blogger David T. Beito said...

Has anyone been paying attention to news about Pakistan and Afghanistan in only the last 24 hours? We can't be complacent, much less complicit, now. We have to loudly and forcefully oppose Obama's warlike policies.

It is not a matter of giving up on the UFPJ. Members of HAW who are members of that organization should fight as individuals to change it. It will not change, however, if HAW and other groups reward it now with more money. The fact that UFPJ now needs money, in fact, is an opportunity to apply pressure.

UFPJ's opposition to the Afghan War (which started under Bush) doesn't mean much at all if they refuse to speak out against, or apologize for, those who are now making policy.

12:29 PM  

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