Heading Left Radio

Tonight, Wednesday Jan. 31, on our BlogTalkRadio show “The War To End The War. What Role Will The Netroots Play?” James Boyce and I will be joined by Jon Soltz of VoteVets, Jonathan Powers the founder of War Kids Relief and Steve Gilliard of the News Blog.

We’ll be discussing the role of online organizing in the ongoing campaign to end the war. Last week, Jerome Armstrong of MyDD was a guest and he discussed Senator John Kerry’s new project SetADeadline.com.

This past weekend United for Peace took the lead in organizing a march in the nation’s capitol and a day of citizen lobbying to follow it up:

January 27th was an extraordinary outpouring for peace in Washington DC and in communities all around the country. On Saturday, the National Mall was filled with the voices of 500,000 people committed to doing their part to end the war in Iraq and bring all of the troops home. And the energy in this massive turnout was electric.

On Monday, at least 1,000 people brought that energy and conviction into the offices of Congressional representatives from 47 states. It was one of the largest lobby days in decades, and capped an amazing weekend in the nation’s Capitol.

On Feb. 1, MoveOn.org is putting together a virtual march and Chris Bowers of MyDD wrote a stirring call to action:

Whatever the cause, there is more than one-way to march on Washington. MoveOn.org is sponsoring a virtual march on Washington on February 1st, which happens to be Thursday. This march will be made in the form of phone calls, emails and faxes, to send one million direct contacts to member of Congress to stop the escalation. No matter whether you attend the march on Saturday or not, no matter whether you were able to attend the march on Saturday or not, everyone can take part in this march. If, for one day, no one in Congress received any other messages from constituents except a call to stop Bush’s escalation in Iraq, we can be louder and clearer than any mass rally. You can take part here. I will be signing up shortly myself.

As we speak, Senator Feingold is discussing his soon to be released legislation that will use the power of the purse to start a phased withdrawal from Iraq. While we currently to not have the votes in Congress to pass this legislation at this time, we all know that Senator Feingold has a habit of turning minority positions into majority coalitions. If he is on the job, then this must be a battle we can win. Take action to stop the escalation, and end the Iraq war. You can read Senator Feingold’s opening statements today in the extended entry.

One guest on the show, Jon Soltz has just embarked on a series of press conferences to promote the latest initiative of VoteVets.org, TV ads aimed at “Republican senators from purplish states who have expressed opposition to President Bush’s troop increase but have declined to support the original, harsher Senate resolution condemning the plan.”

Our blogging software, WordPress, apparently hates YouTube or I’d embed the video directly into this post, but you can see it here. The ad features another of our guests tomorrow night, Jonathan Powers, founder of War Kids Relief. Jonathan was recently featured in Newsweek:

Jonathan Powers, a former U.S. Army captain who served in Iraq in 2003 and now directs a nonprofit working with kids there, notes that the ongoing violence is creating a generation that is undereducated, unemployed, traumatized and, among boys in particular, ripe for the vengeful appeals of militias and insurgent groups. Already some of these kids are taking up arms—mostly against members of the opposite sect, whether Sunni or Shia, but often against American troops as well. “Instead of training them to rebuild their country, they are being trained to use weapons to destroy it,” Powers says. If the pattern isn’t changed, “we will be fighting these same youths in the future for peace in the Middle East.”

Our final guest on the show, Steve Gilliard of the News Blog has taken a somewhat contrary position on the effectiveness of marches and we’re looking forward to hearing him elaborate further.

…I’m going to argue something else: the current antiwar movement has been a raging success.

Why?

First, 70 percent of the public wants the war to end.

Second, recruiting has been crippled.

Third, there is now an antiwar majority in Congress. War opponents are given a full hearing in public. Unlike Nixon, Bush is reeling in the polls over the war. The “silent majority” is against Bush, as are most of the editorial pages.

This domination of the antiwar position allows people to ignore protests and limit their fallout. The damage ANSWER does is limited because they can’t define the antiwar movement.

The power of this movement isn’t in the streets, it’s in blocking recruiters, it’s in electing politicians. It does things, quietly, differently, but far more successfully than those wishing for a return of the 1960’s.

George Bush doesn’t care about protests, hell, he doesn’t care about Congress. You want to end this war, you need politicians, not protests.

If you want to join the discussion tomorrow night, click here to listen in and call (646) 652-4803 to speak your piece.

Nate Wilcox

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