By Alex Patico (source: CASMII)
CASMII was the principal Iran-oriented organization participating in the recent Third National Assembly of United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ). Convening in Chicago from June 22 to 24, UFPJ delegates represented over 1300 national and local groups working on peace, anti-imperialism, and racial, economic and gender equity.
UFPJ's main focus for 2007-2008 is bringing an end to the U.S. involvement in Iraq and forestalling further military projection into the Middle East region. Foaad Khosmood and Alexander Patico attending on behalf of CASMII, were able to gain acceptance for language that specifically denounces the push to war with Iran that so many see building within the Bush administration.
The Strategic Framework of UFPJ, accepted by consensus at the Assembly, states: "UFPJ recommits to resisting, as an urgent priority, any move by the United States to bomb, invade, or wage war against Iran; this would pave the way for a new and even more catastrophic conflict in the Middle East with far-reaching ramifications." Delegates were also invited to attend a CASMII-organized workshop session on Iran ("Danger of War with Iran: How We Got to the Brink"), and a follow-up break-out session for planning of tactics. Other related sessions focused on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the dynamics of US and Western sparring with Iran over nuclear programs development.
CASMII also helped arrange for the Assembly to welcome the Miles for Peace cyclists from Iran. These intrepid Iranian citizens arrive in Chicago having traveled through Italy, France, Germany, England and New York City, seeking peace and reconciliation. The group addressed the gathering in a plenary and received a standing ovation from the delegates, having helped to put "a human face" on the issues of US power and war-making and efforts to achieve peace and reconciliation. The latest UFPJ Program Planning document also mentions Iran-specific language:
The Urgent Need to Prevent a U.S. Military Attack on Iran
With the loudening beating of the drums of war, the UFPJ Steering Committee decided in the winter of 2006-2007 to establish a No War on Iran working group. Work on this issue has previously included putting resources on the UFPJ web site, addressing our opposition to U.S. military action against Iran in major mobilizations, adding the issue of preventing a war in Iran to the UFPJ legislative agenda and generally urging member groups to take up this issue in a more vigorous way. The working group seeks to complement efforts already underway, help coordinate the work of member groups, and develop new initiatives on this issue. Areas of work include educational projects, public protest (of all varieties), media work and pressure on Congress. More specifically, ideas include: expanding the resources available to organizers; relating this issue to impeachment efforts; considering an economic boycott; preparing an emergency response network; possibly implementing an Iran Pledge of Resistance campaign; putting pressure on the United Nations; organizing town hall meetings around the country; and conducting public awareness and advocacy activities to urge the administration to cease threatening statements and belligerent actions which move us farther from a sustainable peace. These include: ostensibly good-faith diplomatic overtures that include "deal-breaker" pre-conditions, imposition of sanctions that further isolate and antagonize Iran while punishing innocent citizens and consumers, saber-rattling through massive movement of military assets, and conduct of cross-border clandestine activities designed to destabilize Iran and foment anti-government activity.
Future actions by UFPJ member organizations include
maintaining continued pressure on Sen. Joseph Lieberman regarding his hawkish
stand on Iran, and mounting coordinated national and regional actions in the
fall, tentatively planned for October