Press Release, CASMII US
Responding to a call by a new network named the National Assembly to End the Iraq War and Occupation, some 300 anti-war leaders from a broad array of U.S.-based organizations gathered in Cleveland, Ohio, June 28 and 29.
The main goal of the conference was to mobilize the antiwar movement for a mass protest next spring with the demand of immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq.
But the conference also adopted a resolution Preventing an attack on Iran, after representatives of CASMII (Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran) and the Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality (based in Richmond, Virginia) led an effort to broaden the new network's mission. Both groups are members of the Virginia Anti War Network (VAWN), which endorsed the effort.
Although some 70 percent of the people of the United States favor withdrawal from Iraq, there has been no national anti-war mobilization in the U.S. this year, in part because activists and other people of conscience are distracted by the November presidential elections. In this context, it was significant not only that the Cleveland conference took place, but that it included among its speakers leaders of most of the major anti-war coalitions. These included A.N.S.W.E.R, Troops Out Now Coalition, United for Peace and Justice, and U.S. Labor Against the War. Dozens of statewide and local networks were also represented.
Representatives of CASMII and the Defenders, held a workshop on June 28 to draw attention to increasing threats against Iran. They also drafted a resolution demanding that the National Assembly declare its unequivocal opposition to:
(1) any military attack on Iran, by the U.S., Israel, or any other country acting at the behest of the U.S.;
(2) the imposition or continuation of sanctions, whether economic or military, against Iran; and
(3) any attempt by the U.S. government or any of its agencies to interfere with or influence the internal political process in Iran
Addressing more than 30 workshop participants, Rostam Pourzal answered the main U.S. lies - that Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons, that it is a military threat to the United States and Israel, that it sponsors terrorism, and that it is a source of instability in Iraq.
Phil Wilayto discussed how activists can more forcefully raise the issue of an attack on Iran in their ongoing work.
The next morning the National Assembly adopted -- after a floor debate -- a resolution proposed by CASMII and the Defenders to encourage its constituent groups and individuals "to incorporate these demands into any future protests". It was also officially agreed that copies of the resolution on Iran be included with any press release about the results of the conference.
As the only major anti-war planning event taking place this election year, the National Assembly brought together representatives of national coalitions that seldom work together.
Our motivation in attending the conference was our concern that the Bush administration might misread the conference's focus on bringing troops back from Iraq as indifference in the anti-war movement regarding an attack on Iran. There was no lack of concern among the conference participants or organizers about aggression against Iran.
George Bush has less than seven months before he leaves the White House. So the window of opportunity for an attack on Iran by the US or Israel is closing. Some in the anti-war movement may feel that the threat of a new war is remote. But the month of August has in the past presented an attractive time frame for the U.S. government to implement unpopular policies. Congress is not in session in August and students are dispersed, as are many working people. The anti-war movement itself is in a less active mode in mid to late summer, with many of activists taking time off for needed rest.
We believe that the possibility of an attack on Iran is credible and serious. Please strengthen opposition to war with your participation.
For more information or to contact CASMII please visit http://www.campaigniran.org
... Payvand News - 07/05/08 ... --