PEACE THROUGH LOCAL ACTION
Planning for January 18, part two
BY KRISTEN LOMBARDI
Local activists with the International Action Center Boston, located in Jamaica Plain, have shifted into overdrive to draw tens of thousands of people to Washington, DC, for next month’s national march against the US war on Iraq. Activists in and around Boston are going full throttle from now until January 18, when the Washington demonstration will take place, to spread the word. Every day, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Boston members can be found distributing fliers at area T stops, laundromats, churches, and campuses. " We do outreach wherever and whenever we can, " says Peter Cook, an ANSWER Boston organizer.
To date, more than 100 people — a large number compared to those drawn by most antiwar demonstrations — have signed up to join the Boston contingent. " We’re seeing more and more people getting involved, " Cook says. And many of them represent what Cook describes as " first-time callers, " or political novices who have grown disgruntled by the Bush administration’s militarized foreign policies in the post-9/11 era. The country’s protracted economic recession has helped fuel the fire as well. " People look at the billions of dollars that would go to war on Iraq, " Cook says, " and think that money would be better spent on housing, health care, and social services. "
Boston’s newfound antiwar activists have introduced themselves to political organizing through various tried-and-true methods: they attend weekly Friday-night meetings to plot out strategies; they hand out fliers throughout the city; they hold teach-ins at area churches. And, of course, they plan to get on the bus and go to DC. Cook and his colleagues have chartered five buses for the Washington demonstration, with several more placed on reserve just in case. Buses will also travel from Cape Cod, Fall River, Western Massachusetts, and every other state in New England.
Organizers expect their hard work to pay off; indeed, some forecast that as many as 200,000 people will descend upon the Capitol Building on January 18. And although conventional wisdom has it that an Iraqi war is already a done deal, these activists aren’t ready to give up just yet. As Cook puts it, " The Bush administration is marching in lock step toward an invasion of Iraq, but many people oppose this. We need to make our voices known this time around. "
The National March against the US war on Iraq takes place on Saturday, January 18 at the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. For more information about weekly meetings or to get on the bus, call ANSWER Boston at (617) 522-6626, or check out its Web site at www.iacboston.org/ANSWER
Issue Date: January 2 - 9, 2003
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