Antiwar activist | 14.11.2001 01:03
I've just returned from a USA West Coast campus anti-war organising conference in Berkeley. Delegations from all the campuses up and down the west coast of the USA (and further beyond - Mexico, Ohio, Michigan) were there and we made some important plans for student anti-war activism in the USA. 600 people were there, representing many thousands more. The newspaper article below has more info about it, though its not all entirely accurate.
A proposal was passed at the conference to foster international links and action coordination around antiwar stuff. A national/international caravan/march on DC and national/international conference in March are being planned as a result of the conference, and it would be great if this were to become an international event rather than a USA only event. But to achieve this we need to start building the international links NOW to make it happen! The USA and UK in particular, but it would be great if we could draw in activists from other countries involved in the war (and not involved) like pakistan, etc. aswell.
So in order to start building email connections please email BOTH of the following two email addresses will any info you would like to give or have. This includes - stuff you are planning in the UK/other countries. Requests for info about stuff happenning in the USA. Requests to be added to the West Coast student anti war activist mailling list, or to national mailling list. Requests for how to make the march on DC and the conference coordinate with international activists (e.g. date, location, content, agenda). Please email to BOTH:
firstname.lastname@example.org AND email@example.com
also, please forward this email to other antiwar activists in the UK and beyond.
Of course, all of this may become irrelevant (or, even more important) now tha Kabul has fallen.
----- Original Message -----
Published Monday, November 12, 2001
Anti-war students strategize
a.. West Coast campus activists meet in Berkeley to discuss ways to protest bombing in Afghanistan
By Tom Lochner
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
BERKELEY -- Bracing for the possibility of a protracted war in Afghanistan, students from dozens of colleges along the West Coast met at UC Berkeley over the weekend to plot a long-term anti-war strategy.
In two days of workshops, panel discussions and plenary sessions, some 180 delegates to the West Coast Conference for Campus-based Antiwar Coalitions resolved to try to make their anti-war movement more broadbased by reaching outside the university environment.
They voted to form a committee of representatives from each campus anti-war coalition to coordinate future actions. They also debated whether their movement should target globalization, consumerism, capitalism and racism in its anti-war message or focus on the point of broader consensus: stopping the war.
In all, about 600 students attended the conference, said Snehal Shingavi, a UC Berkeley student who was a master of ceremonies at Sunday's plenary session. More than 60 campuses, including one in Mexico, sent a maximum of five delegates to the conference. Delegates were picked by anti-war activists on their respective campuses.
"It really was a superb turnout," said Ameena Ahmed of Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, adding that it meant that people are anxious to learn that "this war is not all it's cracked up to be."
"It's all about oil and about corporate interests," Ahmed said. "It's not going to stop terrorism. It's not in the interest of the average American, and it's certainly not in the interest of the average Afghan who has nothing to do with terrorism."
That thinking is mirrored in the newsletter published by the Berkeley anti-war coalition, which argues that the war is part of a greater United States geopolitical strategy that projects Afghanistan as a pipeline route for transporting oil from the Caspian Sea basin to Arabian Sea ports via Pakistan.
The plan for a coordinating committee passed handily at Sunday's plenary session. In the afternoon, the delegates discussed scheduling a national -- or even international -- anti-war conference.
"There are many people in Mexico against this war," said Meritxell Calderón, a delegate from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, as other students applauded. "This can be a really big, international movement."
The delegates also bounced around ideas for a National Day of Action, among them a walkout and fast on a school day or a demonstration in Washington, D.C. early next year.
Speakers were identified only by first name and school affiliation. Claudio, a University of Southern California student, proposed joining a call by anti-globalization activists to stage demonstrations at shopping malls the day after Thanksgiving. He was one of many who wanted to expand the movement's message beyond the war in Afghanistan.
"This is really a question of global capitalism and imperialism," said Seth of Cal State Los Angeles. The movement against the Vietnam War was energized, Seth said, once Students for a Democratic Society "took an anti-imperialist stance."
But Keith of the University of Arizona warned that "we need to stay focused: Stop the war."