I don’t have time for a full-blown installment where I break open my heart and tell you everything I am feeling about becoming involved in the anti-war movement.  I am sorry.  Because I do enjoy that from time to time.  And I like that you all seem to enjoy it, too.  But I just can’t do it today.

There has been a development over the past month.  And I want to tell you all about it, because I believe that what is happening in my local anti-war group, and the movement we are developing here at the Booman Tribune, have an excellent opportunity to collide in a very good way.  So I’m going to be as short and to the point as I can be (which probably means about 1,500 words worth when I am done typing).
I’ve been working at bringing my local anti-war group to take up more aggressive tactics in our struggle for peace and justice.  It has been slow going, and the group has moved me at least as much as I have moved the group.

I think we (my local anti-war group, where I’m heading up the planning committee) have come up with an excellent protest idea.  It is more modest than I would have liked, but it is what can draw consensus from the group.  I think our protest has the potential to reach its goals.  And here is the rub.  I think that our protest could provide a template for an action that could be reproduced locally throughout the United States.  And together we (us in the local group and you in the blogoshpere around the U.S.) might be able to move our country toward peace.

Here is a brief summary of our protest:

The March for Accountability
A Demand to Our Legislators
To Stop the War and Provide Justice

Who:    Local anti-war groups, individuals committed to peace, and maybe you and those like you in your community who want to stop this war.

What:    The March for Accountability is a grass-roots protest designed to influence our legislators to 1) oppose the war and 2) hold accountable those who misled the U.S. into war.  On March 20th, 2005 – the third anniversary of this ill-advised war — members of the peace movement will come together to start a 30-day picket of our legislators’ local offices.  Picketers will march outside the office during all business hours (7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday).  Our demands to our representatives will be clear and simple: Introduce legislation to stop the war, and support efforts for a fair and open investigation on how the U.S. was misled into the Iraq War.

Where:  At the district office of any legislator who has not already demonstrated a commitment to 1) stopping the war, and 2) holding accountable those who have misled us into war (peace isn’t partisan folks — so I’m afraid some of you live under Democratic legislators who don’t share these views).

When:    The March for Accountability will start on March 20, 2006 and continue for 30 days.  The picket will be active from 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, to correspond with the business hours of the office.  At the completion of the 30 day protest, participants will gather to determine how best to move forward with other actions toward completion of the goals.  (I anticipate that we will renew our efforts in thirty day increments until our legislators meet our demands, or until the election where our legislators are replaced with candidates who will meet our demands — we will keep the pressure on and make change in a democratic fashion).

Why:    Our legislative representatives have the power to change the course of our country.  Congress has the power to declare war, to fund war and to oversee the executive branch that is prosecuting the war.  These powers can be used to effect the changes we seek.  Our action has the potential to directly influence the behavior of our elected representatives, or to indirectly effect the election so that a representative sharing our goals takes office.  (I am shocked at the number of people — mostly outside the blogosphere — who do not understand these basic tenants of democracy, so education on the mechanism for change is a good thing — and people like to learn — it makes them feel very good knowing that they can stand strongly for peace in a democratic way).

How:    To staff a protest of this nature with at least three picketers for every hour of the protest, we need a minimum of 150 volunteered hours per week from committed community activists (3 protestors per hour X 10 protest hours per day X 5 protest days per week).  Manpower for this protest will be provided by community groups that support peace (adopting a day or block of time) and individuals who want to support peace.  Ideally, we will build a cadre of protestors larger than minimally necessary to staff the protest, and committed enough to volunteer for follow-up actions that may be necessary as we hound our legislators until our goals are met.  At an operational level our protest will manage communications with legislators, and will coordinate medial coverage in an effort to build pressure consistent with meeting our goals.  We will also supply training and support for our volunteers, so that they are 1) focused on a unified message, 2) capable of dealing with media, 3) safe from threats to their physical security, and 4) protected in their legal right to protest.

Basically, if you are qualified to manage a McDonald’s restaurant, and you are, you would be able to manage this protest — it would take time, commitment and effort to set up a local node, buy you could easily do it — we’ve got over three months to plan, and I can supply you with support (flyers/agit-prop/press releases/memo’s etc.)  It is only 150 volunteered man hours per week — something easily doable if you are starting from scratch, even.  And many of you could far exceed those numbers, as I hope we can locally.

So there is the idea.  It is a gigantic undertaking.  But after “Operation Yellow Feather,” I believe we are a powerful group that can do great things.  On a macro level, basically I envision our role at the Booman Tribune to be one of management and organization.  I could create a list of district offices.  Take volunteers to manage a local protest and coordinate communications with that local manager.  We all can get out into the wide-blogosphere and try to find managers for each district that needs to be targeted.  I might need help managing the Macro level communications if we actually get a protest in every district.  Maybe a website with down loads.  Maybe some regional managers.  But this is do-able.  And it would be much more effective if we do it national.  Just a crazy thought.  (And, under no circumstances should you let this interfere with your participation in the Twelve Days of Justice, sponsored by tampopo — that should come first — and if you haven’t volunteered for it yet, please find the diary and do what you can.  But if you can spare the time to talk and plan with me, I’ll keep posting diaries on this idea.  We can refine it.  We can do it.  And after the Twelve Days of Justice, we can go into operational mode).

Please Discuss and Decide.

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