The New Peace Movement
by Rene P. Ciria-Cruz VC Reporter January 16 ,2003
Unlike the peaceniks of the past, today’s antiwar activists include all ages and ethnicities. Ventura is the site of a weekly march against the prospect of armed conflict.
Peace activists use technology nonexistent in the ’60s-e-mail blasts, dedicated Web sites-and are preparing a march in Washington, D.C. Saturday, Jan. 18, through Monday, Jan. 20, as well as in other cities around the nation, hoping to keep the pressure on the Bush administration. Of this Keith of email@example.com
wrote that Santa Barbara turned out 2000-5000 people in the largest march yet. Santa Barbara County 400,000 population (Census 2000) Los Angeles County 9,500,000 population (Census 2000) 1/18 SB peace march 2-5,000 people.
Despite the post-Sept. 11 climate of patriotism, longtime activists report they see less public hostility than during the Vietnam War. One reason may be the broad composition of recent protests, from grandmothers, students and Soccer Moms for Peace to locked-out African-American dock workers and graying baby-boomers reliving the heady calls to action of the Vietnam era.
Some credit low-key activism over the years, on domestic problems and U.S. policies abroad, for people’s readiness to take a stand. Among youth and students, the anti-globalization movement has helped make “close connections between the drive for war and corporate greed,” Ziad said.
Meanwhile, civil rights gains in the workplace, business, schools and public institutions have helped racially diversify the middle class, the current movement’s main base. This, too, is different from the l960s, when peace activists lamented their movement’s largely white youth and student makeup.
Organizers have pointedly timed the planned marches in January during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend as a reminder to minority communities that King strongly opposed the U.S. war in Vietnam.
Now and again Reliving war-time concerns
by Michelle Knight
With the addition of more than 62,000 military personnel to the Persian Gulf region since last Friday, war with Iraq seems all but inevitable. As with the Vietnam War, protests against the conflict have sprung up in different parts of the country, including Ventura County.
But that may be where similarities between the two conflicts end. Dr. Robert Dodge has been a part of protests against both wars. Dodge was a university student in Colorado in the 1960s and active in the anti-war movement. Now a physician, Dodge is president of the Ventura chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility and co-chair of Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions (CPR), a local anti-war activist group.
Protests against a war with Iraq are a “blended movement,” Dodge said, with “people coming from across the county to join in peace marches.” Dodge said CPR comprises “regular people,” such as educators, doctors and people active in their church. The group is a “broad cross-section,” he said-an umbrella organization that includes people from all walks of life.
In contrast, demonstrations against the Vietnam War usually involved only young people and college students-likely due to the mandatory draft. Herbert Gooch, professor of political science at California Lutheran University, said, “If you were going to get drafted, believe me, it would get your attention. A war with Iraq is an abstraction for many students,” he said. It doesn’t have the Vietnam drafts in-your-face-gut-wrenching smack of reality.
However, the spread of grassroots protest organizations can be added to the list of similarities. Dodge and around 12 others organized the grassroots Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions last March, wondering if they’d be the only ones opposed to a war with Iraq. “Any conflict can potentially turn into a nuclear conflict. Where does it stop?” Dodge asked. The group has since picked up steam, hosting speakers and public forums every Saturday for people to voice their concerns without being labeled “un-American.” Dodge said CPR has inspired others: there’s a CPR offshoot in Ojai, and a woman from San Diego said she’d like to start a chapter there.
See www.c-p-r.net for more details.
There are peace rallies and demonstrations happening all over the country right now, and every weekend is another opportunity to join in. Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions (CPR) organizes a march through downtown Ventura every Saturday, meeting at 1:00 p.m. at Plaza Park. Also, you can join discussion groups and sit-ins. For more information on CPR’s activities visit www.c-p-r.net.
-Jill St. John and Sharon McKenna
Are Peace Movements And Marches In Harmony With Christ's Teachings?