Peace Activists Transition to a Time of War ; Protesters from New York to San Francisco Blocked Traffic and Debated US Policy

By Kim Campbell writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, March 24, 2003 | Go to article overview

Peace Activists Transition to a Time of War ; Protesters from New York to San Francisco Blocked Traffic and Debated US Policy


Kim Campbell writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


They couldn't stop the war, but US peace protesters are stopping traffic - reminding Americans and the world that despite what polls say, antiwar sentiments remain strong on President Bush's home turf.

Demonstrations from New York to San Francisco over the weekend drew hundreds of thousands of participants and punctuated a week of high-profile antiwar activities that included closing down major thoroughfares and lighting candles for peace.

Activists have been quick to dismiss charges that such protests are unpatriotic when troops are at risk. But at the same time, they've been waging a nuanced internal debate, struggling with how to transition from peace to wartime.

From determining the effectiveness of civil disobedience to identifying a position on a post-invasion regime, those opposed to the war are trying to define what their role in public discussion should be now that bombs are falling. Some organizers maintain that their mission remains the same: to effect long-term change.

"It's not just about stopping this war, it's about stopping the war system," says Brian Corr, who co-chairs the national board of Peace Action. The challenge now, he adds, is to transform new activists "from people who are working against the war in Iraq to people who are stopping the chain of war."

In the short run, the goal is to end the war as quickly as possible, with some activists planning to lobby Congress to cut off the funding so the troops can come home. In the meantime, organizers are providing information about where to send donations to relief organizations that help Iraqis and offering ways to send e-mail messages of support to military personnel in the Gulf.

"I am very much antiwar, I'm not anti-US troops," says Kendra Hoyt, who attended a rally in Boston on Friday and echoes the sentiment of many protesters.

The rally Ms. Hoyt attended featured speakers from different faiths, including Rabbi Sheila Weinberg, who drew on the Bible to offer encouragement to activists as they proceed: "Our most ancient Book of Psalms enjoins us to 'Seek peace and pursue it,'" she told a few hundred peaceful protesters. "Not only must we seek peace, we must pursue it when it is running away from us. We must not lose hope in the possibility of peace, as its light seems to dim in the world."

Why stop traffic?

One of the peace movement's biggest advantages is its ability to mobilize Americans quickly - thanks in large part to the Internet. Despite winning praise from some observers for its effective organizing in the last week, however, the movement is being held to high standards by critics who charge that activists should be doing more than shutting down streets in major cities like Chicago.

"I don't think any useful purpose is served by blocking Lake Shore Drive," says Bill Galston, who directs the University of Maryland's Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy. "The issues [at hand] are of the utmost gravity for the future of the country, and shrill voices and guerrilla tactics are inappropriate for those issues."

Professor Galston, who opposes the war, recalls how quickly antiwar sentiment during the Vietnam War turned into anti- Americanism, and is concerned that current movement, with some of its more strident factions, could run the same risk.

He'd like to see a clearer message from activists, and offers these suggestions: that the movement insist on a serious commitment to decency and democracy in Iraq and that it critique the changed basis of post-9/11 US foreign policy, which appears to suggest that any country who may give weapons to terrorists is a threat to the US - and could be invaded.

Diverse opinions

But the range of opinions in the current movement is so wide that it's nearly impossible to have a single message other than "No War," note activists and those who study social movements. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Peace Activists Transition to a Time of War ; Protesters from New York to San Francisco Blocked Traffic and Debated US Policy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.