Open Letter to the Labor and Antiwar Movements

Workers Action

New National Assembly to Bring the Troops Home Now

Antiwar groups across the country have called for massive protests against the wars this coming October. Actions in different cities and nationally are slated for October 1, 6, 7, 15 and perhaps other dates. Some are local or regional in scope, at least one is focused on Washington D.C. All of the major antiwar groups, while having some demands unique to their own formations, share the central demand of bringing the troops home now.

There is something else we all share: a commitment to making the October demonstrations as large as possible. Toward that end, we urge that every effort be made by peace groups to include unions on the ground floor in planning the actions.

A call issued by the Communications Workers of America and endorsed by the AFL-CIO for actions on April 4, 2011 resulted in a thousand rallies and marches being organized all across the country, with a cumulative turnout of an estimated 100,000. There was a distinct antiwar component in virtually all of these events, with speakers calling for bringing the war dollars home and using the money saved to meet human needs.

Consider also the demonstration of over 100,000 in Madison, Wisconsin in February of this year, which featured many antiwar signs and posters protesting astronomical war spending. This powerful demonstration took place at a time when Wisconsin public employees were told they must accept sharp cuts in benefits because of a manufactured budget crisis. This when the U.S. government is spending more that $10 billion a month to prosecute the war in Afghanistan.

The labor movement — confronted by multiple horrendous attacks from corporate America and their bought-and-paid for politicians — is more open than in previous periods to mobilizing its ranks as part of its fightback campaign and in drawing connections between war spending and the economic crisis. We now have a new opportunity to unite the antiwar struggle with the struggle for jobs and against cuts and concessions. We urge that this opportunity be seized for the October demonstrations.

We suggest these concrete steps to help unite the most powerful social forces in the struggle for peace:

  • Bring together representatives of labor unions, communities of color, immigrant communities, and religious congregations into the planning process in all local areas for building antiwar actions. 
  • Encourage antiwar forces to join labor actions in those states where there is active resistance to the corporate anti-union agenda. For example, October is going to be the height of labor mobilizing against Senate Bill 5 in the Ohio referendum. Labor may be less willing to join an antiwar-led action but more willing to have antiwar messages/speakers in any planned labor-led action. 
  • Explain in all outreach materials how continuing the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya is connected to the continuing economic crisis that all working people face and how there is no solution to unemployment, lower wages, overcrowded schools, and substandard health care unless these wars are ended. 
  • Make clear that the economic crisis imposes a de facto draft on working-class youth, especially in communities of color, where young people are denied opportunities for education and jobs unless they enlist in the military.

Finally, we ask all who support the labor/antiwar alliance as explained above to join us as signatories of this open letter. To do so, simply write and advise whether you are signing on as an individual or a group or both.

Issued by the

New National Assembly to Bring the Troops Home Now
P.O. Box 21008, Cleveland, Ohio 44121
Phone 216-736-4704

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