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Cleveland Assembly and Our Plans for the Inauguration

This past weekend was the "National" Anti-War Assembly in Cleveland. It was a frustrating gathering of anti-war activists from many places across the country, but an overwhelming number were naturally from Ohio, to try and draft a plan for a mass mobilization. Most of the time was spent on specific language of their structure, specific language to be used within the movement, and ideological debates. There was a date set for Dec. 9 for regional anti-war mobilization. This decision might have been the most concrete, but the timing is obviously terrible -- wedged right in between major holidays.

Here in D.C. the Washington Peace center and the new peace and social justice organizing coalition has gotten behind organizing for the inauguration. Whether it is Obama or McCain, military expenses will continue to receive the majority of our budget, and critical domestic needs will continue to suffer. However, realistically we know that the image of this mobilization will likely differ between these two possibilities, but our planning will go forward regardless. Below is the call to action we have drafted.

REAL CHANGE BEGINS WITH US!
END THE WAR – REBUILD OUR COMMUNITIES!
JOIN US IN DC ON INAUGURATION DAY!

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death...” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On January 20, 2009, we will finally get to celebrate the end of the Bush era. Indeed, with all the damage this President has helped inflict, we can be sure most of the world will join us in celebrating! Yet, when all is said and done, this damage will remain: an unjust war abroad prosecuted to a backdrop of continual fear-mongering, used to justify the loss of civil liberties and necessitating the neglect of domestic needs. It is clear, then, that we need to take this opportunity not just to rejoice at the fading of the past, but also to express our desire for a changed future.

Therefore, we hereby call for a mass, nonviolent demonstration to coincide with the inauguration of the next President of the United States. This Inauguration Day will closely follow Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, and it is in his spirit that we demand:

* Immediate withdrawal from Iraq and a commitment to take care of returning veterans.
* Restoration of the civil liberties that 9/11 has been used as an excuse to curtail.
* An end to torture and extraordinary rendition.
* Creation of green jobs and investment in clean energy.
* Quality healthcare, housing and education for all.

Throughout history, Americans have employed various means to articulate their demands, from citizen lobbying to direct action. And throughout history, these efforts have achieved the most when grounded in mass action: the mobilization of broad sections of the population into action around concrete demands. The movements for women’s suffrage, Civil Rights and an end to the Vietnam War all succeeded through mass action.

Washington Peace Center

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