The burgeoning US anti-war movement is showing a sophistication for grassroots lobbying normally only used by major corporate PR efforts. Today, for instance, hundreds of thousands of US citizens are participating in "a massive march on Washington without leaving your living room. The Virtual March on Washington is a first-of-its-kind campaign from the Win Without War coalition. Working together, we will direct a steady stream of phone calls -- about one per minute, all day -- to every Senate office in the country, while at the same time delivering a constant stream of e-mails and faxes.
"Less than a week before a Town Meeting Day vote on the future of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, a David-and-Goliath-style public relations war is heating up between the multibillion dollar corporation that owns the plant and a small group of volunteers who want the plant closed in 2012," writes Eesha Williams.
"Did the media stumble on Iraq, downplaying opposition to war with Saddam Hussein until the USA's recent confrontation with Germany and France in the United Nations and worldwide protests gave them no choice?" asks Peter Johnson. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman writes, "For months both major U.S. cable news networks have acted as if the decision to invade Iraq has already been made, and have in effect seen it as their job to prepare the American public for the coming war."
A new survey by Editor & Publisher magazine shows that "the growing rift at the United Nations and massive antiwar demonstrations around the globe appear to have had an impact. E&P now finds that a majority of top papers oppose any attack on Iraq without broad international support." Previous surveys in January also opposed President Bush's desire for a quick invasion, but pro-war editorials surged immediately following Colin Powell's presentation to the U.N. in early February.
The United for Peace and Justice coalition has secured a rally location for the New York city anti-war protest on February 15, announcing that "this massive, peaceful demonstration to stop the Iraq war will go forward no matter what. But in an outrageous attack on our civil liberties, Federal Judge Barbara Jones ruled ... that we may only hold a stationary rally. ... This fight is about far more than one protest march; it's about how much political space for dissent there will be in this country for the foreseeable future.
In New York the coalition United for Peace & Justice is in court today suing the city over its refusal to provide a permit for a non-violent peace march February 15th. Newsday noted yesterday that "the lawsuit ... sought a declaration from the court that the city's action violated the First Amendment and for an order permitting a parade of between 50,000 and 100,000 people. The Feb.
Since September 11, a number of pundits have tried to demonize dissent by equating it with support for terrorism. "But none has gone so far as to suggest an actual prosecution for treason simply for voicing one's political views - until now," writes Brendan Nyhan. In a February 6 editorial, the New York Sun begins by praising the New York City government for "doing the people of New York and the people of Iraq a great service by delaying and obstructing the anti-war protest planned for February 15.
The media-savvy internet-based peace group MoveOn has rapidly built an impressive on-line membership of more than 600,000 citizens. Two weeks ago it garnered major national publicity with its "TV Daisy Advertisement" opposing a US attack on Iraq. Now MoveOn hopes to recruit many thousands of volunteers to "consider pledging a