A New Anti-War Forum!

January 21, 2003

On January 19, in Chicago, the Anti-Imperialist News Service (AINS) organized the first in a series of regular monthly forums devoted to discussing the burning political question: "How to Advance the Struggle Against War!"

Activists in the thick of the struggle as well as people eager to learn more took part in the meeting. Some participants had just returned from the big anti-war demonstration in Washington, D.C. and many others had joined in several Chicago actions within the past week. The activists included workers organizing, on a daily basis, against the war in their workplaces and unions, students active on several college campuses in the area, community activists, people working with religious-based organizations and others. In addition to helping organize mass actions, the participants had a good deal of experience organizing anti-war speaking tours, discussion and study groups, literature distribution, research and writing groups, and other forms of activity.

Michael Thorburn, editor of "The Worker," opened up the forum with a talk entitled "Only the Peoples Can Stop Imperialism's War Program." In the beginning, he stressed the importance of the forum, saying:

"It really is exciting to get together with so many sisters and brothers who are actively fighting against the government's war program."

"I think that nothing is needed more than for people like us -- people who are building the anti-war movement on a daily basis -- to sit together and talk about how to advance our work, about our goals and program, about what strategy, tactics and forms of organizations are needed. These questions are not going to be solved in one discussion but it is absolutely necessary to keep developing new space where people can bring out their own agenda and their own thinking."

"I think we are at an important juncture when the very breadth and depth of the movement is bringing new questions to the fore."

In his speech, Michael Thorburn talked first about the extent, the character, aims and basis of the U.S. government's war program. He went on to outline 4 basic tasks of the opposition: 1) standing up against war and imperialism; 2) politicizing our movement; 3) organizing ourselves independent of and in struggle against the parties of war; and 4) building a proactive movement. These tasks all center around the need to develop anti-imperialist politics and organization. (A summary of this speech will be published in the near future.)

The discussion period lasted for 2 hours. In addition to talking about various aspects of the war program, people zeroed in on their experiences in the anti-war struggle. People spoke with great passion and commitment and pointed to the ever-growing breadth of the anti-war movement. People talked about both the advances and roadblocks in enhancing the consciousness and organization of the people, returning again and again to the necessity to develop anti-imperialist politics and organization.

The AINS will continue to sponsor these forums on the third Sunday of each month.