Friday, 4 December 2009

Money for war, as millions slip into poverty

Yesterday I referred to the potential for the US anti-war movement to revive and become a major mobilising force. I've just learnt of a very promising initiative that points in the direction of this becoming reality. Representatives of 34 anti-war groups have signed an open letter to President Obama, calling for the troops to leave Afghanistan. This co-incides with Obama's commitment to put 30,000 more US troops into the country.

The US movement declined enormously, largely as a result of activists getting behind Obama and helping his campaign for first the Democratic nomination and then the White House. This diverted energies from the movement and to some extent compromised it, considering Obama's pro-war stance on Afghanistan. The open letter signifies a sea change in both public attitudes and the willingness of campaigners to get organised. The disillusionment with Obama's foreign policies is starting to turn into action designed to change those policies.

But there's something else too. The language of the letter makes it clear there's something different from the era of mass protests about Iraq - this time around the politics and bitterness are deepened by the economic crisis:

'With millions of U.S. people feeling the fear and desperation of no longer having a home; with millions feeling the terror and loss of dignity that comes with unemployment; with millions of our children slipping further into poverty and hunger, your decision to deploy thousands more troops and throw hundreds of billions more dollars into prolonging the profoundly tragic war in Afghanistan strikes us as utter folly.'

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