Commentary: The Color Of Change By MARIS ARNOLD

Friday September 30, 2005

The anti-war movement continues to put up great resistance to the reactionary cannon balls constantly being lobbed into our lives. However, a larger, more visionary action plan has been lacking. As a result of no apparent handle to organize around a comprehensive, inspiring political agenda, the anti-war movement has steadily spiraled into a strategic dead end.  

MoveOn, from its bright beginnings, has turned into an adjunct of the Democratic Leadership Council, leading the way over the cliff in supporting John Kerry. MoveOn hasn’t yet rallied its members behind Rep. Lynn Woolsey’s resolution to bring the troops home now, and is unlikely to.  

ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice can only come up with mass rallies every six months or so, and even those have no massive and consistent civil disobedience component. Old time Marxists still call for a Labor Party as if Diebold hadn’t invalidated honest national elections and there was a labor movement supporting such a party. 

This strategic morass is based on the faithful adherence to over-emphasizing the horrors of U.S. foreign policy over domestic social and environmental justice issues. There has been a glaring lack of loudly linking chronic, hideously unmet domestic needs to the cost of the war. 

The world-wide and national revulsion to the Bush League’s display of criminal negligence, perverse morality, and classist racism in the wake of Hurricane Katrina ought to serve as a wakeup call. That call says it’s time to shift the focus in a major way to domestic concerns. It’s more than time to focus on the actions that have to be taken to undo the Bush policies that are literally destroying America.  

The accent has to be on eliminating racism, poverty, homelessness here in the U.S., health care for all Americans, massively pumping up educational funding, creating viable, sustainable mass transportation systems, rebuilding infrastructure etc. etc. Reaching these goals through the back door of focusing on U.S. foreign policy doesn’t seem to engender changes, and hasn’t for a long, long time.  

In this light, I direct readers to Rescue America: Nine Key Steps, coming from Van Jones at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (bnb-list@ellabakercenter.org). If you agree with what you read, please sign the pledge to become part of 250,000 Americans demanding a dedicated rebuilding of our country (Colorofchange.org).  


Maris Arnold is a Berkeley resident.