Days of Actions and Lessons Learned


Code Pink, Veterans for Peace and other national groups have called for a Day of Action on January 25th to bring awareness to the situation in Iran and to empower people to prevent an intensified war with Iran. Currently there is a “cold war” happening in Iran with severe economic sanctions that are affecting everyday people. It is like Yogi Berra said, “It’s like deja vu all over again.” Economic sanctions were imposed upon neighboring Iraq prior to the Gulf War campaign in 1990. The severity of the sanctions increased with time, just as they have with Iran. Another similarity is that sanctions did not lift even if the governments were in compliance with the requests made of them. And again the impact was felt largely by people who did not feel they could influence their government. 

That also feels familiar to the situation in the US. Hundreds of millions of people came out in Days of Action prior to the intensification of war with Iraq in 2003. A new model of organizing is developing. For example, last week in St. Louis a small group organized an empowering rally with less than 24 hour notice. Part of the success was that we tied into a preexisting dinner and prisoner letter writing campaign. It was beautiful to witness an ease of organizing in which people were able to know their strengths and capacities and show up in ways that allowed for authenticity. One highlight of the day was the MC and sharing a celebratory meal afterwards. 

Years ago I came across the Pentagon document, Vision 2020. It spelled out looming environmental catastrophe, growing scarcity of resources, refugees; and how the military would respond. There was a growing consensus that we had to have a wider focus beyond anti-war, balancing how we invest our time and energy between what we are in opposition to and what we are building up. We modeled an inclusive and diverse rally in organizing and presentation. I admired that strategic planning in anti-war work, where so often it seems many come into the work when there is a “hot war” flaring up. Lisa Fithian was recently touring with her book, Shut it Down, and helped in thinking strategically on a specific local campaign. Her techniques and reflections from years of organizing were universal. 

Today was the last “Fire Drill Friday” for Washington DC.  Many celebrities have participated in support of this student initiated movement to raise awareness of the climate catastrophe. 147 people were arrested at this last US capital-based gathering, including Martin Sheen. The focus of future Fire Drills will be in peoples’ local communities. People are recognizing the importance of local resistance and connecting the issues that are both local and universal. She emphasized the importance of having a clear vision of the world we are working to create. Also, the importance of sharing meals together, singing, dancing, and really getting to know each other. I learned more about people I had been organizing with for years.

The fact is that when close to 50% of our income taxes go towards war, then we all have a bit of the Pentagon in our communities. On January 25, our local community will be having an action at one of many Department of Defense contractors. We will be doing some research tomorrow over tea and sweet treats. We’ll be utilizing this great resource that tracks U.S. Defense contracts and I have some NWTRCC info to share. I am grateful for the ones who have been engaged in this work for some time and the new ones coming into it. From this perspective, trying to build a new world in 2020 looks surprising promising—it seems we have little choice. 

Post by Chrissy Kirchhoefer