Grassroots want UFJP change

Stan Heller continues his campaign to get United for Peace and Justice to mention Iran in their upcoming April 29 demo. Incredibly, not only is UFJP refusing to mention the threat of a war in Iran, their “demo” won’t even have speakers. Golly, let’s just have a group hug for peace, that’ll stop the neocons, you betcha.

We covered what Stan is doing in an April 14 post, Not a time for tepid protest.

UFPJ Leadership:
Change course on April 29 demo

My article on “Time to Shake-Up the Peace Movement” criticizing UFPJ plans for April 29 has gotten a very good response with emails and requests for reprints. Though no one on the UFPJ steering committee has deigned to send me a reply, the day after my piece came out UFPJ sent out their first mass emailing calling for “No War on Iran”. Still no change yet in the demands for the demo and THERE ARE NO PLANS TO HAVE ANY SPEAKERS, just a march and a “festival”. – Stanley Heller

From his listserv

On April 14th UFPJ did send out a mailing to all their groups/members with a good statement against war/sanctions against Iran and theres a section of the UFPJ website about Iran. PROGRESS. But the website about the demo still does not have a demand about Iran, let alone Israel and Palestine. A message from UFPJ affiliate the US Campaign Against the Occupation says the demo can’t be changed because UFPJ is in coaltion with groups like Friends of the Earth and Rainbow/PUSH. The threat of nuclear war isn’t enough to get the folks together for a meeting to change the demo?

The real reason, methinks, is that UFJP wants to cosy up to the Democratic Party, so nothing beyond bland, innocuous calls for peace will be allowed.

Sign the petition demanding UFJP have speakers, and mention Iran and Palestine on April 29. More information.


  1. I’ve gotta’ say, I’m no fan politically of UfPJ, but I think this whole thing is VASTLY overblown. After all, it is UfPJ which has this on the front page of their website: “United for Peace and Justice opposes any military action against Iran, as well as covert action and sanctions. We reject the doctrine of “preventive war.” All diplomatic solutions must be pursued.

    “Send a clear message to the Bush Administration: Don’t Attack Iran! As a first and immediate step, we urge you to add your signature and comments to AfterDowningStreet’s petition to President Bush and Vice-President Cheney opposing an attack on Iran.”

    And on the Download leaflets etc. page, one of the posters you can download is “Don’t Attack Iran.”

    By contrast, ANSWER, which I am ideologically aligned with, has no such material on its website. That doesn’t mean this isn’t the ANSWER position, because it is; it’s more a matter of not devoting as many resources to keeping the website updated, as far as I can tell.

    In any case, however, this criticism of UfPJ is, in my opinion, out of line and divisive. There are plenty of valid reasons to criticize UfPJ (for example, their unwillingness to mention Palestine); this, in my opinion, isn’t one of them. Nor is the decision not to have speakers at a rally, which is a tactical, not a strategic, question. I definitely support the general concept of having speakers at rallies! However, one would have to be honest in saying that, while the march itself, by its existence, speaks to the world, speakers at the rally are pretty much “speaking to the faithful”; media rarely if ever cover the speeches, preferring to get sound bites from “average marchers.” Far MORE important for the key players (the people who would be the speakers) to have a press conference the day before, which often IS covered. Anyway, as I said, this is a tactical question, and hardly indicative of some fundamental flaw (in my opinion).

  2. I should add to the above MY criticism of UfPJ – the labelling of this march “March for Peace, Justice, and Democracy.” Nebulous, meaningless pablum. That’s the REAL problem with this march – the entire orientation. “Stop the war…on the world!” That’s what the title of the march SHOULD be.

  3. Well, maybe just LESS speakers. I gotta say, Bob, and I know you all do a ton of work to put on the ANSWER marches–the rallies at the end are formulaic and most people leave way before they are over.

    why not mix it up a bit–more music/poetry, spoken word towards the front, more of a revolutionary street party celebration not the same tired speakers (i assume each steering comm./org gets a pick) YELLING at us, the same rants we’ve heard over and over, us the already converted.

    do you all ever ask yourselves: is the this mix of speakers/music attracting and keeping new people here?

    At Hollywood the last time, after marching, a few of my Green Party buds and I made it up close to the stage, watched the first few speakers, that happened to be celebs, and then Yawn, we’ve heard it all before–went and sat/ate/brainstormed in the Baja Fresh for 3 hours, watching it occasionally through the 2 story glass resturant. We could hear it a bit when the door opened, I heard a gasp from Jerry Quickley , but it looked like the masses didn’t last very near the end at all.

  4. Your points are well-taken, Lisa. I like street poetry, music, etc. too. Sometimes (often), there isn’t time to fit everyone in. Yes, groups that help get a speaker – this is as it should be. And if a Celebrity walks up and asks to talk, well, sure, even if it bonks the carefully planned schedule.

    Myself, I’d like to see humor/satire from the stage. Not sure to do it though. It’s not like a comedy club where people are watching, you’d really have to grab their attention, plu si twould have to be all verbal and no visual, as those further back wouldn’t see the visuals clearly.

  5. Comandante Gringo

    The reason no one (much) listens to the speakers is the obvious: nothing new is being said. If we are not going to be led by revolutionaries who are actually telling us what the next step is — no wonder people have better things to do.

    The problem remains the same: the crisis of leadership on the Left and the failure of any proper, popularized analysis to seriously put forward a Plan for getting rid of this criminal regime and replacing it with a New Socialist Deal.

    Want the masses to come flocking and be enthralled with the speeches? Say something. Some practical and REVOLUTIONARY.

    Instead: gutless wonderism. I’m not going to any of this shite where I am.

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