“River to River: Join Hands for Peace” in NYC organized by UFJP needed 2500 people to stretch hands fingertip to fingertip across the width of Manhattan to make some pointless symbolic Cumbaya gesture, but got nowhere close to that. Those who came apparently were mostly middleaged and older too.
And if they had gotten enough people, how would that have helped end the war?
The recent round of antiwar protests and demonstrations nationwide were a dismal flop. Turnout was extremely low. While preoccupation on the presidential election and the economy is certainly be a factor, the inability of the antiwar movement to come up with new ideas and approaches is also a key reason that the 5th anniversary of the war protests were a dud.
Recycling ideas from the 60’s and expecting them to work just as effectively 40 years later in a Net-driven world is no longer a valid approach. Sure, the original protests as the war was starting were huge and grabbed the attention of the planet. But from then on it’s been the same “people in the streets” approach with a march then a rally and you probably have the speeches memorized by now too as you look around and wonder why the crowd is so small. Well, that’s why. It’s been done dozens of times before and is no longer new, exciting, or interesting. So only the die-hards will go, not anyone new. Without new blood, the whole thing just becomes preaching to the choir or silly feel-good posturing that accomplish nothing.
The populace does oppose the war. But the antiwar movement isn’t reaching them or engaging them. For it to become a true mass movement with genuine political power, it needs to.