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OVERVIEW SF BAY AREA IRAQ MORATORIUM CAMPAIGN

HISTORY AND PERSPECTIVE ON WHY NOW AND WHAT WE CAN DO TO END THIS WAR NOW

INTRODUCTION:

The SF Bay Area Iraq Moratorium Campaign was initiated by activists from the San Francisco Declaration

of Peace (DOP). Our group consisted of 8-12 people at the initial meetings to discuss this campaign.

began to meet in the Spring of 2007 to discuss a future project that could mobilize the 70% of the public which polls say are opposed to the war in Iraq. In San Francisco and the Bay Area, those numbers could

well be higher.

We

While our DOP group is active in a variety of issues and have a broader view and commitment to

nonviolent social change, we are aware of the problems of living in an economic and military empire that is our country today. Because of this war, there is growing public disillusion and lack of trust in political institutions, now causing now a majority of the U.S. public to want to end the war. Some feel powerless

however.

peace movement with an opportunity we haven't had since the Vietnam war – a project that would reach

out to the mainstream public who are against the war, but not involved in public actions, with a hopeful,

focused message which would appeal to a broad spectrum of citizens.

that the idea of an Iraq Moratorium was incubating on the east coast at the same time. We decided to move forward with this overall concept of decentralized actions with the goal of persuading and mobilizing the public to take action and increase pressure on the Congress and Administration in Washington to act to end the war.

We reached a conclusion that a focused campaign to end the war in Iraq would provide the

One member of our group knew

This document is meant to give an overview of some of the thinking that went into developing the Iraq Moratorium Campaign. It doesn't have all the answers. We have strived with open spirit to provide a context for why we have moved forward with a strategy, plan, and timeline that we believe is both unique and can contribute to ending this tragic war. The time is right to work together and promote hope and empowerment through cooperative and collective action to a public disillusioned with this war and the actions of the political establishment in Washington.

THE BAY AREA AND PEACE ISSUES:

While there are a multitude of groups and coalitions working to end the Iraq war through large rallies, small events, civil disobedience, and creative gatherings here in the Bay Area, many of these efforts do not reach the mainstream media.

How do we reach out to the larger public? One way is to reach people where they are at; in their communities, neighborhoods, work places, congregations, schools/colleges, and to military and veterans' families that bear the direct brunt of this war. Outreach has been a part of our work, but generally, these efforts have been diffuse or mainly geared towards reaching and mobilizing the converted.

The Bay Area is a laboratory of creativity on many fronts. Campaigns and movements from reform to

transformation and social change began here.

platform for projects that engage and empower people.

Ideas abound and the diversity of the area provides a

Last, but certainly not least, we live in a liberal metropolitan area where many of the federal elected officials have taken mild to somewhat stronger stands to end this war. Almost all are Democrats. However, there is mostly refusal and some equivocation by Bay Area lawmakers to a stronger position of

opposition to this war that encompasses the funding issue.

vote to fund this war. This is due to political considerations and the Democrats strategy to increase their majority in the Congress and win the White House. As well, Democrats suffer a "national security" complex and remember the past when they were called weak on defense and felt politically punished by the voters in other (and often more conservative) parts of the country. Steadfast resistance public

Almost all Bay Area Democrats continue to

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discussing the war funding issue and correlating “support the troops” to equal funding the mission has repeatedly allowed this tragic war to continue unabated. There is little to no national public discussion on the issue. An essential part of the moratorium campaign will be to pressure elected officials through our actions, consistently calling and writing letters, to force them to end the war by cutting off the funding.

A FOCUSED AND DISCIPLINED STRATEGY:

There is a large peace movement here in the Bay Area that can unite to an extent in hopeful and cohesive efforts, but is quite often fractured and competitive in nature.

When our DOP group debated the Moratorium idea as a focused and disciplined strategy, we were aware that many of our friends and political allies might well want to push a specific issue agenda or a broader social change strategy. This inclination is understood as all of us have worked for peace and social justice. Yet, we believed the need and the opportunity to both end this war and build a broader peace movement is an opportunity we don't often get.

We request all individuals and groups who participate in the SF Bay Area Iraq Moratorium to unite on this one issue – to end this tragic war – that both individually and collectively, we will strive to set aside political differences by refraining from potentially alienating rhetoric in order to appeal to a larger, new and even apolitical audience, rather than just to the converted. Yes, there are a variety of serious economic, social and environmental problems facing this country and a multitude of agendas in the peace movement -- but we believe by uniting together now with a focused strategy, this campaign can appeal to the broader public

Most importantly, we welcome all people, regardless of their affiliations and overall political beliefs. Reaching out to the larger public at this critical time will be crucial to the success of the Iraq Moratorium campaign. As one member of our group stated, we all need to put "our personal and political agendas on hold" to build a focused and disciplined campaign to end the war in Iraq.

GOALS:

The SF Bay Area Iraq Moratorium goal is: To end US military involvement in the war in Iraq and bring our troops home.

The method for accomplishing this is: To persuade new participants to become active and mobilize those already active.

The message is simple and focused: "Out of Iraq Now – Stop Funding this War – Fund Human Needs"

The five specific constituencies to reach out to:

1. Youth/Students – they are the future and have great energy;

2. Labor/Working People – they disproportionately pay for this war and experience an economic and

quality of life decline and less opportunity;

3. Faith Groups – the power of clergy to move their congregations and the commitment of people of

many faiths to work for peace and a just world;

4. Community/Neighborhoods – working and organizing in close proximity to where people live

and/or work, this venue will give a chance to strengthen and build community.

Focused outreach to the above constituencies through corresponding work groups are the center of where this campaign's works takes place.

ACTIONS:

The Iraq Moratorium Campaign will endeavor to coordinate a growing monthly expression of collective activities, initially commencing on the third Fridays of the month beginning on Friday, September 21,

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followed by October, 19, and November 16. We choose to begin in September because of the report to Congress on "the surge" mid-month and Congress will begin consider a new appropriations (funding bill) later in the month.

We will encourage people to take five minutes, their lunchtime, an afternoon, or all day to take a public stand to end this war now and promoting peace through their specific actions.

Join with us in one or all of the following activities:

Wear and distribute ribbons to stand against this war and for peace;

Phone and write a letter to your US Representative and Senators. Please include the Iraq

Moratorium message to elected officials.

effectiveness to pressure elected officials to end this war now; and

Mailing or faxing your letter multiplies our

On the third Friday, organize a public event/vigil/leaflet in your neighborhood, community, workplace, school, faith community, etc., to end the war in Iraq now and stand together for

peace.

Kickoff events, prior to and focusing on September 21 will take place in communities, schools/colleges workplace, street corners, BART stations, or wherever people gather to stand together to speak out. Contacts in many venues are needed to organize a gathering. Currently, many people active in the Iraq Moratorium are from San Francisco, the East Bay, South Bay and North Bay. Participation is needed from all over the Bay Area to make it build this campaign and make it a success. Please join us as an organizer/contact in your area or constituency group.

COMMON THEMES:

The actions of the Iraq Moratorium are decentralized and both unique and creative to those organizing and taking part in these events. Our common themes to build momentum to end this war are:

Messaging/Media: A common message at all events is important to build and express our unity in the simplest terms. We ask everyone to stay on message to strengthen our common efforts, to engage more of the public, and at every opportunity, let elected officials know they must end U.S. involvement in Iraq. While providing talking points, we encourage you to develop particular aspects of funding human needs that are unique for your constituency, community, neighborhood, and/or workplace. We are planning a creative media event to kickoff the Iraq Moratorium. Ideas for increasing the campaign’s visibility are welcome.

As stated previously, the SF Bay Area Iraq Moratorium focused message to the public and elected officials is:

"Out of Iraq Now - Stop Funding this War – Fund Human Needs"

Nonviolence: The events of the Iraq Moratorium will have a tone and spirit of nonviolence. Our attitude will be one of nonviolence, openness and respect toward all we encounter. We will use no violence, verbal or physical, toward any person.

Organizing Tips: Wherever or whatever you organize, please make sure you have a media spokesperson to relate to any media in attendance. This will help to insure our message as stated above is communicated. As well, have one or more persons with a clipboard to get names and at least email addresses/phone numbers of all in attendance. This helps build for future events and strengthens community participation to build momentum. As we build towards September 21st , there will be many more ideas that we will share that can be incorporated into events and are unique and creative as well.

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CONTACTS/RESOURCES:

SF Bay Area Iraq Moratorium website: www.iraqmoratorium-sfbay.org

Email address for inquiries: sfbay_iraqmoratorium@yahoo.com

Phone/messages: 415-861-1438

Cost of the Iraq War for your community:

http://www.nationalpriorities.org/Cost-of-War/Cost-of-War-3.html

Declaration of Peace: www.declarationofpeace.org

Legislative perspective from Washington DC: www.fcnl.org/iraq

US, Iraq and other Military Casualties (to read US names): www.icasualties.org/oif/

Count and list of Iraqi Casualties (to read Iraqi names): www.iraqbodycount.org/

SUMMARY

The Iraq Moratorium Campaign is not an organization. It is a campaign to specifically end this war, through engaging and empowering a larger share of the public, especially those who have minimally or have not at all been involved in political efforts previously, but want to join together to end this war. We are all in this together and must find ways to influence and involve new people and help one another lead the country out of this disaster. We owe it to all those who have died, Iraqi, American, and others. We owe it to the families of those who have died and to the Iraq and American people who have experienced the senseless loss of loved ones.

The SF Bay Area Iraq Moratorium Campaign is a formation process. Originating from efforts of the

Declaration of Peace, we have held community wide meetings in San Francisco beginning in late June,

2007.

Steering Committee: Monitors the overview on the progress of the Iraq Moratorium. It consists of conveners of the working groupsand four at large members.

Bi-Weekly Meetings: Presently we are holding meetings every other Wednesday night. While these meetings bring new people and enthusiasm, we reiterate that the main work of the Iraq Moratorium is done in the working groups listed above. If you interested in joining us in the ongoing work, contact a committee or email inquiries shown in “Contacts” above.

As a grassroots campaign, we are striving to meld the decentralized and creative nature of Iraq Moratorium events, speaking in a clear and united voice to elected officials with focused coordination on messaging and media. We aim to develop common resources that help to educate the public on the issues of this war and peace. After each third Friday, we will review and evaluate the Moratorium's activities with the goal of improving our efforts and broadening participation by the public. While we are initially planning for three Fridays during the Fall, we intend through focused evaluation and strategizing, to decide on future endeavors; as we are aware that building support from the public and increasing political pressure on those who are both prosecuting and enabling this war means long haul efforts.

In addition, the campaign is moving forward on the energy and good will of people involved with minimal financial resources. Please contact us if you can donate to our efforts or can suggest ways of obtaining other financial help.

Written by Steve Leeds and Dolores Perez Priem with help from Bill Simpich and Kathy Lipscomb, July 2007- revised August 2007.

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