- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Anti-war activists failed in their campaign to keep American forces out of Iraq, but say they are back at their drawing boards for a fresh message.

"We were very focused on preventing the war from starting, but it started," said Andrew Greenblatt of TrueMajority.org. "So our whole goal had to change. Our next alert will have to do with how we are funding the war, how we're having this spending spree while having tax cuts. Everyone knows that is reckless.

"We [Americans] started this mess, so we have to figure out how to make lemonade out of all these lemons."

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war women's group Code Pink, said her workers will focus on civilian casualties.

"We want to know who has been hurt, killed and maimed, and what the United States is doing to provide for those civilians," she said.

"We will also look at media coverage of the war. We're planning protests of the way the mainstream media, particularly TV stations, are covering the war from the perspective of the U.S. military. They are refusing to show us civilian casualties or situations like the people in Basra not having electricity or water. We'd like to hear interviews with people who are unhappy with the U.S. presence."

Jason Kafoury of United for Peace and Justice said his organization is still revising its message, but that "from all indications, we are looking at a potential bloody battle that will result in many U.S. and Iraqi casualties."

"We will demand to get the humanitarian aid to the Iraqi civilians who are at risk of dying and for the United States to not attack civilian targets in Baghdad," he said.

A few groups are staying their original course.

Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) plans another large rally in Washington next month. Gordon Clark, the national coordinator of the Iraq Pledge of Resistance Network, a Silver Spring-based group active in 55 cities, said nonviolent resistance has just begun.

"The next time we will regroup in terms of strategies is when the war is declared over," he said.

The M27 Coalition, a network of war resisters, has scheduled a large demonstration with civil disobedience at 8 a.m. tomorrow at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan.

"We target corporate war profiteers and the media-corporate-government collusion that is promoting this war," says a statement on https://m27coalition.org.

National Youth and Student Peace Coalition spokeswoman Lenore Palladino said collegiate groups will organize rallies, walkouts and school-lawn sit-ins through the end of the school year.

Mr. Greenblatt said sympathizers will stay linked to one another through the Internet even after the war.

"We will remain organized," he said. "We can communicate with millions of people and have them communicate their views back to Congress and keep them involved with politics beyond this moment of history."

This strategy was pioneered by liberal Democrats who organized MoveOn.org in 1998 in response to President Clinton's impeachment. They then used that database to raise $1.7 million through the Internet for the 2000 election. MoveOn.org has helped organize and fund recent large anti-war rallies.

"Even as we have lost the first round, the ramifications have been enormous," he said. "I have never heard of that before in the nonprofit advocacy world. The ramifications of this anti-war movement will resonate for years to come."

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