Make Noise Not War

A Peace Movement Grows in New York and Beyond

Curiously, the sense of emergency—the war footing of the peace movement—presents opportunities. Where recent activism in America has been bedeviled by race divides (with the largely white anti-globalization movements struggling to work with communities of color), now many anti-racist groups, responding to both war drums and the alarming epidemic of anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant attacks across America, are organizing alongside predominantly white antiwar and anti-globalization folks. "We can work together to reclaim the meaning of security," says Joo-Hyun Kang of the Audre Lorde Project, "to fight against cycles of violence perpetuated by U.S. policy abroad and here."

Common ground is prompting unlikely alliances. Perhaps the very first antiwar protest in New York occurred when members of Asociación Tepeyac began chanting for peace during a vigil—hundreds of Mexican workers were lost in the World Trade Center attack. Community organizers are suddenly debating the World Court, arguing, among other things, about whether the U.S.'s traditional dominance of the UN—not to mention its longstanding opposition to an international criminal court—make that multinational route insufficient. Meanwhile, anti-globalists are mobilizing against the racist backlash here at home. Among these groups, at least, the radical critique that links anti-militarism, anti-globalization, and anti-racism is being made. It's one small irony—and one small measure of hope—that the connectedness of those movements may be laid bare by U.S. war. And it's in that spirit—and not only because of the direness of the situation—says Max Mishler, a Wesleyan sophomore who helped spark the national campus demos, that "peace has become the most radical demand that can be made."

Saturday, September 29, Union Square: demonstrators call for peace.
photo: J.K. Condyles
Saturday, September 29, Union Square: demonstrators call for peace.

March and rally, Sunday, 3 p.m., at Union Square, 212-228-0450.

Related articles:
"Peace=Patriotism: A User's Guide to Anti-War Activism" by Coco McPherson
"The Empire Strikes Back: Novelists and Essayists Tell the 'Voice' Where They Stand" by Rachel Neumann
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