October 12, 2007 | Page 7
ERIC RUDER analyzes the state of the national antiwar struggle and what lies ahead.
SINCE THE start of the Iraq war, antiwar sentiment has grown dramatically in the U.S. In 2003, 23 percent of the U.S. population thought the U.S. invasion was a mistake. Today, that figure stands at 58 percent.
Yet the antiwar movement had its largest mobilization before the war began, and more recent demonstrations have been smaller than those held several years previously, before public opinion had turned dramatically against the occupation.
On February 15, 2003, a few weeks before the invasion, as many as 1 million people marched through the streets of New York City--part of a weekend of protests worldwide that involved 10 million people in 600 cities.
Two and a half years later, on September 24, 2005, some 300,000 people marched in Washington at an event organized jointly by the two main national antiwar coalitions--United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) and Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER).
This fall, however, the antiwar movement has fragmented between competing calls for demonstrations. ANSWER’s Washington protest on September 15 drew just 10,000 people, and UFPJ didn’t even call a national demonstration, opting instead for regional mobilizations on October 27.