An Open Letter to the VoteNoWar Membership and to the Anti-War Movement (please re-forward and post):

The political impact of Saturday's massive anti-war demonstrations organized by International A.N.S.W.E.R. can already be seen. Today's New York Times editorial, "A Stirring in the Nation," reflects that the anti-war movement represents millions of people in the United States and cannot be discounted. Together we have shattered the myth conjured by politicians, by the media which have dutifully echoed Bush's calls for war, and by those who profit from war that there is a consensus of support in the United States for Bush's war of aggression against Iraq.

Now, even the New York Times, which has a declared policy of support for the Bush Administration's goals in Iraq, cannot deny the breadth and strength of the movement that you and so many thousands have built.

Today's NYT editorial signifies that a growing section of the political establishment fears the dynamic rise of the U.S. anti-war movement, and is deeply concerned that Bush's rush towards war will have a destabilizing impact on the political system as a whole.

The editorial also reflects what we have said all along: it is the opposition of the people of the United States and the world that constitutes the single biggest obstacle to the Bush Administration as it rushes towards war. (See below for the NYT editorial and additional coverage of the demonstrations from the Washington Post, LA Times and SF Chronicle.)

Reuters, Molly Riley

The rising tide of the anti-war movement cannot be ignored. Half a million people braved the coldest weather of the year in a march in Washington, D.C. Over 200,000 demonstrated at the A.N.S.W.E.R. demonstration in San Francisco, and large crowds gathered in local January 18 actions, including more than 20,000 in Portland, 5,000 in Tucson, 4,000 in Albuquerque, and in many other cities. Hundreds of thousands more joined demonstrations in over 30 countries.

Now is the time for the movement to intensify activity at the local and regional level as part of worldwide anti-war movement. On January 18, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition called for a nationally coordinated day of local protests at Federal buildings on Wednesday, January 29, the day following Bush's State of the Union address, which is expected to be a 'war speech.'

On January 18, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition called for the U.S. movement to support the call issued from the European movement for mass anti-war demonstrations on February 15. There will be demonstrations in thousands of cities across the country and around the world on February 15. A.N.S.W.E.R. joins with UFPJ and hundreds of other organizations who will be mobilizing for the NYC action. The February 15 protest will be part of the Week of Anti-War Resistance from February 13 to
February 21.

We need your help to keep this movement strong as we build on the accomplishments of January 18. The VoteNoWar Campaign relies on the generous donations of individuals like you. At this critical moment, we ask that you contribute what you can to keep the momentum that we have all build together. We are making a difference. You can make an online tax deductible contribution by credit card, or find out where to send a tax deductible donation by check, by clicking here.

Look out in your e-mail box, in the coming days, for even more detail on next steps and upcoming events from VoteNoWar.

In solidarity,

All of us at VoteNoWar.org

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[The New York Times editorial, and excerpts from articles appearing in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle follow below]

A Stirring in the Nation

New York Times Editorial Page
January 20, 2003

A largely missing ingredient in the nascent debate about invading Iraq showed up on the streets of major cities over the weekend as crowds of peaceable protesters marched in a demand to be heard. They represented what appears to be a large segment of the American public that remains unconvinced that the Iraqi threat warrants the use of military force at this juncture.

Denouncing the war plan as an administration idée fixe that will undermine America's standing in the world, stir unrest in the Mideast and damage the American economy, the protesters in Washington massed on Saturday for what police described as the largest antiwar rally at the Capitol since the Vietnam era. It was impressive for the obvious mainstream roots of the marchers - from young college students to grayheads with vivid protest memories of the 60's. They gathered from near and far by the tens of thousands, galvanized by the possibility that President Bush will soon order American forces to attack Iraq even without the approval of the United Nations Security Council.

Mr. Bush and his war cabinet would be wise to see the demonstrators as a clear sign that noticeable numbers of Americans no longer feel obliged to salute the administration's plans because of the shock of Sept. 11 and that many harbor serious doubts about his march toward war. The protesters are raising some nuanced questions in the name of patriotism about the premises, cost and aftermath of the war the president is contemplating. Millions of Americans who did not march share the concerns and have yet to hear Mr. Bush make a persuasive case that combat operations are the only way to respond to Saddam Hussein.

Mr. Bush and his war cabinet would be wise to see the demonstrators as a clear sign that noticeable numbers of Americans no longer feel obliged to salute the administration's plans because of the shock of Sept. 11 and that many harbor serious doubts about his march toward war.

Other protests will be emphasizing civil disobedience in the name of Martin Luther King Jr. But any graphic moments to come of confrontation and arrest should be seen in the far broader context of the Capitol scene: peaceable throngs of mainstream Americans came forward demanding more of a dialogue from political leaders. Mr. Bush and his aides, to their credit, welcomed the demonstrations as a healthy manifestation of American democracy at work. We hope that spirit will endure in the weeks ahead if differences deepen and a noisier antiwar movement develops. These protests are the tip of a far broader sense of concern and lack of confidence in the path to war that seems to lie ahead.


Thousands Oppose a Rush to War
Chill Doesn't Cool Fury Over U.S. Stand on Iraq

By Manny Fernandez and Justin Blum
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, January 19, 2003; Page A01

Tens of thousands of antiwar demonstrators converged on Washington yesterday, making a thunderous presence
in the bitter cold and assembling in the shadow of the Capitol dome to oppose a U.S. military strike against
Iraq.

Throughout a morning rally on the Mall and an afternoon march to the Washington Navy Yard in Southeast, activists criticized the Bush administration for rushing into a war that they claimed would kill thousands of Iraqi civilians, spell disaster for the national economy and set a dangerous and unjustified first-strike precedent for U.S. foreign policy.

They delivered that message on a day when being outdoors tested everyone's endurance. Men, women and children fought off temperatures no higher than 24 degrees in ski masks and goggles, stashes of hot soup in containers in their backpacks. Many sneaked away momentarily to warm up on an idling bus or to grab a cup of coffee.

" The world is cold, but our hearts are warm," Jesse Jackson told the crowd to applause. He was one of many speakers, who included civil rights leader Al Sharpton from New York, actress Jessica Lange and Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.).

Organizers of the demonstration, the activist coalition International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War
and End Racism), said the protest was larger than one they sponsored in Washington in October. District police officials suggested then that about 100,000 attended, and although some organizers agreed, they have since put the number closer to 200,000. This time, they said, the turnout was 500,000. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey would not provide an estimate but
said it was bigger than October's. "It's one of the biggest ones we've had, certainly in recent times," he said.

Local and federal police presence was light, and Ramsey said there were only a couple of minor incidents. A U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman reported two arrests, one for disorderly conduct and one for writing graffiti on a Library of Congress building.

D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department officials said three people were taken to hospitals, including a woman who had a seizure. The health problems were not believed serious and were not weather-related, officials said.

Thousands attended similar rallies in cities including San Francisco and Tampa as well as in other countries. Organizers selected yesterday for protests partly because of the approaching Jan. 27 deadline for the first major report by weapons inspectors in Iraq, a date many activists said could trigger war. The events were also meant to mark the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and many speakers invoked his legacy.

Regardless of the exact number, the crowd yesterday on the Mall was the largest antiwar demonstration here
since the Vietnam era. For the 11 a.m. rally, much of four long blocks of the Mall was packed, shoulder-to-shoulder in many sections from Third to Seventh streets SW between Madison and Jefferson drives. The first marchers stepped off about 1:30
p.m., and when many had begun reaching the Navy Yard more than two dozen blocks away about an hour later, others were still leaving the rally site.

Those who hoped that President Bush and much of Congress would witness the thousands in the streets of Washington were out of luck; the president was at Camp David, and most members of Congress were away for the weekend.

It hardly mattered to some. Marchers spoke of a surging grass-roots political power.

" The antiwar movement is now at a whole new level," said Tony Murphy, a spokesman for International ANSWER, which was formed three days after the Sept.11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a response to the Bush administration's war on terrorism at home and abroad." Now we're talking about a force that can really stop the war. It's not just a hopeful attitude. It's a real sense that it's possible," he said.


Antiwar Activists Join Forces

Tens of thousands rally in Washington, San Francisco and elsewhere against policy on Iraq.
Los Angeles Times
By David Willman and Charles Piller
January 19, 2003

WASHINGTON -- Tens of thousands of protesters gathered peacefully Saturday in bitterly cold weather here to denounce President Bush's preparations for a war against Iraq. The demonstrations were replicated in San Francisco and on a smaller scale across the nation and in Europe, the Middle East and Asia in what antiwar activists hoped would mark a turning point in rallying public opinion against a possible war.

The coordinated protests came as the Bush administration continued a military buildup in the Persian Gulf and expressed confidence it can make a " persuasive" case by the end of January that Saddam Hussein is not cooperating with United Nations weapon inspections.

The largest turnout was in Washington, where the rally and march attracted a wide spectrum of demonstrators, from sign-toting grandmothers to college students to gay activists to parents with babies in strollers. Organizers estimated that more than 200,000 people converged on the Mall. Authorities would not confirm that number but said the crowds were larger than last fall's antiwar protest here.

Regardless of the exact numbers, the scale and the passion -- given the 20-degree conditions -- evoked strong emotions and memories of the anti-Vietnam War movement.

Many of the demonstrators and most of the speakers -- including the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic and former U.S. Atty. Gen. Ramsey Clark -- were united in questioning Bush's motives for threatening a new war. "This is a great day for America," said Kovic, who was carried to the open-air stage. "I lost three-fourths of my body [in
Vietnam]. You will find strength. You were born to take this country back! ... No blood for oil."...

One of the day's loudest crowd reactions came when a figure from the Vietnam era, former Atty. Gen. Clark, called for articles of impeachment to be brought against Bush. The president was at Camp David for the weekend.

" Let's impeach him!" shouted the 75-year-old Clark, who served under President Lyndon B. Johnson and who more recently has represented a string of high-profile criminal defendants. Afterward, Clark said "the evidence is there" for articles of impeachment but that he would not "prejudge" whether it merited Bush's conviction by the Senate and removal from office.

The San Francisco crowd rivaled the Washington showing, with throngs of noisy but peaceful protesters converging on the Civic Center. Police estimated the crowd size at more than 40,000, but Richard Becker, a march organizer with Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, said the number was closer to 200,000.

Becker attributed the turnout to "a growing disenchantment with the Bush administration [and] an urgent situation, because Jan. 27 could be a deadline for war."

A preliminary report by U.N. arms inspectors in Iraq is due on that date.


Huge protests for peace

Tens of thousands in S.F. demand Bush abandon war plans
By Suzanne Herel, Zachary Coile, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writers

From San Francisco to Washington, D.C., from Paris to Tokyo, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the world's streets Saturday to protest potential military action against Iraq by the Bush administration and its allies.

In Washington, where temperatures hovered in the mid-20s, as many as 500, 000 protesters rallied outside the Capitol, while in San Francisco tens of thousands of peace activists marched up Market Street from the Ferry Building to City Hall.

With the Pentagon stepping up military preparations, including ordering more aircraft carriers to the Persian Gulf, thousands of demonstrators in cities from Moscow to London to Cairo called on the Bush administration to find a peaceful solution to the Iraq
crisis.

The rallies drew people of all ages, races, religious denominations and political persuasions -- many of them saying that this was their first protest.

In San Francisco, peace activists started their march up Market Street at 11 a.m. and started arriving at City Hall at noon to listen to speeches by local and national Among them was Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, who has gained allies and admirers since her vote on Sept. 14, 2001, as the lone dissenting voice in Congress against giving President Bush open-ended authority to wage war against terrorists.

She took the stage to chants of "Barbara! Barbara!"

" The silent minority has become the vocal majority because of you," she told the cheering crowd. Lee invoked the memory of King, whose birthday is being celebrated Monday, urging the crowd to help eradicate the "axis of evil -- poverty, racism and war. "

" It's not too late for the administration to heed our call," she said. "It takes leadership to resolve conflicts peacefully. It does not take leadership to drop bombs."