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Why the November 5 election is NOT a mandate for war
2002-11-06, 11:17 p.m.

Why the November 5 election is NOT a mandate for war

The promoters of war would like you to believe that the November 5 election was a mandate for war. Bush rapidly seized on Republican gains in the House and Senate to claim increased authority for his military campaign. Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle stated, "I think it means that the president has an opportunity here [from the election] to enact and proceed with the plan [on Iraq] as he has articulated it." Daschle said on NBC, "I think the American people appear now to give him the benefit of the doubt."

We challenge Bush and Daschle's assertion that the administration now has a mandate to commit mass murder in an illegal war.

The election could have been a de facto referendum on the war issue but that possibility was eliminated when the majority in Congress spinelessly rubber stamped Bush's war plans in early October hoping to remove the issue of war from the political discourse. Following on Congress' abdication of its responsibility to the people, Senator Daschle's comments are an announcement of not only a wholesale capitulation, but an embrace of Bush's global war drive.

It is no wonder that voters had an extremely difficult time differentiating between the pro-war program of the Republicans and that articulated by the Democratic Party leadership. Two thirds of registered voters stayed home on election day. To describe the turnout as mere voter apathy misses the main point. In fact the people of this country have been keenly attuned to politics especially in the last year. Low voter turnout reflects many discouraged voters' view that the U.S. Congress does not represent the will of the people but instead serves the interests of other constituents: Big Oil, multinational corporations, the Military-Industrial complex, and a relatively few wealthy elite.

The President and the Congress must feel the heat from the people. "Formal" democracy has been hijacked by the war-makers. But we are fighting back. People are justifiably angry and disgusted. Thousands of organizers around the country are energetically building a mass movement from the grass roots up. Bush, Cheney, Daschle and the generals and corporate executives don't actually fight the warsand risk their lives, nor is it their labor that makes the war machine function. The anti-war movement is organizing the people without whose blood and labor the war machine cannot function.

Congress didn't stop the Vietnam war, the people stopped it. We know that the majority sentiment in the US opposes a new war against Iraq. On a global scale the antiwar sentiment is nearly a universal consensus. If the White House and Congress rejected the will of the people, if the member states of the UN bow to US pressure rather than listening to their own people -- if governmental leaders shred international law -- then the people must act themselves. This has always been the path to genuine change.

By early January 2003 a massive number of people will have voted in the People's Anti-War Referendum (http://www.VoteNoWar.org). Local Vote No War committees in cities, towns, campuses, and high schools will be going door to door to collect anti-war votes. The results of the referendum will be a pillar of the mass organizing campaign timed to coincide with the return of the new U.S. Congress. On January 18 and 19 there will be massive street protests in Washington, D.C. at the same time as the convening of a Grass roots Peace Congress.

By acting now we can make a difference.


1) Register your vote by signing the referendum at http://www.votenowar.org/referendum.html

2) Download the VoteNoWar referendum and collect votes in your area (this is very easy, only Acrobat Reader is required). You can also download a two-sided flyer explaining both the People's Anti-War Referendum and the January 18-19 mobilization. The referendum can be downloaded at http://www.votenowar.org/referendum.pdf and the flyer at http://www.votenowar.org/flyer.pdf. If you have problems downloading the flyers, call us at 202-332-5757 and we'll send you a packet in the mail.

After you download and reproduce the referendum and flyers, ask you friends, co-workers, neighbors and family to Vote No to War. Hand out flyers or set up a table in front of a supermarket, at a college or high school, at a place of worship, or at a metro station.

3) Send people you know information about the People's Anti-War Referendum. You can forward this message to personal contacts or email listserves, or go to and enter the names of up to five people and they will be sent general information about the campaign.

4) Add a link to VoteNoWar.org to your website -- or suggest that others do this. Go to http://www.votenowar.org/add_link.html for a graphic button and instructions (it's very simple, you just cut and paste one single line of HTML code onto your web page).

5) Make a donation to advance the anti-war movement at http://www.votenowar.org/donate.html

Email: [email protected]
New York 212-633-6646
Washington 202-332-5757
Chicago 773-878-0166
Los Angeles 213-487-2368
San Francisco 415-821-6545

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"Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation." - Martin Luther King, Jr.