Antiwar Around the World (Nonviolent Activist)

Nonviolent Activist, March-April 2003

Antiwar Around the World

A newly vigorous global antiwar movement certified its presence February 15 when millions of protesters in some 600 cities around the world challenged the Bush administration’s plans for war on Iraq. It was the largest internationally coordinated day of protest the world has ever seen, with the biggest mobilizations by far in the European countries whose governments are allied with the United States. . . .

Other groups forming feeder marches at various Manhattan locations included New York City Labor Against War, representing several union locals. . . .

Voices for peace in organized labor report a sudden resurgence from coast to coast. Says Michael Letwin of NYC Labor Against War, “I was in the antiwar movement in the Vietnam era, when I was a kid. We never got as far as we have already this time. Unions representing five million workers out of a total organized labor workforce of 15 million workers have taken an explicit antiwar stance. The last time we had this level of antiwar opposition in organized labor in this country, even on paper, must have been in World War I. [United Auto Workers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers] took antiwar positions in the ’60s, but the AFL-CIO was hawkish. This time around it’s an avalanche, comparatively. Even [AFL-CIO president John] Sweeney has written two letters now which expressed concern about the war-?with some ambiguity, but on an antiwar theme.”

Letwin, a member and former president of New York’s Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, was a key organizer of the labor contingent at the February 15 march, which brought together representatives from Transport Workers Union Local 100, Local 1199 hospital workers, and AFSCME District Council 37 city employees?which all endorsed the march.

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