The anti-war movement in the U.S., revitalized by the threats and bluster of George W. Bush, is already developing at a much faster pace than did the anti-Vietnam War movement.

When I was 13, I went with my mother on a bus from St. Louis to Washington, D.C., to attend the first national march against the war in Vietnam, in 1965. Sponsored by SDS, that demonstration attracted 25,000 people, which seemed huge to my young eyes.

I know some people who attended the first Seattle demonstration against that war. Held in 1962, very early in the conflict, there were about 40 people participating.

After I moved to Seattle in 1968, I attended almost all the anti-war rallies, which hovered around the 6,000 mark.

This last October, there were two demonstrations here against war with Iraq, one with about 10,000, one with about 4,000. There are literally thousands of locally produced “No Iraq War” signs posted in yards all over Puget Sound.

Already many local unions have passed resolutions against the war, as have numerous city councils. There has been a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal by businessmen and Republicans opposed to the war. Demonstrations were held this last weekend in hundreds of cities and towns around the country.

We are seeing developments that took years to build to in the 1960s. To me, this is a sign that millions of people in our country have not forgotten the lessons of the Vietnam War. Already the anti-war movement is not a small, left-wing phenomenon, but is reaching out to broad sections of the country, with rallies and marches being held in many small towns, with potlucks and teach-ins in neighborhoods and on campuses.

There are reasons that the media and officaldom want to downplay the size of the demonstrations – they don’t want to admit how widespread the opposition is, they don’t want to have to confront the political and social costs of Bush’s policies.

There are several important ways that size matters – the size of the peace demonstrations, the size of the international opposition and also the size of the bloated war costs which Bush will swipe from the needs of the people of the U.S. and give to the “defense” contractors, all for the benefit of his oil buddies.

There are big stakes in this struggle, that’s why size matters, and why the papers will under-report the size of the giant peace demonstrations this last weekend. But our strength is bigger than their lies and evasions.

Marc Brodine is the chair of the Communist Party of Washington State. He can be reached at marcbrodine@attbi.com

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