There’s still time to stop Bush’s war juggernaut

George W. Bush has worked to convince us that an invasion of Iraq is inevitable and resistance futile. But consider the following:

* Millions rallied against war on Iraq around the world, Jan. 18, including 800,000 in Washington, San Francisco and other cities here in the U.S. They believe the war can be stopped.

* French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin says UN inspections are working. “There is no reason to go to war while we can still improve the path of cooperation,” he stated. France vows to veto any UN resolution authorizing an attack on Iraq. Germany, Russia and China are likewise opposed to the Bush rush to war.

* Scores of U.S. lawmakers, including some who voted to authorize force against Iraq, have written a letter to Bush urging him to announce support for a diplomatic solution under UN auspices in his State of the Union Address Jan. 28.

The letter states: “We believe the U.S. should make every attempt to achieve Iraq’s disarmament through diplomatic means and with the full support of our allies, in accordance with the process articulatedin UN Security Council Resolution 1441.” That resolution, the lawmakers point out, provides for a “tough new weapons inspection regime” with unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access” for UN inspectors.

Dr. Hans Blix and Director General Mohamed ElBaradei are scheduled to report on the progress of the UN inspections Jan. 27. They are expectedto reportthat no “smoking gun” has been found and that it will take a year to complete the inspections.

A recent poll found that 80 percent in the U.S. reject war if the U.S. attacks unilaterally or with only British support.

No, war is not inevitable. Contact your Senators and Representative. Urge them to speak out against war.

If Bush does not respect majority opinion and goes ahead with unilateral, preemptive war, it will cost him millions of votes in 2004 and expose him as the un-elected rogue and warmonger.

A voice for struggle

As newspapers around the country carried stories of the FCC moving to ease media ownership rules, and of the possible merger of AOL Time Warner’s CNN and Disney’s ABC, 200 members of the Independent Press Association gathered in San Francicso for the organization’s first annual convention.

The IPA, which calls itself “the antidote to monopoly media,” was founded in 1996. It offers independent publications a community and support network. It allows the independent press to work together to match the strength of an ever-consolidating mainstream media.

This year’s convention, hopefully the first in a long line of growing meetings, focused primarily on the business end of things – how to be political and financially sustainable, how to increase subscribers, how to host events. These are all topics that are important for the long life of a sometimes embattled independent press.

But beyond fighting for our existence, those of us in the independent press are also fighting for our politics and coverage. It is up to those of us in the IPA – primarily made up of progressive and community papers – to carry on the great traditions of the independent press. Dating back to William Garrison’s The Liberator, first published in 1847 and the strongest voice calling for the abolition of slavery, the independent press in America has been key to democratic change.

Now, as people’s movements fight the Bush administration’s drive to war in Iraq, its attacks on civil liberites, affirmative action and women’s rights, the independent press must be there to cover these struggles that are so often left out of mainstream news coverage.

It is important that we work within the independent media community – through the IPA, with the labor press, with African-American, Latino, Asian, American Indian and immigrant community papers, with the Indymedia movement that took hold after the 1999 protests against the World Trade Organization – to ensure a home for the coverage of the fightback against the right-wing attacks of the Bush administration and its big business cronies.