DES MOINES – The All Iowa Anti-War Convergence brought 200 Iowans from throughout the state to Drake University recently to support the April 20 March on Washington and strengthen the anti-war movement in Iowa. The event was sponsored by faith, peace and student groups statewide and built on the many local peace actions since Sept. 11.

“I’m delighted with the response,” said American Friends Service Committee staffer and conference organizer Kathleen McQuillen. “Many of us felt it was time to coordinate our efforts. Now’s the time to review and strengthen all our work.”

The two-day event reflected the growing influence and organization of peace forces throughout the state. It also provided an encouraging indication of the increasing commitment of Iowans and their organizations to confront and condemn the Bush administration’s war on terrorism.

“We’ve all struggled with the war on terrorism. This isn’t a war – it’s a massacre. This is a war on innocent people at home and abroad,” McQuillen pointed out.

Iowa Peace Network Coordinator Patti McKee readily agreed. “It’s been very frustrating,” she said. “ We’re just continuing the cycle of violence. Rather than helping the poor and impoverished around the world, we provide state-sponsored terrorism.”

Z magazine co-founder and author Michael Albert gave the conference’s keynote address. Albert provided an energizing perspective of current anti-war efforts nationwide and emphasized the need to build a multi-class people’s movement to strengthen the struggle for peace. The veteran activist also warned that the success of the anti-war movement will depend on the ability of activists to move beyond parochial concerns to confront equally important class, gender and racial justice issues.

The conference provided a variety of panels and workshops. Topics highlighted were the root causes of terrorism, globalization and world poverty, U.S.-sponsored terrorism, the USA Patriot Act; the human face of Afghan casualties and Muslim experiences in America since Sept. 11.

“The Convergence brought lots of new faces. More people are coming forward. There’s a growing dissatisfaction with the Bush administration and the direction it’s taking the nation. People are eager to learn, act and mobilize,” said McQuillen.

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