Libertarians are reaching out to the left to stand together for peace. (See "Organizing a Left-Right Alliance Against the War Parties ") This author approached the organizers of the October 16, 2010 peace rally in Philadelphia (See "Raising Eyebrows at a Peace Rally") at their planning meeting a few days before the event. There I was politely, but firmly, told that they were completely unwilling to change their agenda for future rallies to accommodate other points of view.On other sides of the political spectrum there are libertarian and conservative organizations that are anti war. However, while they advocate peace they are not, with rare exceptions, explicitly peace groups. They also don’t, with few exceptions, hold peace rallies or engage in other kinds of peace activism.
When the left tacks on a social agenda to their antiwar coalitions that the liberty minded cannot endorse they tell us we’re not welcome. We’re not asking any of the organizations and individuals that are part of IAC or similar groups to change their advocacy. Their speakers can advocate all the same things they have before. Same with the signs they carry. All we ask is that the antiwar coalitions themselves be politically neutral so we can all join them in good conscience.
My recent experience with the Chester County Peace Movement also attaching their political and social agenda to their activism lead me to the conclusion that what we need is not to try to change the existing left wing peace movement but to broaden the movement by adding to it organizations that everyone can comfortably join. To that end I’ve created Focus on Peace, a peace activism group with no political agenda attached. We only advocate for peace, nothing else.
Why should you join us? If you’re an anti war conservative or a libertarian the answer is obvious, you can now engage in peace activism without feeling like you’re endorsing the left’s agenda.
If you’re on the left I ask you to join us too. Don’t leave the peace groups you’re presently working with, we need them strong. Some on the left that I’ve talked to have said they like the idea of working with people of other ideologies. Even if you’re perfectly happy with the peace movement as it is I ask that you join us. We need your support. Surely, peace lovers of every political persuasion can see the value of broadening the peace movement.
Focus on Peace will hold its first action on March 19th in King of Prussia, PA to coincide with the World Can’t Wait’s rallies on the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Join us if you live nearby, start your own chapter if you don’t.
The wars abroad are less popular than ever. Now is the time to give people that are not on the left in their thinking a place to go to engage in activism for peace. Hopefully, Focus on Peace will fulfill that vital role.