“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Friday, June 01, 2007

more on the National Committee for Withdrawal from Iraq

LI apologizes if our earlier posts on the Withdrawal project have been cloudy. But I am still working out the parameters.

So, here’s where the project is, thought-wise.
1. First, we need to found something like: the National Committee for Withdrawal from Iraq. Or at least creating a website sponsored by such a thing. Every project needs a website to reference.
2. The actual Withdrawal parties will be in two parts. The first hour or so is presentation and q and a. As I wrote before, the presentation would be a slide show of some kind – a power point show, with the speaker being a person of gravitas and stage presence. On the q and a the speaker would be joined by the Withdrawal team – designer and researcher – to answer the q. At the end of this part of the party, there will be no form letter to sign to send to congress. There will be no money to contribute to a fund. Rather, if somebody wants to sign a form letter, that person can go to the site. Instead, people will be urged to think up their own letters, forms of creative activity. Most importantly, people will be asked to do something that makes them uncomfortable. That’s it. Talk to somebody at work or after work. Join a demo. Start a demo. Write an op ed piece. Write something in a blog. Confront a war supporter in your family. The bottom line, the only thing that the whole withdrawal movement should have in common, is the slogan: zero American soldiers in Iraq in 2009. The point of the slide show will be to show what is necessary to make this happen – how to change the focus of the war from the military solution – the killing of all those who disapprove of the occupation – to the peaceful solution – the creation of some kind of board of reconciliation, the creation of a truce in which the militias on the ground self-police. The latter, of course, recognizes reality – that there are militias on the ground, and that the Americans aren’t going to kill them all, nor any army of Iraqis trained by Americans.
3. The second part of the party would vary according to site, it could be fruit juice and conversation, it could be ecstasy and a Dj playing some techno-heavy dance mix (I’m listening to Hanin Elias’ War a lot lately). I think for the prototype, a DJ and music would be best, and, alas – no illegal substances.
4. Paraphernalia. Every movement needs posters, buttons, and stickers. Every member of the audience should get a button with some design proclaiming Zed in 2009 over a stamped image of Iraq. Or imagine peace, 2009. Something like that. This kind of thing needs to be designed – and I’m no designer.

Ideas are more than welcome. I have, naturally, a very limited budget. In June, I hope to contact some actors/actresses and – keeping my fingers crossed – an actual computer literate designer who can transform script into images and graphs. Of course, if this actually gets on its feet in Austin, it could get on its feet elsewhere in a much different form. The National Committee for Withdrawal from Iraq is, after all, National. I don’t really care what the form is, the only rule is the goal: zero American soldier in Iraq by 2009.

Here’s a story: In 1963, Bertrand Russell wrote a letter to the New York Times “accusing the United States of waging a war of annihilation in Vietnam and of “suppressing the truth about the conduct of the war,” which he said involved the use of “napalm jelly gasoline” and “chemical warfare.” The Times huffily editorialized that Russell live in Never Never land… and that his letter showed an “unthinking receptivity to the most transparent Communist propaganda.” – from Who Spoke Up: American Protest against the War in Vietnam.

This project might fail. But some project will succeed it. The elite has always been for war. The parties have always been for war. So what?

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