Not your father’s peace movement

Not your father’s peace movement
: Jennie Bristow at Spiked argues that the peace movement of the ’60s and Vietnam is nothing like today’s ’03 Iraq peace movement.

…there is little comparison between the Vietnam War and Gulf War II, and even less between the Sixties anti-war movement and today’s ‘Not in my name’ campaign….

The superficial comparisons with the Sixties disguise the major difference: the absence of anything positive….

Today’s movement, by contrast, is for absolutely nothing. What Ciria-Cruz mistakes for a ‘clearer political message’ is the fact that those on the protests have nothing to say except ‘No War (without the backing of the United Nations)’….

Today’s anti-war movement is not against war because it wants to change things for the better. It is against this war because it fears that all will be for the worse, and does not want to imagine itself as part of that change….

If the Sixties anti-war protests were fuelled by disenchantment, the current movement is fired by despondency. John Lennon would turn in his grave.

She doesn’t lionize the ’60s protestors, pointing to their (read in my case: our) many weaknesses. But she says at least we were for things (even if we forgot some of what we were for as soon as gray hairs began growing out of our ears). And she’s right to pose the difference that way: Today’s movement is just against something.

But it’s almost important to look at what this movement is not against — that is, this movement chose not to be against Saddam. Oh, they can say they don’t like him and know he’s a bad guy. But saying that and not being willing to do anything about it and trying to stop us from doing anything about it means you’re more against us and action than you are against him and his tyranny. For a movement of conscience, that is an issue of conscience.