Late last year, the Grand Rapids-based group ACTIVATE signed on to a global call to action calling for days of resistance to the war in Iraq on the fourth anniversary of the invasion. The call to action, recognizing what it identifies as the “failures of the anti-war movement,” calls for direct action and civil disobedience on March 19 and March 20 instead of what has come to be annual vigils and rallies. Moreover, rather than advocating organizing one or two days of events around the anniversary and “taking action just for the sake of action” the call encourages groups and activists to use the anniversary as a means of building a stronger antiwar movement by reaching out to people in their immediate communities and expanding beyond the traditional confines of the antiwar movement.
Looking at the events held in conjunction with the anniversary in 2004, 2005, and 2006, ACTIVATE is organizing to design a series of events and actions on both the 20th and in the months leading up to the war that will sharpen the focus of the antiwar movement on the institutions both perpetuating and benefiting from the ongoing occupation of Iraq. The group has provided a tentative list of events and focus areas in the months leading up to the anniversary, which it has published online at its website activategr.org. The group also is encouraging people to sign-up for its mailing list to receive further updates. The list includes:
ACTIVATE has numerous documentaries that will be screen and made available to organizations and individuals in West Michigan to assist people in understanding both the history of US policy in Iraq and the current situation. View the list of films.
ACTIVATE members are willing to do presentations on US history in Iraq, analyzing the current war/occupation, information on local war profiteers, counter-military recruiting efforts, and strategies for confronting US policy makers.
Local War Profiteers Campaign/Cost of the War
ACTIVATE and Media Mouse maintain a web-based source of information on Local War Profiteers. We also plan on doing education around the local cost of the war that might include an effort to get the GR City Commission to pass a resolution against the war.
Counter-Military recruiting campaign
ACTIVATE has been one of the groups working on the issue of military recruiting in Kent County. We have done actions at recruiting stations, done some work in the schools, created an online resource, and even posted the most recent data on recruiting in Kent County. We are planning on leafleting at the annual MLK event at GRCC on January 15 with information for students about military recruiting. Meet at 11:40am in front of the GRCC Fieldhouse.
01/26/06: Recruiting Protest – 3:45pm – ACTIVATE will be holding another protest outside of the Armed Forces Career Center located in the Celebration Village complex (directly across from the Celebration Cinema movie theatre at East Beltline and Knapp). People are encouraged to bring their own signs and banners, but we will have some on hand. Meet at the North corner of the Meijer parking lot at 3:45pm and we’ll move to the recruiting center at 4:00pm. For more information on military recruiting, visit www.mediamouse.org/recruiting/.
ACTIVATE is committed to organizing various forms of direct action against the war/occupation of Iraq. While we respect vigils and marches, we believe that in order for the US government to take the anti-war movement seriously we have to disrupt business as usual. If you are interested in Direct Action efforts contact us.