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What are our goals?

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Joined: 2009 Feb 19 - 7:09pm
What are our goals?

In the first post on our new forums, Duncan asks:

How can the peace movement be effective during the Obama administration, in the midst of economic recession and continuing wars and occupations? Education, mass action, congressional lobbying, supporting military families, outreach to progressive organizations -- what will work?

These are very important questions, and I don't want to diminish them. I'll let others take them up directly. Personally, they make me think of some additional questions. First, what does it mean to "be effective"? Second, what do we mean by "work," when we ask "what will work"?

I think both of these questions have to do with what UJP's goals are. In my (comparatively miniscule) 5 or so years in the peace movement, I don't think the discussion of organizational or movement goals has ever come up, except perhaps in the context of debating protest demands or calls to action. Those discussions are often fraught with disagreement--should we "oppose the surge," call for an "immediate withdrawal", demand "reparations" for the victims of US aggression, etc.

So discussions of goals are minimized even on these rare occasions when the wordings of demands and calls to action are debated, in the spirit of maintaining unity across different factions of the movement. Maintaining unity is important, but I worry that there is a tradeoff being made. Without clearly defined organizational and policy goals, how does UJP know how well we are doing? How do we attract people to our cause, if our cause is not well-defined?