Anti-war organizations are calling on the U.S. government to practice caution and prudence in dealing with last week’s terrorist attacks.
U.S. Out Now, a campus and community-wide organization founded prior to the Gulf War, has established itself as a primary leader of the anti-war faction on the UW campus. The group met Wednesday night to re-stress its belief in a peaceful approach to foreign policy.
“U.S. Out Now always takes an anti-intervention approach,” said Rae Vogeler, one of the group’s organizers. “The U.S. government and its military presence in other regions of the world is not about democracy — it’s about domination and trying to control resources.”
Safe From Hatred, an organization aimed at protecting the Arab and Muslim communities in Madison, also met with U.S. Out Now to present their goals.
“Our main goal is to combat harassment, intimidation and violence directed toward the Muslim and Arab communities,” said Virginia Ravenscroft-Scott, the leader of Safe From Hatred. “We are hoping to reach this goal through physical protection of those that may feel threatened, and by disseminating info throughout the community to convey accurate images of Islam and Arab cultures.”
The groups, along with many other anti-war coalitions springing up on campuses across the country, are preparing in weeks to come to provide demonstrations, rallies and a plan of action in case the United States goes to war.
“My phone has been ringing off the hook these past few days,” Vogeler said. “I think a lot of people in the community feel the need to ban together to form an ad-hoc peace coalition.”
The group has decided to hold a campus- and community-wide forum Sept. 26 to build a coalition of students and community members interested in promoting peace.
Vogeler said she hopes the new coalition will be able to bring individuals of different interests and beliefs together to take a stand against government intervention overseas.
“We want to do whatever we can to get as many interested people as possible together,” Vogeler said. “We don’t want them to be torn between different peace groups — this is a time when everyone should be joining their efforts.”
The organization identified its three main goals as stopping war, ending racist scapegoating and defending civil liberties.
The group also discussed organizing an Emergency Response Plan, which would meet at the State Street entrance of the Capital Building at 6 p.m. in the event the United States takes military action.
The group also plans to inform students of their mission.
Along with many other campus and community-wide organizations, U.S. Out Now is holding a “tent encampment” for this purpose Saturday, Sept. 22 on Library Mall. The event, titled “Nations Under Siege,” will show the community how refugees live under siege, with tents, limited access to electricity and a rationed, refugee diet.
“Nations Under Siege” runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with highlights including a simple refugee lunch at 12:30 p.m. and an “Outcry for Justice” vigil at 1:00 p.m.