Chapter 12: A Peaceful Superpower: The Movement Against War in Iraq
David Cortright I INTRODUCTION On February 15, 2003 in hundreds of cities across the world an estimated 10 million people demonstrated against war on Iraq. It was the largest single day of antiwar protest in human history. More than a million people jammed the center of London, and huge throngs marched in Rome, Barcelona, Berlin, Madrid, Paris, Sydney, and hundreds of other cities. An estimated 400 000 braved bitter cold in New York, and tens of thousands demonstrated in San Francisco.1 The people of the globe spoke out as never before in one uniﬁed voice against the planned invasion of Iraq. ‘The world says no to war,’ was the slogan and the reality. The February 15 demonstrations were the high point of a vast and unprecedented mobilization of public opposition to war. The Iraq campaign ‘was the largest transnational antiwar movement that has ever taken place,’ according to social movement scholar Barbara Epstein (2003). In the course of just a few months, the movement in the United States reached levels of mobilization that, during the Vietnam era, took years to develop. The Iraq movement was more international in character than any previous antiwar campaign, as protests were coordinated throughout the world and activists understood themselves to be part of a truly global struggle (ibid.). The movement represented a convergence of antiwar and global justice eﬀorts in a common campaign against military-corporate domination (LeVine, 2003). It was an expression of what scholar Stephen Gill (2003, p. 218)...
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