analyzing the anti-iraq war movement 10 years later
Our friends at Notre Dame have another interesting forum on the topic of social movements. What should we learn from anti-Iraq War movement? Mobilizing Ideas recruited some top notch movement researchers and activists to comment, such as Catherine Corrigal-Brown, David Cortright, William Gamson, Kathy Kelly, Lisa Leitz, David Meyer, Andrew Yeo, and Eric Stoner.
My co-author, Michael Heaney, was invited to respond as well. A few clips from his essay:
The antiwar movement helped Barack Obama to establish credibility as a genuine antiwar candidate in 2008 by creating the space for him to speak at a 2002 antiwar rally in Chicago when he was an Illinois state senator. As a result, the antiwar movement contributed to US Senator Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 Democratic primary contest against Hillary Clinton, which paved the way to his election to the presidency. It is unclear, however, how President Obama’s policies in Iraq differed from those that would have been implemented by Clinton, who would probably would have defeated John McCain had she been the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee in 2008.
Ironically, the limited policy impact of the antiwar movement likely resulted, in part, from its mostly peaceful, nonviolent, nondisruptive nature. Social movement activism during the age of the “social movement society” has made protest a normal, routine part of politics. Politicians are likely to ignore movement activity when they find it nonthreatening. President Bush, for example, dismissed the historic, internationally-coordinated protests of February 15, 2003 as a mere “focus group.” In contrast, during the Vietnam antiwar movement, violent clashes between police and demonstrators tended to move policy in the direction of whoever perpetuated the violence.
Check out the entire forum.
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