United for Peace and Justice

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United For Peace and Justice is a coalition of hundreds of local and national groups throughout the United States who oppose war.

United for Peace and Justice was formed on October 25, 2002 in Washington, D.C. It was formed the day before a large anti-war march in Washington, D.C. that had been organized by Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER).

The initial meeting was facilitated by Leslie Cagan and Bill Fletcher, Jr. It was attended by 87 people who represented over 70 groups. At the meeting, they decided to form a coalition. The initial name chosen for the coalition was United for Peace. Global Exchange controlled a web site with that name and offered use of it to the nascent coalition. A United for Peace coordinating committee was formed which would communicate via a mailing list to be formed. A bi-weekly conference call would also take place, which any group which agreed with a five sentence anti-war consensus statement could be a part of. It was also agreed that there should be nationally coordinated local actions on particular days. Several sub-committees under the coordinating committee were formed as well.

United for Peace endorsed the student/youth protest organized on November 20, 2002 by Not in Our Name. On December 10, 2002 United for Peace coordinated an International Human Rights Day actions nationally. On January 7, 2003, United for Peace changed its name to United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ). United for Peace and Justice endorsed events organized by Black Voices for Peace the weekend after Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday in mid-January 2003. ANSWER had a large march on Washington D.C. that weekend as well.

UFPJ nationally organized local protests for February 15, 2003 (F15) called The World Says No to War!. Massive protests with millions of people took place across the world to protest the pending invasion of Iraq, even at McMurdo Station, Antartica. While United for Peace primarily organized the event, ANSWER had some involvement as well.

Iraq is invaded

On March 20, 2003, the armed forces of the United States, as well as the armies of the United Kingdom and other countries, invaded Iraq. Two days later, on March 22, 2003, UFPJ led a march down Broadway in New York City protesting the war.

UFPJ had a national conference on the June 6 - June 8, 2003 weekend in Chicago. More than 550 people representing 325 local and national groups attended, as did speakers from other countries. First, a strategic framework was adopted. This was followed by a series of forums. This was followed by a vote for the priorities of future actions. The priorities included opposition to US imperialism. UFPJ formulated a structure for a steering committee, and then a steering committee of 35 was elected. The steering committee reflected the diversity of UFPJ. A work-in-progress unity statement that was being worked on even before the national conference was approved. UFPJ subsidized the cost of attendance for conference goers.

UFPJ coordinated and cosponsored a number of events through 2003. Over International Human Rights Day weekend in December of 2003, UFPJ had a national assembly where a comprehensive strategic plan was adopted for 2004.

On March 20, 2004, on the one year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, UFPJ nationally organized local protests in the United States, in coordination with protests all over the world. ANSWER also participated in these protests. On August 29, 2004, UFPJ organized a march in New York City, where the Republican National Convention was being held.

On January 26, 2005, UFPJ-NYC and Troops Out Now Coalition representatives met and discussed plans for mid-March in New York City. A report from that meeting led to the decision by UFPJ-NYC not to co-sponsor the Troops Out Now Coalition protest. Three reasons given were that materials for this protest about the Iraqi resistance to occupation were strongly opposed by some groups in the UFPJ coalition, UFPJ's concerns with the International Action Center's involvement in the protest as well as capacity issues.

The UFPJ had a national assembly in St. Louis, Missouri over a weekend in February 2005 where a new startegic framework was adopted.

On March 3, 2005, "activists from communities of color and from within the anti-war movement" sent an open letter to UFPJ condemning it for not sponsoring the New York march and rally. The New York member organizations in the UFPJ-NYC coalition openly responded to the letter on March 14, 2005, stating they did not co-sponsor it for three reasons (already stated, position on Iraqi resistance to occupation, IAC involvement and capacity issues). UFPJ-NYC sponsored a War Resisters League march which was at a time which conflicted with the Bring the Troops Home coalition march. The UFPJ-NYC sponsored march in New York City was attended by several hundred people, the Bring the Troops Home Now Coalition march and rally was attended by several thousand people.

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