May 1 Press Release & Invitation to Conference:

Five Years after “Mission Accomplished”… National Antiwar Conference Will Be Held in Cleveland in June


[This press release was issued May 1, 2008.]

Plans were announced today for a major national antiwar assembly in Cleveland, Ohio, in June. The National Assembly to End the Iraq War and Occupation is set for the weekend of June 28–29, 2008 in Cleveland and is open to all those opposed to the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq.

“May 1 marks five years since the ‘mission accomplished’ speech by President Bush on the deck of a U.S. aircraft carrier,” said Greg Coleridge, spokesperson for the National Assembly organizing committee and director of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee.

“In the past five years, the U.S. war and occupation in Iraq has resulted in the deaths of more than 4,000 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. More than 4 million Iraqis have been injured or displaced. More than $500 billion U.S. tax dollars have been wasted. The U.S.-led war and occupation has been a military, human, and economic disaster.”

The purpose of the June National Assembly “is to place on the agenda of the entire U.S. antiwar movement a proposal for the largest possible united mass mobilization(s) in the future to stop the Iraq war and end the occupation,” a statement issued by organizers says.

“Everyone — every organization, every coalition, everywhere in the U.S., all who oppose the war and the occupation — is warmly and enthusiastically invited to attend this open democratic U.S. national antiwar conference and to join with us in advancing and promoting the coming together of an antiwar movement in this country with the power to make a mighty contribution toward ending the war and occupation of Iraq now,” the organizers statement asserts.

“The mission that attendees at the National Assembly in Cleveland will be seeking to accomplish is nothing short of ending the Iraq war and occupation now, bringing all troops and contractors home now, and letting Iraq’s future be decided by Iraqis. We seek to accomplish this through the encouragement of mass education and mobilization of people at the grassroots from coast to coast,” said Mary Nichols-Rhodes, National Assembly coordinating committee member and organizer for Progressive Democrats of America, Ohio, adding:

“If the politicians and military won’t end the war and occupation, then the people of this country must exert massive unified pressure to bring change.”

More than 400 organizations and individuals have already endorsed the National Assembly, including U.S. Labor Against the War, Veterans for Peace, Progressive Democrats of America, Iraq Moratorium, A.N.S.W.E.R.Coalition, North Shore AFL-CIO Federation of Labor (formerly Cleveland AFL-CIO), United Teachers Los Angeles, National Education Association Peace and Justice Caucus, and California Federation of Teachers.

Among the speakers at the June program in Cleveland will be author Jeremy Scahill; Donna Dewitt, President, South Carolina AFL-CIO; Fred Mason, President of the Maryland AFL-CIO and President of the Metro Washington D.C. Central Labor Council; Cindy Sheehan; Greg Coleridge, Program Director Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee; and Jonathan Hutto, Navy Petty Officer, author of Anti-War Soldier and co-founder of Appeal for Redress.

The June 28-29 National Assembly will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Cleveland. More information on the Assembly, including speakers, workshops, and how to register, is at www.natassembly.org. For more information, call 216-736-4704.