Campus Anti-War Network Summer Retreat

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From August 3rd through 5th, members of the Pittsburgh and Washington DC branches of the Workers International League and Youth for International Socialism attended the Campus Antiwar Network (CAN) summer retreat in Cuba City, WI. We arrived late the evening of the 3rd, and were greeted with anti-war chants and the song “Solidarity Forever”. The first night was, of course, not a night for business, but a night for socializing. However, even during this time, a number of very important political discussions took place. One major topic of discussion was the need to broaden CAN to include all youth anti-war forces, working together to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Another big point of discussion was the re-launching of the CAN newspaper, College Not Combat, which will be made up of articles and editorials contributed from students and teachers around the country.

As a result of the first day’s discussion, a committee was appointed to draft a document in the name of the retreat attendees based around four main demands:
1. Withdraw all occupying forces from Iraq and Afghanistan immediately
2. Reparations for the Iraqi people
3. Complete medical care for veterans returning from the front, including mental health
4. End campus complicity to the War! All recruiters off of the campuses

The first three of these demands come from Iraq Veterans Against the War. Many others in the anti-war movement have taken up these demands as well. The fourth was put forward as a special demand for the students in the movement to raise on the campuses.

The document will contain a preamble, calling for all anti-war youth to join CAN regardless of their political affiliation. The rest of the document will be an explanation of the four points, using each as a heading for the body. This document will be presented on behalf of the retreat attendees at the CAN conference, which will take place from October 19-21 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Students from all over the country are expected to attend, from the West Coast, the Midwest, and the East Coast.

This new organization, with a more concrete and broad-based approach, could be built into something like the Student Mobilization Committee of the 1960s. It is time for anti-war students to build such an organization by organizing on campus in solidarity and in conjunction with  workers (including campus faculty, clerical, technical, and health care workers) and anti-war soldiers.

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