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  San Francisco walks out
Antiwar actions planned to respond to invasion of Iraq

By Lynn Rapoport

It seems the idea of a general strike has some general appeal – at least among the antiwar activists, students, regular folks, and one 82-year-old woman who have been e-mailing me since I wrote an opinion piece in last week's Bay Guardian, calling for people to walk out when the bombs start falling on Iraq. Aside from unofficial groups and individuals who plan to call in sick that day (and many people have suggested that rather than a one-day walkout or an extended walkout, an ongoing encampment is the way to go), a number of more formal actions are in the works. If you're interested in finding a way to say no to business as usual, you have quite a menu to choose from.

For example, there's the Direct Action Menu, planned by Direct Action to Stop the War, a network of individuals and affinity groups. DASW is calling on the entire antiwar population of San Francisco and beyond – workers, students, people of faith; all ages, races, creeds, sexual orientations, and ideologies; seasoned activists and those who have never in their lives participated in a political action – to call in sick or walk out of workplaces and classrooms, starting at 7 a.m. on the next business day after the war begins, and to stay out as long as possible. The menu is a list of locations where people are encouraged to assemble and participate in activities that will bring things to a grinding halt, but the central gathering place is Market and Main Streets. Create your own event or join someone else's – for example, Bikes Not Bombs' "Quiet Statement Against Oil Wars." Bring friends, neighbors, colleagues, classmates, music, ideas for political performance, and plenty of food. You could be there a while.

Then there's International ANSWER, which – in addition to its calls for a rally at Powell and Market Streets, 5 p.m. on the day of the war or 5 p.m. the next day if the war begins at night – is asking people to walk out or stay away from school, work, or anywhere else they planned to be the morning after the war starts, an action being coordinated nationally by ANSWER. Spend the morning leafleting and gathering walkout recruits, converge on Civic Center Plaza at noon, and head to Powell Street at 5 p.m. Go to the local office's Web site for a downloadable flyer publicizing the event.

For those who feel it's better not to wait until the bombs start falling, Warstrike.org is calling for a Valentine's Day Nationwide Work Stoppage. As the folks at Warstrike say, "Show your love for democracy" by not going to work Feb. 14. Go to Warstrike's Web site for ideas on who should participate and who should be exempt and an FAQ sheet.

Whichever of these actions you participate in, all of these groups ask that you get the word out through e-mail lists, flyering, and word of mouth.

The next Direct Action to Stop the War spokescouncil is Mon/10, 7 p.m., New College of California, 777 Valencia, S.F. The group will also be providing nonviolence trainings. For more information, call (415) 820-9649, e-mail info@actagainstwar.org, go to actagainstwar.org or fishe.home.igc.org/war/menu1.pdf for a downloadable flyer to distribute, or join the listserv at groups.yahoo.com/group/no-war-in-iraq.

For more information on the Valentine's Day Nationwide Work Stoppage, go to www.warstrike.org.

For more information about International ANSWER's upcoming antiwar events (local, national, and international), go to www.internationalanswer.org and www.actionsf.org. For a downloadable walkout flyer go to www.internationalanswer.org/pdf/Feb16FlyerSFpdf.