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City councils take stand against Iraq war

January 3, 2003 | Page 4

Dear Socialist Worker,

One cool October afternoon, well-known political activist A. Robert Kaufman picked up the Baltimore Sun and read about the city council in Santa Cruz, Calif., passing a resolution opposing a U.S. declaration of war against Iraq.

Inspired by the report, the 71-year-old Kaufman made some calls. One week later, Baltimore City Council member Kwame Abayomi introduced an antiwar resolution. By mid-November, more than 50 people attended a public hearing on the resolution, and one person testified against the measure.

Among those who testified in favor of the resolution were Eric Gustafson, a Gulf War veteran and executive director of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center in Washington, D.C.; Dr. Peter Molan, a retired U.S. Department of Defense Middle East analyst; and a Baltimore representative of Veterans for Peace.

On December 9, the city council passed the resolution with just one member abstaining--making Baltimore the second city in the state and one of more than a dozen U.S. cities with such a measure on the record.

Santa Cruz appears to have been the first to pass an antiwar resolution, approving its version on September 24. Five other California cities--Arcata, Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco and Sebastopol--have done the same. Also, Carrboro, N.C.; Haines Township, Pa.; Ithaca, N.Y.; Kalamazoo, Mich.; New Haven, Conn.; Olympia, Wash.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Seattle; Takoma Park, Md.; and Washington, D.C., have passed their own resolutions.

Now, because of Kaufman's efforts, activists in Annapolis, Baltimore County, Harford County and Howard County are also working on persuading their elected officials to pass antiwar resolutions.

A.M. Sierra, Baltimore

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