Successful social movements work and organize on several levels. We have to organize those in our communities against the war but we also have to pressure our government to act on our demands. Members of Congress repesent us within the government, and as constituents they are accountable to us; they also have the power to end these wars now, we must push them to act now.
Congress doesn't move as quickly as we want them to and they also have to hear from us to know what their constituents expect and demand from them. They have power to end this war so we must leverage our collective power and demand that they act now to end the war. It isn't always exciting (but it can be), but it's necessary work that we must do to end the war and stop the militarism of our schools.
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Find out more about your legislators!
Call your member today!
Call 202-224-3121, which is the congressional switchboard, and from there they can direct your call to your member's office (Representative or Senators) by their name or your zip code. The receptionists keep a tally of calls on different issues, for and against, so whomever answers tell them your name, that you're a constituent, and that you have a concern about X (ex. the war in Iraq) and want Representative/Senator Y to support (or oppose) a piece of legislation (name or bill number) that will (whatever it does to resolve that concern). You can also ask where your member stands on that issue, if they haven't taken a stance on the issue yet, and if they've signed onto any related bills yet. The fun way to do this: have a call-in day! Set up a table in front of the student union, in the cafeteria at lunch time, or at a community center during a busy time. Ask for a couple of people to donate the use of their cell phones for an hour or two so that people can call offices and pressure your local representative on how they will vote on an upcoming bill or sponsor a particular piece of legislation. Ask for a definite yes or no answer, and if that's impossible request a detailed response in writing of their position and reasoning to support or oppose something. Even 5 calls can make a difference on how your member votes. For mass or frequent call-ins you can find the direct and local lines to members offices here.
Write letters to your members!
Different types of correspondence with Congress have varying levels of impact. Phone calls are great right before a vote and to consistently put pressure on your members to move and act. Letters, real life letters sent in the mail with a stamp or faxed to the office, receive greater recognition because they take more effort and time than a phone call or email. Good for bringing up an issue, asking for cosponsorship on a bill (a long process in the House of Representatives, bills usually won't come up for a vote until they have a lot of cosponsors and support for the bill, but with Senate bills cosponsorship isn't as important), demanding action or introduction of a bill. Include info on why it is important to people in your community/school/other constituents. Ask for a response on their stance. Less boring: have people handwrite letters during or after an event (ex. open mic, lecture, workshop) to the members representing your school/community/area and fax, mail or hand deliver the stack of letters to your member's office requesting a response and that they take action on this issue.
Meet your Members of Congress (this is what democracy looks like)!
It's important to meet face to face with the people who are supposed to represent you in Congress, especially if you don't see eye to eye! Meeting and making relationships with your members of Congress and their staff help push them on your issues and let them know their constituents are really concerned and expect them to act. Your Representative and your Senators have offices in DC, but they also have them in their districts near you. Check out www.congress.org to find the office closest to you.