Iran Protests and the Evolving Antiwar Movement

Iran peace protests, Boston, 2020. Photo by Kai Medina

By Rosell Rivas, age 10 & IndyKids staff

Iran’s Major General Qassem Soleimani was assassinated on January 3, 2020, under the authorization of President Trump. In response, the New York Times reported that more than 80 antiwar demonstrations were organized around the United States. However, in the age of social media, simply turning up and protesting in the street may no longer be a strong enough show of force in the antiwar movement.

In an article published by the Intercept, it is argued that social media tools help people communicate and organize easily, meaning that large protest turnouts lack the force they once held. “Great numbers back then demonstrated powerful underlying capacities … Meanwhile a mass march today, organized through Facebook or Twitter, often represents the extent and the limit, rather than the potential, of a movement to mobilize participants,” wrote Natasha Lennard of the Intercept.

“Yet a path exists,” Lennard continues, “the path of a true, solidarity-orientated mass movement coupled with direct action.” 

Creating international solidarity with perceived enemies is a powerful antiwar tactic. U.S. economic sanctions on Iran’s industries, as reported by Newsweek, have had a huge negative impact on Iranian citizens. Recognizing these oppressive measures and identifying with their plight is a form of antiwar solidarity. Forms of direct action, such as strikes, walkouts and sit-ins, disrupt business as usual and force the government to take notice.

The Dissenters, who call themselves the new generation of antiwar organizers, represent this evolved antiwar movement. Their mission is to reclaim the trillions of dollars invested in the war industry and redirect it to life-giving resources like housing, education, healthcare and the Green New Deal. 

“[W]e refuse to let Trump and other elites divide us. Our generation chooses to dissent. We are rising up in solidarity with the people of Iran, Iraq, Syria,” they proclaim on their website. The Dissenters strive to not only find solidarity with would-be enemies of the United States, but also to use direct action as a means to be heard, vowing to “continue to disrupt and dissent on our campuses and in our communities as we build toward a world without war.”

Capacity: The amount that something can produce.
Solidarity: An awareness of shared interests or sympathies, creating a sense of unity.
Plight: A dangerous, difficult or unfortunate situation.

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