With the Bush administration leading the United States to a war against Iraq, millions of people around the world took to the streets for peace and justice. On February 15th, 2003, over fifteen million people in 60 countries marched against the war in the largest protest in recorded history. In the Bay Area, global justice organizers called for a Direct Action to Stop the War (DASW) spokescouncil to democratically plan a shutdown of the financial district of San Francisco which is the West Coast financial center of the U.S. Organized in hundreds of affinity groups over 15,000 people successfully shutdown business as usual on March 20th 2003, the day after the U.S. war began.
Catalyst Project teamed up with two allied white anti-racist organizations in the Bay Area, the Heads Up Collective and Active Solidarity, to lead anti-racist training to help build DASW and the Bay Area Left. With Catalyst advisor Nisha Anand and Active Solidarity we held a "Mass Evaluation and Strategy Session" following up on the successful mass day of action. DASW continued to organize dynamic and creative anti-war actions throughout 2003. In the summer of 2003, Active Solidarity held a teach-in on the connections between the war on Iraq and the war on poor and working class people in the U.S. and in the Bay Area. The teach-in brought together leading organizers from community based economic and racial justice organizations like POWER and the Coalition on Homelessness and DASW organizers.
With Catalyst advisor Paul Kivel and the Against Patriarchy Men's Group, Catalyst held a "Challenging Male Supremacy" workshop for men in DASW to strength feminist practice in the anti-war movement. In the fall of 2003, The Heads Up Collective held a strategy session to "Fight the War at Home and Abroad" that focused on strategic uses of electoral politics to win a living wage, defeat an anti-poor people measure and strengthen the left.
These combined efforts help strengthen the Bay Area anti-war movement in a time of heightened activity.