Monday, July 16, 2007

The Ballad of Molly Ivins Songwriting Contest !

I have some exciting news about the Ballad of Molly Ivins songwriting contest.

We have now confirmed six fantastic judges for the contest!

Four are singer-songwriters;

Country Joe McDonald

Utah Phillips

Kinky Friedman

Ronnie Gilbert

plus David Richards, Author & Attorney

and Charlotte McCann, Publisher of The Texas Observer!

The Ballad of Molly Ivins songwriting contest is a competition designed to honor the legacy and spirit of Molly Ivins.


The contest has been initiated by our “Raise Hell for Molly Ivins” anti-war campaign. In the folk tradition of singer-songwriters memorializing great Americans with ballads, we are putting out a call to write the “Ballad of Molly Ivins”. The winner of this songwriting competition will win a modest prize, and make history by honoring a great American journalist and hell raiser.

The Contest is being officially announced and launched on July 19th. It will be open to amateur and professional songwriters. The contest is using the as a platform to showcase and judge the song entries.

People will post YouTube videos of their song entries and the public will get to see all the entries that the judges will choose from. We are asking for the song entries to be performed with at least one musical instrument and using pots and pans as background percussion.

The judges will be looking for a ballad that is fun, irreverent, uses powerful words and satire to speak truth to power with wit and style. Something Molly would have liked. Something that people can sing on picket lines and at Texas bonfires for the next hundred years.

We need activists, journalists, musicians and media worker to help us get the word out about the contest. We will have a press release ready on July 19th. Anyone who can help us reach songwriters and publications and networks that can reach songwriters is encouraged to contact:

The Ballad of Molly Ivins will soon be ready to join the community of songs honoring hell raisers such as the Ballad of Joe Hill and the Ballad of John & Yoko!

-Brian Webster

San Francisco

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tom Hayden on Ending the War in Iraq

One of the important things about organizing a campaign to stop a war is knowing you don’t have to start from scratch. Americans have a long tradition of organizing against war and many experienced “veterans and “generals” to draw knowledge from. Tom Hayden is such a person. Tom is one of the founding members of Students for a Democratic Society and a key player in the struggle to end US intervention in the Vietnam war. He has published a very important book, “Ending the War in Iraq”. Just published in May in paperback by Akashic Books, it is very timely with analysis of the current situation in Iraq, including President Bush’s failing surge strategy and the crumbling support for it in the House and Senate.

Hayden clearly spells out how the war can be brought to an end by applying public pressure against the pillars of Bush’s foreign policy. In five chapters and 217 pages he draws together the history and lessons from Vietnam and other clashes with national insurgencies and relates it to the current situation is in Iraq. Chapter 1 is titled – From Vietnam Syndrome to Iraq Syndrome. Chapter 2 – The nature of the Iraq Insurgency. Chapter 3 The Rise of the Antiwar movement, 2001-2007. Chapter 4 – Recommendations to the Antiwar Movement. Chapter 5 is simply titled – Lessons.

I have not yet finished reading the whole book. As I read it, I hope to post several entries here on its contents. For antiwar organizers it has a tremendous amount of insightful history and practical information. I have been underlining many passages and treating my copy as a text book to study.

In chapter 4, Hayden identifies eight pillars of the Bush administrations policy that he says require people pressure for ending the war and occupation. They are: 1. Iraqi Support 2. American Public Opinion 3. American Media 4. Political Support 5. U.S. Military Capacity 6. U.S. Financial Capacity 7. Moral Reputation 8. U.s. Global Alliances

Hayden gives a detailed analysis of each of theses pillars and follows that with a section titled, A Model for Local Antiwar Organizing. That section begins, “Given a strategy of pressuring these eight pillars, what would an anti war organizing model look like? The heart of the pillars strategy must beat at local levels, among volunteer groups like those in Los Angeles neighborhoods who hold peace placards to passing to passing motorist every Friday night.” Well that’s an encouraging endorsement to our Molly Invins Campaign strategy of pots & pans protests in front of local congressional offices. It’s great to have that kind of unsolicited encouragement for the direction we are taking.

There is a boatload of great information in this book and I will try to write it about more in the future. I do encourage people to buy it. Its a great textbook study of what people can do to end the war.

-Brian Webster
San Francisco

Sunday, July 1, 2007


The Raise Hell for Molly Ivins Campaign”. The campaign is focused on building a series of peaceful public protests of the Bush surge strategy and the war in Iraq. It is inspired by Molly Ivins last column calling for people to, “Raise hell... hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge!"

Our goal for this blog is to share thoughts and ideas for creative strategies to end the war in Iraq. Here you will see blog posts from the people involved with the campaign as well as other peace activists and progressive bloggers. We are excited about the opportunity to add our voices to the larger chorus of people blogging to end the war!

Our campaign is organizing people in cities and towns throughout the country to demonstrate in a monthly nationwide remembrance of the March 19th 2003 anniversary date that started the Iraq War. We are gathering at local offices of congressional representatives and Senators on the 19th day of every month to bang pots and pans and peacefully demand that Congress act to end Bush’s policy of war without end.

We invite all Americans, peace groups and veterans groups to join us as we mobilize the voting public to tell Congress, as Molly said, "We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders.” We ask our fellow citizens to join us as we gather in front of Congressional district offices in towns across the USA on the 19th day of every month to bang pots and pans for peace!

We are strongly inspired by Molly Ivan’s life and work. We hope to continue her legacy by organizing to speak truth to power with wit and style. We are working on a variety of creative strategies to do this and bring attention to our campaigning.

  • We have Yahoo and Google Groups for people in cities and towns to organize local demonstrations

And now we have a blog!

Back in 1861, Wilbur Storey of the Chicago Times said, "IT IS A NEWSPAPER'S DUTY TO PRINT THE NEWS AND RAISE HELL." That’s exactly what we intend to do with the Molly Ivins Campaign blog.

-Brian Webster

San Francisco