Reply to "AIDS turns 20"

FYI - World AIDS Day Mobilization request from ACTUP -- Gen. Circulation

Subj: World AIDS Day Mobilization request

Something terrible happened last week.

Condoleezza Rice met with some leading global AIDS activists. Doctor Rice made plain that President Bush is resistant to launching do anything of significance in time for the WH trip to Africa. President Bush is going to insist on underfunding the fight against global AIDS until disproven or underesourced programs have delivered the results they are unable to produce.
The childish banality of the Administration is would be laughable, if there were not 100 million lives hanging in the balance.

At the same time, the audit-assault on agencies serving communities of color, youth and gay men continues unabated. ADAP is still being starved,
and the Early Treatment Act for HIV gathers dust on the shelf.

If it was not already clear, simply asking the White House is not going to work. Why are you getting this message?

On Tuesday November 26, an extremely diverse angry crowd of at least 4-500 people with AIDS and their supporters are paying a visit to the Bush Administration in Washington DC. This is a two days before Thanksgiving, and timed so as not to conflict with other World AIDS Day remembrances.

The message will be similar to that delivered in Barcelona: a limited and specific number of crucial global and domestic AIDS issues.

Why are you getting this message?

Because the movement has stated for years a wish to reinvigorate a strong grassroots presence. Because asking nice is not working. Because the history of social movements in the United States demonstrate that the voices of advocates at the table are taken far more seriously if they are speaking in concert with a mobilized and aggressive constituency.

Because we need help.

A few of us have talked about raising the profile of the World AIDS Day action being currently coming together.

The dire urgency of our current situation and the Administration's intractable refusal to take leadership on AIDS requires us all to raise the
ante on the President. For this action to make more of a splash than our previous numerous actions, we are asking that the executive directors and staff of AIDS and global advocacy groups join us in an act of peaceful civil

We need help with media support. We need help with funding to help pay for busloads of demonstrators. We need help your help marshalling our notable supporters and senior staff to make a peaceful civil disobedience action as high profile as possible. This event will be safe for non-CD participants, with ample marshaling and legal support. Any CD participants will of course
be offered CD training. The precise nature of the CD scenario will be developed by the participants.

1. If your schedule and legal history permits, we want you to take part in a non-violent civil disobedience demanding presidential action on global and domestic AIDS treatment and prevention. As a rule, you will be released
within a few hours, with no legal ramification and no ensuing court cases. There are never any promises, of course.

2. We need you to help contact any notable people they you think might participate with us in this act of civil disobedience. Please help complete
the list below with your contacts.

3. We need your media staff to support this action. With help from your organization, we can make a powerful event that becomes _the_ national World AIDS Day story.

4. The cost of transporting 8-16 busloads of demonstrators to support the CD group from Philadelphia, New York and beyond will cost approximately $1200 / bus, plus other expenses that arise from a major mobilization. The largest
grassroots group in the sponsoring coalition currently has a significant debt to its members. In other words, ACT UP Philadelphia has _no_ money to pay for this.

5. TURN OUT: if your organization has staff or members or clients anywhere in the mid-Atlantic region BRING THEM OUT. As you know, politics is about power, and the power we have on our side is significant numbers of motivated people. As many have noted, the US AIDS movement has become atrophied from a lack of exercise. Its not difficult to mobilize large numbers of staff and
clients, if the organization provides transportation, and all staff are given extensive and explicit executive support. Clear messages from agency leadership are necessary to inspire the community to act. We must provide the vehicle through which people with AIDS can recognize personal capacity to powerfully influence political struggles. We must make clear to our staff and members our obligation to check the negligence of the government we bear responsibility for.

If you or your organization are able to help in any way with media, funding, turnout, or CD participants, please contact me: / 215.833.4102

Towards a reinvigorated movement,


Paul Davis
Health GAP
ACT UP Philadelphia
t: +1 215.833.4102 (mobile)
f: +1 215.474.4793

Yours in the Struggle:

Oliver W. Martin III
Deputy Director
Conscious Contact of New York, Inc.