WASHINGTON — One of the defining foes of George W. Bush’s war in Iraq is taking the first steps toward a broad-based campaign against the march to war in Syria.
On Tuesday, MoveOn formally polled its membership to form an official stance on the Congressional authorization for military action in Syria the White House wants to see pass next week. A MoveOn leader told BuzzFeed Saturday that the group’s membership is broadly opposed to the war in Syria.
The results of the poll, expected to come Wednesday, will likely formalize that view and let MoveOn begin a campaign to convince Democratic members of Congress to oppose authorizing military action.
“When we’re considering launching intensive national campaigns, MoveOn has historically given our full membership a chance to make their voices heard via a formal vote,” MoveOn spokesperson Nick Berning said. “That’s what we’re doing here.”
No campaign will go forward if MoveOn members vote to support the authorization of military action in Syria.
During the Iraq war, MoveOn’s sometimes controversial campaigns helped push Democrats into supporting bringing an end to the conflict. Its influence was essentially unrivaled among progressive groups at the time.
Years later, however, things have changed. As the Huffington Post first reported last year, MoveOn has gone through a significant changes at the national level, leading to the loss of key personnel. It’s not clear what influence the new MoveOn would have on the debate if it launches a national effort to defeat Congressional authorization of the Syria strikes Obama wants.
But with much of the progressive organizing community is still on the sidelines of the Syria debate, MoveOn could end up being the most vocal progressive force opposing Obama’s war.