The Troops Out Now Coalition (TONC) calls itself a “national grassroots coalition of antiwar activists, trade unionists, solidarity activists and community organizers.” A creation of the Marxist-Leninist International Action Center (whose New York City office and telephone number TONC shares) and the Million Worker March Movement (a group of avowedly Marxist labor union activists), TONC was established on December 3, 2004, when antiwar activists gathered in New York City for a “National Strategy Meeting.”
TONC calls for a “new phase of the antiwar struggle,” one that will be waged by a political movement that is not only “multinational and grassroots” but also “militant.” Concurrently, TONC is committed to “zero tolerance for the occupation of Iraq.” Its literature contemplates “civil disobedience and other direct actions to bring the cities to a stop until the war is ended.”
TONC enthusiastically supports the terrorist insurgency in Iraq and believes that the antiwar movement must “acknowledge the absolute and unconditional right of the Iraqi people to resist the occupation of their country without passing judgment on their methods of resistance.” TONC also supports the return of Palestinian refugees and their decedents to their original homes. This return to what TONC calls “historic Palestine” is “not negotiable.”
TONC’s campaigns have been limited to several sparsely attended anti-war rallies. On March 19, 2005, the organization held a rally in New York City. Featured speakers included black nationalist and Democratic councilman Charles Barron; IAC leader Ramsey Clark; Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel; and radical attorney (and convicted terrorist abetter) Lynne Stewart. TONC held a similar rally on the same date the following year, to protest the three-year anniversary of the war. Although the organization claimed that some “7,000 rallied,” news outlets placed the number at closer to 1,000. The 2006 demonstration featured taped messages from convicted murderers Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier, as well as speeches by Green Party leaders and Yoomi Jeong of the Korea Truth Commission. TONC activists used the occasion to demand the “immediate, complete, unconditional withdrawal of all occupying forces from Iraq.”
Earlier, in August 2005, TONC had sent activists to Crawford, Texas, to join anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan in her protest against the Bush administration’s Iraq War policies. Following Hurricane Katrina, which struck that same month and devastated New Orleans, TONC dispatched a “fact-finding delegation” to the ravaged Gulf Coast area. The delegation, which included Green Party and TONC activists, subsequently claimed that while “[m]illions of dollars in contracts have been handed out to Bush cronies,” the residents of New Orleans suffered from “criminal neglect” and “racist threats.” None of the charges was bolstered with evidence.
In December 2005, TONC joined a number of radical groups, including the International Action Center, the Million Worker March Movement, the United Federation of Teachers, and the Marxist-Leninist Workers World Party (WWP), in a demonstration of “solidarity” with New York City’s then-striking transit workers union. Since then, TONC has commonly worked in close colaboration with the anti-war group International ANSWER and WWP.
Among the high-profile members of TONC are the aforementioned Charles Barron, Ramsey Clark, and Mumia Abu Jamal. Member groups include the Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition, the International Action Center, the Korea Truth Commission, No Draft No Way, People Judge Bush, and many more.
TONC is also an active supporter of “amnesty and full rights for undocumented [i.e. illegal] workers.”