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Hundreds of Thousands Take Stop the War Message to Congress
O n Saturday January 27, 2007, hundreds of thousands of peace protestors responded to President Bush’s call for a troop surge with a peace surge of their own that flooded the streets of Washington, DC and other cities around the U.S. These massive anti-war demonstrations took place less than a week after President George Bush urged Congressional support for an additional 21,500 troops for the war in Iraq. Veterans, labor and religious groups, and people from around the U.S. marched along a route that encircled the Capital building. While the usual controversy has ensued over attendance numbers, one thing is certain, the march route was altered to accommodate more participants than the police expected.
Crowds chanted, “No more war!” “This is what democracy looks like,” “Not one more dollar.” Other protestors, including many parents with their children, were perched upon government buildings along the march route, brandishing home-made signs calling for world peace and a quick end to military conflict. A group of Code Pink women carried a large pink slip above their heads chanting, “Here come the pink slips.”
Florida Peace activists Vicki Impoco, Sharan Miller, and Mindy Stone marched with a banner reading: “Melbourne, Florida, War Isn’t Working, Troops Out Now!”
Impoco, who is the co-organizer of Brevard Patriots for Peace, said she flew to Washington to try and put a stop to the president’s plans for escalation in Iraq. Impoco was particularly encouraged to see so many veterans at the event: “I think what moved me the most was when I saw a Marine in full dress just walking through the crowd,” she said. “I went up to him and shook his hand and thanked him for his courage and for being there.”
She was also surprised with the tone of the march. “That was my first demonstration in Washington and I was really overwhelmed by the number of people that were there and how peaceful it was and how everyone just bonded.”
A long-time activist with several DC marches under her belt, Sharon
Miller said there were more young people involved than in the past.
“I think the difference was the families and the college students,
especially the high school students. I think that was a huge difference
from past marches.”
Capturing the mood of the event and its participants, Rev. Graylin Hagler of Plymouth Congregational Church, Washington, DC said he wanted to remind the Congress, “When we voted in mid-term elections...it was not a multiple choice question; when we voted it was not a suggestion; when we voted it was a directive to bring our troops home now.”
A variety of groups and individuals were on hand, from 12-yearold Moriah Arnold of Harvard, Massachusetts to Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun .
Moreover, several U.S. Representatives were there with plans for peace. Speakers included: Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), a candidate for the 2008 presidency; Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), chair of the House Judiciary Committee; Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA); Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA); and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).
Woosley, joined by Waters and Lee, has introduced HR 508, “Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Restoration Act,” which she told marchers would “end the U.S. occupation in Iraq within six months, saving lives and limbs and money and American’s standing in the world.” Adding, “HR 508 is the only comprehensive legislation that puts us on the fast track to a fully funded military withdraw from Iraq.”
Rep. Waters, an African-American, offered fierce criticism of the Administration, including Condoleezza Rice. “My name is Maxine Waters and I’m not afraid of George W. Bush. My name is Maxine Waters and I’m not intimated by Dick Cheney. My name is Maxine Waters and I helped to get rid of Rumsfeld. My name is Maxine Waters and Condie Rice is nothing but another neocon and she doesn’t represent me.”
By the protest’s end, trashcans overflowed with signs and many activists headed home. Still a steady stream of sad-eyed volunteers placed tags on shoes.
Jeff Nall is a community activist and freelance writer.
Z Magazine Archive
CUBAN 5 - From May 30 to June 5, supporters of the Cuban 5 will gather in Washington DC to raise awareness about the case and to demand a humanitarian solution that will allow the return of these men to their homeland.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike- A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides, music, exhibitors, and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; mailbikesnotbombs.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in NYC.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduate Center, Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16 in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; convention @adc. org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5-day Seminar at the University of Havana, plus visits to a co-op and educational and medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljustice center.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process in the U.S.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from across the continent to learn skills and build one big union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13, the 11th Annual Peacestock will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www. peacestockvfp.org.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.