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September 24: Largest Protest Since the Beginning of the Iraq War
In the largest U.S. protest since the beginning of the Iraq war, 200,000 people took to the streets of Washington, DC on September 24 to demand an end to the war and the safe return of U.S. troops.
There were also four days of numerous colorful and diverse events that included guerrilla theater, rallies, an Operation Ceasefire concert, a peace and justice festival, congressional visits, a tribunal on Haiti, an Interfaith Religious service, direct action, and civil disobedience in front of the White House where 370 were arrested, including Gold Star Mother Cindy Sheehan. Sheehan captured the medias attention in August when she set up Camp Casey outside President Bushs Crawford, Texas ranch demanding to know why the U.S. was at war with Iraq. Named after her son who was killed in Iraq, Camp Casey helped rejuvenate an antiwar movement experiencing growing pains.
The antiwar events occurred at the same time as the annual meetings
of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Global justice
activists used this overlap to point out the connections between
the Iraq War, U.S. imperialism, and economic globalization. On September
22, the DC-based Mobilization for Global Justice staged guerrilla
theater in front of the World Bank. The media stunt enacted the
wedding of the World Bank to the Pentagon, with World Bank President
and Iraq War architect Paul Wolfowitz (Church of Market Fundamentalism)
presiding over the ceremony.
Another item on the World Bank agenda was global warming. This led to a call for global warming activists to converge at Saturdays march to draw the connections between the Iraq war for oil, the World Bank, and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Climatologists overwhelmingly agree warmer Gulf waters, the result of global warming, significantly strengthened these hurricanes. The World Bank has helped exacerbate global warming by investing over $28 billion in fossil fuels since 1992. Another link between the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina was the accusation that the lack of National Guardspeople and their equipmentdeployed to Iraqwas part of the reason for the disastrously slow response to the hurricane victims.
While the major antiwar rally was taking place at the Ellipse Saturday, a smaller 3,000 person global justice rally organized by the Mobilization for Global Justice was held at Dupont Circle. Speakers at the global justice rally included South African anti-apartheid activist and poet Dennis Brutus, as well as global justice activists from the Dominican Republic, India, and around the world, who made the connections between military and economic domination and ecological destruction. The global justice rally culminated with an un-permitted feeder march with the chants of Whose streets? Our streets, passing the World Bank before it joined the anti-war march.
The major antiwar rally included such speakers as the Reverend Jesse
Jackson, Cindy Sheehan, South African anti-privatization activist
Virginia Setshedi, former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, among many
others. The crowd was energized with chants including, Bring
the troops home now and Free Free Palestine. Afterwards
hundreds of thousands took to the streets. In other cities across
the U.S., as well as in London and Rome, thousands of people came
out against the war in solidarity with the Washington, DC march
Following the march, participants gathered on the Mall adjacent to the Washington Monument for the Operation Ceasefire free concert featuring such performers as Joan Baez who moved the crowd with her rendition of Bob Dylans A Hard Rains A Gonna Fall. Steve Earle and dozens more also performed. Next to Operation Ceasefire, a peace and justice festival brought antiwar, global justice, and global warming organizations together under circus tents to distribute information, buttons, and T-shirts to participants. Also present were a giant inflatable Pinocchio George Bush and a huge earth being sucked dry by a mosquito, with a sign on it pointing out the rise in deadly diseases transmitted by mosquitoes that is predicted to accompany the global warming trend.
The following day affinity groups blockaded intersections and traffic around a hotel where World Bank and IMF delegates were staying, effectively delaying the start of their meetings for over 30 minutes. While the action was small, it was notable as the first direct action to blockade the World Bank and IMF meetings in DC since the massive A-16 (April 16) protests of 2000 where tens of thousands of activists converged on the city to block strategic intersections and impede the movement of delegates.
On Monday, September 26, thousands of antiwar protesters remaining
in DC marched to Lafayette Park across from the White House for
mass non-violent civil disobedience. In the symbolic protest, 370
people sat down on the sidewalk in front of the White House in protest
of the Iraq War, refused police orders to move, and were arrested.
Among those arrested were members of United for Peace and Justice
and Code Pink, and Cindy Sheehan.
The mass action began with Sheehan approaching the guard shack at the entrance to the White House where she demanded once more to have a meeting with the president. When she was refused, she and her supporters marched 50 yards or so to the front of the White House. There she attached a photo of her son Casey to the White House gates. She spent a few moments with the photo, tenderly touching it before turning around to stage a sit in on the sidewalk. The police signaled their intention to make arrests by pushing all non-arrestees behind a metal barricade and bringing in paddy wagons to block the view of onlookers. This sent the media into a flurry of competition for the best view of the impending arrest of Sheehan, who was the first to be carried off.
The area across from the White House was jammed with diverse supporters of the mass civil disobedience. From Breasts Not Bombs and anti-depleted uranium activists to Buddhist Monks, the protest took on an empowered atmosphere. One woman, however, broke down, grief stricken over the war, and was comforted by others.
Earlier in the day, in a separate pre-dawn civil disobedience action,
41 people were arrested at a pedestrian entrance to the Pentagon.
After arrestees were released some showed up later at the White
House event where a few were arrested for the second time that day.
Also on Monday, more than 800 people visited over 300 Congressional
offices in a Lobby Day organized by UFPJ.
Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator for UFPJ, stated after the DC protests, The September mobilization sent a strong message to policymakers and helped take this movement into a new phase of mass action, using diverse tactics, as we plan for the work still to be done to end the war and bring our troops home.
Orin Langelle and Anne Petermann are photojournalists and activists with the Global Justice Ecology Project.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; firstname.lastname@example.org; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; email@example.com; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.