Friday, October 5, 2007
ANTI-WAR MARCHES OF NEW TYPE: Washington, D.C.: Protest hits FEMA, ICE
Published Oct 4, 2007 2:28 AM

Two months of anti-war activity culminated at the end of September in dynamic encampments to stop war at home and abroad and militant, anti-imperialist and anti-racist demonstrations in both Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

D.C. march steps off from Encampment.

D.C. march steps off from Encampment.
photo: Deirdre Griswold

Here in Washington, during the Sept. 22-29 Encampment to Stop the War at Home and Abroad, more and more participants arrived and staked their tents in front of the Capitol building as the Sept. 29 mass march approached. A real sense of unity could be felt among the many activists from varied struggles who share a common enemy.

A FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) trailer brought by Katrina survivors direct from New Orleans joined the Iraq Veterans Against the War bus, which had been parked in front of the Encampment since Sept. 22. The tent city was treated to a delicious meal of shrimp, crawfish and sausage cooked by the Common Ground Collective organizers who, after traveling more than 17 hours to get to the Capitol from New Orleans, spent the next day cooking the meal.

Encampment participants, mostly women from Code Pink, disrupted a Senate Appropriations Hearing on Sep26 in which Secretary of Defense Robert Gates requested an additional $42 billion in funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gates’s appeal brings the 2008 request for war funds—above and beyond the even larger Pentagon budget—to a record high of almost $190 billion.

Members of the cast of “SiCKO”—Michael Moore’s movie exposing the exploitative for-profit health care system—arrived on Sept. 28 to augment the demand for “Health care, not warfare.”

Other events in the last three days of the Encampment included a meeting on the struggle of survivors for justice in the wake of Hurricane/Rita, and immigrant rights; a delegation that called on the acting Attorney General to free the Cuban Five; a health care vigil; a militant youth action with several targets; and a concert to demand an end to martial law in the Philippines. Rock the Rulers, the week-long concert series of the Encampment, brought cultural inspiration and resistance every night.

Mass march ties issues together

WW photo: Gary Wilson

A preliminary report issued by the Troops Out Now Coalition states: “The march on Saturday, Sept. 29 was a departure in tone and make-up from many past anti-war demonstrations. It was a serious and highly successful effort to involve more community-based organizations and issues and to link the struggle against the war with the struggles against racism, oppression and economic injustice at home.”

A multinational crowd of some 10,000 to 15,000 included contingents from organized labor; lesbian, gay, bi and trans activists; Katrina survivors; International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal; the Peoples Organization for Progress; Iraq Veterans Against the War; the Green Party of the U.S., BAYAN USA; and more.

The march route included stops to protest at the offices of FEMA, where Katrina survivors accused the agency of neglect; Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where protestors shouted “Melt ICE” and “Stop the raids;” the Department of Social Services; and the Department of Education, where Code Pink, chanting “Books not bombs,” covered up part of the “No child left behind” slogan to read “Every child left behind.”

Speakers and performers at the rally all drew clear links between the war in Iraq and the war at home, including a labor delegation with Brenda Stokely of the Million Worker March Movement, Charles Jenkins and Larry Adams of the New York City Labor Against the War, and members of District Council 37; political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, via a recorded greeting from death row; Malik Rahim, Common Ground Collective; Medea Benjamin, Code Pink; Bernadette Ellorin and Christine Hilo, BAYAN USA; Larry Hamm, People’s Organization for Progress; and David Swanson, After Downing Street.

Also speaking were Ardeshir Ommani of the Stop the War On Iran Campaign and American Iranian Friendship Committee; Ignacio Meneses, National Network on Cuba; Walter Sinche, May 1st Immigrant Rights Coalition; Rosita Romero, Dominican Women’s Development Center; Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Hip Hop Caucus; Adam Kokesh, Iraq Veterans Against the War; Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army veteran and 16-year diplomat who resigned in opposition to the Iraq war; Victor Toro, Chilean leader of MIR being threatened with deportation; Debra Sweet of World Can’t Wait; and Teresita Jacinto Oliva of Mexicanos Sin Fronteras.

Continuing the short, punchy talks were Jared Ball, and Sara “Echo” Steiner, Green Party members; Charlotte Kates of Al-Awda New York, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition; Pam Africa, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal; political prisoner Leonard Peltier, via a statement; Sonia Umanzon of the FMLN (Faribundo Martí National Liberation Front); Katrina survivors Ivey Parker and Christine Gavin-Lathan; Mohammad Awdallah, U.S. Popular Palestine Conference Network; Ricardo Prado of the Colombian political party Democratic Pole; Tyneisha Bowens of FIST—Fight Imperialism, Stand Together; Larry Holmes, Teresa Gutierrez and Sara Flounders for TONC and the International Action Center; Omowale Clay, December 12 Movement and Friends of Zimbabwe; and Milton St. Germaine, New England Human Rights Organization for Haiti.

Independent media part of movement

While the capitalist media practically boycotted the marches on Sept. 29 and provided limited coverage of the Encampments, independent media was there in force to convey the event’s message to the world. In Your Face radio broadcast daily interviews from the Encampment throughout the week. Pacifica’s KPFK radio was the media sponsor for the Los Angeles march and Encampment.

An enthusiastic report on the march in Washington, D.C., can be heard on the local Indymedia affiliate (dc.indymedia.org/newswire/display/141002/). The commentator states: “On the 29th of September, the campaign against the war in occupied Iraq once again took to the streets ... demanding an end not only to the war in occupied Iraq, but the global war on the poor, as fought in New Orleans, fought in Jena, fought on the Mexican border. This was a surprisingly militant march that tied the different aspects of George Bush’s crimes together.

“Apparently Troops Out Now understands that this is not just about Iraq; the same regime that wages war on the people of Iraq is also the regime that sponsors gentrification in our cities and the wholesale incarceration of African-American youth, the vicious fascist crackdown on Latin@ immigrants, and so many other evils. ... All this noise can certainly be heard in Central Cell Block where prisoners are being held.”

The report quoted Larry Adams, who expressed “solidarity with the historic Iraqi resistance, who are on the frontlines of the fight against our common enemy, which is U.S. imperialism.”

Describing the youth action that took place at the end of the rally—which blocked the streets in front of the Capitol until 10 p.m. that night—the reporter concluded: “You can think of the long occupation of Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenues as target practice for things that are surely going to come as people get more and more pissed off about this war that is one war from occupied Iraq, to occupied New Orleans, from occupied Palestine to Jena, to the neighborhoods right here in occupied Washington. ... George Bush says ‘Bring it on’; well that’s exactly what we’re gonna do!”

posted by Stop War @ 12:36 PM  
How the Troops Out Now rally rocked!
Published Oct 4, 2007 2:00 AM
Pam Parker at D.C. Sept. 29 rally. " border="0">

Larry Holmes, Dani Gale, Nana Soul and
Pam Parker at D.C. Sept. 29 rally.
WW photo: Liz Green

If polls showed the average person saying that the traditional protest—complete with marches, placards, chants and permits—no longer has a potent effect on an apathetic government and that bureaucrats simply bide their time until the rabid moon bats that have descended upon their provinces return to the trailer parks, projects, flooded wards and mortar-ravaged ghettos that they came from, most activists would be hard pressed to prove them wrong.

But on Sept. 22, something magical began to happen.

The Troops Out Now Coalition began a weeklong Encampment in front of the reflecting pool at the Capitol building. In contrast to the one it held last March, the Encampment would be infused with music. Unlike every other demonstration that took place this year, culture would not simply be a careless afterthought, but rather would provide the fuel needed to draw thousands of people to the demonstration.

Each day, activists spread through the neighborhood, engaging the community, and each night the Encampment grounds sprouted more tents and music filled the hearts of everyone who heard it.

From punk rock to poetry to hip hop, the Troops Out Now Coalition rocked the rulers—hence the name of the weeklong concert, reminiscent of Woodstock minus the psychedelic mushrooms (in most cases).

On Sept. 29, a rally featuring dozens of speakers from across the world addressed several issues, including the right to return for Palestinians and Katrina survivors alike, freedom for political prisoners, the need for health care, housing, better education, an end to the war in Iraq and a halt of plans of impending conquest in Iran, women’s rights, police brutality and more.

Punctuated by live music performances, the gathering alternated between lulling people and firing them up. By 2 p.m. thousands were ready to march on Washington. But the people didn’t walk alone. Thanks to a sound truck that cranked out not only chants and slogans, but anti war anthems like “War” by Edwin Starr and “I’m Black and I’m Proud” by James Brown, marchers couldn’t help but dance their way down the route.

What resulted was a parade with fire, an energetic display of dissent and culture that had people who observed it hanging from their windows waving and cheering and passing cars blaring horns in solidarity. In the front holding the lead banner were elders, youth, whites, Blacks, Latin@s, women and men. On the sidelines women went shirtless, hefting signs that said “Breasts Not Bombs!” When the throng snaked its way around a construction site, labor activists immediately began to flier and converse with the workers. And when those in front made a turn and caught sight of the tail end of the march, complete with a bus proclaiming “Iraq Veterans Against the War,” they were sent into a triumphant frenzy. The sound was deafening, empowering and mighty.

But none of this would compare to the moment when the march reached an underpass close to Third Street and Constitution Avenue. Taking advantage of the natural echo, the protestors began to bellow, letting loose all the rage and frustration against the inept and corrupt U.S. government. They mourned dead soldiers, Iraqi civilians and victims of police brutality and FEMA. They celebrated their own courage and the love with which they championed the people’s rights.

Something spread through the crowd then, something that can never be explained. Whatever it was, it was beautiful and it called for action. And so, hundreds of youth tore away from the procession and commandeered a stretch of road and blocked city traffic claiming it in the name of Freedom for several hours. The more experienced activists responded by making sure they had food, water and legal representation.

Those who attended witnessed an important piece of history, where the gaps between the old and young were bridged, where all colors spoke in the same voice, danced to the same rhythms and carried the same banner.

Black Power! Revolution, then peace!

Power to the people!

The writers are artists and activists with Black Waxx Recordings.

posted by Stop War @ 12:31 PM  
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
College Democrats attend D.C. March
from The Temple News:


College Democrats attend D.C. March
By: Sarah Fry
Posted: 10/2/07

WASHINGTON - The Temple College Democrats, other Temple students and local Philadelphians were among a crowd of about 1,500 anti-war protesters who rallied and marched in Washington, D.C., Saturday.

Troops Out Now Coalition, a national grassroots group, organized the majority of the protest. It was put together "to demand an end to the war at home and abroad," TONC media coordinator Lelani Dowell said.

Citizens from across the nation joined in the effort including the Darr family who biked for six months from Portland, Ore. Tala Darr, 12, said her mom, her mom's boyfriend and her two-year-old twin sisters made the trip "to stop the war" - the central issue surrounding the protest.

Temple College Democrats President Anna Walker said she "thought it would be a good event, early in the year" for her group to get involved in.

"[We want] to see reform happen and reform happen now," said Walker, a junior economics and political science major.

Unlike other rallies, this event was described as "the first national multi-issue protest" by Betsy Piette, a member of the Philadelphia International Action Center.

"[The event] was purposefully built that way," Piette said.

Issues addressed Saturday included health care, homelessness, Hurricane Katrina, the Jena Six, immigration, education, Iraq and the possibility of the United States invading Iran.

Senior anthropology major Rebecca Reynolds said she noticed one common theme at the rally. "[There were] a lot of different causes represented, but basically at the heart it's all about equality," Reynolds said.

A majority of the speakers at the event echoed the sentiments expressed by Adam Kokesh, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

"Power ultimately rests with the people and the people will get the government they deserve," Kokesh said.

Donna Smith, a cast member in the Michael Moore documentary Sicko, addressed the health care issues facing Congress.

"I believe that my life is worth as much as your life is or any member of your family," Smith said about members of Congress. "We sent you to office; you have benefits we will only dream of at a price we can only dream of."

The variety of issues addressed at the rally left several Temple students with mixed emotions.

"A lot of the focus was lost on other issues," sophomore theater major Olivia Webster said. "It could have been more concentrated on just getting us out of the war."

On the other hand, sophomore sociology major Audra Winn said she felt the protest was "really powerful."

The march passed by several government buildings including the Department of Education and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

When the event ended, Andrew Roberts, a sophomore music therapy major, said he "felt like we got nothing done."

"We call it a protest but we do it in the way [that] the government says we're allowed to," Roberts said.

"The problem is, in order for that [change in government] to get done, people need to stop worrying so much about themselves," he added. "A protest would be getting all the people there to block a bunch of streets in order to shut stuff down in a peaceful way."

Kevin Paris, a Temple College Democrats events coordinator, said protests can be more influential if more people attend.

"If you're into politics at all while you're young, you should experience at least one big war protest," said Paris, a junior political science major.

Walker said, "We'll definitely do it again."

Sara Fry can be reached at sara.fry@temple.edu. © Copyright 2007 Temple News
posted by Stop War @ 10:49 AM  
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Audio coverage of Troops out march and street occupation
Audio Report from the Streets

from WSQT Guerrilla Radio 87.9 FM posted on DC Indymedia:

Audio coverage of Troops out march and street occupation

On Sep 29th, the Troops Out now march took a far more militant tone than similar antiwar marches in the past. One speaker pointed out that Iraqi Resistance fighters have bought the political space for countries like Venezuala to free themselves with their blood!

Audio 6 min 20 sec:
dc.indymedia.org/usermedia/audio/13/tonc_march_s29.mp3

Both speakers and chants connected the war in Iraq with the war on the poor and nonwhite from Iraq to New Orleans, from Palestine to Jena to right here in the neighborhoods of Occupiued Washington. "Free the Jena 6" stickers were everywhere, as outrage about that malicious prosecution continues to mushroom everywhere.

The march included the same student bloc(now larger) that stormed the military recruiters office on Friday the 28th of September. This group proceeded after the march to occupy Constitution Ave, cutting off traffic there for at least the rest of the afternoon.

Before this, marchers passed the Dept of Education, where Code pink covered up part of the "no child left behind" sign so it now read "EVERY child left behind!" Next, everyone went under the Dept of Labor roof overhand and get really, REALLY nosiy there, so every man,woman, and child in police custody could hear. Finally, the march went up Mass Ave, looped around the notorious headquartersw of ICE(425 I st) and returned to the Capitol, launching the occupation of the streets.

This is just the beginning-the longer Bush and his corporate masters continuye the global war on the poor, the nastier things are going to get. A speaker said of the Iraqi resistance "the're fighting, we're talking." Well, in Vietnam that state of affairs did not last forever, and things may be heating up now as well.

Bush says bring it on,so let's bring all we've got!




posted by Stop War @ 11:23 AM  
Videos from September 29



More Videos from September 29 Here

Labels: ,

posted by Stop War @ 11:22 AM  
More photos from the Sept 29 March

























posted by Stop War @ 9:22 AM  
Saturday, September 29, 2007
The Encampment to Stop the War has moved to the streets!




posted by Stop War @ 8:54 PM  
Encampment Youth Occupy the Streets





The Encampment to Stop the War has moved to the streets!

Youth activists, veterans, and antiwar organizers have taken the street near Constitution Ave., Pennsylvania Ave., and 4th St. NW in the middle of Washington, D.C.

Several hundred people have completely shut down the street, including people from as far away as Oregon and Florida. They intend to keep the street closed for as long as possible.

Hundreds of supporters have gathered on the sidewalks, as youth are erecting tents from the Encampment in the middle of the street.

They are asking for the progressive and antiwar community in the area to come out and support them. Bring food, water, signs, and join youth from across the U.S. who are moving from protest to resistance to shut down the war.

For more information, or to find out how you can help, call 202-821-3686.

As of 8:40 pm, about 100 youth from the Encampment are still occupying Constitution Ave., which they have now blocked for more than 5 hours.

Local activists have turned out with food and water to support this action.
posted by Stop War @ 8:41 PM  
Donate!
If you can't join us at the Encampment - you can still be a part of this mobilzation to Stop the War at Home and Abroad. Please consider making a generous donation to help cover the costs of transportation, food, tents, sound equipment, and much more. You can donate online donate online at http://troopsoutnow.org/donate.shtml.

Troops Out Now Website

Encampment to Stop the War blog

Youth and Students

The Troops Out Now Coalition


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It's time to move from Protest to Resistance:

SEPT 22- 29: Encampment in Washington DC & March on the White House

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