Friday, October 5, 2007
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  
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

Troops Out Now Website

Encampment to Stop the War blog

Youth and Students

The Troops Out Now Coalition

Previous Post
SEPT 22 - 29

It's time to move from Protest to Resistance:

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

SEPT 29: National March on from the Capitol to the White House

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