mardi, janvier 30, 2007

Actualité - United States Anti-War Demonstrations

Enough Is Enough! End the War Now!

On January 27, tens of thousands of people from across the United States converged on Washington, DC to put President George W. Bush and Congress on notice: "We have had enough. We demand an end to the war now. We want all the troops home now!" There is no debate, no confusion. It is not a matter of simply opposing an escalation. On the contrary the many signs calling for impeachment and "Purge Not Surge" made clear that the effort by top Democrats to divert resistance to simply opposing escalation of the war rather than the war itself is not succeeding. The sentiment to impeach Bush for war crimes was very broad as was the refusal to accept anything less than an end to the war now and no more aggressive wars, against Iran, Cuba or any other country.

The demonstration, estimated by organizers at more than 100,000, brought out many new participants. Many families marched, as did many young girls ten and twelve years old and high school youth, rejecting military recruiters in their schools and refusing to serve in the military. Iraq war veterans and military families were out in force. The action also represented the increasingly broad character of resistance to war and aggression. Many collectives identified themselves, including farmers, park rangers, psychologists and more. They marched alongside increasing numbers of religious, labour and women's groups. Many states were also represented, including Arizona, North Carolina, Virginia, Vermont and others.

Protesters surrounded the Capitol, making clear that Congress is the target and that there is no patience for the Democrats' refrain that "moving too quickly will harm the troops." To this the protesters said, "Not one more death, American or Iraqi! Not one cent, not one youth for war!" The only way to defend the rights of the peoples is to bring all the troops home now and block all wars of aggression.

When President George W. Bush announced plans to carry out more crimes against the Iraqi people in his January 10 Address to the Nation, Americans across the country immediately protested. They demanded an immediate end to the war against Iraq, no funds for war, and all U.S. troops home now and full funding for their medical needs. In Bismark, North Dakota, the group Surge for Peace delivered petitions to members of the local congressional delegation. In Austin, Texas, the Stop the War coalition hosted a march and rally featuring student activists, Green Party activists, and members of the group Veterans for Peace. (A full listing of all marches nationwide can be found on the website The level of anger was indicated by the fact that the number of actions jumped from a couple of hundred to more than 500, then more than 1,000 over the course of a few days. Actions called with one to two days notice were successful. Protestors vigorously said No! to the war and everywhere got the warm support of motorists and passersby. On January 27, demonstrators were especially angered at the Bush call to increase troops, an action that is clearly revenge against the growing Iraqi resistance. It is also a slap in the face to the overwhelming vote against war in the November U.S. midterm elections.

While Bush escalates and Congress refuses to act, the militant anti-war spirit of the protesters was firm and resolute. Whether young or old, veteran or new-comer, from the south or west or north or east, there was one voice and there was one stand -- now is the time to end the war, now is the time to bring all U.S. troops home, now is the time to stop funding war. Now! We do not accept a pro-war government. If Congress does not submit to the will of the people, let the Democrats beware -- the people are preparing to bring forward their own anti-war government.

Saturday's demonstration in Washington was just one of more than 50 held around the country this weekend. Another demonstration in Los Angeles, California expressed the same militant determination of the American people to end war now! Local indymedia reported that "2,000 to 5,000 people demonstrated against the continuing U.S. war on the people of Iraq today. A protest was held today outside the Los Angeles offices of the Democratic Party. Protesters demanded that the newly elected Democratic controlled congress stop funding for the war in Iraq and begin the process of bringing all the troops home now. Protesters then marched through downtown to the Federal Building for a second rally featuring speakers Cindy Sheehan, Ron Kovic, Nativo Lopez and others. The event was peaceful, no arrests or incidents of police violence have been reported."

In San Francisco, 5,000 turned out to protest against President Bush's plan to send 21,500 additional troops to Iraq. In Seattle, more than 1,000 people turned out to protest. Among the speakers at that rally was first Lt. Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to face prosecution for refusing to serve in Iraq.

United for Peace and Justice

United for Peace and Justice, a coalition of over 1,300 advocacy groups that share a common goal and the main coalition organizing the actions across the country, said its internet site received more than 5 million hits this month, including 650,000 on Wednesday -- the day leaders held a media briefing about the protest.

According to UFPJ, the action was meant to send a message: "Congress, end the war." UFPJ has embraced the Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Restoration Act of 2007 -- legislation that would bring all U.S. Forces out of Iraq in six months.

Prior to the demonstration, UFPJ co-chair Judith LeBlanc described the situation as a "Perfect Storm" for the peace movement, Matt Renner a reporter and radio producer wrote for Truthout.

"We have majority opinion and very vocal opposition across many sectors of the people," LeBlanc said. "We also see an incredible spiral of crisis and dying in Iraq, and we have a president who is pushing us into a constitutional crisis because he refuses to listen to the will of the American people. We have a Congress that is listening, with many members who were elected because the war is a critical issue for their constituents. We must act; we must be in the streets; we must make real the mandate for peace."

According to LeBlanc, UFPJ has been holding briefing sessions with the new Democratic majority since the midterm elections. "What the congressmen say, without qualification, is 'stay in the streets, keep it loud, keep it vocal, keep it visible, because that is the wind at our backs,'" LeBlanc said.

"A long [presidential] campaign is a very good thing for the peace movement because it will give candidates time to travel across the country and hear what the people want them to do about Iraq," LeBlanc said. "The debates and the statements made by many of the candidates will be seen in sharp relief against the statements that President Bush continues to make. We want a national discussion; we want all the candidates to respond to the urgent need for a plan to end this war and to help the Iraqis rebuild their nation. You are going to see a very different Republican primary contest. Every candidate has to respond to this central issue."

UFPJ's Leslie Cagan told Inter Press Service that the level of energy in the antiwar movement has spiked since the November election, when voters ended Republican majorities in both houses of Congress.

"The voters of this country figured out that they could use the November elections as a vehicle to voice their opposition to the war," Cagan said. "What happened there was that the voters gave Congress a mandate to end the war in Iraq and bring the troops home."

Cagan told IPS that the mixed message from the Democrats would make a large turnout at Saturday's demonstration particularly important.

"That's why it's critical to keep the pressure on," she said. "We are encouraging every single person who agrees with us who can possibly make the trip to Washington this coming weekend to be with us," adding that the antiwar movement is staging a lobby day on Capital Hill for Monday, January 29.

"Now we know it's a big country and everyone can't make the trip," she added. "That's why we've organised demonstrations for over 50 cities across the country including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle."

Military Families Travel from 31 States to Participate

More than 150 military families, members of Military Families Speak Out (MFSO), travelled to Washington, DC from 31 states. MFSO is an organization of over 3,200 military families who are opposed to the war in Iraq and the largest organization of military families opposing a war in the history of the United States. The families came from Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and West Virginia, and included MFSO members from Washington, DC.

Today, MFSO will also be calling on Congress to vote against the upcoming appropriation request that would allow the war in Iraq to continue. They are telling Senators and Members of Congress to "Support Our Troops by De-Funding the War, Bring Our Troops Home Now and Take Care of Them When They Get Here."

Last year a Zogby poll showed that 72 per cent of the troops thought the U.S. should exit Iraq within a year. Just this month 1,000 active duty military personnel filed an Appeal for Redress, a petition asking Congress to "support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq."

Americans Against Escalation Against Iraq

Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, a coalition of labor unions, and other groups that have traditionally rallied against wars, has raised $1.5 million since it was formed two weeks ago. The group is singling out Republicans and Democrats who have spoken out against the war, but who have so far declined to pledge support for a resolution denouncing Bush's plan to increase the number of troops, the New York Times reported.

Next week, the group intends to fly Iraq veterans to the home states of Republican senators who serve on the Foreign Relations Committee and voted Wednesday against the resolution condemning the administration plan, including Senators Norm Coleman of Minnesota and John E. Sununu of New Hampshire. Television advertisements are scheduled to be shown in some of the same states in an effort to apply pressure before the Senate vote on the resolution in early February.

"The face of antiwar is not what it was in the '70s," said Jon Soltz, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who is the chairman of a group called VoteVets.

According to aides to lawmakers quoted by the New York Times, if members of Congress are slowly finding their voice opposing the administration's Iraq plan, it is in no small part because of the face-to-face lobbying campaign that is a central piece of the strategy employed by Americans Against Escalation in Iraq. The group plans to spend up to $9 million, said its spokesman, Brad Woodhouse, which they expect to raise through Internet solicitations and individual donations.

According to the New York Times, "Americans Against Escalation in Iraq receives its organizational and financial muscle, at least in part, from the Service Employees International Union, the largest labor organization in the country, which wields significant influence in Democratic politics. For the first time, the union is speaking out against the plan to increase troops in Iraq."

"There was an election that showed clear consequences," said Andrew L. Stern, the president of the union. "It's incumbent on Democrats to express their disagreement with the president."

(Sources: Voice of Revolution,, Inter Press Service, Truthout, New York Times)

(The Marxist-Leninist Daily - January 29 2006)

Libellés :