portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements global

actions & protests | imperialism & war s24 mobilization

Marching alone won't change a thing !!!

March against the war on Saturday,on Sunday organize a general strike against the war and the imperialist dictators of the usa...

Although i don't object to you organizing another march, a march by itself is mostly useless at this time. And i'm amazed, quite frankly, that you would throw so much organization, money, people hours and energy, into something that ends after a day, and evaporates back into thin air. Do you not realize that the Bush junta can withstand many of these marches? That it's going to take much more than marching to stop this war machine?

Why are you not additionally organizing something like a long-term shut down of the Pentagon, White House, and Capitol, beginning the following Monday, Sept 26? Why simply a march? I will not travel across this enormous country just to march again, but i WOULD buy a plane ticket to DC if i knew that on Sept 26, i and tens of thousands of other Americans would converge in DC to shut it down until our (?) government starts listening to the people. And i know of dozens of people here in my little town who would commit to joining me for such a nonviolent sustained direct action.

Why so little creativity in your planning?

In Argentina, workers are sitting in on their factory floors and taking over the factories where they work, becoming their own bosses. In France, South Korea and elsewhere, citizens are doing full-scale general strikes against government policies. In Mexico, peasants are slowly taking back economic and decision-making control over large sectors of the country. The world's peoples are rising up in ever larger numbers to say NO MORE WAR! Except here, in the belly of empire. Here in the US, all we can muster is a march or two every year? And then we go back to our homes and wish there was something we could do??? There IS something we can do!!! But it's going to take a much bolder vision than simply marching.

Don't get me wrong! I love peace marches. I've worked with others to organize many of them here in northern CA and in other places i've lived. I've been a community organizer for 27 years and counting. So please don't ignore my concern as uninformed!

It is not too late to add a second event that starts on Sept 26, and builds organically from there. And we have the smarts here in this country already to envision and organize such an event. A perfect example is the bold folks in San Francisco who totally shut down their city's commercial district for 2 days as the Iraq invasion was just beginning. Americans have done mass civil disobedience successfully across the country to shut down the nuclear industry. And let's certainly not forget what we accomplished in the streets of Seattle against the WTO meetings there.

Americans of all ages already know how to do this stuff! So why aren't good people like you putting your energy into THAT kind of organizing???

Please stop mobilizing we the people for events that simply cannot achieve your/our goals, but which eat up enormous funds, energy and time!!!

Sincerely hoping to hear a real answer to my letter soon.
Paul Cienfuegos
POB 27, Arcata CA 95518

PS. I am CC'ing my letter to you to hundreds of other peace-movement active people across my county and beyond. And am hoping that they also choose to write to you to share THEIR concerns as well about the questionable usefulness of yet another peace march without other more powerful actions attached to it.

Momentum Builds
for Sept. 24 Mass March
in Washington DC

Dear VoteNoWar.org member,

The importance of the mass antiwar protests being organized on September 24 is driven home by two major new stories appearing today (May 19). A front-page article in the New York Times, headlined "Generals Offer a Sober Outlook on Iraqi War", is further confirmation of what has become crystal clear over the past month: The U.S. war strategy is in deep crisis and there is no more a "light" at the end of the tunnel in Iraq than there was in Vietnam. Pulling back from their rosy assessments of just a month ago, one unnamed top officer stated that the war could last "many years."

"The rising economic cost of the Iraq war" is the headline in the Christian Science Monitor. By 2010, according to the Congressional Budget Office, "war expenses might total $600 billion." The Congressional Research office predicts another $458 billion, on top of the $320 billion already appropriated a total of $758 billion (more than three-quarters of a trillion dollars) by 2014.

The cost in human lives and critically needed resources has already been enormous. More than 100,000 Iraqis have been killed and untold numbers wounded. Living conditions have declined drastically in most of the country, while the indices of malnutrition, sickness and illiteracy have all risen sharply, astounding statistics given the fact that the baseline for measurement was a society that had lived for 13 years under genocidal sanctions. More than 1,600 U.S. soldiers have been killed, and over 28,000 have suffered from serious wounds (many causing permanent disability), injuries and illness.

We must emphasize that as George Galloway, an antiwar member of the British Parliament, pointed out this week, the "case for war was a pack of lies." Galloway's testimony to a Senate sub-committee headed by Sen. Norm Coleman was a devastating blow, not only to the right-wing, war mongering senator, but even more so to the administration's now-discredited justification of the invasion of Iraq. As Galloway so eloquently explained in a presentation unprecedented in the mainstream media here, all the killing, dying and suffering in Iraq has been sold to the people on false pretenses.

At the same time, we know that the Bush administration and its supporters, Democrat as well as Republican (the Senate vote for next year's war appropriation was 99-0), plan to continue the war and occupation in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Haiti and elsewhere, the threats against other countries from Korea to Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, Syria, etc., and the attacks on living standards here, until they forced to stop.

It is this reality that underlines the importance of holding a united mass action on September 24 in Washington DC. On that day, thousands will assemble at the White House at 12 noon and march through the streets of DC. Parallel mass protests are planned for the West Coast in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

As the Call to Action states, "There is nothing more urgent than to construct unity in the face of Empire. Real unity cannot be built by sacrificing the rights of some but rather it will be forged by embracing everyone's rights and just struggles for liberation. United we are the majority. United we can fight and win."

Momentum Builds:

Over 2,000 endorsers in just one week
Transportation already planned nationally
Since the call for United Mass Action on September 24 in Washington DC - with coordinated actions in San Francisco and Los Angeles - was issued just one week ago, mobilizing has begun in cities and towns across the country. It is clear that activists are united on the importance of holding a massive mobilization in Washington DC on September 24 - and using every day available to mobilize.

In the first 5 days, over 600 endorsements were received - and in the last 3 days that number has more than tripled. There are now over 2,000 endorsers who have signed on to the September 24 Call! Fill out the Endorsement Form to add your name to this important Call to Action (endorsements from individuals and organizations are welcome - public listing is optional).

Many of the endorsers are from local peace and social justice organizations who are also planning to mobilize their members and constituencies to be in DC on September 24. Already, plans are being solidified for buses, vans and car caravans to travel from across the United States to be in Washington DC for the Mass March on September 24, as well as in San Francisco and Los Angeles for the coordinated actions.

In southern New Jersey, buses are picking up from in front of malls and courthouses in several locations before heading to DC. In northern New Jersey, picks ups are from two train stations and a university. People have offered to drive their cars from locations as diverse as Dallas, Texas (21 hours from DC) and Farmville, Virginia (3 hours from DC) to come Washington DC with as many people as they can fit. There is a van planning to drive over 14 hours from Montfort, Wisconsin. Coordinated transportation is coming from Charlotte, North Carolina. And that's just to mention a few.

Begin to make your plans today! Use the next four months to fill as many buses as you can to be in DC on September 24. Fill out the Transportation Form to list your city and contact information so that we can help spread the word. If you have never organized transportation from your city before, contact the National Office of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition by calling 202-544-3389 x14 or emailing  info@internationalanswer.org. We are happy to help with advise and answers to any questions you might have.
escape from the land of the dead 22.May.2005 17:49

mo' feral lamb

I got so tired of the peace marches (more like shuffles) here in town that I stopped going. March 20th was a fairly liberating day, but that aside I always felt like a zombie. One drags one's butt down to some spectacle comprised of a very few shrill voiced speakers with nothing serious to say except the ever popular "not my president/vote for Richy Rich 'cos he's not Bush", or "no blood for oil", or (if you're really lucky) "no war!" (though they must mean THIS war, as the implied objection to all war is really a complex proposal that the previous thousand years of the speaker's pontificating seems to contradict). After an hour or two of being lulled into a catatonic state the whole gelatinous mass slurps out of whichever park it had been using as it's back-patting zone and proceeds to move through some serpentine, authority-approved, populationless maze at a whopping 0.5 mph. At this point there are signs with such mind-blowing phrases as "give peace a chance" and "if Richy Rich were president you could be at home, because Richy Rich only kills tens of thousands of brown people for good reasons, he said so", and the occassional chant with it's minimal meaning lost after it's gzillionth repitition. Some people mumble along. A very few shout quite loudly when it makes them feel better. Most people just smile meekly at the whole thing and start thinking about what they want to pick up on the way home for dinner. After an hour or two of this, most people go home, with a short stop for some organic groceries trucked in from the moon, because it's a concientious kind of fuckin' day.

The media runs a nice 3 second piece on the unusually peaceful/large crowd that turned out and another, longer piece on the virtues of demolishing the entire damn planet for god, glory, and several cent price reduction in whichever comodity is relevant to the day. And that's it.

I don't know if occupying D.C. for a few days would change much, but what we've all been doing so far hasn't changed anything. At the very least it might be a nice message to send out to all the people that are being blown to bits of meat with the money we all politely hand over to our obviously not trustworthy government. Something like "hey look! We actually care enough to risk a beating or arrest! We're actually trying here!". It's not anything more than a token gesture at this point, but it would be that, and that's something.

On a related note, we should be working on something like that for p-town. We've learned (I think) from a couple protests (the first GW one and March 20) that splitting into more than one group can be more effective than not doing so. We know that downtown portland is connected to it's work force by a handful of bridges and a couple highways. We know that cops have a harder time abusing us if we are mobile. We have learned a few things that should be applied, rather than ignored for the sake of making resistance feel like consumption.

Here's an idea... 23.May.2005 12:07

Working Class Mama

The only way that protests are actually effective is when a target is shut down for however long is necessary to bring it to its knees. For the WTO, it was a week to shut down one meeting. However, you have to suffer through an awful lot to sustain a long attack on such a large and well armed target. It would be like securing a logging road blockade times 100. But it has been done before lots of times. We just got to organise it realistically and have a victory plan(what to do when we win). Also it would make much more sense if violent and non-violent activists could work together. Using a diversity of tactics under the umbrella of a winning strategy incorporating all would make us all unstoppable. But I guess it all depends on how serious you really are...

Many hands make lighter work 23.May.2005 18:11

Paula Green

There is a "place" for marching to demonstrate for and protest against. It is fiting to get together sometimes, keep each other's spirits up, take in a good breath to keep on with the good fight.

I think what a lot of people forget, or have perhaps not yet figured out, is that a march is just the tiniest tip of the iceberg. I might even say it is a symbol of the "real" work that we need to do to create the world we need.

There are any number of ways to do this work - perhaps as many ways as there are imaginative and loving people. For instance, there's: the ongoing introspective journey, family rlations, one's choice (?) of employment, one's consumerism, one's interpretations of civic responsibility to the common good, and - of course - the cause or causes to which one devotes energy with a goup.

Getting involoved with a specific cause IS important. Just "going to a march" is like just wearing a pin - it's not enough. The challenge isn't just big - it's huge. But remember, Many hands do make lighter work.

who said? 24.May.2005 00:02

eric the red

who said you should march alone?