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actions & protests | imperialism & war m19 2006

Report from the M19 Rally and March

I attended the rally today, listened to the speakers, and marched with the thousands of people who did the same. I surely appreciate the creative spirit of all those who made costumes, signs, banners, danced, drummed, and chanted. I hugged friends and comrades, shared moments of recognition with other activists who have also attended many rallies and protests, who have worked long hours, and who have felt the heavy hand of police repression.
My eyes filled with tears at the anguish in the heart of the father who lost his son. I nodded my head when the reverend spoke so eloquently of our loss of civil rights. I felt keenly the burden on all of us as the woman from Iraq spoke of the crimes we are committing against her friends, family, neighbors and country.

As people spoke of the challenges we face, I felt that the speech was strong, eloquent even. Yet when it turned to what should be done about those challenges we face, it felt weak and stilted. I agree that everyone should vote, yet with the vote fraud that has happened the past two elections, there isn't even a guarantee that ones vote will be counted in the column that the person chose. No, voting is nowhere near enough. And what troubles me about suggesting people to vote, is that voting is far away in time. It is unsure, and far away. We need action that is sure and close. No specific action was called for other than vote, and give money.

For example, with 10,000 people there could be an ongoing action at all local recruiting centers during every single hour they are open, and no single person would have to show up more that a few hours every week. If every person there today gave every single dollar they had and every single person voted for an anti-war candidate, it would have no effect compared to every single person giving 4 hours of their time every week to picket the recruiting centers. That would send a shock through the whole nation and that would save the lives of many young people who might otherwise be seduced by the recruiters lies and propaganda.

As the march was ending, I had a number of people I ran into ask me - Did you have a good time?

I really tried not to be a bubble burster, but I did not go out there to have a good time. I did not go out there to party or celebrate. We have not won anything yet to celebrate. Today, people were killed in Iraq and tortured in secret prisons. This is done by our government, and our own passive complicity. We have not succeeded. Rather we are losing ground by the week. We cannot count on an honest vote. The media is complicit in government lies. Our tax money, which is our own labor, is used to kill. We are swiftly losing our Bill of Rights. We can be spied upon, searched, our property stolen, and soon taken off the streets for no reason (see SENS). We are on the brink of a full on police state. We have a frightening road ahead of us, and I would really hope to see more determination and seriousness than measuring the day by whether we had a good time.

It is obvious that everyone there does wish for peace, for democracy, for a government of, by and for the people, for an end to war, tyranny, and the fascism that is creeping into the marrow of this society. The question isn't whether people want these things, the question is whether they are willing to pay the price to make them so.
yes 20.Mar.2006 00:10

a concerned citizen

I actually had the exact same thoughts and feelings when they were talking about voting and giving money. That is good and everything, but we should know by now the politicians wont save us (yet it is worth working at still). However, we need direct action, everyday, every week. We shouldnt let up at all. Look at the protests in France and other countries in that area. They are talking about going on a general strike and have mass protests and resistance everyday. I wish people would be more willing (and maybe they are, but it hasnt happened yet) to step out and sacrafice. The protest was a good movement and it showed that more and more people are starting to care and that they are waking up. This need to continue growing, but at the same time we need to start doing more. We need to shut down the recruiting centers, media outlets, and other corporate machines that are hurting us. We could even try putting together our own branch of the government, the people's branch, we could do a lot of things. It all comes down to organizing those willing, planning, expanding, and taking action. So what is next?

thank you for saying this 20.Mar.2006 00:18

another activist

we could have occupied buildings
we could have done something significant.
the theatre and costumes and signs were great,
but we desperately need more.

i just hope it won't take a nuke on our soil
or martial law imposed after an avian flu outbreak

anyway, if we can turn out 10,000 in march, we can do it again

i'll see you in the streets!

the world is waiting for our revolution 20.Mar.2006 06:38

patrik angstrom poore hearusnow@gmail.com

hey, folks out there in portland, miss you all, and it`s good to see fotos of friends in the streets. here in venezuela, there were tens of thousands in the street for international womenīs day, and we delivered a letter to the US embassy from the women of Venezuela to the US government to get out of Iraq. It was moving. But, oddly, thereīs no protest today.

From here, the US is a giant awesome monster with golden teeth - "gold" that many recognize was taken from from the lands that Iīm walking around on. After the world social forum in January, when a lot of Venezuelan Bolivarians got to see for the first time that there are broad movements in the US to try to stop our government before it kills again. And many people said to me: hey, itīs your government that we hate, not the people of North America. And of course, Ė know itīs more complicated than that: because yes, donīt hate us, we are angry with US policy too -- but fundamentally, the percentage of our population that sleeps is the same percentage of the population that lives below the poverty line in Venezuela. But we need to do more than be informed.

Since the march 3 years ago, when the US invaded Iraq, and Bush said that he wouldnīt listen to focus groups, it has been clear that simple marching is not enough. And many people echo the sentiments in these postings. My own feeling is that I do see marches as a social time, to catch up with friends, because it`s certainly not political action, in the sense that it is directed at systemic change.

We express our opinions enough. It`s time to take careful, committed action in our communities with a global analysis. Over and over as Iīve been moving through Central America and Venezuela, the question I get over and over again is: when are you guys going to have a revolution. They simply canīt understand that we have resources, education - and then when i tell them that a million people marched in DC, or 10,000 in portland - even further, they don`t get why we canīt make change. One woman in barrio 23 de enero, said something really important: "your job is even harder than ours, because your population is still asleep".

I think part of it is that we see our political work as something separate from our lives. Shall I go to a movie tonight, or attend a working group for immigrant rights? many of us, particularly progressives who didnīt grow up in communities of color, are disconnected from the realities of people who are suffering, in our country and outside. Staying informed is another choice we make. Itīs a choice with political overtones, but it doesnīt have political force.

Further, weīve learned that for a sleeping population, violent confrontation with power (economic or armed) is a difficult road if we donīt have solidarity networks. I mean, we could succeed in blocking Portland freeways, but we know that the average population would resist this. And what political or economic reality would this change. Perhaps fanning out into communities and doing kick ass organizing by putting structures into place that solve the problems of our communities might be the strength of an overfed and malnourished population... but i donīt know - how does it come to pass that the privileged to use their privilege to change the conditions of their privilege? Is ideology enough?


inspirational reading 20.Mar.2006 09:06

.

Check one or both of these books out - both available thru AK press - and maybe one of these books (both very small, but packed with timelines) will inspire folks to take the next step..

**Televisionaries

**How It All Began - The Personal Account of a West German Urban Guerilla

It seems to me that when people lose hope, and are confronted with no other options, that's when people start to work toward lasting change and confronting the power structures directly.

The many privileged folks here in this country still have hope of working our way into/beyond the middle classes. Until that hope fades, it's hard to imagine people will work to eliminate the class/caste system we have grown used to.

another 20.Mar.2006 10:38

comment

I am glad that we mobilized 10,000+ people on the streets yesterday. I am reminded however, that we mobilized more than that before the (main) war started and it did not stop it. It also did not lead to a significantly greater daily involvement from all those people in concrete daily action to effect change.

All the 20,000 people who marched in 2003 were all but invisible afterwards.

I would like to have seen strong calls from the stage for people to volunteer in specific ways. Booths set up with sign up sheets to organize those volunteers.

My Protest Video 20.Mar.2006 11:39

Wolf

Here's the link to my video compiled of my photos and Video (with the exception of a couple pictures)

 http://youtube.com/watch?v=ehg2nTxf5_Y

sweet 20.Mar.2006 16:36

aj

that was a sweet video, thanx.
when do we all meet again?
:)aj