A weekend of protest
If you ask me, there hasn’t been much to feel patriotic about since 9-11 changed the geopolitical game and Emperor Bush II began his push for pre-emptive global domination. But I have to admit that I was proud to see the number of everyday people who turned out in Washington, D.C, and San Francisco last weekend to say “no” to the war on Iraq and the Bush administration’s thinly veiled imperialism (unofficial estimates place crowds somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 in both cities; see our essay section for an SF account). Just to hear chants of “No Blood for Oil” and “Impeach Bush” did this curmudgeonly heart some good.
I was also glad there were no riots/major arrests and that mainstream media still deemed the events worthy to cover (without all cameras focused on ninja activists or crusty hippies on stilts). After all, these were diverse anti-war protests with people of all ages and social classes coming together to say “not in our name” to the pillaging lynch posse of war pigs in the White House.
While some speakers were good, I am still wary of the role of the International ANSWER coalition that spearheaded the organizing. This is a coalition formed after the Sept. 11 attacks by the International Action Coalition, itself an outgrowth of the Workers World Party. (It has been reported that ANSWER front-man Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. attorney general, is on the legal committee for Slobodan Milosevic, and the IAC has been an apologist for both the Iraqi and North Korean regimes.) Without getting into the tangled web of peace protest groups, it should be noted that the modern peace movement consists of many diverse groups, from the farthest left-wing progressives to old conservative military generals. The main thing is that increased media coverage means Bush feels the heat.
It’s not blood or suffering that sways plutocracies like the Dubya administration, but poll numbers—and Bush’s support is finally slipping. To conduct such a massive, expensive military campaign during an economic downturn should seem foolish to even the most ignorant citizens who buy corporate-owned media propaganda or those who conveniently drop their moral compasses when it comes to inexpensively gassing their SUVs.
Top protest signs seen/heard
1. “Frodo failed! Bush has the ring!”
2. “Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld: Axis of Weasel”
3. “Attention media: this is not a parade but a serious exercise in Democracy”
4. “Who would Jesus bomb?”
5. “Drunk frat boy drives country into ditch, starts war to cover up”
6. “Liberate health care, not Iraq”
7. “Who elected this Fu#!er”
1. War protestors = real patriots
2. SNL‘s Tracy Morgan at Chico State 3/27
3. Trans Am at the Brick 2/25
4. Kinski at the Riff Raff 2/20