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Date: Mon, 08 Oct 2001 15:05:03 -0700
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: Anti-war actions...continued (6)
Say No To War
by Joel Bleifuss
October 29, 2001
What would be a sensible way for the United States to respond to the
attacks of September 11? Though few signs of sense are to be found in the
belligerent Beltway, common sense and human decency provide useful
guideposts. The U.S. response should be based on the proposition that all
human life is equally precious. To bomb Afghanistan and kill innocent
people to get Osama bin Laden and the Taliban would be immoral.
Strategically, it would be folly. Killing civilians in a retaliatory
strike would only stoke the ranks of Islamic fundamentalist extremists
across the Muslim world. Our allies understand this and have cautioned
against such an indiscriminate response.
Further, bombing Afghanistan would truly escalate the September 11 attacks
to the level of a war. Absent such bombing, talk of war is nonsense. We
don't need a war on terrorism, a war some pundits have morphed into World
War III. Going to war may motivate Americans on the home front and unite
the country, but it will elicit the same response from those we attack.
Indeed, war (did someone say "crusade"?) ratchets up the conflict, turns
criminals into warriors (in this case holy ones) and sets the stage for a
never ending series of attacks and counterattacks, for death and more death.
The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are more
properly described as horrendous criminal acts. With such an understanding
we could confront bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization as we would domestic
terrorists. Of course, al-Qaeda, with branches in dozens of countries,
operates on a worldwide scale. What is needed is a global, unified response
to these criminals, and the very real threat they pose, preferably under
the umbrella of the United Nations. Such a collective response could deploy
the expertise of the world's military, police and intelligence communities
and be guided by seasoned world statesmen.
In formulating a united international strategy to stop al-Qaeda, we could
learn lessons from how other nations have coped with homegrown terrorism.
Britain doesn't bomb areas of Belfast to counter terrorist acts by
extremist Republicans and Unionists. Spain doesn't bomb Bilbao to get ETA,
the Basque separatists. Progress in these ongoing campaigns against
terrorism has come only when the Spanish and British governments have
acknowledged and addressed the legitimate grievances of historically
oppressed peopleand reined in out-of-control security forces.
Israel also provides us with a textbook case on how to deal with
terrorists. Under Yitzhak Rabin, for a time, peace seemed possible despite
the ongoing threat of suicide bombers. The policies of the Ariel Sharon
government, endorsed by the United States with its silence, policies that
include the bombardment of Palestinian neighborhoods, have undone what
progress was made. Similarly, we can learn what not to do by examining
Russia's brutal suppression of the Chechen rebellion.
Unfortunately, the track record of Bush's foreign policy team, veterans of
the war on communism, does not inspire confidence. Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld rabidly opposed detente with the Soviet Union. The future
U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte (his nomination
slipped through committee after the attacks), turned a blind eye to
state-sponsored death squads trained by the CIA when he was ambassador to
Honduras. And Secretary of State Colin Powell (now in the administration's
moderate minority) burned Vietnamese peasants out of their huts, "starting
the blaze with Rooson and Zippo lighters," as he recalled his autobiography.
In this atmosphere of public apprehension and fear, the terrorist threat,
like the communist menace of yore, has given the Bush administration carte
blanche to do whatever it likes. The war on communism brought with it
myriad atrocities, atrocities that moved Congress to put limitations on
U.S. intelligence agencies. In this so-called War on Terrorism, those
controls are now heading for the bonfire.
In the enveloping darkness, it's time for those of us who doubt the wisdom
of such actions to speak out.
Anti-War Rally Draws Thousands to Washington
By Mark Wilkinson
Saturday September 29, 2001
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Thousands of protesters peacefully flooded
the streets of the nation's capital on Saturday to call for peace,
as President Bush moved forward with plans for a military strike
against those responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks on the United
Chanting "war is not the answer," an estimated 10,000 demonstrators
assembled peacefully only blocks from the White House. Their voices
rose in opposition to the "war on terrorism" that the Bush
administration declared on Saudi-born militants including Saudi-born
Osama bin Laden, the chief suspect in the attacks, which left 6,500
dead or missing.
"War is not the answer because the events on Sept. 11 were not the
first battle in the war. This has been an escalating cycle of
violence," Brian Becker, one of the protest organizers, told Reuters.
"The U.S. has tens of thousands of troops in the Middle East. They
occupy Saudi Arabia, they bomb Iraq every week, they impose economic
sanctions in Iraq so dreadfully that the (United Nations) say 1.5
million Iraqi people have died," he added.
Many of the protesters traveled from across the country to join
the rally. James Creedon, a rescue worker in New York City, left
the rubble of Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center once stood
as a symbol of America's economic might, to join the medical teams
at the protests.
NO WORLD TRADE CENTERS
"Like the people here I want justice done, but I don't want to see
the destruction of more innocent lives," Creedon told Reuters.
"Many people at Ground Zero want international justice, but we
don't want to see a hundred or a thousand more World Trade Centers
in this country or abroad."
As hundreds of police officers in riot gear looked on, protesters
of all ages, races and movements carried banners bearing messages
that revenge would benefit nobody. "Eye for an eye and we're all
blind," one banner read. "Violence does not solve violence," said another.
Although recent polls showed an overwhelming majority of the American
people support some form of military action, Becker said the
protesters represented a broad spectrum of the U.S. population.
"It is the rainbow, it is what America looks like right now," Becker
said. "The administration is unfortunately believing its own
propaganda and its own polls."
Protesters also demonstrated against the hundreds of attacks on
Arab Americans and Muslims carried out since the attacks across
PATRIOTS AMONG PROTESTERS
Between the demonstrators' chants and drum beats rose some voices
of support for the Bush administration and a forceful response to
the attacks that have stirred emotions across the world.
"This isn't about racism, this is about exacting justice for 6,500
Americans and people from more than 70 countries around the world
were murdered, murdered, mass murdered," said Carter Wood, a
government employee who called the demonstrators "the hard-core
"America mass murders every single day," interjected a masked
protester angered by Wood's remarks.
On Pennsylvania Avenue, one man walked swiftly past the protesters,
brandishing a sign that read "Nuke them, and there will be no war."
Others, like Bill Fredericks, brandished signs reading "God Bless
America," and said those responsible for the attacks were in a war
against America because of what the nation represents.
"The people in the Middle East want to kill us no matter what we
say or do, just because we are Americans," Fredericks, an office
worker for telephone company, told Reuters.
Further away, anti-war protesters set an American flag aflame. A
young man grabbed the burning cloth and put the flames out, screaming,
"Don't burn my flag -- ever."
Stopping The War
The Peace Movement returns
by Geov Parrish
October 29, 2001
It seemed impossible. Within a week of the most devastating foreign attack
on the U.S. mainland in its history, a day when thousands died and
virtually everyone in the country began worrying about their
own physical safety and that of their loved ones, people were in the
streets, demanding peace. Lots of
people: thousands in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Portland and Seattle.
Smaller but equally
determined crowds sprang up in cities and towns across the country. By
September 2211 days after the attack, one student coalition had pulled
together a day of events on 155 campuses nationwide. Was this the peace
movement? The same folks who sleepwalked through NATO's U.S.-led bombing of
Yugoslavia only two years ago? Well, no. Few ventured then into the moral
quagmire of an apparent U.S. attempt at "humanitarian intervention." It was
a confusing issue, but more importantly, it was one ordinary people didn't
have to care about.
Everyone, however, cared about September 11and had an opinion about what
the government should do. At first, the dominant sense, the only sense, to
hear our TV networks, was to go kick some A-rab ass. But within days, more
and more people started asking significant questions about the
effectiveness of George Bush's proposed War on Terrorism. Questions like:
How can the war be fought? Who is the enemy? Where is the enemy? How can
we achieve victory? How will we know when we've achieved it? Is this the
best way to prevent future terrorism? Will we create more terrorists than
Those are not simply pacifist questions; they're common-sense questions
that transcend ideology, and so the crowds have grown from the pacifist and
progressive core, through faith-based communities and into the mainstream.
An international Gallup poll released on September 21 showed overwhelming
public opposition in 29 of 31 countries to a U.S. military response.
Majorities of up to 80 to 90 percent in Europe and Latin America favored
extradition and trial of those responsible, not armed force. The only
countries where military response was favored were Israel (77 percent) and
the United States, with only 54 percent. A week after unimaginable loss of
civilian life, nearly half of the American public had serious doubts about
our proposed war.
Very little of this appeared in national media until the White House and
Pentagon finally acknowledged some of the same concerns. As a result,
Americans have now been cautioned not to expect a massive land invasion.
That comes as an enormous relief to the new anti-war movement, which has
been motivated in large part by fears that what Bush and his circle of
hawks had been proposing would not only be ineffective, but could rapidly
become World War III.
The new movement's challenge is to call for the United States and its
allies to pursue a reasoned, effective strategy, without its demands
sounding like apologies for terrorism. That will require tact, clarity and
understanding. It requires saying not just what activists want to say, but
what that 46 percent, and others, need to hear. It requires not just a
litany of past U.S. foreign policy sins, but explaining how non-military
options can stop terrorism better: improved security without stripping
civil liberties; improved policing and intelligence without abusive covert
programs; and attacking the motivations of young, poor, devout, desperate
terrorists, in other words, challenging policies by which the West promotes
poverty, dictatorships and violence in the Islamic world.
September 11 impacted American life in so many ways that the activist
temptation is to incorporate everyone's pet issues, because they're all
affected. But this movement needs focus and coordination for the many
people who spontaneously came out into the streets so quickly. All agree
that the War on Terrorism won't go away soon. That gives anti-war activists
time to organize, and to insist that terrorism be prevented more
effectively, without war. The sooner military deployments end, the better
our future. The race is on.
Where Have All The Liberals Gone?
Barbara Lee stand alone
by Annette Fuentes
October 29, 2001
When the history books are written, let the record show there was one
politician with a backbone when it mattered. Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland,
California was the only member of the House or Senate on September 14 to
vote against handing President George W. Bush vast authority to commence
war or wars against unknown terrorists and the countries that aid them.
When the vote on Resolution 64, Authorization for Use of Military Force,
was called in the House that Friday night, Lee stood tall even if she stood
alone among the 421 members present. "I know this use-of-force resolution
will pass," Lee said. "There must be some of us who say, let's step back
for a moment and think through the implications of our actions today, let
us more fully understand its consequences."
Recalling the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that opened a Pandora's Box in
Southeast Asia we still haven't closed, Lee invoked the prescient words of
Sen. Wayne Morse. One of just two senators opposing that resolution, Morse
said: "I believe that history will record that we have made a grave mistake
in subverting and circumventing the Constitution."
The congresswoman, who now has a police guard because of the death threats
she received after the vote, is a voice of reason and dissent when almost
all other voices being broadcast, from Congress, the White House and the
media, are irrational, ill-informed and incendiary. The real question is
not why Lee voted against HR 64 but why she was the only one of 421
representatives and 98 senators to vote against it.
The resolution authorizes Bush "to use all necessary and appropriate force
against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned,
authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks ... or harbored such
organizations or persons." Although it contains no requirement that Bush
return to Congress to report on his activities, HR 64 states that nothing
supercedes the War Powers Act, which requires a president to report and
consult with Congress.
This deficiency bothered at least some House members, but not enough.
Democrat Pete Stark, another Bay Area congressman, told the House: "I have
real reservations about the resolution we are considering today. It should
contain explicit language ensuring that the president reports to Congress
and consults with us in planning and executing a military response. But it
does not." Stark nonetheless voted with the herd.
Rep. Maxine Waters, another California liberal, has seldom been afraid to
speak truth to power. Whither Waters on HR 64? "The congresswoman felt she
had to give full resources to the president," says spokeswoman Candace
Tolliver, who adds that Waters "expects the president to come back to
Michigan Rep. John Conyers, always a forceful counterweight to
congressional conservatives, was MIA when the vote was taken on HR 64.
Although he'd been in Washington earlier, Conyers was in his district and
unable to get back to Washington for the vote the night of September 14,
according to spokeswoman Danielle Brown. "He's not saying how he would have
voted," Brown says. Rep. Bernie Sanders, the independent congressman from
Vermont, stated for the congressional record that "widespread and
indiscriminate force could lead to more violence and more
anti-Americanism." Then Sanders voted with the rest. In New York, erstwhile
liberal Democrat Rep. Jerrold Nadler seemed himself transmogrified by
events. Proving that Bush and his cadre of craggy advisors don't have a
monopoly on rah-rah rhetoric, Nadler declared from the House floor: "We
must pass this resolution. We must wage the war that has been thrust upon
us. We must do it resolutely, and we must be victorious and rid the world
of this scourge of terrorism."
Asked if Nadler was concerned by HR 64's lack of any reporting requirement
for Bush, spokesman Eric Schmeltzer replied: "He thinks Congress is not in
the business of micromanaging a war. We have to give the commander-in-chief
some leeway to defend the country."
Asked if Nadler now had confidence in Bush, whose legitimate claim to the
presidency is still debated, Schmeltzer said, "At times like this you have
to have trust in your commander-in-chief. We can't have another election."
At least that much is true. But if there were another election, there is
only one person with the intelligence to understand that violence is at the
root of our present predicament. Barbara Lee for president. Imagine.
What We Did in DC:
4 Oct 2001
We filled the Streets:
We participated, in one way or another, in three different marches
over the weekend, with very different tones and energies. And they
were all fine. The ACC march had some tense moments, but it all
worked out. Nobody rioted, none of the marches were attacked by
counterdemonstrators, even the masked Black Bloc in the ACC got peace
signs and waves of support from bystanders. We held onto the
political space of street demonstrations in spite of a lot of fear in
a whole lot of people. We kept the movement for social justice
moving forward. And the success of the marches will inspire more
people to speak out and stand up.
We did magic:
We did intensive, marathon magic: was it five or six spiral dances?
that helped shift the balance of probabilities toward peace. We held
onto this moment in time as a possible positive opening. And we
exorcised the World Bank!
We did healing:
We set up healing spaces in the park on Saturday and Sunday, a
foot-washing, foot massage space after Sunday's march, and ministered
to a whole lot of people, whether that meant giving out water to
thirsty kids from the Black Bloc, or holding someone while she cried
We explored new models:
We continued developing a model of organizing that allowed everybody
to participate in ways that best used their skills and at the level
of risk they felt comfortable with. This includes the people who did
home support, who provided food, water, banners and the hand-died
cloth of our magical river, and rituals. There were people who could
not march but who anchored the healing space, offered Tarot readings,
helped organize trainings and discussions and workshops. Our model
allowed us to bring elders and children on a march surrounded by riot
cops and bring them out again safely.
We made new alliances:
A lot of us in the Pagan cluster got pretty tight with the
Anti-Capitalist Convergence folks. We offered and received
solidarity from the Black Bloc and had great conversations with lots
of activists of different persuasions. We also met some of the local
Peace Activists and did a spiral dance to close the Peace March.
We had a Pagan presence in the Interfaith Service:
Katrina represented us, and now let me praise her: she was
brilliant! In under five minutes, she woke up the church, had them
eating out of her hand, then dropped the words 'Witch' and 'Pagan'
onto them, and then planted the seeds of our magical spellworking
into all the different traditions. And she looked beautiful!
Awesome job! Then afterwards, we did a spiral dance across the
street for those who had survived what turned out to be a marathon
We deepened connections:
We deepened our connections with each other, and helped to strengthen
the ties between our different communities. Also we had a whole lot
of fun hanging out together.
All in all, it was important and successful work. Thanks again to
all who made it possible.
And now we face the even harder work of taking it home, of regaining
momentum for all the issues that we've been working on, of exploring
the strategies and tactics and models that can serve us in this
Feminist's anti-U.S. speech causes uproar
Hedy Fry jeered by opposition for sitting silent
by Peter O'Neil firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, October 02, 2001
OTTAWA -- A B.C. feminist told a cheering audience here that the United
States government is more threatening to the world than international
Sunera Thobani received several standing ovations from about 500
delegates attending the Women's Resistance Conference on Monday.
Her comments caused a political uproar, with opposition MPs condemning
Secretary of State Hedy Fry for sitting silently as Thobani spoke. MPs
called on the government to fire Fry, charging that she should have
immediately condemned Thobani's statements.
"Today in the world the United States is the most dangerous and the most
powerful global force unleashing horrific levels of violence," said
Thobani, a women's studies professor at the University of British
Columbia and former head of the National Action Committee on the Status
"From Chile to El Salvador to Nicaragua to Iraq, the path of U.S. foreign
policy is soaked in blood."
Thobani said she empathizes with the human suffering following the Sept.
11 terror attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania that left
more than 6,000 people dead or missing. "But do we feel any pain for the
victims of U.S. aggression?"
In an interview with The Vancouver Sun Monday night, Thobani said her
comments were directed at George Bush, not the American people.
"I made a 40-minute speech. I provided a contest for those comments. I
was basically advocating an end to war," she said.
"If America wants to lead this war, then I'm against American foreign
In her speech, Thobani also ridiculed any suggestion that the U.S. would
be advancing women's rights by ousting Afghanistan's Taliban regime,
which has forbidden women from working, attending school, or showing
their faces in public.
"It's really interesting to hear this talk about saving Afghani women,"
she said. "Those of us who have been colonized know what this saving
The Tanzanian-born Thobani became the first non-white president of the
NAC in 1993, a position she held until 1996.
As the outspoken leader of the NAC, Thobani created much controversy when
she said in 1995 that only white, middle-class women had benefited from
the feminist movement.
Monday she said women will never be emancipated until the U.S. and the
West stop dominating the world.
"The West for 500 years has believed that it could slaughter people into
submission and it has not been able to do so. And it will not be able to
so this time, either."
After Thobani's speech, opposition MPs said Fry, the Chretien
government's secretary of state for multiculturalism and the status of
women, who also delivered a speech at the conference and was on the
podium while Thobani spoke, should have sent an immediate message that
the speech went too far.
"She should apologize to Canadians and our American cousins for not
condemning these comments and walking out on this insulting and
inflammatory speech," said Chuck Strahl, deputy leader of the
Tory-Democratic Representative coalition.
New Democratic Party leader Alexa McDonough, whose party was once a close
ally of NAC's, said Fry should have offered "an unequivocal rejection of
the kind of cheap sloganeering, of the excessive rhetoric.
"This is a time to be building tolerance, to be building bridges, not to
create greater divisions," McDonough said.
Fry defended freedom of speech within Canada, but said she didn't applaud
and immediately left the event after Thobani spoke.
"I condemn that speech," the Vancouver Centre MP told jeering opposition
"I thought the speech that was made by the expert of NAC to be
Opposition MPs said Fry, who wrongly portrayed Prince George as a haven
for cross-burning racists earlier this year, has made one too many
blunders and must be fired.
"The history of this minister is not a very happy one and I think it is
time for a change," said Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day.
McDonough said Fry doesn't have the credibility to travel across Canada
and speak publicly against intolerance.
'Blair should read the polls'
by David Miller
Wednesday October 3, 2001
Opinion polls since the attacks in the United States on September 11 show
that a slim but consistent majority of British people oppose military
strikes on Afghanistan if they harm civilians or are targeted on anyone
other than those directly responsible - in other words, in any form likely
to take place.
Yet the media have reported general support for war. Across the range of
the press, we hear that public opinion is "solid" (Economist), or that "Two
thirds of Britons back Blair action" (Independent). The News of the World
reported "overwhelming" support for bombing under the headline "Attack.
Attack. Attack". Even an editorial in this paper argued: "There is no
disputing the bottom line. On this one, Tony Blair is definitely speaking
Public opinion has been misread. Between September 11 and September 24,
seven public opinion polls were conducted by Mori, Gallup, ICM and YouGov.
Typically, the Guardian ICM poll found 67% supporting action against the
"terrorists". But the headlines have masked a strong current of opinion
against military action which would target anyone but the terrorists or
risk harming civilians. Gallup found that 82% of those questioned said
military action "should only be taken after the identity of the
perpetrators was clearly established, even if this process took several
months to accomplish". But clarity on who was responsible remains minimal
following successive (broken) promises to reveal conclusive evidence.
Some poll questions clearly have little scientific value. In a YouGov poll
for the Observer, 65% said they would support "'surgical air strikes'
against countries knowingly harbouring terrorist organisations". But when
asked about "massive air strikes", a majority (60%) were opposed. The
Observer reported that Britons were "ready for battle". But the term
"surgical strike" is something of an oxymoron. Dreamed up in the Gulf war
in 1991, it was supposed to presage the era of the "clean war". Civilians
would be protected by "smart" weapons technology. But, according to
official sources, only 7% of the ordnance used in the Gulf was "smart"and
40% of the smart weapons missed their targets - which in any case often
contained civilians, such as the air-raid shelter in Baghdad incinerated by
US forces. So to ask whether the public approves of surgical strikes is of
The reluctance of the public to support the inevitable civilian deaths is
emphasised in the data left off the front pages, but available on media and
polling websites. Of the seven polls taken so far, five have asked
questions about civilian casualties. With one exception, they have all
shown a majority opposed to strikes risking civilian casualties. In
separate polls Mori found 46% and 47% opposed (to 43% and 45% in favour,
respectively), ICM 45% to 40%, Gallup 62% to 21%.
Public opinion on the causes of the current crisis is also notably at odds
with most media cheerleading. In the YouGov poll a majority blame the US
(62%) and Israel (53%). Fully 70% agreed that "in the past, the US has been
far too arrogant and selfish in the way it has treated the world's poorest
countries". None of these responses made it into print.
And as only the Daily Mail has reported, "International public opinion
opposes a massive US military strike to retaliate for last week's terrorist
attacks, according to a Gallup poll in 31 countries. Only in Israel and the
United States did a majority favour a military response against states
shown to harbour terrorists."
One problem is the effect on broadcast news if journalists are misled about
public unease. According to James Naughtie of BBC Radio 4: "This is not a
war which is likely to split the country down the middle. It's not like
Suez, Vietnam, or even the Falklands. There is a lot of consensus."
Naughtie is clearly wrong about this, but it is the impact of such
misjudgments on how radio and TV news cover the build-up to war that is
Is there not an argument for a bit of caution during such a period? In the
light of the attacks on public debate about the crisis by journalists such
as Andrew Neil, the Observer's opinion poll contained an ace. One question
asked whether "critics of the US should voice their opposition or stay
silent over the next few weeks"? A massive 70% agreed that criticism of the
US should be voiced. There is a sceptical and critical public out there.
Despite the partial reporting of opinion polls and the assault on dissent,
there is precious little evidence, so far, that there is public support for
David Miller is a member of the Stirling University Media Research Institute.
15,000 March and Rally in SF to Say No to Racism & War
In a strong display of a growing grassroots movement, thousands of
people streamed into Dolores Park in San Francisco to protest the
escalating war drum of the Bush Administration.
Demonstrators also brought a strong message against racist scape-
goating of Arab, Muslim and South Asian people living here in the
United States. The rally and march was organized by a newly formed
coalition, International Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER).
The action was initiated by the International Action Center and
endorsed by hundreds of organizations and individuals, locally and
If the United States attacks Afghanistan and kills innocent
civilians, it could intensify anti-American feelings in the Islamic
world, said Zulfikhar Ahmad, a member of the Pakastani community, at
the opening rally. "I am very afraid that there is a very big tragedy
in the making and it will be the biggest dishonor to the memory of
the 6,000 innocent people who have died."
Rev. Dorsey Blake began the rally with a eulogy, expressing grief for
the thousands of innocent victims who died from the attacks on the
World Trade Center and Pentagon, and the plane crash in Pennsylvania.
He went on to say that our grief was not to be construed as an
endorsement for war.
The rally -- co-chaired by Eyad Kishawi, of the American-Arab Anti-
Discrimination Committee, Gloria LaRiva, of the International Action
Center, Barbara Lubin, of the Middle East Children's Alliance, Dorsey
Nunn, of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, and Miguel
Molina, of KPFA Radio -- featured over 30 speakers. At one point the
entire demonstration left Dolores Park and wound its way through the
Mission District, the most multinational community in the city.
During the march, protesters stopped at two stores who had had their
windows broken out earlier in the week. One was a popular caf run by
an Iranian and the other a Pakastani restaurant. In a moment of
solidarity, one of the march leaders told the cheering protesters
that there is no room for this type of racist attack and that if it
were necessary we would organize security teams to protect these
stores at night.
Union activist Dave Welsh read a statement from the San Francisco
Labor Council, which passed a resolution in support of the rally. "As
we mourn the tremendous loss of life, we declare our resistance to
efforts to use this tragedy to engage in military actions that can
lead only to more carnage and senseless loss of life," the Labor
Council said. "We reject the idea that entire nations should be
punished for the actions of a few. Bombing raids and military strikes
will only fuel an endless cycle of revenge that can only bring the
deaths of more innocent civilians, both here and around the world."
Other speakers included Elias Rashmawi, American-Arab Anti-
Discrimination Committee; author Michael Parenti; Alicia Jrapko, Free
the Five Committee of the International Action Center; Tony Gonzalez,
executive director of the International Indian Treaty Council; Riva
Enteen, National Lawyers Guild; Forrest Schmidt of Workers World
Party; Medea Benjamin, Global Exchange; Carl Pinkston, Vanguard
Foundation; Zulma Olivera, Comite 98; Penny Rosenwasser, Coalition of
Jews for Justice; Michael Bleeker, director of Swords to Plowshares,
an advocacy group for Vietnam veterans; and Bianca Bonilla, a
Berkeley high school senior. Musical artists Company of Prophets,
Thenmozhi Soundararajan and Grito Serpentino also performed.
Report from Washington, DC, Sept. 29, 2001
WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER!
The September 29th National Anti-War, Anti-Racist rally and march in
Washington, DC was a great success with over 20,000 people in
attendance arriving from all points around the country. There were
also extremely successful solidarity rallies in the US and abroad
that took place on Saturday.
Initially there was skepticism over whether it was too soon or
inappropriate to have an anti-war, anti-racism demonstration so soon
after the events of September 11th. The overwhelming positive support
and endorsements from individuals and organizations representing a
broad cross section of the country and abroad showed that this was
not the time to shrink away from the escalating war drive. Rather, it
is the time to stand united and show the world that there is a
strong, growing anti-racist anti-war movement both here in the U.S.
and in countries around the world.
Speakers at the rally included Reverend Graylan Hagler, from the
Plymouth Congregational Church in Washington, DC; Teresa Gutierrez,
from the International ANSWER Coalition; Reverend Lucius Walker,
IFCO/Pastors for Peace; James Creedon, an emergency medical
technician injured at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11; Samia
Halaby, Al-Awda Palestinian Right of Return Coalition, New York;
Chuck Kaufman, national coordinator, Nicaragua Network; Rev. Curtis
Gatewood, President Durham Chapter of the NAACP; Peta Lindsay, high
school student organizer for International ANSWER; Kostas
Alyssandrakis, Greek member of the European Parliament; Mara
Verheyden-Hilliard, Partnership for Civil Justice; Macrina Alarcon,
Mexico Support Network; and many others.
The vast majority of the participants on Saturday were students and
youth from around the country. Their presence reflected a broad
spectrum of support from various cultural, social and religious
The International ANSWER Coalition wants to keep the momentum from
Saturday going by encouraging all individuals around the country and
abroad to organize a day of local and regional actions for October
27th. This way we can continue to build the visibility and voice of
this new anti-war movement. We also encourage people to set up ANSWER
chapters in their schools, community centers and towns to take on the
organizing for this day of action.
We will be developing a factsheet on U.S. policy in the Middle East
that will be available very soon on the www.internationalANSWER.org
The Sept. 29 rally in Washington was covered by hundreds of national
and international media. CSPAN covered the Freedom Plaza rally live
during the day, and repeated the coverage at 10:30 PM and 3am the
next morning. This coverage is available to view by internet on the
CSPAN website. You can also access the CSPAN STREAMING
VIDEO of the rally at the www.internationalANSWER.org website.
Women in Black Stand Silent, Oppose War, Reprisal
By Cynthia L. Cooper - WEnews correspondent
NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)--At first, four women dressed in black formed a line
on the wide, white steps of the New York Public Library, 15 feet in front of
one of the guardian lions. In addition to black pants, black shirts and
black jackets, some wore black head scarves--to demonstrate solidarity with
Muslim women who have been assaulted or harassed in blind reprisals for the
Sept. 11 terrorism attacks.
Even in the aftermath of terrorist bombings, these peace activists deliver
no speeches, chant no slogans and invite no male participants. And, they
say, these are precisely the elements that make the international human
rights group, Women in Black, effective.
On Wednesday evening, the women in line were soon joined by more women, most
wearing black but some gray, denim and khaki, until over two dozen stretched
across the white stone steps to create a stark and imposing image. A plain
cloth banner announced: "Women in Black Against War."
The women stood without speaking for the next hour.
"At times like this when people don't know what to do, we allow for people
to communicate in silence," said Indira Kajosevic, one of the participants.
"Silence is very powerful. I am mourning the victims of violence, and I am
making a public statement about that."
Women in Black Silently Focuses on Historic Voicelessness of Women
Women in Black is a loose international network of women who share a common
philosophy of opposition to militarism and violence and use a similar style
of silent demonstration. Without a formal organization or officers, they
convene at standard times for peace vigils in public squares, wearing black
clothing of bereavement. Only women are invited to participate.
"There's a strong communal energy among women together," said Stephanie
Damoff, a philosophy student who began standing in the vigils in New York
several years ago. "It makes people stop and think."
The silence is a contrast to noisy demonstrations, a familiar part of the
anti-war protests during the Vietnam years. "There are already too many
words about the issue," said Pat DeAngelis, a longtime participant. And
silence, said Kajosevic, draws attention to the historic voicelessness of
The first Women in Black protests began in Israel in 1988 to mobilize
sentiment for peace with Palestinians. In 1991, a group formed in Belgrade,
where women stood weekly in the Republic Square to protest war in
Yugoslavia. Allied groups sprang up in Azerbaijan, Canada, Denmark, England,
France, Israel, India, Indonesia, Italy, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland and
Turkey, and in several U.S. locations, including San Francisco, Portland,
Ore., Ann Arbor, Mich., Rhode Island and Arizona.
The Belgrade group, which has been particularly active in "street
manifestations" and programs offering assistance to displaced women, was
awarded a Millennium Peace Prize for Women by the United Nations Development
Fund for Women and International Alert, a global women's awareness program,
in March 2001. In June, eight Danish and Norwegian parliamentarians
nominated Women in Black for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.
Women in Black Urge Male Leaders to 'Step Back From War'
Monthly New York vigils have been ongoing since 1993, at first located
across the street from the United Nations to protest the rape of women as a
tool of war in the former Yugoslavia. At times, the women have joined with
local action groups, such as Women in Mourning and Outrage, an organization
that formed in response to the New York City police killing of Amadou
Diallo, an unarmed immigrant from Guinea.
After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, the New York group changed its
monthly vigils to weekly ones.
A flyer handed to passersby at the library calls on government officials to
"step back" from war.
"We mourn the dead and feel deep sympathy with the bereaved and injured,"
the flyer says. "Those who perpetrated the violence must be brought to
justice under international law."
Unlike a conventional nonprofit organization, Women in Black does not have
officers, staff or an operations center. Core members make collaborative
decisions and take on particular assignments, such as Internet postings or
photocopying. Money, when needed, is collected in a coffee tin.
"We are not interested in power; we are very interested in social change,"
said Kajosevic, who joined New York vigils after moving from Belgrade in
1994. "It's a means of mobilizing," she added.
Women in Black groups around the world act independently. But an
international network comes together yearly. At the tenth reunion in Novi
Sad, Yugoslavia, in August, 250 women from 16 countries attended and made
opposition to violence in Macedonia a priority topic.
The idea of acting in concert with women around the world is central for
"I have a tremendous sense of solidarity with all our sisters around the
world facing conditions of violence and war," said DeAngelis, who has
sometimes maintained the vigil on her own in rain and cold. "It's terribly
important to take a stand against injustice and to take a visible stand."
Responses to that stark and silent stand are not always positive. One man
raised his fist and yelled, "Bomb them, bomb them!" But a woman spectator
stopped and pointedly shook the hand of every woman in the line.
"It's effective," said Damoff, adding, "but slow and steady, not big and
Cynthia L. Cooper is a free-lance writer in New York.
For more information:
Woman in Black: - http://womeninblack.net/
In dire need of a patriotism of dissent
By Lloyd J. Averill
October 3, 2001
A patriotism of dissent has been one of the most vital ingredients of
American political life throughout history. It has always been in the
national interest to "speak truth to power," and never more so than in
times of crisis. We are now entering an era in which the nurture of an
active patriotism of dissent will be a most difficult, but most essential
task. Patriotic dissent is required if! we hope to achieve anything
approaching rational and moral balance in American policy and behavior. It
is essential for people of faith and goodwill, who seek to honor the
prophetic traditions of all religions, to explore what we can say to
predispose such an outcome.
We need each other because, clearly, the national mood and political
momentum generated by the events of Sept. 11 will move massively against
patriotic dissent. It is an admirable sign of national strength when some
disaster brings Americans together, and that strength has been shown in
small and large ways since those sad September days. Expressions of unity
demonstrate an awareness of a common humanity amid our great diversity, a
capacity to come together in grief and in resolve, and the presence of
shared bonds that are present but sometimes go unnoticed.
Unity is not, however, acquiescence, especially in a national tradition
that values dissent. We share a common heritage, but a part of that
heritage is respect for diversity of commitments, for differences in
outlook and aspiration. So we must be vigilant lest the celebration of a
kind of spiritual unity be turned into an expectation of, or worse a demand
for, political uniformity.
I have no idea who first characterized the events in New York, Washington
and western Pennsylvania as "war." The striking fact is that the
characterization was taken up at once by President Bush and by his
administrative apparatus, which made an immediate effort to persuade the
American public that waging this new form of war would involve a long-term
Prior to the day of crisis, the president's approval rating had sunk to
nearly 50 percent. He and his administration had been in trouble, even
among congressional faithful, and had increasingly experienced political
heavy weather among the public on a wide range of domestic and foreign
issues. By late morning on Sept. 11 there was an instant transformation.
Suddenly! , the wartime leader of a nation victimized by cowardly attack,
the president reduced his response to crisis to a few simplisms (Osama bin
Laden "wanted dead or alive"), spoke them with obvious conviction to a
public desperately seeking firm assurance, and soared to an unprecedented
82 percent approval.
What is the same, of course, is the man, George W. Bush, with all of his
limitations of political outlook and vision, though now with a stronger
sense of mission to see them realized. He is surrounded by the same
advisers, many with a Cold War mentality, now given fresh range and new
opportunity. There has been no transformation of the Bush program with
respect to missile defense, education, the environment, patients' rights,
taxes or Social Security. Those issues still are what they were, with
whatever strengths or defects they had before Sept. 11. But with the
radically altered political climate, they now face a strikingly altered
A patriotism of dissent is needed now on at least three levels.
On the first level, we must say "no" to the president when he promises that
America under his leadership will take action against the terrorist threat,
"whatever the cost." We must dissent if the cost is an assault on essential
civil rights, and especially if hasty legislative action seeks to subvert
due process, invade essential privacies, detain without formal charge or
adequate representation and utilize secret evidence. Conveniences are
expendable; essential rights are not. A reduction in the freedoms that are
the essence of the American experiment, and are anathema to our
adversaries, can never be in the interest of national security.
On a second level, we must be prepared to say "no" to still-troubling
aspects of the Bush administration's foreign policy. We must be prepared to
say "no" to any use of overt military force, or covert action, that
destroys innocent civilians. To call such consequences "collateral damage"
dehumanizes its victims and ourselves, reducing or eliminating differences
between us and our terrorist adversaries. We must dissent from an American
arrogance in foreign affairs that seemed to be the style of the young Bush
administration, and that may become even more marked post-Sept. 11. And we
must say "no" to the president, in the Congress and in public forums, on a
wide range of policy issues domestic and international that possess no
greater virtue or validity now than they did prior to Sep. 11. Wartime
leadership should not immunize the president against organized and
principled political opposition. I consider national missile defense to be
On a third, pressing, more fundamental level, we must admit that we live in
murderous times. If we are to honor those who died on Sept. 11, most
fundamentally we must dissent from murder--from the capricious, wanton
taking of human life quite apart from any demands of justice.
Political philosopher Albert Camus once said that we must make a choice:
between being murderers or the accomplices of murderers, and those who
refuse to do so with all of the force of their being. As individuals and as
a nation, in the post-Sept. 11 world, we will be facing some agonizingly
difficult decisions. There is danger that, given their difficulty,
individually we may simply permit others to make them for us, in which case
we may find, too late, that we have sided with the murderers.
Lloyd J. Averill is a professor emeritus from the University of Washington.
He lives in Kalamazoo, Mich
Solutions not slogans
The anti-war protesters are lacking a needed directive
On Saturday, an estimated 10,000 gathered to oppose war and racism in
Washington. D.C. Thousands more protested in New York, Los Angeles, San
Francisco, Seattle, and points in between and beyond. Thousands marched in
Sydney, Australia. CNN reported 15,000 demonstrating in Vancouver, Canada.
It was the third straight weekend of such protests, and additional various
"National Days of Action" have been called already for Oct. 7 (by a
coalition of traditional peace groups) and Oct. 13 (an already-planned
series of national protests regarding weapons in space that has morphed,
like yesterday's D.C. gathering, into an anti-war event.)
Given the stakes, such activity on the streets isn't surprising; to many
people, after all, what is at risk is nothing less than World War III, a
conflagration that has global implications in a way that Kosovo or the Gulf
War never did. But the public demonstrations are severely misleading to the
public in at least two important ways.
First, it's not just the tactic of a street protest that's vaguely and
dispiritingly familiar. We're asking our political and military leaders to
make new and different choices in treacherous terrain, but protest leaders
are, themselves, falling back on comfortable, familiar tactics and
iconography. This is not a "peace" movement, in the sense that "peace," to
most observers, means that government critics don't want anything done.
It's not even an "anti-war" movement, in the sense that critics of Bush's
declared "War on Terrorism" do, in fact, oppose terrorism and want it stopped.
But by highlighting what they're against, public agitators are refusing to
answer the most obvious question any observer has: "Well, what, then?" A
lot of people, including a lot of Pentagon generals, doubt that full-scale
military action is the best way to tackle this problem. The only way in
which our country is "united" on this issue is in the belief that something
must be done, both to bring September 11's accomplices to justice for their
acts and to prevent future strikes. By implying that nothing should be
done, peace signs and "no war!" posters run counter to the sensibilities of
nearly everyone in the country, alienating what are in fact oftentimes
What's needed, desperately, is sound bite language for a positive program
that would combat terrorism far more effectively than military action. That
program might look like:
--Better domestic security, without sacrificing civil liberties;
--Better global police and intelligence cooperation, without giving covert
operations a free hand to act
--Demanding that all governments, including ours, act in ways that promote
the ideals of freedom, democracy, and economic opportunity that the U.S.
wants to stand for, so as to address many of the conditions that inspire
The ambitious might throw "religious tolerance" on to that last list, or
suggest a role for the U.N. or World Court in trying crimes against
humanity. But the point is that, as never before, the "peace" movement must
start, in all its public pronouncements, not by emphasizing what it's
against, but by rallying support for what it favors. In this war, for
once, everyone is concerned, and few people need to be convinced that war
would be a dangerous step. War is a failure of imagination; what's needed
is the alternative. Without it, what should be a massive street movement
risks sliding, week by week, into irrelevance.
And that's a shame, because the second way in which these protests mislead
is that the real anti-military-response organizing is elsewhere, and
everywhere. Almost all of it is both below the media radar and not being
done by established anti-war groups (or various left-leaning opportunists)
at all. It's happening in one-on-one conversations, between people in
their workplaces, schools, churches, on the Net or phone, or over back yard
fences, as people share fears, anger, worries, and their doubts about the
wisdom of an open-ended "war" against an indefinable enemy spread
throughout the world.
Those are, in simplest terms, the concerns of the generals, not the
peaceniks. But in this "new kind of war," the traditional divisions don't
apply; there's no reason a vision of a world of greater peace and economic
justice cannot be wed to what makes strategic sense. We should, in fact,
demand it. But until public demonstrations start focusing on what the U.S.
and its allies should do, rather than what they shouldn't, few are going to
make that connection.
Geov Parrish is a Seattle-based columnist and reporter for Seattle Weekly,
In These Times and Eat the State! He writes the weekdaily Straight Shot for
5000 DEMONSTRATE AGAINST WAR IN WASHINGTON
COMMUNIST LED DEMONSTRATION DRAWS CONFRONTATION
by BILL WHITE
Between five and six thousand demonstrators joined a Communist-led anti-war
march in Washington, on September 29, scuffling with police and war
solidarity demonstrators, and denouncing racism, Israel and imperialism as
the root causes of the events that led to the September 11th bombing of the
Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
The rallies began in three locations, each organized by different groups.
In addition to the main rally,
organized by the International Action Center, a front for the communist
Worker's World Party, which was
formed, ironically enough, to defend the Soviet imperialist invasion of
Hungary in 1956, two smaller rallies,
each organized by competing groups of anarchist anti-capitalist
demonstrators, gathered in the morning. Washington police concentrated
their efforts on the two anarchist rallies. Around 10:15 AM, several
anarchists who had gathered around 8th street in Chinatown provoked a
confrontation with police by laying down in front of the police cars that
were escorting them, blocking the car's path. When one of the cars they
were blocking accidentally hit them, and the police driver stepped out to
see if the anarchist was all right, the crowd swarmed on the driver,
striking him and his car repeatedly. Police used pepper-spray to disperse
the crowd, and made several arrests. Approximately half an hour later, as a
second group of approximately 400 anarchists gathered outside the World
Bank building outside 18th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, police deployed
approximately 500 officers in padded body armor and helmets, wielding
pepper guns, gas guns and batons, to surround and contain the crowd,
including at least a hundred additional passersby who had merely been
walking through the area when police cordoned it off. As individuals tried
to leave the area, police would push and shove them back in, and state that
all 400 people had been temporarily detained.
The main rally, of approximately 4000 additional individuals, was conducted
with less than 15 police officer
escorts in Washington's Freedom Plaza, at 14th and Pennsylvania. Because of
Washington's traffic pattern, most individuals there remained ignorant of
their comrade's plight four blocks away. Eventually, the police relaxed
their cordon on the militant anarchist anti-capitalist group, and allowed
them to march towards the main rally. While marching near 15th and H
Streets, several anarchist demonstrators, some themselves wearing body
armor and wielding makeshift shields fashioned from trash can lids and
sheet metal, formed into a wedge formation and charged the police line,
scattering officers and allowing at least thirty individuals to escape, and
one to be arrested. Police responded by gassing a crowd of reporters and
passing tourists, causing at least two people, a passerby and a report for
the Independent Media Center (http://www.indymedia.org) -- to receive
emergency treatment from paramedics. Scuffles with the police subsided as
the anarchist crowd joined the mainstream march, but were replaced with
scuffles with "war solidarity" demonstrators and militant supporters of
George W Bush organized by the activist website FreeRepublic.com. While the
bulk of FreeRepublic.com supporters, approximately 150 individuals,
including local Republican officials, who also call themselves the "Bush
thugs" after their reputation for confronting supporters of Al Gore during
the 2000 presidential election dispute, gathered near 10th Street and
Pennsylvania Avenue, approximately 20 of them attempted to "confront" what
they called the "pro-terrorist" crowd.
Fighting broke out when a group of anarchist protestors began to burn two
Americans flags. Four of the
war-solidarity demonstrators waded into the anarchist-communist crowd fists
flying in an attempt to stop
the flag burning, and were pounced on by approximately five hundred
demonstrators, some of them
waving Palestinian flags, and severely pummeled. A group of approximately
forty police officers waded into
the crowd with pepper spray and batons to save the "patriots" from serious
injury. Four other "patriot" demonstrators were removed by police after
isolated scuffles broke out across Freedom Plaza. One gentleman carrying a
sign reading "Nuke them and there will be no war" was assaulted by
individuals wearing rally security guard shirts, and escorted away by
police. Three other men who began shouting obscenities and threats at the
anti-war demonstrators were also removed. The march itself was conducted
peacefully and without incident. Police deployed three companies of
officers and a mounted unit, approximately 120 officers overall, to keep
the communist and Republican demonstrators separate.
Themes in the anti-war demonstration were consistently pacifist, with
several of the demonstrators suggesting that the US should never enter war
under any circumstances, even if the country was invaded. Popular slogans
in the anti-war demonstration included "US out of the Middle East", "Israel
Get Out Of Palestine", "bin Laden was trained by the CIA" and "Long Live
the Intifada". One group of Palestinian-Americans carried a banner
proclaiming "Global Intifada Against Israeli Apartheid
Stop US Aid to Israel now!" Themes at the Patriot demonstration were more
confrontational and personal.
Right-wing Republicans carried signs labeling and bullying their opponents,
declaring them to be in a
"Traitors and Cowards Rally" and stating they were "Anti-War, Anti-American
and Pro-Mass Murder." As the
anti-war demonstration passed them, outnumbering the "Bush thugs" by a
ratio of about 40 to 1, the Bush supporters chanted "Hates America, radical
left!", "Liberate the Afghan people!" and "Hey hey, ho ho, leftist commies
got to go!" Anti-war demonstrators responded with cries of "Bush, you
coward! No killing in our name!" and "Islam is not the enemy!"
The rally ended peacefully in a park just south of the US Capitol building.
Several protestors frolicked in a public fountain while a group calling
themselves the "Rhythm-worker's Union" beat out a style of music known as
"jungle", using bongo drums and whistles. The rally concluded with a series
of speeches by Palestinian groups, several Communist organizations, and the
Green Party, as members of a variety of Trotskyist and Maoist organization,
including the International Socialist Organization, the Revolutionary
Communist Party, the Progressive Labor Party, and at least two dozen other
factions, splinters and tendencies, distributed literature.
How much was achieved was unclear. Most US newspapers and many US
television networks de-emphasized the rally by relegating coverage of it to
their Metro sections and local television affiliates, denying the story
prominent national exposure. Pravda reporters witnessed cameramen from
several US networks staging television shots by walking up to groups of
protestors and asking them to shout certain slogans, sing certain songs, or
walk in certain directions, so as to give the appearance of various things
happening at the rally that were not actually happening. Several cameramen
told Pravda they had been told by their media bosses to present the rallies
in a certain light, and to ignore the actual facts of the event.
But despite the efforts of the largely Zionist American media to
de-emphasize the impact, it is clear that
there is a growing body of Americans, particularly young college students,
who have rejected the rhetoric
that semi-official commentary publications and the short list of approved
American commentators on public
affairs have presented. Despite attempts to obfuscate issues and
de-emphasize the role of US Israeli policy as a factor in the targeting of
the US for terrorism, it is clear that several thousand American citizens
have seen through to the truth.
Bill White for PRAVDA.Ru
From: Chuck0 <email@example.com>
Subject: [ACC] Washington, DC: Update from the Anti-Capitalist Convergence
Date sent: Wed, 03 Oct 2001
Washington, DC: Update from the Anti-Capitalist Convergence
Lots of people have been asking what happened during the Anti-Capitalist
Convergence, so I thought I'd do an update in lieu of writing an
article. I've got a cold and I'm recuperating from the week, so I'll be
* As of Monday afternoon, everybody who was arrested has been released
from jail. Around 9 people ended up getting arrested: two during the ACC
march, six at a direct action at D.C. General Hospital on Saturday, and
one person who locked down outside of D.C. General Hospital on Sunday
night. I haven't heard of any serious charges, but the legal collective
can give everybody a more complete update.
* Around 1500-2000 people attended the Anti-Capitalist Convergence march
on Saturday morning. The march was not permitted and the cops took an
aggressive role in deciding where the march went. During the march, both
the police chief and the assistant police chief were knocked in the
head. The assistant chief also managed to pepper spray himself.
* The march made it to its destination, the World Bank, but as it was
breaking up, the police surrounded several hundred people and kept them
in the park for over a half hour. They then forcibly marched this group
over to the IAC/ANSWER rally at Freedom Plaza. Contrary to many media
reports, the ACC march did *not* join the IAC rally. A group of ACC
participants were marched to the IAC rally, but the ACC march ended at
the World Bank.
* While people were being detained in front of the World Bank, the Pagan
Cluster performed a ritual to "exorcise" the building of evil.
* Several people busted through the police lines during the forced march
to the IAC rally.
* There was a black bloc during the ACC march and during the peace march
* There were a few injuries during the ACC march, with most of these
being from baton blows and pepper spray. The person who suffered the
most from a pepper spray injury was probably the assistant police chief.
* There was little to no opposition to any of the 3 anti-war marches. A
few dozen right wingers turned out on Saturday downtown, but there was
lots of support from people on the street. The folks who said that we
shouldn't have protested because of opposition from city residents were
* Six people were arrested near D.C. General Hospital on Saturday
morning. The police had gotten the news that a major direct action was
going down at D.C. General Hospital. In fact, a group of ACC members had
been planning for over two months to take over one of the abandoned
buildings on the D.C. General Hospital campus. The people in this group
saw this action as the major anarchist direct action of the World
Bank/IMF protests in the original pre-9/11 scenario. The talk about
taking down the fences was mainly a bluff. After Genoa, it was felt that
the anti-capitalist movement needed to do a major empowering direct
action that smashed the stereotypes that has risen after Genoa. After
9/11, it was decided to go ahead with the action in a modified form
because the closing of D.C. General is still a major issue here.
* Bork, who is a local anarchist who did a hunger strike to keep D.C.
General open, locked down in front of D.C. General on Sunday night. She
was later cut loose and arrested. A rally before the direct action was
attended by 100.
* The Anti-Capitalist Convergence kept a Welcome Center open for 8 days,
with no interference from the police. The Welcome Center was used to
orient people, provide trainings and workshops, have general ACC
meetings, provide an art space, and lots of other stuff. The Welcome
Center also became the default info center for events that were
sponsored by other groups.
* Food was provided by Seeds for Peace and Everybody's Kitchen.
* The housing volunteers did an awesome job and managed to find housing
for nearly everybody who asked.
* The Independent Media Center had a great space in Adams Morgan, which
was used by many activists.
* The rally for the residents of Arthur Capper homes on Monday at HUD
was attended by around 40 people. Lots of support from ACC activists.
* The ACC did all of this stuff on a budget of less than $3000, thus
proving that the anti-capitalist movement doesn't need huge handouts
from NGOs in order to do great work.
As Peace Corps Evacuates, Peace Movement Activates
After Years of Quiet, Opponents Of Violence Start to Mobilize
Wall Street Journal
Oct 1, 2001
By Clare Ansberry
PITTSBURGH -- Several hundred people gathered in the First Baptist Church
here last Sunday night, among them students with their lips pierced, a
grandmother wearing a white blouse with a red bow tied smartly at her neck
and an African American man in a brightly woven hat. There were
psychotherapists, lawyers, and professors.
Like thousands of others in recent weeks, they were brought together by the
events of Sept. 11. But this group had something else in common: They were
reluctant to admit to neighbors, co-workers, and classmates that they
belong to peace groups in a country so resolute in fighting the enemy.
"We've been made to feel that anyone not united in the effort is not
patriotic," said Molly Rush, who 20 years ago took a hammer to a nuclear
warhead at a protest at a General Electric plant. Standing in the center
aisle at last week's meeting, microphone in hand, she exhorted the group to
break its silence, noting that speaking out is a hallmark of the peace
movement and a critical American liberty. "But we are all patriots here
tonight. We care about our country, our world. We need to be a voice of
peace." With that, the once-silent crowd applauded and cheered.
The peace movement, quiescent for years, is again beginning to mobilize.
Over the weekend, an estimated 10,000 people, many of whom are actively
involved in antiglobalization efforts, marched in downtown Washington,
urging a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Last weekend, hundreds of
students on college campuses gathered to create a coast-to-coast noon peace
rally. Students from Harvard, Boston University and the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology carried candles through Cambridge and Boston, while
those at Lewis & Clark in Oregon formed a human peace symbol. In New York,
which took the brunt of the terrorist attacks, thousands of people
participated in a peace march from Union Square to Times Square.
Veterans for Peace Inc. issued a statement cautioning against retaliatory
violence and an alternative newspaper called Peace News was organized in
San Francisco. A group of theologians at the University of Chicago began
circulating a petition, imploring the president and international leaders
to use international judicial institutions and human-rights laws to bring
the terrorists to justice. It had 500,000 signatures.
The task before them is enormous. Being a part of a peace movement has
never been wildly popular with mainstream America, no matter how much
people say they favor peace. Ms. Rush, who is one of the original members
of the Plowshares Eight, a group of eight activists who were arrested after
taking hammers to the nose cones of nuclear missiles, says the challenge
for peace groups is even greater now. "I cannot recall anything of this
magnitude and difficulty," she says. Never before, she says, has she seen
the country, feeling angry, violated and vulnerable, so galvanized in a
desire for retaliatory action. What makes their message even more difficult
is that they are protesting a retaliation that has yet to occur and whose
form is still unknown.
The Sunday meeting was organized by the Thomas Merton Center, formed in
1972 and named after the Trappist monk, poet and writer who was known
world-wide for his campaign against the Vietnam War. Many other local peace
groups here in Pittsburgh have become inactive. The Merton center, itself,
had been focusing on living wages and racism, publishing a newspaper called
New People and running the Giving Tree Alternative gift shop.
Tim Vining, a lawyer and former Franciscan who taught philosophy and lived
with homeless men for eight years in Baton Rouge, La., started his job as
executive director of the center exactly one week before the Sept. 11
attacks. The nation had to respond, and while he believes the best way is
through an international war-crimes trial, he knew that it would likely do
so with military force. Others with similar fears immediately began
calling, asking "What are we going to do?"
"A lot of people in the peace movement are just too overwhelmed to do
anything," says Sandy Kelson, a Pittsburgh attorney who enlisted in the
Vietnam War and is now a member of Veterans for Peace. The local chapter no
longer holds monthly meetings at the Soldiers and Sailors Hall. Many of its
members are affiliated now with the Merton Center. Mr. Kelson has found
that when he raises questions about what actions the government is
proposing, or what might have prompted the attack, he is rebuffed. "I'm a
lawyer. I talk to lawyers. I talk to stockbrokers. I have a working farm. I
talked to people on the farm. When I try to talk to people, they don't want
to hear it," he says.
Mr. Vining, wanting the center to bring the various groups and its own 500
members together, met with his board during a weekend retreat and called
for an Emergency Mobilization meeting. He expected about 100 people to show
up. The crowd was three times that size, filling the front and side pews.
They broke into 10 discussion groups, filling the church, its upstairs and
balconies and the concrete steps outside under the moonlight. Another group
stood in the vestibule. They proposed slogans that would defy stereotypes
and resonate more broadly, like "Patriots for Peace" and "No more civilian
casualties." They suggested providing escorts for local Muslims who felt
threatened, creating a speaker's bureau, and organizing teach-ins at
schools. They wrote their ideas on big sheets of white paper and taped them
to the pulpit and along the walls. They formed committees and planned to
This isn't the first campaign for activist Paul Le Blanc. His first
demonstration was in the autumn of 1965 against the Vietnam War. That
movement was unpopular, too, but ultimately it helped bring an end to the
war. The same process is critical now, he says.
After the meeting, people signed up for various committees to organize
rallies and public forums. Says Mr. Vining, of the Merton Center, "We're
only at the beginning of this. Now is not the time to pack up our tents and
say peace is not possible anymore," he says.
`No War' Chant Grows Louder in Europe
For Some, Fear of Action By U.S. Is Replacing Feeling of Mourning
Wall Street Journal
Oct 1, 2001
By Roger Thurow
BERLIN -- The rain and wind have battered the flowers and the flags,
extinguished the candles and blurred the ink on many of the messages of
sympathy and solidarity. But fresh banners have begun to appear, shouting
from the barricades that surround the memorial growing along the legendary
boulevard, Unter den Linden.
"America: forgive, love and unite." "No revenge, drop the hate." "Don't war
please." "War is no solution."
The enormous black banner proclaiming "Our deepest sympathy" still hangs
from the top of the Brandenburg Gate, the majestic portal to Unter den
Linden, which has seen more wars through the centuries than most any other
promenade on Earth. In the short walk down to the memorial near the
American embassy, though, the sentiments shift from mourning to fear, from
shock at the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington to revulsion over
the retaliation that may come next, from solidarity with America to
indictment of American policy. At one point on the walk, an American flag
hangs at a sorrowful angle from the awning of a sausage stand, while just a
few steps away a bed sheet proclaims in gold lettering: "We also mourn the
people who starve and die from the rampant greed of the civilized world."
At the start of the long war against terrorism that President Bush has
promised, the U.S. is counting on Europe to anchor global solidarity and
perhaps contribute militarily. Germany's political leaders are so far
standing firmly beside America, mindful of times when Americans came to
their aid, and of increasing signs that Germany was home to one of the
terrorist cells that attacked the U.S.
But German society is already deeply conflicted, and as talk of war
increases, disquiet is beginning to seep across this land. The message of
the shifting sentiments is that unity in sorrow won't necessarily lead to
unity in action.
Immediately after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, for instance, students from
a Berlin high school created a montage of messages and displayed it at the
embassy memorial. "We are all Americans," says one. "With our sadness and
anger, we are speechless," says another. A few days later, though, some
students from the same school found their voice in organizing an antiwar
street protest urging America to resist military retaliation.
"This doesn't have anything to do with anti-Americanism," says Siegmar
Alex, the school's director. "The students are often telling me that they
simply are afraid of a war."
In the Black Forest town of Freiburg, Antonie Geiger awoke one recent
morning hearing "the rattling of sabres." She, too, had mourned with
America, but now she found herself rummaging through her linen closet for a
worn sheet, and fashioning it into a protest banner. A few hours later,
this church housekeeper was standing among 1,000 others at a demonstration,
holding aloft her sheet with its "no war" message.
The beat of antiwar protest can be faintly heard in other European
countries as well, but in Germany demonstrations are already regular
events. A socialist student group, active in the antiglobalization
protests, is calling on people across the land to hit the streets on Day X,
the day America strikes back militarily. "That will be the day the real war
begins," says Dirk Spoeri, a computer-science student handing out pamphlets
-- "Horror in America, but war is no solution," says one -- at the Freiburg
demonstration. The terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, he says,
weren't a declaration of war against civilization, "but a strike against
American economic and military dominance."
The youthful, leftist edge of society may be the most vocal, but it's not
the only voice of protest. Carla Benndorf, a 62-year-old retired bank
teller, paces in the rain during a demonstration on Berlin's
Alexanderplatz. A piece of cardboard dangles from her neck like a giant
pendant: "No more violence," it says. "No new victims."
On the day of the terrorist attacks, she says, she was paralyzed with
sadness and fear. "My blood stopped. I couldn't leave the television," she
says. "I'm a pacifist, and that also means terrorism must be stopped. But
then I thought, `My God, what's coming next?' There will be retaliation and
then more violence. When will it end?"
Karin Marx, who has come to the Berlin protest with her husband, peers
across the emotional divide. "That the people in America, in their grief
and anger, scream for revenge and war, I grant them that," she says. "But I
simply can't understand that we here should be expected to scream along
Jurgen Grasslin, the spokesman for the German Peace Society, says: "I
suppose the Americans can't understand this." He had just given a speech
awash in the contradictions of the moment. Standing beneath Freiburg's
statue of Berthold Schwarz, reputedly the German inventor of gunpowder, he
had lambasted military action. His biggest applause lines were criticisms
of Germany's current foreign and interior ministers, men who helped lead
hundreds of thousands of West Germans onto the streets in the 1980s to
protest the West's Cold War military buildup but who now are lining up
behind military retaliation.
"We say, `Yes to solidarity with the victims, but no to terror and war,'"
he says, prompting whoops and cheers.
At the memorial on Unter den Linden, ninth-graders from a Berlin school
stop by. The students read the posters and cards, and line up to sign the
condolence books waiting on a table. "In deepest sympathy," one boy writes,
then searches for a candle to light. Another student picks up a pen and
scribbles quickly: "Peace, no war." Later this year, when the school acts
out a day at the United Nations Security Council, this class will represent
America. For now, they represent the disquiet of Germany.
"This is our field-trip day, and they chose to come here," says their
teacher, Petra Merkle. "Usually, they would want to do something fun. But
now the dominant feeling is of sympathy and sadness. Right below that,
however, is fear that this can get out of hand."
Japanese Americans fight backlash
Peace rally opposes ethnic scapegoats
by Ryan Kim, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 2, 2001
Yuri Kochiyama, who spent more than two years in an American internment
camp during World War II, knows what can happen to people in uncertain times.
So in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon, the 80-year-old from Oakland wants to be certain that Muslims and
Arab Americans will not struggle alone, as she and other Japanese Americans
"We went through some similar things in World War II when we were evacuated
and incarcerated," said Kochiyama, who works as an activist on behalf of
political prisoners. "Because we experienced harassment, Japanese Americans
and all people of color should support one another."
While many groups have spoken out against an ethnic backlash in the wake of
the Sept. 11 attacks, few have been as prominent as the Japanese American
During World War II, about 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were forced
from their homes and interned after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in December
Many already had lost their jobs and were looked upon as enemies by other
Kochiyama, who spoke at a Japantown peace rally last week, said she hoped
reminding people of their wartime internment would deflate some of the
recent hysteria affecting the country.
Already, many Arabs, Muslims and even South Asians around the nation have
been the target of assaults, harassment and vandalism. Authorities are
investigating the deaths of a Sikh gas station owner in Arizona, an
Egyptian store owner in Los Angeles and a Pakistani grocer in Dallas, all
of whom may have been victims of hate crimes.
While most Americans have refrained from scapegoating, the incidents raise
new concerns for many Japanese Americans leaders.
"It's especially important that we educate the American public on being
rational on how we respond to the attacks and to caution against hysteria
in the same way we saw in 1942," said John Tateishi, executive director of
the Japanese American Citizens League. "We don't want to see that happen to
Several Japanese American organizations have held rallies and publicly
opposed incidents of racial or ethnic scapegoating, while Japanese American
civil rights leaders have met locally with Muslim and Arab leaders.
Other Asian American groups also have condemned the violence and threats
against local Muslims and Arabs. Chinese for Affirmative Action and the
Asian Law Caucus, both based in the Bay Area, along with the Organization
of Chinese Americans, the Asian American Bar Association and others have
held press conferences and other events recently to decry the growing
It was not, however, a given that Japanese Americans or other Asian
organizations would stand up for Muslims and Arabs. Dina Shek, who directs
Nosei, a progressive Japanese American community organization, said many
older Japanese Americans and recent Asian immigrants in general needed to
be coaxed into stepping out and taking a potentially unpopular stand.
"I fear there is a 'Thank God it's not us' mentality for a lot of people,"
said Shek, who organized the Japantown peace rally.
The support from the Japanese American community has been well received.
Hina Azam, with American Muslims Intent on Learning and Activism based in
the Bay Area, said when the attacks occurred, many Muslims recalled what
had happened to Japanese Americans in World War II.
"I have to say this situation has made us a lot more appreciative of what
it must have been like at that time, and we appreciate the outreach and
support Japanese Americans have been giving us," said Azam.
The support has been somewhat surprising, Azam said, given the two
communities have not worked together in the past.
Shek said she was glad to be lending a helping hand during this tumultuous
"We won't let this happen to another community," said Shek. "They won't
have to go through this alone like our community had to."
E-mail Ryan Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The protests of disgust
They had to come, the anti-International Monetary Fund/World Bank
protesters who gathered in Washington over the weekend. A little thing like
6,000-plus dead Americans wasn't about to change their minds, besides, it
had taken them minutes and minutes to redo their cardboard placards to
announce that violence isn't the answer and that America is the problem.
Perhaps those sentiments, more than any other, explain why they gathered on
Saturday at Freedom Plaza. One protester wore a t-shirt that read, "I'm
afraid of Americans." Another shirt proclaimed, "Columbus was the original
terrorist." Others denounced "America's racist war" and "American
imperialism." A few speakers actually expressed regret for the terrorist
attack, but most seemed to think that the United States had it coming. They
were denouncing America at such an aggrieved pitch that all dogs within
earshot were barking and small furry rodents were scurrying away at top speed.
Perhaps the critters couldn't bear the sight of the crowd, where dirty
yellow signs screamed that revenge is bad, youths in burnt umber costumes
decried the famine in Afghanistan, and anarchists in black sweatsuits
suspiciously lingered in the background.
There was also a heavy pink patina: Passing out pamphlets were what seemed
to be every communist not tenured at Berkeley, attired in suits whose
manufacture (and last laundering) probably occurred during the October
Revolution. Not that anyone was reading the pamphlets. Perhaps they simply
The organizers of the protest certainly couldn't count, which, coupled with
their probable room temperature IQs, might help explain why they estimated
the crowd at 25,000. After all, a sixth-grade level of math does little
good when you run out of fingers and toes and body piercings ("Seventeen,
eighteen . . . 25,000"). Arresting the lot of them would have rocketed up
the test scores at campuses around the country. Police estimated the crown
marching up Pennsylvania at 4,500, far fewer than were brutally murdered
during the Sept 11 terrorist attacks.
There were no commemorations for the people who perished at the World Trade
Center, the Pentagon or the crash in Pennsylvania. No one seemed to care
about the widows and the orphans. The large-denomination donations
requested were not even set aside for disaster relief. In fact, aside from
journalists and a few courageous and patriotic counter-protesters, not a
single person seemed to be thankful for their hard-won freedom, that which
enables protesters to spit in Uncle Sam's face. Nor did it seem to matter
that such behavior would have gotten them bloodied in Beijing and killed in
America is too good for these people the major-league practitioners of the
protests of disgust.
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