---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001 16:58:29 -0700
From: radtimes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Anti-war actions...continued (7)
Washington peace rallies: What the mainstream media reported and what
By Scott Morschhauser
October 6, 2001-Yes, I'm the guy who was quoted in the Associated Press
article on the Washington D.C. peace rallies. I flew into D.C. on September
27, participated in the Saturday and Sunday peace rallies, watched and read
as much of the press coverage as I could (including many painful hours in
the hotel watching CNN and MSNBC) and flew home on Monday. I wanted to
compare and contrast what I experienced to what was reported in the
If you have ever been involved in an event reported in the mainstream
media, you will realize that your experience, the essence of the event if
you will, rarely matches what was reported. This phenomenon is greatly
magnified by our era of sound bite journalism, where entire concepts are
expressed in one or two sentences.
On Saturday September 29, I attended the rally and parade sponsored by Act
Now to Stop War and End Racism (A.N.S.W.E.R.). I arrived at Washington's
Freedom Plaza a little before noon. My friends and I found a nice area
behind the main stage and stood with our signs and flags to listen to the
speakers. I was carrying what is affectionately known as a hippie flag; an
American flag with a white peace symbol on the blue field instead of the
stars. The atmosphere was powerful yet peaceful. Many views were expressed,
which means that everyone throughout the day was destined to hear something
with which they did not agree. Still, the common theme was there. Let's
strive for peace in our time. Let's end the cycle of violence. Let's act
smartly and with restraint while achieving justice. Contrary to some
statements in the press, no one expressed the view that those responsible
for the September 11 attacks should go unpunished. The call was for justice.
Halfway through the speakers, we learned that about 900 protesters from the
9 a.m. morning protest across town were being held by police at Edward R.
Murrow Park. The 9 a.m. protest was led by anti-capitalist groups
originally planning to protest the World Bank/IMF meeting, which had been
cancelled because of the September 11 attacks. We were periodically updated
as to their plight and they were finally allowed to join us before our
march. Lawyers for the protesters were on the scene with cell phones and
were able to negotiate with the police.
The peace march down Pennsylvania Avenue was invigorating. Our numbers had
grown to at least 10,000. The show of police force was large and somewhat
daunting, especially their tear gas launchers, but everything was
relatively peaceful. At one intersection we met up with a small (fewer than
100) band of counter-protesters. I found the counter-protesters to be much
more confrontational than the peace protesters. It seems ironic to hear
shouts of hatred directed at a group of people calling for peace, clear
heads, and diplomacy. Those calling for peace do not want to send young
people off into the danger of military actions that will almost certainly
also endanger innocent men, women, and children. One would think that the
peace advocates would be angrier than those who do unquestioningly want a
The march finished up at a park across from the Capitol. We disbanded
around 6 p.m. and headed back to the hotel to see if the press had covered
the event. The protest organizers had estimated the attendance at 20,000 to
25,000 protesters. My friends and I usually halve the number presented by
the sponsors and/or double the numbers given by the mainstream press to get
an accurate number. With that theory along with our own eyes we honestly
estimated 10,000 to 12,000.
Back at the hotel we ordered pizza, flipped on the TV and quickly caught
the CNN Headline News sound bite. A quick shot of the march followed by
something to the extent of "Hundreds of protesters rally for peace in
Washington D.C. Police say pepper spray was used." Now, as bad as sound
bites are, they should at least capture the essence of the event. CNN used
the word hundreds instead of the truthful thousands . . . many thousands to
be more accurate. The pepper spray comment surely was not the essence of
the event or the heart of the story. In fact, this was the first that I had
learned of the incident. If you watch the sports section of the news you
hear who played the game, who won, and a few key plays. You don't always
hear that two rowdy guys got into a fight outside the stadium, although
that is a common occurrence. The worst part of the coverage was the quick
visual shot. CNN used footage of the front of the march with police and
cameramen racing ahead to stay in front !
of those carrying a banner. The shot was so quick that if you did not know
what it was you would assume that some sort of chaos, possibly violence was
MSNBC had similar coverage, bumping the attendance up to thousands, but I
think they also mentioned pepper spray and arrests. Again, the essence of
the event was definitely not captured.
Sunday morning I read the coverage in the Washington Post and the
Washington Times. The front page of the Post had a photo largely dominated
by a counter protester and several anarchists. I'll discuss the anarchists
later, but suffice it to say they were few in numbers. I've already
discussed the small number of counter-protesters, which shows once again
that the totality of the event was not displayed. The photo caption read "A
bystander lunges at protesters preparing to burn the U.S. flag in
Washington." Now, the photo was real and the caption was accurate
(apparently one or two flags were burned at the 9 a.m. morning
anti-capitalist rally), but I must stress that this was not the norm, the
message, or atmosphere of the event as a whole. You had to skip to page C1
to get the full story in the Post. I thought the full story was pretty even
handed, although it stressed the few moments of tension instead of the
remarkable fact that the first national peace march for "America's !
New War" was attended by 10,000 to 20,000 citizens from all across America.
Add to this the fact that this peace movement had organized and acted
nationally in a mere 18 days after the attacks and you can see where the
real story was.
The Washington Times coverage was . . . well, the Washington Times. There
was no cover photo but rather a photo of two people sitting in bleachers
holding hands with a New York City police officer during a prayer Yankee
Stadium. The rally article was next to the photo and the headline read,
"War Protesters Clash with Cops-Thousands march on Capitol, scuffling with
cops and counter protesters along the way." The first paragraph really
showed the full extent of this sort of propaganda. It read, "Eleven
protesters were arrested yesterday and at least two injured in scuffles as
some 4,500 people marched down Pennsylvania Avenue-all calling on the
United States not to make war on terrorist leaders whose Sept 11 attacks on
Pentagon and World Trade Center killed more than 6,000 people." Hmmm. Well,
sort of. Every speaker or private citizen that I heard called for justice,
that is apprehension and punishment of those proven to have conducted the
attacks of September 11, but not an undefined war with no clear enemy and
no clear exit strategy, which without doubt will lead to the deaths of
innocent civilians. If I can explain that in one sentence, how come the
Washington Times cannot?
The rally and march on Sunday September 30 was smaller, yet powerful. There
was a different atmosphere to the event. Sunday's rally, sponsored by the
Washington Peace Center, started at Meridian Hill Park. The atmosphere was
a bit more serene compared to Saturday. In my opinion, the message of this
rally was more symbolically delivered to our fellow American citizens, as
opposed to Saturday which seemed to be more aimed at our government. The
march would take us through residential neighborhoods in DC, culminating at
a rally in Sheridan Circle. I estimated the original number or participants
at Meridian Park to be around 400, but many more joined as we started
marching. The following morning's Washington Times listed the number as
Once we arrived at Sheridan Circle, the anarchist presence was obvious,
with most congregating on and around the statue of General Philip H.
Sheridan. The police quickly surrounded the park and I was a bit nervous at
first. Then I thought about how passionately I feel about raising my voice
to potentially save lives and I felt calm. I decided to interview an
anarchist. I must admit that my knowledge of the anarchy movement tends to
be historical, from the Emma Goldman era, and I was wildly curious to get
the skinny on these young anarchists.
I spoke to a young man (obviously no name given) who was polite, well
spoken, and seemed well-educated. I asked what the anarchists were doing
there. He said that at that very moment they were in the park for security,
to protect the rights of the protesters. I thanked him, being old enough to
be the young man's father, and said that I appreciated the gesture. The
anarchists were equipped with wrist walkie-talkies, ala Dick Tracy, and
were scoping out the park, taking inventory of the sizable police presence.
I asked him what the anarchists wanted in general and that question threw
him a little. He answered the standard, "to replace the current system." I
asked naively what we should replace it with. He said that for instance "we
don't need police here today. We can just police ourselves." I thought it
was a Utopian answer but wonderfully naive and I envied his hopes for
humanity. If you caught the press accounts, you would think that the
anarchists were this horrible movement!
akin to the terrorists that are now public enemy number one. What I found
were a bunch of very young idealists, polite, well spoken, and educated.
The photo in Sunday's Washington Times of a young anarchist about to light
the flag on fire was telling in itself. The anarchist that we should all
fear was, under her bandana mask, obviously a 13- or 14-year-old blond girl.
The rally eventually picked up and marched back to Meridian Park. It was
Back at the hotel there was no mention of the rally on CNN or MSNBC, at
least that I could find. Monday morning I picked up the newspapers to check
out the stories while I flew home. Just as the Sunday march had felt more
calm, the press coverage of the event was also more peaceful and overall
more accurate . . . but not completely. The Washington Post had a nice
photo on B1 of the Metro section and an article on B3. The opening
paragraph read, "Scores of protesters and anti-war activists marched more
than two miles through the District neighborhoods yesterday, hoping to sway
the hearts and minds of residents that a military response to the Sept 11
terrorist attacks will not heal the nation's wounds." Not a bad opener, but
doesn't the term "scores" conjure up a vision of "tens"? There were clearly
500 to upward of 1000 protesters by the end of the march. I did like this
comment from the Post, "Protesters did not focus on alternatives to war,
though many said that accused terrorists should be tried by an
international tribunal. Organizers said their goal was simply to promote
justice without bombings or invasions that kill civilians." It is important
to note that even in referring to the protests of the previous day the Post
had softened its tone. This article, in referring to all of the protests
quotes police chief Ramsey as saying, "They've been vocal but peaceful.
Obviously, they want to get their voice heard, but they've done a good job
of policing themselves."
Even the Washington Times did a better job covering the Sunday protest
compared to Saturday, although I'll point out a few problems. There's a
huge disjoint between the pull-out quote and the rest of the article. The
quote is of the one lone counter-protester saying "The message that those
people are sending is that they're against the United States." For those
who do not actually "read" articles but prefer to read the headlines and
pull-out quotes, the message of the Times article became "the protesters
To comment on the quote itself, there were two days of protests with dozens
of speakers, hundreds of signs, songs, etc., explaining the position of the
various protesters. After all of that, if you received the message that
this counter-protester received, I'm not sure how to help you. The Times
article in a moment of clarity goes on to prove my point by saying, "Most
of those who attended the rally said they wanted the United States to bring
those responsible for the attacks to justice, but not by bombing and
killing innocent people."
My favorite subtle example of propaganda came from the Monday edition of
the New York Times, page B7. The headline read "Marchers Oppose Waging War
on Terrorists." True, if "waging war on terrorists" means carpet bombing
Afghanistan and killing innocent civilians. False if it means bringing
those responsible for the September 11 attacks to justice. The photo showed
the protest sign of the lone counter-protester in the foreground (about 50
percent of the photo) and the oncoming thousand some protesters in the
The problem with this visual equivalent to a sound bite is that the sign
was pretty much the only counter-protest sign that I saw all day. One
person with a pro-war message got the largest spot on the photo, therefore
delivering the largest message. The caption read "Anti-war protesters
marching in Washington yesterday were confronted by another point of view."
Wouldn't the caption have been more accurate if it had read: "About 1,000
anti-war protesters marching in Washington yesterday were confronted by one
person with another point of view?" To be fair, I'm sure there must have
been a few more counter-protesters somewhere along the route, but I never
saw any. Oh, the guy's sign read: "Osama thanks fellow cowards for your
support." In order for this sign to represent the anti-war protesters it
would have had to read "Osama: Oh no, these protesters aren't falling for
my trap of goading the United Stated into a holy war of Christianity vs.
Islam. Instead, they're seeking justice by legally going after the culprits
of September 11."
Overall, the written coverage was pretty good considering how loudly most
Americans are banging the war drums. The television coverage, though, was
horribly slanted or just plain non-existent.
For those who would argue that we do not need a peace movement because the
government appears to be moving forward carefully, I pose the following
question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Is the government
moving slowly on its own accord or is the government moving slowly because
a sizable portion of the American population is scrutinizing the military
action to ensure that innocent lives are not lost? Perhaps the peace
movement is already achieving its goal.
I was interviewed by several news organizations, including the BBC and the
Associated Press. The fellows at the BBC by far do the most thorough
interviews. The gentleman from the Associated Press was also quite
professional. As some of you may have noticed, I was quoted in the
Associated Press article: "Banging drums, singing songs, and waving giant
puppets, several thousand anti-war protesters marched Sunday in Washington
D.C. to call for peace following the terrorist attacks. 'Now is when you
should question the president,' said Scott Morschhauser, 37, who came from
Bettendorf, IA. 'At times of emergency the decisions made have
repercussions 10 to 20 years from now.' The cities top two police officials
walked ahead of the march Sunday, including Assistant Police Chief Terrance
Gainer, who had been injured at a protest the previous day. He said he may
have been accidentally sprayed by his own officers."
My quote would have made a bit more sense if the question the AP reporter
asked had also been printed. The reporter said, "Some say that this is not
the time to question the president." I replied that "Now is when you should
question the president . . . etc." I explained how the U.S. government has
a history of holding up a picture of an enemy bogeyman who must be stopped
at all costs. Then we fund some small rebel organization with a
questionable human rights record to help us beat the bogeyman. Ten or 20
years later, the leader of the former rebel group, now a sizable enemy, is
held up as a bogeyman and the cycle of violence repeats itself.
I'm amazed that my comments have driven people from around the country to
call my house and threaten me and my family. First, even if I had made some
sort of completely preposterous statement (which I didn't), don't you
expect to be confronted with differing opinions when you live in the United
States? Isn't that the freedom that we are trying to protect from
terrorists? Secondly, I think that even George W. Bush might agree with my
statement once he calmed down enough to actually think about it.
The overall message of the peace protesters, including myself, is to move
slowly, carefully, and act based on an enormous amount of education in
order to preserve the sanctity of human life. Let's not make the same
mistakes that we've made in the past that eventually lead to the next war.
Punish the guilty, not innocent civilians. Also, preserve the Bill of
Rights and American freedom in the process. These are the wild and
outrageous concepts that have now put my family in danger, not from
terrorists, but rather from my fellow Americans who for some reason want to
punish me for such blasphemy in the name of . . . democracy and freedom.
The war on dissent
As Americans unite behind their flag, they are in no mood to tolerate
criticism, writes SIMON HOUPT. But are they sacrificing the very freedom
they are defending?
By SIMON HOUPT
Saturday, October 6, 2001
(Toronto) Globe and Mail
NEW YORK -- When two airliners smashed into the twin towers of the World
Trade Center last month, writer Susan Sontag was in Berlin, glued to CNN,
the only U.S. newscast she could receive. In the 40 hours that followed, she
watched a parade of military and political experts stroll across the screen,
apparently united in their convictions over the causes of and solutions to
the terrorist attacks.
"It was amazing: To see Richard Holbrooke, Madeleine Albright, Henry
Kissinger -- they all can't stand each other -- to see them all come on and
say exactly the same thing? It made me laugh!" Sontag said in an interview.
"So I said: Why can't there be some debate?"
Stuck in Berlin by the closure of American airports, Sontag was asked by The
New Yorker to contribute to the magazine's first Talk of the Town section
published after the attacks. This is what she wrote: "The unanimity of the
sanctimonious, reality-concealing rhetoric spouted by American officials and
media commentators in recent days seems, well, unworthy of a mature
Noting that U.S. President George W. Bush had said the terrorists were
cowards, she submitted, "if the word 'cowardly' is to be used, it might be
more aptly applied to those who kill from beyond the range of retaliation,
high in the sky, than to those willing to die themselves in order to kill
others . . . whatever may be said of the perpetrators of Tuesday's
slaughter, they were not cowards."
The magazine hit newsstands in New York on Sept. 17. That night, 4,000
kilometres across the country in a Los Angeles television studio,
Politically Incorrect host Bill Maher began his first show after the attacks
with a tribute to one of those killed the previous week. Conservative pundit
Barbara Olson had been en route from Washington to L.A. to promote her new
book on the show when her plane was flown into the Pentagon. Sitting a few
feet from a seat left empty in memory of Olson, Maher echoed Sontag's words.
"We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away,
that's cowardly," he said. "Staying in the airplane when it hits the
building, say what you want about it, that's not cowardly."
Yikes. Maher is a contract provocateur, willing to say just about anything
for ratings, and in the past advertisers have jauntily supported his
schoolyard taunts. Coming so soon after the Sept. 11 attacks, however, his
comments were considered hurtful and unbecoming for a man employed by ABC
Networks, which is owned by Disney.
The day after the broadcast, FedEx pulled its ads in protest, followed by
Sears Roebuck. As Maher tried desperately to spin his words, TV stations
around the country began pulling Politically Incorrect from their airwaves.
Even after Maher offered an outright apology, as many as 17 stations briefly
dropped the show.
It was becoming apparent that the American public was in no mood to hear any
criticism of the country or its leader.
Sontag was back in New York by this time, receiving anonymous threats and
not so anonymous attacks for voicing her opinion. The New Yorker offices
were deluged with letters of complaint and Sontag was pilloried in the pages
of dozens of newspapers and political weeklies by the usual cast of
curmudgeonly columnists. A senior editor at The New Republic grouped Sontag
in with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, characterizing her as someone
who wants America's global power to be dismantled.
On the Fox News Channel, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., a
retired U.S. Army colonel suggested that any criticism of America's
impending war on terrorism might be considered treasonous.
Less than one week after the World Trade Center attack, posters appeared in
bus shelters and telephone booths around the country with the vow: "United
We Stand." Millions of flags now flutter from lawns, rooftops, window ledges
and car aerials. In words and deeds, Americans are declaring: "United We
Dissent has all but disappeared.
"It's all preposterous," Sontag said this week. "I'm stunned by the
reaction, because it tells something about the mood of the country. I find
that prevalence of group-think absolutely extraordinary. I find it
extraordinary that the press secretary of the President of the United States
would say people have to watch what they say as well as what they do. That
sends chills up and down my spine. If I take it seriously as a turn in the
spirit of the country, I would be much more alarmed, but I hope that's not
"I just said something elementary and old-fashioned American. It's very
depressing to see how scared people are to say anything except to read from
this script. If I think that it is the beginning of a new age in which
essentially freedom of speech is only something we afford in prosperous and
calm times, then I would say that is the end of the United States of America
being a country that I admire."
Sontag might not be interested in hearing, then, that Americans have always
been quick to sacrifice freedom of speech in anxious times.
"It's part of the landscape," said Thomas McCoy, a law professor at
Vanderbilt University who specializes in the First Amendment. "When there's
a national crisis, particularly a war situation, you find widespread
attempts to suppress unpopular or inconvenient viewpoints."
The strongest condemnation of unpopular viewpoints in the wake of the Sept.
11 attacks came from presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer, who chastised
Maher from the bully pulpit of the White House briefing room.
"All Americans . . . need to watch what they say, watch what they do," said
Fleischer. ". . . This is not a time for remarks like that. It never is."
The chilling effect of his comment wasn't diminished by the fact that he was
also referring to a racist remark by a Louisiana Republican congressman.
While the First Amendment prevents government from clamping down on critical
speech, private companies are free to censure their employees at whim.
Nothing in law precludes ABC from cancelling Politically Incorrect if the
network suddenly decides Maher's politically incorrect speech is more a
liability than an asset.
If they choose, advertisers may back out of sponsoring the publication of
opinions with which they or their audience disagree, as FedEx did.
Maher's comments brought "numerous general complaints," according to FedEx
spokesman Jim McCluskey. "There's an environment there where words should be
guarded carefully and there should be appropriate sensitivity to
circumstances as they exist." McCluskey offered this odd assessment of a
core American value: "I don't think freedom of speech is really at issue.
It's just the nature in which free speech is used."
Unusually, it's not just critics of the Bush administration who are being
censured. Ann Coulter, a bellicose right-wing columnist, declared on Sept.
13 that she had the solution to the terrorist threat from Islamic
"We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and
dancing right now. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and
convert them to Christianity," she wrote in a column carried on the National
Review's Web site.
After writing two incendiary follow-up pieces that editors chose not to run,
Coulter griped -- as it happens, on Politically Incorrect -- that she was
being censored. Turns out she'd spoken too soon: Coulter was dropped by
National Review only after those public complaints upset her editors.
In widely publicized incidents, two other writers were fired last month
after they criticized the actions George W. Bush took in the early hours
after the terrorist attacks.
Dan Guthrie, a columnist and copy editor at The Daily Courier in the small
town of Grants Pass, Ore., said he was fired after writing that Bush
"skedaddled" and hid out "in a Nebraska hole," waiting for the danger to
pass. At the Texas City Sun, city editor Tom Gutting was fired for voicing
similar sentiments. The paper's editor and publisher Les Daughtry Jr.
announced Gutting's dismissal in a front-page apology.
"Tom's column was so offensive to me personally that I had a hard time
getting all the way through it, and in fact, still feel ill from its effects
as I write this," Daughtry wrote. He concluded: "May God bless President
George W. Bush and other leaders. And God bless America!"
Newly wary of the sensibilities of their audiences and the pressing need to
maintain sources as the pipeline for information gets squeezed, many
journalists are holding back from asking tough questions of the
administration. Immediately after the attacks, some news anchors and many
local reporters donned red-white-and-blue flag pins, while a number of
networks replaced their usual logos with American flags or
red-white-and-blue renditions of the logos. A senior vice-president at the
Fox News Channel said the network was proud to fly a waving American flag on
"I'd sure prefer that to a hammer and sickle, I'll tell you that," Rick
Moody said, as if those were the only two choices. "I think that there's
some patriotism on camera now, and I think inasmuch as TV news often
reflects America's mood at any given moment, that's what it's doing now."
To be sure, the media's goose-stepping disappoints some Americans.
"Our media, it's so pathetic and embarrassing," said the film director and
left-wing rabble-rouser Michael Moore. Normally a frequent guest on
cable-news shows, Moore says he hasn't been called to appear on any American
TV stations since the attacks.
"I've been called by the CBC, BBC, ABC in Australia," he said in an
interview. "I've been on the nightly newscast of every Western country,
practically, and I've not had a single call from the American networks. . .
. Because I'm going to go on there and say the things they don't want to
hear. I'm going to be off message. I'm not going to sing with the chorus.
And the media is part of the chorus now. They're wearing their ribbons and
they're not being objective journalists and they're not presenting all
"The media has always given in to the government," Moore insisted. "In the
early years of Vietnam, the media was all behind it. They didn't switch
until Walter Cronkite took off his glasses," and made his famous "Stalemate"
broadcast in February, 1968, in which he suggested that the war might be
unwinnable. "It took four years for the first media person to say, 'This is
wrong,' " Moore said.
Recently, Moore was told that his publishers at HarperCollins (which is,
like Fox News Channel, owned by Rupert Murdoch) would hold off on
distributing his newest book. Entitled Stupid White Men and Other Sorry
Excuses for the State of the Nation -- with such chapter titles as Kill
Whitey, A Very American Coup and Idiot Nation -- the book was supposed to
hit stores a few days ago in a sizable print run of 100,000. Last he heard,
Moore said, the company is considering pulping the books.
"My problems pale in comparison to [the victims of the attacks and their
families], so I'm not whining about it. I'm just saying this is a time when
writers and artists need to really act with courage, stand up, say the
things that they need to say, and trust that there's enough of the American
public that will hear what you're saying."
On Sept. 12, Moore posted a diary entry on his Web site, MichaelMoore.com,
suggesting that perhaps the U.S. didn't have the moral authority to decry
the activities of terrorists.
"We abhor terrorism -- unless we're the ones doing the terrorizing. We paid
and trained and armed a group of terrorists in Nicaragua in the 1980s who
killed more than 30,000 civilians. That was OUR work. You and me. Thirty
thousand murdered civilians and who the hell even remembers! We fund a lot
of oppressive regimes that have killed a lot of innocent people, and we
never let the human suffering THAT causes interrupt our day one single bit."
The response? Moore says his site is getting more than one million hits per
"People are desperate," he says. "They're looking for alternative sources of
information." Since the attacks, he has received more than 70,000 e-mails.
Most of them are supportive but he acknowledges that many are not. "The tone
of the hate mail that I've received is as vicious and violent as it's ever
been toward me, in terms of threatening to kill me and do other things to
Clearly, the American people are in no mood for speech that might challenge
their certainties. Thursday night on Politically Incorrect, political
cartoonist Dan Rall was roundly booed when he reminded the audience that
George W. Bush's victory in November's presidential election was still
unresolved. "That's so Sept. 10th," scolded a patronizing Bill Maher. "It
The impulse to clamp down on critical speech isn't new. In 1918, with
American troops dying in Europe, socialist Eugene Debs was charged and
convicted under the war-time Espionage Act for protesting the First World
War. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and disenfranchised, losing his
citizenship for life. (Debs still managed to run for president from prison
on the Socialist ticket and earn about one million votes.)
During the Red Scare of the 1940s and '50s, which Senator Joseph McCarthy
masterfully exploited, public fear of Communists in America was so strong
that the Harvard sociologist Samuel Stouffer found two-thirds of people
polled in 1954 said a Communist shouldn't be permitted to speak. Sixty per
cent said an atheist shouldn't be permitted to speak.
"The Cold War was viewed as a major national crisis," said Prof. McCoy, "so
any dissenters were being dragged before the House Un-American Activities
Committee and fired from their jobs in Hollywood and universities.
"It just seems that when we feel the need to pull together against a common
enemy, our normal American tolerance for dissent is a casualty of that felt
need to pull together."
In a nation that haughtily markets itself to the rest of the world as a
haven for free speech, why is dissent regarded as unpatriotic, as
un-American, during times of crisis?
Moore thinks it's something in the national character of Americans. He is
censoring himself in publishing comments that might prove hurtful to the
twin-tower victims -- one of his friends was on the plane that slammed into
the south tower -- but he is trying to understand how the tragedy occurred.
"I still can't get out of my head how three guys with box cutters keep 90
people at bay. And yet I don't want to blame the victims for not doing
anything. But what is it in us -- they cut one person's throat, we watch one
person die and then we're paralyzed with fear? What is that?"
Moore is trying to tread carefully, but he believes the national character
is revealed in both the media's obsequiousness and the apparently passive
behaviour of the passengers on at least two of the planes. "We're a nation
that is very weak-kneed and very weak-willed, and we talk a big harrumph,
Sontag chalks up the need for unanimity to something else. "It's a kind of
magical thinking that's similar, I suppose, to what's keeping people off
airplanes. No one wants to take an airplane now . . . they're all empty,
they've all become jinxed, and in the same way there is a kind of magical
thinking that if we all just put out our flags and say exactly the same
thing, we're safer. I don't understand it."
Prof. McCoy doesn't understand it, either, but he can appreciate the
inherent irony. "In the course of banding together to defend what we believe
in, we have a tendency to sacrifice one of the core beliefs that we're
defending. That is ironic, but it is an observable fact."
Thobani is not alone
By MICHAEL VALPY
Saturday, October 6, 2001 Page F9
The chamber pots of political and media bile
dumped this week on feminist academic Sunera Thobani are a startling
lesson on how risky it is in Canada to publicly oppose mainstream
thinking when the mainstream is on edge.
Risky for whoever speaks out.
Risky for whoever is in the same room as the person who speaks out --
because Thobani's audience and two politicians unfortunate enough to be on
the same podium with her have been subjected to much the same criticism.
Risky, even, for whoever employs the person who speaks out -- because
Thobani's employer, the University of British Columbia, found itself prodded
by the media into calling a ludicrous "press conference" to declare that its
reputation as an academic institution had not been compromised by what
Thobani is a former president of the National Action Committee on the
Status of Women, and is a professor of women's studies. She spoke a few
days ago at an Ottawa conference titled Women's Resistance: From
Victimization to Criminalization.
She addressed two themes many other Canadian and American academics,
writers and political activists have spoken out about before and after the
Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington: She described U.S. foreign
policy as "drenched in blood," and she said, "Today in the world, the United
States is the most dangerous and the most powerful global force unleashing
horrific levels of violence."
She said there will be no true emancipation for women until Western
domination of the planet -- the masculine ethos of exploitation -- is ended.
And drawing those themes together, she said women should not feel coerced
by the Sept. 11 attacks into supporting whatever action the U.S. government
plans to take in response.
Her rhetoric was purple, but that's Thobani's style. (She also said she feels
the pain "every day" of the victims of Sept. 11, but that's more or less been
ignored.) Interviewed on TV afterward, she said she didn't think her
comments were controversial.
Yes, they were controversial -- but only in the sense that they don't mirror
the superhighway world view of Western mass media and most Western
governments. In fact, Thobani has plenty of company.
For example, there are the Chilean and Argentine judges who have ordered
former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger to appear before them so
that his and his government's role in horrific human-rights abuses in their
countries -- detentions, torture, murder -- can be investigated.
There is the French judge who wants to question Kissinger about the
disappearance of French nationals in Chile after the 1973 coup backed by
the United States.
There is U.S. cultural critic Noam Chomsky, viewing the Sept. 11 attacks
side by side with the U.S. bombing of Sudan "with no credible pretext."
There are the words of the distinguished British journalist Robert Fisk: "This
is not the war of democracy versus terror that the world will be asked to
believe in the coming days. It is also about American missiles smashing into
Palestinian homes and U.S. helicopters firing missiles into a Lebanese
ambulance . . ."
There is the German ARD television news reader Ulrich Wickert, who
compared the "thought patterns" of U.S. President George W. Bush to those
of Osama bin Laden.
In Canada, a parade of politicians have filed by microphones and TV
cameras to call Sunera Thobani's words hateful, disgraceful, outrageous,
indefensible. There has been stunning spleen in the language of editorials and
Poor Secretary of State Hedy Fry, sitting on the same stage as Thobani
(along with Liberal Senator Landon Pearson), has been accused by a
Canadian Alliance MP of standing "shoulder to shoulder" with Thobani and
been called a "continuing running embarrassment to the government" by
Progressive Conservative Leader Joe Clark.
B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell has said the people who applauded her
speech "propagate the same kind of hate" that she does.
All because they disagreed with -- well, with the mob.
Hundreds of women stage anti-war protest
Friday, October 5, 2001 (Reuters News)
TOKYO, Oct 5 - Hundreds of Japanese women marched in Tokyo on Friday to
protest against possible military retaliation for last month's attacks on
the United States.
Just hours earlier, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's cabinet endorsed a
controversial bill that would allow Japan's military to give logistical
support to any U.S. military riposte to last month's attacks on New York and
"Right now, the United States appears to be edging close to war," said Miyo
Inoue, an Upper House lawmaker from the Communist Party, who took part in
the protest. "We couldn't just sit still and do nothing."
"The United States must not attack Afghanistan violently. Instead, they must
determine who is responsible, apprehend them, and then judge them in
accordance with international law."
Carrying posters with messages like "War and Racism are Not the Answer," an
estimated 500 women, some with children, took part in the demonstration in
Tokyo's upmarket Ginza shopping area.
"We must not send the Japanese military overseas," said Inoue. "I do not
want any Japanese child to have the experience of their father not coming
home any more."
Koizumi, eager to prove Japan is a reliable U.S. ally, wants to ensure that
a law is passed this month that will allow Japan's military to expand its
non-combat role overseas to help Washington fight a global war on terrorism.
The new legislation has set off heated debate over how far Japan - where
memories of wartime militarism and defeat run deep - can go without
infringing its pacifist constitution, which renounces war as a means to
settle international disputes.
Successive governments have interpreted that to mean a ban on collective
self-defense or aiding allies when they are attacked.
Under the legislation, the Japanese government wants to dispatch military
forces to provide rearguard logistics support such as medical services and
supplies as well as humanitarian aid for refugees.
Many at the demonstration said they feared the legislation could be merely
the thin end of the wedge leading to a change in the constitution.
"It seems that the government, using rooting out terrorism as an excuse, is
hurrying to revise the constitution," said one woman quoted in a statement
issued prior to the demonstration. "Under the serious faces of the
politicians I feel another face is hidden, giving me a real sense of
"We, as women, must join our voices and say 'No!' to every sort of war."
University of British Columbia Professor Sunera Thobani's
presentation to the Ottawa Women's Resistance Conference, October 1,
2001. Transcript as provided by the Cable Public Affairs Channel.
Professor Sunera Thobani:
We, and this 'we' is really problematic. If we in the West are all
Americans now, what are Third World women and Aboriginal women to do?
If Canadians are Americans now, what are women of colour to do in
this country? And I'm open to suggestions for changing this title,
but I thought I would stick with it as a working title for getting my
ideas together for making this presentation this morning.
I'm very glad that the conference opened with Tina (Tina Beads, of
the Vancouver Rape Relief Women's Shelter) and I'm very glad for the
comments that she made, but I want to say also, just (to) add to
Tina's words here, that living (in) a period of escalating global
interaction now on every front, on every level. And we have to
recognize that this level and this particular phase of globalization
is rooted in all the forms of globalization in the colonization of
Aboriginal peoples and Third World peoples all over the world. That
is the basis. And so globalization continues to remain rooted in that
colonization, and I think, recognizing that we are on Aboriginal land
is a very, very important starting point for any one of our
movements. But that cannot be the end point. That cannot be the end
point. And we have to recognize that there will be no social justice,
no anti-racism, no feminist emancipation, no liberation of any kind
for anybody on this continent unless Aboriginal people demand for
The second point I want to make is that the global order that we live
in, there are profound injustices in this global order. Profound
injustices. Third World women... I want to say for decades, but I'm
going to say for centuries, have been making the point that there can
be no women's emancipation, in fact no liberation of any kind for
women; will be successful unless it seeks to transform the
fundamental divide between the north and the south, between Third
World people and those in the West who are now calling themselves
That there will be no emancipation for women anywhere on this planet
until the Western domination of this planet is ended.
Love thy neighbour. Love thy neighbour, we need to heed those words.
Especially as all of us are being hoarded into the possibility of a
massive war at the of the United States. We need to hear those words
even more clearly today. Today in the world the United States in the
most dangerous and the most powerful global force unleashing prolific
levels of violence all over the world.
>From Chile to El Salvador, to Nicaragua to Iraq, the path of U.S.
foreign policy is soaked in blood. We have seen, and all of us have
seen, felt, the dramatic pain of watching those attacks and trying to
grasp the fact of the number of people who died. We feel the pain of
that every day we have been watching it on television.
But do we feel any pain for the victims of U.S. aggression? 200,000
people killed only in the initial war on Iraq. That bombing of Iraq
for 10 years now. Do we feel the pain of all the children in Iraq who
are dying from the sanctions that were imposed by the United States?
Do we feel that pain on an everyday level? Share it with our families
and communities and talk about it on every platform that is available
to us? Do we feel the pain of Palestinians who now for 50 years have
been living in refugee camps?
U.S. foreign policy is soaked in blood. And other countries of the
West, including shamefully Canada, cannot line up fast enough behind
it. All want to sign up now as Americans and I think it is the
responsibility of the women's movement in this country to stop that,
to fight against it.
These policies are hell-bent on the West maintaining its control over
the world's resources. At whatever cost to the people Pursuing
American corporate interest should not be Canada's national interest.
This new fight, this new war against terrorism, that is being
launched, it's very old. And it is a very old fight of the West
against the rest. Consider the language which is being used. Calling
the perpetrators evil-doers, irrational, calling them the forces of
darkness, uncivilized, intent on destroying civilization, intent on
destroying democracy That hate freedom we are told. Every person of
colour, and I would want to say also every Aboriginal person, will
recognize that language. The language of us letting civilization
representing the forces of darkness, this language is rooted in the
colonial legacy. It was used to justify our colonization by Europe
We were colonized in the name of the West bringing civilization,
democracy, bringing freedom to us. All of us recognize who is being
talked about when that language is being used. The terms crusade,
infinite justice, cowboy imagery of dead or alive posters, we all
know what they mean. The West, people in the West also recognize who
this fight is against. Cries heard all over the Western world, we are
all Americans now. People who are saying that recognize who this
fight is against. People who are attacking Muslims, any person of
colour who looks like they could be from the Middle East, without
distinguishing, recognizing who this fight is against. These are not
just slips of the tongue that Bush quickly tries to reject. These are
not slips of the tongue. They reveal a thinking, a mindset. And it is
horrific to think that the fate of the world hangs on the plans of
people like that. On the plans of people like that. This will be a
big mistake for us if we just accept that these are slips of mind,
just slips of the tongue. They're not. They reveal the thinking, and
the thinking is based on dominating the rest of the world in the name
of bringing freedom and civilization to it.
If we look also at the people who are being targeted for attack. A
Sikh man killed? Reports of a Cherokee woman in the United States
having been killed? Pakistan is attacked. Hindu temples attacked.
Muslim mosques attacked regardless of where the Muslims come from.
These people also recognize who this fight is against. And it is due
to the strength of anti-racist organizing that Bush has been forced
to visit mosques, that our prime minister has been forced also to
visit mosques and say, no there shouldn't be this kind of attack. We
should recognize that it is the strength of anti-racist organizing is
forcing them to make those remarks.
But even but even as they visit mosques, and even as they make these
conciliatory noises, they are talking out of both sides of the mouth
because they are officially sanctioning racial pro-filing at the
borders, in the United States, for entrance into training schools,
for learning to become pilots, at every step of the way. On an
airplane, who is suspicious, who is not?
Racial profiling is being officially sanctioned and officially
introduced. In Canada we know that guidelines, the "Globe and Mail"
leaked, the guidelines were given to immigration officers at the
border, who to step up security watch is on.
So on the one hand, they say no, it's not all Muslims, on the other
hand they say yes, we are going to use racial profiling because it is
reasonable. So we have to see how they are perpetrating the racism
against people of colour, at the same time that they claim to be
speaking out against it. And these are the conditions, the conditions
of racial profiling. These are the conditions within which children
are being bullied and targeted in schools, women are being chased in
parking lots and shopping malls, we are being scrutinized as we even
come to conferences like that, extra scrutiny, you can feel the
coldness when you enter the airport. I was quite amazed. I have been
travelling in this country for 10 years, and I have never had the
experience that I had flying down here for this conference. All of us
feel it. So this racial profiling has to be stopped.
Events of the last two weeks also show that the American people that
Bush is trying to invoke, whoever they are these American people,
just like we contest notions of who the Canadian people are, we have
to recognize that there are other voices in the United States as
well, contesting that.
But the people, the American nation that Bush is invoking, is a
people which is bloodthirsty, vengeful, and calling for blood. They
don't care whose blood it is, they want blood. And that has to be
confronted. We cannot keep calling this an understandable response.
We cannot say yes, we understand that this is how people would
respond because of the attacks. We have to stop condoning it and
creating a climate of acceptability for this kind of response. We
have to call it for what it is: Bloodthirsty vengeance.
And people in the United States, we have seen peace marches all over
this weekend, they also are contesting this. But Bush is (the)
definition of the American nation and the American people need to be
challenged here. How can he keep calling them a democracy? How can we
keep saying that his response is understandable after Bush of all
people, who stole the election, how can we ever accept that this is
Canada's approach has been mixed, it has said yes, we will support
the United States but with caution. It will be a cautionary support.
We want to know what the actions will be before we sign on and we
want to know this has been Canada's approach. And I have to say we
have to go much further. Canada has to say we reject U.S. policy in
the Middle East. We do not support it.
And it's really interesting to hear all this talk about saving
Afghani women. Those of us who have been colonized know what this
saving means. For a long time now, Afghani women, and the struggles
that they were engaged in, were known here in the West. Afghani women
became almost the poster child for women's oppression in the Third
World. And, rightfully so, many of us were in solidarity. Afghani
women of that time were fighting and struggling against the Taliban.
They were condemning their particular interpretation of Islam.
Afghani women, Afghanistan women's organizations were on the front
line of this. But what (did) they become in the West? In the West
they became nothing but poor victims of this bad, bad religion, and
of (these) backward, backward men. The same old colonial
construction. They were in the frontline, we did not take the lead
from them then, where we could see them more as victims, only worthy
of our pity and today, even in the United States, people are ready to
bomb those women, seeing them as nothing more than collateral damage.
You see how quickly the world can change you. And I say that we take
the lead from the Afghani women. They fought back against the
Taliban, and when they were fighting back they said that it is the
United States that is putting this regime in power. That's what they
were saying. They were saying, look at U.S. foreign policy!
They were trying to draw out attention to who was responsible for
this state of affairs, to who was actually supporting regimes as
women all over the Middle East have been doing. Sorry, just two more
minutes and I'll be done. So I say we take the lead from them and
even if there is no American bombing of Afghanistan, which is what
all of us should be working right now to do, is to stop any move to
bomb Afghanistan, even if there is no bombing of Afghanistan,
hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people have already been
displaced, fleeing the threat of war -- you see the power of America
here, right? One word in Washington and millions of people are forced
to flee their houses, their communities, right? So, even if there is
no bombing. We have to bear in mind how many women's lives have
already been disrupted, destroyed, and will take generations for them
to put back together again. Inevitably, and very depressing in Canada
is of course, turning to the enemy within -immigrants and refugees,
right? Scapegoating of refugees, tighter immigration laws, all the
right-wing forces in this community, in this country, calling for
that kind of approach. This is depressing for women of colour,
immigrant and refugee women, anything happens, even if George Bush
was to get a cold, we know somehow it'll be the fault of immigrants
and refugees in Canada, and our quote-unquote lax border policies. So
I'm not going to say much about it, but I just want to expose to you
how, this... continues to be resurrected anytime over anything in the
world. In terms of any kind of military action, Angela Davis (an
American activist) asked in the 70s, she said 'do you think the men
who are going to fight in Vietnam, who are going to kill Vietnamese
women and children, who are raping Vietnamese women, do you think
they will come home and there will be no effect of all of this? On
women in the United States?' She was asking this in the 70s. That
question is as relevant today. All these fighters that are going to
be sent there, we think there will be no effect? For our women, when
they come back here? So I think that that is something that we need
to think about, as we talk about the responses, as we talk about this
kind of jingoistic military-ism. And recognize that, as the most
heinous form of patriarchal, racist violence that we're seeing on the
globe today. The women's movement, we have to stand up to this. There
is no option. There's no option for us, we have to fight back against
this militarization, we have to break the support that is being built
in our countries for this kind of attack. We have to recognize that
the fight is for control of the vast oil and gas resources in Central
Asia, for which Afghanistan is a key, strategic point!
There's nothing new about this, this is more of the same, this is
more of the same that we have been now fighting for, for so many
decades. And we want to recognize, we have to recognize, that the
calls that are coming from progressive groups in the Third World, and
in their supporters, in their allies, in the rest of the world, the
three key demands they are asking for: End the bombing of Iraq, lift
the sanctions on Iraq, who in this room will not support that demand?
Resolve the Palestinian question, that's the second one. And remove
the American military bases, anywhere in the Middle East. Who will
not demand, support these demands? We have to recognize that these
demands are rooted in anti-imperialist struggles and that we have to
support these demands. We need to end the racist colonization of
Aboriginal peoples in this country, certainly, but we need to make
common calls with women across the world who are fighting to do this.
Only then can we talk about anti-racist, feminist politics, only then
can we talk about international solidarity in women's movements
across the world. And in closing, just one word -- the lesson we have
learned, and the lesson that our politicians should have learned, is
that you cannot slaughter people into submission, for 500 years they
have tried that strategy, the West for 500 years has believed that it
can slaughter people into submission and it has not been able to do
so, and it will not be able to do so this time either.
Thank you very much.
NEW YORK CITY LABOR AGAINST WAR
September 27, 2001
September 11 has brought indescribable suffering to New York City's
working people. We have lost friends, family members and coworkers of
all colors, nationalities and religions--a thousand of them union
members. An estimated one hundred thousand New Yorkers will lose their
We condemn this crime against humanity and mourn those who perished. We
are proud of the rescuers and the outpouring of labor support for
victims' families. We want justice for the dead and safety for the
And we believe that George Bush's war is not the answer.
No one should suffer what we experienced on September 11. Yet war will
inevitably harm countless innocent civilians, strengthen American
alliances with brutal dictatorships and deepen global poverty--just as
the United States and its allies have already inflicted widespread
suffering on innocent people in such places as Iraq, Sudan, Israel and
the Occupied Territories, the former Yugoslavia and Latin America.
War will also take a heavy toll on us. For Americans in uniform--the
overwhelming number of whom are workers and people of color--it will be
another Vietnam. It will generate further terror in this country
against Arabs, Muslims, South Asians, people of color and immigrants,
and erode our
It will redirect billions to the military and corporate executives,
while draining such essential domestic programs as education, health
care and the social security trust. In New York City and elsewhere, it
will be a pretext for imposing "austerity" on labor and poor people
under the guise of
War will play into the hands of religious fanatics--from Osama bin Laden
to Jerry Falwell--and provoke further terrorism in major urban centers
like New York.
Therefore, the undersigned New York City metro-area trade unionists
believe a just and effective response to September 11 demands:
*NO WAR. It is wrong to punish any nation or people for the crimes of
individuals--peace requires global social and economic justice.
*JUSTICE, NOT VENGEANCE. An independent international tribunal to
impartially investigate, apprehend and try those responsible for the
September 11 attack.
*OPPOSITION TO RACISM*DEFENSE OF CIVIL LIBERTIES. Stop terror, racial
profiling and legal restrictions against people of color and immigrants,
and defend democratic rights.
*AID FOR THE NEEDY, NOT THE GREEDY. Government aid for the victims'
families and displaced workers--not the wealthy. Rebuild New York City
with union labor, union pay, and with special concern for new threats to
worker health and safety.
*NO LABOR "AUSTERITY." The cost of September 11 must not be borne by
working and poor New Yorkers. No surrender of workers' living
standards, programs or other rights.
SIGNERS (List in formation: Rev. October 5, 2001 17:36)
ALL AFFILIATIONS AND TITLES LISTED FOR IDENTIFICATION ONLY (UNLESS
*Larry Adams, National Postal Mail Handlers Union Local 300
*Barbara Bowen, Professional Staff Congress-CUNY/AFT Local 2334
*Arthur Cheliotes, CWA Local 1180
*Michael Letwin, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325
*Jill Levy, Council of Supervisors and Administrators (CSA), NYS
Federation of School Administrators, AFSA Local 1
*Maida Rosenstein, UAW Local 2110
*Joel Schwartz, CSEA Local 446, AFSCME
*Brenda Stokely, AFSCME Local 215, DC 1707
*Jonathan Tasini, National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981
OTHER MEMBERS (168)
*Jayma Abdoo, Joint Council Delegate, UAW Local 2110
*Ervand Abrahanian, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Tristin Adie, Shop Steward, CWA Local 1109
*Marilyn Albert, RN, SEIU Local 1199
*George Albro, Sec'y-Treasurer, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Tom Anderson, Vice-Chairperson, OSA
*Anthony Arnove, NWU/UAW Local 1981
*Sylvia Aron, Human Serv. Providers Adv. Cttee., NYC Central Labor
Rehab. Council; Past President, AAUP, Adelphi Chapter
*Stanley Aronowitz, University-Wide Officer & Executive Council,
PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Daniel Ashworth, Delegate, CDD-Brooklyn, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Harold Bahr III, Chair, GLTGC, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Ellen Baker, Assistant Professor of History, Columbia University; AAUP
*Thomas Barton, Shop Steward, AFSCME Local 768, DC 37
*Nicholas K. Bedell, Grievance Representative, CWE/UFT
*Dorothee Benz, Communications Director, CWA Local 1180
*Carl Biers, Executive Director, AUD
*Peter Blum, Acting Vice-President/CAB, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Robert Bomersbach, OSA
*Ian Brand, UNITE! Local 169
*Caroline N. Brown, AFSCME Local 2627, DC 37
*Bill Bradley, Delegate, SEIU Local 32B-J
*Renate Bridenthal, Chair, International Committee, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local
*Rachel Burd, labor consultant, NWU/UAW Local 1981
*Chris Butters, AFSCME Local 1070, DC 37
*Barbara H. Chasin, officer, AFT Local 1904, Montclair State University
*A.B. Chitty, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334; USN 65-9 VN, 66-7 68, NY/VVAW
*Maria J. Chiu, JRD-Queens, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Kimberly Christensen, UUP
*Patricia Clough, Queens College Chapter Officer, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local
*Antonia Codling, Chair, ACLA, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Hillel Cohen, Delegate, SEIU Local 1199
*Catherine Cook, Joint Council Delegate, UAW Local 2110
*Sandi E Cooper, Prof. of Hist., College of SI & Grad. Sch.-CUNY, frm.
chair, Univ. Fac. Senate; PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Thelma C. Correll, SEIU Local 1199, Retirees Chapter Executive Cttee.;
AUD Adv. Bd.; PHANYC
*Lillian Cozzarelli, CWA Local 1180
*Claire Crosby, GSEU/UAW Local 2110
*Jackie DiSalvo, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Robert E. Dow, AFSCME Local 2627, DC 37
*Bryce Dowd, Organizer, SEIU Local 1199
*Steve Downs, Executive Board, TWU Local 100
*Phyllis Eckhaus, NWU/UAW Local 1981
*Madeleine M. Egger, CWA Local 1101
*Hester Eisenstein, Queens College Chapter, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Toby Emmer, Director, UAW Region 9A Education Fund
*Hugh English, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Hillary Exter, LSSA/UAW Local 2320
*Samuel Farber, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Kate Fitzer, CDD-Brooklyn, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Geoffrey Fox, NY Local Steering Committee, NWU/UAW Local 1981
*Josh Fraidstern, TWU Local 100
*Richard W. Franke, Executive Board, AFT Local 1904, Montclair State
*Lew Friedman, UFT
*Eric Fruman, AFT
*Nanette Funk, Brooklyn College Chapter, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Pam Galpern, Shop Steward, CWA Local 1101
*Gary Goff, Recording Sec'y, AFSCME Local 2627, DC 37
*Marty Goodman, Executive Board, TWU Local 100
*Winston A. Gordon, CDD-Brooklyn, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Mark Grashow, former Chapter Chairperson, UFT
*Shirley Gray, Grievance Representative, OSA
*Mike Grimbel, AFSCME Local 375, DC 37; Delegate, NYC Central Labor
*George Gulifield, AFSCME Local 2627, DC 37
*Larry Hanley, City College Delegate, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Elon Harpaz, Delegate, CAB, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Bill Henning, Vice-President, CWA Local 1180
*Lucy Herschel, Delegate, SEIU Local 1199, Legal Aid Society Chapter
*Ed Hilbrich, SSA/SEIU Local 693
*Carol Hochberg, Vice-President/JRD, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Norman Hodgett, AFSCME Local 371, DC 37
*Nina Howes, RN, Delegate, SEIU Local 1199
*Dean Hubbard, union attorney, Labor & Employment Committee, National
Steering Committee, National Lawyers Guild
*Carolyn Hughes, UFT
*Lisa Jessup, Organizer, UAW Local 2110
*Christine Karatnytsky, Executive Board, New York Public Library Guild,
AFSCME Local 1930; Editor, Local 1930 Update
*Danny Katch, Teamsters Local 805
*Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, Director, Queens College Worker Education
Extension Center; PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*David Kazanjian, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Dian Killian, Organizer, Journalism Division, NWU/UAW Local 1981
*Terry Klug, Sec'y-Treasurer, TWU Local 241
*Lisa Maya Knauer, GSOC/UAW Local 2110
*John Korber, IWW-NYC; UFT
*Daniella Korotzer, Alternate Vice-President/CDD-Brooklyn, Health &
Safety Representative, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Kitty Krupat, Bargaining Team, GSOC/UAW Local 2110
*Ray Laforest, Staff Representative, DC 1707, AFSCME
*Jane Latour, Dir., Women's Proj., AUD; Man. Ed., Hardhat Mag.; NWU/UAW
*Tatiana Lemon, Delegate, SEIU Local 1199, Legal Aid Society Chapter
*Robert Lesko, Vice-President, AFT Local 3882
*Eileen A. McCann, Alternate Delegate, Civil-SI, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Patrick McCreery, GSOC/UAW Local 2110
*Miguel Maldonado, President, Immigrant Worker's Association
*Julius Margolin, IATSE Local 52
*Barton Meyers, Chair, Grievance Policy Committee, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local
*Aaron Micheau, CAB, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Charlene Mitchell, Assistant to the President, AFSCME Local 371, DC 37
*Chuck Mohan, President, Guyanese-American Workers United; Staff
Representative, AFSCME DC 1707
*Charles Molesworth, Acting Chair, Queens College Chapter, PSC-CUNY, AFT
*Kim Moody, NWU/UAW Local 1981; Labor Notes Policy Committee
*Florence Morgan, CDD-Queens, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Susan Olivia Morris, CDD-Brooklyn, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Amy Muldoon, CWA Local 1106
*Ken Nash, Building Bridges: Your Community and Labor Report in Exile
*Marcia Newfield, BMCC Chapter Officer, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Catherine Newton, Alternate Delegate, CDD-Brooklyn, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Daniel Nichols, AFSCME Local 2627, DC 37
*Matt Noyes, Education Coordinator, AUD; NWU/UAW Local 1981
*Tony O'Brien, Delegate, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Susan O'Malley, Executive Council, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Dennis O'Neil, Legislative Director, NY Metro Area Postal Union, APWU
*Richard L. Oeser, IATSE Local 52; Cornell Labor Studies; National Labor
*Greg Pason, NJ Steering Committee, NWU/UAW Local 1981
*J.P. Patafio, New Directions Caucus & Executive Board, TWU Local 100
*Paul Peloquin, Delegate, LSSA/UAW 2320
*Andy Piascik, Program Coordinator, AUD; NWU/UAW Local 1981
*John Pietaro, Delegate, SEIU Local 1199, Health Systems Division
*Pride at Work, NY
*Jim Provost, LSSA/UAW 2320
*Mike Quinn, High School Delegate, UFT
*Gloria E. Quiones, former member, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Peter Ranis, Executive Council, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Shirley Rausher, BMCC Delegate, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Amie Ravitz, union labor attorney; former delegate and Executive Board,
*Dominic Renda, CWA Local 1105
*Sally Ridgeway, AAUP, Adelphi Chapter
*Cicely Rodway, Queens College Chapter Officer, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Adolph Reed, Jr. NWU/UAW Local 1981
*Nancy Romer, Executive Council, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Mimi Rosenberg, Delegate, Civil-BNO, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Andrew Rowe, CDD-Brooklyn, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Cathy Ruckelshaus, Litigation Director, National Employment Law Project
*Trudy Rudnick, Organizer, AFT Local 3882
*Michael Ruscigno, IBT Local 802
*Jay Schaffner, Supervisor, National Contracts Dept., AFM Local 802
*Tim Schermerhorn, Vice President, RTO, TWU Local 100
*Jose Schiffino, Organizer, UNITE! Local 169
*Jason Schulman, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Wendy Scribner, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Hasan Shafiqullah, CDD-Brooklyn, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Ryan Shanahan, JRD-Queens, 1199/SEIU, Legal Aid Society chapter
*George Snedeker, Disability Rights Committee, UUP
*Soo Kyung Nam, UAW Local 2320
*Joyce Soso, AFSCME Local 2627, DC 37
*Ann Sparanese, Shop Steward, RWDSU Local 29
*Claudette R. Spencer, CDD, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Rob Spencer, Director of Media Services, OSA
*Michael Sullivan, Organizer, UNITE!
*Gibb Surette, Delegate, LSSA/UAW 2320
*Sean Sweeney, Director, Cornell Labor Studies
*Kyle Talbert, AFSCME Local 2627, DC 37
*John Talbutt, AFSCME SSEU/Local 371, DC 37
*Terry Taylor, IBEW Local 827, Black Telephone Workers For Justice
*Steve Terry, Alternate Delegate, CDD-Brooklyn, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Miriam Thompson, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Azalia Torres, Alternate Vice-President/CDD-Brooklyn, ALAA/UAW Local
*Juliet Ucelli, UFT
*Mark Ungar, PSC-CUNY, AFT Local 2334
*Lise Vogel, AAUP/CBC
*Marilyn Vogt-Downey, UFT
*Kit Wainer, UFT
*Michael Ware, Shop Steward, CWA Local 1109
*Ron Washington, IBEW Local 827, Black Telephone Workers For Justice
*Steve Weiner, Shop Steward, AFSCME Local 2627, DC 37
*Edlyn Willer, Delegate, CAB, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Corinne Willinger, PEF
*JoAnn Wypijewski, TNGNY/CWA
*Ethan Young, NWU/UAW Local 1981
*Naomi Zauderer, National Employment Law Project; UAW Local 2320 and UAW
*Milton Zelermyer, Delegate, PRP, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
*Robert Zuss, Vice-President/CDD-Brooklyn, ALAA/UAW Local 2325
AAUP. American Association of University Professors
ACLA. Attorneys of Color of Legal Aid
AFM. American Federation of Musicians
AFSA. American Federation of School Administrators
AFT. American Federation of Teachers
AFSCME. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
ALAA. Association of Legal Aid Attorneys
APWU. American Postal Workers Union
AUD. Association for Union Democracy
CAB. Criminal Appeals Bureau, Legal Aid Society
CDD. Criminal Defense Division, Legal Aid Society
CSEA. Civil Service Employees Association
CUNY. City University of New York
CWA. Communication Workers of America
CWE. Consortium for Worker Education
GLTGC. Gay, Lesbian, Trans-Gender Caucus
GSEU. Graduate Student Employees United
GSOC. Graduate Student Organizing Committee
IATSE. International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees
IBEW. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
IBT. International Brotherhood of Teamsters
IWW. Industrial Workers of the World
JRD. Juvenile Rights Division, Legal Aid Society
LSSA. Legal Services Staff Association
NWU. National Writers Union
OSA. Office of Staff Analysts
PEF. Public Employees Federation
PRP. Prisoners Rights Project, Legal Aid Society
PSC. Professional Staff Congress-City University of New York
RWDSU. Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union
SEIU. Service Employees International Union
SSEU. Social Service Employees Union
TWU. Transport Workers Union
UAW. United Auto Workers
UFT. United Federation of Teachers
UNITE! Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees
UUP. United University Professions
VVAW. Vietnam Veterans Against the War
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Carmen Trotta 212-228-0450
October 5, 2001 Chris Ney 917-407-9146
Nobel Laureates, War Resisters League, Join New Yorkers Pleading "No War In
at October 7 March and Rally
Three Nobel laureates will be among the speakers pleading for peace at a
Manhattan rally and march Sunday afternoon, October 7. Rigoberta Mench
Tum, Adolfo Prez Esquivel, and Mairead Maguire will be at the rally
bearing an anti-war message from 15 additional Peace Prize winners.
In a printed statement, the Nobel laureates expressed profound sympathy for
the victims of the September 11 tragedy and urged, "The response of the
United States and its allies should not be driven by a blind desire for
vengeance, but rather the renewed determination to work for a peaceful and
just world." They went on to cite concerns about the "downward spiral of
violence" and "false expectations about the ability of military power to
Echoing the Nobelists' concerns, Melissa Jameson of the War Resisters
League said, "Retaliation is the problem, not the solution." The War
Resisters League is a 78-year old national pacifist organization that
helped form the coalition holding the event.
"From the beginning of this crisis, we felt that the people of New York
City have a particular responsibility to call for a non-military response
to the events of September 11," added Carmen Trotta, also with the League.
"We live in the city that suffered the greatest loss of life and
devastation. We have seen the destruction caused by a military attack and
we do not want any other people to endure that suffering in our name."
The rally and march will begin at 3:00 p.m. at Union Square and proceed
north to Times Square, ending in a candlelight vigil at sunset. As the sun
sets across the United States, other communities will follow New York's
lead at similar events, with candles greeting the darkness in a nationwide
message of peace. Local actions have been planned across the country in
locations as diverse as Coos County, OR, West Palm Beach, FL, and Hudson,
NY. Peace activists in Philadelphia will march down Broad Street; in
Chicago, activists plan a candlelight vigil at Buckingham Fountain; in
Washington, members of Pax Christi will hold an interfaith service.
Working with other peace and social justice organizations through the
National Coalition for Peace and Justice, an anti-war grouping formed
during the 1999 war in Yugoslavia, the War Resisters League both helped
plan the New York City event and encouraged local groups to hold their own
peace events on October 7. The War Resisters League's website,
www.warresisters.org, has become a resource for anti-war activists around
the world, including a list of local anti-war actions across the country
and downloadable statements and flyers. Since September 11, the site has
received thousands of visitors each day.
The oldest secular pacifist organization in the country, the War Resisters
League released a statement within hours of the September 11 attacks
despite email and telephone problems caused by the World Trade Center
blast. It called for government officials to cease targeting civilians and
said, in part, "We are one world. We shall live in a state of fear and
terror or we shall move toward a future in which we seek peaceful
alternatives to violence, and a more just distribution of the world's
resources. As we mourn the many lives lost, our hearts call out for
reconciliation, not revenge."
War Resisters League
339 Lafayette St.
New York, NY 10012
1-800-975-9688 (YouthPeace and A Day Without the Pentagon)
web address: http://www.warresisters.org
New York Times Responds to FAIR, Calls Criticism a Distortion
October 5, 2001
FAIR's October 2 Action Alert, "Can the New York Times Count-- Or Quote--
Peace Activists?," got an immediate response from New York Times senior news
editor Bill Borders.
Borders wrote a number of responses to FAIR activists, including several
claiming that "as it often does, FAIR has, I think, distorted our position
here." What follows below is one such response, along with FAIR's reply.
--From Bill Borders--
The crowd estimate of a "few hundred" appeared only in the first edition of
last Sunday's paper. When the reporter wrote it, it was accurate. Later, the
crowd grew, and the article was updated in all the other editions of the
Sunday paper to "thousands." In retrospect, it would have been wiser not to
put the smaller estimate into the early edition, but the reporter did not
know that the crowd would grow so much.
FAIR is aware of these facts, but chose to withhold them from the "action
alert" it sent you. I don't know why they did this; you might want to ask
Thanks for writing, and for holding us to a high standard.
Best, Bill Borders, The New York Times.
Dear Bill Borders:
Thank you for replying so quickly to our readers who inquired about the
Times' coverage of peace activists.
Contrary to an assertion you made in some of your responses, FAIR did not
knowingly withhold information from its readers. Making such an accusation
without evidence is unprofessional.
In several responses, you wrote that "as it often does, FAIR has, I think,
distorted our position here." We wrote our alert based on the third edition
of the paper (labeled "Late Edition"), as well as the online edition, which
as of this morning had not been changed to reflect the "growth" of the
crowd. So our point was correct, as you acknowledge; I do not think that
amounts to a distortion of your position.
If the Times does understand that its reporting was in error, it seems the
most responsible thing to do would be to issue a correction that would be
available to all of your readers. It is unlikely that very many people buy
the final edition of the Times to fact-check what they have already read
I hope the Times will consider issuing a correction in this Sunday's
Peter Hart, FAIR
It's also worth noting that Borders does not address FAIR's larger point
about the Times' under-coverage and mischaracterization of peace protests
(notably in the headline "Protesters in Washington Urge Peace with
Terrorists"). The October 5 edition of the Times does, however, include a
profile of peace activists that avoids many of the errors and distortions
that so far have characterized some of the paper's previous coverage.
To read FAIR's original alert, "Can the New York Times Count-- Or Quote--
Peace Activists?," visit
Date: Thu, 04 Oct 2001
From: Carol Brouillet
Hope for Love and Peace Blossom in Washington DC
For months I had planned to go to Washington DC to protest the IMF,
World Bank, FTAA, Bush, and to help organize the next World Social
Forum. In August I joined with others from the Bay Area who wanted to go
as an "affinity group." The first time we met, we shared all the various
issues which we were concerned with and brainstormed on an "umbrella"
theme. We became very creative and excited over launching a campaign
against child slavery, the consumption of cheap goods that come at an
incredibly high human and environmental cost (our focal point-
cocoa, where 43% of the world's supply comes from the Ivory Coast and
child slavery). We became "The Chocolate Block" and began doing research,
dreaming up skits , props, labels which we could create to launch a boycott
against chocolate, and raise consciousness about all the other issues
linked to the production of "consumer goods" and human and environmental
On September 11th, we were all so profoundly shocked and upset by
the attacks that I seriously doubted if I would go to Washington, D.C.
under the circumstances. Although the movement in general has been deeply
opposed to the W.T.O., I.M.F., World Bank, and militarization, such
violence seemed utterly without purpose, as I could not imagine how anyone
could benefit from the attacks. In a weak joke, I said that the only one I
knew who would benefit would be my son, Jeremy, because his birthday is on
September 29th, and I would be home instead of in Washington DC. I was
horrified by the "war mantra" that I heard from the mainstream press and
the Orwellian rhetoric spouted by Bush.
The Chocolate Block met in San Francisco and we poured out our hearts
to one another, and wondered what we could do, as activists, to ameliorate
the suddenly grave crisis- World War III- which seemed to loom upon the
near horizon. The closure of the Washington DC airport logistically
prevented our beloved April from even getting to DC! Bombarded by renewed
mass media threats of the likelihood of future attacks- nuclear,
biological, chemical, as well as hijackings, fear seemed to be the
prevalent mood of the country- paralyzing many activist groups as well as
What gives me strength and energy is my love and passion for life,
for my children, my husband, my family, my friends, for nature, for people;
what I hate most is fear and pain. I have always tried to never let fear
prevent me from doing what I want to do, no matter how "dangerous" the path
that I choose appears to be. Knowing that there would be major
demonstrations for Peace, and knowing how strongly needed such
demonstrations were at this moment in history, I couldn't let Fear prevent
me from going. It was also wonderful to have a few of the Chocolate Block
commit themselves to going. On Sunday, before the big demonstrations, we
gathered again in San Francisco to talk, eat apple pie, but primarily to
paint a banner which we could carry in the demonstrations.
On pale turquoise cloth we painted a mantra, a quote from Alice
Walker, "One Earth One People One World" encircling an image of our planet
with a heart imposed upon it surrounded by a group of people holding
hands. The next day, a wonderful woman and her ten year old friend came to
my house to help me sew up the banner. We added purple edges for the
bamboo poles and I added a pale yellow backing with the words One Air One
Water One Hope- Respect All Life with an image of three connected
circles. Since my friends were connected with the pagans, and we had
originally thought to do some theatre and perhaps represent the elements; I
also made sashes to represent Earth, People, Love, Air, Water, Hope which
we could wear during the demonstrations.
On September 28th, I got up early to get to the airport in plenty of
time to pass through the long lines at Check-In and Security. There was a
young black woman standing in front of me, trying to get home to
Indiana. She had come to the airport at 6:30 a.m., but couldn't get
through because she had forgotten her I.D.. We talked for a long time. She
was in the army, and told me with surprising candor that all the
intelligence people were at conferences in Arizona and California when the
bombing happened. She didn't believe the stuff that was coming out in the
papers, the ridiculous stories like the one about the hijackers passport
floating safely down to the rubble of the World Trade Center. What
disturbed her the most was how foreign military personnel had access to Top
Secret buildings on her base which she wasn't allowed into. She was very
sharp and politically aware. I told her about my activism and my knowledge
of the F.B.I. and the C.I.A.'s activities, and she said towards the end of
our conversation that I was the first white person she could talk to about
these topics. I liked her a lot and gave her a hug before we parted.
The plane was late; I missed my connection in Chicago. I didn't
arrive in Baltimore until midnight and miraculously was offered a lift to
Washington D.C. by a pilot from Continental airlines. We had another long
political discussion- we agreed on the how terribly the C.I.A. had behaved
historically, including all the governments that they have overthrown and
their support and arming of the Osama bin Laden terrorist network in
Afghanistan, but he was willing to sacrifice freedoms and welcomed stronger
security measures in the United States.
At three a.m. I found the youth hostel and finally got to lay down
for a few hours, before my alarm went off at seven a.m.. The youth hostel
was far from everything, but I had hoped that friends and a group from
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom would also be staying
there, but they didn't come. I did meet a young woman, Brenda, at the
hostel who was also with the pagan cluster.
September 29th at 9:00 a.m. Brenda and I were supposed to meet with
the Pagan Cluster in front of Union Station.. We went together, but we were
five minutes late and missed everyone. Some tourists and police helpfully
pointed us in the right direction where we met with the Chocolate Block and
the pagans in the trees of the enormous park surrounding the Capitol.
We formed a circle, grounded ourselves, prepared to march. I found
many other familiar faces, media activists, whom I had known from earlier
adventures. Sarah was in blue to represent "Water," I wore blue to
represent "Air," the Jims were "Earth and Love," My friend Amanda Bellerby,
who was taping for the Independent Media Center (http://www.indymedia.org)
was "People" and I gave "Hope" to a young woman who subsequently
disappeared. The march was organized (disorganized) by the Anti-Capitalist
Convergence Center, they hadn't obtained a legal permit, and seemed wildly
spontaneous, although with all the signs, great art, energy, obviously
people were prepared and ready to demonstrate. There was lots of singing,
chanting, noise and I had no idea how many of us there were, but I was very
glad to be a part of the demonstration.
I had thought that my "Chocolate Block" was determined to participate
in safe, clearly peaceful demonstrations, but it seemed that they were part
of the larger pagan block which was prepared to encounter greater risk and
split into two groups- a safe one and a riskier one, should the occasion
arise. We each had a buddy. My buddy was Amanda whom I've known for years
and dearly love.
At one point we stopped in front of the World Bank building (I
recognized it from earlier demonstrations), where our path was blocked by
police. The pagans decided to circle up and dance. Then Starhawk suggested
another ritual- exorcising the World Bank. A length of white muslin was
unfurled and everyone wrote what they did not like about the World Bank and
the I.M.F. with markers. It wasn't long before the litany of horrendous
things filled the cloth. Then we began to rip and shred the cloth, tearing
it into the smallest possible pieces. It was very gratifying- a wonderful
idea! By this time, the police had us thoroughly surrounded. The safe flag
(which the group that wanted to be safe was supposed to follow) was nowhere
to be seen. The Black Bloc were playing a wild game of soccer, and the
ball was going all over the place, once passing through our group and once
bouncing off a policeman's foot. I was glad the police let the ball stay
in play. After we had chanted, danced and completed our ritual, it felt
like it was time to go.
We relinquished the street and sat in the grass and had something to
eat. The BIG march was scheduled to start in Freedom Plaza at noon, which
was where we wanted to go. An activist made a sign saying "GW's prison."
Luckily some journalists from major networks were trapped with us which
discouraged the authorities from ignoring all human decency. I tried to
talk with the police and told them that we wanted to go or to talk to
someone who could let us go. We regrouped and chose a spokesperson to meet
with spokespeople from other clusters.
Eventually the police said that they would let us go and began to
herd us. I rolled up the banner and held hands with Amanda, the crowd was
dense and a bit nervous. We didn't know if they might attack us or arrest
us, and we thoroughly rejoiced when we saw that we were going to be allowed
to join the rally where ten or twenty thousand people had gathered to
oppose War and Racism.
The demonstration originally was to "Beat Back the Bush Attack" and
there had been an earlier call to surround the White House, but when the
powers that be feared that 100,000 people would descend on DC for the
protests they decided to build a huge fence around the White House, I.M.F.,
and World Bank buildings and the park where the permitted rally was
supposed to be held. With the cancellation of the IMF and World Bank
meetings, they decided the fence was not necessary, but at the last minute
the organizers were forced to change the rally and march locations under
pressure from the Secret Service. The International Action center was the
main organizer, but after September 11th other groups joined to form a new
coalition- A.N.S.W.E.R. Act Now to Stop War & End Racism. We were a couple
hours late and missed most of the speeches. There were so many people that
it was hard to hear them, unless you were near the sound system.
There was incredible art, puppets, messages. The Chocolate Block
split again and a few went to join another gathering, the Anti-Capitalist
Convergence, at a different park. Sarah and I stayed and found her friends
for the big march to the capitol. I had never been in such a large
demonstration; it was so hard to guess numbers when people surrounded me as
far as the eye could see in multiple directions. At the rally at the far
end of the march, students from all over the country announced their
presence and how many people had spent how many hours on buses to
participate. In one of the last speeches, a Green Party member said,
" On September 11th ten years ago, George Bush Sr. first announced the 'New
World Order...' He warned us that this war was, again, over oil."
That evening there was a marathon Interfaith Service at a local
church, with more speeches, very powerful ones, music, lots of singing and
wise words from leaders of many religions. A woman from the Unitarian
Church reminded us of the theme of the World Social Forum "Another World is
Possible," and added that "Another World is- not merely possible but-
necessary." I couldn't have agreed more.
On Sunday another march for peace was organized by the Washington
Peace Center which threaded its way though two and a half miles of
neighborhoods. Thousands of people came with even more fabulous art,
music, singing and energy. There were lots of kids in this one and small
children. In the middle of the march we stopped in a park where two Kurds
had been holding vigil and spoke on behalf of the Kurdish people.
By the time I finished that march, I was rather exhausted. Ben
Sher, a friend of mine, a member of P.O.C.L.A.D. and W.I.L.P.F. who had
joined our Chocolate Block, and helped carry the banner much of the
way,took me on over to see the Anti-Capitalist Convergence Center where
there was an extraordinary huge intricate work of art depicting the
F.T.A.A. created by the Beehive Collective.
Monday I met with activists in Union Station to prepare for our
lobbying efforts with Senators' Boxer and Feinstein staff and our local
Congresspeoples' Eshoo and Honda staff. Our main purpose was to push for
debt relief for the Third World, the passage of H.R. 2604 which would close
loopholes and instruct the World Bank to not impose user fees on their
loans, and force them to greater transparency. But we also expressed our
concern over other issues- including Fast Track, the F.T.A.A., "War," and
the threat to Civil Liberties. We were able to say that we felt that the
attack on the World Trade Center should be considered a crime against
humanity and handled in the International Court of Law.
Later, we went to Representative Barbara Lee's office to bring her
flowers, hugs, warm wishes for her vote and voice against war, and her
courageous stance for reason, restraint and peace.
That evening, I was very tired, but I went to see the excellent film,
"Life and Debt" about Jamaica and how it has been affected by the World
Bank, the I.M.F. and globalization. Then I joined friends at the
Independent Media Center for two more films on Terrorism, and a lively
discussion with people from many countries.
October 2nd was Gandhi's birthday. I met with my Chocolate Block
friend, Jim, at the statue of Gandhi, in front of the Indian Embassy. Many
people brought flowers and shared silence and words before the statue. Jim
and I held hands with others and touched the stone beneath the statue to
include the Earth and the spirit of Gandhi in our circle. We each spoke
from our hearts. I believe there has never been a greater need for "the
pursuit of truth," Satyagraha and the nurturing of global nonviolent peace
As I flew home, I spoke at length with a woman who had just been to a
conference on "Appreciative Inquiry." Now is the time to ask the right
questions- Why? And How can we transform our violent culture into a
peaceful culture before it is too late? The answer seemed rather clear-
each of must do whatever we can within our own circles- we must be the
change we wish to see in the world.
Pacifists, Serious and Otherwise
By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Friday, October 5, 2001; Page A37
When I registered for the draft during the late days of the Vietnam War, I
checked the box opening the option to apply for conscientious objector
status. I then went to work on a statement trying to explain my pacifism.
I labored over that essay. By the time I was done, there was only one
problem: I did not convince myself. The exercise proved to me that I was
not a pacifist, that I believed there were times when force and violence
were morally justified in defense of our nation and of freedom. I kept
myself in the draft pool. My draft number never came up.
The irony is that as I became ever more convinced of the problems of
pacifism, I developed an enormous respect for individual pacifists and for
rigorous pacifist thinkers. These were people who understood the
seriousness of individual participation in war and asked themselves hard
questions about their own responsibilities. I was glad pacifists existed,
even as I was glad they were not making government policy.
The point of this reverie is to offer a hope that as a nation, we do not
demonize pacifists in the coming months and years as we wage war on
terrorism -- a war I support. There's a danger that we will.
My colleague Michael Kelly recently wrote on this page that pacifism was
"evil." Many pacifists, he said, are "liars," "frauds" and "hypocrites."
Human nature being what it is, I'm sure that all political movements,
including antiwar movements, have their share of these three kinds of
people. But pacifism is decidedly not evil.
The true pacifist -- as against, say, someone who uses pacifist words to
justify anti-Americanism or the violence of our foes -- subscribes to a
stern moral creed. The creed insists that human beings can never use
violence against other human beings, even when it might be in their
interest to do so, and even when, by the normal standards of the world,
violence would be justified.
Most serious pacifists bear no resemblance to the hip, upper-class,
self-indulgent anti-warriors who are so easily parodied and attacked. They
are often devoutly religious people -- Mennonites, Quakers and many others
-- who abhor self-indulgence as much as they abhor violence.
Like individuals who take vows of poverty, pacifists challenge our usual
ways of doing business. The person who gives up all worldly goods to help
others reminds the rest of us that we're not nearly as good or moral or
generous as we think we are. The pacifist reminds us that the violence we
commit, even in the name of what we may rightly see as good ends, is still,
in some sense, ungodly.
"We who allow ourselves to become engaged in war," wrote the theologian
Reinhold Niebuhr in 1940, "need this testimony of the absolutist against
us, lest we accept the warfare of the world as normative, lest we become
callous to the horror of war, and lest we forget the ambiguity of our own
actions and motives and the risk we run of achieving no permanent good from
the momentary anarchy in which we are involved."
Niebuhr offered these thoughts in an essay criticizing pacifism. Those who
believe the United States has no right to take military action against
terror might usefully ponder the theologian's critique of those who thought
it wrong for the democracies to confront Hitler.
"Whatever may be the moral ambiguities of the so-called democratic
nations," he wrote, "and however serious may be their failure to conform
perfectly to their democratic ideals, it is sheer moral perversity to
equate the inconsistencies of a democratic civilization with the
brutalities which modern tyrannical states practice."
That, in a nutshell, is why I decided I couldn't be a pacifist and why I
believe a war against the tyranny of terror is justified now. But for those
who are pacifists, there is also a lesson in Niebuhr's words. Pacifists
weaken their claims whenever they seem more eager to condemn our own
violence than the violence of our adversaries. Those who espouse an
absolutist creed should be especially wary of moral relativism.
Here's the paradox: The fact that we live under a political system that
honors the right of individuals to object conscientiously to engaging in
war is one of the reasons why ours is a system worth defending. Osama bin
Laden's world does not allow for pacifists. Ours does. To stand up for
pacifists -- even when you disagree with them, and especially when they're
unpopular -- is to protect this moral difference.
Treat the attacks as crime against humanity not a cause for war, say Greens
GREENS RALLY BEHIND THE CALL FOR JUSTICE WITHOUT VENGEANCE
The Green Party of the United States
October 3, 2001
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Green Party of the United States participated in
various rallies and other events this past weekend urging the U.S. to avoid
military strikes and incursions in retaliation for the September 11
attacks. Greens call for an international response based on justice instead
of vengeance, a response that avoids further shedding of innocent blood --
including more American casualties -- and which does everything possible to
"The Green Party opposes military strikes," said Anita Rios, an Ohio Green
and member of the party's national steering committee. "The only truly
patriotic strategy is one in which peace is the outcome. Peace is the only
outcome that can guarantee the safety of all Americans, justice for the
victims of the terrible attacks and their survivors, and relief for
Afghanis suffering an economic disaster under a repressive regime."
Party organizers held a national Green forum on a democratic response to
the current crisis on Saturday, at the University of the District of Columbia.
Sam Smith, author, journalist, and editor of The Progressive Review
(<http://prorev.com>) and a guest speaker at the forum, said, "We will not
accept lectures about patriotism from those who have spent the last decade
undermining American democracy and sovereignty in the name of free trade."
Greens note that a schism has grown within the Bush Administration on how
the U.S will deal with terrorism and the recent attacks. On one side,
Secretary of State Colin Powell counsels a NATO-based policy, with
international cooperation and a temporary delay of counterstrikes.
President Bush himself expressed this approach in his address to the nation
on September 20.
The other side of the schism is reflected in the recommendations of Deputy
Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to treat the September 11 attacks as a
conventional war and commence retaliatory assaults as soon as possible.
This view is supported by bloodthirsty calls for war from some op-ed pages,
and by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, who said on September 23
that the U.S. wouldn't rule out a nuclear strike (CBS Face the Nation).
Wolfowitz has urged strikes against Iraq, despite the lack of evidence of
Iraq's complicity in the September 11 attacks.
"The Green Party calls for a response that will prevent war and will
promote justice," said Jane Hunter, Vice-Chair of the Green Party of New
Jersey. "We caution against strikes, regardless of which body undertakes
them. These will inevitably lead to more deaths of civilians, as in the
U.S. and NATO raids against Iraq and the Balkans during the 1990s. The U.S.
definition of terrorism is likely to include acts committed against the
U.S. and its close allies (such as western Europe and Israel), but not
attacks for which the U.S. and its close allies bear some responsibility."
"If bin Laden masterminded the September 11 attacks, he should be tried for
crimes against humanity by an international tribunal. It is sad and ironic
that the U.S. has been reluctant in the past to support such a body. Greens
call for immediate support for a tribunal such as the International
Criminal Court. Treating the attacks as international crimes against
humanity instead of acts of war will ensure us the cooperation of Muslim
states and the rest of the world."
Greens insist that the U.S. and international community must apply the
definition of terrorism and the rule of international law consistently
around the globe.
"The U.S. should take the lead by being responsible for our own policies,"
said Starlene Rankin, Illinois Green Party Media Coordinator. "And let's
work to create a non-violent, non-militarist society where we make the
effort to resolve conflicts peacefully."
Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2001
Subject: My post to the Anti-Capitalist convergence
S29 in DC:
Thanks, ChuckO for your outline of all that happened last weekend. I
wanted to add a few words of evaluation.
I think the weekend was a great success and made some important
political gains. At a time when a whole lot of the movement was
pulling back and deciding not to protest, the ACC made the decision
to stay in the streets and not give up that political space. At the
same time, people made what I feel was a very wise decision to modify
some of the more militant tactics in the face of the immense state of
grief, shock and fear that a lot of the public was experiencing.
The combination of those two decisions I think won a lot of respect
for the ACC. (I came in after they were made and wasn't involved in
either, but I supported both.) They showed a combination of courage
We stayed calm in the face of police provocation, showed that we are
about more than a particular set of tactics, that we can be flexible,
that we can respect other peoples' political space, and demonstrated
some true solidarity on the streets. (Of course, it would have been
nice if we had received some real solidarity from the IAC and the
ANSWER march, who were asked to take some action or at least announce
the situation over their microphone when we were trapped at the World
Bank. They didn't do either.)
And none of the terrible things happened that people had feared.
There were no massive counterdemonstrations or attacks by irate
patriots. In fact, we received a lot of waves and public support.
And the police behaved basically just like police, without being
noticeably more stressed or weird than they ever are.
The Pagan Cluster ended up primarily participating with the ACC. In
some ways this might be seen as an odd partnership. We're the
original 'fluffies', most of us come out of the nonviolent direct
action movement, and a lot of us are older and definitely slower than
a lot of the rest of you. But we also have some deep commonalities:
we are anti-authoritarian, many of us define ourselves as anarchists,
we share a critique not just of the war or of specific institutions
like the World Bank but of the whole corporate capitalist system. We
also included a wide spectrum of experience and philosophies: from
some of us who are veterans of many street actions to people who had
never been in a demonstration before. We had one affinity group of
families with kids who had made the decision to come originally to
the IMF/World Bank protest, knowing it could be dangerous, because
they felt it important that families and children be represented. We
had an 84 year old woman with us who was also at A16 and in Quebec.
We had everything from Gandhian pacifists to someone who used to pack
a gun and run with the Black Panthers.
The combination of activities allowed our people to participate at
whatever level of risk they felt comfortable with. Some set up the
healing space at the Temporary Autonomous Zone and didn't go on the
march. Others did march but had a 'safe flag' to follow out if the
situation started to look dangerous. (Well, it looked somewhat
dangerous from the very beginning but we did basically get people out
before we got trapped. A few missed the exit of the safe flag and
that's a piece of our tactics we need to improve.)
Some of us spent a lot of time at the Convergence Center in the week
leading up to the actions, and got to know a lot of people.
Personally, I had a great time, and some of the best political
conversations I've ever had-maybe because they were starting from the
premise of 'how do we totally transform this society?'
It also became clear to me that the Black Bloc and the Pagan Cluster
both saw themselves as protecting the march, and each other. I'm
sure to a lot of the Black Bloc we appeared middle-aged, vulnerable,
and not quite your street-fighting, spikey, hard core frontliners.
But we saw the Black Bloc (especially in the Peace March on Sunday
when their numbers were small) as a highly visible, easily isolated
and targeted group, and were willing to be a buffer with our numbers
and our softer personae in case the police went after the Bloc. It's
somewhat amusing and also intriguing to think about how we might
deepen this collaboration in future actions.
We were clear with everyone in our Cluster who actually made it to
our meetings that the ACC march was not permitted and was probably
the most potentially dangerous situation of the weekend. It became
clear, when we were trapped, that there were groups of people who
hadn't quite realized what they were getting into, who included
immigrants, for example, that couldn't risk arrest or confrontation.
I'm not sure what could be done about this in the future-I felt the
ACC literature was pretty clear, but not everyone reads it. (The
presence of a small army of riot cops in full gear might also have a
tip-off.) In the end, it worked out okay, but it might not have.
A lot of what we'd planned for the Temporary Autonomous Zone didn't
quite happen, due to everyone's level of exhaustion-but I think it's
a great concept and could be expanded on in the future. It allowed
people from the community to come and interact with us, and could be
developed even more as a forum for popular education and outreach.
I also think the hospital action would have been more strongly
supported if more of us had known about it earlier and could have
planned to conserve our energies to support it. I know there were a
lot of issues involved-it's kind of the tradeoff between outreach and
security culture. The Housing action, too, might have been larger if
it were done on Friday rather than Monday.
But overall, we kept the streets, we kept a certain momentum going,
we acted out of our vision, not from fear, and we built some great
connections that will serve us in the future.
Thanks to all of you who put so much time and energy into the
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