Peace Movement Says Hello World
A new anti-war coalition based at EndUSwars.org held its first rally on Saturday, Dec. 12 2009 outside the U.S. White House.
It didn’t receive enough attention, but this author leaned into it upon learning about the new coalition atwww.EndUSwars.org. The coalition held its first rally outside the U.S. White House on Saturday, December 12, 2009.
The rally had music, a raft of speakers, and four former U.S. Presidential candidates: Kucinich, Gravel, McKinney, and Nader. These are the Green / progressive / anti-war left in touch with “Main Street” America. Apparently, they are too far left to suit the taste of U.S. network TV, which is pro-war, pro-genocide, and pro-corrupt status quo.
Network TV is “the corrupt, flacking for the corrupt,” and indeed their only role in the face of authentic and genuine protest is to put out the fire, by starving such protest of its metaphorical oxygen — the attention that would bring the concerns to wider audiences.
So, it should not surprise us that network TV yammered about Tiger Woods all weekend — it was a convenient distraction and it filled up air time that might otherwise have gone to Kucinich, Gravel, McKinney, and Nader, who addressed the high stakes questions of war and peace, and the waste of blood, treasure, lives, and livelihoods.
It should be a national issue — can we afford more war at a time when our economy is a crater?
But, the pro-war U.S. TV networks know how to sidestep serious issues, and what the public got instead is discussion of Tiger Woods, marital infidelity, and his sex life, endorsement deals, and PR strategy.
To be entertained with prurient titillation, go ahead and turn on CNN. To be informed, keep your mouse surfing at this web site.
In this article, I will simply insert pull quotes or highlights from the speeches of the ex-Presidential candidates. Then, I will insert the Cynthia McKinney speech. This will convey a sense of what was said, but of course it’s not everything, and to see more speeches go and visit www.EndUSwars.org.
The following points seemed to be striking (emphasis added):
“These wars are corrupting the heart of our nation. They raise serious questions about the legitimacy of the two party system….We have money for war, but not for jobs. Money for war, but not for health care. Money for war, but not for education. Money for war, but not for housing. Money for war, but not for peace. Billions for bailouts, bonuses, and bombs…. We are nation building in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, and some would have us nation build even in Iran. But we cannot nation build here at home! –Where bridges, water systems, sewer systems, and roads are falling apart! We must rally across America to set aright our nation’s priorities.”
“Instead of investigating war criminals in the Bush administration, President Obama has chosen to become one. Our President is now complicit in torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against the peace.”
“It is not honorable to die in vain. And that’s what we did. We died in vain in Vietnam. We’ve been dying in vain in Iraq. And we’ll die in vain in Afghanistan. And we’re going to die more people in vain at the hands of the leadership of Barack Obama. This is sad…. [Gravel led the crowd to chant] ‘Hey, hey Obama say how many kids you killed today!’“
“Now remember 1994, when a lot of Democrats and a lot of liberals stayed home. Gingrich toppled the Democrats in Congress and took control of Congress in January, 1995. That can happen again, if Obama continues his reckless path toward a criminal war of aggression that is undermining our national security, our national reputation, and destroying on both sides of the ocean — millions of innocent people’s lives, health, safety, and hopes for the future.”
And now for Cynthia McKinney’s speech.
My fellow Americans,
Millions of us are drinking dirty and contaminated water. Four million of us will get foreclosure notices by the end of this year. 25 million of us are un- or under-employed. 47 million of us have no health insurance, and millions more are under-insured.
My aunt was killed by the health care system in this country. Not because she didn’t have insurance; she did. What she didn’t get was quality care. And amidst all the talk about health care, no one is talking about quality care.
My cousin, who is no more than 24 years old, is now $100,000 in debt because she wanted to get an undergraduate college education.
But the trials of my family are not our story alone. Millions of us are now in the same boat. And no matter how hard we wish for a better world and a kinder country, our policy makers are not delivering on our hopes and dreams. In fact, the dreams of our country stand deferred, and drowned in debt.
Sadly, in the face of growing income inequality, our President chose to transfer over $23 trillion of our hard earned money to the bankers and financial elite — who didn’t have to work hard at all for it — just tank our economy.
So, huddled in fear, we pray together that the flu, a hurricane, the Great Depression, or the next terrorist attack doesn’t hit us.
Now, given all these problems, what do our leaders do? Bomb, maim, and kill people on the other side of the planet, whose resources certain powerful people in this country want to steal, and whose territory occupies the land necessary for global conquest.
Now, instead of investigating war criminals in the Bush administration, President Obama has chosen to become one. Our President is now complicit in torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against the peace.
So, what are we to do? We will not give up, and we will not go away. We are not so demoralized that we can’t see the truth. We know that lies are not true; ignorance is not strength; and war is not peace.
We see the power of the ballot in Latin America, where voters in unrigged elections are choosing freedom. Our freedom is under seige as much right here as it is in Haiti or Honduras. If U.S. politics was truly democratic, then we would not have war. That’s why I support Senator Gravel’s national initiative project. Who has $100 million of their own money to spend to get elected, like New York’s mayor did?
We are ready to act on our dreams. To create the kind of change that graduates students from college — free of charge. That treats medical ailments — free of charge. That reflects our interests, not the special interests. That elects peace candidates to Congress and that elects a peace President too.
While our fellow Americans are afraid to get sick, struggle to keep a job, educate their children, stave off foreclosure, and make ends meet, we will not rest. As long as bombs drop, and civilians die, we will not rest. While the oligarchs and the war machine get our money, we will not rest.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lamented that both political parties failed to take a stand for what was right. He said that our scientific power has outstripped our spiritual power. –That we possessed guided missiles, and misguided men.
Well, President Obama, don’t be misguided. Stop shielding war criminals from justice in our courts. Stop supporting the PATRIOT Act and spying against us environmentalists and peace activists. Stop granting power to the Federal Reserve. Close Guantanamo. Stop torture and renditions, secret prisons, and building military bases all over the planet.
President Obama, stop the saber rattling at Iran. Stop the drones and depleted uranium. Stop bombing Somalia. Stop using war as an energy policy. And finally, stop bankrupting our nation.
We will not stop, we will not rest, and our peace candidates will win.
Source: Echoes of Practical Idealism
Demonstration follows President Obama’s Nobel speech
Hundreds of protesters have gathered near the White House to try and start a new anti-war movement. Saturday’s demonstration closely follows President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize speech, in which he said war is sometimes needed to establish lasting peace. Demonstrators in Washington opposed this view, as well as the president’s request for 30,000 more U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
“Make it personal, make it personal, because killing is personal. It’s immoral. It’s personal,” chanted protesters.
Former Democratic Alaska Senator and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Gravel led protesters in anti-war chants, while calling for a mass movement to help end U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The gathering, full of peace signs, anti-war posters, and one mock Guantanamo detainee, began under sunny,but cold skies with music from the hip-hop band Head-Roc.
The headline speaker at the event was current U.S. Democratic Representative from Ohio Dennis Kucinich.
“We must rally, protest, march to exercise our civic capacity to bring about real change. Congress must take responsibility. I will soon introduce two bills invoking the War Powers Act, which will force votes on withdrawal from Afghanistan. The decision to go to war is not the president’s alone to make” stated Kucinich.
But Kucinich acknowledged Congress has other plans in mind. He went on to say, “this coming week, Congress will fold unemployment compensation into a bill which will provide $ 130 billion dollars to keep the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq going. The message is clear: ‘we have money for war, but not for jobs; money for war, but not for peace.’”
Many at the rally said they had voted for President Obama in the 2008 election, including Bill Steyert who took a morning train from New York City.
Steyert said, “I would go after al-Qaida if and where we know they are and get them. But having thousands of troops shooting up villages, breaking in doors, looking for needles in haystacks, many times, it’s ridiculous. And I am just furious because I am a Vietnam veteran and I saw the terrible waste of lives there. You can go to the (Vietnam Veterans War Memorial) Wall here in D.C. and see what that got us, and for what: an independent, communist Vietnam who now we trade with.”
One unemployed woman, Wendy Fournier, said the protest was just a start.
“I think that there is such a thing as critical mass, the more protests, the more people out, the more people have to be aware of what is going on, the more people are conscious, that right there throws weight in our favor. Consciousness is the beginning of the whole thing,” she stated.
Speaker after speaker called for a safe return of all troops, the end of drone strikes and torture and secret detentions, while police looked on and singers like Jordan Page provided musical interludes.
Source: Voice of America News
Sat. December 12th: Anti-war rally in DC. Nader & McKinney will speak
Posted by Ian Wilder at onthewilderside.com
Green Party Prez candidates Nader & McKinney headline Anti-War Rally 12/12/09
This is an updated new advisory — Ralph Nader has just confirmed that he will speak at Saturday’s rally in front of the White House. At least six and as possibly as many as nine of the speakers are Greens. Those who show up for the rally: please bring your Green Party (including DC Statehood Green Party & other state & local GP) buttons, signs, etc.
Rally in DC on December 12 will tell President Obama “No You Can’t!” send more US troops to Afghanistan
• Obama’s escalation plans will turn many of his supporters against him, say rally organizers and speakers
Emergency Anti-War Rally at the White House against President Obama’s planned military escalation in Afghanistan
• When: Saturday, December 12, 11 am to 4 pm
• Lafayette Park in Washington, DC, across from the White House, near the Farragut West Metro Station
• Organized by End US Wars http://www.enduswars.org
Thousands of Americans will gather in Lafayette Park across from the White House on Saturday, December 12, to tell President Obama “No you can’t!” send over 30,000 more US troops to Afghanistan.
Speakers for the rally will include Rep. Dennis Kucinich, former Rep. and 2008 GP Prez cand Cynthia McKinney, 2000 GP Prez cand Ralph Nader, former Sen. Mike Gravel, Kathy Kelly,Chris Hedges, David Swanson, Coy McKinney, Mathis Chiroux, Green candidate for Governor of Maine Lynne Williams , Marian Douglas-Ungaro and many others. Many of the speakers are available for interview: see the online speakers list (http://www.enduswars.org/guide). Statements from Colonel Ann Wright, Kevin Zeese , Jared Ball, John Judge and many more.
Ralliers will demand that President Obama announce an immediate ceasefire in Iraq and Afghanistan to end the wars and order our troops home, stop Predator drone attacks and covert operations in Pakistan, and begin immediate reconstruction and recovery in war torn regions.
If the President does not meet these demands, he will face intensified opposition, with anti-war candidates prepared to defeat his war policy politically.
Along with the rally on December 12, the film ‘Rethink Afghanistan’ will be shown Friday December 11, from 8 to 10 pm at Busboys & Poets, 14th and V Streets NW in Washington, DC.
Related: GP Prez cand Cynthia McKinney featured at 12/12/09 Anti-war Rally