Vermont Report on DC Actions (1)

Jay Moore research at www.neravt.com
Sun Apr 21 14:23:35 MDT 2002


Another War to Stop: Vermonters at the DC Protest on A20
by Will Miller

  Two buses, a van and numerous cars made their way from Vermont to
Washington Friday night for the most diverse (in age, ethnicity and visible
religious identities) rallies and march any of us had seen in all of our
collective years of our experience in DC protest marches.  The trend that
begin in Seattle of more and more young participants continues to
accelerate, re-assures those of us who had noticed a growing of the movement
in the 90's.
    The pre-march rallies were separated by organizing groups in the
vicinities of the Ellipse and Washington Monument.   The International
ANSWER Coalition was the largest and the most diverse, filling the Ellipse
at its height.  Speakers included Tariq Ali, Helen Caldicott, Ramsey
Clark-all of whom were very powerful and energetically responded to by the
assembled crowd.  Caldicott was unusually radical by contrast to her
analysis of the Nuclear Freeze years.
   Several Vermonters noted that the theme of the Israeli's attack on the
Palestinian Territories and calls for a "Free Palestine" tended to dominate
this rally--often without explicit mention of U.S. imperialism's role is
shaping and supporting Israel's attack on the occupied territories.
Afghanistan seemed largely overlooked by speakers and placards.  But there
was more concern voiced about the blockade and threatened US/UK attack on
Iraq.
     The four different rallies began at 11:00 AM, with each addressing the
particular focus of the groups that organized them: The Mobilization for
Global Justice's anti-corporate globalization was directed at the IMF/World
Banks meetings, The Palestinian Solidarity was protesting AIPAC's annual
policy meeting
and other related  questions, The National Mobilization  on Columbia action
called  for an end to US intervention and aid to Colombia's militarized
government.  The National Youth and Student Peace Coalition opposed Bush's
war on terrorism and it's effects on both global and domestic issues.
All four of these rallies marched to a single highly spirited and congenial
convergence in front of the Commerce Dept. and marched down Pennsylvania
Ave. to the mall in front of the Capital Building, where there was a great
deal of mixing of folks from the different rallies in a way that suggested
the convergence was more than merely symbolic.
       According to Mike Leon writing for CounterPunch, "Washington, D.C.
Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey--smiling and joking with passersby in a park
off Pennsylvania Avenue--told this writer at approximately 3:30 PM that the
crowd was well in excess of 100,000.  Other sources said the crowd exceeded
250,000."
        A local rightist group called Free Republic-- calling for "support
of our troops" and backing the war on terror--was able to attract a crowd
only a few hundred.
        Surprisingly, given recent demonstrations and the post 9/11
atmosphere, the police were not out in visible force and the military was
even less in evidence for the rallies and march.  One former Vermonter at
the event--Jon Flanders--suggested it was to avoid having Washington appear
to the foreign press to be repressive in ways that call to mind the current
one-sided war in the occupied territories of Palestine.
        Many familiar and some new groups and parties had booths along the
Ellipse.  One person at the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) table wore a
teeshirt that observed "Mao more than ever"--another one of the many things
that didn't change with 9/11.
        All in all the sentiment among Vermonters returning on the buses at
dawn Sunday morning was that it had been an important--perhaps even
historic--demonstration that may contribute to slowing the Bush
administration's drive toward "endless war."



--



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Will Miller                             Phones:  (802) 656-3137 (office)
Philosophy Department           before 9:00 PM (802) 879-0288 (home)
University of Vermont  (UVM)                Philosophy Dept. FAX (802)
656-3133
70 South Williams Street, Room 107           E-mail  wmiller at zoo.uvm.edu
Burlington, VT 05401-3404            Web page:  http://www.uvm.edu/~wmiller

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First, they came for those accused of terrorism,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't accused of terrorism.
Then they came for the foreigners,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a foreigner.
Then they came for the Arab-Americans,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't Arab-American.
Then they came for the radical dissenters,
and I didn't speak up because I was just an ordinary troubled citizen.
They they came for me,
and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.

(updated from Pastor Niemoller's quote about the Nazi arrests in Germany)
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