Students protest war with Iraq

Craig Brozefsky craig at red-bean.com
Thu Nov 21 10:51:57 MST 2002


Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> writes:

> Hundreds of students at more than 25 colleges across the country
> walked out of classes or participated in rallies on Wednesday to
> protest a possible U.S. war with Iraq, as part of a "National
> Student/Youth Day of Action."

I attended the demonstration in Chicago, at the James R. Thompson
building (state offices), which then marched down the Clark street
sidewalk to Federal Plaza.  I would estimate about 300 people took
part, 70%+ students, the rest a mix of older people.  I also counted
cops, at least 60 of them -- no mounted, just bike and foot, and two
wagons.  It was a little chilly and drizzly.  Since the demo was not
on a college campus, I think that might have hurt turnout since
everyone had to travel into the Loop to attend.

As for the speakers, I do not recall names but there was a wide array
of people.  A student with Voices In The Wilderness (who I have seen
speak at teach-ins at Depaul as well), a teacher and union rep from
UIChicago, a Teamster, an ISO spokesperson.  This is not a complete
list, as I was passing out flyers and collecting names for the CCAWR
Emergency Response contact list and could not follow the podium well.

There were quite a few H.S. students, including one of the more direct
and eloquent speakers, a young man I've met at several flyering and
Critical Mass events, Mickey (sorry can't recall last name).  He was
from Lane Tech H.S. and suggested the students look around at their
classmates, and consider that in a a year or so it would be those
people who would be sent to war and would be coming home in body bags.
He also spoke about the insane military recruitment drive, entire
class periods are taken up by military recruiters, all student contact
info is given to military recruiters as well.  Lastly, he made a point
that it was the public school students who are the target of the
recruitment drive, since it is tied to federal aid, and that it is
public school students who will be sent off to die.

I was also very happy to see a representative of a the local Teamsters
union from UPS, which is the second biggest in the state.  He spoke to
the crowd, describing how at a meeting of 300 people there only one
vote against their resolution condemning the invasion and continued
bombing of Iraq, and that during the meeting several Vietnam vets
spoke out against it.  When moving thru the crowd I saw many other
workers, including a few steel workers from the Loop with their hard
hats.  This is the first demo that I have seen a union rep speak at,
and I think that is a wonderful development.

The march down the sidewalk was a bit pathetic, but the crowd didn't
seem that determined to take the street.  There were two speakers at
Federal Plaza after the march, including one older gentleman who
rambled on quite a bit, and really had no connection to the crowd of
students.

After the last speaker I walked back to my bike, stopping to have a
conversation with a stranger along the way who did not think that any
of the "reasons to oppose the war" on a factsheet I was handing out
were valid reasons.  When he queried me on wether I thought Iraq had
WMD, I replied that there was no way to prove they didn't, just as
there was no way for Harold Washington to prove he wasn't gay (a
persistent rumor during his administration).  I think he appreciated
that point.  Otherwise, his opposition was based on a feeling that
Bush was being too belligerent and making enemies.

--
Sincerely,
Craig Brozefsky <craig at red-bean.com>
Free Scheme/Lisp Software  http://www.red-bean.com/~craig

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