[Marxism] Report Back From Anti-War Demo In Los Angeles, Nov 6th
Octob1917 at aol.com
Octob1917 at aol.com
Sun Nov 7 22:06:42 MST 2004
A crowd I would estimate at around 3-4,000 gathered at the busy intersection
of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue for an antiwar demo called by the
International Action Center and endorsed by groups such as ANSWER Coalition,
the Coalition For World Peace, Free Palestine Alliance, Million Worker March and
KPFK (a local alternative, progressive radio station and part of the Pacifica
Radio Network). This came a day after an emergency meeting was called by KPFK
to which all the aforementioned groups and others, along with activists of
different political stripes, were invited on the back of the election result to
exchange ideas and hopefully formulate a coherent strategy to try to end the
war in Iraq.
Shock and demoralisation over Kerry's defeat seems to have given way to a
militancy among many in the Los Angeles progressive community that was absent
before. All the speakers were welcomed with enthusiastic applause. The speakers
who advocated a change in emphasis away from international issues to domestic
issues of social and economic injustice in order to attack the foundation upon
which imperialism rests received the best response, and I would say that the
audience of around 400 left energised for the struggle to come.
Though much smaller in number than many antiwar demos in Hollywood have been
in the past (I recall a couple before the war began of over 40,000), the
militancy that was present at the meeting was also much in evidence at the demo.
The march ended with a closing rally adjacent to a military recruiters office on
Sunset and La Brea.
Here around five hundred broke away to protest directly outside the military
recruiters. Blocked by a line of cops in riot gear, things quickly became
tense. Most of those who confronted the cops were part of an anarchist contingent
and, joining them, I was impressed by their determination and militancy. With
chants of - "Whose streets?...Our Streets!" - they had the cops nervous, which
of course I thoroughly enjoyed (not that often you see the LAPD outnumbered
and scared, let me tell you).
There were a couple of arrests when police reinforcements finally arrived,
after which the crowd dispersed and returned to the stage.
Speaker after speaker, representing various coalitions and organisations -
both local and national - made please for unity and an end to the factionalism
which I'm sure all of us active in the US are very familiar with.
Of course, this is a small beginning, and it's going to take more than fear
on the faces of a few riot cops to have a real impact. But if the militancy in
evidence continues, and if the unity called for by the local antiwar
leadership materialises into concrete action, the potential for some much needed
That said, far from Hollywood, in the oppressed communities of East Los
Angeles and South Central, a giant filled with unstoppable rage and revolutionary
consciousness continues to sleep.
Who knows if or when it will awake.
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