Now Playing: Taking it to the streets - Washington DC - Protesting & Arrests
This was in my email box this morning ~joe
For the entire week of March 12 - 19, activists from all over the U.S. maintained a 24-hour presence at the Encampment to Stop the War, directly across the reflecting pool from the Capitol Building.
On Saturday, March 17 they joined with tens of thousands of activists for the March on the Pentagon, organized by the Answer Coalition, World Can't Wait, and others, on the fourth anniversary of the criminal invasion of Iraq.
They had come to demand that Congress cut off funding for the criminal war and occupation in Iraq. The Congress had a clear mandate and the Constitutional authority to end the war. In the call for the Encampment, the Troops Out Now Coalition said, "Soon, Congress will be asked to vote on President Bush' request for another $245 billion for the war in Iraq. This will be, in effect, a vote to continue the war. The current Congress was elected with a mandate to stop the war, and the antiwar movement must be in DC to hold them accountable for their actions."
Despite cold weather, freezing rain, winds that tore down several tents, and continual harassment and threats from various Police agencies, activists maintained the Encampment throughout the week, challenging Congress to do what the people of the U.S. and the whole world are demanding: Cut the funds; bring the troops home now.
On Thursday, activists from the Encampment attempted to attend the House Appropriations Committee Meeting, which was taking up President Bush's request for additional funds for the illegal occupation of Iraq. Committee Chairman David Obey (D- Wis) packed the hearing room with staffers and corporate lobbyists, blocking any other observers from entering. Ten activists from the Encampment were arrested at the Rayburn Building for attempting to voice their opposition to the war. (for a complete account and photos see http://encampmenttostopthewar.blogspot.com ).
After blocking any antiwar voices from their meeting, the Committee proceeded to approve President Bush's request for additional funds for the war. The House of Representatives then followed suit this Friday. This vote is being represented as an "anti-war vote," but the bottom line is that Congress voted to continue funding the war, abdicating their responsibility to end the war by cutting off the funds.
The "withdrawal from Iraq" plan that Democratic Party leaders in Congress have just announced is nothing more than a cover for them to approve Bush’s request for $100 billion to fund the war and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan-- in other words, to continue the war.
Democratic Party leaders propose to begin withdrawing troops in a year to 18 months. Over the last 18 months, more than 1,200 U.S. soldiers have been killed, and about 7 times that many wounded and maimed. Do the math: a year or 18 more months of war is a death sentence for untold numbers of soldiers and an even greater number of Iraqis.
The "withdrawal time-tables" along with the "goals and conditions" that Democratic leaders are proposing are not fundamentally different than the ones that Bush proposed in his “State of the Union” address. The real stink bomb hidden in this new "withdrawal" legislation is that Bush and his generals have the authority to "waive" any part of these so-called timetables and conditions, any time he wants to. The fact is that these new proposals amount to nothing more than political posturing by Democratic leaders in order to get some of the antiwar heat off of them while they continue to fund the war. This plan is not a plan to end the war--it is just another non-binding resolution.
It is clear, now more than ever, that we cannot look to politicians, from either major party, to end the war. Like all important victories, the struggle to end the war will be won in the streets, by a grassroots mobilization of resistance. In the past few days, more and more activists across the U.S. are taking the step from protest to resistance. We've seen student walkouts, from Raleigh and Chapel Hill, North Carolina to Denver Colorado, sit-ins, disruptions at Congressional offices across the U.S., and other creative acts of resistance.
The Troops Out Now Coalition will continue to mobilize, organize, march, and protest, to help build a grassroots movement of resistance to stop the war. Please contact one of our local organizing centers if you are interested in working together. Please consider making a generous donation to help with the enormous expenses involved in organizing--printing placards, organizing transportation to demonstration, producing educational literature, etc.