Anti-war protests sweep the country

Thirty-seven years ago when anti-war protests began to engulf the United States the Nixon administration adopted a


The March starts across the bridge to the Pentagon.

To see the report from Saturday’s demo, click this link.

public posture of utter indifference. Nixon went out of his way to claim that he didn’t notice massive anti-war demonstrations in Washington because he was watching a football game on TV. We learned later from the memoirs of high government officials that the rising tide of anti-war protests between 1968 and 1970 constituted one of the greatest fears for the war makers. The movement spread deep into the rank-and-file of the U.S. military as well, as soldiers, marines and sailors carried out their own protests and acts of resistance. Sometimes the people underestimate their own power, but the ruling establishment knows all too well the consequences of a politicized and mobilized people.

Bush pleads for “patience”

It is the sweeping protests throughout the United States during the past three days and the prospect of other demonstrations to come that forced Bush to go on the airwaves on March 19 to “plead for patience.” The Bush administration and the Pentagon high command fear that the protest movement could become a contagion. Politics is dynamic and political apathy, lethargy and inaction can turn into their opposites. The protests of the last days anchored by the march of tens of thousands at the Pentagon raises this specter for the White House and the Pentagon.

This is still an unfulfilled potential, but it can happen.

It will only be the actions of all anti-war

Veterans banners
Iraq Veterans Against the War marches alongside
Veterans for Peace and Vietnam Veterans against the war
(Photo: Bill Hackwell)

organizations and the people that can significantly change the political climate. Many who came to the March on the Pentagon, and the many thousands who tried but couldn’t because of the weather, are making their plans for local demonstrations, protests at local Federal Buildings, city-wide marches and rallies, community protests and vigils, civil disobedience and a range of ongoing actions building anti-war pressure into an irresistible force.

Protest and resistance

The next step for the ANSWER Coalition and many affiliated organizations and individuals is captured in the slogan, “Protest and Resistance,” encouraging sustained activity including mass action protests on a local level, continued education and mobilization and acts of collective and individual resistance to the war machine. As happened during Vietnam, active-duty soldiers are beginning to participate in both protest and in acts of resistance. National coalitions play a role, as do local organizations as do all of us as individuals both inside and outside the military.

To tell us about your local antiwar activities, click on this link – we will be posting notices of upcoming actions and sending out nation-wide report backs.

Media coverage on the spreading antiwar protests

For a very good round-up of the actions across the United States marking the beginning of the fifth year of the war in

Iraq Veterans and Appeal for Redress
Iraq Veterans Against the War and Appeal for Redress,
an anti-war organization of active-duty service members (Photo: Bill Hackwell)

Iraq, listen to the coverage from the March 19 edition of “Democracy Now,” hosted by Amy Goodman. (The best way to listen is to right-click, select “Save Target As” and then open the file on your computer). To see the C-SPAN coverage of the March on the Pentagon, go to the C-SPAN homepage, and find “ANSWER Rally Against Iraq War.”

The people repudiate pro-war thugs

The forces of ultra-right racism and militarism tried to “Swift Boat” the Washington protest. Wrapping themselves in American flags, groups like Rolling Thunder pretended to “defend” the Vietnam Memorial from threats that they themselves totally fabricated. (Operation Rolling Thunder was the name given to the U.S. Air Force’s B-52 carpet-bombing of Vietnam between February 1965 and October 1968, in which thousands of Vietnamese civilians died each month.)

On March 17, these pro-war puppets showed their true colors. They shoved elderly people, screamed at parents whose children had been killed in Iraq, yelled racist comments at Arab and Muslim participants, and spit on and ripped signs out of the hands of high school students.

The government’s police stood by and let this happen, despite their oft-repeated claims to be “keeping the peace.” A very strong ANSWER security squad blocked these pro-Bush provocateurs from entering the front of the march. Anti-war protestors were disciplined and focused and refused to be provoked into the confrontation the government was hoping for. The enormous power of the people was felt as all those from around the country fighting to stop the war came together, rendering the sideline fascists irrelevant, and marched united on the Pentagon.

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To see the report from Saturday’s demo, click this link

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