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IranMilitant Journalism

California activists join Global Day of Protest

In addition to the following reported actions across California, protests for Jan. 25 were announced for Santa Cruz, Lancaster and Torrance.

Arcata

Photo: Emily Mossman Smiley

Jan. 25 in Humboldt County was a rainy mess but that didn’t stop upwards of 50 people showing up at the Arcata Plaza for a no war on Iran rally. The protest started right after the winter Farmers Market, which led some market venders and customers to stop and check out the event and get literature about the U.S. military budget and a fact sheet about Iran. Veterans for Peace, Centro De Pueblo, MECHA, Democratic Socialist of America, Peace and Freedom Party of Humboldt County, and Party for Socialism and Liberation of Humboldt County were the local organizations that showed up on the Plaza in solidarity with the global anti-war day of protest.

“This is a system that we did not choose but was imposed on us,” said Marisol Ruiz, a speaker from Centro De Pueblo. “No war but class war!” said Rainer Shea, a member of the Peace and Freedom Party. “The world knows that the citizens of the U.S have lost control of their government,” said Yahmo Ahqha from Peace and Freedom Party.

Nathaniel McGuigan from PSL spoke last discussing the need for a local grassroots movement to evoke system change. He cited the campaign to take down the Mckinley statue from the Arcata Plaza and the sanctuary initiative that was passed in 2018 that prohibited local law-enforcement agencies from cooperating with federal immigration officials and the rejection of the green capitalism Terra Gen Industrial Wind Project as a clear indication that there is a strong local grassroots group of community members that is very active already. Though our small, rural community faces much adversity, it is not impossible for us to enhance the anti-war sentiment that is building nationwide.

Davis

Photo: Harri Ashby

Protesters gathered outside the UC for a march co-sponsored by the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, National Iranian American Council, Yolo Grassroots Collective, and others. Speakers from U.S. Labor Against War called for money for jobs not war, and activists spoke out for the need to fund Puerto Rico’s recovery not endless war for empire. Chants at the march led by Food Not Bombs and Party for Socialism and Liberation members included, “The Road to Peace, U.S. out of the Middle East” and “Who is the biggest threat in the world today? Donald Trump, and the USA.” Many cars honked in support and families joined the rally in support.

Fresno

Photo: PSL Central Valley

Approximately 50 people gathered in Fresno’s Tower District for the Jan. 25 Global Day of Action organized by PSL Central Valley. This demonstration demanded an end of U.S. imperial aggression and occupation of sovereign states in the Middle East. Our cry was “No War with Iran! U.S. Troops out of Iraq!”

Pavin Johnson of PSL Central Valley and a student at UC Berkeley called for the end of the U.S.’s legacy of oppression in the Middle East and to take a stand against the capitalist system that perpetuates war and destruction. Johnson made clear that the real enemy lies not in Iran but in the U.S. — the capitalist class that lusts for profits in stolen oil money and exploits the labor of millions of workers.

Organizations in attendance included ANSWER Fresno, Peace Fresno, Veterans for Peace Fresno, and the Fresno chapter of the PSL.

We stand in solidarity with the working people of Iran and share the understanding that the road to peace is the U.S. out of the Middle East!

Los Angeles

Nearly a thousand people gathered on the steps of City Hall to demand an end to U.S. aggression against Iran and full withdrawal of U.S. troops throughout the Middle East, just one day after millions of Iraqis took to the streets in opposition to U.S. occupation.

The protest, initiated by the ANSWER Coalition and CODEPINK, brought together dozens of organizations across Los Angeles, including March and Rally Los Angeles, Union de Vecinos, AIM SoCal, Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles, Military Families Speak Out, About Face – Veterans Against the War, Progressive Asian Network for Action, Union del Barrio, Roofers Local 36, Pueblos Sin Fronteras, Bayan, and more. Anti-war activists who had fought in the Vietnam and the Iraq wars were joined by hundreds of new, young workers from all walks of life.

During the opening rally, Carley Towne of CODEPINK drew a connection between Iraq and Iran: “The same talking points used to go to war with Iraq are being used to go to war with Iran. They say we are bringing democracy and they say Iran poses an imminent threat to us here. These are lies!”

Joseph from Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles delivered a fiery speech to the crowd: “We have a long history of state-sanctioned violence in our communities, on our borders, and all around the world. … Los Angeles is the incarceration capital of the world. Los Angeles is the homeless capital of the world. Los Angeles is the police murder capital of the world. And yet we see the Marines, the Army, and the Navy in our neighborhood every day recruiting young Black and Brown people to die for them in war.”

The protest swelled over the course of the opening rally and took to the streets on a march through Little Tokyo. Mike Prysner of the ANSWER Coalition explained as marchers filled Spring Street that war is impossible without its twin, racism, and that protesters would pass the Japanese History Museum to commemorate those who suffer under the racism engendered by war. Loud chants of, “Trump says more war! We say no war!” and, “No more U.S. attacks! Iran we got your back!” announced the march’s entrance to Little Tokyo. When the march reached the heart of Little Tokyo, hundreds of onlookers had gathered, cheering the protest while others joined the demonstration as it continued to the downtown Federal Building.

Filling the steps of the Federal Building, protesters joined a closing rally of speakers, including Carolyn Gomez, a labor organizer and member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, who told a cheering crowd: “We need a system that works for poor and working people not corporations! We know that Democrats and Republicans have lied about the reasons for military intervention time and time again. We don’t see any material benefit from wars for empire. We don’t see any of the profits from extracting resources or expanding markets. The Earth does not benefit from war. Instead, the military preys on poor and working people to join the armed forces to die in their dirty wars.”

Numerous speakers highlighted the need to remain organized and implored all in the crowd not yet in an organization to join and help to build a militant anti-war movement now rather than waiting for the next war to break out.

Sacramento

Photo: Dan Bacher

Around 150 people gathered at 9th & K in downtown Sacramento in a show of solidarity with the Global Day of Protest: NO WAR ON IRAN! US OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST! People of many community organizations, ages, genders and races united in a strong resistance to the war on Iran, U.S. troops in Iraq and the invasion, occupation and imperialism imposed by the U.S. ruling class in the Middle East, Latin America, and worldwide.

Community members met at 9th & K street, starting the evening with chants such as “Pentagon kills by the hour, what do we do? Fight the power!” The crowd grew to around 200 at the height of the evening, with community members and students, long-time activists, families and many others chanting “Number one terrorist? U.S. Imperialist!” and “Iraq we got your back!” They marched around the Golden One arena, and back to the original destination to wrap up and open the mic to co-sponsoring organizations. The evening ended with a reminder that this was not the end, to check out community organizations and collectives, and to get involved and ORGANIZE!

San Diego

Photo: Zach Farber

Dozens of folks from various community organizations gathered at San Diego City College to participate in the Jan. 25 Global Day of Action. The demonstration was organized by the ANSWER Coalition and Party for Socialism and Liberation.

José Cortés | Photo: Zach Farber

In a speech, PSL and Peace and Freedom Party candidate for Congress in California’s 50th district José Cortés declared his opposition to war and sanctions on Iran. Encouraging folks to organize and fight back, he said, “The anti-war movement and the people in it have showed me that it doesn’t take some sort of magical cloud to open up and bestow upon you some sort of rank of revolutionary.”

Other speakers included representatives from Anakbayan, Socialist Equality Party, Veterans for Peace, and the ANSWER Coalition. Participants rallied, chanted, and talked to folks passing by. The protest ended with a call to action to hit the streets again in March to protest against the occupation of Iraq.

San Francisco

A thousand people took up the call for the Global Day of Protest to reject a new U.S. war with Iran and demand U.S. troops out of Iraq and the Middle East. Jointly organized by the Answer Coalition and the Arab Resource & Organizing Center, the action received support from dozens of groups who endorsed the demonstration’s anti-war and anti-imperialist message.

Opening with a rally at Powell and Market streets, statements from several speakers and chants such as “no sanctions, no war, this is what we’re fighting for!” helped to build momentum for a march that took over Powell Street and headed up and around Union Square to the final rallying point on the tiered steps overlooking Geary street.

A broad range of groups voiced their commitment to continue organizing against war and connecting the many struggles faced by poor, working and oppressed communities inside the U.S. to those under the bombs of the U.S. empire abroad.

Speakers were represented from Alliance of South Asians Taking Action, Anakbayan, Answer Coalition, AROC, Black Alliance for Peace, Chinese Progressive Association, Codepink, Democratic Socialists of America, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, National Iranian American Council, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Poor People’s Campaign, Sunrise Movement, Task Force on the Americas, Veterans for Peace, and more.

Jamie of AROC said: “Yesterday, over one million people marched in Iraq to demand U.S. forces out of their country. It is our responsibility to hold our government accountable, and to do everything in our power to achieve that demand. As in the U.S. right now, there are movements across the Middle East fighting for social and economic justice and democracy. If we care about sovereignty and democracy, we must end U.S. intervention. After all, the greatest obstacle to peace, democratic social movements, and stability here and in the Middle East are U.S.-led wars and militarism.”

Nazila of the Answer Coalition spoke about the ongoing U.S. economic war and its impact in Iran: “Trump and his warmonger advisors are fully responsible for the threat of a new war with Iran. Trump illegally pulled out of the JCPOA nuclear agreement and increased the sanctions on Iran. Sanctions have caused economic hardship for people. Sanctions have destabilized the economy. Sanctions have prevented the Iranian people from having access to medicine, to medical equiptment for all forms of chronic illnessess. Sanctions kill the most vulnerable sections of society and innocent people. Sanctions are another form of war and a crime against humanity. End the sanctions on Iran, on Syria, on Venezuela, and on Cuba! U.S. out of the Middle East, U.S. troops out of Iraq, and U.S. hands off Iran!

San José

Photo: Jon Britton

Some 200, a majority youth of color but including white youth and veteran activists, joined a three-mile march to the main working-class district of the city, chanting all the way, and then held a spirited rally. The recently formed South Bay Anti-Imperialist Coalition, in which Party of Socialism and Liberation participates, organized the united-front action.

Speaking at the pre-march and concluding rallies were representatives of Vets for Peace, PSL, Green Party, Barrio Defense Committee, Brown Berets, DSA, Code Pink, International League for People’s Struggles Youth Commission, and Anak Bayan. David of the Friday Peace Vigil provided many placards saying “No War with Iran.” PSL brought signs with that message, as well as “U.S. Out of the Middle East.” Others brought banners and creative homemade signs. The Brown Berets along with several activists provided security.

A well-received and strongly delivered statement from Alex of PSL at the end rally included these words: “The same ruling class oppressing people here in the Bay Area is oppressing people around the globe. Our collective liberation requires our organized resistance and our militant solidarity.”

Concluding the action, Maria Q. Ortiz of Barrio Defense Committee urged all present to step up the fight against the unending imperialist wars by uniting and joining an anti-imperialist organization.

Video clip of march

Santa Rosa

Photo: Scott Darda

Over 50 people gathered at the Old Courthouse Square for the Global Day of Protest. A wide range of community organizers showed their support for “No War! No Sanctions! U.S. out of the Middle East!” Speakers included organizers from Brown Berets, Sonoma County Green Party, Veterans for Peace, North Coast Coalition for Palestine, Santa Rosa Junior College Students for Socialism and Liberation Club, Sonoma State University’s Sociology Club, Sonoma State University’s Socialist Seawolves Club, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and the ANSWER Coalition.

Delashay, vice president of clubs at SRJC, referred to corporate war profiteering and false flags (that is, WMDs, and so on) when she said, “It was wrong then, and it’s wrong NOW!” She also called attention to people like her son — working-class people who join the military with the best intentions of serving their community only to be betrayed and used carelessly as pawns in imperialist interventions that make corporate owners rich. “And, how do we treat our service people when they come home? Like garbage! It was wrong then, and it’s wrong NOW!” Delashay’s slogan carried on throughout the entire event.

Tania, an officer for the Sociology Club at SSU, called out human rights infractions in the U.S. and connected how a war on workers abroad coincides with a war on workers domestically, based on the number of homeless, food insecure, immigrant children being separated from their families, and many other struggles of working-class people. Fred Ptucha, president of Veterans for Peace, recalled a time he spent traveling in Iran: “We experienced people chanting ‘Death to America,’ but those same people showed us so much love and solidarity, even as Americans.” Fred mentioned that the Iranians knew that our rogue government was speaking and acting in our name without our consent. “War is not good for anyone, except the weapons manufacturers,” declared Terez of the North Coast Coalition for Palestine.

The words of the 50-plus activists in Santa Rosa echoed downtown throughout the giant bank buildings and parking garages: “Trump’s lies — shut it down! Imperialism — shut it down! Endless war — shut it down! The whole damn system — SHUT IT DOWN!”

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