The U.S. war machine continues to threaten a new endless war which would destroy thousands of lives for the profit of military contractors– but the people are rising up to say “No War on Iran!” Anti-war activists across the country have been organizing demonstrations. In New York City, a coalition came together on Jan. 8 to picket a large military recruitment center housed right in the middle of Times Square, one of the busiest places in the country. The demonstration came shortly after over a thousand people took to the streets here as an immediate response to Trump regime assassinating Iranian leader Qasem Soleimani, breaking international law and threatening full-out war.
Over 100 activists showed up to picket the recruitment center, keeping spirits high with chants, speeches, and poetry. The New York Police Department attempted to undermine the rally by banning megaphones (without citing any ordinance, and mocking the protest from the sidelines), but the organizers continued unaffected using “the people’s mic,” where the audience would echo what a speaker would say so everyone in the crowd could still hear.
Speakers included representatives from the organizing groups (ANSWER Coalition, International Action Center and Revolutionary Communist Party), from the investigative news outlet The Grayzone and members of the community. Their speeches echoed the popular sentiment of the crowd.
“Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation!” was a strong demand from the protesters. Karla Reyes of ANSWER broke down the many alternative ways we could be using the massive resources that go war– Medicare for All, free college for 21 million students, housing for 40 million students, Medicare for all, housing for homes for the 1-in-10 homeless students in New York City, full funding for Planned Parenthood, clean water in Flint and Newark, and more.
Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party reinforced the solidarity and shared interests between the working people of Iran and the U.S. against imperialism, ending his words by starting the chant, “Humanity First, not America First!”
“The next step for Trump is sanctions,” added Tara Fivek of the International Action Center, detailing how sanctions kill thousands as well and is just another form of warfare that we mus fight against in the belly of the beast.
“The Iranian government is not our enemies, our enemies our right here,” said Ben Norton of The Grayzone, speaking on the real forces that keep down working and oppressed people of the U.S.– Wall Street capitalists, repressive police like the NYPD, and the sell-out politicians (Democrat and Republican) that prop them both up.
As corporate media continues to serve as a mouthpiece for war, it becomes even more important for us to speak truth to power, spreading an anti-war message through people’s journalism and organizing on the streets. Washington’s imperialist aggression on Iran has sparked a new wave of anti-war activism, with actions in over 90 cities saying no to war on Iran.
All the speakers today encouraged the crowd to get involved in an organization and keep growing the renewed anti-imperialist movement in the United States. We have power as activists in the heart of empire to stop the war machine from starting another endless conflict for corporate profit, and instead build a better future for working people here, for Iran, and for all countries threatened by U.S. imperialism.