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NY and NJ actions brave cold and rain to say: ‘No war on Iran! U.S. out of the Middle East!’

Newark rally. Liberation photo.

Neither rain, wind, nor blistering cold can stop the anti-war movement. On Jan, 25, despite freezing rain, enthusiastic rallies were held in New York City’s Columbus Circle and at Newark, NJ’s  historic courthouse to say “No war in Iran!”

Other local anti-war protests were held that same day in Patchogue, Buffalo, Geneseo and Potsdam, NY, and in Princeton, NJ.

The rallies were part of a global day of action that involved over 19 countries and 210 cities around the world. The day of action was organized by anti-war activist groups, including the ANSWER Coalition, after the illegal assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani by a U.S. drone strike at the Baghdad airport earlier this month. This attack, in addition to years of punishing and unfair sanctions that the U.S. has placed on Iran, escalated tensions and put the U.S. on the brink of war.

NYC rally opposes Washington’s endless wars

Even as the immediate threat of war lessened, the New York City protesters still came through with boundless energy, chanting “Money for jobs and education, not for wars and occupation!” The crowd was inter-generational and multi-national, carrying colorful signs that represented the internationalist character of the event- “U.S. out of Iraq and the Philippines! No Sanctions on Iran.”

This theme of international solidarity shined through in the rally. The speaker included  representatives from the Black Alliance for Peace, A Call To Action on Puerto Rico, National Iranian-American Council (NIAC), Al-Adwa Palestine Right to Return Coalition, December 12th Movement, The People’s Forum, International League of People’s Struggle, BAYAN, Gabriela USA, Solidarity Iran, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Workers World and Democratic Socialists of America.

Kerbie Joseph, an emcee of the event and a member of the Justice Center in El Barrio, asked the crowd, “There’s over 800 U.S. military bases all over the world. What does that show? That shows that we live in a system that would rather occupy out of fear and out of greed than to let people live in their communities.”

Gabi Silva, a spirited speaker from the Party for Socialism and Liberation, remarked, “The U.S. government tells us to fear  Iran and other countries in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America as “threats,” but  the real threat to our lives is this government that refuses to provide for the needs of its people, that profits from death and destruction, that either kills the poor by taking the resources they need or putting them in the line of fire.”

The rally ended with calls to continue to stand up and fight back against the U.S. war machine.

Newark rally connected threats to Iran with the economic war waged on Puerto Rico

In Newark, representatives from over  eight organizations came out despite the driving rain and high winds. Under a tent set up to protect the speakers, Natalia Meneses from ANSWER Coalition highlighted the fact that the trillion in tax dollarsthat has gone to war should be used to meet people’s needs.  Esteban Guevara put the Newark action into the context of  a historic moment where people globally are standing up against a U.S. war on Iran. He said that not since the opposition to the 2001 Iraq war has a international mobilization involving this many cities taken place.

Max Evans-Aguayo  Of the Party for Socialism and Liberation pointed out that that while the threat of hot war is growing, economic war is being waged by Washington against the  people of Puerto Rico. After a major hurricane and now earthquakes, Puerto Ricans are  literally dying and made homeless as Washington denies them basic relief and services.

Rallying at New York City’s Columbus Circle. Liberation photo: Sofia Dadap.
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