Anti-war activists organized across seven Southern states as part of the ANSWER Coalition’s national day of action on January 4th. Organizers called for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq and condemned the assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. Demonstrations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida.
Asheville, North Carolina
In Asheville members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation joined with Veterans for Peace to host a rally at the base of the Vance monument, in the heart of downtown. The event was lively and well attended as dozens came out in spite of heavy rain and threats of counter-protest from local right-wing elements. There was local clergy in attendance and a family of middle-eastern heritage stopped by to thank the participants for their endeavor. The protest lasted several hours and received countless honks of support from local motorists.
Columbia, South Carolina
In Columbia, S.C., the local ANSWER Coalition called a demonstration outside of South Carolina’s State Capitol. Local activists, community members, and others spoke on the need to oppose US aggression and bring all US troops home. One speaker Fez Jacobs, a local activist with ANSWER, spoke on the nature of imperialist wars, highlighting how this is really a war on two fronts because it hurts poor and oppressed communities at home as well.
Over 100 people attended the rally in Atlanta at Little Five Points Plaza. Local activist Claudia Andrade began the speaker session by leading chants of “No justice, no peace! U.S. out of the Middle East!” “Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation!” and “Humanitarian, that’s a lie, they don’t care if Iranians die!” She also stated, “There’s always money for warplanes, there’s always money for bombs. But where’s the money for us? The working people, who have suffered because of these imperialist, aggressive wars!” Featured speakers included representatives from the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Atlanta’s immigrant rights movement, Metro Atlanta DSA, Refuse Fascism, the Socialist Workers Party, a professor of Middle Eastern Studies, as well as Nabilah Islam a Congressional candidate from Gwinnett County Georgia and actress Katherine LaNasa.
The Birmingham PSL had its largest turnout for a hosted event so far. Several dozen local activists gathered in historic Kelly Ingram Park in downtown Birmingham. One local activist raised a very important point when they stated, “50 years ago I stood in this park protesting the draft and the war in Vietnam. The park was full of us, and there were police on motorcycles and horses looking for a fight and arresting many of us. This is nice, and I’m grateful to the PSL and all the young people who put this on in such short notice. However, this is not going to be enough.” A statement the PSL hosts couldn’t agree with more.
In Memphis, PSL members gathered with other activists to protest and engage discussion at the Cooper-Young intersection. Protesters were also active in Knoxville.
With under a day’s notice, organizers with The Party for Socialism and Liberation and STRIVE hosted a rally to demand an end to US imperialist aggression in the Middle East. Approximately dozens attended and listened as speakers outlined the history of US intervention in Iran and Iraq. Speakers highlighted the Democratic and Republican parties’ complicity in these for-profit wars. The small but energetic crowd chanted “1,2,3,4 – we don’t want your racist wars! 5,6,7,8 – stop the killing! Stop the hate!” Evan Branan, who traveled an hour to attend the rally, said: “it is of utmost importance to stand against war, to show international solidarity between the workers and people of the US, Iran, and Iraq, to show that the war is not between us but the bankers and lobbyists that start these bloody endless wars.” Before ending the rally, attendees made plans for growing the anti-war momentum in the military town.
Dozens of protestors gathered at the intersection of Bardstown Road and Douglass Boulevard, to voice their concerns for the events in Iraq and Iran. The demonstration included a broad array of organizations. The attendees on Saturday included Louisville Students for Justice in Palestine, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Black Lives Matter Louisville and the Louisville Committee for Peace in the Middle East.