January 25 saw Southern activists mobilize again in protest of U.S. intervention in the Middle East. As part of the ANSWER Coalition’s global day of action, protests took place across multiple southern states. The protests aimed to voice opposition to a potential war with Iran and the continued presence of the United States in Iraq.
Asheville, North Carolina
The Party for Socialism and Liberation joined a diverse collection of voices in downtown Asheville. Penny Snyder from Tennessee drove over an hour to attend the demonstration at the downtown Vance monument. College students from several surrounding schools were also in attendance. The predominantly young crowd included UNC Charlotte student and Iranian-American, Maya Wells, “I’m here on behalf of my family who currently live in Iran..if my family is watching this..I’m so sorry for what the U.S. government is doing.”
The Global Day of Action in Atlanta was a strongly attended event with over 100 people marching to show their support for peace and opposition to the U.S. occupation of the Middle East. Starting at Piedmont Park, the demonstration made its way to Georgia Tech Research Institute’s 14th street offices where advanced drone research is conducted. Speakers highlighted the use of workers’ tax dollars in developing these weapons to kill regular working people in other countries who have done no harm.
People of all ages and backgrounds showed their clear opposition to war, occupation, sanctions, and all manner of imperialist attacks done in their name. Numerous organizations came together to make this a success including Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition, ANSWER Coalition, American Friends Service Committee, Friends Meeting, Georgia Detention Watch, International Action Center, KSUnited, Metro Atlanta Democratic Socialists of America and Refuse Fascism. The rising Southern anti-war movement flexed its muscles on Saturday and will continue to organize until imperialism is finally ended!
The Alabama branch of the PSL gathered at the famous “Storyteller” fountain at Five Points South, one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the city. Comrades from Tuscaloosa, Auburn and Cullman were also in attendance to voice opposition to U.S. imperialism, war on Iran and the continued violation of Iraqi sovereignty. The crowd spoke on the effects of war in the Middle East, and on how it’s poor people from the U.S. that are sent to die in wars that only benefit the rich. Although the crowd found many supporters who honked horns and threw thumbs up in appreciation, they also encountered some counter-proteseors. One man on a motorcycle attempted to drown out speaker Jake Lindahl by revving his engine repeatedly. Overall, however, the turnout was great and the message was welcomed by many a passerby in a region not traditionally known for anti-war protest.
Colombia, South Carolina
The ANSWER Coalition, Students for Justice in Palestine, #SimpleJustice, Black Lives Matter, Center for Social Equity and PSL members gathered at the South Carolina State House. Speakers highlighted how the needs of the poor and working-class regularly take a back seat to the needs of empire. “People need jobs, housing, people don’t have access to food here! But the U.S. is more concerned with funding war and murdering and displacing people in the Middle East! It’s disgusting and it must end!”- Attendee
Kentucky, Nashville, and Florida
ANSWER Coalition demonstrations also took place in Kentucky, Nashville, and Florida. The protests were attended by various organizations including Black Lives Matter, Veterans for Peace, CPUSA and PSL.