Revolution #87, May 6, 2007


Greensboro, NC: 500 Say "No to the War—Impeach Bush & Cheney"

We received the following correspondence:

Terri Johnson, a U.S. Army war resister, speaks at the April 21 Greenboro rally. [Photo: Matt Blalock]

April 25 march and rally in Greensboro [Photo: Special to Revolution]

On Saturday, April 21, 500 people attended a World Can’t Wait rally in Greensboro, North Carolina to demand: Stop the Wars! – No Attack on Iran! Impeach Bush and Cheney for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity! Support Military Resisters!

Cindy Sheehan, Carl Dix (a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA) and Terri Johnson, a local young Black woman who refused to finish basic training in the U.S. Army because of her opposition to the war, were some of the main speakers. The event drew a diverse array of participants. Groups speaking and represented at tables included Islamic Center of Triad Youth Group, Green Party, SDS - UNC Chapel Hill, Hip Hop Against the War, Revolution Books, Code Pink, Sammy Rasouli/Muslim Peacemaker Teams, Greensboro Minimum Wage Campaign, Smithfield Workers, Nation of Islam, Campus Anti-War Coalition and WCW from UNCG, Charlotte Action Center for Justice, ISO, NC Labor Against War, Military Counter Recruitment, Grass Roots Impeachment Movement, Food Not Bombs and Cakalak Thunder. Rally goers were continually encouraged to go to meet activists, get literature, sign up for events and get involved. "Nobody leaves here without becoming an activist and organizer yourself!" was a constant refrain from the stage.

Two marches from local colleges North Carolina A&T State University and University of North Carolina-Greensboro converged on downtown Greensboro. The area resembled a military zone with large numbers of police, barricades and a counter demonstration of 150, called by the reactionary group “Gathering of Eagles (GOE).” This group supports the war in Iraq and George Bush and has, in particular, attacked Cindy Sheehan, calling her today’s Jane Fonda because of her opposition to the war.

On Friday, the local newspaper’s banner headline read “Anti-War Protesters Will Face Opposition.” The TV news also played the angle of Saturday’s demonstration as a potential clash between the anti war demonstration and GOE’s “military veterans.” In this city where in 1979, members of the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis massacred anti racist marchers, this had a sub text of potential violence. In this climate the WCW event was even more significant.

At the rally, Cindy Sheehan called for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney, saying: “George Bush with his War on Terror on the world is the biggest terrorist in the world!” She called on people to join Gold Star Families and thousands of others on May 14 in Washington, D.C. for a “Mother’s March.” Sheehan vowed to refuse to leave D.C. on that day and fill the jails with mothers if the war in and occupation of Iraq isn’t ended. A youth group from a local mosque presented Sheehan with an award for her opposition to the war and also celebrated her presence with poetry and Palestinian dancing.

World Can't Wait presented Terri Johnson with a “People’s Commendation Award.” It read, in part, “For courageous resistance…for commitment to world peace while enlisted in the Army against a hostile agenda of the United States of America.” Inscribed on the award was an anti-war poem by Suheir Hammad.

In her acceptance speech, Terri Johnson talked about how there are many people in the military who don’t support the war and want to get out. She said, “People in basic training had believed the recruiters about college. They were told they wouldn’t have to go to Iraq. That turned out to be a lie.” She challenged the crowd: “I think the next protest we have we should be at the recruiting station where they are lying to kids.”

When Carl Dix spoke, he said: “I'm also here to support Terri Johnson who said NO! to the Army like I did during the Vietnam War. The The Carolina Peacemaker, Greensboro's Black weekly newspaper, in its coverage of the rally wrote: “The Baltimore native [Dix] was drafted into the U.S. Army in April 1968. But when he was told that he would go to Vietnam, he refused, resulting in a two-year stint at Fort Leavenworth Military Prison, located in Kansas. Dix said, 'I told the sergeants, I told the captains, I told the whole military hierarchy, 'Hell no, I ain't going.' He told listeners that the Vietnam War and the War on Terror are conflicts that are based on imperialism. 'The U.S. is waging a war in Iraq based on lies,' Dix said.”

During the weekend, WCW held other events, including a fundraising reception for Cindy Sheehan held at a prominent businessman’s house. This was attended by 150 people, including academics, clergy, professionals and a few local politicians and community leaders.

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