Revolutionary Worker #1171, October 20, 2002, posted at http://rwor.org
The following excerpts are from statements given at October 6 rallies in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago:
"I am so very happy to be here! I have been feeling so isolated, so lonely, so convinced by the mainstream media that I'm out of my mind to be worried about this path that we are taking towards this war. I have been taken out of context in every newspaper that has bothered to print anything. We've been threatened. And all along, Bush from the very beginning said you are either with us or against us. I don't know who the `us' is, but I say to Mr. Bush--this is what democracy looks like! This is what an intelligent citizenship does. We question. We demand to know answers. We will not give our daughters and sons to a war for oil!"
"My cousin Kristi worked in the South Tower on the 104th floor. On September 11, she was a witness to, as well as a victim of, the World Trade Center bombing. Heading downstairs, talking on her cell phone to her husband, she told him she loved him as he turned toward his TV and watched the second plane heading towards and crashing into her building. Their connection was lost... My uncle and the rest of my family do not want the other Kristis of the world to be victims in this perpetual bloodbath that Bush is proposing. So he is hurting. We are all hurting. We can see past the pain to know that war will only bring more suffering to the masses of innocent people in the Middle East. So we are here to step forward with our voices and actions to kill this bloodthirsty, right-wing, fascist government's parasite that is trying to feed on our silence and instill us with fear and threaten our civil rights. So I'm here to say--not in Kristi's, not in my family's name, not in my name, not in our name will we allow this cycle of destruction to continue!"
Attorney Lynne Stewart
"I'm not here today because the evil axis of Bush, Cheney and Ashcroft arrested me in April. I'm here today because for 40 years I have fought for the rights of people all around the world, including many who are in our jails.... Thirty-five years ago I was in the back of this grassy spot when we demonstrated against the Vietnam War. And you know what? We won! We can win again--and we must win again!"
Mira Nair, Indian filmmaker
"When a global power bears upon a small faraway defenseless people, we must recognize that there are no insiders and no outsiders to humanity. We are all responsible. In the name of those whose voice is being suppressed, the people of Palestine and Iraq and Gujarat and us here in the United States, I pledge to resist."
Ron Daniels, Center for Constitutional Rights
"We say not in our name will we in fact endorse this new arrogant plan of global domination. Not in our name will we talk about invading Iraq when it can potentially destabilize the Middle East. And not in our name will we allow a war to go down which diverts attention away from a crucial election--which George Bush and them are cynical enough to do--because they are afraid that they will lose in terms of the upcoming election. And not in our name will we allow $120 to $200 billion to go abroad when we have no defense against hunger, poverty and disease right here in these United States of America."
Tom Duane, New York State Senator
"We don't want to spend money on a war machine. We want to spend money to fight poverty, to fight AIDS, to fight for things that will make this country great. Because war is going to destroy this country and we're not gonna let it happen."
"Let us find a way to resist fundamentalism of all kind [which] leads to violence. What is our fundamentalism? Cloaked in patriotism and our doctrine of spreading democracy throughout the world, our fundamentalism is business, the unfettered spread of our economic interests throughout the world. Our resistance to this war should be our resistance to profits at the cost of human life. Because this is what these drums beating over Iraq are all about. This is about business--the business of distracting American attention from Enron and Halliburton, the financial scandals that connect this administration to the heart of what is now wrong with the American economy, these financial and corporate scandals that have disappeared from the front pages of our newspapers as we argue about this war."
"I have a dream today, where the heart is without fear and the head is held high, where knowledge is free. Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic woes. Where words come out from the depths of truth. Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection. Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sands of dead habit. Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever widening thought and action. Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake!"
Saul Williams read this poem:
"The days of old are upon us. Newfound freedoms rest emeritus in the networks of the old boys. Warning: they will mispronounce your name before they kill you. Twisting meanings and perceptions. Most Americans do not know the meanings of their names. And it is perhaps that truth which distinguishes us from other countries and peoples. But today, we reclaim our names and our right to defend the nameless."
Randall Hamud, lawyer for the mother of Zacarias Moussaoui,
speaking about the Patriot Act
"I brought a copy of it--243 pages. It says a domestic terrorist is anybody who tries to change the policy of the United States by force or intimidation--whatever that means. It says that if you're a nuclear protester trying to stop a train load of fissionable materials heading for Yucca Valley, you're a domestic terrorist. It says if you chain yourself to an old growth tree in a forest to prevent its being harvested, you're a domestic terrorist. You know what I say? I say to hell with the Patriot Act!" [He rips it up and throws the pieces into the air.]
Rev. Peter Laarman, Judson Memorial Church, New York City
"You all represent the culture of life and humanity, but we need to struggle to expand this circle. To resist this war means to reject utterly the idea that the lives of Iraqi children and Iraqi women are worth any less than the lives of American children and American women."
"This is the end of summer. I hope to find that you're winter soldiers as well as summer soldiers. It's going to get a lot rougher, when they find our numbers, to fight for peace. It's going to get a lot rougher. But just remember, we either will hang together or hang separately. Bush and his gang are sliming America. Bush and his gang are sliming us. And above all, Bush and his gang are sliming the Constitution."
"I'm program director of Women for Afghan Women. I'm an Afghan-American and I went to Afghanistan in July and saw what the Taliban were doing to the people of the country that I came from. On 9/11, I thought well, some sort of military action or some kind of intervention is necessary. But I've been thinking about what's been happening since 9/11, where I was at the eve of October 7 when the United States decided to bomb my country. I didn't realize, I didn't know that bomb after bomb would fall on the heads of the people just like me, on the heads of family members, of little girls being shot at after the bombs had fallen and not killed them with AC-130 gunships hovering overhead as they were running out of their homes."
Pacifica Radio's national board chair
"I take the Pledge because the mainstream press must be forced to stop this disinformation and misinformation, this straight out lying. They must be forced to tell the truth and we have to be the people that force them. And I take the pledge today as a Jew. As a Jew, because I know that the U.S. government must be forced to stop its outrageous financial support of the immoral Israeli occupation of Palestine."
"We have to remember, not only to ask our neighbors, but to insist that our legislators and our media ask the question that no one is asking of the Bush administration: How many casualties? How many will die in this war you insist is necessary? How many will lose their limbs, lose their memories, lose their health, lose their lives? How many?"
Boots Riley, from The Coup
"We have to organize knowing that we're not simply the spearhead of something that's going to happen later, but that we're speaking for millions of people. And you right here are representing millions of people who haven't yet found out that the media is bullshit. They haven't yet found out that they aren't the only ones against the war, and they aren't the only ones against the system that will kill kids for oil. So what we have to do is we have to act on this knowledge that we're not the only ones... It's up you to reach those people that haven't yet moved."
Laura, student at Kent State
"We, as the youth of the world, know what is it to have our dissent silenced. We know what it is to be told that our lives come down to commercialism, how much stuff we can buy in a lifetime. And that in the same breath in which we have been told we are the future of the world, our dreams make the future of the world-- they make a nightmare of our world. It is time that we say we will not lie down at night with your nightmare, but with our dreams! This is our world to reclaim!"
Rabbi Michael Feinberg
"As a rabbi, as a clergyperson, I want to call on all other clergy to, with me, counsel and support soldiers who refuse to serve, who refuse to attack Iraq. And not just to refuse, but to lend our support, our churches, our mosques, our synagogues as safe havens to them when they refuse to serve. So with you we say no to the real, the true axis of evil--war, racism and repression--yes to human rights at home, yes to economic and social justice around the world."
Cynthia McKinney, Congresswoman from Georgia
"The forces of war and the forces of peace are suited up on the battlefield of justice. Who wins depends on who is best prepared and most committed. We gather here today against a formidable machine of the White House, the Pentagon, London and the special interests of war. But they all can be rendered powerless when democracy is taken to the streets."
Blase Bonpane, Office of the Americas
"The holocaust in Iraq continues. It was not enough to drop 88,000 tons of bombs in 1991. It was not enough to continue the bombing for eleven years more. It is not enough to embargo food, medicine, to starve people and watch their children to die of malnutrition and preventable disease. Many of us have been to Iraq, and we can assure you that that country is now in ashes. Nearly 2 million people have died from this holocaust, and the cult leaders in Washington are determined that we must kill more."
Kevin McKeown, member of National Committee of the Green Party,
Mayor pro-tem of Santa Monica
"I'm here today to prove that there are elected officials saying `No!' I'm here today to speak as a member of the National Committee of the Green Party of the United States. We represent over 140,000 registered Green Party members in California alone, and we say, `Not in our name!'"
Ron Kovic,Vietnam vet whose autobiography was made into the movie
Born on the Fourth of July
"This is going to be a powerful movement. This is not only going to be a movement that is going to say `no' to war, `no' to these crimes against humanity in our name, `no' to the Vietnams and `no' to a policy that would exploit and subjugate people, that would install dictatorships to promote greed and selfishness and their own profits. Let us say that in this place we began a process that changed this country, that made it more human and caring, that stopped these endless wars of destruction and death that put me in a wheelchair, that put all the names on the wall in Washington, that killed tens of thousands and two million Vietnamese."
Starhawk, author and activist in the anti-globalization movement
"When I was walking down here today, I talked to a guy who was cleaning the street and saw my banner, and he said "You know, it's too bad the American people don't have a voice in this." And I say, we do have a voice in it if we take that voice and yell loudly with that voice. And no one's going to hand it to us; we have to make our voices heard."
Janice Mirikitani, Executive Director of Glide Church
and poet laureate of San Francisco
"There's much too much silence about this war and what Bush's administration is doing. I'm so happy to see the mobilization that is occurring and this convergence today for peace. We've got to get out of Iraq. We can't have any more wars. It's just insanity. Terrorism is being caused by all of the imperialism that the United States perpetrates against other countries. We have to stop that."
"I felt we had to get the Japanese community out because we went through something very similar 60 years ago when we were evacuated and incarcerated in concentration camps. And here Muslims, Arabs and South Asians are going through the same thing now. We've got to speak out and we've got to get everyone to support the Middle Eastern and South Asian people. And we have to stop the U.S. government, too!"
From a message from Studs Terkel
"Silence has become the new patriotism. We are suffering from a national Alzheimer's disease."
Sterling Plumpp, African-American poet, writer and professor, speaking to the RW
"He [Bush] has not put forth any hard or credible evidence for this country to attack Iraq. He seems to be saying that `I will attack Iraq because I believe some time in the future that Iraq will attack the United States or American interests.' That has not been the case in the last ten years. And finally, when it comes to weapons of mass destruction, I believe that the only country that has used those weapons on human beings has been this country."
From a letter by Martin Luther King, III
"In our name, the Bush administration has taken for itself and its allies the right to rain down military force anywhere and anytime. Now, the government prepares openly to wage all-out war on Iraq--a country which has no established connection to the horror of September 11th. In our name, the government has rounded up over 1000 immigrants, detaining them in secret and indefinitely. In our name, the government has brought down a pall of repression over society. The so-called USA Patriot Act, along with a host of similar measures on the state level, gives the police sweeping power of search and seizure, supervised, if at all, by secret proceedings before secret courts. The president's spokesperson has warned people to `watch what they say.' We believe that people of conscience must speak out, and act, in opposition to the injustice that is being done in our own name!"
From a letter from Rev. James A. Oines
Lutheran pastor and Sanctuary Movement worker
The people of the world are watching to see how we respond to the fact that our government has unjustly imprisoned over 1100 of our Arab, Muslim and South Asian brothers and sisters and is threatening to start a war with Iraq. In the 1980's, while I was working with Central American refugees, the U. S. Government sent undercover agents into a Bible Study Group in our Church. So I know what many of our Muslim Brothers and Sisters are going through now. Now is our opportunity to feed justice, peace, truth and openness in our own nation. Let's not let fear destroy our rights and freedoms here in the USA. And let's not let fear corner us into going along with an agenda which is harming the rest of the world."
Jeremy Glick, coeditor of "Another World Is Possible: Conversations In A Time of Terror," speaking to the RW
The only thing that American imperialism has done for me personally post-9/11 is make me more mad, just killing my most intimate debate partner. You don't lighten up on your enemy when they kill your dad. It just makes you mad. You want to do something to them. It's a crazy thing. That's why I get really surprised when people act surprised that I oppose the war or I oppose Bush or I oppose imperialism. They think it's this weird anomaly because my dad died in the Trade Center. And it's like well, you know, if somebody killed your father, why would you want to join them to kill some other people? I just want to express my solidarity with them, that if you resist the war machine, if you resist American imperialism, you're not doing it alone. You have all different kinds of people supporting you..."
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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