US Activists Mark War Anniversaries with Spring Rising.
Spring Rising Protest at the White House March 21.
March 19 marked the anniversaries of two epic failures, the 12th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and the 5th of NATO’s intervention in Libya. Both overthrew Arab dictators; both have left the people with war shattered lives, cities, economies, and without peace or strong democratic institutions. From March 18-21, CodePink along with other anti-war activists gathered from Washington D.C. to San Francisco Ca. to protest the past interventions, the present-day US participation in wars in the Middle East and the possibility of a new war with Iran.
The activities in D.C. included a “spring cleaning of Congress,” where activist marched into the offices of the most hawkish members of Congress, dusted off the cobwebs of war and the fingerprints of military contractors. They took a bus tour of warmakers and their enablers, including the Pentagon, the FBI, the lobby group AIPAC and the right-wing American Enterprise. The gathering culminated at a rally at the White House on Saturday, March 21. “As people are being killed by the Empire every day, billions of dollars that could be used for education, housing, healthcare, and sustainable and clean forms of energy are being poured into these Imperial wars for the profit of a few and the heartache of many,” said Spring Rising organizer Cindy Sheehan, a mother whose son was killed in Iraq.
In San Francisco CodePink along with a group of multinational activists gathered at the corner of Powell and Market. The event was in coordination with the Spring Rising demonstration in D.C. that called on the U.S. government to
- Stop Pres. Obama’s new 3-year AUMF – Authorization for Use of Military Force!
- End War and Occupation in the Middle East and Central Asia – U.S. Out!
- No to U.S. sanctions & intervention vs. Iran, Venezuela, Korea, Cuba, Mexico, Russia, Haiti, Philippines & everywhere!
- Free Palestine – End U.S. Aid to Israel!
- Fund People’s Needs, Not Endless War!
The theme of the day was resistance in the face of U.S. imperialism. Palestinian flags and banners celebrated the heroic resistance of the Palestinian people, who face the racist occupation and aggression of the Israeli government headed by Prime Minister Netanyahu. Other banners and speakers promoted solidarity with the plight of Latin American countries and the Philippines fighting to free themselves of U.S. influence, specifically Venezuela, whose government has been targeted by the U.S.
When CodePink spoke they remembered when people worldwide took to the streets in opposition to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the blatant lies of the Bush administration. And how the U.S. is still wedded to endless war and the need to divorce war and marry peace.
Members of the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition led chants of “they’ve got trillions for war but can’t feed the poor, we’re fired up and won’t take it no more” and “money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation.”
After hearing from the various speakers on U.S. imperialist oppression taking place around the planet, hundreds of people marched through downtown and made its way to the statue of Latin American independence fighter Simon Bolivar in United Nations Plaza. Along the way protesters stopped in front of the San Francisco Chronicle to confront the papers’ complicity with the Obama administration, along with many other corporate news outlets, in failing to address the crimes of U.S. imperialism.
As the event wrapped-up, Lara Kiswani of Arab Resource and Organizing Center provided a succinct summary of the day’s protest and the need for people to stay vigilant. She stated that “at the heart of all this is U.S. imperialism and that gets left out of the conversation. We’re seeing the connections between Syria, Libya, Iran, Venezuela, the Philippines, and Palestine… There is a structural nature and character to what we are seeing today, to the death and devastation of Black and Brown people here, and the death and devastation of Black and Brown people all over the Third World. And that is the connection between global empire, global state violence, and local state violence. Just like they work hand in hand with one another…state governments from Israel, the United States, Saudi Arabia…we too, the people at the receiving end of empire, need to work hand in hand to draw on these connections and build our power to challenge global state violence.”
From Washington to San Francisco, from Iran to Palestine, from Venezuela to the Philippines the people are rising up to challenge their oppressors, and the whole world is taking notice.
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