Jazz Funeral for Democracy

Revolutionary Worker #1266, January 30, 2005, posted at rwor.org

This story was sent to the RW by a correspondent from the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade:

New Orleans hosted a unique and creative "Jazz Funeral for Democracy—A Wake for Peace," a counter-inaugural protest organized by an ad hoc group called the January 20 Coalition that includes military veterans, gay rights activists and civil rights groups. About 1,500 people participated in a traditional New Orleans jazz funeral procession through the French Quarter, accompanied by two jazz bands and a horse-drawn carriage containing a copy of the Bill of Rights.

Brandishing signs denouncing the Bush regime, veiled and costumed protesters, many in black funeral suits, danced down the streets of the historic French Quarter, applauded by tourists and locals. Signs and decorated umbrellas, reading "Not Our President!", "Bombs for peace is like sex for virginity," and "Colony Iraq, Emperor W!" were held high. People had come from all over the U.S., Canada and Europe to join New Orleanians in this spirited event. Over 1,000 copies of the RCP’s "Battle for the Future" flyer were circulated.

Jenny, a participant from New Orleans, told the RW : "These are unprecedented times. The religious right are marching in lock-step with the wealthy elite!"

Stopping in Jackson Square, the mourners rallied, shutting down Decatur Street. Speaker after speaker called for immediate resistance to Bush’s agenda. Mabili Ajani Ojuniyi, a radical radio-show host from Florida, explained that the "Christian fascists are to Christianity what the Taliban are to Islam." And 13-year-old Avery Friend denounced the mainstream media for failing to report on the number of Iraqi children killed by the war—children like herself. Other speakers included ex-military war resisters and Kathy Kelly from Voices in the Wilderness.

Moving on, the jazz funeral procession culminated in a block party on Frenchman Street where mourners joined with residents to celebrate resistance.