Revolutionary Worker #1171, October 20, 2002, posted at http://rwor.org
A contingent from Watts carries a banner, "People of Watts Say Not in Our Name!" The Watts Drum Corps are drumming, tuning their instruments--the energy from these youth, some as young as 8 or 9, is infectious. A man from Watts joins them with his horn. Maybe it's the percussive beat, or just the excitement in the air, jabbing, shoving, pushing. Whatever it is, all kinds of people start walking across the grass to the Drum Corps. Some join in with their own drums, a couple of guys pick up bottles and cans and join in, tapping them with rocks and sticks. People start dancing and the kids in the Drum Corps drum on, serious and steady. The man with the horn is blowing like crazy, a grin holding the horn in his mouth.
A large contingent of musicians plays their way across the grass. They're dressed in make-up and glitter, kilts and pink wigs, sequins and boas, feathered masks and top hats, and bouffant chiffon skirts over munchkin-striped tights--more than a dozen men playing brass and drums. They are a New Orleans-style brass band, and they pull right on up to the spot on the grass next to the Watts Drum Corps. Neither group misses a beat as they pop right into each other's groove.
A young woman who used to be in the movement found it hard to stay active after she became homeless. But she said she had to be there in L.A. on this day: "I've been out of the loop for a while, but I wanted to come out for this and show my support. To the people of the world living outside of the United States, I'd like them to know that there's people living here who do have consciousness about what's going on and who do not represent our government, and that we may feel helpless a lot of the time, but we are with them in solidarity and we will not stand for the actions of our government."
A middle-aged Black man wears a black and brown ribbon over his heart, a symbol of Black and Latino unity against police brutality. What did he think of this day? "It was very exciting. It was what we need--people to get together and show the system that we not with what they doin'. The people I socialize with, we don't like what's goin' on over there, you know, because we already over here goin' through a big war. The people over there, what they goin' through, we feel like we need to show them that we over here feel for them...We down there in Watts, we feel it. We feel what they going through. We did have some of our own soldiers come down in our own neighborhood...shoving guns in our face during the '92 riots. So we can feel, because the soldiers over there is the same soldiers that'll come back here and do the same thing to us. That's why we're here today, to support and say `Not In Our Name.' "
Daniel Garcia, whose brother Mark Garcia was killed by the SFPD in 1996, is marching with the October 22 contingent. He's angry at how post-9/11, the police are promoted as heroes: "As long as they allow police brutality and the criminalization of a generation to go on, they are as guilty as the ones committing the crimes. My brother wasn't just beaten and pepper-sprayed, he was murdered, just like so many other people. We want the cops who killed them behind bars, electric chair, whatever--paying for the crime they committed--murder. And this war is about the same thing, murder.
People hit the streets led by youth with their faces covered by bandanas carrying a Not In Our Name banner with the names of the 60 groups who endorsed the march. It takes an hour for all the people to leave the park for the march, it's a mile long. Seattle newspapers report that the protest was "the largest since the WTO" and the biggest anti-war march since the Gulf War.
San Francisco: Veteran revolutionary activist Yuri Kochiyama leads 100 people in the Asian American contingent. Many carry large posters of World War 2's Executive Order 9066--the law that authorized the rounding up of Japanese Americans, marked with the words "Never Again!"
At the Volunteer Park gathering in Seattle, young children carry a gigantic globe on their shoulders and sing, "We've got the whole world in our hands...so let's not screw it up!"
Owen, a freshman at UC, Berkeley is from Eastern Kentucky where he says, "It's all coal mines." He worked in the mines last summer and before and says: "Growing up I was all about class-consciousness--working in the coal mines, slaving away. So when I came out here it was like I could actually get the chance to put my ideas in motion. I was reading the new Bush proposal changing the whole foreign policy thing, how it went from containment like in the cold war and now they actually said the point of our foreign policy is global domination. To be frank: that's fucked up."
Ann came to the protest in Chicago "just to be here and to stand up and be counted." She's a 49-year-old, self-described "mom and starving artist" who proudly wears an old peace sign around her neck. Her husband Larry, 56, an unemployed computer programmer, sports a ponytail. This is their first protest in 30 years and they came with their 12 and 8-year-old kids. Ann says, "My dad was a refugee here from Germany, and a lot of my family died there. I know a lot about it. I know a lot of people kept quiet for a long time... But I'm not going to wait around to find out."
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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