Thousands Say

Stop the War on Iraq

Revolutionary Worker #1173, November 3, 2002, posted at

October 26--Tens and tens of thousands poured out in Washington, DC and San Francisco to oppose the U.S. war on Iraq.

In Washington, it was a truly massive turnout--organizers from the International A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition estimated nearly 200,000. Looking back from the Constitution Gardens near the Vietnam War Memorial, there were people as far as you could see--lining the edge of the lake. College students arrived from all over the Midwest, south and east coast. There were peace activists and many from the religious communities calling for peace and saying, "No to War!" There were people from the '60s generation who hadn't demonstrated for 30 years who said they had to come out against U.S. war on Iraq. There were people from the Palestinian movements, from Muslim groups, as well as people from South Asian, Latin American, Asian and other communities. There were all kinds of people, ages, nationalities and political trends. And most especially there were thousands and thousands of youth, a new generation there who are becoming part of this movement of resistance to stop this horrible war. They came with many unanswered questions; they came in defiance of the "with us or against us" climate; and they brought with them an urgent desire to stop the U.S. from waging war on Iraq.

After a rally which featured Susan Sarandon, singer Patti Smith, Rev. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and others, people were anxious to take the streets and the march completely encircled the White House. The march was packed, shoulder to shoulder, as people moved toward the White House--with all kinds of homemade signs "Why is it okay for Iraqi children to die?", "Bush is the Evil Doer", "Regime Change Begins at Home," "Stop The U.S. Weapons of Mass Destruction!", "War On the World, Not in Our Name!". There were many contingents, from Muslim and Arab organizations, to Korean and Colombian organizations of workers, to a Not In Our Name contingent which could be seen by a sea of earth flags. As the march moved down Constitution Avenue, chants were shouted in cadence with drums: "The War on Iraq, Not in Our Name!", "1-2-3-4, We don't want your racist war!" and more.

From the moment thousands of people stepped off the buses, people had a determined and intense feeling that we must oppose this government in all kinds of ways and in all kinds of places in order to stop the U.S. government from waging an unjust war on Iraq. A young Black man told the RW , "I came to show that the U.S. is the rogue state, not Iran, Iraq, or North Korea. The whole reason America is getting away with this is because it is the most powerful country on earth."

Several high school students from Yellow Springs, Ohio talked about how they had to act, had to do something to stop the war against Iraq. One young woman said, "Until this week I hadn't really heard about this rally but I was against the war from the beginning.... At first I wasn't going to go but then I de- cided I had to act, do something against the war." Students were stocking up on literature and anti- war T-shirts to take back to their campuses.

Across the country, from Seattle to Augusta, Maine, tens of thousands came out to manifest against the war. In San Francisco, 80,000 demonstrators stretched 1.7 miles as they marched from the financial district to City Hall. There were protests in Chicago, Denver, Portland, Oregon, thousands in St. Paul, Minnesota, and in Taos, New Mexico, 2,000 drum-beating protesters marched on a home owned by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

And in cities around the world, demonstrations coincided with the Washington march--in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Berlin, Frankfurt, and Hamburg in Germany; Rome, Italy; Copenhagen, Den- mark; Stockholm, Sweden; Tokyo, Japan; Seoul, Korea; Mexico City; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and elsewhere.

It is clear that there is powerful international sentiment against the U.S. plan to make war on Iraq-- and hundreds of thousands in this country who want to act-- but the question now posed is what will it take to stop it.

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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