Revolution #259, February 12, 2012
Protests in 80 Cities Demand: "NO U.S. War on Iran"
In a day of united mass action initiated by World Can’t Wait with 59 other organizations, people in about 80 locations, primarily in the U.S. and Canada, protested against the intensifying moves by the U.S. and Israel toward war against Iran. The call for the protest spread widely in the two weeks leading up to February 4. Hundreds demonstrated in New York City and San Francisco. One protest was at the MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, home of the U.S. Central Command, which heads the U.S. military forces in the Middle East and Persian Gulf area. Dozens came out in cities like Rochester, New York and Defiance, Ohio. The following are brief reports from Revolution correspondents in several cities:
New York: 500 gathered in Times Square, employing the “human mic” to hear speakers who took apart U.S.-Israeli justifications for sanctions and war against the Iranian people. Participants told organizers they felt the unity behind demands “no war, no sanctions, no intervention, no assassinations” is a good first step in bringing a loud, urgent, determined movement against a third U.S. war in the Middle East. Anti-war veterans, the Granny Peace Brigade, Wall Street occupiers, revolutionary communists, and others contributed to the energy of the crowd. Supporters of the “green movement” in opposition to the Islamic Republic of Iran were some of the youngest and strongest voices against a U.S. attack. People marched across town to the U.S. Mission to the UN and the Israeli consulate.
San Francisco: 600 people marched up Market Street through downtown San Francisco. Spirits were high, yet sober. There was a real sense of urgency and outrage over the possibility that the U.S. and Israel are preparing to launch still another war, and the terrible human toll it would take in Iran. People listened intently as one after another speaker painted a picture from many angles. Many of the day’s participants said during the protest and afterward that they felt this was one of the more powerful protests to be seen in the anti-war movement for a while, because of its diversity, but also because of the passion in people wanting and creating unity to make the “Four No’s” demand reverberate.
Seattle: Up to 150 people rallied at Westlake Park, where the Occupy Seattle movement had been based until forced out by the police. The diverse group included military veterans, Occupy Seattle activists, Native Americans, homeless people, and Iranians and others of Middle Eastern descent. The people then took to the streets and marched throughout downtown Seattle.
Atlanta: About 60 people held signs and banners at the intersection in front of CNN Center. Protesters included peace and justice activists, people from Occupy Atlanta, and several Iranians who brought their whole families.
Houston: Nearly 100 people gathered at a busy intersection in the Galleria shopping area to demand "No War on Iran." There was a mix of longtime antiwar activists, people from the Iranian and Muslim communities, along with people from Occupy Houston and some people who just didn't want to see another war waged by the U.S. There was an open mic where different points of view were expressed, with lots of exposure of U.S. crimes around the world and the lies used to justify them.
Among the signs were bold, colorful signs "No War on Iran" made by a local Pacifica activist who is a graphic artist. Some Iranian women held up the centerfold poster "A Lesson About Liars" from Revolution #255, chronicling the lies used to justify the U.S. war of aggression against Iraq. An Iranian woman who lived in Iran during the early years of the Iraq war told how the young men whose bodies were being torn to pieces by that war brought her to tears.
Several speakers, while denouncing U.S./Israeli war plans and exposing much of the U.S.'s crimes, insisted that the U.S. should return to its founding principles. A Revolution distributor got strong agreement from the crowd, especially from those from the Middle East, when he pointed out that those "founding principles" were the genocide against the Native peoples and the enslavement of millions of Black people, and pointed to the article in Revolution about Newt Gingrich's recent upholding of Andrew Jackson's legacy in his speeches in South Carolina.
A strong current was the idea that "the Israel lobby" is responsible for U.S. policy in the Middle East. While correctly pointing out that Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons and Iran has none, talk of the U.S. nuclear arsenal was hardly mentioned. The Revolution distributor said we cannot give the U.S. a pass on this, that Israel's nuclear arsenal is part of its role as the U.S. attack dog in the Middle East, that the U.S. itself has THOUSANDS of nukes which it threatens the whole world with… including Iran… and that the U.S. is the only country to ever actually USE nuclear weapons. This, along with exposure of the continued legacy of birth defects in Vietnam from U.S. chemical weapons (40 years later!), was particularly well-received. He quoted Avakian, "If you can conceive of a world without America—without everything America stands for and everything it does in the world—then you've already taken great strides and begun to get at least a glimpse of a whole new world" [BAsics 1:31], and he spoke of BA's re-envisioning of the communist project as a world people would really want to live in without all these crimes.
Many copies of Revolution were sold, with particular interest in Bob Avakian's exposure of Christian Fundamentalist Tim Tebow, and two copies of BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian were also sold.
Revolution distributors also brought a sign with a quote from BAsics: "American Lives Are Not More Important Than Other People's Lives."
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